Everything Kinda Sucks

Life typically comes at you fast. Some find it hard to adapt when Murphy’s Law takes over and rules the land for far too damn long. Others just keep swimming, despite the hell raining down around them.

Then 2017 happened.

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People I’ve come to rely on as solid rocks in the stormy seas are crumbling. Others showed their true colors and were written off because no one has time to coddle Nazis or their sympathizers these days. Not while Republicans are literally trying to ensure the demise of millions of American citizens out of sheer spite. Not while the President of the United States delivers impassioned speeches about increasing police brutality and tosses out falsified stories about pure, wholesome white girls being raped/murdered by everyone who’s “other.” Not on MY fucking watch. And honestly, the people we’ve all said farewell to after the Trump hit the fan are better off left to stew in their own hatred, rather than infecting the public with their vitriol any longer.

Cleaning our personal social circles hasn’t been enough. Every morning we all express dread when it comes time to log onto social media, or even accidentally passing a news page on the way to one’s email. This last week alone, it was impossible to escape the antics of the newest White House staffer. I mean, what government official in their right mind says ALOUD that they liken a coworker’s personal goals to self-fellatio, let alone over the phone to a reporter during an on-the-record interview? It’s shocking. It’s disgusting.

It’s distracting as fuuuck.

Much like the glorious Maxine Waters, we need to reclaim our gods damned time. Not just from the political circus consuming virtually every waking moment for terrified American citizens, but from anyone who’s going to waste time during an era where we either get shit done, or just wait for the government kill us in one way or another. (Those of us in California are SERIOUSLY concerned about 45 taunting North Korea as they test new long-range missiles, for instance.)

One way I’ve been spending more time on me is editing the backlog of photos from our recent family trips. Why? It lets me relive funs days and work on my favorite hobby. I’ve also plotted a short story and written about 1/3 of it. No, you won’t get first grabs. Sorry, readers. That story is totally going out on submission when it’s done. I gotta get back in the publishing saddle, and it’s only happening because I’m reclaiming my time.

It’s hard. I still catch myself scrolling through Twitter, shaking my head and feeling nauseous. For every minute we spend lecturing the GOP on the finer point of not being flaming hellbeasts, we must spend twice as much on ourselves, our passions, and our gods damned families—who are suffering just as much from this truckload of bullshit as us. I’m shit at taking my own advice, but this might be the one time I look at the crap I expound and it finally sinks in that this must be the norm in our household until the hellbeasts are sent back where they came from. I encourage you to do the same.

We cannot lose anyone else to the hopelessness which inevitably leads to suicide. There’s been too much loss lately. We need to take care of ourselves and those we love. If you haven’t checked in with your depressed friend this week, get on that shit now. Send a how-are-you text. Share a cute animal meme with them in a private message. Invite them to go for a walk in the park. Anything to keep the fragile people in our society from getting swept up in the maelstrom.

I wish more people had done the same for me during my darkest days. That is why I’m telling you now; don’t leave anyone behind. We can’t. What kind of people are we if we ignore loved ones because the current political climate worsened their depression and we just didn’t want to deal with them being “a downer”? Answer: The shitty kind of people. Don’t be shitty. Help save a life. It’s the least we can do while Republican’s saber-rattle about yet another fucking ACA repeal vote.

Need something to distract you for a bit? Check out the serial novel, podcast, and photos on R.C. Murphy’s Patreon page.

The Vampires are Back in Town

Things on my end haven’t been exactly smooth lately. Numerous problems arose, putting pretty much all of my books on the back burner. Except the shitty one. Of course. Because that’s how my life has rolled from the get-go.

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Life is like a murderous not-clown-thing.

Starting last week, that’s changing. I’m in the process of re-editing In Too Deep. As I go, I’ll drop a couple chapters over on my Patreon page. Chapters one through four are already live on the website, with the next two chapters scheduled to drop on Tuesday (June 20th). Currently the release day is floating, based on when I steal editing time, but I’ll do my best to make weekly updates.

The catch? It’s gonna cost you. A whole whopping  . . . dollar.

I don’t want to rip off readers who took a chance and bought the first edition of the book. But I do need to pay bills, so I’ve set the serial at the lowest payment option for patrons. If this works out, I will work on the other books once ITD wraps up.

Step back into the 1990’s with Meghan, a CIA operative stuck in Fresno, CA on the off-chance there really are former Russian spies working to destroy the farmland. Land which feeds most of the USA, and beyond. Once she’s on the right track, nothing will stop her from ending the terrorist plot before it hatches. That is, until the local vampires take offense to her accidental prying.

Yes, folks. It’s a vampire spy novel set just after the Cold War. Get your anti-Russia feels right here.

Oh, What the Hell

There’s something bizarre in having someone tell you point-blank that your personal choices means you’re morally corrupt and unable to perform a job. A job which you’ve done countless times before without incident.

It’s no secret that I’m a writer and editor. My writing is, well, bloody. There’s sex. There’s profanity. There’s a shit ton of questionable behavior from fictional people on my page. The key word there is fictional. I’m certainly not traipsing around the globe impregnating women with demon babies.

But today, after waiting half a week to receive a manuscript I’d already billed for, I was told my personal writing is problematic and I didn’t have the job. Great. That means I’m out an entire month’s pay. Because someone wanted to foist their shoddy morals on my shoulders.

Since I’m all about rubbing noses in messes this week, here’s a letter to that writing team:

Yeah, no I can’t let this one go on that note. I’m not Christian. I severed ties with them ages ago because of backhanded comments like your, “…leaving the judging to Christ.” I’ve read the bible and I’m pretty sure if it were real, Jesus wouldn’t bat an eyelash at my life—except when interacting with people determined to judge my entire worth from one website.

My personal writing style doesn’t mean I’ll force a client to add blood, sex, or profanity to their manuscript. My personal life doesn’t mean I’ll force fragile Christians to come out as bisexuals in their books. I have a child I adopted, does that mean I’ll force a weepy adoption story into client’s books? No.

My personal *anything* has nothing to do with the way I conduct editing business. Several clients are friends, and I’m harder on them than I am anyone else when it comes to making a manuscript shipshape before publishing. Once I negotiate a job, it’s exactly that, a job, no matter the client. So why do you all—and [name redacted] doesn’t get a pass after that judging dig—get to decide I’m morally corrupt for writing what I do?

I’m tempted to charge a nuisance fee. You not only demanded I send an invoice, but then waited five days to tell me you weren’t going to use my service based on this flimsy moral high-ground. This is after I’d set aside an entire weekend waiting for your manuscript so I could work quickly since you said there was an eight day deadline.
I cared about your project. I wanted to see you succeed in the publishing world. I gave you a larger discount than I give friends who use my service. You shot back with accusations that I’m somehow less because my personal writing offends you. Gee, thanks.
I’m not going to win friends or new clients with that letter. That’s not the point, here. The point is, I’m tired of defending my life to others. Christians love to pretend they’re a caring bunch, but all they do is weigh your perceived sins against their own. It’s a rigged game, though. That Christian will never believe they’re less than perfect because Christ gave his life and yadda, yadda, yadda. But me, the outspoken bisexual with a beef against judgmental people, I’m obviously super evil since I don’t think a book—written and translated so many times no one knows what the original texts actually said—is the end all, be all of moral compasses.
Yeah. Real evil with my fluffy dog and collection of stuffed cows. The next step is obviously overthrowing Satan so I can rule Hell. Only the cool kids are invited to my crowning ceremony.
Folks, if you need a book to tell you how not to be shitty, seek therapy to deal with your underlying mental issues. If a threat from some higher being is the only reason you’re not out stealing and raping, you’re the problem in the world, not me. So what if I ditched the hypocritical teachings of the Christian church? I didn’t turn around and MURDER anyone the next day. Instead I wept because my father pretty much disowned me. He died before his Christian teachings would allow him to forgive me. What kind of god is okay with a father dying without telling his eldest daughter he loved her, and all because I didn’t like grown men telling 14 year old me that I was evil for being attracted to women. I didn’t feel evil then. I don’t feel evil now.
The evil is in the White House. It’s the Freedom Caucus making near-daily threats to women’s rights on the basis of the same Christian teachings which robbed me of the final two years in Dad’s life. They want to literally kill women with lack of health care.
But I’m the problem in the world because I took my depression and used the nightmares to write horror stories. Sure. That makes perfect sense.

Kicking My Ass In Gear

Life’s been shit. Anyone within the bubble of my reality has known this for a few years now. For me, the depth of the excrement around me wasn’t truly clear until Christmas vacation. And my extended vacation. And then the extra week I took off because there was no point attempting anything creative when the family wouldn’t allow me to focus. Not to mention the world losing Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds—women who’ve been life-long compass points when it comes to realigning my fucked up world. The news put me in bed, marathoning Trollhunters on Netflix to escape all the sadness.

I’ve marathoned a lot of television this last three weeks.

Then I looked at my paycheck.

Fuck.

I had two options this week: Mentally trudge through my workload, bitter and burnt out from the anger simmering in my frustrated, broken mind. Or I could fix my shit, at least pretend I want to have a life again, and find my happy in a way which would allow me to do paying work again.

It started with a schedule. We all know how much I love schedules. When my head is at its worst, looking at a set time frame to Get Shit Done is the only way to make it click that the hours my brain had set aside for regret, or some other unhealthy thing to dwell on, is actually allotted for productive activities. A lot of them. So much so, if I were to just work through this motivation without setting a schedule, I’d burn out on the workload in a month and fall back into depression. Baby steps. Tackling the list in bite-sizes works so much better. Spreading the tasks out over the work week help, too. Monday: focus on Task A, with minor time on Task C. Tuesday: prep for Task B, focus on Task E, and schedule a post for Task D. You get the point. It’s not an eight-hour binge to get Task A done so I can move onto the next, but Task A hits a mental wall and I’m left forcing myself to get it done in a way which while productive doesn’t ensure my best effort.

If I’ve learned anything in life, it’s to get your shit done right the first time because the repercussions down the road will only be exponentially harder to overcome.

That leads me to the Patreon page.

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Yeah, I had the same reaction when I realized that, yes, I was indeed following through with the whim to make an account. At this point, I have literally nothing to lose and everything to gain.

What do you gain? Finally, a set home for the podcast, Professional Bitching, along with the backlog of previous podcasts—both of which will remain free to the public. With a secure home, the podcast can finally reach a better production level because I’m not scrambling to constantly reinvent its production process to fit whatever web host happens to work that week. Patrons will eventually have access to special podcast episodes featuring my stories, as well. The Patreon page allows me to control information better, which means more chances to see sneak peaks into upcoming novels for patrons and possibly even the chance to help me do things like name characters/locations for works-in-progress.

The monetary perks are small, for now. Mostly to encourage focus on, A) Reviving the podcast, and B) Completing the final vampire novel—I’m within 30k words and the end is so close, I can taste the bloodbath. Later, I may host a larger campaign to do things like, oh, finally commission the cover art envision for the Inbetween novels or purchase a laptop so I may work more efficiently from bed when my disability flares. That’s the dream. For now the focus is the podcast and vampires, the side effect of the latter being ample blog posts for patrons with frank discussions about how I write. I’ve already posted one discussing lesbian vampire sex.

I honestly hate talking money, but it makes everything happen, so here we are. Trading money for greater access into my writing process feels really odd. However, I’m dedicated to the cause. Let’s go make weird shit together, guys.

Liar, Liar, Corset on Fire

It’s a book birthday! After much laboring, Sandra Bischoff has birthed a bouncing baby YA book. Keep an eye out after the excerpt for a special release-week deal from the author!

Drakkar ~ Beyond the Lie

Book three

Dark Order of the Dragon Series

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Drakkar Dragoni, the only son of Princess Absinthe Dragoni, always believes what his mother tells him.

Humans are nothing more than cattle bred to nourish their kind, and her half brother, Jared Bonatelli, stole a kingdom which is rightfully hers. Drakkar vows to right this wrong, even if it means Jared dies by his hand.

But what if none of it is true?

What if this is his mother’s biggest lie yet?

Who can he turn to?

Who will help him escape the prison within his own home?

 

~ Excerpt ~

The gods must have been on his side for once. When they got to Serenity’s house, her mother was asleep. There were no awkward introductions and no explanations as to why he needed to stay there till the next night. Nope nothing like that. Instead, Nettie whisked him to the lower level in the immense home and led him to a cozy nook of a guest room, far away from any windows.

Flipping on the light, she set about pulling blankets and pillows from the closet, tossing them on the full size bed across the room. Drake took advantage of her distraction and sat, watching her. She was nothing like the women he was accustomed to. That was saying a hell of a lot given the only female he was repeatedly subjected to happened to be Absinthe. With her as a role model, he’d been spoon fed manipulation and hatred since the crib and there was no end to it in sight.

He put a hand on the pile of pillows and linen beside him. “Exactly how many of these do you think I need?”

“Oh, is there not enough?” She turned to face him, blowing some stray hair out of her eyes. “I can probably find some more.”

“No, I think you have enough to smother me to oblivion right here. I’m good, thanks.” He chuckled.

“What? I figured since I don’t have a coffin, at least I could create a comfortable cocoon for you this way.”

“Cocoon? What the-  Serenity, I’m not a caterpillar. And I certainly don’t sleep in a coffin, geez. Friggin’ Hollywood.”

Nettie frowned, crossing her arms over her chest. “Hello! Joke! I’m only trying to make you comfortable.”

“Oh.” He patted the mattress beside him. Serenity flashed one more look of annoyance before sitting. “As long as we just keep sunlight away, I’ll be fine. The room has no windows, so we’re golden right now.”

“You’re sure? You don’t need anything else? How about something for that headache? I’m sure I can find some aspirin or something. Just give me a second to scrounge some up.” Nettie stood and sprinted for the door, only to have him snag her wrist, preventing her from leaving.

“Like I told you before, I’ll be fine.” He yawned. “Thanks for letting me crash here. I appreciate it. You don’t even know me. I could be a monster, yet you trust me in your home.”

He pulled her closer until she stood right in front of him. Cupping his cheek in her hand, Nettie bent till they were nose to nose. “Drakkar, you aren’t a monster. We met tonight for a reason and I have to believe it’s because I’m supposed to help you somehow.”

He gazed deeply into her eyes. She meant every word she said, believed it even. What if it was true? What if he was dropped there by someone or something so they could meet? But why? So many damn questionst but no answers.

“You know, if I decide to kill everyone in this house, there’s nothing you can do to stop me.”

She nibbled her lip, still cupping his cheek. “Think so?”

He nodded. “Bet your life on it.”

Nettie leaned closer. Their lips were a breath apart. “That’s a bet I’d make any day.”

“Oh yeah?” His own voice was a mere whisper.

“Yup. I have a crossbow and I know how to use it. I’ll stake your ass before you could blink those pretty blue eyes of yours.” Serenity pulled away from him and headed for the door. “Just hit number one on the intercom if you need anything.” The door closed quietly behind her.

 

 

~ About the Author ~

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Sandra Bischoff lives in the historic town of Cornwall, NY with her extremely patient husband and teenage son, she affectionately calls the Demon. She is a Pharmacist by profession but found her true calling in a simple twist of fate. A friend approached her to write in a forum on a popular networking website. Over the next five years her passion had found its niche. She went on to compose a few poems and short stories which she would post on her homepage at the same networking site.

Her debut novel, Beyond the Sun was published April 2013 by Bayou Brew Publishing. She recently was named to Amazon’s best seller list in the Fantasy/Epic category. Sandra’s second book in this series entitled Beyond Time was released earlier this spring in time for the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans where she was a featured author at the Book Fair.

She has since left Bayou Brew Publishing to embark on the next chapter of her writing career, Independent Publishing. As of this time she has re-released both books in e-book and paperback formats. They can be found on Amazon.com.

 

~ Other books by Sandra Bischoff ~

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Beyond the Sun   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OTRRM2Y

Beyond Time           https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PKV8P8I

 

~ Links ~

Website ~ http://sandibischoff.webs.com/
Blog ~ http://sbischoff.wordpress.com/
Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSandiBischoff
Twitter ~ https://twitter.com/SandiBischoff
Goodreads ~ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7031254
Google+ ~ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SandiBischoffAuthor/posts
YouTube ~ https://www.youtube.com/user/rsb6494

 

It’s Not Just in My Head

This was originally going to be an episode for Professional Bitching, but seeing as Santa hasn’t brought my new microphone yet, and this is bound to be incredibly painful emotionally, I’ve opted to scribble until my fingers cramp. Because, maybe then I’ll feel vindicated in some tiny, insignificant way.

Something’s gotta give before I check myself into a mental care facility, and it’s getting to that point.

First, a little history. When I was 20, I met this guy who seemed weird, but he paid attention to me and I’d been antsy as a single gal since being unceremoniously dumped by a guy who was also strange yet attentive enough to pander to my overwhelming personal image issues. We met because he really enjoyed a torture-porn story I’d written for shits-n-giggles, and he asked me to a poetry reading. Yes, his interest in the story threw up red flags. No, I didn’t heed them. That one decision cost me dearly. I’ve never been completely happy since this guy, we’ll call him JA, came into my life.

For six years, JA controlled my life. He picked what we ate, where we lived, how I dressed, who I associated with, he even went so far as to constantly deprive me of sleep by playing video games at full volume from 9 PM until 9AM—while I had a toddler to care for. JA was physically abusive to my child. He manipulated my mother to get money and whatever items he wanted without ever stepping outside to find a job once he lived under my roof—while at his home, I paid for half the groceries, held a job as best as possible, and dealt with the Hoarders-like nightmare his family seemed content to wallow in.

But that wasn’t even the worst of it. No, every time he opened his mouth, that was the real nightmare. JA couldn’t stand that I have strong notions about sexual consent and activities. He relished in telling me daily about his ex girlfriend who was into public sex, graphically laying out his exploits like I should be impressed instead of mortified. It took me years to realize the repetitive stories were training me to give in when he wanted to finger me at the dinner table or make a scene at a party which ended with him loudly fucking me in the guest room for everyone to enjoy. But I didn’t enjoy it.

Whenever I fought his manipulation games, JA brought in his wingmen. These mutual friends were molded for once specific purpose: To embarrass me as often as possible, and to ensure my humility around JA’s obvious sexual prowess. There was a routine to every gathering of friends. We’d sit down, grab a drink, and off JA would go, making some off-hand comment about anal sex—or whatever sexual favor I denied him most recently. The guys joined in, after all everyone loves pounding Brownietown, right? Then they’d turn on me, the person dumb enough to not like anal sex, and spend an hour or more convincing me to perform a sexual act I don’t enjoy in any way, shape, or form. I always said no. But after each night spent with the guys, JA would try to force the issue in bed. Often, it resulted in a physical altercation, ending only when I gave him at least a blowjob in order to escape him forcefully fucking my asshole.

But it was just jokes with friends hours before, how can that turn into rape? Because that’s what abusers do. Why didn’t my friends stop it when they saw how uncomfortable I was? Because they didn’t care. Not really. It took him less than a year to win over all of my friends. After I finally kicked him out, JA clung to my friends for support. I clung to my cats because my friends had spent so long enabling my abuser, I didn’t know who to trust.

I still don’t know who to trust.

This week, I was determined to get my shit together. Being mentally ill in the current political climate in the USA has been awful, leaving me too anxious to do more than furiously clean and reorganize the house—like a sparkling toilet will banish the Orange Overlord. I wasn’t thinking of past trauma. Didn’t even occur to me to be mindful of my current friends and what they post online because I’ve spent years culling those most entwined with JA’s life. Then someone who has also suffered serious domestic abuse posts an obscene video featuring JA in the nude. It’s like she wasn’t there for the last ten-plus years of bullshit I’ve dealt with—which she was, often in the room to see it first-hand. Or she didn’t know he’s still gaslighting me by sending junk magazines to my house—I get at least five a week—though I made it very public that I needed a middle man to tell him to knock it the fuck off. Why would anyone go into a room as an abuse survivor with a known abuser? Why when they’re nude? It’s JA’s game starting anew. He posts that he wants to do a weird, vaguely sexual thing (it’s the torture-porn story thing all over again, really) and out comes a woman he knows he can manipulate because she’s already “broken.”

The minute I realized he’d found a new victim, I was in her shoes. The panic attacks started again. I can’t focus long enough to remember something in the living room, walk twenty feet, and write it down at my desk. Every time my mind vomits up footage from the video, I shake and cannot get warm. I haven’t done paying work in a week. Sitting at my desk is a test of will. I never stay still long enough to think of what to write and instead zip off to fix something, anything, because I can’t clean the past out of my head but I can sure make the stove top shine.

Bottling up the reaction to my abuser being flung in my face wasn’t working. I tried to talk to a friend, but this is such an overwhelming issue for one person to deal with unless they’re a professional. I’m known for being outspoken about a few things. It’s about time I did the same for my abuse. I’ve held it in for so long, downplaying the damage done by one pathetic man who feels so insignificant, he has to lord over a woman, embarrass her into submission in order to get an erection.

Let’s be honest, he’s earned my ire. I’ll never have a functional relationship again. I can’t stand being touched in public unless I am in complete control. If someone grabs me, I come unhinged and flight-or-fight turns into a sobbing mess—I fought every day for six years, I’m done fighting for autonomy of my own body. Thanks to the job he’s done on my head, I cut off three feet of hair so I wouldn’t be terrified of someone coming up from behind and touching it without permission—that was a daily anxiety-maker. I literally cannot tell anyone no in the bedroom for fear they’ll hit me and do it anyway. I perform sexual acts I still don’t totally enjoy, just because someone asked. And when I do want to say something about what’s happening in bed, I choke on the words and continue on not having fun. I can’t even masturbate without his bullshit abuse wriggling its way into my fantasies half the time. I’ve tried to move on, only to realize I’m subconsciously seeking another JA. No more. I can’t do it.

This isn’t JA winning because he broke me. This is me saying I want full control of my body, no matter what that entails. If that means flicking my bean solo until I die, so be it. I cannot become a victim again. No one should go through life in an endless cycle of abusive relationships. JA wasn’t the only bad seed, just the worst, and I wish more people would see his schemes for what they are instead of helping him entrap more victims.

This was a rambling mess that doesn’t make sense, but I had to say it. Do with the information what you will. I just can’t keep it in my head anymore.

Drakkar, at Last!

I’ve waited a while for Sandra Bischoff to reveal the cover for Drakkar ~ Beyond the Lie, which is book three in her Dark Order of the Dragon Series—Paranormal / Fantasy with ties to Camelot, vampires, and other night-stalking creatures.

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Drakkar Dragoni, the only son of Princess Absinthe Dragoni, always believed what his mother told him. Humans were nothing more than cattle, raised to nourish their kind and her half brother, Jared Bonatelli, stole from her a kingdom that was rightfully hers. He vowed to right this wrong even if it meant Jared dies by his hand.

But what if none of it was true?
What if it was all…. A LIE?

Who can he turn to?
Who can he trust to help him make things right again?

~ Excerpt ~

From the edge of the clearing a dark figure lurked among the shadows. Weaving between the trees, the uninvited guest tried to get as close as he could to the soft music and candle lit tent behind the grand blue Victorian mansion. Muffled conversation and laughter drifted in his direction on the crisp February breeze.

Something inside him ached to be a part of it. To slip inside the tent and watch the celebration up close and personal. He’d never known true happiness. Never witnessed the purest form of love these people were now basking in. What he wouldn’t give to feel it for himself, just once.

Yeah, sure, and pigs will one day sprout wings and fly away.

A vibration in his back pocket stopped him in his tracks. Drakkar pulled his cellphone out glancing at the screen. Narrowing his eyes at the caller’s name, he debated about answering it. What was the worst that could happen? With any luck ignoring her would have him thrown out on the street in no time. In fact that was the lesser of two evils.

Swiping his thumb across the screen he closed his eyes readying for the rant that was about to come. All it took was a split second. His mother’s shriek made his ears bleed.

“Drakkar! Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to call you for hours.” Absinthe’s voice was hard and cold. It resembled nothing a mother worried about her only son’s whereabouts would sound like.

“I was in class. What do you want?” He snarled back at her. It was all a lie but she had no clue. Absinthe only cared about herself.

“That’s no way to address me, Drakaar. You forget I can have your pathetic existence squashed at any moment.” She threatened.

“So you keep reminding me.” It was getting to the point where he wished she would make good on her threat. At least then he could be free of her. Counting to ten he relaxed slightly. “Was there something you needed?” Mommy Dearest.

“Much better.” She purred making his skin crawl. “I need you to come directly home after school gets out. Something has come up.”

Oh for the love of…

Drakaar strained his neck to see two people sneaking out of the tent. The wolf and his bride made a quick check of their surroundings before disappearing through glass French doors. His sensitive hearing caught the sweet sound of her voice just as she whispered her love to him. With a growl the wolf kicked the door shut. The silhouette of the groom carrying his bride across the room vanished around a corner inside the house. The reflected glow from Drake’s eyes dimmed against the bark of the tree he hid behind.

“Drakaar?” Absinthe’s voice broke his concentration.

Gritting his teeth, he shrugged off the invisible hand he knew she would have placed on his shoulder. “What?”

“I said I need you home. Are you well? You don’t sound like yourself.”

He wasn’t fooled by the concern in her voice. Absinthe could care less if something was bothering him. The only reason she might even give it a second thought was if the issue interfered with her plans. Gods forbid he might be feeling, worrying or even needing something. If it didn’t concern her, his mother didn’t want to be bothered.

Glancing back toward the large white tent, Drakkar noticed people starting to leave. He shrunk back into the brush allowing the branches to swallow him. “Fine. I’ll be there.”

“Excellent. Do try to not be late.” And then the Poison Princess was gone.

“Thanks for small favors.” He whispered.

There was no point in telling her he cut out early to spy on the wedding. It would only piss her off and that was something he could do without. Ever since Bonatelli reared his ugly head, his mother did a complete one eighty on him. He used to actually believe Absinthe loved him. Now, he caught her looking at him with disgust. Even when she spoke to him it was infused with venom half of the time.

Yet, as he sat in the weeds watching the way her enemies interacted and spoke to each other, it was evident what he endured was not normal. Bonatelli and his cohorts did not seem to be the monsters Absinthe painted them to be. He actually treated everyone he met with a loving respect, especially his very pregnant wife. There was no mistaking what he saw between Jared and his soon to be Queen, unconditional -I’d die to protect you- love.

When had Absinthe ever treated him that way? The answer -never.

Drakkar slipped his phone in the side pocket of the backpack resting beside him before swinging it over his shoulder. A slight tingle on the back of his neck hinted sunrise was coming soon. If he sat here wishing on fairytales much longer, his mother’s wrath would be the least of his problems.

He was just about to turn and leave when the scent of strawberries hit him. Inhaling deeply, Drakkar looked toward the tent. A couple emerged accompanied by a black haired girl roughly his age. The scent grew stronger when the girl’s toffee colored eyes gazed in his direction. He couldn’t move. Just one look from her and he was paralyzed.

Drake’s gums began to throb painfully. He covered his mouth just as his fangs began to descend in his mouth and ducked deeper into the brush. The way his body reacted to the human confused him. He’d been around his mother’s human servants all of his life and he never had the urge to claim any of them. He did feed from them on occasion but this was different. Something inside him wanted her as his.

“I have to get out of here.”

He glanced back in her direction in time to see her slip on a patch of ice in the driveway. It was all he could do to hold himself back from running to her side and helping her. The tall human male next to her reached out to keep her from falling. Drake growled taking a few steps forward stopping before he exposed his hiding place. He watched her smile her thanks at the man and duck inside the car waiting for them. Once all three humans were safely inside, the limousine pulled away driving right past him and out to the main road.

Drakkar fell back against a tree. What the hell just happened to me?

The cell phone in his bag started vibrating again. There was only one person it could be. Drake pulled it out and looked at the screen. Absinthe’s name glared back at him. “Leave me the fuck alone!” he snarled hurling the phone across the property.

Maybe that wasn’t the brightest thing he had ever done but it felt good to be rid of her if only for the moment. He’d come back tomorrow and retrieve it. Not like anyone would be out during the day here anyway.

Voices in the tent behind him gradually grew silent alerting him to the fact he was finally alone. The tingle in the back of his neck grew stronger. His reaction to the female cost him dearly. It was possible he wouldn’t make it home before sunrise now. Rather than pick his way back down the hill to where his ride was hidden, Drake opted for the quick leave vanishing into the morning fog.

 

~ About the Author ~

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Sandra Bischoff lives in the historic town of Cornwall, NY with her extremely patient husband and teenage son, she affectionately calls the Demon. She is a Pharmacist by profession but found her true calling in a simple twist of fate. A friend approached her to write in a forum on a popular networking website. Over the next five years her passion had found its niche. She went on to compose a few poems and short stories which she would post on her homepage at the same networking site.

Her debut novel, Beyond the Sun was published April 2013 by Bayou Brew Publishing. She recently was named to Amazon’s best seller list in the Fantasy/Epic category. Sandra’s second book in this series entitled Beyond Time was released earlier this spring in time for the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans where she was a featured author at the Book Fair.

She has since left Bayou Brew Publishing to embark on the next chapter of her writing career, Independent Publishing. As of this time she has re-released both books in e-book and paperback formats. They can be found on Amazon.com.

 

~ Other books by Sandra Bischoff ~

Beyond the Sun   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OTRRM2Y

Beyond Time           https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PKV8P8I

 

Misery-Obsessed Nation

We’re a bunch of miserable motherfuckers. How much of our day is spent fuming because of politics, religion, he/she said bullshit, etc.? How much of that shit actually impacts the progress of your day? Will that politician’s tweet mean you can’t log into your work computer this morning? Does your friend’s failing relationship keep you from taking your daughter to karate class? So what if a C-list actress got Botox? Can you still put on your shoes? Good! Go on with your day, pal. Not every thing you disagree with will be the end of your world as you know it.

“Yeah, yeah. We want proof.”

herewego

Americans are notorious for hanging onto national tragedies like an old favorite blanket. When something goes bad, they drag it out, wrap up in the pain, and wallow like it’s the day it happened instead of letting people move on. There’s nothing wrong with being happy, even if other people are hurting. Emotional self-flagellation pleases no one. I’m not saying we forget the dead or bulldoze memorials. But maybe, perhaps, stop to do an empathy check more often. Do you want someone breathing down your neck twenty-four-seven, talking about the night your child was murdered? How about pop art featuring your rapist’s face? I could not fathom walking down the street and a shop window has the face from my nightmares duplicated dozens of times. Could you? Then why do we feed a media which sustains itself solely on the misery of others? Why the meme chains with garishly nationalistic overtones memorializing the day millions of people’s lives changed for the worse? I’m honestly asking here. My mind does not function in a way which allows me to justify making a buck when someone, somewhere, is jolted from their sleep because they’re dreaming yet again about the blood-drenched bar echoing with ringing phones—loved ones searching for those who’ll never answer the call.

“That’s nothing compared to m—” I’m going to stop you right there. Misery contests are soul-sucking beasts which need to be sent to hell already. “I’m poorer than you.” “My father is sicker than yours!” Constantly one-upping one another beats the other person down, making their pain seem insignificant, though it may control their entire lives. Belittling another person won’t make your day any better. It only makes their day worse. Obviously they’re already in a bad place if all they can think about is the crap bogging down their life. There’s no need to heap more dino shit onto the five-foot tall pile of dino shit. It’s overkill and just plain awful to do to another living being. Would you deny a dehydrated dog half a cup of water because you’ve only had a quarter cup, yet there’s plenty of water to go around? Shit like this is a human trait I wish would vanish already. Cruelty for no other reason than your miserable ass wants company.

We’ve got to stop using pain to justify shitty behavior. The primary reason racism exists to the extent it does in 2016 is directly due to the false correlation some see—and perpetuate—between certain races/religions and terrorism/crime/drug-dealing/etc.. Go ahead. Stop and think for a gods damned minute. Look at the political circus, how the Republicans run almost entirely on a platform of, “They hurt us, we’ll hurt them back thrice as hard!” More often than not, the pain is entirely financial. So what’s that got to do with Jim in Nevada who rents an apartment with his little dog and goldfish? Ain’t his money at stake. Unless the winning party is keen to set new tax laws in place which would further extort money from a single man working a standard wage job in an unremarkable office building who is barely covering all the bills. Or what about Petunia, living in Florida on a work visa from (perceived enemy) country? How secure is her one chance to earn enough money to become a citizen and escape the family who wants to marry her to a man forty years her senior? She never did anything worse than jaywalk, but if these people win control of the government, they’ll call her a terrorist and send her to a life she will never consent to. Not every person of a race acts the same. Why hold them all accountable to the same degree as the extremists who bombed a public market? It makes no sense.

The Negativity Vortex of Social Media—occurs in high-tension times, such as mass murders, holidays memorializing tragedy, and political discussions. It’s not enough to simply say, “This thing is awful, quit fucking doing it,” and be done until a healthy discussion brews. The vortex demands evidence. Visual evidence is best. Those caught in the vortex willingly plaster images of murdered children, animals, horrifically injured individuals,  nude bodies you personally find grotesque, etc., all in the name of supporting a cause when in reality, they’re exploiting the victim in a vain attempt to ease their minds. I’d rather watch puppies playing in a ball pit. I’d rather my friends watch them play with me. Flinging something awful in their face isn’t how you show you care, about your friends or the subject you feel about so strongly. There is always a better option to express yourself. Use Your Words.

Negativity in the name of doing good never works. This is often used when two parties are pitted against each other—be it political, or a disagreement between friends. “Don’t listen to Suzie, she’s slept with half the fraternity next door. Emily has been in a relationship for years, her advice is better. Let her help you with your breakup.” Examples like this don’t seem to have a big impact, but it completely disregards Suzie as a person. Over what? Her perceived hyper-sexuality? Suddenly, Suzie’s vagina walks into the conversation in her stead, leaving her socially taxed without adequate representation. Maybe she’s been through this scenario before and just wants to help before the problem escalates. They don’t know because they chose to address her vagina instead of the woman herself.

“So we’re hateful, miserable shits. How do we fix it?” *ahem* “Talk less. Smile more.” Burr is kind of a shit in Hamilton, but he does have a point. To an extent. In context, this is a tact to manipulate others into trusting him without doing any actual work to climb the social ladder. Out of context, it becomes so much more. When it feels like shit won’t stop raining from the sky, stop. Just stop saying anything about it for a moment. Go find your happy place. Take five to laugh. It isn’t impossible. We all know what makes us happy. It’s not some great universal secret. I like eating peach cobbler and watching Casper on the first day of Autumn. Why? It makes me happy to have a little ritual to look forward to during my busiest season in the year. I need no other reason. Neither do you.

Nor do your friends and family. It’s perfectly okay to point out the misery cycle if someone you love is caught in a vicious one. Feel awkward talking about emotions? Then reach out and find their happy for them. Send a ridiculous gif. Ship their favorite snack to their house. Give them a fucking hug the next time you see them. Love has never required words. Sure, they help when action alone isn’t enough to convey everything, but I’ve grown to love someone more sitting on the couch watching a movie in silence than after a day-long date spent telling each other everything about ourselves. I may be simple when it comes to matters of the heart; I don’t know. It just seems like so many forget that it can be shared. Even in the most unexpected ways. Like friends spending what would be one of their last days together picking out a dog for one of them. And that dog turns out to be a total spazz, but so, so smart, always reminding the one who stayed of the one who’s gone. All their times together come back. It’s wonderful. They’re never apart, though they may never speak again.

I’m pleading with you. For your sanity’s sake, go find your happy. Quit perpetuating the misery cycle. Take a break from berating those you think are in the wrong and just let them be for a day. Smile more. Your face won’t shatter, I promise.

Dark Order Blog Tour: JA Culican

It’s the final day of the Dark Order Blog Tour. We’re wrapping things up with JA Culican.

13639820_10157108678020576_378145029_oJA Culican

Website: www.jaculican.comebook cover tkod.jpg

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

Twitter: @jaculican

Amazon Link: https://amzn.com/B01FYL5BD0

 

Blurb:

A mystical calling.

On his 18th birthday, Cole’s learns that he is a dragon fated to save all that was deemed true.

Destiny.

Cole’s life spirals into an uncontrollable battle for life or death. First, he learns that his family isn’t really his own and his birth parents are dragons. With that legacy comes a special calling; devoting an eternity to protecting all true beings from creatures bent on controlling the Earth and bringing an end to dragons.

Danger.

As the newly-minted Prince of Ochana, Cole is also the Keeper of Dragons and his first task is to keep the nefarious farro-fallen fairies-at bay. With no formal training, no control of his mahier-dragon magic, and fear like he’s never experienced before, will Cole be able to reach outside of his human side and embrace his destiny in time to defeat the farros?

queen

Join bestselling author, J.A. Culican on an epic fantasy adventure fans and critics are calling a world of magic, and comparing to Robert Jordan.

Dark Order Blog Tour: Harper L. Jameson

We’re taking a trip with the Dark Order Book Tour and today’s author Harper L. Jameson. What kind of shoes does one wear to the Appalachians?

The Spirit

The Appalachians are a land of mystery even today but this is a journey into their past–to a place of Native legends and rural magic, before the turn of progress stole the enchantment from our world. Where one woman will risk everything to save the people she loves. The asking price of their salvation? Her heart. Welcome to Wright’s Holler.

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BLURB:

Before the white man settled the Appalachians, he stood over the people of the Tribe, providing all they needed to flourish in the shadow of the mountains.

The many tribes have given him many different names. Wakan Tanko. Maheo. To the people that first hunted the corner of Appalachia known to later generations as Wright’s Holler, he was Weshemoneto, the Great Spirit.To Anna Madeline Wright, he would simply be Wes.

Born in the holler that bore her name, “Annie” Wright came from people that had learned to live on the land, people who believed in the magic saturating the woods around them. People who knew how to survive.

Circumstance of birth gave her power. Her skills gave her respect. Her magic gave them hope. In a town not yet influenced by the progress of the industrial revolution, Annie was a pauwau. A witch. The winter of 1836 hit the town of McAllen hard and with her people in danger of annihilation, Annie called on the spirits for the power to save them. Her desperation called Weshemoneto himself . When they collided, she had to make a choice: Lose her town or lose her heart.

What happens next would become the stuff of legend for centuries to come.

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EXCERPT:
Wes’s brows shot into his hairline, still reeling from hearing the words on her lips and not fully grasping what she was asking him until her hands moved over his chest. Her seared palm throbbing with a humming current where it lay over his heart. His lips peeled back off of teeth sharpening with his desire. “I would not take you while you are weakened, ni’wa,” he tried arguing, but it was too late. Her need filtered to his senses, a heady perfume that the animal in him wasn’t going to let go unanswered.
“You make me strong, Wes,” Annie insisted, face tipping up to brush her lips to his throat. “The first time was to trap you,” she frowned, her guilt still weighing heavy on her. “This time, I just want to love you, n’ I want you to love me. No traps. No tricks. Just us for however long we got.” Annie took a deep breath and took the chance, her hands smoothing down the muscled plane of his chest until she reached his answer.
BUY ON AMAZON: amzn.to/25ya1Fq

Author Bio

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Harper L. Jameson was born in South Eastern Ohio and raised on the stories of the family seat in the holler–a tiny hamlet nestled in the shadow of the Appalachians. Her imagination ran wild, fueled on tales of folklore and superstitions…of Indian burial sites and haunted woods where magic still runs free. Beginning with her debut novel “The Spirit”, she’s putting a new spin on paranormal romance by bringing the old legends back from our forgotten past. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and children, but she never really left the holler. No one ever does.

Connect with Harper and stay up to date on all the latest news, events and releases:

Official Site: harperjameson.com
Facebook: facebook.com/HLJameson
Twitter: twitter.com/HarperJameson
Goodreads: goodreads.com/HarperJameson
Instagram: Instagram.com/HarperLJameson
Amazon: amzn.to/29vV8xh