The Chimney Sweep – Five Questions

The Chimney Sweep is coming in November! Here’s what you need to know, and why you should absolutely read this novella!

 

Q:  What is The Chimney Sweep about?

A:  George Elf is sick and tired of stuffing gifts down chimneys. He wants a life of adventure, but he’s stuck repeating the same routine every year. One night, he makes a bit too much noise and wakes a human—a detective who’s pretty sure he’s a drug addict breaking into her home. After a night of misunderstandings and adventure, George finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. He must choose between three options handed down to him by the Big Elf himself, Santa Claus. He only has a week to figure out what he wants before he disappears forever.

Q:  What genre is the novella?

A:  It’s difficult to categorize, but if I had to… romance? There’s a love story at the core, but it’s also a bit of a coming-of-age story for George as he learns about humans and where he fits in the grand scheme of life. It’s a comedic approach to something sweet and sentimental, with a touch of heart-achy sadness. There’s also a ton of fourth-wall breaking to be had, so get ready to talk to yourself regularly.

Q:  What rating is The Chimney Sweep?

A:  Probably a solid PG-13. It does deal with death and heartache, but there are no “adult” situations that are found in most romance novels/novellas. A few kisses, but nothing more. It’s a fun read that would probably be okay for 15 and up.

Q:  Why should I read The Chimney Sweep?

A:  Do you like to laugh? Yes? That’s why. On a serious note, it captures the sentimentality of Christmas, injects it with a bit of humor, love, and sarcasm, then presents it to you in a neatly-wrapped package with a bright red bow.

Q:  Can we expect a sequel, or another story related to The Chimney Sweep?

A:  Maybe! I haven’t ruled it out, but it would definitely be released closer to the holiday. Keep your eyes peeled November 2019!

(Psst… check below for an excerpt from the book!)

Front Cover

Excerpt from The Chimney Sweep!

She held the shotgun up, aiming at my chest. Oh, you thought I was short, didn’t you? That’s another misconception about elves. No pointy ears, normal height, normal weight, and we don’t always wear red and green. Okay, so maybe we wear red and green a lot, but the rest of that stuff is all made up.

“Who are you?” she demanded. Well, that’s a loaded question, no pun intended.

“G-G-George,” I stuttered. I’d never met a normal person before, definitely not one who aimed to take my head off, so I was nervous. Who am I kidding? I was wishing I hadn’t had that last mug of hot cocoa, because her domineering presence in the room made me want to pee my pants.

“Well, G-G-George, what are you doing in my house?”

My lips parted, but words failed to escape. I felt so pulled to her after the sarcasm fell from her lips, I almost forgot she was willing to kill me. She was a woman after my own heart.

And here’s where things started to get a bit dicey. I know it was already bad. She was holding a gun on me, but things could always get worse. We elves have a script for this kind of thing. We’re supposed to convince them they’re dreaming and get them back to bed, then make a mad dash for the sleigh and get the heck out of Dodge. But when I looked into those emerald eyes again, I knew she wouldn’t buy it. So, I went off-script, which is bad. Very bad. You see, whenever an adult human learns of the existence of elves, an elf dies a terrible, painful death.

I’m kidding. Had you going though, didn’t I? But seriously, she could have shot me and fed me to her dog, and not a soul would know because, you know, I’m a mythical creature. But I did it anyway. I mean, if I’m going to die it may as well be at the hands of a beautiful creature. Where was I? Oh yeah, shotgun.

“Uh, I’m not sure you’ll believe me if I tell you the truth.” I’ll admit, it wasn’t the best way to gain her trust, but it was all I had.

“I’m a detective. I doubt there’s anything you could say that would shock me,” she replied, never letting the gun drop.

I didn’t blame her, honestly. Who wouldn’t be terrified if someone dropped down your chimney one night carrying a bag big enough to stuff a body in? On top of that, I don’t look like most humans. I mean, I am human, we’ve already discussed that, but I am what my mother calls “devilishly handsome.” My hair is black, and my eyes are so deep a shade of brown, they appear black in dim lighting. My sharp features only add to the illusion that I am the devil himself. I swear I’m a nice guy, but to her, I looked like the devil come to take her to Hell.

“I… I’m an elf. I’m here to… uh, deliver presents?” It was meant to be a statement, but at that point, even I was questioning who I was and what I was doing.

Her green eyes took me in, top to bottom, several times. A wicked smile spread across her face before she erupted into a fit of laughter. She lowered the gun long enough to calm herself, but I suspected that she could easily prepare herself and shoot me in the gut before I could take a single step in her direction. She was beautiful indeed, but she carried an air of authority and dominance, and I dare not challenge it, especially in her own home.

“What are you on, idiot?” She maintained her relaxed frame, but her grip on the gun remained true.

“What am I on? I don’t understand? Um… on, what am I… oh! The floor! I’m on the floor!” I took a chance and lowered my arms to my sides, careful not to appear as if I were reaching for something. I learned that when I watched a western movie at the Elf Library.

“No, I meant, what are you taking?” she asked again, frustration lacing her tone.

“Oh, I see. No, no, I’m not a burglar. I’m an elf. I leave things. I do not take them,” I replied, quite satisfied with my answer and assuming she would be also. I wasn’t there to steal her things, so that should make her happy, I reasoned. She sighed and closed her eyes, took a breath and spoke again.

“Drugs, idiot. What drugs have you been taking?” she asked. “Methamphetamines? That has to be it. You’re hopping around like a meth addict.”

“Uh… elves don’t use meth. We tried it once, but it slows us down. We couldn’t meet our daily toy-making quota.” I replied, then she rolled her eyes and picked up her cell phone from the counter beside her, checking the time.

“It’s late, so the shelters are already closed. I’m sorry, I’ll have to take you to the precinct until I can get you to a shelter or something tomorrow.”

“You don’t understand. I’m not a criminal on drugs. I’m an elf and I’m…” I realized telling her would never convince her of the truth. I had to show her. “Okay listen, just go look on the roof where I parked the sleigh, and I swear you’ll believe me,” I begged.

“You want me to leave you alone in my house while I go outside to look for reindeer on the roof?” she asked, skeptical as all adult humans are.

“Precisely,” I said. Now she was getting the idea!

She stood staring at me for a long time before she raised the shotgun and waved it toward the door. “You first elf man.”

Psych Ward – Five Questions (Plus One For Fun)

Psych Ward is coming October 1!

Here’s what you need to know.

Q:  Why is Psych Ward different from other thrillers?

A:  Have you ever read a thriller and thought the characters were a little too put together? Especially the civilians thrown into the drama? Think of Psych Ward as a peek into how normal, non-violent, civilians might behave if suddenly tossed into the deep end with a dozen assassins and spies, bad guys around every corner, non-stop action, and nagging love stories that just won’t die. I think a lot of people will relate to Chase because he’s a normal guy who got royally screwed over by his girlfriend. He’s mad, and he wants answers. He’s dramatic, confused, and can’t quite move on until he’s satisfied his sweet tooth. Psych Ward has a little of everything: mystery, romance, action, loads of sarcasm, humor, and a lot of running (like, a LOT).

Q:  Is Psych Ward a fast or slow-paced read?

A:  There are a few slower parts to build the history and to transition between action sequences, but for the most part it’s go, go, go! They are in a fight for their lives, after all.

Q:  What can we expect from other books in the series?

A:  The second and third books are prequels to Psych Ward. Those volumes will bring the reader up to speed and offer a solid foundation for why the incidents in Psych Ward occur. You’ll learn a lot more about a few characters from book one, but the feel will be the same—a mix of trained assassins and a few bumbling civilians. The rest of the series picks up after the events in Psych Ward and dives deeper into—well, why would I tell you when you can just read and find out?

Q:  What rating would you give Psych Ward and the entire Assassin’s Memoir Series?

A:  R-rated, definitely. There are scenes with violence and mayhem, loads of adult language and situations, graphic depictions of murder, etc. I wouldn’t read this one to my child as a bedtime story for sure!

Q:  Why did you choose to write a thriller? You usually write YA or comedic romance.

A:  I wanted to try something different, but it turns out I’m a little too sarcastic for the thriller genre. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t turn off the sarcasm and focus on murdering people. That said, I thought “what the heck?” and added MORE sarcasm and sass, pushed the characters to their absolute limits, and threw in a touch of comedic relief. Voila! I wrote a thriller that portrays real people. Let’s face it. We’d all like to think we could Jason Bourne our way out of a hot mess, but, it’s just not that easy.

Q:  Why did you use a pen name for this series:

A:  Because I love my Young Adult readers, and I would hate to give them nightmares. I wanted to differentiate this series from my usual work. To do that, I chose to work under a different name, so it didn’t appear in the searches for my YA work.

Final Front Cover with Penname

photo credit to Zachary Jayden, Popwrapped

Cover model Daniel Rengering, RengerINC.

 

Snow Kissed – Five Questions

Snow Kissed
Five Questions

Snow Kissed is coming soon! Below are five of the most commonly asked questions surrounding my new series!

Q: What exactly is Snow Kissed?

A: Who doesn’t love a good retelling of a classic story? Snow Kissed is my imagination running wild with inspiration from the Grimm Brothers’ version of Snow White. But it’s more than a retelling. It’s taking the tale you know and turning it topsy turvy. Who knew Snow White was so mean?

Q: What is the series, The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses, about?

A: First, unlike The Secret Author Series, the books in TIGBGSP series must be read in order. Each book tackles a different fairy tale, all derived from the Grimm Brothers’ versions (though many originated long before the brothers were born). The series of six books has an underlying evil that is exposed in book six, but if you read carefully you might figure out what the root of all evil is before the final installment! Why the long series name? Why not? Ha, I struggled with a series name for a while, but this one made people laugh, so I went with it.

Q: What is the target age range?

A: As with The Yellow Note, there is no cussing and no overly adult situations. There are instances of kissing, but nothing more. There is, however, a decent amount of violence. You can’t defeat an evil queen without, you know, killing her. If you let your child read The Hunger Games or The Divergent Series, then this would be just fine. I would approximate the age range to be 12-18, but many adults have enjoyed reading it as well.

Q: When will the second book, Ashes to Ashes, come out?

A: Ashes to Ashes has been written and is in the first round of beta reads! I would love to say it will be out this year, but it’s more likely it will release early 2019. I have another book release soon and plans to release a Christmas-themed comedic novella by November, so those will keep me busy.

Q: How can I get an advanced reading of Ashes to Ashes?

A: You can request to be a beta reader, that’s how! Contact me for details.

Kindle Cover

The Yellow Note – Five Questions

The Yellow Note
Five Questions

With the release of the second edition of The Yellow Note, I have been getting a lot of questions. I thought I would share those here, since it’s easier to upload to all social media accounts! The most common questions are below:

Q: What did you change about the original edition?

A: None of the plot has changed. The only changes I made were correcting mistakes that slipped through the original editing processes, a few structural changes to make paragraphs flow better, and removing a few curse words that slipped through (oops). I also made formatting changes and updated the cover.

Q: What age range is the target audience?

A: I’ve had readers of all ages tell me they loved the book and have reread it many times, but the target age is 12 to 15. The topics are universal, and the story is wholesome and upbeat. There are no adult situations (one innocent kiss or two), no cussing, and no violence (except for a mugging incident.)

Q: The Yellow Note is the first book in The Secret Author Series. Do they have to be read in order, or are the installments stand-alone books?

A: Currently, The Yellow Note is the only installment for sale. The Postcard, The Letter, The Text Message, and The Telegram are available on Wattpad while they undergo editing. Each book is stand-alone, but there is minimal overlap. For example, Conor Hudson’s cousins, Hope and Mark Garrison, appear in The Postcard. Another example, an incident that occurs in The Text Message is briefly mentioned in The Telegram. Neither occasion take away from the reading experience or confuse the reader.

Q: Are the characters in The Yellow Note based on real people?

A: Yes and no. There are definite influences from people I knew/know, but the events in the book are mostly fictitious except for a few (Bianca licking chocolate off her phone–that totally happened, and you know who you are…)

Q: When will The Spin-Off Anthology be available?

A: Soon! There will be five short spin-offs and ALL the bonus chapters readers requested included in this anthology. I’m still writing one of the spin-offs, so that’s what’s holding it up. I will announce the release date soon, but I do plan to have it available by the end of the year!

The Yellow Note Front Cover

PSYCH WARD Cover Reveal Day!

Guess what today is? It’s cover reveal day for Psych Ward, my first thriller/mystery/action novel with a touch of romance written under the penname E. J. Fleming. Read on for the full blurb and cover with Daniel Rengering, dubbed Gainesville, Florida’s HOTCOP (can’t say I disagree…) Photo credit to Zachary Jayden, Popwrapped.

Final Front Cover with Penname

Chase Yarden never thought he’d see her again, but there she was sipping coffee in a tiny café in Venice. She looked different, but he would know her anywhere–the woman who ruined his life.

The four Yarden boys loved the four Ward girls nearly all their lives, a fact the small town of Douglas, Texas wouldn’t soon forget. On a night of celebration, one of the Ward girls is shot dead in the street. Only days later, the entire Ward family vanishes, leaving nothing behind but four broken men.

Long after the girls are gone, the boys are left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives–a difficult task when left with more questions than answers. Determined to find those answers, Chase sets out to track down his ex-fiancé with the help of her sister’s journal. The secrets he reads between the faded leather cover torment him, until finding her becomes his sole purpose in life.

Five long years pass with nothing more than a few measly leads, until one day the woman appears out of nowhere with a warning Chase isn’t keen on hearing. Chase is thrust into a world he’d only seen in movies. Assassins, spies, murder and mayhem–the stuff of his worst nightmares become a reality he cannot escape.

Once desperate to find answers no matter the cost, Chase soon realizes the price may be higher than he was willing to pay. With enemies around every corner, Chase and his brothers find themselves in the middle of an international war that began long before they were born.

Can the Yarden boys trust the Ward girls with their lives, or will they pay the ultimate sacrifice?