Thursday, December 18, 2014

Finding Christmas Spirit

by SS Hampton, Sr.

‘Tis the season!

Then again, a few days before Thanksgiving I first heard Christmas music on a local radio station. Stores had already put up Christmas advertisements, stocked decorations, and expanded their toy products. However, some people have yet to fully catch the Christmas spirit, meaning being friendlier and happier. Of course, the Christmas Spirit might be short lived for some as stress sets in when everyone tries to “keep up with the Joneses” in buying the latest and greatest toys for their children. Or expensive gifts for their loved ones.

This year, finally, I have reached a semblance of economic stability that will allow me to purchase gifts—my grandchildren come first, then my children and their spouses. And not exorbitantly expensive gifts because I am not trying to keep up with anyone. As for me, I do not expect nor am I interested in gifts for myself.

Christmas is for children, and that is as it should be.

Yet, all things considered, I find myself lacking the Christmas Spirit this year. It might be a number of things, not the least of which is being “on the outs” with the property manager of the apartments I live in. Fortunately, I am not so poor as in the past and I am able to move, which I intend to do. Nonetheless, this rift has cast a pall over the holiday season for me.

This year, having the financial ability to do so, I funded my three grandchildren (6, 4, and 2 years old) picking Christmas “wish tags” for needy children from the Salvation Army. With help from their mom and dad they each picked a toy that they took to the Salvation Army – their donation to needy children. I want my grandchildren to learn something about giving to others. The youngest ones may not understand, but my 6-year old grandson probably does.

When we saw homeless people camped out recently along a chain link fence my grandson asked what they were doing and I told him they were homeless people with nowhere to go. He replied, “I was homeless.” And he and his siblings were homeless for six weeks this past summer, including camping out in a broken down van for a couple of nights before their mom found a homeless shelter. (My grandchildren, and their mom and dad live with me now.)

Anyway, in my quest to keep my photographic/photojournalism skills fresh, last week I was at a big auditorium, Cashman Field, to photograph Salvation Army volunteers setting up for the big “toy store” that is held every year for needy families. Seeing dozens of tables laid out and filling up with toys, with more unloaded from a truck and more on the way, gave me a good feeling. I went back that afternoon and the next day to photograph the decorating; then on Friday I went back to photograph the briefing for the volunteer “Personal Shoppers” who will help people select toys for their children over the weekend. The picture on the right is not one of mine.

I read once that Americans are a very giving people; the Great Recession has taken a bite out of the giving, yet Americans remain a giving people.

And here in Las Vegas, famous for sin, gambling and sex, there is a percentage of the population who cared enough to dig into their pockets to buy just about anything a child from 1 month to 12 years may want for Christmas. Without the caring of these people, there are many children who would wake up Christmas morning without a present to open.

In closing, whether you are rich or poor, or just keeping your head above water, step back from the holiday rat race. Make the time to turn up the Christmas music and really enjoy your spouse and your children (and grandchildren). And if there is time, donate a toy to a local charity—guaranteed your donation will bring a smile to a child’s face on Christmas morning.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


Here is a brief intro to one paranormal book by SS Hampton, Sr.

Here's a little from my paranormal book to enjoy while you munch on that fantastic sandwich.

As a result of war, technology often makes great progress by leaps and bounds – but sometimes the progress of technology can bring complications…

Halloween Night, 2006 – a resupply convoy commanded by the Air Force and escorted by Army gun trucks, is leaving Kuwait for Baghdad. The lonely desert highway north is MSR Tampa, a bloody highway along which for years the convoys suffered insurgent attacks. And on MSR Tampa there is a particular wooded bend that no one speaks of, though many know of its haunted reputation, a reputation given new life by a gun truck crew testing a new generation of enhanced night vision goggles…

Sergeant Travis Harland peered through the helmet-mounted, experimental Enhanced Next Generation/Night Vision Goggles, called Cyclops, at the bright, fuzzy, greenish-white glow of the Iraqi desert. Isolated homes and small villages swam out of the darkness before disappearing into greenish-black static that reminded him of a haunted landscape. From time to time he was rudely jolted when the Cyclops bumped against the side ballistic window of his growling HMMWV gun truck that led the supply convoy up Main Supply Route Tampa, bound for Baghdad.

A bright shaft of greenish-white light swept across the dunes and clumps of brush to their right before locking onto a small dusty mound further ahead. A metallic voice sounded in the earphones shoved under Harland’s already tight fitting Kevlar helmet.

“-at the one o’clock, a hundred yards ahead,” the Gunner, Specialist Paul Bonner, said.

Harland sighed. A gun truck wasn’t built for comfort, especially when the Gun Truck Commander was tall and thin, as he was. Being thin didn’t provide much of a cushion for sitting, especially on army seats. And communications glitches didn’t help his mood either.

“Bonner! You hit the off-switch again, you fucking idiot. Say again.”

“Pile of sand and rocks at the two o’clock, fifty yards ahead. Throwing a glo-stick,” Bonner said. A bright fluorescent stick tumbled through the dusty, windy night to land next to the pile that was already so well marked by glo-sticks from previous convoys. Glo-sticks warned of a sometimes suspicious feature for following vehicles.

The driver, Private First Class Lee Stewart, veered into the left lane, away from the pile...

To read more from An Incident on MSR Tampa please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Stan Hampton, Sr. is a full-blood Choctaw of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, a divorced grandfather to 13 wonderful grandchildren, and a published photographer and photojournalist. He retired on 1 July 2013 from the Army National Guard with the rank of Sergeant First Class; he previously served in the active duty Army (1974-1985), the Army Individual Ready Reserve (1985-1995) (mobilized for the Persian Gulf War), and enlisted in the Nevada Army National Guard in October 2004, after which he was mobilized for Federal active duty for almost three years. Hampton is a veteran of Operations Noble Eagle (2004-2006) and Iraqi Freedom (2006-2007) with deployment to northern Kuwait and several convoy security missions into Iraq.

His writings have appeared as stand-alone stories and in anthologies from Dark Opus Press, Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy, Melange Books, Musa Publishing, MuseItUp Publishing, Ravenous Romance, and as stand-alone stories in Horror Bound Magazine, The Harrow, and River Walk Journal, among others.

In May 2014 he graduated from the College of Southern Nevada with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Photography – Commercial Photography Emphasis. A future goal is to study for a degree in archaeology—hopefully to someday work in and photograph underwater archaeology (and also learning to paint).

Hampton can be found at:
Dark Opus Press - Edge Science Fiction & Fantasy Publishing - Melange Books -
Musa Publishing - MuseItUp Publishing - Goodreads Author Page
Amazon Author Page - Amazon UK

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


by Liese Sherwood-Fabre


The word panicked the US population when the first case appeared in Dallas. I live in the area and happened to be at another event at the hospital when word hit. The media covering the event took up a whole parking lot with their news trucks.

While the disease strikes fear because of its high mortality rate, actually contracting the disease from casual exposure would be practically impossible. Note the cases where someone infected with the virus flew, cruised, or took public transportation without a single diagnosis being reported. A person has to come into direct contact with the individual’s body fluids to put themselves at risk.

But what if the virus could be transmitted through the air, making it easy to pass from person to person? Such a mutation would not only create a world-wide epidemic, it would have potential as a bioweapon. According to Ken Alibek, a former Soviet scientist involved in military bioweapon development, Russia had been involved in splicing the Ebola virus into vaccinia, a nonpathogenic virus related to smallpox with the goal of creating an Ebola-smallpox hybrid—where two diseases hit the infected person at the same time.

Imagine, then, that this hybrid falls into the hands of a country known for supporting terrorist activities.

This is the basis for my book Saving Hope, the story of an unemployed microbiologist (there were many following the fall of the Soviet Union) who happens onto a plot to sell such a virus to the Iranians.

Alexandra Pavlova is in a life-and-death struggle to save her daughter’s life. Born with a heart condition, the only way for little Nadezhda (Hope, in Russian) to survive is for medical care not available in Russia. When Alexandra turns to Vladimir, her oldest friend, for help, she’s drawn into the Russian underworld and a plot to export this very virus from the country. Her association with Vladimir and the Iranians bring her to the attention of Sergei Borisov, an FSB (formerly the KGB) agent, and she finds herself having to trust him in a race to save both her daughter and the world.

I lived in Russia during the time of this story, and so many of the places and events are based on true experiences—either my own or those documented by others such as Ken Alibek.

You can check out an excerpt from Musa’s Bestselling Suspense/Thriller below.

She’d heard nothing, merely became aware of his presence beside her. She flinched, dropped her keys, and bolted toward the stairs. The man picked up her keys and grabbed her arm in one fluid movement.

“Don’t run off, Alexandra Alexandrieva. You won’t get very far without these,” he said in a low voice.

He straightened himself and dangled the ring from one finger in front of her face. He gave her a slight smile, as if amused by her attempt to get away from him. “Besides, I’m not going to hurt you.”

“I thought you were someone else,” she said, glancing down at the hand still on her arm.
He released his hold.

“Your acquaintance Kamovski, perhaps? Or maybe Ahmed, Vladimir’s friend?”
She squinted at him, trying to make out his features in the hallway’s half light. “Who are you?”

“So rude of me. Borisov, Sergei Andreivich, at your service,” he said, giving a short bow. “I work for the FSB.”

She swallowed hard, trying to keep her face still and hide her shock. The KGB by any name still made her stomach jerk in fear. “I’ve done nothing.” Her level voice didn’t betray her racing heart. “What interest would federal security have in me?”

“We’ve been watching you for a while.”

“You’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

“Pavlova, Alexandra Alexandrieva. Born August 16. Widow of Yuri Ivanovich Pavlov. Daughter, Nadezhda Yuriyevna Pavlova, currently spending the night with her grandparents. Shall I continue? We do have the right person. You caught our eye some time ago. As soon as you left your job at the Institute.”

“That was several years ago. Any information I have would be of no use to anyone.”

“We’re not interested in what you used to do. We already know that. We’re interested in what you’re doing now.”

“Typing letters? I’m afraid that’s rather boring.”

A sound from a floor below made the man cock his head. Footsteps clicked on the tile floor and echoed in the stairwell as their owner descended the stairs. “Perhaps we should continue this discussion inside?”

“I have nothing to share with the FSB.”

“Did you know your friends Vladimir and Ahmed have been seen recently in the company of an Iranian?”


“No one has asked you about your work at the vaccine lab?”


“As you can tell, Alexandra Alexandrieva, we know a lot about you and your family. I can assure you we plan to keep our eye on you.”

“The FSB must have nothing to do these days if you’re following me around.”

“Your father died in service to his country. We want to make sure you don’t dishonor his memory.”

“I’ve done nothing to dishonor him. And I resent the implication I have or would.”

“We want to make sure you continue his memory. We’re here to make certain the Motherland he so unselfishly served remains for the future. You do care about the future, if nothing else, for your child?”

To read more work by Liese Sherwood-Fabre, please click a vendor's name.
Musa Publishing - Amazon

Liese Sherwood-Fabre was born and grew-up in Dallas, Texas. She was destined to be a writer when in the second grade she got an “A” for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s Ruined Picnic.

For several years, Liese focused on professional writing as she earned a PhD in Sociology from Indiana University. She learned two valuable lessons during that time: you can’t edit what you don’t have down on paper and the power of keeping things simple.

Liese married and the young couple moved to Washington, D.C. During that time her work was reviewed by skilled professionals who taught her to tighten her writing. From D.C., Liese and her husband moved to Honduras, then Mexico, and finally Moscow, Russia. Her experiences have blessed her with people and places that inspire and populate her books.

Liese and her family are back in the US and living in Dallas.

To learn more about Liese Sherwood-Fabre, please visit her website.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

To All Our Jewish Friends and Readers

The Musa staff and authors 
you and yours,


Monday, December 15, 2014


by Kate Larkindale

Snow dripping from pine branches. Chestnuts roasting on a fire. Bright red holly berries standing out, stark against dark green leaves.

These are images we associate with Christmas – images of winter.

Image courtesy of the National Archives of Australia
Where I live, Christmas falls just four days after the longest day of the year, in the middle of the summer. Christmas card images of snow-capped trees and sleighs, roaring fireplaces and mistletoe still exist here, and stores still drape their windows with tinsel and spray-on-snow. Yet outside, it’s sunny and hot. Christmas Day is as likely to be spent on the beach as anywhere else. Christmas dinner could be a barbecue in the back yard, not a turkey, groaning with heavy side-dishes.

In many ways if feels wrong to celebrate Christmas in mid-summer. In June I feel like eating turkey with all the trimmings. In December, when so much summer fruit is in season, why should we eat plum pudding and mince pies?

Because those things are traditional.

But why not make new traditions? That’s what my family has done. Not just to adjust to the change of season, but to encompass the diversity of our family.

Christmas Day begins with stockings for the kids. Over the years the stocking stuffers have become more and more practical. Socks and underpants are the big fillers, with a few little toys and other trinkets alongside.

Then it’s breakfast, which pays tribute to the Jewish side of my family: bagels and lox. I remember how hard it was to find bagels in New Zealand when I was younger, and how difficult this breakfast was as a result.

After breakfast comes presents. Then, the dinner preparations. The turkey is usually already in the oven, so we just need to get the veggies done. The kids shell peas while the adults peel potatoes and kumara (sweet potatoes), pumpkin, and parsnips. There is also asparagus to trim. Having asparagus for Christmas dinner is one of the real treats of a summer Christmas.

Christmas dinner is usually eaten around 4pm. Once the turkey and sides have been dispatched, there is always a bowl of fresh strawberries alongside the Christmas pudding and fruitcake.

After dinner, everyone is usually so full of food, a walk down the beach is needed. And if the weather is really hot, a swim might be in order. The kids may want to ride their new bikes or try out a kite or some other outdoor toy. And because daylight lasts until after 9pm, there is plenty of time for all of that.

How would you adapt to a summer Christmas?


Here is a small sample from my YA, An Unstill Life.

Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

Things at home are rough for fifteen-year-old Livvie Quinn. Jules, her beloved older sister is sick again after being cancer free for almost ten years. Her mom becomes more frantic and unapproachable every day. School isn’t much better. Just when she needs them most, her closest friends get boyfriends and have little time for Livvie – except to set her up on a series of disastrous blind dates.

Livvie seeks refuge in the art room and finds Bianca, the school ‘freak’. Free-spirited and confident, Bianca is everything Livvie isn’t. Shaken by her mom’s desperation, her sister’s deteriorating condition, and abandoned by her friends, Livvie finds comfort and an attraction she never felt before with Bianca.

When their relationship is discovered, Livvie and Bianca become victims of persecution and bullying. School authorities won’t help and even forbid the pair to attend the Winter Formal as a couple. If Livvie defies them and goes, she risks expulsion and further ridicule from her classmates. At home, her mother’s behavior escalates to new levels of crazy and Jules is begging for help to end the pain once and for all.

While searching for the strength to make her life her own, Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves.

To read an excerpt from An Unstill Life please click a vendor's name Musa Publishing - Amazon

Having spent a lifetime traveling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A cinema manager, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but she doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.

Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.

She has written eight contemporary YA novels, five of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel that is still looking for a title other than its Twitter hashtag, #juvvielesbian.

Learn more about Kate on her blog and Goodreads. Stay connected on Twitter.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas in Merry Olde England

by Kadee McDonald

The Regency period of English history was technically only the years 1811-1820, but practically ran the adult life of King George IV, from the late 1700’s through to 1830, and is sometimes referred to today known as the “long Regency.” Christmas in those days was most definitely not the commercial holiday we celebrate today. There was no mad rush to shop for the latest gadgets, no stockings hung by the fire with care, and certainly no white-bearded gentleman with a sleigh and reindeer flying through the night skies.

Attending church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day was a must for the English in Regency times, although only a few of the carols we sing now would have been sung in church then as hymns, such as The First Nowell.(Yes, that spelling is the correct one!)

Instead of everyone looking forward to just December 24th or the 25th, a Regency Christmas was a much longer celebration of dancing and dining spread out over the period of ‘Christmastide,’ from Christmas Eve to January 6th, Twelfth Night. (Hence, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’)

Preparations, however, began long before December 24th. ‘Stir-up Sunday,’ the Sunday before Advent, marked the unofficial start to the Christmas Season, so-called because of the traditional church service held that day, but also becoming the day that Christmas puddings and cakes were prepared, in order to allow enough time for them to ‘mature’ (which called for regular doses of brandy!)

Christmas was a time to reflect upon one’s religious faith and to enjoy the companionship of friends and family. Jane Austen mentions Christmas in each of her six major novels. For instance, in Emma, she wrote, “At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.” In addition, the aristocracy and the landed gentry were expected to entertain their tenants and neighbors and show generosity through charitable acts.

During the four-week period from Advent until Epiphany, the upper classes held balls, parties, dinners and other social events, welcoming both family and friends. Since everyone was usually together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings. Even though there was no Santa Claus, December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, was marked by the giving of small gifts. There was no exchange of presents on the 25th itself, but giving ‘Christmas Boxes’ of food and gently-used items of clothing and household goods to servants and to charity was the custom on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, now celebrated as ‘Boxing Day.’

Holly, ivy, evergreen and laurel were brought into the house on Christmas Eve, since it was considered unlucky to bring greenery inside before Christmas. These remained in place until the Epiphany on January 6, when they were taken down and often burned to prevent bad luck for the rest of the year. Indoor decorated trees were rare and found only in a few houses of wealthy families with German connections, where they were a long-standing tradition.

Of course, we can’t forget mistletoe, although the custom was more likely practiced below stairs than above. (The requirement of plucking a berry every time a kiss was stolen beneath the bough was already in place, and once the berries were gone, alas, the kissing was over.)

Christmas Day meant Christmas dinner, with the best a family could afford…turkey, goose (the most traditional), mutton, or venison might be served, and for the rich, the table could be laden with all of these at once. A Christmas dinner would not be deemed complete without the aforementioned pudding. The pudding would be doused with even more brandy and then set aflame, a key theatrical aspect of the holiday celebration. (For the brave of heart among you, or for those who just enjoy setting their food on fire, some traditional holiday pudding recipes can be found here.

Epiphany on January 6th marked the official end of Christmas festivities. It was yet another feast day to mark the coming of the Magi, and as a result was the traditional day to exchange gifts.

One final English Christmas tradition that was present in Jane Austen's time and is still alive today is the Christmas pantomime. The pantomime usually opened on Boxing Day. Joseph Grimaldi, the famous clown who lived from 1779 to 1837 regularly performed in one at Drury Lane Theatre in London, a theatre often visited by characters in Regency romances.


Growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast, Kadee McDonald was a world away from London and the rolling hills of the beautiful English countryside. But she still loved all things British...the lilt of the language, tea & crumpets, the castles and country estates, and the idea of a Royal Family who really knew how to throw a wedding. All these seemed like the ultimate fairy tale. She also loved history, so what would be more natural than to study British history? When Kadee discovered Regency romances, written by numerous authors, most notably Georgette Heyer, Barbara Cartland, and of course, Miss Jane Austen, it was a match made in...well, made in the library and the local bookstore, at least! Over a span of some years, Kadee read perhaps a thousand or so Regencies and then decided to try her hand at writing one. The result was Marisa’s Choice, her first book with Aurora Regency, an imprint of Musa Publishing. After that came her first novella with Aurora Regency, An Arranged Valentine, which was an ARe-CafĂ© Reviewer’s Top Pick.

Kadee’s current work-in-progress is a sequel to the Valentine story, and will be titled An Arranged Christmas.You can find out more about Kadee and her books on her site:

To read excerpt's from please click a vendor's name, Musa Publishing - Amazon

Learn more about Kadee McDonald on her website. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Musa Publishing is excited to announce the fantasy novel Eye of the Hawk, Book 1 of Tears of Gods and Dragons series by L V Barat, is now available for purchase.

One shapeshifter is worth a thousand armies.

In an epoch long forgotten, a spell was cast around the island of Jaanaar, preventing its people from leaving and anyone from entering. One lone man, a foreign shape-shifter named Hawk, trained by Jaanaarian Druids, is sent beyond this spell through an elemental portal with coded instructions he barely remembers.

To fulfill his destiny, Hawk must pass through a haunted forest filled with damned souls of the living and dead, where humans are crucified on trees. Accompanied by a Druid Healer who is eerily familiar, they are attacked by undead fiends and a ghost dragon who guards the forest.

In the Crystal Palace of Corvasa, Sillisnae, an Adept’s Apprentice, longs to become an Adept and possibly the mistress of the King. But her wishes are thwarted when she discovers her tutor is a traitor and the Fire Globe, an ancient relic possessing the essence of elemental fire, has been stolen.

To discover its location, Hawk joins forces with the Adept’s Apprentice to steal the heart of a bitter goddess, the only thing which can subdue the power of the Fire Globe…

Thoughts raced through Sillisnae’s mind while she made her way back. When she left them, Hawk had instructed her to meet them beyond the south wall of the city later that day.

Reaching the entrance to the Crystal Palace, Sillisnae had a very uneasy feeling, but she could not quite put her finger on what it was. When she drew closer to the circular staircases, her mind was invaded by a familiar force. It was Margot. Margot was somewhere near.

The cat was frantic and very upset, desperate to find her.

“What is it, Margot?”

“Danger. Danger, Mistress! Go back, go back. Lord Korodale knows!”

Sillisnae stopped in her tracks. She had reached the foot of the main stairwell ready to climb to the third level and return to her apartments. By the gods, Lord Korodale knows! But knows what? There are so many things he could know.

“What does he know, Margot?”

“He knows you know about Sii Dei. He saw you with your uncle and the others. He had Ogeron spy through the water in the basin.”

The overwhelming significance of what Margot told her washed over her in waves. If Lord Korodale knew she knew about Sii Dei, there was no telling what he would do. He could even kill her; she could imagine such a thing without a problem whatsoever. And he knew she had been with Hawk, the very man he had tried to kill earlier. Lord Korodale definitely would not take kindly to Sillisnae keeping company with someone he wanted dead.I cannot go back. This is the end, I cannot go back! If I do, he will most likely kill or banish me.

These thoughts gave birth to a slow, creeping fear swiftly blossoming into full scale panic.


She could not leave her familiar. Margot had to come with her.

Margot, where are you? Come to me, come to me now!

A few seconds later she saw Margot running to her down the central spiral stairs.

“Hurry, hurry, my sweet!” she called to her.

At that moment, a sinister feeling made Sillisnae glance up. Lord Korodale stood at the top of the stairs on the second level, staring right at her.

When they locked eyes, she froze, caught like a cat with the master’s prize bird in its mouth. Lord Korodale smiled a knowing, terrifying smile. Margot was only a dozen steps away to freedom.The Daimon Direttore took a step down the circular staircase. Then another. Sillisnae began to back away.

“It is no use, Sillisnae.” Lord Korodale spoke in a booming voice with that terrifying smile still plastered on his face. “You cannot run away. I have alerted the Palace Guards you are a traitor. You will never escape alive if you run. Better to come with me, and we can work out some type of arrangement where you and your family will be safe in exchange for some information.”

Your family.

Those words pulled at Sillisnae’s heart as if a hook were ensnared there.But his entire speech was a complete ruse, and she knew it well. There was no way she was going into any dungeon, and she knew full well once Lord Korodale got the information he wanted from her, it would be game over, either through death, becoming a prisoner, or banishment.

Mentally urging Margot to follow her, Sillisnae turned and bolted toward the exit in the circular tower. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a bluish-white flash and immediately hit the ground.

A loud, ear-splitting Boom! rang out through the building while chunks of stone flew from the massive hole in the wall behind where she had been standing. Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Lord Korodale running down the remaining stairs and Margot running toward her. Sillisnae got to her feet to grab Margot and run, but Lord Korodale was faster, immediately unleashing another lightning bolt aimed directly for her cat.

“Noooo!” Sillisnae cried, but it was too late. The lightning from Lord Korodale’s palm hit its target, and she watched in horror as the explosion sent red, meaty cat flesh and white furry hide in every direction.

“Noooo!” she screamed again in furious agony. It was too late now. She could not help her familiar. Margot has gone to Ardwinna, may she protect and love her, Sillisnae thought.

The tiny animal presence she could sense at will was now gone.Through her sadness, she found her feet and ran for the exit, knowing if she hesitated a moment longer, she would end up like Margot. Her mind throbbed with the need to escape, to get away, to get off the palace grounds and out of the city. She would meet Hawk at the agreed upon meeting place, outside the south entrance where a large forest existed.


L.V. Barat has been writing fiction and non-fiction for twenty years. Epic fantasy is her genre of choice whilst some suspenseful mystery has managed to worm its way into her opus corpus.Jane Eyre was the first novel she read as a prepubescent. Its gray, mysterious moors and subdued emotions that raged under the surface of its characters called to her longingly, convincing something deep within her to become a writer.LV Barat lives in the Rocky Mountains, the spine of North America. An enchanted place of glistening pine needles, massive boulders, jutting gray crags, stealthy red foxes and antlered elk.

Learn more about L V Barat on her website. Stay connected on Facebook

Friday, December 12, 2014


Musa Publishing is thrilled to announce DELUCA FAMILY by Susan Rae released today. This box set contains the three full-length novels heartbeats, ICE blue, and TRUE blue.

Love makes your heart race, but passion can kill.

Three strong, captivating women.

Three intense, driven men.

One family devoted to justice.

Come journey with the DeLuca Family from the tumultuous streets of Chicago to the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park in these three intriguing full-length novels loaded with passion, suspense…and danger.

…She recognized him instantly. There was no mistaking the identity of the man who stood in the entrance to the ballroom, nametag in hand, as if he had just arrived. She stood, motionless, staring, unaware of the murmurs of uneasiness arising from the gathering. She watched, mesmerized, as his lips curved into that slow, Mona-Lisa smile of his and his chin lifted in acknowledgment of her awareness of him. Although quite a distance away, Elizabeth could easily make out the slight cleft in his chin, the sexy, firm line of his jaw—and those deep set eyes which she knew were the most amazing shade of midnight blue…

Later that night—

Elizabeth pushed the door open and stepped inside. The glow from the streetlights spilled in through the lace curtains…It caught her eye as it danced eerily with the tree shadows upon the ceiling. Turning her gaze to the right, down the dark hallway, she spotted a sliver of light coming from the bathroom.


…She flicked on the light, aware of the click of the apartment door as it closed behind her…a quick scan of the living room revealed Julie’s evening gown draped across the sofa, the plastic dry-cleaning bag still covering it.

She glanced to the left where Allison’s door stood ajar. Sensing nothing there, she turned toward the hallway, debating whether to continue on or call the police. Now she was really being paranoid… Julie probably just changed her mind about attending the banquet, or—her husband had shown up.

She set her briefcase down, took her cell phone out of her evening bag, just in case, then started down the hallway. At the bathroom, she paused. Glancing around the partially opened door, she discovered Julie’s makeup scattered on the counter along with her own toiletries. A damp towel lay on the floor. She pushed the door open further, but the bathroom was clearly unoccupied.

She took another step toward the bedroom, then stopped as a dark spot on the beige carpet caught her eye. Bending down, she stretched her fingers out to touch it. The familiar texture of the moisture that wicked against her fingertips left her feeling somewhat dazed. She turned her fingers to the light, although her mind already knew what her eyes would tell her. The sticky substance was blood—spent blood—already drying with time.

Outside the apartment—

…as the officers started up the staircase, two steps at a time with Drake at their heels, Sal shouted over his shoulder, “Thirty-two-year-old woman—multiple stab wounds.”

Drake’s steps faltered. A cold sweat iced his back and he was sure his heart stopped, if only for a second…A muffled shout sounded from inside.

“In Here! Hurry!”

Elizabeth’s voice? Drake couldn’t tell… Leading with his weapon, he shoved through the door…

“In here!” the woman cried from around the next doorway. This time he was sure it was Elizabeth.

He paused to peer around the corner and scan the room. He nodded to the cop who raced passed him and checked out the closet. Finally, he allowed himself to look down toward her voice.

His stomach turned at the ghastly sight that met his eyes.

“Elizabeth…” he breathed.


To read excerpt from other books by Susan Rae please click here.

Susan Rae loves writing romantic suspense because it allows her to combine a steamy love story with a gritty suspense tale—in her opinion, the best of both worlds. When she is not writing, you might find Susan smacking a golf ball around the course while working out a pesky plot point; or traveling around the country with her husband and empty nest puppies, Ginger and Nikute, seeking out new settings for her novels.

For more information on Susan Rae and her novels and writing life, please visit her website. Stay connected on Facebook, Susan's Author Page, and Twitter.