What A Witch Needs

•October 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Pre-Order Now!!

Yes, it is time for another novella from the Magic and Mayhem Universe.  What A Witch Needs is book two in the What A Witch series and once again a witch finds her Shifter soul mate an ocean away from home in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia.

Blurb:

A witch on the run…

All Gloriana Anora St.John wants is to serve the annulment decree on her never-really-a-husband. She didn’t expect to barge in on a blood sacrifice. After rescuing a young girl, Gloriana and her familiar are cornered by the coven of dark warlocks. It’s no wonder her hasty transport spell—and why hadn’t she practiced the damn spells when she was supposed to?—lands her in the middle of nowhere West Virginia.

A lonely bear Shifter with issues…

Former Marine and bear Shifter Liam Hardisty is minding his own business, popping a thieving honey badger and fishing for his breakfast. Before he can even snag a fish, a turquoise-colored transport cloud dumps a witch and her familiar practically at his paws. One sniff and Liam knows he’s found his mate. Her name is Glory.

Gloriana just rid herself of one male. Plus, she has a dark warlock in hot pursuit. She has more than enough man trouble—she doesn’t need a mate, even one a delicious-smelling hunk like Liam.

Liam knows he’s working on a short clock and has a lot to do before he can give Glory his mating bite—he needs to gain Glory’s trust, prove he’s what she needs in her life, and then protect her from the evil asshat warlock.

What a witch needs isn’t always what she thinks she needs—sometimes, it’s better.

Check out that cover!!  My fabulous cover artist, April Martinez of Graphicfantastic, took my vision and made it real.  How did she do it?  Well, here is a short video showing the cover process from concept to finished product. 

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Pets in Space 3 — An anthology for a worthy cause!!

•September 10, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I am happy to welcome back the Pets in Space group of authors who are once again publishing an anthology to help supply deserving veterans with service dogs. Please help them in this worthy endeavor by buying their anthology.

 

 

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Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of Hero-Dogs.org, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!

Charity: Our Charity is Hero-Dogs.org. Hero-Dogs.org improves the quality of life for our nation’s heroes by raising, training, and placing service dogs and other highly skilled canines, free of charge with lifetime support of the partnerships. https://www.hero-dogs.org/

Authors:

Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space™ 3 authors are:

  1. E. Smith
  2. Anna Hackett
  3. Ruby Lionsdrake
  4. Veronica Scott
  5. Pauline Baird Jones
  6. Carol Van Natta
  7. Tiffany Roberts
  8. Alexis Glynn Latner
  9. E D Walker
  10. JC Hay
  11. Kyndra Hatch

Release Date: October 9, 2017

ASIN: B07FNXKQJZ

ISBN-13:  978-1-942583-61-5

Publisher: Cats, Dogs and Otherworldly Creatures

Formats Available: ebook only

Price: $4.99

Website: https://www.petsinspaceantho.com

Pets in Space™ Anthology Store: https://www.petsinspaceantho.com/store/

Pre-Order Prime Target, Book 4 in the Prime Chronicles Series

•September 7, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Prime Target will be published on November 19, 2018.  You can pre-order now at the following retailers (I will update when iBooks link goes live). Retail is $4.99 USD

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Kobo

B&N

Amazon

Google Books

Blurb:

Former Prime sex surrogate Susa Anghard has never been off her planet, let alone out of the Cejuru solar system. While she isn’t naive about men and what they want, she isn’t prepared for the predatory males who now have her in their sights. When she’s kidnapped on her way to a galactic rim jump station to visit her cousin Borac, she has no expectations of being rescued. She vows to free herself or die trying.

When Borac Anghard asks Damon Martin to intercept his cousin Susa’s transport and escort her to their jump station, Damon agrees. When he arrives to meet Susa’s ship, he finds she’s been kidnapped by Dorian mercenaries. He goes in hot pursuit and prays he finds her before she’s delivered to the person who paid for the kidnapping.

When Damon catches up with the kidnappers, he hadn’t expected to find the resourceful Susa in the act of getting away. And he really hadn’t expected to be so attracted to her. An attraction that could go nowhere—she was his business partner’s cousin and Damon still wasn’t over losing the only woman he’d ever loved.

Take one alpha-male with a slightly broken heart, add in one Prime female finding her courage and self for the first time—throw them together in close quarters in a trip across the galaxy and love will find a way.

Magic and Mayhem Blast-Off

•August 30, 2018 • Leave a Comment

WE’RE BA-A-A-C-K — AND BETTER THAN EVER!

 

Did you miss us?

When Kindle World shut down, it left a lot of homeless worlds containing a lot of very talented authors with fabulous books.  Robyn Peterman, whom I’m lucky to call a friend, made the decision she wasn’t going to let all her hard work and that of the many authors who wrote in her Magic and Mayhem Universe (formerly World) be put out on the streets.  Thus, she set her prodigious energy and mind on the path to finding us all a new place to cyber-shelve our books.  Thanks to the wonderful folks at Draft2Digital, fans of Magic and Mayhem will now be able to buy the books in all formats, across many retailers, and with world-wide distribution.

Okay, you didn’t miss us, because you have no clue what the Magic and Mayhem Universe is.

I’ll let Robyn Peterman tell you, in her words, what this gig is all about:

What is the Magic and Mayhem Universe, you may ask?

Well, let me explain…

It’s basically authorized fan fiction written by some amazing authors that I stalked and blackmailed! KIDDING! I was lucky and blessed to have some brilliant authors say yes! They have written brand new stories using my world and some of my characters. And let me tell you…the results are hilarious!

So here it is! Blast off with us into the hilarious Magic and Mayhem Universe. Side splitting books by fantabulous authors! Check out each and every one. You will laugh your way to a magical HEA!

For all the stories, go to https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/. Grab your copy today!

The series that started it all by Robyn Peterman:

My re-release Blast-Off Book:

 

Blurb:

Magical artifacts can be deadly…or seductive, and Amethyst St. John delights in them all. She’s curator for the U.K. Covens’ Magical Artifacts Library, and her magic isn’t the usual run-of-the-mill hocus-pocus. Oh no. With her powers, she can turn the nastiest artifact harmless.

Unfortunately, her magic is useless when her egotistical mother pressures her to marry a depraved aristocrat.  So, when the most powerful witch in the world asks her to present an artifact—a very intimate piece of the infamous wizard Merlin—to their sister city Assjacket, West Virginia, Amethyst jumps at the chance.

Bobcat Shifter Kerr Montgomery, chief detective for Assjacket, has better things to do than meet some British ambassador witch … until he catches Amethyst’s scent. She’s his mate—the one woman who can complete his soul. But his Ammy doesn’t understand mating. And she distrusts men. Even worse, she won’t be in Assjacket long enough to change her mind.

And then someone steals Merlin’s intimate body part. Ammy, aided by Kerr, sets out on a quest to find the artifact. In the process, she discovers what she really wants.

 

Buy Links for What A Witch Wants

Free Sneak Peek at What A Witch Wants

 

 

The Authors of the Magic and Mayhem Universe and the links to their Magic and Mayhem page:

Barbra Annino
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/barbra-annino/

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Boone Brux
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/boone-brux/

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Deanna Chase
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/deanna-chase/

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Claudy Conn
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/claudy-conn/

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Teresa Gabelman
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/teresa-gabelman/

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Eliza Gayle
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/eliza-gayle/

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Renee George
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/renee-george/

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Mindy Klasky
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/mindy-klasky/

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Cate Lawley
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/cate-lawley/

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Heather Long
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/heather-long/

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Cherie Marks
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/cherie-marks/

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Lissa Matthews
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/lissa-matthews/

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Donna McDonald
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/donna-mcdonald/

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H. M. McQueen
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/h-m-mcqueen/

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Monette Michaels
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/monette-michaels/

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Isabel Micheals
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/isabel-micheals/

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Julia Mills
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/julia-mills/

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Virginia Nelson
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/virgina-nelson/

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Rose Pressey
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/rose-pressey/

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Kate Richards
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/kate-richards/

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Jordan K. Rose
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/jordan-k-rose/

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Lori Ryan
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/lori-ryan/

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Sharon Saracino
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/sharon-saracino/

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Jodi Vaughn
https://magicandmayhemuniverse.com/jodi-vaughn/

Guest Blog: Pauline Baird Jones on the second Pets in Space Anthology, Embrace the Romance

•October 10, 2017 • 2 Comments

I’d like to welcome my guest blogger Pauline Baird Jones. Pauline is an old and dear friend and a fellow SFR author.  Today, she is sharing a special project from her and a whole crew of other SFR authors to raise money for Hero Dogs.  — Monette

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It Started as a Joke and Became Our Mission

 

The first Pets in Space anthology started as a joke, a throwaway comment on Facebook, but Veronica Scot saw the potential of the idea and contacted me privately and said, “We should do this.”

I thought about it and realized she was right. We should do this, but we both had two requirements that had to happen if we did this.

  1. Awesome original stories (Veronica convinced some amazing authors to write stories for our adventure in space and publishing); and
  2. We had to donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity that is about animals and veterans.

It did not take us long to discover Hero-Dogs.org. We knew they were the charity for us, but would they be willing to partner with something called Pets in Space?

They did! And when we went back to them for Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2, we were so honored that they said yes again. Supporting this charity has definitely become our passion.

What is Hero Dogs you ask?

Hero Dogs, Inc., a Maryland 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, improves quality of life for our nation’s heroes by raising, training, and placing service dogs and other highly skilled canines, free of charge with lifetime support of the partnerships.

In addition to supporting a wonderful charity, Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2,  brings you a dozen original stories written just for you! Join in the fun, from the Dragon Lords of Valdier to a trip aboard award-winning author Veronica Scott’s Nebula Zephyr to journeying back to Luda where Grim is King, for stories that will take you out of this world! Join New York Times, USA TODAY, and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, M.K. Eidem, Susan Grant, Michelle Howard, Cara Bristol, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Laurie A. Green, Sabine Priestley, Jessica E. Subject, Carol Van Natta, and Alexis Glynn Latner as they share stories and help out Hero-Dogs.org, a charity that supports our veterans!

10% of all pre-orders and the first month’s profits go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

The authors of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 hope you’ll join with them in supporting our wonderful charity! You’ll get 12 great reads, all for the price of a cup of coffee! And please tell a friend!

 

Universal Link for All Stores: books2read.com/u/3L9aYM

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35658092-embrace-the-romance

Instafreebie Sampler: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/EZz5p

Website: http://www.petsinspaceantho.com

Newsletter Signuphttp://www.petsinspaceantho.com/stay-in-touch/

Preorder Video: https://youtu.be/UW4CZc76CB0

Hero Dogs: http://www.hero-dogs.org/

Embrace the Romance Pet Coloring Book Contest Link: http://www.petsinspaceantho.com/giveaways/get-embrace-romance-coloring-book-now/

About Pauline Baird Jones:

Pauline Baird Jones never liked reality, so she writes books. She likes to wander among the genres, rampaging like Godzilla, because she does love peril mixed in her romance. You can find her online here:

Website:       http://paulinebjones.com

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

FB Handle:    @AuthorPaulineBairdJones

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/PaulineBJones

Twitter Handle:      @PaulineBJones

Instagram:    @paulinebjones

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Pauline-Baird-Jones/e/B000APFS0M/

Revisiting the Past: Revising My Novel Green Fire

•July 15, 2017 • 1 Comment

Some background:

I’ve been writing since 1995 and been published in e-books/indie press since 1998.  In that time period, I’ve done a lot of  writing and have published every book I have completed. We won’t discuss the ones that are still notes or half-finished because another plot bunny came along and distracted me—Bunny!!—or because my Muse left the building. 🙂

In all I have written 20 novels,  6 novellas, and 3 short stories — and all are in print BUT FOR ONE — and that one is Green Fire, my 2003 paranormal romantic suspense release from the former indie press, LTDBooks (Canada).

[Left: New cover for Green Fire, designed by April Martinez, Copyright, 2011.]

When LTDBooks closed its  doors at the end of 2005, it was a sad day — I adored the owner (love you, Laura!) and had great experiences at LTD. My rights to all my books published at LTD were immediately given back. My Gooden & Knight books went to Liquid Silver Publishing without any changes. Then I fairly quickly revised and self-published Fatal Vision and Death Benefits.

But not Green Fire. 

I had to put Green Fire on the back-burner, because I’d found great success with my Security Specialist International and Prime Chronicles series. The fan demand and that of my publisher was such that I devoted all my time to putting out books in those two series. Revised versions of previously published books were not a high priority.

In 2011, I finally had reached a point where I had a large enough gap between series books — or so I thought– to devote a few weeks to do a clean edit and then get Green Fire back out there. Um, no.

I began a Green Fire revision and found it taking a lot of time. I had pressure to get to work on Prime Selection (#2 in that series) since my Prime fans had been so patient while I whipped out Eye of the Storm (#1) and Stormy Weather Baby (#1.5) in my SSI series. Since that time — between parent deaths, son moving clear across the country, husband’s major surgery, a bunch more SSI books and another couple of Prime books — and a Kindle World book for Robyn Peterman’s Magic & Mayhem World — I just shelved Green Fire as a To-Do project.

So here I am in 2017 working on it again.  You’d think it shouldn’t take much, right?  After all, this is a book that was accepted and edited by LTDBooks, published to decent reviews back in 2003, and was a finalist in the Dream Realm Contest, paranormal division in 2003. I even went to ArmadilloCon for the awards ceremony (lost, but, hey … finalled!). Plus, I had gotten a bit of a start on the revision back in 2011. I wasn’t working with a blank slate here.

Short answer:  It’s not an easy revision. To use one of my favorite phrases, “I’ve slept since then,” — then being when I first wrote the book in 2002-2003.

I’ve been an Acquisitions and a Copy Editor, read/studied writing techniques, taught writing, critiqued a lot of other authors’ books, and written a shit ton of books since 2003.  I know I am a better, cleaner, tighter writer than I was way back in the beginning. Plus, romance readers’ tastes have changed.

This is an issue for any author who republishes long out-of-print books — do I leave it as originally written?– OR — do I clean house and bring it up to date for the current romance reading population?

So, what’s the problem with this specific book?

Long answer:   Green Fire was the fourth book I had written.  At that point in time, I was still doing the Nora Roberts’ head-hopping thing (BTW, Nora can get away with it; most other authors … not). Multiple points of view even when not head-hopping. Overuse of adverbs. Redundancy. Repetitiveness. Passive voice. And the odd wandering body part. Plus, nit-picky things most readers wouldn’t notice,  but I do. Yes, I am anal.

My decision: This book needed a complete overhaul so I could claim it anew with some semblance of pride.  I had started on some of the POV issues back in 2011.  Figured out early on that the way I wrote the book, I couldn’t really get rid of all the POV characters, but, at least, I wouldn’t head hop with them.

I even had my fave final line editor (love you, Ezra!) take a whack at a semi-revised revision. Bless him, he made judicious edits, but was concerned about changing my story, my voice — and that was the correct thing for him to do.

After fixing what he found and re-reading it, I decided it needed a more extensive revision. Enough more that when I republish it will need a new copyright since there will be enough textual changes such as deletions, new material, and extensive rewriting to demand such (you can edit a book and keep the same copyright number if the changes are technical such as typos and the like).

This is where I am now:  I am touching every page and revising/editing/rewriting.

To keep this revision on track, I am doing a chapter a day. On the days I can’t do a chapter, I make it up the next time I hit the computer. At this rate, I should have a final revised copy to send to my crit buddy (love you, Cheri!), who will then eviscerate it, and I then will accept or reject her evisceration and prepare a final version for publication.

Bottom line, I still like the book’s basic concept and plot. A lithomancer heroine, i.e., she controls stone energy or magic. Lots of action and suspense with the heroine inheriting the family land and becoming the person in her family who protects the family’s legacy and is destined to produce the next generation. The hero is a DEA agent who has magic of his own and his magic complements the heroine’s — together they are stronger than alone. Bad guys abound: evil boss from heroine’s past, drug cartel leader who’s discovered the secret on the land the heroine inherits and wants it, and the cartel minions who try to obtain the land and one of which has his own agenda. Oh and an honorable good guy law officer (yes, he needs his own book — not sure it’ll ever happen) who falls for the heroine and loses out. Basically, your typical Monette Michaels’ book.

Cross your fingers and wish me luck. I hope to have the improved Green Fire out before the end of the summer. Well, let’s put it this way, I have to get this done and soon, since  I have a Prime book (Damon and Susa’s story) to write by the end of the year. There’s always another book waiting to be written.

Original Green Fire Blurb (yes, this needs to be revised, too!) :

Lisa MacDougall is not your normal jewelry designer. Her genetic ability to sense which gemstones complement her clients’ chakras has made her designs famous. Increasingly, her job at Romanoff’s Jewelry Store in New York City has become uncomfortable with Andrei Romanoff’s aggressive sexual overtures. Her inheritance from a previously unknown relative in North Carolina couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lisa picks up stakes and moves to the Blue Ridge tourist town. Here she discovers her ability to read crystal energy is just the tip of the iceberg and that her Uncle Lon has left her more than just a quaint mountain property.

DEA Agent Marco Santiago is on the trail of the Verde Fogate drug cartel. A raid on a Miami warehouse goes bad, and all the DEA finds after months of planning is a lead to a lawyer in Ben Lomond, North Carolina and the words “green fire.” Marco and his partner head for the Blue Ridge Mountains to get to the bottom of what the cartel finds so interesting in Ben Lomond.

Marco finds that the woman who possesses the “green fire” is his complement in magic. But before Lisa and he can look toward a future together, they both must deal with evil from their past.

 

[Right:  Original Green Fire cover, Ariana Overton, Copyright, 2003]

Excerpt (unedited from the current revision):

“Do not go gentle into that good night.”
Lon MacDougall halted his nocturnal patrol. Standing under the denuded branches of an oak, he knew he was a sitting duck for the men who stalked him, but he’d had enough of their games. His affairs were in order. They wouldn’t get the land and the treasure it sheltered, the treasure he’d protected since the day his older brother Rob had left North Carolina, turning his back on his birthright.

Wheezing heavily then wincing at the sharp pain caused by the cancer eating away at his insides, Lon moved from his quasi-shelter and headed back toward his cabin. He silently chuckled as his shadowers followed. Stumbling silently over a small rise in the land, Lon swore. In younger, healthier days, he’d have moved through the night like a bobcat, silent and lethal. No way would some damn foreigners have been able to stalk him on his own land. But the cancer had ended all that.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Tonight, he’d die. He’d chosen his manner of death—the quick death of a defender rather than the inevitable slow torture of the disease. The bastards didn’t know it, but they were doing him a favor.

Reaching the porch of his ancestral home, Lon stopped, then smiled. Yes, the land would be safe now. With Rob long since dead, he’d finally tracked Rob’s child to New York City. It had taken him almost a year to find the last surviving MacDougall. His brother had done what he’d sworn he would never do—produced an heir.

And the heir had the power.

The poor fools trying to get the land and the treasure it sheltered would never know what hit them. Lon frowned, wishing he could push fate off a little bit longer, wishing he could be around to help Rob’s child acclimate. Well, he’d done the best he could. The land was in the heir’s name. The tools the heir would need to learn to harness the power were safely away from North Carolina, awaiting the word of his death. He’d done all he could.

The rest would be up to her—Rob’s daughter.

Lon’s still keen eyesight pierced the dark shadows within the forest, zeroing in on movement where there should be none. The night air resonated with the sound of stealthy footsteps. Lon shook his head and sighed. Yep, too bad he wouldn’t be around to help her. He turned to meet death head on. A sound like a hornet. The prick of a dart. It was over that quickly.

As Lon fell off the porch onto the pine-needle-covered ground, he smiled. He’d won; they’d lost—and they didn’t even know it.

“Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight…”

Monette Michaels, Copyright, 2017.

What A Witch Wants is Out Now!!

•June 21, 2017 • Comments Off on What A Witch Wants is Out Now!!

I am thrilled to announce that What A Witch Wants, my contribution to Robyn Peterman’s Magic & Mayhem World, is now LIVE at Amazon.US. [Apologies to my international fans, but Kindle World books are only sold on the US Amazon bookstore].

What is a Kindle World, and Magic & Mayhem world, in particular?  Basically, a Kindle World is a fictional world created by an author, and other authors are invited to write a book using elements of character, setting, and genre as dictated by the originating author.

Robyn’s Magic & Mayhem world is paranormal and populated by witches and shifters and other sundry paranormal types. We, as authors, are then invited to use as many or as few of the attributes of Robyn’s world to create our own stories.

In What A Witch Wants, I have used quite a few of Robyn’s original characters and her setting of Assjacket, West Virginia.  My story integrates her world, I hope, seamlessly.  It was a challenge and it was fun — and as I mentioned in a previous blog [Returning to My Roots], it was a breath of fresh air to go back to the paranormal world where I began my writing career.

Will I do more in Robyn’s world?  I never say never — and I did leave  my heroine Amethyst’s sister Gloriana hanging out there, married to a jerk chosen by her and Ammy’s controlling mother. Glory just might need a Shifter of her own — and Assjacket has more than enough room for another witch.

Blurb:

Wanting is good; getting is harder.

Magical artifacts can be deadly…or seductive, and Amethyst St. John delights in them all. She’s curator for the U.K. Covens’ Magical Artifacts Library, and her magic isn’t the usual run-of-the-mill hocus-pocus. Oh no. With her powers, she can turn the nastiest artifact harmless.

Unfortunately, her magic is useless when her egotistical mother pressures her to marry a depraved aristocrat. So, when the most powerful witch in the world asks her to present an artifact—a very intimate piece of the infamous wizard Merlin—to their sister city Assjacket, West Virginia, Amethyst jumps at the chance.

Bobcat Shifter Kerr Montgomery, chief detective for Assjacket, has better things to do than meet some British ambassador witch … until he catches Amethyst’s scent. She’s his mate—the one woman who can complete his soul. But his Ammy doesn’t understand mating. And she distrusts men. Even worse, she won’t be in Assjacket long enough to change her mind.

And then someone steals Merlin’s intimate body part. Ammy, aided by Kerr, sets out on a quest to find the artifact. In the process, she discovers what she really wants.

Short Excerpt:

Chapter 1

 

Arse-on-Wharfe, England

 

Incoming. Beelzebub’s bitch at twelve o’clock.

The sarcastic tone of her familiar whispered through Amethyst Sophia St. John’s mind. She straightened up from the magical artifact she’d been bent over for the last hour. Rubbing her aching lower back with grubby hands, she cast him an admonishing glance. “Oliver … be nice.”

Meh. I call them like I see them. The huge gray-and-white tabby yawned, then began to groom his thick fur.

Amethyst couldn’t really scold Oliver for his low opinion of her mother since she totally shared it.

Mildred Earlene St. John was a horrible mother and an even lousier person who lived only to further her wealth and status.

Amethyst took a fortifying breath as the unique signature of her mother’s magic preceded her into the dusty bowels of the United Kingdom Covens’ Magical Artifacts Library where Amethyst had chosen to work today.

Don’t you mean chosen to hide? Oliver shot her a fess-up stare, proving he could groom and poke through her thoughts at the same time.

Amethyst rubbed her tired eyes. “Okay, hide. But in my defense, I have a lot of work to do.” Plus, her mother hated the basement, called it that “rat-infested cess pit.”

Whatever.

As much as she loved her position as the library’s head curator, the demands on her time and attention were frequent and seemingly unending. She scanned the stacks and stacks of artifacts that needed to be classified and their specific magic either defined, repaired, or, for some of the more dangerous artifacts, contained before they could be made available for the library’s members and invited guests to study.

Oliver uttered a disgusted meow over Amethyst’s equivocation. Work-shmerk. You’re hiding because Beelzebub’s bitch called and said she planned to visit today.

That, too. When it came to her rapaciously ambitious mother, Amethyst followed a strict avoidance policy and had even moved out of the family’s manse several months ago, much to her mother’s severe disapproval.

Bottom line, what Amethyst wanted out of life and what her mother demanded were so diametrically opposed as to place them in separate universes.

The only reasons Amethyst still dealt with her mother were—one: her mother, the High Witch for the local coven, was nominally her boss, and, two: there was still a part of Amethyst that wanted her mother’s love and approval.

Fat chance at that ever happening. Oliver sniffed. That bitch doesn’t have a heart.

“Amethyst!” Her mother’s strident tones had her clenching her jaw.

Oliver rubbed his head against her arm and purred. His energy soothed her. After an affectionate head butt, he plopped his furry arse next to the artifact she currently worked on. Maybe they could move the library to Timbuktu?

She wished.

Mildred—as her daughters were told to address her—stopped in front of Amethyst and cast a haughty glare at Oliver who’d stuck a leg in the air and had blithely begun to groom his balls with vigor as if the task was essential to the continuation of life on the planet.

It could happen. Good grooming is next to godliness.

Amethyst snickered, then immediately sobered as Mildred focused her death-ray glare on her.

“What in the name of the Blessed Goddess are you wearing?” Her parent sniffed, a sour expression fixed on her too-thin face.

Frowning, Amethyst looked down at the much-washed tee featuring the iconic Rolling Stones’ tongue, her distressed blue jeans, and her favorite black-and-white Chuck Taylor high-tops and shrugged. “Clothes?”

Mildred, as always, was dressed as if she were about to have an audience with the Queen of England. Today’s ensemble was Chanel and pearls.

“Rags, more like it. Really, Amethyst, you’re twenty-four years old and born into one of the most prestigious families in England. Yet, you still dress like a cross between a teenager and a homeless person. Don’t you have any pride in your appearance? Any respect for your family’s ancient lineage and reputation?”

A right snot-nosed social bigot, isn’t she?

Her mother’s criticisms weren’t anything Amethyst hadn’t heard before, but she refused to engage her mother on topics that weren’t important in the grander scheme of things—such as clothing choices. A long time ago, Amethyst had made the decision to save her energy for far more dangerous points of disagreement.

Mildred circled around the room, a look of rampant disgust on her face as she swiped a perfectly manicured finger over a dusty box of magically warded Celtic grave goods. “Look at this filthy place. Amethyst, if you had a decent job, one befitting your station—”

And there it was; one of the battles Amethyst had decided was worth fighting. Mildred loathed Amethyst’s job and was horribly embarrassed by her daughter’s peculiar mix of magic.

But Amethyst loved her job, relished the challenge of taking on every dirty artifact and potentially explosive bit of ancient magic. Her magical abilities, unlike many witches, were neither healing nor creative, but something totally unique. Her power allowed her to sense, track, fix, and survive magical wards and spells thousands of years old. Her specific abilities were the main reason she’d been chosen for her current position at a very young age. Most curators of magical artifacts were far older.

Amethyst’s magic had been discovered at the age of five during a family visit to the British Museum. While viewing the Egyptian exhibit, she’d accidentally unleashed a mummy’s nasty curse. Purely on instinct, she’d quickly reversed and contained the curse’s effects. Her father had laughed and praised his “very talented daughter.” Mildred had looked horrified and stated no child of hers could possess such a lowborn skill.

From that day on, nothing Amethyst had done pleased her mother—yet, Amethyst had continued to try … until recently.

“Amethyst, you haven’t heard a word I’ve said.” Her mother’s lips had thinned to the point of disappearing.

You didn’t miss much. Blah, blah, blah-da-dee-fucking blah. Repeat. Oliver yawned and curled into a ball, his eyes slitted as he glared at Mildred. Acid-tongued bitch.

Amethyst petted Oliver’s head and let the witch-familiar connection calm her nerves. “Mildred, why are you here?”

“Two reasons.” Her mother paced back and forth in front of the work table. “First, you turned down Reginald Wolverstone’s offer of marriage.”

And there was one of the other battles Amethyst would engage in with her mother.

Amethyst refused to marry a warlock of Mildred’s choice merely to further her mother’s skewed ideas of power.

Copyright, 2017, Monette Michaels.

*****

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