Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guest Post: Katherine Harbour author of THORN JACK

(out today!)
June 24, 2014

We’re so excited to host Katherine Harbour, the debut author of THORN JACK, a modern retelling of the ballad Tam Lin. A cross between The Night Circus and The Secret History, THORN JACK is the beginning of a very exciting series about a college freshman who finds out the sleepy university town she has just moved to is anything but sleepy… or human, for that matter. She also meets a very alluring boy named Jack…

Katherine has kindly written a guest blog introducing THORN JACK, which comes out today in hardcover and ebook.

I began writing THORN JACK when I was seventeen—in the ‘80s, books about fairies were popular and I’d read the ballad ‘Tam Lin’ and other books inspired by it: Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard, Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock, Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin. I was intrigued by the idea of a girl rescuing her lover from ancient creatures who wanted to sacrifice him for their own benefit. I’d also heard Fairport Convention’s eerie cover of the ballad. What inspired me to retell ‘Tam Lin’ as a modern story wasn’t just the romance between the mortal girl and the mysterious knight, but the idea that the faery queen truly loved Tam Lin—‘Out then spoke the Queen of Fairies, and an angry woman was she; “Shame betide her ill-faired face, and an ill death may she die, for she’s taken away the bonniest knight in all my company.”’ A sacrifice must be something of value for it to be effective. In THORN JACK, Reiko Fata, the faery queen, loves Jack, her knight.

The idea of setting ‘Tam Lin’ in a resort/college town that’s a getaway for theater and film people, the wealthy and the artsy, seemed a perfect way to mask the Fatas’ (faeries) beauty, eccentric style, and lavish parties (faery revels). At the ballad’s beginning, there’s a warning about the ruins of Carter Hall being haunted: ‘“O I forbid you maidens all, that wear gold in your hair, to come or go by Carter Hall, for young Tam Lin is there.”’ It reminded me of those abandoned mansions, like Wyndcliffe, in upstate New York. In Tam Lin, the heroine is compelled to explore Carter Hall. In THORN JACK, Finn Sullivan, the heroine, is drawn to the Fata-haunted mansions of Fair Hollow.

In the ballad, the faeries’ sacrifice is to Hell. I made it a sacrifice to the Lord of the Dead, which better suited the book’s theme of battling death. In ‘Tam Lin’, the girl becomes pregnant. That seemed a desperate and sketchy reason for true love. Finn’s and Jack’s romance begins with a glamor, a spell. As Jack guides Finn through his mysterious world, their relationship evolves into a friendship, then love. In the ballad, and in THORN JACK, the girl rescues the boy.

I’d like readers to become lost in THORN JACK’s autumnal, college atmosphere, in the ghostly border world of the Fatas, and to enjoy spending time with the four main characters as they grow and save each other.

–Katherine Harbour, 2014

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Richard Matheson Dies

Just found out from Dan O'Bannon that Richard Matheson has died. More as I get it. He will be missed!

Friday, June 20, 2014


Midnight’s Captive
Donna Grant
St. Martin's, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250017277

In Ferness, Scotland two years ago Laura Black entered an inn owned by Charon Bruce. Immediately attracted to her, Charon hired her as his assistant so that he could see her all the time but also knows he will never tell her how he feels. As a six century old Warrior fighting the evil of Deirdre; her incarceration turned him into a monster who is now in love. She stares at him with love in her eyes but believes he suffers from PTSD though she does not know why and that he does not share her feelings.

Charon’s enemy Jason Wallace the druid plots his death; Dreagan Distillery informs a euphoric Laura that the pub can sell their scotch. However, as eerie events occur in Ferness, malevolent Jason, his wicked lover and dark Drough target Laura as the means to get to Charon who would risk death to keep the love of his life safe.

The latest Dark Warriors romantic Scottish fantasy (see Midnight’s Kiss and Midnight’s Temptation) is an exhilarating thriller starring an emotionally wounded warrior and a seemingly innocent mortal. The engaging storyline takes several surprising spins as secrets are revealed and brave Laura stands by her man and his allies against evil that she only recently learned existed. Harriet Klausner

The Seven-Petaled Shield
Deborah J. Ross
DAW, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756406219

The powerful Gelon army has Meklavar under siege. Severely wounded King Maharrad understands the invaders King Ar Cinnath Gelon will not negotiate as he needs the Meklavar monarch’s corpse to frighten the other small kingdoms into surrender. Maharrad tells his wife Queen Tsorreh she is the guardian who must flee with their fourteen year old son Zevaron and protect the te-Ketav heart stone of the legendary The Seven-Petaled Shield that must never fall into the hands of their adversary.

The city is overrun and her husband dead amidst the slaughter. The heir Prince Shorren tries to kill the Ar-King son in a suicide rush. As Shorren dies, Tsorreh and Zevaron flee with the te-Ketav praying they reach her home kingdom. However, the fall of Meklavar releases the Fire and Ice chaos that ancient King Khored and his six siblings defeated so many eons ago when they deployed the Seven-Petaled Shield.

The first tale of a new fantasy, the Seven-Petaled Shield is an exciting tale from the opening fall of the city though the adventures of the mother and son who are separated during their journey. Readers will appreciate this entertaining opening gamut as a critical inventive spin brings an exciting uniqueness to the good and evil quest theme. Harriet Klausner

Avenging Angel
Cynthia Eden
Kensington Brava, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758267658

In New Orleans, the Angel of Death Marna awakened in fear and pain as the shifter ripped off her wings. She tells the face that stares at her that she will kill him once she recovers; her rage is unbound against the shifters who tore off her wings. Police Detective shifter Tanner Chance knows Marna could kill with a touch, but is unafraid of her as he has faced many monsters in his life.

Two months after their first encounter, he arrests her for multiple brutal murders, but she persuades him she is not a vicious serial killer. They team up seeking the real predator who cleverly frames the wingless Angel of Death and turns panther shifter Tanner into a fallen rogue cop in trouble with NOPD. On the run and simultaneously in pursuit, Tanner and Marna fall in love.

The latest Fallen angel romantic urban fantasy (see Angel of Darkness and Angel in Chains) is a terrific paranormal thriller as Cynthia Eden’s supernatural Big Easy seems real. Although the overarching premise is a gender changing of the Angel Betrayed theme, the fabulous protagonists make this an engaging storyline as they go from vulnerable and distrusting to confident and loving. Tanner and fans will sing the Tavares’ song Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” while playing cat and mouse with a diabolical adversary. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

VA Press Release

June 17, 2014

Acting Secretary Gibson Initiates Process to Select New Veterans Health Chief

WASHINGTON – Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson today initiated the process of selecting the next head of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

“This is one of the most important jobs in government today,” said Acting Secretary Gibson. “This is the largest integrated healthcare system in the country. We need a leader who will be a change agent and deliver necessary reforms to provide our Veterans timely access to the world-class healthcare they’ve earned and deserve. The expert panel we’ve assembled to recommend our new health chief understands the urgency and the seriousness of the task ahead, and I’m grateful for their efforts.”

Beginning today, a commission comprised of nine healthcare experts and industry leaders will meet in Washington to assess a series of candidates to serve as the next Under Secretary for Health for the Veterans Health Administration.

The commission includes:

· Nancy Adams, RN, Major General Retired, American Academy of Nursing Fellow

· Garry Augustine, Washington Headquarters Executive Director, Disabled American Veterans

· Delos Cosgrove, M.D., President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic

· Lt. General Patricia Horoho, Army Surgeon General and Commander, U.S Army Medical Command

· Kenneth W. Kizer, M.D., M.P.H., Distinguished Professor and Director, Institute for Population Health Improvement, University of California Davis Health System

· Jennifer Lee, M.D., Virginia Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services

· John E. Prescott, M.D., Chief Academic Officer, Association of American Medical Colleges

· Jose D. Riojas, Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

· Bob Wallace, Executive Director, Veterans of Foreign Wars

Friday, June 13, 2014

Harriets Reviews

Passion’s Prey
A.C. Arthur
St. Martin's, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312549121

FBI Agent Xavier Santos-Markland the Topetenia jaguar-shifter works the deadliest predator cases mostly in the Washington D.C. area. He drops in at Athena’s topless where he watches Caprise Delgado perform an exotic dance that has him and the other patrons drooling. Though his senses are overwhelmed by his desire, Xavier realizes Rogue shifters, who abandoned the Etica code of ethics and deserted one of the five tribes to most likely join drug dealing Topetenia Sabar Tavares’ gang, are nearby. With no explanation, he escorts the hybrid dancer to safety where their mutual attraction is temporarily satiated though each craves more.

Xavier knows Caprise conceals something that frightens her from him. He offers his help but she rejects his aid, which angers and frustrates him as he fears for the woman he knows is his life mate. Her stalker continues to threaten her; as this hybrid killer also claims Caprise as his mate.

The latest Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy (see Temptation Rising and Seduction’s Shift) is an action-packed entry; as A.C. Arthur expands her realm by introducing other tribes and a new hybrid. The lead couple is a nice pairing of flawed feisty mates though their first encounter following her performance seems very doubtful; while the psychotic villain adds sinister tension to an exciting triangle of life and death. Harriet Klausner

Bite Me, Your Grace
Brooklyn Ann
Sourcebook, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402274442

In 1821 Duke Ian Ashton is going crazy for two reasons. First, as the Lord Vampire of London he must deal with the crazy fad caused by Dr. John Polidori's tale "The Vampyre" written over a weekend with the Shelley couple and Byron as the aristocracy goes vampyre. If he has to take any more bites of garlic, show up in daylight or prove you can see his reflection in a mirror, he may drain his host.

Second his neighbor, wannabe writer Angelica Winthrop, has been sneaking into his home and asking questions as she seeks a theme for her novel. Ian decides she will be the perfect cover of his true identity after he bites and marries her. However, even that goes wrong forcing him to find that damn Polidori and more difficult not to love his spouse while a slayer stalks anyone who acts differently with a stake first and questions later attitude.

Bite Me, Your Grace is a refreshing amusing yet dark Regency urban fantasy romance that uses the famous weekend ghost writing contest as the springboard for a fun tale. Fast-paced with a strong cast and a wonderful twist, readers will enjoy Brooklyn Ann’s fabulous fang frolic. Harriet Klausner

Flirting Under A Full Moon
Ashlyn Chase
Sourcebook, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402275692

The text message informs Boston Uncommon waitress Brandee Hanson that she has been dumped. Her reaction is to swear off men, but Sadie Maven, the aunt of the owner the bar, tells the despondent woman that she had a premonition and reads her Tarot Cards that insist Brandee’s true love is coming for her. One-night stand Nick Wolfensen enters the establishment.

Over a century old, the former cop who hates taking or giving orders, Nick tells his recently married twin brother Konrad (see The Werewolf Upstairs) that he has become a private investigator. BPD Captain Hunter arranges for Nick to search for the mayor’s kidnapped stepdaughter. The girl is a fire mage unaware of her paranormal nature as the first inclination occurs at the first solar eclipse following the onset of puberty. Brandee notices Nick consulting with Sadie on a case in which the missing person must be her twelve year old cousin Kate due to the lack of pigment in her hair making it white. She follows him and witnesses his shifting into a wolf, but Mother Nature and a vampire erase the evidence and her memory. When they kiss, Nick knows he met his mate, but fears her reaction when he explains what he is.

The latest Strange Neighbors urban fantasy romance (see The Vampire Next Door) is an entertaining Bostonian romp. Although neither Nick nor Brandee feel developed enough to sell the existence of his species (or for that matter other paranormal types), fans will enjoy the hundred and one years old werewolf and the twenty-something mortal falling in love while Flirting Under A Full Moon! Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Guest Post by Alexa Napier

Alexa Napier is one of our strongest voice in the Facebook Group "Sprayed and Betrayed- Those Exposed" which is a group where we discuss Agent Orange issues and the treatment that we have received at the Veterans Administration. I will probably share more of these as we continue to fight for the benefits and recognition that has been denied us since the 1970s and earlier.

I have never been too impressed with the VA system. I don't complain about the medical care that is given. The Vets now are not complaining about the medical care, they are complaining about not getting medical care. It seems the Vets have been dehumanized by the VA. They are not given the respect they deserve by many who work there. Not many cared what I had to say about the VA, it took CNN to make people listen and realize I was not just making it up.

It is far worse than most suspected. There will be criminal charges brought against those involved and there should be. The employees who would not have jobs at the VA if it were not for those they have, in many cases, killed. The problems go much deeper than just the waiting lists. It has been discovered "codes" have been used by employees to alert others about the Vet. They are not used for positive purposes, only negative.

It is now standing at 100,000 Vets who have been abused by the system, the lack of integrity on the behalf of so many. The VA has run amuck. No matter what they have done, there is no accountability. Why should they care about the people when it just doesn't matter what they do or say, how badly they may have screwed up a persons life with shabby work. There is no accountability. None. Soon, there will be such a thing and many will be finally be held accountable. It can take up to two to three years to have a claim reach someones desk. Then if denied, and the Vet appeals, that is another two to three years of someones life. Suicide to many seems a viable alternative to so many. All of what has happened is because of the bonus system. They are rewarded, and they are willing to lie to bet the bonus. That is going to change.

Those who are hurting are the boys we went to high school with. They were victimized once when they were sent to Vietnam as boys to do the dirty work of old men. They were victimized when they came home. They were not treated well, they had to fight their way out of airports. They could not get jobs. They were victimized by the spraying of agent orange, There were victimized by the VA and the lies that were told for 30 years about agent orange. In so many ways, they were victimized. And now again it is happening. It does not stop. So many had friends walk away from them, No one understood. They were told to wear civilian clothing as they traveled home. It was not safe to wear their uniforms.

They just kept taking whatever happened, and eventually they just accepted it all as what they had to expect. For the many who don't know, a diagnosis of health issues that are linked to agent orange is a death sentence. That is not an exaggeration. Over two million Vietnam Vets and Vietnam Era Vets have died from exposure. Three hundred and fifty die every day. They have died younger and quicker than any group of Veterans from any armed conflict in which America was a part. It is expected that WWII Vets will still be living when the last ao affected Vet dies. We as people, as citizens of this country, owe so much to those who served. or serving today. PTSD is real, agent orange is real. Yet so many stand by and say nothing, do nothing. If I do nothing else in my life, I will always be thankful I had the opportunity to speak out and be a catalyst to change in the lives of those who were once young, old too soon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

VA Visit

Had a visi ti the VA to follow-up on my stent and the over 200 blood pressure readings. Doubled two blood pressure meds, increased Lasix by 50%, increased zoloft to 150 daily and cut both my insulins by a total of 5ml per shot for a total of 25 units daily.

Will try to keep you better informed and get some ore reviews posted.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 1, 2014