Saturday, March 28, 2015

Vachtor cover reveal!

Vachtor, Guardian of the Heart Series Release!
Vachtor, Guardian of the Heart is a children's book series created by SC Hallen. Her incredible talents, and love for family has filled this series with adventure, love, and emotion. Vachtor is a German Shortair Pointer puppy that is rescued by what becomes his new family. He learns what it means to grow into a proud, bold young dog wrapped in love.

SC Hallen works with Sharron Henderson to bring life to the incredible puppy that is, Vachtor, the Guardian of the heart. With vivid images, and exciting stories, this series will bring him through life's adventures. This well crafted and planned series starts with Vachtor Finds a Home. Today, we are excited to reveal the very first cover in the series! (And we'll throw in some fun extras)
The first book of the series, Vachtor Finds a Home follows our pup from his rescue by some furry friends and their family to adoption and choosing his name.

Vachtor is found and learns what it means to be part of a family.

Three fun facts from this great children's book series:
  1. S.C. Hallen wanted this to be for any family, no matter where they are from or what they look like. That is why there are almost no humans in the illustrations.
  2. The Vachtor stories are based on S.C. Hallen’s real live dog that she found near a ditch when he was a puppy. There are parts of each story that really happened.
  3. Look closely at the pictures, Ms. Henderson has hidden something in every drawing. Can you find the heart?

Monday, March 23, 2015

My Hunger Games

I was on Tumblr tonight taking a break from editing Amethyst Chronicles 2 and I came across someone with a Hunger Games simulator. So I edited the characters in it to include my own. So it was a Games with my characters with ones from the books. I only edited the nameless "district" ones. The result was actually pretty funny and I wanted to share with y'all.

The Bloodbath
Isabella falls into a pit and dies.
Rue sets Seth Brooks on fire with a Molotov.

Day 1
Thresh and Foxface threaten a double suicide. It fails and they die.

Night 1
Dean Lawrence sets Bryan Morris on fire with a molotov.
Logan Brooks dies from hypothermia.

Day 2
Julie Carter dies trying to escape the arena.
Dean Lawrence and Maddie Brooks track down and kill Ember Wilson.
Alexander Nova falls into a pit and dies.

Night 2
Korrie dies of dysentery.
Glimmer overpowers Jackson Gray, killing him.
Liam Ross attempts to climb a tree, but falls on Maggie Piper, killing them both.
Michael Lewis bleeds out due to untreated injuries.
Kimber accidently steps on a landmine.

The Feast
Dean Lawrence, Katniss, and Mackenzie Rhodes get into a fight. Mackenzie Rhodes triumphantly kills them both.

Day 3
No deaths occurred.

Night 3
No deaths occurred.

Day 4
No deaths occurred.

Night 4
No deaths occurred.

Day 5
No deaths occurred.

Night 5
Cato dies trying to escape the arena.

Day 6
Rue sets an explosive off, killing Peeta, and Glimmer.
John Brooks kills Maddie Brooks with her own weapon.

Arena Event
The arena turns pitch black and nobody can see a thing.
No deaths occurred.

Night 6
No deaths occurred.

Day 7
No deaths occurred.

Night 7
Mackenzie Rhodes shoots a poisonous blow dart into Rue's neck, slowly killing her.
John Brooks falls into a pit and dies.
The winner is Mackenzie Rhodes from District 4!
Wow, John kills Maddie, but Mack wins! This was fun, but back to my editing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Alliances tour with S. Usher Evans

About the Book

Lyssa Peate has found a tenuous balance between her double lives - the planet-discovering scientist and space pirate bounty hunter named Razia. No longer on probation, Razia still struggles to be thought of as more than a chocolate-fetching joke, and Lyssa can’t be truthful to those closest to her. But both lives are turned upside-down when feisty government investigator Lizbeth Carter shows up to capture the same pirate Razia is after.

Lizbeth’s not interested in taking Razia’s thunder; rather, she convinces the caustic bounty hunter to help solve a mystery. Somebody’s hiring pirates to target government ships, and there’s a money trail that doesn’t make any sense. From the desert planet of D-882 to the capital city on S-864, the investigation leads them deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of the Universal Government - and to one of the most painful chapters in Lyssa’s past. Purchase on Amazon


Preview from Chapter One:

The room was dark, with a single, dingy lamp hanging over a table where three men sat, each holding a hand of cards. They said little, except for the occasional grunt or movement to tap their grungy mini-computers to up their ante. The first sighed and rubbed the scruff around his chin. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a cigarette and a lighter.

"You hear that Llendo is running for re-election?" he said, cigarette dangling from his mouth.
"What else is new?" The short, squatty man and whose toes barely brushed the floor, threw a few chips into the virtual pile using his mini-computer. "The guy’s a puppet. There ain’t nothin’ that comes out of his mouth that ain’t been sent through the ringer about a million times."

The other two men chuckled and shuffled around their cards. The third man, with a long face and sallow complexion, pulled two more cards for his own hand and shuffled them together and apart again.

"But who else is there to vote for?" he asked, counting his cards and stacking them together again.

"That general? You know that buffoon Peate works for him. He ain't getting my vote until I know he's gonna play along."

The second shrugged and said, "Nobody’d vote for him in a million years."
"You and your millions." The third rolled his eyes. "Everything you say has been done a million times."

"Bah, can it," the first barked. "And hurry up and make your move."
"I'm taking my time. Don't want to get fleeced again," the third said. "You're all a bunch of crooks."

"Takes one to know one." The second man peered at his cards through a pair of thick glasses, hunched over.

"I am retired," the first man said, sitting back and taking a long drag of his cigarette. "None of that piracy crap for me anymore. Getting too dangerous for me."

"Gonna break a nail?" the second snorted. "Bad enough you got that girl. Whatsherface."

"I hear she's doing all right," the third said. "Kidnapped Jukin Peate's brother and held him for ransom last year."

"And what's she done since then?" the second said.

"More than you've done."

"I'm just saying, it's unnatural to have a woman out with the men," the first said. He paused for a moment and began to smile. "Although I can't say I hate seeing her scamper around '882."

"Shame she doesn't wear tighter pants," the second said. "I seen pictures. She wears these baggy things. I bet if she wore something that made her look like a girl, she wouldn't even have to fight nobody."

"She could come capture me any day of the week. I don't care what she looks like," the third said. "I'd lay down and let her do whatever she wanted to me."

"Care to test that theory?"

The three glanced up sharply at the sound of a distinctly female voice in the doorway.

"Hey, hey," the first man said, standing up. "We don't want no trouble. We're retired here, lady."

"You are," Razia said, stepping into the light with a smirk on her face. She turned her eyes on the third man in the room. "He isn't."

About the Author

S. Usher Evans is an author, blogger, and witty banter aficionado. Born in a small, suburban town in northwest Florida, she was seventeen before she realized that not all beach sand is white. From a young age, she has always been a long-winded individual, first verbally (to the chagrin of her ever-loving parents) and then eventually channeled into the many novels that dotted her Windows 98 computer in the early 2000's. After high school, she got the hell outta dodge and went to school near the nation's capital, where she somehow landed jobs at National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, capping off her educational career with delivering the commencement address to 20,000 of her closest friends. She determined she'd goofed off long enough with that television nonsense and got a "real job" as an IT consultant. Yet she continued to write, developing 20 page standard operating procedures and then coming home to write novels about bounty hunters, teenage magic users, and other nonsense. After a severe quarter life crisis at age 27, she decided to finally get a move on and share those novels with the world in hopes that she will never have to write another SOP again.

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Well Kept Secrets blog tour!

As readers of The Adventures of Xavier & Vic know, my sleuths acquire the most interesting employees. Today, I want to discuss the smallest employee: L’il Pete. The adorable boy is 9 years old, but honestly most 7 years old can take him down in a fight. He’s small for his age.

The first time we meet L’il Pete is in book 2 and 2.5 when Pete tries to claim a fortune by sharing what he knows about a one-eyed begger man.  I think Book 2.5, Jacko’s love story, has the better version of the story:

When Jacko arrived at his office, a young boy sat on the floor outside, his small foot thumping like a rabbit. Upon sight of Jacko, he jumped up. “I been waitin’ nearly an hour to collect me fortune!”
Jacko opened the door and ushered the boy in. He would gladly give the boy a fortune for the return of Xavier, but he had little hope finding his friend would be so easy.
“Watcha got?”
“Give me my ten thousand pounds first.” The boy bravely held his ground, his grubby small hand stretched forward, palm up.
Jacko admired his pluck. “That’s not the way it works. You tell me what you know and then I decide if it warrants the money.”
The boy’s brow furrowed. “And what if you decide it don’t?”
“Then I’ll pay you what I think it’s worth.”
The boy jammed his hands in his pockets as he stared at his feet muttering beneath his breath.
“What’s your name?”
His head tilted up and his eyes narrowed. “What’s it worth to you?”
The kid reminded him of himself as a scrappy boy. “It could be worth a regular job.”
The boy’s eyes widened as he yanked his hand from his pocket and extended it to Jacko. “People call me L’il Pete. So do I get the job?”
Jacko shook his tiny hand. “I’ll give you a try.” He walked to his desk, grabbed a pencil and paper, and wrote his boarding room address. He handed the slip to the boy. “I’ll pay you two shillings a day to sit in a chair in front of this room and bring me messages from people who stop by. Any tip they give you is yours to keep.”
L’il Pete’s eyes narrowed. “That’s it? Just sit in a chair?”
“You can even sleep if you like.”
The boy shook his head as he wiped his nose on his sleeve. “I wasn’t born yesterday. What’s the git?”
“The ‘git’ is you must keep to your schedule and never lie to me.”
The boy’s head tilted in confusion. “That’s all?”
“Sounds simple, but I’ve yet to find a boy who has the character to do it.”
The small fellow jutted out his chest and snared his thumbs through his belt loops. “I got tons of character. Everybody says so.”
Damn, but he liked this boy. “Which is why you are getting the job. And when you go back there today, if a boy named Elwood shows up, tell him he’s fired.”
“Elwood…” The boy’s face scrunched up as he rubbed his chin with grimy fingers. “How big is he?”
“Good point.” Jacko wrote on another slip of paper, ‘Elwood, you are fired—Jacko.’ He gave it to the boy. “Just give him this.”
The boy nodded and slipped it in his pocket.
“Now what do you have for me?” Jacko had little hope the fellow had any news of value, but he’d give the lad a listen.
“I heard the one-eyed beggar man was in Dragon’s Cloud.”
“Old news. The Dragon’s Cloud was torn down last night and no one-eyed beggar man was found.”
The boy cocked his right eyebrow. “That’s because they moved him.”
Jacko knelt down, eye-level with the boy, his heart pounding in excitement. Was it possible this L’il Pete was the answer to his prayers? “Moved him where?”
His cockiness disappeared. “I’m not sure.”
Jacko’s frustration rose and he raked his hand through his hair. Someone in this damn town has to know where Xavier was. He took a deep breath and calmed himself. “Well then, what did you see?”
“I saw four men carrying a body out the back of Dragon’s Cloud and down the alley around six last night. He had a black patch over his left eye and was dressed in rags.”
This might be the break they needed. “Which way did they go, east or west?”
The boy gave that some thought. “I was hiding in the garbage on the opposite side of the Dragon.” He then pointed left. “They went that way down the alley.”
The boy’s hands settled on his tiny hips.  “West then.”
“That’s a dangerous place. What were you doing there?” Jacko asked, worried the boy might be making it up.
“I can’t say.”
“Pete, you work for me now, remember?”
L’il Pete smiled. “Right. Mr. Denny paid me a half-penny to hide in the alley and describe the men who came in the back with packages.”
Jacko tried to hide the rage he felt towards Charles Denny. He caused more boys’ deaths than any man in the docks. “I don’t want you taking any more jobs from that scurf. He’s not paying you a fair wage for the danger you take on.”
Pete frowned. “How much should I get paid to hide in garbage?”
Jacko stifled his desire to laugh at the boy’s earnest question. “That depends where the garbage is. Since the job could have easily cost you your life, you shouldn’t take less than a million pounds.”
The boy’s eyes rounded in wonder. “Somebody’ll pay me a million pounds to hide in garbage?”
“No. That’s just what the job’s worth. Denny can always find some young boy who doesn’t realize he won’t live more than a few days on the job. He’ll tell the boy to report his findings every day, but delay paying him until the end of the week, which means Denny rarely has to pay the boy at all.”
L’il Pete’s mouth fell open. “That ain’t right!”
“No, it’s not. Which is why, I want your word you won’t do any more jobs for Mr. Denny.”
The boy nodded, but then pouted. “What about the pence he owes me?”
“Write it off as a lesson learned.”
(This scene will come back to haunt Jack in book 4)

The great Victorian sleuth Xavier Thorn and his partner Vic Hamilton take a case close to home. Their youngest staff member, L’il Pete, discovers his mother murdered in the alley. Jacko is called up from the country to assist in solving the crime. The good woman’s murder proves to be tangled up with a much larger and shocking list of crimes perpetrated by a powerful man who may truly be above the law. Making matters more complex: Vic discovers her recent weight gain may be the result of a condition that could destroy her life and everything she loves.

Book 4
Well Kept Secrets
Free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Need to catch up?
Book 1

Book 2

Book 2.5

Book 3
All Xavier books Free with Amazon Unlimited

Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved normally. But all those bad behaviors have given her lots of fodder for her humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. And there’s a ghost cat that roams about the book as well. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
Untamed & UnabashedThe youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia, tells her story. A faithful spinoff from Pride & Prejudice.
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets L’il Pete’s mum is murdered, and discovering who & why reveals a great deal of secrets.

Investigate these sites: