Saturday, November 29, 2014

Mini Interview with Miranda Shanklin author of Soul Journey

Miranda Shanklin resides in Central Illinois with her husband and their two children. When she is not working at her day job as a paralegal, running her children to practices or supporting them at events she is writing. 

She has been an avid reader most of her life and has always dreamed of writing her own books someday. Now that her children are reaching their teenage years she is finding the time to sit down and chase her dream.

Miranda loves to hear your opinions and uses the feedback to improve. You can find her on Facebook *
Smashwords * Goodreads * B&N * Amazon or email her at

 How did you come up with the title? It just came to me. When I had the idea behind the book the name was just there.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? This is my first book so I really haven’t had any criticism yet. I have heard from quite a few people that they loved the book and that is the best compliment that I could ever receive. My goal is to write stories that people are able to lose themselves in. The fact that they are telling me that they really enjoyed it is the best feeling ever.  
What song/s would you say is the best fit for this series? Evanescence – Bring me to Life

You have multiple personalities, tell us about them. I am a mom so my world has revolved around my children that needed me. I was the kind of mom that would do without to make sure that my kids had everything they wanted (not just needed but wanted too). I have been giving and patient with them as they have grown.
Now that my children are becoming teenagers and no longer need (or want) me around as much I have found that I frequently get lost in my head. As my imagination has taken over I started to write to prevent from being the mom that kept my kids at home or followed them everywhere to keep them safe.

I am a professional. I have a degree for paralegal and have worked in law offices for the last ten years. The difference between the professional that interacts with people all day and the neurotic mess at my house as I realize my kids don’t need me as much is like night and day.

I also volunteer at the dance studio that my daughter competes for. I have become an assistant coach to a dance team and found that I really can be patient with other kids.

I am a mass of contradictions. I love to be there for my kids but I spend time worrying that I am falling behind on my writing. I support those I love but refuse to ask for help if my responsibilities get overwhelming. I long for help but when offered it I refuse it because it would be easier if I just did it myself.

What are your pet peeves or interesting things about you that you dislike? I have a tendency to want things my way. I get a little crabby when I have a certain way that I want things done but I am either unable to do them that way or someone changes it. I am a creature of habit so if my routine changes it takes me awhile to adjust. I wish I was more able to just go with the flow and not get stressed over the little things.

80’s or 90’s Music? 80’s It is what I grew up on.

Favorite phrase to say? I know, right?

Favorite color? Pink

Dream car? 1969 Ford Mustang convertible.

Favorite movie? Coyote Ugly. I don’t think I will ever find one that will take the place as my favorite over that one.

It has been many lifetimes since the cycle began.

The cycle that still haunts Annisa Lawson.

A spell cast in desperation to help, which only caused heartache.

Now, Annisa has found her way out of the varying repeats of her past; only to bring more danger to herself, and those around her. Now she must learn to survive with the help of her friends: Chase,

Penelope, and Landon have all gone through each life cycle with Annisa. Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering. Now that Annisa has broken the cycle of their collective punishment, she finds that she needs her friends more than ever to keep their enemies, known, and unknown, at bay. As the group of friends learn of their souls' journeys through their many life cycles, they must also learn to control the magick they have discovered within themselves and each other, in order to defeat the most feared assassin in their world. 

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"Every witch has an element at which they excel. It could be earth, air, fire or water. There is also Spirit, but this is a rare occurrence among our kind. That discussion will be for another time. Most have a small amount of ability in a second element but they all have one that their power manifests. That is all except for you four. You four were created to be the Counsel’s personal security, therefore, you were given the ability to use all four elements. You are the only ones with this ability. You are the most powerful of our kind. You were created with a bond that would hold you all together and ensure you would work as a team. The problem is that the Counsel didn't foresee that you would not just do what you were told and follow orders. They didn’t take into account your individual personalities. Your punishment was so harsh because they'd created a very powerful group with the intention of having complete control and quickly realized that they had no control. Now they had created their own threat when they'd been trying to protect against it. They wanted a group so powerful that no witch would be able to get by them and therefore the Counsel’s safety would be ensured."

"Your magick comes from your soul. It can never be taken away from you. Each element brings with it certain abilities. Earth is nurturing and can bring healing, understanding, growth and resilience. Air is helpful and can bring levitation, life, sustainability and perseverance. Fire is consuming and can bring heat, intensity, strong reactions and destruction. Water is flowing and can bring renewal, speed, cunning and adaptability."

I know those are all very broad terms and could mean so many things. You are all taking in a lot of information at once. Tonight we're going to start with earth. I am an earth user and I will show you some of the abilities that come with that. Each night this week we will go over a different element and show you what we can do. Keep in mind that it took us years of practice to get to the level we are now. Don't get frustrated if you're not able to do something that we show you. Sometimes it takes practice. Is everyone still with me and ready for me to move on?”

We all looked at each other with looks of excitement in our eyes. This is the part that we'd all been waiting for, to actually see magick at work and begin to learn how to work it ourselves. We all turned our eyes back to my dad and he smiled and continued with our first lesson.

This sounds great to me. :D  

How does it sound to you?

Don't forget to enter the Comment Incentive Giveaway. It is a great chance to win a book you'd like to have! The link can be found at the top of the page.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review ~ Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic by Lee Roland

What happens when a dysfunctional witch and a tough PI work together to save an aging apartment house filled with ghosts, dragons and one oversexed house plant?

Spirits, spells and mayhem…Magic rises in the Gramarye

Melian Devlin is a witch who often resorts to exotic and slightly illegal methods of acquiring money to maintain the 300-year-old Gramarye, the stone apartment house that’s her heart and home. Her life is a series of skirmishes that occasionally end with her behind bars. 

Titus Moran is a no-nonsense PI who makes big bucks busting insurance fraud schemes.  So how did he wind up in a tortuous battle to keep Melian out of jail?  Did the delightful young witch with her gray eyes and magic at her fingertips enchant him—or does the Gramarye hold greater mysteries.  

Titus will enter a new exciting world when he joins Melian in her quest to save the Gramarye.  Melian will fumble along in her usual impulsive way, leaving a trail of disasters behind her.   If they’re lucky, they might survive.

Casual Curses and Meticulous Magic

The Gramarye Series, Book I

Lee Roland

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Highland Press                  

Date of Publication:  September 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9916439-2-9

Number of pages: 292 
Word Count:  92,000

Cover Artist:  Iris Hunter

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Excerpt: Chapter 1

Melian Devlin considered her arrest late Friday evening an ill omen, a portent of dire thingsto come. At the very least, it would ruin her weekend. Her bad luck had continued after her arrest when she’d found herself standing before Judge Franklin P.O. Merkle. Merkle’s exact words were, “You again?”

He’d set her bail at an obscene five thousand dollars.

Psychic readings weren’t illegal in the City of Ashburn, Florida, but selling magic potions  skirted the legal line of medicine, hence her arrest. And then there was the sticky issue of not having a business license—again. Minor infractions. So why did Merkle have such a burr up his ass? Maybe because he was working late on Friday? The malicious cop with an aversion to psychics hadn’t helped either.

Standing behind bars at ten o’clock that night, listening to her Great Uncle Will royally chew her butt, confirmed Mel’s dismal assessment of the situation.

“Psychic?” Will’s deep voice rumbled the word. His tired eyes watched her from a weather worn face. “Mel, honey, you ain’t no psychic. You’re a witch. You’re supposed to use magic.”

He shook his head. “I understand why you can’t get a regular job, but can’t you find something irregular you’re good at? Or at least something legal?” He glanced over his shoulder and pitched his voice lower. “You should’ve marked a cop soon as he walked in the door, then spelled him out of making an arrest. You’re allowed basic self-defense. I taught you that.”

Mel winced at Uncle Will’s words. He had taught her. She was simply incredibly incompetent at casting spells and making potions, and utterly terrified of making a mistake. What if she hurt someone? Pretending to be a psychic and selling a few harmless herbal elixirs was easier—and safer.

They’d put her in a simple holding cell inside the precinct station after she’d seen the judge. The arrangement gave detainees a chance to post bail before they moved them to the main jail downtown, something Mel had hoped to avoid. Prospects didn’t look good.

The sparse cell had a single bench bolted to the floor and air filled with the odor of acrid, nose-searing bleach. Her cellmates, two tough prostitutes, sat on the bench staring straight at the wall. Imperfect witch she might be, but she could still deal with the bullying they tried when she first came in.

“Will, please,” Mel begged. “Go talk to Milo for me. Give him an IOU. I’ll get the money some way.” Milo the Bail Bondsman, her father’s second cousin, usually handled her bail. Milo hadn’t returned any of her numerous calls.

“Yeah. Sure.” Will laughed, but it didn’t sound funny. “Gettin’ money some way is what landed you here. I can hear Milo now. Cousin Melian? She told my Granny Panopoulos to put all her money on a horse named Show-Too in the third race and—”

“I told her thirty dollars to show on the number three horse, not… Oh, hell.” She wrapped her hands around the bars to steady herself.

Granny Panopoulos had cried to Mel about not being able to pay her mortgage and buy food in the same month. She figured Granny could lose thirty dollars and learn an excellent lesson about the futility of gambling. How was Mel to know the woman had fifty thousand dollars tucked in her mattress and a persistent bookie looking over her shoulder? Oh, right, she was supposed to be a psychic.

“Okay, girl, here’s the deal.” Will shoved his hands in his pockets like he always did when he had to deliver bad news. “I’ll get you out on Monday—” “Monday?”

“Yep. I’m not going to call Milo on a Friday evening or ruin his weekend. And I don’t trust anyone else.” Will’s head bobbed. His sorrowful expression tore at her. His eyes remained bright and his mind-dagger sharp, but time had worn his aging body. He loved her, and she shouldn’t have troubled him.

“Ya’ know Mel...” He sighed. “Honey, you’re twenty-seven years old. Couple of days and nights in jail won’t hurt. ‘Bout time you learned a lesson. Past time, in fact. While you’re there, think about having to stay longer, what might happen then.” He turned and shuffled out of the room.

Mel leaned her forehead against the cold hard bars. What a stinking mess. She wasn’t a true psychic, but the power, the magic she lived by, occasionally gave her glimpses into the situations surrounding people. A haphazard thing she couldn’t control, but between it and the potions, she made a little money—as long as some cop with an attitude didn’t arrest her.

Mel had paid little attention when the nervous young man with dark, curly hair entered her low-rent storefront room four hours ago. He had a sweet, shy smile and almost pretty face. Not a hint of a cop in him. He paid her forty dollars for a reading and asked her if he would ever find true love. His precise words. “True love.” That alone should have tipped her off. She felt sorry for him and tried to sell him a magic potion. Only a twenty-dollar mixture of Vitamin B and Ginseng, but with the power of suggestion, it might be enough to adjust his outlook on life. He was far too good-natured and attractive to be alone. Then his partner had charged in and gleefully busted her. It didn’t take much to make some cops happy.

Lee Roland is a full time writer who lives in North Central Florida. She loves the peaceful rural area where she shares a home with three small dogs who think they are pit bulls and an evil cat with sharp claws.


Lee writes stories of urban fantasy and paranormal romance where strong men and women battle the wickedness hiding under the surface of the modern world.  Her characters are passionate in life and love and are formidable enemies to the malevolent criminals in their worlds.

Her first series, the Earth Witches, was published beginning in 2011 by NAL.  Her website, offers samples of the Earth Witches books and information on their world. There are short stories and news of any upcoming books and events.

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My Thoughts:

I have a feeling that this series will get better with each book. It was an intriguing tale of witchcraft, sentient beings that are found in weird places, a building that is powerful and important, weird tenants, a witch that is only mediocre in her powers as our heroine, cops, secrets, agendas, and lots more.

Mel our heroine was actually quite great in my opinion. She was caring and stubborn. She always seemed to put others ahead of herself and got into a lot of trouble because of it. This is where the cops come into the picture. ;-)

Drake, one of said cops, despises her from the get go because she is pretending to be a psychic when he catches her. He thinks that she is a con artist.

One of her uncles, arranges for her to get out of jail and tells her that she must repay his generosity by doing him a favor or else he will make certain that she is put back behind bars.

She has no choice but to agree. Enter Titus Moran. His mother has agreed to marry Mel's uncle. Uncle Rat, as Mel lovingly calls him, coerces Titus into watching over Mel.

I won't tell you more but everyone plays their part. There are surprises, some steam, lots of peculiar creatures and magic and of course, the Gramarye.

If this sounds good, and how could it not, then you'll want to read it!

I received an ecopy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. It was wholly enjoyable. I look forward to seeing what happens next!

Don't forget to enter the Comment Incentive Giveaway. It is a great chance to win a book you'd like to have! The link can be found at the top of the page.