Re-release of Soul Awakened by Jean Murray

Book 2 in Jean Murray’s Key to the Cursed series is available again!

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Kendra, an Egyptologist and demi-god in waiting, is the key to unlocking Bakari, the Egyptian God of Death, from his cursed slumber. Desperate to free him, she inadvertently binds herself to the god with a spell that only death will undo. To save Bakari from himself, she may have to sacrifice her innocence, and possibly her soul, before he becomes his family’s worst enemy.


Bakari awakens to a world at war and a beautiful woman who has tethered his soul to hers. In the wake of his self-destruction Kendra is his only hope of salvation, but another has vowed to keep Bakari from the one thing he craves most– his Parvana. His butterfly.


Night Owl Reviews: Reviewer’s Top PICK/ 5 Stars (Abigail, Feb2013) : “I know other readers are going to love this series as much as I do. Get settled in for a thrilling paranormal tale.”

Bitten by Paranormal Romance, Ollie (Feb2013): 5/5 Alpha Howls, Hot

“I don’t know where to begin to describe the absolutely marvelous job that the author does in not only creating a wonderful world with so much depth and detail, but a story line the has the mystery and intrigue that will keep you glued to the pages.”


Releases July 1, 2015

Get your copy today and have it delivered to your Kindle July 1st.



Kendra commanded herself to march straight out the door. Enough of this bleeding heart stuff. If only she could take that next step toward freedom. She sighed heavily. Who was she fooling? She wasn’t going anywhere other than straight to his bed. Heck, she had bled, almost died, and ran naked into his frigid subconscious in less than twenty-four hours of knowing him.

She had no sense of self-preservation.

Bakari lay in the center of the enormous bed. The size of two kings put together. She couldn’t very well assess him from her vantage point. Climbing in bed with him uninvited caused her heart to flutter. What if Bomani walked in? How would she explain this?

Irritated with her thoughts, she stepped on the sideboard and hoisted herself on the thick plush mattress. The bed barely moved or compressed under her dainty weight. She didn’t want to wake him or least that was the plan.

Check on him and go. Yep.

Thankfully, he didn’t move as she crept closer on her hands and knees. His body contracted tighter and he shook his head against the covers. Maybe she could break the nightmare with a light touch. It seemed to lessen his pain before in his cell.

With her weight on her right hand and knees, she reached out and gently brushed his damp black hair out of his face. Surprisingly, it was soft and shiny now and all the white had faded. He must have washed it sometime before she arrived.

She moved her knees forward and sat back on her heels with her hands on her thighs. Too scared before to take in his features, she measured his face in an unrushed appreciation. His cheeks had filled out from last night. The muscles in his jaw twitched, as he clenched and unclenched his teeth in his sleep. His skin had warmed to an olive tone. Not bad for what little food he had eaten.

She traced the angle of his cheekbone to his full jaw with her fingertip. He had Asar’s facial structure. Her finger stopped at his chin. She mentally traced the line of his mouth. His lips were perfect in size and shape. She pressed her lips together and wet them with her tongue.

Startled, she snapped her gaze away. Why the heck was she wondering what it would be like to kiss him? She had really lost her marbles. A virgin, but not a saint? Bad girl, she scolded herself. Now as she looked at herself kneeling uninvited on a man’s bed while he slept, it seemed even dirtier. She needed to have her head examined.

Holding her breath, she placed her palms on the mattress and pushed away toward the edge of the bed. She was getting the heck out of here. Her toes breached the outer seam.

A low growl preceded large hands clamping on her shoulders and flipping her in the air. The ceiling and black silk sheets flashed in her field of view before her back found the mattress and her head flopped into the pillow. She yelped as Bakari’s hard male body pressed her firmly into the padding. In one hand he pinned her wrists above her head. Despite being severely underweight, his torso and pelvis heavily restrained her.

“Did you see something you did not like, Parvana?”

Ready to read more Key to the Cursed Series?

Just click pre-order for the next book!

Series Pre-order / Release schedule

Soul Reborn – Book 1

Pre-order NOW / Release April 1st

Soul Unbound – Book 3

Pre-order on July 1st / Release Oct 1st

Soul Unleashed – Book 4

Pre-order on Oct 1st / Release Jan 1st

Soul Sacrificed – Book 5

Pre-order on Jan 1st / Release Apr 1st

“Only the strongest love can unlock the souls of the Underworld.”


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In her pursuit of a nursing degree, Jean Murray aspired to see the world and joined the Navy. At the end of 2011 she said a heart-breaking goodbye to her Navy family and retired after twenty years of military service. Although her dreams of writing full time have yet to come true, she continues her writing journey and draws inspiration from her travels abroad. She enjoys spending time with her family and of course, writing about the “Carrigan sisters and their mates, Gods of the Underworld,” to bring you the next installment of the Key to the Cursed series.

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Interview with author Lia Mack

So excited that Lia Mack’s first novel, Waiting for Paint to Dry, is now available! Lia used to belong to my critique group and I read an early version of part of the book. I imagine it’s much different now and I’m looking forward to reading it! Lia was kind enough to answer a few questions so we can get to know more about this debut author.

lia-mack-waiting-for-paint-to-dryFor the past decade, Matty Bell has lived safe in a self-made monochromatic life of work-eat-sleep-survive. Living vicariously through her best friend Claire’s perfect life wasn’t the plan, nor her ideal. However, Matty learned long ago that it’s easier to run and hide from life than to deal with the pain of the post-traumatic stress she’s suffered from since being raped at sixteen.

When Claire announces her family is moving, she asks Matty to come too. Having grown up Navy, Matty’s no stranger to picking up and starting over. However, moving half-way around the world to play nanny to Claire’s children doesn’t sound like the new beginning Matty yearns for. Nor does she want to leave without first confronting her fears and coming full-healing-circle. She can’t let another decade slip by before she’s able to trust again.

Endorsed by writer/director Angela Shelton, WAITING FOR PAINT TO DRY is a late coming of age story of what it takes to find yourself again.

Get your copy on Amazon
Your purchase will raise funds for RAINN: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (1.800.656.HOPE) 

Q: Where were you born? Are you the kind of person who likes to move around a lot, or do you prefer to live in one place?

A: Thank you for not asking, “Where are you from?” I’m a military brat – go Air Force! – so answering where are you from is not we like to explain. Unless, of course, it’s a fellow military brat. If that’s the case, let’s swap stories!

I was born in Wichita, Kansas, although I don’t remember anything about it as I was two when we left. We went on to Detroit, Michigan from there, and I enjoyed living close to my extended family until we moved when I was age 8. From there, it was onto Austin, Texas. Talk about a wake-up call in the insect department. Scorpions, anyone? At the end of 5th grade we moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. And I fell in love. Mountains. Skiing. Hiking. Basically all outdoor activities in the most beautiful place on Earth. After 7th grade I was okay leaving (with plans on returning) because my father received orders for Italy! We have family in Italy, so it was a wonderful experience. Then, for my final 2 years of high school, we moved to Maryland. Besides a short hiatus living in southern California, that’s where I am today. Baltimore, Maryland.

Let me say it took 20 long years to get used to being in one location. But I’ve grown to love Maryland. Only, as I stated before, I can’t wait to get back to Colorado. Or California. Either would be fine with me. I can’t seem to be ‘happy’ in one spot for long. I guess every military brat feels the same.

Q: What sparked your interest in writing? How long have you been writing?

A: I hate it when writers answer this question this way, but I’m going to do it. I’ve always written. I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing. Except, I didn’t know it was something to write the way I did, or come up with stories and settings and characters the way I did. I thought everyone wrote that way.

It wasn’t until my junior year in high school that I realized I had something special when it came to writing. I had this great creative writing teacher that year. She had us do visualizations and freewriting and whatnot. Totally didn’t follow the curriculum. Loved it.

One day, our assignment was to, “Open a new notebook and write a short story….Go!” That was it. I remember becoming so consumed with the task that I didn’t come up for air until I heard her say, “And, stop! Turn them in.” Only, when I saw the papers being sent up from my classmates behind me, I noticed something. All their writings were short. Five pages here, 10 pages there. And they all had the same element: THE END. Mine didn’t have THE END anywhere. And it wasn’t short at all! Instead of writing a short story I had ravenously written the first two chapters of a novel!

Needless to say, I felt I failed the class. But the following day, when the teacher read my piece, classmates who regularly slept through class were 100% absorbed into the story. When she reached the end of the second chapter and said, “That’s it”, the class exploded. “What do you mean that’s it!!!” They were so intrigued by the story and the character that, even at the end of the school year they were still asking me, “What happens next?!” To this day, I have no clue where the story came from. It just ‘appeared’ the moment she said GO.

That’s when I knew. I had to write.

Q: Your novel, Waiting for Paint to Dry, describes your main character’s very personal journey. What do you hope readers will take away from the story?

A: That, no matter how much of a mess your life is in or you personally are in, you can find your way out of the dark and into the light. You can and will find peace. You can and will find fulfillment. No one is permanently broken, no matter that quite a few of us feel that way at some times in our lives. Things happen. Shit happens. But how you respond to it will define you. So make sure you take charge of how you react to life.

You can build your life the way you want, peace, love, light and all.

Q: How long did it take you to finish the book? How many drafts did you write before you were satisfied?

A: They say it takes 5-10 years to write and publish your first novel. With Waiting for Paint to Dry, I was right on track. Started writing this back when my son was 9 months old. He’s 11 years old now.

How many drafts? 200? 300? I lost count of how many drafts/revisions this book went through. It was a few years long process to go from final manuscript to publishable manuscript. Why? It’s not because I can’t write. I can write your pants off – and some of my characters can attest to that (wink, wink)… No, it took me so long because I wasn’t being honest with myself. I wasn’t pushing my emotional boundaries enough to reach the type of goal I wanted for this book.

Instead of digging deep, I spent years toying with a version that was only surface skimming. My early readers hated it. I hated it. I just didn’t know what to do, and I was afraid to go any deeper. Truth hurts.

But then I read Stephen King’s On Writing and it changed me. Told me to tell the truth and that’s all it took.

This is not a church, this is not political. This is writing. Tell the truth.

Very freeing words.

Once I resolved to be honest – no matter what – the raw emotion of my character came out in such a way that I was moving my own self to tears and laughter. THAT is writing from your guts. I will never go back.

Q: How would you describe your path toward publication?

A: A bit mangled, but hey… what good is ever easy?

I sent out the usual hundreds of query letters and got back the usual hundreds of rejections like anybody. Then one day, my #1 pick literary agent from New York asked for a partial. Then a full. Then my #2 pick asked for a full. It was exciting times! I kept sending out queries because I had yet to hear the yes I needed for publication. Of course my queries from that point included the little full manuscript with___ blurb that gives your query letter that little bit of pop!

Then it happened. My #1 agent said yes. YES! She hated first person, present tense, but my writing pulled her in so fully that she didn’t realize it was 1st person, present POV until she was on the last chapter. She read it in a weekend. She loved it. Loved it! And was taking it to the big guns for approval to move forward. Best. Phone. Call. Ever.

Then bad news.

They liked it too, but it wasn’t commercial enough. Too many ‘experimental’ elements, could I kill off the first 5 chapters? And this certain character? And maybe just start at chapter 10 so it’s ACTION, ACTION, ACTION from beginning to end? High concept (even for women’s fiction). That’s what they wanted. So naturally, I rewrote the manuscript to suit their needs. It was NY! I was sure this was my ticket to success as a published author.

Then I got another yes in the mail. This one from a small traditional press out of Arkansas – Pen L Publishing. They loved it in its original form and wanted to publish. But I was certain they’d like the NY version instead. More commercial, right? Well, Pen L hated it. Their words? The manuscript has lost its soul.

That was pretty deep. And gave me pause. Lost its soul?? I had to read the two versions back to back to see what they meant. And sure enough, the NY version was commercial, but it lacked soul, purpose. Namely THE PURPOSE in which I had written it. But I had a possible NY yes… Did I want to sacrifice my goal, my purpose – to help inspire and empower sexual abuse survivors – just to jump start my writing career by going the NY publishing route? I was green, so I supposed it was the only way to go.

So I thought it over, with both contracts in hand, for a good solid month. The best contract for my career? Or the best contract for this book. Because the next book would be way different. Much more commercial.

But this book?

In the end, I had to keep my story’s soul intact. I had written the story with a purpose. And that purpose helped me transform a mediocre, surface skimming storyline into something that could actually help someone out of the darkness and into the light. Out of their head and into their life. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do just that. So I went with Pen L Publishing. Haven’t looked back.

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A: Just write! Writing is the EASY PART. And yes, that’s supposed to scare the shit out of you. Publishing is the blood of the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get a book from inspiration to publication.

So, stop crying about how hard it is to write, you have no time, bla, bla, bla…

Writing, my friend, is the easy part.


Q: Name a few authors who have inspired you and describe why.

A: #1, Angela Shelton. Her whole mantra of ‘finding your sword of trauma’ and ‘using it for good’ is the whole reason I started writing this book in the first place. She inspires so many people to lead joyful, meaningful lives – no matter what they’ve been through. I love her. She’s my super hero!

#2, Elizabeth Guilbert. Anyone who writes about French kissing a banana tree in the middle of the night after dance meditating on a rooftop to find themselves is key in my book. Plus I like how she infuses spirituality (not religion) into her writing in a way that is approachable and useful.

#3, Barbara Delinsky. She’s been my favorite writer for a while. And she’s been responding to my writerly question laden emails for years. It’s so nice to have a report with a fellow author. Especially such a high profile one as Delinsky. I hope to one day have as many novels under my belt as she.

Q: What are you currently writing?

A: Unlike Waiting for Paint to Dry, which is a story about a woman escaping Baltimore’s humid summer heat, I’m now writing a novel that is solely based in Baltimore. In the fall though. I haven’t gotten the title down yet, but it would make the NY agents happy. ACTION, ACTION, ACTION. And it’s not exactly the emotional journey of a woman, but then again it is. So it might still be construed as women’s fiction. The main character is male. And he’s stuck between two worlds.

That’s all you’ll get from me!

Q: Coffee, tea, or hard liquor? (or all three?)

A: Coffee? Only when I’m in Italy. For some reason it just tastes better there and it’s the only place on Earth that I’ve found where I can find a good cappuccino at all hours of the day. Autostrada cappuccino is the best!

Tea? Absolutely every day of the year. I love tea. A good green tea with honey and lemon? Yum!

And hard liquor? Tequila all the way, baby J

Q: What books are you currently reading or on your to-be-read list?

A: I always like to start off the writing process of my next book by diving into others. So on my list (in addition to the research reading I’m doing) is:


Q: And now for the bonus fluff question: If you could be a character in your one of your favorite novels, which character would you be and why?

A: It would have to be Alice in Alice in Wonderland. You mean to say I can eat a little cake and shrink? Drink a little drink and grow? Have wild adventures and then get to wield a sword to kill off a dangerous dragon?

I’ll take that any day.

About Lia:

Lia-21A ceaseless cheerleader of the underdog and hopeless romantic, I’m a proud member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and Maryland Writers Association. In addition to my debut novel WAITING FOR PAINT TO DRY, my creative non-fiction has been seen in such publications as The Washington Post, Nickelodeon Jr. Magazine, Advances in Bereavement Magazine and Nesting Magazine. I am also a guest blogger at author/activist Angela Shelton’s, a blog dedicated to inspiring and empowering sexual abuse survivors.

You can visit me anytime online at

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Re-release of The Devil Made Me Do It by Shawna Romkey

Book 2 in Shawna Romkey’s Speak of the Devil series is now available for pre-order and will be officially released on June 15! And another gorgeous cover!


The Devil Made Me Do It
By Shawna Romkey

Book two in the Speak of the Devil series

The demons strike back!

Lily is working with the angels to stifle the last of the demon outbreaks and to figure out how to stop the Silence of God, so life can get back to boring normality. But all hell breaks loose when she’s stolen from school and brought face to face with the devil himself. Lily has to find her way back home to Luc, crack the prophecy that breaks the curse silencing God, and figure out how she and Luc can ever really be together; but Lucifer has other plans for her that don’t include her ever getting out of Hell intact.

Romance | Paranormal | Teen | Young Adult | YA | Fantasy | Angels | Demons
| Devils | New Adult | NA

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About Shawna Romkey

SR (3)22Shawna grew up around farms in the heart of Missouri but went to the University of Kansas, was raised in the US but now lives on the ocean in Nova Scotia with her husband, two sons, one rescue dog and one overgrown puppy from hell. She’s a non-conformist who follows her heart.

She’s taught English at the university and secondary levels for close to twenty years and can’t quite fathom how all of her students have grown up, yet she’s managed to stay the same.  She’s a huge geek and fan of Xena, Buffy and all kick ass women, and loves to write stories that have strong female characters.


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Introducing Gray Corbie Press (that’s me!)

There are so many things to think about when you decide to self-publish–cover design, formatting, pricing–and add into the mix the question of should you create an imprint name. Amazon and CreateSpace offer the option of using an imprint name when you self-publish with them. I have several indie author friends who have done that and have created a logo for the imprint that appears on their books just as you would see with a traditional publisher. Very professional looking. I have several other indie author friends who used their own name as their publisher in their Amazon listing–equally professional because as self-pubbed authors we should be proud of our accomplishments. I did some research online and found both options to be fairly prevalent. The big no-no is creating an imprint with the intention of fooling people that you have a publisher, as if you are ashamed to be self-published. A quick Google search will tell you if that’s the case if you really want to know, but who cares these days? While there may be some lingering bias against self-published authors (to me it seems more like a bias against bad books, and sadly there are a lot of poorly edited and formatted books out there), self-pubbed authors are selling an awful lot of books and giving the traditional publishers a run for their money.

I went back and forth a bit and ultimately decided I would create an imprint. It seemed like a good branding opportunity because the goal is to publish more books and if someday I decide to write in another genre, at least all of my books with have this in common.  I had a lot of fun coming up with a name and a design. Why Gray Corbie Press? (Because all of the other names I thought of were already taken? LOL) Corbie is a Scottish word for raven and I have a fondness for ravens. I like the result and can’t wait to use it in future books!


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Book reviews: Farewell to Jorg Ancrath

Finished the last two books in Mark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series. Dark, gritty, and highly recommended!

King of Thorns (The Broken Empire, #2)King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jorg Ancrath, I just can’t quit you!

Mark Lawrence has done it again with book 2 of the Broken Empire series. Jorg is back, a little more grown up and mature, but still the same Jorg we grew to know and love (or despise at times) in Prince of Thorns. Only now the stakes are higher and Jorg seems to have developed a bit of a conscience. Loved the switching between past and present and the mystery of the box. And I have to say I cheered a bit at the end. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Emperor of Thorns (Broken Empire, #3)Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“This is where the wise man turns away. This is where the holy kneel and call on God. These are the last miles, my brothers. Don’t look to me to save you. Don’t think I will not spend you. Run if you have the wit. Pray if you have the soul. Stand your ground if courage is yours. But don’t follow me.

Follow me, and I will break your heart.”

Oh, yes, I would follow you, Jorg, but only because I’d be afraid not to.

Mark Lawrence has done it again with Emperor of Thorns, the conclusion of the Broken Empire trilogy. Jorg has matured a bit in this last book. He’s married, he’s going to be a father (lots of good reflections on fatherhood in this book), and he seemed a lot more introspective this time around. Maybe it’s because his goal of becoming emperor is within sight, and either he wins or he dies. And it breaks your heart a little because Jorg doesn’t sugar coat anything. Don’t get me wrong, the impulsive, brutal Jorg is still here, and every time you think maybe he’s changed, bam–he’s back into Jorg mode and blood will be spilled. But he understands what he’s done and in this book we see the depths of his pain, even as he makes no excuses for his actions.

I won’t give any spoilers, but we do see more of the empire in this book, more Katherine and Miana (imagine being stuck in a carriage with the two of them!), and more of the mysterious Builders.

When I was about 91% finished I had to stop and put it aside for a little while. Not because I’d lost interest, but because I was sure that things were going to go really badly for Jorg. I wanted desperately for him to find some peace or a tiny bit of happiness. You’ll have to read the book to find out if he does, but I will say that the ending took me by surprise and blew me away. It was perfect. Jorg has definitely taken a place as one of my favorite fantasy characters. And I’m sure if he had his way he’d pick off the other contenders one by one.

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