Friday, October 31, 2014

Snarkology Halloween Hop: A BAR STORY by Melissa Snark #Giveaway

Welcome to the Snarkology's Halloween Blog Hop. We have 60 author blogs participating this year so there are many opportunities to enter to win one of the hopwide grand prizes. Most blogs are offering individual prizes also. Follow the Linked List at the bottom of this post!

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed paperback of HUNGER MOON. A winner will be chosen at random on Nov. 1st. (Shipping restricted to continental U.S.)

Please enter the Raffletoper at the bottom of the post for a chance to win the hop-wide grand prize.

For your reading pleasure, I'd like to present a spooky Halloween short story. Enjoy! 

A BAR STORY by Melissa Snark

The gangly youth scurried on long legs and too-big feet. He stumbled on a cracked tile, but righted himself. Shoulders squared, Daniel Hollar ran a hand through his long orange hair, finger combing the frizzy mess. Hundreds of freckles peppered his pale face, and his green eyes were bright behind wire-rimmed glasses. He slapped on a polite smile for the middle-aged man crouched on a stool at the end of the L-shaped bar.
The customer's arms rested on the counter, the diamond frame forming a protective barrier about the shot glass cradled between his hands. Sweat bullets lined the man's blotchy red forehead. A scraggly crown of damp hair stuck to the collar of his white dress shirt. His gut overhung belted dark trousers. He wore a clean gold band on his left ring finger and his clothing was made from fine fabric.
 "Evenin', sir. What's your poison?"
The customer's lips bowed into a fearsome grin, revealing yellowed teeth. A hint of jaundice touched the sclera of his eyes. "Belladonna," he said softly. "Oh deadly nightshade, beautiful woman."
"Wha– Sorry?" Daniel dipped his head, trying to make out the man's words, and got a good whiff. A malignant scent circled the man like a coiled serpent, the combined cologne of booze, cigarettes, and body odor. Gagging, he jerked back and turned his head to the side.
The man lifted his shot glass in a toast. "If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?"
Daniel's eyes bulged. What a total nut! Biting his lower lip, he spoke at a pace suited to fools and madmen. "I'm sorry? Would you like something to drink?"
"Daniel. Pleased to meet you." He stuck forward his hand, held straight out and rigid.
Wicked humor lit the man's gray eyes. He refused the proffered hand. "Jack Daniels. Neat. Leave the bottle."
"Oh." Cheeks burning, Daniel fumbled through the booze on the back wall until he located the correct bottle. He poured the man's drink, sloshing amber liquid over the rim of the shot glass.
The customer dug into his pocket, extracted his wallet, and deposited a hundred dollar bill on the bar.
"You want change?"
"Nah, just put it toward my tab."
"Yes, sir." Daniel retreated to stand beside his boss.
Patrick Whalen, a grizzled Irishman and owner of the Albatross Tavern, was known as Twitch by the hardened sea-faring locals who frequented the Portsmouth, Maine wharf side bar.
The youth shoved his hands into the pocket of his navy windbreaker, striving to appear nonchalant. He tipped his head toward the customer. "Odd duck, that one."
Twitch's round head rolled on the long stalk of his neck toward the end of the bar. The old man's eyelid pulled in a constant facial tic–wink wink wink. His stretched taut in a sardonic smile. "Arrogant bastard, ain't he, Danny me boy? But he pays his tab 'n comes in regular, so I ain't got no problems with him."
Doing his best to appear disinterested, Daniel picked up a white rag and wiped down the scratched oaken bar counter. He cast a surreptitious glance down the length of the bar. "Who is he?"
"That?" Twitch tilted his head. "That's Jack. Jack Thorn. He's a local author. Horror fic, like that King fella."
"Is he famous?"
"Meybe. Yer an English major, ain'tcha?"
"Yeah, but I've never heard of him."
The old man sniggered and picked up the ice bucket, limping toward the machine. "His stories got less cursin', so I reckon that makes him more of a literary figure."
Too curious to resist temptation, the young man trailed Twitch, hoping to glean more information.
"Are his books movies?"
Twitch shot Daniel a long look as if considering him a moron. He sneered. "Course not.  His books are books. Movies is movies. The one ain't got nuthin' to do with the other. Everyone with a lick o' sense knows that."
Wink wink wink…
Daniel hung his head. "Sorry."
Twitch slapped him on the back, knocking him off his feet. "Don't worry your wee head 'bout it. Ain't your fault that you're greener than the titties on a leprechaun."
The boy's face lit like wildfire, drawing another cackle from the old man. Cursing the pale complexion that went with his ginger hair, Daniel tried and failed to keep his speculative gaze averted from Jack Thorn.
The author sat twisted on his stool, engaged in an animated conversation with the empty seat beside him. There was no one else at the bar in either direction.
Twitch filled the ice bucket to the brim and thrust the container into the boy's hands. "Here, go dump this in the bin. My leg is achin' somethin' fierce."
Obediently, the young man trotted to the ice machine. He emptied the bucket, and returned to fill it again. "Who's he talking to?"
"That one's crazy as a loon." Leaning forward, Twitch tapped his temple and spoke in a hushed voice. "Talks to himself 'n lives all alone in a big house out on the promontory."
Jack Thorn's disquieting gray eyes pinned him. A chill tore through Daniel's soul. He averted his gaze and swallowed convulsively, Adam's apple bobbing. "I've seen it."
The old man's thin lips stretched to reveal cracked, yellow teeth. Wink wink wink… "Jack over there used to have a wife and daughter. Wife was a real beauty and the little girl was an angel. Four years old with blond pigtails and big blue eyes…"
Daniel shivered. He dropped the scoop back into the ice machine and closed the flap. "What happened to them?"
"They ain't been seen for years. Some says they left him, others that he killed 'em. There was a police investigation, but no bodies ever been found. No one knows."
Daniel leaned in so close the old man's sour breath scoured his nostrils. "What do you think happened?"
Twitch's predatory smile swelled. He threw up clawed hands and shouted, "He ate 'em!"
Heart slamming against his breast, Daniel leapt backward. He dropped the bucket and ice cubes scattered across the floor. His foot slipped on the wetness and his knees locked. He slammed his elbow against the counter. Sharp pain lanced through his entire arm.
Twitch roared with laughter.
Humiliation stung Daniel's pride worse than his injured elbow. A cold sweat broke out across his body. Staggering, he retreated toward the bathroom, heading toward the smirking author.
Jack Thorn grabbed the boy's arm as he stumbled past, his ghoulish face leering at him. "They tasted real good!"

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed paperback of HUNGER MOON. A winner will be chosen at random on Nov. 1st. (Shipping restricted to continental U.S.) If the winner is International, then an ebook copy will be offered as an alternative.

Please enter the Raffletoper for a chance to win the hop-wide grand prize.

Cover Wars!: Please vote for Hunger Moon

Hunger Moon is entered in the October cover wars on The Masquerade Crew blog. Please drop by to vote! You'll have my eternal gratitude and many virtual cookies! 
(And you can vote daily!)

#Snarkyreads: A Twitter Review of HER PURRFECT MATCH chapters 9-11

I'm reviewing HER PURRFECT MATCH as part of Milly Taidens promotional book tour. I've received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Chapters 1-4

Chapters 5-8

Milly Taiden hasn't asked me to conduct a Twitter review and I haven't asked permission.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

#Snarkyreads: A Twitter Review of HER PURRFECT MATCH chapters 5-8

I'm reviewing HER PURRFECT MATCH as part of Milly Taidens promotional book tour. I've received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Chapters 1-4.

Milly Taiden hasn't asked me to conduct a Twitter review and I haven't asked permission.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pilcrow & Dagger vs. McWhiskers, Softpaws and Fluffybottom

Well, the folks over at Pilcrow & Dagger can't say I didn't warn them not to mess with the Law Offices of McWhiskers, Softpaws and Fluffybottom.

An Open Letter To Our Readers

Dear Readers,
On Monday, October 29, 2014 the Pilcrow & Dagger posted on their blog a cease and desist letter received from McWhiskers, Softpaws and Fluffybottom, attorneys for Miss Clio, Rocket J. Squirrel and Jake “The Snake” Plissken. These are the house cats who share their dwelling with Mr. and Mrs. Melissa Snark. Apparently, the cats have a copyright on their correspondence in their lawsuit with the Snarks and were disturbed by the posting of the letters.
The new “investigative” reporter for the Pilcrow & Dagger News, Snoop Cubby, “uncovered” the historic cat lawsuit and the letters written by the representing attorneys for both sides. One of our readers, Crank Curmudgeon, was quick to point out the letters were dated in 2013 yet Mr. Cubby failed to notice. The cease and desist further demonstrates the lack of investigation that occurred.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#Snarkyreads: A Twitter Review of HER PURRFECT MATCH chapters 1-4

I'm reviewing HER PURRFECT MATCH as part of Milly Taidens promotional book tour. I've received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Milly Taiden hasn't asked me to conduct a Twitter review and I haven't asked permission.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cover Reveal: Kilts Ablaze by Melissa Snark (#1 in the Blazing Kilts of Scottish Firemen series)

Genre: Historical Scottish Firemen Romance

Cover Artiste: Farah Evers Designs

The heat is on...

Book 1 in the Blazing Kilts of Scottish Firemen series is sure to be the hottest historical Scottish firemen romance read of the year.

English bastards raped and murdered Angus Wallace's secret child bride. Despite the trauma, he recovered. Three months later, he married the real love of his life, Mollie, a plaid seamstress from Dublin.

One evening their Scottish terrier ran away. Angus went out to search for the little bugger. Tragedy struck when he got hit on the head by a rampaging livery. Rendered forgetful by amnesia, Angus took up a new life as a member of Fire Company 95.

Grief stricken, Mollie never recovered from her loss even though she adopted a new dog.

Haunted for years by images of spinning wheels and knitting needles, Angus begins a revolt and leads Scottish warriors against the cruel English tyrants who rule Scotland with an iron fist.

When Mollie's house catches fire, will Angus put down his mobile phone long enough to save her?

"Whaur is ma kilt, Mollie? A'm aff tae rammy fur Scotland's freedom fae they sassenach bastards!"

Mollie sobbed. "Oh, na, Angus! Please dinnae gang tae rammy th' sassenach bastards wha rule Scootlund wi' an iron fist! We've ainlie juist fun ilk ither again efter decades apairt. We ur twa beats o' th' identical hert, ye stubborn, idiotic man!" 

"I'm sorry, Mollie, bit afore god 'n' jimmy, ah hae tae gang rammy fur Scots freedom against thaim sassenach bastards wha rule Scootlund wi' an iron fist!" 

Mollie choked on her final sob. "Oh, gey weel then." 

"Just promise me yin final thing, wifie. Afore ah go." 


"Promise me ye'll keep th' damn dug ben this time!" 

Trailer by Farah Evers Designs:

I owe a big thanks to Farah Evers for her help in putting this presentation together. The spectacular cover and brilliant book trailer are her genius. So thank you, Farah! I had a blast working on this with you.

Dialogue translation into Scottish is thanks to

My Kind of Heroine Schedule

October 2014
She's sophisticated,
She's daring, 
My Kind of Heroine

Your favorite authors visit the Snarkology to discuss their most admired kinds of heroines or a particular heroine from their story.

Please take a moment to check out our fabulous guest schedule.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Kind of Heroine: My Daughter by Sydney Jane Baily #lovehistoricals #MFRWAuthor

I think I'm the last writer in this month’s themed Snarkology blog run about heroines. I'm honored to bring up the tail end. First, thanks to Melissa for hosting all of us this month and to the many writers from whom we’ve learned a lot about heroines.

Right now, my daughter is my heroine. She started college this past September at her number one choice for university, and then went right out and found a job a week or so after moving into her dorm. She intends to help pay for her tuition, and she has learned a new skill as a barista. Good grades, a good work ethic, and her eye on a promising future. What more could a proud mother ask for?

I also want to introduce you to my latest fictional heroine, Miss Josephine Holland, a self-made, independent lady. I tell her story in An Impassioned Redemption, which I dedicated to my daughter (though the similarities stop at the feisty personality and sharp intelligence). Jo is a partner in a successful saloon and bordello. She apologizes to no man for making money, especially for making it in a way that is frowned upon by more polite society and particularly by her own gender in the late 1880s.

Cayce Poponea's Shamrocks & Secrets @CPoponea #Romance

Shamrocks & Secrets
by Cayce Poponea
Publication Date: October 2014
Cover Design: Mayhem Cover Creations


Event planning, dealing with demanding clients and defusing situations before they get out of hand are all in a days work for Christi O'Rourke. But when a mystery man seems to appear at every turn will she have the ability to handle him as well?

Power and wealth are staples in the world of Patrick Malloy. But when family obligations dictate his future, a future involving a certain spirited young woman, will Patrick have what it takes to win her heart or will his lifestyle place her in more danger than he ever dreamed of?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Kind of Heroine: The Heroine's Quest Suz DeMello #romance #MFRWAuthor @MFRW_ORG #strongwomen

When I started to write fiction, I really didn’t have any themes in mind. I just wanted a creative outlet and after I discovered romance writing, knew I’d found the artistic fulfillment I’d craved for decades.

I studied writing for years, formally in writing classes taken at a local community college, and then more casually, by reading many books on craft and attending innumerable writing seminars and workshops.
I was introduced to refined craft topics such as theme, symbolism and subtext, but was mystified at how to weave them artfully into my writing without being too highfalutin’ or obscure.