Wow!: 2015 Review

Wow!: 2015 Review

As is my habit, I’m going to do a brief overview of this past year with regards to my journey as an author. A lot happened in 2015 and I won’t be able to tell all of it, but I can offer some highlights month by month. For elaborate details, you can check my author newsletter archives here, as well as subscribe to upcoming issues. Here is a summary during each month of the year of 2015 for me as an author:

The Year 2015


In January, my new release at the time, Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy which is book one of the Blood at First Sight Series, received several spotlights. On January 3rd, Second Nature was featured on Connie Bretes’ blog. The next day, I discovered that Writing in the Modern Age, my guest author blog, was nominated by Katrina Jack for a wonderful award, the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. So, that was exciting! Three days later, I offered readers a teaser of Upon Your Love, a manuscript currently in edits which will be book three of the Heiresses in Love Series. You can read the excerpt here

On January 12th, author Rachael Stapleton interviewed me on her blog, and asked me a few questions about Second Nature. Two days later, Fiona Tarr interviewed Desiree Edwards, the female main character of Second Nature, on her website. On January 15th, The Book Cove Reviews gave the same book a spotlight. You can also check out the book trailer on the feature here

A few days later, I wrote an article, “The Trouble with Titles” for the MLB blog. In it I gave some tips on coming up with that elusive book or story title. The following week, I reviewed Kris Tualla’s The Discreet Gentleman Series on the I Love Romance Blog


February brought more features for Second Nature, as well as some other interesting events. On Februrary 1st, author Nancy Christie gave me a detailed interview on her blog. You can also catch part two of the interview here, which aired in the second half of the month. In February, my publisher, Solstice Publishing, offered a big book giveaway, comprised of 26 books. On February 3rd, author Helen Alexander interviewed me on her blog, and had some questions about my books as well as my writing process. The following day brought a cool character interview with Alec from Second Nature on the same blog. On February 8th, I wrote a love poem titled “Forever” for the I Love Romance Blog (ILRB). Author Geri Taylor also interviewed me on her blog on the same day. Five days later, I hosted a huge romance-themed dual blog book giveaway, and it ranged between two of my blogs, Writing in the Modern Age and ILRB

On February 17th, Crystal Miles Gauthier interviewed me on her website. Also on that day, I learned that I had made it into the TOP 100 on Authors Database during the last week of January! Very exciting! Eleven days later brought a love poem written by yours truly and titled “Lovers Like Us”. This was posted on the I Love Romance Blog. 


On March 4th, I wrote an article on the MLB blog, and it was titled “What Does Success Mean?” In March, The Romance Reviews site ran a big giveaway party for their 4th anniversary all month long and on the 11th, a copy of Second Nature was offered to readers in the Q&A prize contest! Exciting! Four days later, I wrote a brief article about my love of books and reading on Ava Bleu’s site. The following day, Fara Bellamont, the heroine from Upon Your Return, visited author Devika Fernando in a great character interview

On March 18th, I participated in The Next Best Thing blog tour. I was invited by author Lois W. Stern, and I tagged several other authors. In the post, you can learn a little more about UYL, which should be ready for beta readers very soon! Three days later, I wrote a love poem titled “Your Kiss” on the I Love Romance Blog. On March 23rd, Grant Hill, the hero from Upon Your Return, got a character spotlight on Devika Fernando’s blog. Two days passed, and then a short author interview of mine appeared on the DigiWriting site. On March 30th, one of my articles, “Being Different” was posted on the Star-Crossed Romance site. 



April was pretty busy. On April 7th, I visited author Rachael Stapleton’s cool feature, the Treasured & Tipsy Timeslip, to talk about five different sites I’d love to visit. In the post, you’ll get to learn of my inspiration for the Bellamont Plantation in the Heiresses in Love Series.


Three days later, I was lucky enough to get featured on author Diana Rubino’s blog, and Second Nature got a spotlight! Yay! And on April 21st, humorous horror author A.B. Funkhauser featured Second Nature, giving me a Proustian interview. Catch a cool author interview hosted by J.R. O’Neill, which aired the following day! Also in April, I learned that I made Honorable Mention in the BTS Red Carpet Book Awards! So exciting! On April 23rd, I wrote an article titled “Vampires Rule!” on the MLB blog. Two days later, the I Love Romance Blog received The Versatile Blogger Award, nominated by Carol Balawyder, and then I nominated six other bloggers.


Also on the 25th, author Michael Aronovitz asked me to give an overview of my writing process on his site. On the same day, Jeanz from Jeanz Book Read N’ Review interviewed me pretty extensively on the blog. You can learn more about me as a writer, as well as some of my writing or reading preferences. Five days later, I participated in a very fun radio interview on Cover 2 Cover with Jami and Michele! In the interview, we talked about the importance of book size, or whether it really is. Check it out here; you can still listen to it! 



On May 5th, I wrote a love poem on ILRB, and it was titled “In Your Arms”. In May, I received word that I won the PNPAuthors Contest for Poetry! Woo hoo! My winning poem, “Lovers Like Us” was featured in the published anthology, Poets & Writers in Action


From May 11th to the 15th, Upon Your Return was briefly discounted on Amazon for readers! So exciting! On May 12th, I had an #authorchat with Solstice Shadows on Twitter. And between May 14th to the 18th, Second Nature was free on Kindle! Yay! Around that time, Alec Sullivan, the hero from Second Nature, got a character interview on J.R. O’Neill’s blog. On May 30th, I did a one-hour author timeslot on Facebook during Cathy Jackson’s book release for her new book, Broken! It was a lot of fun!



A few things happened in June. The Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ Paranormal/ Horror division of my publisher, Solstice Shadows, ran a writing contest from June 1st through July 6th. In June, my publisher also offered a summer cookbook, full of seasonal recipes by Solstice authors, even one by yours truly. Exciting! And if you’re interested, you can still grab a copy here! You can also check out other free books on this page.


On June 29th, Second Nature was offered for free during a TRR giveaway. Also at the end of the month, I wrote a poem titled “Pressure” for the MLB blog. This time it wasn’t about romance, but I think a lot of people can relate to it.



A lot happened in July! On July 3rd, Bernard Foong, a.k.a author ‘Young’, was kind enough to give the Heiresses in Love Series a very cool spotlight! So thanks, Bernard! Three days later, I offered a teaser from my sci-fi romance work in progress, Blue Vision. Check it out here! On July 9th, I stopped by the awesome radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! It was an awesome experience, and they asked me a lot of questions about my paranormal books!


On July 17th, Olga Núñez Miret gave my new book, A Little Magick, a children’s fantasy and book two of the Magick Series, a cover reveal on her blog. Three days later, A Little Magick officially released on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords


Also on its release day, Rosie Hamilton, the main character of the book, got a cool interview on Diana Rubino’s blog. You can also catch a brief author interview at the end. July 20th also brought a fun feature and Q&A on Rachael Stapleton’s blog for A Little Magick, or affectionately termed ALM. In July, I also found out that I won author of the week on D.M Sear’s site from the 20th to the 26th. On July 22nd, A.B. Funkhauser gave ALM a cool spotlight as well. Two days later, I wrote an article titled “Don’t Limit Yourself” for the Writing in the Modern Age blog. On July 27th, readers could catch a brief interview with me on author KateMarie Collins’ blog. The following day brought an interview about my writing on Fiona Tarr’s website. On July 29th, I wrote an article called “DIY Your Book Cover (Or Not)” on the MLB blog.


On August 4th, I wrote a love poem titled “A Language of Our Own” on ILRB. Three days later, I hosted and participated in a “Why Do We Write?” post on the Writing in the Modern Age blog, and it was comprised of 45 different authors.

Also in August, my book Second Nature, was featured in a big event, the Tornado Giveaway, along with tons of other books by multiple authors. The giveaway started on the 5th and ran clear through September. On August 18th, I guest blogged on author Viv Drewa’s blog, and in the article I talk about the writing process, and where ideas come from. On August 21st, I found out that I earned the TOP 25 Authors for the week on Authors Database, as well as the TOP 10 Award overall


On September 5th, I wrote an article titled “So…You Want to Create Your Own Book Trailer?” for the Writing in the Modern Age blog. Three days later, I discovered that Second Nature was nominated to compete in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards for Winter 2015. Yay! All thanks to the awesome people at The Romance Reviews site! Voting commenced for the awards on September 11th. On the 20th, I wrote a love poem called “Home” for the I Love Romance Blog.


Four days later, I had an interview on Ch’kara Silverwolf’s blog. She asked me several questions about my children’s fantasy, A Little Magick. The following day brought an author interview regarding my upcoming book release, Second Chance Heart, on Raegyn Perry’s blog. Check out this fun interview here! SCH also got a spotlight the next day on the Babbling About Books and More! site. Also on September 28th, I had an entertaining author interview on Malay Upadhyay’s Blog of the Fly, and it concerned Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series. Check it out!



On October 5th, author B.K. Irish gave me an interview on Facebook here. The following day, I landed on Mark Iles’ site in a Q&A about writing, as well as a brief feature of SCH. Eight days later, Dana Nelson, the heroine from Second Chance Heart, was featured in a character interview on Ch’kara Silverwolf’s blog. On October 16th, I hosted a major Halloween book giveaway on the Writing in the Modern Age blog. With 44 participating authors, 69 different titles and over 135 chances to win, it was quite a turnout!

Two days later, I had an author interview on Devika Fernando’s blog, as well as a brief promo for SCH. Second Chance Heart officially released on Monday, October 19th. So, that was incredibly exciting! It's available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords

The same day, author Linda Lee Williams gave the book a cool spotlight! Four days later, I wrote an article titled “Short Versus Long Fiction:  Should Size Really Matter?” for the Writing in the Modern Age blog. And at the end of the month, Olga Núñez Miret did a promo for SCH on her blog


On November 1st, I visited author Deborah Melanie’s blog in a cool interview, and you get a nice excerpt from SCH! Five days later, I wrote an article titled “Writing Makes You Free” for Val Rainey’s Rainey Day Writing and Research site. Two days passed and then it was time for voting to commence for Solstice Publishing’s annual Author of the Year contest! Exciting, right? Voting ran until January 1st. Also on November 8th, I provided a teaser from Blood Instincts, a work in progress which will be book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. Check it out here

Three days later, Dana Nelson from SCH got a character interview on author Belinda Y. Hughes’ blog. On November 27th, Second Chance Heart was offered for free in a simple Q&A contest on The Romance Reviews! Fun!


On December 1st, I did an author timeslot during the big event, Sleigh Bells and Bookshelves, on Facebook. It was a lot of fun chatting with readers, and hosting giveaways!


Four days later, I wrote an article titled “Tips on Carving Time Out for Your Writing When Life Drags You Down” for the Writing in the Modern Age blog. On December 14th, I participated in a Twitter author chat with Solstice Publishing, my publisher. Exciting! Feel free to chat me up sometime on Twitter; I don’t mind.


On the 15th, SCH got an official review on Hines and Bigham’s Literary Tryst site. Thanks for reading the book, Mindy! On December 22nd, I participated in the Festive Spirit Blog Hop. In my post, I featured several holiday themed books by some of my fellow authors, including writers who’d appeared before on Writing in the Modern Age. This post was just in time for Christmas!



With regards to writing progress, I wrote on two projects and finished them this year: Upon Your Love, which will be the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series; and Blue Vision, a sci-fi romance and book one of the Code of Endhivar Series.

I hope to have both published in the new year. After those books are released, I plan to return to finishing up work on Blood Instincts, book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. On top of that, I had several new story ideas come to me in 2015, including plans for a romantic comedy series called The Misfits. You can browse my writing projects on the Projects and Writing page of my website here for more information about these and other works in progress.

So, that’s almost everything that happened this year. As aforementioned, for a detailed summary, you can check my author newsletter archives here. Feel free to subscribe as well for future issues. In my newsletters, I usually discuss any cool book reviews my books received. I didn’t go into book reviews much at all in this overview because I didn’t want to talk your ear off. LOL. But if you’re interested, you can view all of them in one place on my website here. You can also check recent overviews of the past year for both of my alternate blogs, Writing in the ModernAge and the I Love Romance Blog. You'll be able to find more details as well by browsing through this blog archive, or the other blogs. Don’t forget to follow my Facebook author page, my Twitter handle and my Google+ page for further updates. 

And on that note, here’s a special thank you to all of my guest authors on my blogs, including this one, the MLB blog. We had 40 guest authors on this blog alone in 2015. I appreciate all of you, and I loved learning more about you and your books! Thanks for making the blog awesome! ;)

Readers, thank you all for being a part of my journey this year! Here’s to a wonderful 2016!  And Happy New Year, everyone! :)

Two great reviews for SECOND CHANCE HEART!

It's amazing what you find when you're browsing Goodreads! I just found two reviews I hadn't seen before for Second Chance Heart, my latest contemporary romance release! 

Second Chance Heart by Marie Lavender


's review
Nov 18, 15

I really enjoyed reading this short story about forgiveness and second chances. I loved the characters and the ending, although, I wanted to read more about these two. Over all a very sweet romance with a lot of deep emotion that is well written and worth reading.I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great short romantic read. 
Second Chance Heart by Marie Lavender

's review
Dec 09, 15

*I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Dana Nelson is forced into a Inn for the night in shelter of a storm coming through. She is caught off guard when she runs into the one person that broke her heart. This is a very short read about love, betrayal and forgiveness of two people that really never got over each other.

The author fits so many emotions into this short read. I think this was a very sweet read and would recommend it to anyone that just needs something to read and don’t know what they are looking for. This book makes you believe that maybe someone does deserve a second chance.

Exciting, huh? Thank you, Azia and Mindy, for your kind words about SCH! :)

New Release Feature: Ashley Fontainne’s NIGHT COURT!

Today, we're doing something a little different. I wanted to bring a new release to your attention. Ashley Fontainne, an author I met on my journey, has an awesome new book coming out on December 13th. Let's check out the cool details, shall we?


 Book Blurb



Merry watches, her presence cloaked by the shroud of nightfall. Nothing moves except her eyes which focus on her target. No remorse. No regret. No second guessing the decision to end the lives of the monsters who turned her into a killer.


The peddlers of death from potent chemicals are found guilty. Punishment for their crimes--death. Appeals denied. Sentencing to commence immediately. The leeches who sucked out the life of addicts with each snort, shot, swallow, and injection will now pay the ultimate price.


The idyllic world of Merry Marie Hall, once the loving wife of Harold and mother to their only child, Joshua, is over. Extinguished when Joshua overdosed and Harold died of a heart attack at the funeral. Now Merry hunts down the guilty parties, and one by one, carries out her internal court's orders.

Court is now in session.


Pre-order Links:


Amazon Universal link:

Barnes & Noble:




And Ashley is giving us an exclusive excerpt of her book!


Chapter One: 3:00 a.m. Friday morning

Merry watched, her presence cloaked by the shroud of night.
She’d been outside long enough for her vision to acclimate to the darkness. She missed nothing from her perch against the old brick wall. Her shoulders, back, and legs ached, angry for being stuck in the same position for so long.
They screamed for freedom from bondage.
She ignored them.
Tuned the pleas out—it was as simple as switching off a light switch. Physical pain was a breeze to override. Years of fighting off the aging process by taking up yoga, cross-training, and running, had programmed her muscles and brain to block out body aches and pains. Gave her the internal fortitude to push on, not give up, resist the temptation to cave in and surrender to the burn.
When she took up those activities, she had no idea they would serve a much darker, sinister purpose in her life.
Mental anguish was quite another story. Merry fought hard, refusing to listen to her mind and soul, which in the beginning, begged her to forget the disturbing, insane plans ruminating inside her mind. The urging to not embark upon the journey that took months of sleepless nights to craft.
She taught herself how to push aside the faint voice deep inside, the one pleading for mercy.
To return to sanity.
The last hurdle: a faint whisper to not take the life of another.
That was all in the past now, just like her former life. She’d mastered the art of turning her mushy heart and soul to stone. It was the main piece of the puzzle needed to transform herself into a killer. The thought made her almost giggle out loud at the absurdity of the phrase. On instinct, her gloved hand flew up and clamped over her mouth, just in case a sound escaped her dry throat.
Ha! Murder by Numbers nailed it. I’m living proof of what one must do to become a killer.
Nothing moved except her eyes, which were focused on the night’s target. He would be her first execution.
No remorse, no regret.
No second guessing her decision to end the life of a monster who more than deserved the punishment she was about to dole out.
Her actions would smother her old life of suburban housewife and mother, replacing it with—what? Crazed serial killer? The hand of justice?
In the end, did it really matter what others thought or called her?
Not one damned bit.
Muscles tensed and at the ready, her doubts and misgivings had vanished, pushed away by the adrenaline racing through her. The Lycra top wasn’t heavy, just hot. It trapped the humid night air against her chest like a vise. A thin bead of sweat trickled down her forehead and perched on the tip of her nose.
She ignored it.
The sounds of the city weren’t as loud at three a.m. Traffic from I-30 hummed in the distance. An occasional car horn beeped. Muted voices of the drunks leaving nearby bars and restaurants buzzed around her. Dogs barked, along with the shrill cry of a baby.
Suddenly a siren trilled, making her heart pound, and breathing come faster. Concentrating, she honed in on the sound. No, it wasn’t close, and it was fading fast, which meant the cop was heading in the opposite direction. Probably a unit responding to an accident on the highway or pulling over a drunk.
She inhaled deeply, forcing her breath to return to an even, steady rhythm. Merry focused her attention back to the noises around her position. The squeaks of a few rats to her left barely registered. Squeaks which only a few months ago would have sent her running and screaming in the other direction.
Merry ignored it all.
Nothing mattered except completing the mission.
The rational voice whispering in her mind to turn and go home, silenced, banished forever the minute she dressed her five-ten frame in all black—red hair hidden under a skullcap—and left her house earlier. Strength and power flowed through her still torso, fueled by bloodlust. The sensations were much more enjoyable than the gut-wrenching pain of the brokenhearted forty-plus-year old woman she had been. 
Merry had waited in the alleyway for almost three hours, camouflaged in black, crammed up against a filthy dumpster. No one except dealers and users ventured into this part of downtown the minute the sun disappeared. The office workers had scattered, unwilling to be caught on the streets after darkness fell. During the past two months of careful plotting, she had learned the habits of the lowlife drug dealer she had marked as her target.
Merry discovered this particular alley was worked only by him.
All her planning, down to every possible scenario, was only seconds away from fruition.
The peddler of death was about to be Little Rock’s latest crime statistic.
And he would be Merry Marie Hall’s first example of the swift judgment enforced by her own internal court.
Her eyes narrowed into small slits as she watched him saunter into her trap.
Court is now in session. The Honorable Merry Hall, presiding. The defendant, Carlos “Peppy” Ramirez, is found guilty. The punishment for his multitude of crimes is death. Execution shall now be carried out by the Court. The Defendant’s appeal is denied. Sentencing to commence. Right now.
Merry bit her lip to keep the snide grin at the corners of her mouth at bay. She watched Peppy's lanky body move with catlike grace through the alley toward her. He was so close she could smell him—a  disgusting mix of body odor, chemicals and cheap cologne. He reeked, and the stench assaulted her nose. Less than twenty feet away, he stopped and glanced around.
Merry held her breath.
From her research, she knew Carlos Ramirez had been a street thug for years. Before his twentieth birthday, he’d been arrested over ten times for peddling narcotics. Each arrest and conviction ended the same way: a large fine, no prison time, and a slap on the wrist. A few times, forced attendance at classes that were supposed to teach him how to live life drug-free. He’d be right back on the streets within hours after an arrest and only went to meetings for the free food—and potential of scoring new clients.
How did his public defender sleep at night, knowing his legal finagling allowed a dangerous criminal back on the streets? How did the prosecutors feel each time they came face-to-face with the same exact person for the same exact crimes? Did they feel like they were just spinning their wheels in the mud? What about the judges? Did it ever get under their skin, knowing their courtroom was more like a circus, and they were just shepherding the cattle and sheep in a perpetual circle? Not to mention the heroic cops, who risked their lives every single time they hit the streets. How much time and manpower was spent arresting the wastes of society, only to have to sit back and watch the bastards waltz out of jail?
Time served.
Pay a hefty fine.
Keep the county coffers full.
People—no, animals—like Peppy were a threat to society. Leeches that sucked out the life of addicts with each snort, shot, swallow, and injection they sold. Anything could be used as tender: cash, other drugs, sex, or a combination of all three. Peppy, and others like him, didn’t care about the age of their clientele or how the poison they offered would condemn the user to a life of sorrow, pain, and grief. They never concerned themselves with what the addiction would do to not only the addict but to those who loved them.
Merry had.
She had relived the nightmare over and over, until it finally drove her to madness. She had been the kind of woman who had a loving husband, adorable son, great job and was living the American dream. 
Not anymore.
The idyllic world of Merry Marie Hall, loving wife of Harold and proud mother of her only son, Joshua, was long gone. The disappearing act began the minute Peppy Ramirez sold a little white pill to Joshua nearly five years ago. Watching her child become a raging addict, battling with the court system, (in-out, pay a hefty fine), and depleting their retirement for expensive trips to rehab (which never worked) took their toll on her mental and physical state. The countless arguments late at night with Harold about the situation and the cringing when the phone rang at two or three o’clock in the morning—the signal yet another arrest happened—had aged them both.
Almost destroyed their marriage.
Her former life had been finally been snuffed out in less than one week. The flame dimmed six months ago when she heard the news—the night her brother knocked on the front door at three a.m. The minute Merry woke up from the sound of the pounding, she went numb. In the deepest recesses of her heart, she knew Joshua was gone. Felt the hole, the giant black void, gut her chest. She knew before the stoic Detective Derek Isaac Clarke, her tough-as-nails brother, had a chance to say a word. While she sat on the couch, erect and frozen in one spot, hands clasped with Harold’s, the hole spread. Engulfed her heart and then overtook to her mind. When Derek told them Joshua was the victim of an overdose of heroin, the blackness began to choke her.
What little light left in her world extinguished when Harold suffered a massive coronary that ended his life at Joshua’s funeral. 
Not the time to think about things you can’t change. Concentrate on your purpose.
She blinked twice and refocused. The time for mourning was over. Carpooler, soccer-mom, devoted wife—she was one with a quick smile and jovial demeanor. Now, all that was gone—buried right next to the corpses of husband and son. What resided inside her now was Maniacal Merry—a woman bent on revenge after her old life ended.
The new one was on the cusp of beginning—one started by the actions of Carlos Fucking Peppy Ramirez.
Merry waited and watched with patience. Not only was Carlos a dealer of just about every conceivable drug, but he was also a heroin user. The combination made him beyond careful. The times she'd followed him in the past, she had to maintain a safe distance. Peppy was on constant edge and wary of his surroundings. The little waste of flesh was intent on guarding his stash and cash from would-be thieves or rival dealers.
Merry could see his shoulders sag a bit, indicating he was satisfied he was safe. Sure enough, Peppy reached into his pocket and pulled out a smoke, lit it, and then leaned back against the dirty brick wall. He was less than ten feet away. The lone streetlight cast eerie shadows across his withered face. The plumes of white smoke looked like horror movie vapors. He wasn’t looking in her direction. Peppy’s attention was focused on a barking dog at the end of the alleyway. Merry stood and pulled out the syringe from her pocket. Her gaze never left his torso, searching for any movement or signs he’d heard her move.
He hadn’t.
Peppy’s cell phone rang, startling them all, including the dog. The mutt bounded away into the night, leaving the alleyway quiet again. With a flick of his wrist, Peppy put to the phone to his ear. His raspy voice bounced off the walls straight into Merry’s ears.
“Yo, what ails ya? Uh-huh. Yeah, I gotcha back. Always do, right? Stuff is straight, and I mean straight. No cuttin’ at all. Yeah, same place. Hurry up. You know I don’t hang in one spot too long. Aight? Oh, I hear ya. Ain’t we all? If it’s a problem, we’ll work it out. I know those lips of yours are worth their weight, ya dirty ho. Later.”
In disgust, Merry cringed while Peppy rubbed his crotch. The warped smile on his face made her want to vomit.
“Mmm, mmm! Gonna fill her up right! She’s worth a few hits for free.”
Sliding the cap off the tip of the syringe with her gloved hand, Merry made sure to keep her movements slow and quiet. Peppy finished his smoke and knelt down on the wet cement. Removing his jacket, he fumbled around in the pockets while muttering about his upcoming deal and payment arrangements. His back was to Merry. Her steps were quick and sure. In three strides from her long legs, footfalls silent, the thick rubber on her shoes covered by duct tape, she was behind him.
She wouldn’t give Carlos “Peppy” Ramirez a chance to realize what was happening until it was too late for him to do a damned thing about it.
Raising her right leg, visions of her husband and son in their respective caskets, Merry brought it down with all her might. The flat of her boot-clad foot connected with the base of his neck. Peppy made a strange grunting sound as his body jerked forward. His cell phone flew from his hand, clanking on the pavement as it bounced away.
His face slammed into the damp concrete. Red droplets sprayed into the air as his nose and lips met the ground. He groaned again and tried to roll away.
Merry was faster.
Dropping down, she buried her knees in his back, her full weight centered right below where his rib cage ended. Peppy squirmed underneath her like a worm on hot blacktop in the middle of summer.
Grabbing a handful of Peppy’s thin, black hair, Merry yanked his head up, and then slammed it into the ground. His yelp of pain was muffled by the blood in his mouth and throat, and the sound of his teeth shattering. She repeated the movement until his arms quit flailing and no more grunts erupted.
He was out cold.
And his bare arm was exposed.
Can’t ask for it to get any better than this.
In one swift motion, she hopped off his back and crouched next to his arm. Finding his vein was simple, even in the dim alleyway. It stood, swollen and ugly from God-only-knows how many years of abuse. Merry held her breath as she buried the needle into it. She pushed the plunger all the way down, releasing the heroin she found in Joshua’s apartment months ago into Peppy’s body. The empty needle barely made a sound when she let it go and it fell onto the pavement.
Out of breath, Merry scrambled to her feet. She took several steps away from dealer of death’s limp body and picked up his cell phone from its resting place. In seconds, the movements memorized from hours of practice, she opened the back and yanked out the SIM card and shoved it into her pocket.  
In three steps, she reached his jacket. She emptied the pockets, taking all the drugs she found. After stuffing them in her waist pack, she tossed the paraphernalia around like confetti.
Peppy let out a slight moan while trying to turn his head. Dropping his jacket, she turned to look at him. His face was covered in dripping, thick red blood, dirt, and pebbles. She couldn’t decide what was worse, the gore all over him that she created or the fact it didn’t seem to faze her in the least.
Merry moved closer, mindful of the pools of blood surrounding the head of her prey. Flicking open his cell phone, she set it down inches from his bloodied hand. She punched in 9-1-1 but didn’t hit send.
“Hey, Peppy. Is this what you want? A chance to call for help before you overdose, or bleed to death from the ass-kicking I just gave you? Hmm? Well, here you go.”
She pointed to the phone, though she really didn’t know why. It was doubtful he was aware enough to comprehend her words, much less see. “I’ve even dialed for you. All you have to do is hit the send button. It’s right here by your hand. Come on, just reach out and grab it. Help is only a few inches away. Isn’t that what you want? What you crave? Help? Someone to rescue you from certain death?”
A slight groan was Peppy’s only response.
Every disturbing memory of the last six months flooded her mind.
Standing on the other side of the glass while the coroner pulled back the sheet, exposing Joshua’s pale body.
Derek holding her while she crumpled into a blubbering mess on the cold, concrete floor of the M.E.’s office.
Joshua’s body lying in the casket.
Her own anguished screams when Harold clutched his chest in agony and fell to the floor, dead before he collapsed next to their son’s coffin.
Picking out caskets for the two most important men in her life over the course of five days.
The memories infused Merry with righteous anger. She growled, “Guess what? That’s what every single junkie wants, and you don’t give it to them. You hand them death instead. Push their salvation away inch by inch with each hit you sell them.” The toe of her boot pushed the cell phone out of Peppy’s reach. “Just like I’m going to do to you.”
With a sick, twisted fascination, Merry watched while the dying Peppy tried to form words. His pathetic attempts to blink and wash away the blood clouding his vision weren’t working. His fingers wiggled as they fumbled around for the phone. As the drugs careened through his body, he looked like he’d become one with the blacktop. Blood oozed from his mouth. A bubble of air as he tried to speak popped.
The sounds of heels clacking on the ground caught Merry’s attention. The bastard’s last deal was close. Instead of finding herself a fix, the woman would turn the corner and discover bloody carnage.
Maybe the sight will help get her clean.
Merry leaned closer, her lips inches away from the monster’s blood-soaked ear. “That was for losing my husband. This is for killing my son.”
In a flash, she was on her feet. One final stomp to the back of his neck ended the life of Carlos “Peppy” Ramirez with a sickening crunch.
The sound of footsteps drew closer, so Merry quickened her pace. She bent down, grabbed the still-warm index finger which was coated in fresh blood, and scrawled a rival gang’s symbol on the pavement to his right.
With that, Merry turned and fled into the night.
One down. Many, many more to go.


Wow! What a fascinating thrill ride!


We'll be sure to check out this great crime thriller! Congrats on the new book, Ashley!


Readers, you can grab it on pre-order now! :)

About the Author:


Award-winning and International bestselling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.

Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley's love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance. focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker. For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.

Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film.

Her paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense and is also in production for a feature film entitled Foreseen.

Ashley's decided to delve into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, which released in January of 2015. The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, released in September of 2014. Ashley will be teaming up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her mom!) to pen a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, is due out the Summer of 2015.

Author Links: 

Movie site of FORESEEN (Adapted from Ashley Fontainne's The Lie): 
Movie site of NUMBER SEVENTY-FIVE (Adapted from Ashley's novel of the same name):

Ashley's Books:
Coming Soon (Pre-order):


Taking a Break from MLB

Yes, readers, that's right. I'm on hiatus for a while. I know I haven't posted for a bit, and that's really the reason why I...