Monday’s Three: Under Nine, Under Five, Under One {10/31/11}

It’s Monday ~ A brand new week is ahead of us. Let’s start it off with three Frugal Finds for our Kindles!

Under Nine: Breaking Dawn (The Twilight Saga Book 4), Stephenie Meyer {$7.99}

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed… forever?

The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.

The average customer review is currently 3.5 stars {5,571 reviews}.


Under FiveA Modern Witch (A Modern Witch Series: Book 1), Debora Geary {$3.99}

Can you live 28 years without discovering you’re a witch?

Lauren is downtown Chicago’s youngest elite realtor. She’s also a witch. She must be – the fetching spell for Witches’ Chat isn’t supposed to make mistakes. So says the woman who coded the spell, at least.

The tall, dark, and handsome guy sent to assess her is a witch too (and no, that doesn’t end the way you might think). What he finds in Lauren will change lives, mess with a perfectly good career, and require lots of ice cream therapy.

A Modern Witch is a full length novel, 81,000 words or about 300 pages.  Light contemporary fantasy with a good dose of humor, a little romance, and characters you won’t want to leave.

The sequel, A Hidden Witch, is also now available!

Debora Geary is working on several more books expected out in 2011, if the kids don’t spill any more water on her laptop.

The average customer review is currently 4.5 stars {233 reviews}.


Under One: Prior Sins, DJ Gross {$0.99}

He hunts monstrous criminals

Psychologist and Oxford University Professor Hadrian Prior helps the British police catch violent criminals. Understanding the dark impulses that drive men to maim and kill comes easily to him. When he temporarily swaps teaching positions with a University of Michigan colleague, Hadrian assumes he’ll be on a sabbatical from crime. Then a series of disturbing assaults occur on campus and the Ann Arbor police ask him to consult on the case. Pursuing a link between the perpetrator and ancient mythology leads Hadrian to Sarah Roth. His reaction to her challenges his long held assumption that emotional intimacy is beyond him.

She believes she’s a monster

University of Michigan Classics Professor Sarah Roth dreams of blood and death. Her mother warned her to never share her dreams or she’d be locked away. Sarah pours her passion into teaching as a relationship is out of reach. When Hadrian approaches her for information, she is shocked by her attraction to him. Hadrian is dangerous to her but the demons inside her like to live dangerously. As Sarah struggles to keep her distance from Hadrian, her dreams become more vivid and violent.

The real monster is hunting her

Someone on campus is secretly obsessed with Sarah. He is recreating the Labors of Hercules, violent feats of power and strength, to prove worthy of her love. Once he’s completed his quest, Sarah will be his forever.

The average customer review is currently 4.5 stars {7 reviews}.

Click on the links or covers above to read reviews or purchase this Monday’s Three Frugal Finds Under Nine from Amazon!

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Shakespeare’s Blood, Peg Herring {$2.99} + Check to See if You’re a Giveaway Winner!

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Peg Herrings Frugal Find Under Nine:

The giveaway winners for Shakespeare’s Blood are below –  If you didn’t win, I encourage you to read all about the title below, and grab it at the Kindle Store for $2.99!

Congrats to the Tuesday Giveaway Winners!






Description of Shakespeare’s Blood:

Mercedes Maxwell is thrown into a chilling chase across Britain when she discovers a book that makes puzzling claims about Shakespeare, spies, and Spanish treasure. Suspected of murder, Mercedes must solve the book’s riddles to prove her innocence and escape a murderer determined to conceal the secrets of Shakespeare’s blood.



Peg just never let’s you down. This is an engrossing novel with lots of twists, historical flavor, and a fascinating theory. Just read it for yourself. It stimulates your mind as it entertains.

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Shakespeare’s Blood currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars. Read the reviews here!

An excerpt from Shakespeare’s Blood:

Chapter One

1596 A.D.

Kirkfort Willie Reid followed his henchman down the stone stairs, watching his step carefully lest he slip on the slimy surface or tread on something disgusting. Circling the moss-encrusted well, they turned down a passage barely high enough to navigate at a crouch, where he was wary of his head as well as his step.

Finally they came to a rough wall constructed across the passage end, forming a tiny cell. A horizontal slit somewhere above let in a narrow ray of light, and in it sat a man, hunched and still. As footsteps sounded outside his prison he looked up briefly, his ruined face catching the light. Willie’s man took a key from a hook ten feet back, tantalizingly visible but out of the prisoner’s reach. He moved to unlock the door, but Reid gestured a curt negative. The stench was bad enough from outside the cell.

The prisoner had a high forehead and a pale face that formed a perfect oval. A nose that had been long and slender was misshapen now, and breath wheezed through it laboriously. His bones stood out sharply, the cheeks hollow, the once muscular frame shrunken. Eyes that had once sparked with fire and good humor now were dim, like lamps about to sputter and go dark. He did not rise to meet his visitors, apparently having no hope of mercy.

“Have ye considered, Johnny?” Reid called through the grated door. “Ye dinna look well. A bit o’ venison or an apple’d serve better than bread and water, would it nae?”

There was no answer from the prisoner, who studied something much more important to him than the outlaw Scot who held his life in his hands. Willie had seen the focus of his prisoner’s interest, had in fact inspected it carefully. It was a small wooden box, about six by eight by three inches, containing a sheaf of papers which John studied intently whenever the light permitted. After he’d scanned them himself Willie had ordered a minute examination by his clark, but neither he nor the learned fool could explain why they were so important to John.

The outlaw, dressed warmly in breeks and wrapped in a heavy woolen cloak, shivered in the dank that the prisoner seemed no longer to notice. “Come nae, Johnny. A bit o’ help from ye and I am a happy man. I will set ye free and gie ye food, real food. Cook’s roastin’ one o’ th’ new turkeybirds for dinner, a fine meal. T’would be sae easy t’ hae yer freedom.” The mere mention of the meal made Willie’s mouth water, and he rubbed his ample stomach.

Without looking up the man spoke with some effort, loosened and missing teeth making it difficult to enunciate clearly. “You do not intend me to leave this place, Reid, as we both know well. It makes not a whit of difference if I tell you what you want to know or I do not.”

It was true. They had beaten and starved him. He was skeletally gaunt and his left shoulder was broken, the arm held painfully against his side. But they had met with no success. Reid noted that the captive no longer denied that he knew what they wanted him to tell. He simply had decided to die rather than do it.

“I know ye spoke wi’ Robert Maxwell,” Willie tried. “Th’ auld rogue went missing right after. Ye got what ye wanted fro’ him, and I’ll get it fro’ you as well!”

“I doubt that.” John spoke mildly, with no fire.

The burly outlaw’s jaw clenched, and for a moment he considered ordering another beating to force what he sought from the prisoner. Further torture was not wise, however, for John was fragile, and when he died his secret would die with him. Best to let him think on it a day more. Reid turned to go, throwing casually over his shoulder, “Well, then, Johnny, no bread. See how ye fare on water alone.”

“Might I have pen and ink?” The voice conveyed no dismay at the further reduction.

Reid glared at him through the opening, finally giving the door an angry thump with a beefy fist. “Have it and be damned,” he replied. “Mayhap with your last words, ye’ll write the location I seek.” The stomp of his frustrated departure echoed off the stone walls and died away.

The prisoner looked at the papers in his lap, considering. He smiled, although he was very, very tired. “Mayhap I will.


Chapter Two

“Now take my picture in front of the sign so I remember where this roll came from,” Mrs. Flowers called in a voice that carried to everyone within a quarter mile. Pulling herself erect she mugged for the camera, although her back had such a permanent bow to it that erect was hardly the term. Mercedes dutifully snapped the picture, and immediately the camera’s automatic rewind began a businesslike whirr. That made it photo number one hundred forty-four, probably to be titled: “Leaving Castle Canready.”

This was the sixth roll in six days. Mrs. Flowers eschewed digital cameras, so Mercedes carried a bag of undeveloped rolls of film, neatly marked in order of use, in her suitcase. There wasn’t a moment of her tour of Britain for which Mrs. Flowers wouldn’t have visual evidence to show family and friends, people unknown to Mercedes but to be pitied all the same.

At times she pitied herself. Her elderly employer was condescending in most instances, nasty on occasion, and giddily fatuous in the infrequent moments when she tried to be pleasant. Still, there were college loans to be paid and as yet no teaching job for the fall. With a sigh Mercedes turned to see where they’d parked the bus this time.

“Oh, Mercedes,” panted Mrs. Flowers, tottering unsteadily along the stone walkway. “I’ve set my bag down somewhere.”  She said this as if it was the first time such a thing had happened, but by now Mercedes was used to it. As Mrs. Flowers’ guest/companion, Mercedes traveled the British Isles at the lady’s expense, expected to smooth her way and keep track of an extensive array of equipage. “I suppose it’s in the powder room.”  Her petulant tone, irritated with the bag for being left behind, made the nasal whine in the old lady’s voice more strident than usual.

“No problem,” Mercedes replied. “The bus is over there, see?”  Mrs. Flowers frowned myopically in the direction indicated, where six motor coaches lined up like racing ponies at a starting gate. It was a little like that, too. Each tour guide struggled to be a few minutes ahead of rival tours to cut down the wait time at entrances to points of interest they would all be stopping to see.

The Americans had been sternly cautioned not to call their conveyances “busses”, but old habits die hard, and in the states a bus was a bus. Mercedes counted. “It’s the fourth one down. You’ll see the Lion on the side when you get closer.”  Mrs. Flowers had boarded the wrong coach once already and had insisted that she’d been misinformed rather than admit to being wrong. “Get on board, rest your feet, and I’ll be right back with your bag.”

“Well, hurry, dear. I need my sunglasses. I have a rotten headache from those awful diesel fumes as it is!”

“I will.”  A “companion” of an earlier era would have empathized. Mercedes was expected to respond cheerfully to anything from retrieving lost items to impossible yens for curly fries in Windermere at ten p.m. There was no respite except when the old lady was asleep, and even then the younger woman often lay awake listening to high-pitched snores and mumbled, unconscious moans of complaint.

Re-entering the castle with a brief explanation to the woman at the door, Mercedes checked the floor-plan layout on her guide pamphlet and found her way to the rest room they’d visited earlier. The W.C. was on the lower level, which wasn’t called a basement but should have been. Rest rooms in centuries-old buildings are often eccentric, the plumbing added at a much later date. Closets become miniature bathrooms and pipes run along the walls like odd adornments, making shuddery clanks and other tortured sounds as they operate. Water pressure may be anywhere from normal to nil. This “loo” had its toilet tanks attached to the wall at the ceiling height, for gravity-assisted flushing, she assumed.

Scanning the room quickly, Mercedes located the familiar canvas tote of extra-large proportions on the floor under the ancient sink. Pulling the bag out, she slung it over her shoulder. The thing weighed a ton!  No wonder the old lady kept leaving it behind. She vowed to reorganize at the inn this evening. Suddenly she could hear friends’ teasing as if they were present. “A place for everything and everything in its place, right, Mercedes?”  The thought only made her resolution stronger. She couldn’t help it if she liked things tidy.

As she made her way out, Mercedes turned too early and found herself in the wrong spot. A passage she’d thought led to the stairs was instead a blind hallway, ending abruptly in a tiny circular room that smelled of orange cleaning agent and something else, odd and objectionable. Twin pillars halfway down on either side framed what might once have been the entry to a larger room, but now the space was blocked off, empty except for a door marked “Staff only, please”. Smiling at the polite addition of please to the order, she turned to retrace her steps.

Something on the left caught her attention, and Mercedes leaned in to peer behind the pillar, eyes widening in surprise and horror at what it was. A small sound of distress escaped her and she stepped forward, gripping the cool stone of the pillar and bending close.

A woman sprawled, half-lying, half-leaning against the stone wall and the pillar. Her head was tilted so that dead eyes stared coldly at Mercedes as if faintly displeased with her. She was dressed in the uniform of the castle’s employees, a suggestion of old Scotland in plaid skirts and sashes over crisp white blouses. This woman’s costume was missing its sash, but a more jarring departure was the jeweled dagger that protruded from her chest, below the laminated card that proclaimed, “Welcome to Canready Castle” and her name, “Sylvia.”


The policeman was overly polite, embarrassed that visitors from America had been troubled with a “bad bit of business”. A well-built, auburn-haired man of about thirty, he introduced himself as James Graham and shook Mercedes’ hand formally, his calloused palm feeling rough in hers. Mercedes was sure he must have mentioned his title as well, but she couldn’t remember it. The whole of law enforcement officialdom was foreign to her, and this was foreign officialdom to boot. Contenting herself with calling him “sir”, she reported the little she knew.

“I’m sorry that you were caught up in this, Miss Maxwell,” he said when she’d finished. “It’s likely an angry boyfriend, no danger to you or the others.”

“Where did an enraged lover get his hands on an antique

jeweled dagger?”

Graham frowned, his handsome face creasing where the sun had begun tiny wrinkles at the outer edges of his eyes. “It’s a replica, Miss. You didn’t see them in the shop?”

Mercedes shook her head with a grin. “I avoid the gift shops in these places.”  She hurried to explain, “It’s not snobbery, just lack of cash to spend on trinkets.”

He smiled in understanding and even more lines appeared. She decided they were nice lines, giving the otherwise babyish face a more grown-up look. “Many of your fellow countrymen-and women-find such places the most interesting of all. All sorts of weapons are available for purchase, among them a copy of an 11th-century dagger.”

Graham made classic interview-ending movements, closing his notebook and recessing his pen point with a decisive click. Taking her arm in a charming old-world gesture, he guided Mercedes out of the small room where he’d interviewed her and back into the main hall. His professional air dropped away for a moment and he said earnestly, “However it happened, I assure you that my country isn’t overflowing with corpses of innocent young women left in corridors. A bit of a scamp, was Sylvia.”


Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Macbeth’s words echoed as the dark-eyed man watched the antic scramble at the castle. Two policemen entered, then more official-looking folk, and finally stretcher-bearers departed with a bagged corpse.

After two full hours he wandered to the castle for a second time that day, a camera dangling from his neck like any tourist. He approached the clerk on the left this time, a different one who would not remember him from the morning crowd. She had decorated herself assertively, nails a hard blue, eyes edged with black, and lips stained a flamboyant red. Strong scent emanated from her tiny kiosk, but none of it made up for her sullen expression.

“I’m sorry, Sir, we’ve closed for the rest of the day,” she reported. “There’s been a bit of an accident.”

“Not serious, I hope?”

She thought about lying but finally admitted, “Quite serious, sir.”

“I see.” As he stood wondering how he would proceed, Fortune smiled on him. A man escorted an attractive brunette to the door, assuring her that it was an anomaly for visitors to find corpses in Scotland. The man seemed vaguely familiar but he had seen the brunette only hours ago. The watcher eavesdropped unobtrusively, pretending to consult a pamphlet on Ben Nevis from a rack near the entry.

“You’ll be glad to be on to Dumfries, I’m sure, but here’s my card in case you think of anything else you’d like to tell us.” The young sergeant was solicitous, and it was easy to see why. The woman had a natural attractiveness that many who try their best never achieve. She was dressed simply in clothing that flattered her slim figure. Dark brown hair fell to her shoulders in gentle waves that curled toward her face. Luminous green eyes lit a pale complexion, and her features were made unique by an expression both intelligent and warm. This woman would see through flattery, but she wouldn’t blame a man for trying.

“Not at all,” the woman replied now. “It’s the others waiting in the bus-the coach-who are inconvenienced.”

“Yes, your Mrs. Flowers came to inform us of that, and to retrieve the bag she sent you back for, in case we might misplace it.” The expression on the handsome face was bland, but the tone hinted at shared humor.

The watcher moved off before they noticed him, heading to the parking lot and his car. Ignoring the work of assiduous castle gardeners who had planted hundreds of tulips and sweet-scented hyacinth for the enjoyment of visitors, he went over the morning’s events in his mind.

They had agreed to meet early in the day, and he’d found Sylvia setting out napkins and sugars in the characterless, stuffy tearoom. Things had not gone well from there onward. Sylvia indeed possessed the book, which she’d fetched from the staff room to show to him. She had then made her demand, greedier than he could have imagined. When she realized he was angry, in fact furious, she had ducked into the ladies’ room with some museum visitors, betting he would not dare to follow.

Vincent wasn’t about to let what was rightfully his slip away again. Demonstrating the great patience of which he was capable, he’d backed off, letting Sylvia think he was gone. Down the hall was the gift shop, where he’d found the dagger and slipped it into his jacket while the clerk rang up postcards. “O happy dagger!” Juliet exults upon finding a weapon at her moment of need. How fitting were the Bard’s words on this first step of the quest when he would consult them each additional step of the way.

Twenty minutes after going into hiding Sylvia had ventured out timidly, hoping her pursuer had given up. By then he was waiting for her in the staffroom passage, guessing that the lying tramp would collect her things before leaving the castle. From behind the pillar he’d reached out, covered her mouth, and stabbed false-hearted Sylvia once in the chest, as true-hearted Juliet had done to herself. It was surprisingly easy, requiring only a single, sharp thrust, and Sylvia had died almost immediately. He’d felt a rush of vindication.

Exultation was short-lived, however, for Sylvia no longer had what she’d offered to sell him. Remembering it now, his anger rose again and he felt the blood pound inside his head. Enraged, he’d spent precious moments searching the corpse and the area around it. Nothing.

It had to be in the ladies’ room she’d just left, but as he approached, three women came along, a pair of old ladies and the attractive brunette. The two women chatted animatedly about fortifications, and he could hear them through a louvered vent even after the door closed. Panic almost overtook him. How much time before discovery of Sylvia’s body? Forcing himself to be calm, he overcame the fear. Picturing the corpse in his mind, he noted details not consciously observed in the heat of the moment. There was something, but what was it?

Of course. Sylvia had worn a plaid sash when he first saw her but not when she left the lavatory. Waiting impatiently for the room to empty, he finally heard the rush of water and the scrape of paper towel torn off the roller. The elderly pair passed, still comparing motte and bailey to crenellated stone, and he rushed inside. A quick search revealed no obvious hiding places for the book. Again he forced himself to consider calmly, to make images in his mind of the women who had come and gone.

The two old ladies were of little interest, but his mind conjured the brunette, who had gone in empty-handed and come out almost immediately, too quickly to have used the facilities. She’d carried something, the sort of canvas bag that all American tourists seemed to feel naked without. She hadn’t had it when she went in, and the book, which must have been in the room, was there no longer.

As he watched the brunette board the motor coach, he repeated the names he’d heard. “Dumfries. Mrs. Flowers.”



The police held them no longer than necessary. With apologies from the department, the castle staff, and their tour guide, the group was soon on its way again, only a few hours behind the all-important schedule. Things returned to normal fairly quickly once they were away. The incident, though tragic and shocking, affected none of the group personally.

Their cheerful coach driver sped them expertly along through rhododendrons in full bloom and past sheep that dozed along the verge of the roadway , not even looking up as the huge, noisy interruption passed them by. Paul, the tour guide, proposed skipping a side trip planned for that day, and as a result they reached the hotel in Dumfries in time for dinner despite the delay. This pleased Mrs. Flowers, who, although excited to be part of a police investigation, was put out that the sergeant had spent little time questioning her, whose lost bag had after all brought about the discovery of bloody murder.

After the meal Mrs. Flowers watched the news, as she did avidly each night as if in dread that something might happen somewhere in the world without her knowing. Mercedes repacked their bags as she’d promised herself. She’d worked out an orderly rotation, keeping small suitcases stocked with clean clothing so that only every fourth night did they have to open the larger bags. Recalling the heaviness of Mrs. Flowers’ carryall, she emptied it onto the bed. An unfamiliar object wrapped in a plaid strip of thin, cheap wool bounced onto the bed, and she asked, “What’s this?”

“I have no idea,” the lady answered, taking yet another double-dipped chocolate peanut from the bag beside her. “It isn’t mine.”

“It was at the bottom, under everything else.” Mercedes removed the plaid, which had been rolled around the object several times, and gave a gasp of surprise. The small book inside the wrapping was obviously old, its dull brown cover soft, velvety, and smudged with finger marks. It smelled of old paper, destroyed by the very ink it held.

“Let me see that,” Mrs. Flowers demanded, and Mercedes reluctantly passed the book to her. Having recently earned a bachelor’s degree in history, she was aware of basic protocol in preserving artifacts and documents. Instinct said to examine it with caution, but it wasn’t her call.

The cover was simply a strip of leather, perhaps five inches by ten, folded in half over the inner pages, making a volume about as wide as it was high. The whole was held together by a leather thong threaded several times along the left edge through both cover and pages. The book was handmade, and judging from its battered condition, someone had carried it around in a pack or a pocket.

Gingerly the old lady opened the cover while Mercedes watched with interest. Dried to a state of fragility, it crackled. Inside were a dozen handwritten pages, the style neat but cramped, as old writing tends to be. There was no title page, only a notation on the inside cover that was at once intriguing and disappointing when Mrs. Flowers read it aloud:  “‘This account is an assimilation of information concerning the death of William Shakespeare’s brother John Shaksper in Scotland, circa 1608.’”

Mercedes rolled her eyes in disbelief. Any bright high school student knew that John Shaksper was Shakespeare’s father, not his brother. The brothers were Gilbert, Richard, and Edward-no, Edmund. Besides, the Shakespeares were hardly adventurous types, so it was not likely that one of them had died four hundred miles north of home on the wrong side of the Scottish border.

“What’s Shaksper?”  Mrs. Flowers asked.

“When William went to London, he changed the family name, pronounced Shax-pair. Nobody knows for certain why. He spelled it differently at different times, too, but that wasn’t unusual in that age. Spelling was phonetic, not standardized, and it varied from person to person, or in his case from day to day for the same person.”

Mrs. Flowers evinced no interest although she might repeat the information later as if it were something she’d always known. She squinted at the difficult handwriting as Mercedes waited silently but a little impatiently.

The thing was intriguing but misguided. If this account concerned a John Shaksper who died in Scotland, he would have been a cousin or someone only distantly related. The author was wrong from page one, which could be why his work had been ignored for years.

Typically for her, Mrs. Flowers made no attempt to apply logic to what she saw. It was old, and it mentioned Shakespeare. She deduced wealth and fame ahead.

“Isn’t this amazing?”  Blue eyes wide with excitement, she put a heavy hand on Mercedes’ arm. “I’ve found a book from the 1600s!”

Mercedes looked critically at the homemade volume. “I don’t think it’s that old.”  Although yellowed, the pages were intact, the letter formation modern if flowery. If she had to guess from other historical documents she’d seen, she’d say 1800’s at the oldest.

“The authorities will want to see this,” Mrs. Flowers crowed. “Listen to the opening paragraph.” She read slowly, deciphering the handwriting with some difficulty. “It begins, ‘On the death of Angus Reid in 1867, his home was bequeathed to the kirk at Kirkfort.’ Kirk is church to the Scots,” she added pedantically. They’d been told that by Paul only that morning. Moving to a small table, she switched on a heavy brass lamp and dragged it across the wooden top with a scrape in order to see the page clearly.

“Let’s see, where was I? ‘At first a church, the place was converted to a fortress, hence the name of the surrounding village. The structure had been left to deteriorate for decades and was beyond saving. As vicar and the church’s agent, it fell to me to prepare the property for demolition, removing any items that might be of value for eventual sale.”

In her own mind Mercedes formed conclusions as she listened. The book was, as she’d thought, from the late 1800’s, not the 1600’s. A nineteenth century minister must have charted his progress on what he considered a historically important task.

“‘In the oldest section of the house, which dates from the 1300’s, workmen found a hidden alcove, undisturbed for centuries. In this cache they found nothing that appeared valuable to them, but two items were of interest to me. One was a box, beautifully made and wrapped in waxed cloth to preserve it. With it but not so well protected was a journal stored in a leather pouch that had disintegrated over time. The outer pages, both front and back, were damaged as water seeped slowly through the stone wall of its hiding place.”

“That’s too bad,” Mrs. Flowers said impatiently. “If there was a box, why not put the journal in it for safekeeping?”  She frowned at whoever had made such a careless decision before reading on. “‘Inside the box was a loose sheaf of papers. These had been wrapped yet again to protect from damage but had been folded and unfolded many times, showing signs of much perusal. It was a very old, handwritten script of Macbeth, a rough copy such as actors might use for rehearsal. Lines had been marked and notes written in the margins to cue entrances, exits, and so forth. I took the script to a learned man who disabused me of the notion that it might be an original in Shakespeare’s own hand. It had been, he said, copied by a semi-literate clerk. Still it was of interest, and I gave it to the local museum for display.”

Mrs. Flowers stopped, running her fingers idly over the rough paper as she pictured such a find. “I wonder which museum that would be? I’d like to see it.” Mr. Flowers had been a professor of English at a small college, and his wife had absorbed his interest in literature. Hers was snobbish, however, while his, Mercedes had deduced, had been unabashed love for the written word.

In the hallway a woman murmured something and a man laughed as a door slammed, cutting off the sound. Adjusting her glasses, Mrs. Flowers returned to the text. “‘The journal was very difficult to read and in a most decrepit state. Despite my careful treatment, the pages often disintegrated when touched.’ Oh, that’s too bad.”

An amateur in the 1800s would have known little about methods of document preservation. If the journal had been historically important, this well-intentioned vicar had probably damaged it with handling, as Mrs. Flowers was doing now to his work, her careless fingers touching the friable paper and bending the desiccated leather cover.

Still she read on. “‘It became a hobby of mine to attempt to transcribe the journal, page by page. It was the diary of William, known as Willie, Reid, a notorious outlaw. I knew of Reid from local legend, but it was difficult to glean his story from the decaying pages. I applied myself to research in an attempt to learn more about the situation described in the journal, and the story that emerges is quite amazing. Beginning in the Year of Our Lord 1868, within these pages I will put forth what I can decipher of the matter, along with my comments and conclusions.’”  Mercedes approved. The vicar had not saved the journal, but he had preserved the information it provided in his own notebook.

“There! It’s not original, but it’s still a piece of history,” Mrs. Flowers finished, her watery blue eyes daring Mercedes to argue with her. “I wish he hadn’t given up the play script. That would surely be valuable.”

“It’s in a museum, where it should be.” She studied the book in Mrs. Flowers’ hands. Interesting, even if the poor guy didn’t know what he was talking about. “I wonder where this came from?”


Shakespeare’s Blood is available for purchase at:

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In Leah’s Wake, Terri Giuliano Long {$0.99}

***New Digitally Signed Edition***

Winner of the CTRR, Reviewer Recommend Award

The Tyler family had the perfect life – until sixteen-year-old Leah decided she didn’t want to be perfect anymore.

While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah’s younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn’t enough?

Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

What readers are saying:

“Terri Giuliano Long writes about the complexities of marriage and parenting . . . pulled me right along, as I continued to make comparisons to my own life.” –Jennifer Donovan, Managing Editor 5 Minutes For Books

In Leah’s Wake is beautifully written, haunting, fascinating, and a book that has a lot to say, a lot to teach you, without getting preachy.  –Haley Stokes, Triumphal Writing

The average Amazon reader review is currently 4 stars {83 reviews}.

My Lady’s Treasure, Catherine Kean {$1.99}

The treasure of love . . .

Facing the tall, brooding rider by the stormy lakeshore, Lady Faye Rivelleaux clings to her goal–to rescue the kidnapped child she vowed to protect. At all costs, she must win back the little girl she loves as her own. When he demands a ransom she can never pay, Faye offers him instead her one last hope–a gold cup.

Brant Meslarches is stunned to see the chalice. Worth a fortune, it’s proof that a lost treasure of the legendary Celtic King Arthur does exist–as Brant’s murdered brother believed. Brant can’t return the little girl to the lady whose desperate beauty captivates him. Now he’s seen her treasure, though, he can’t let her escape him, for the gold cup is his one means of redemption.

The last thing Faye wants is an alliance with a scarred knight tormented by dark secrets. Yet, she has no other way to rescue the child. Risking all, she joins Brant’s quest–and finds a treasure worth more than gold.

Awards for My Lady’s Treasure:

* Reviewer’s Choice Award, Love Romances

* Winner, Historical Category, Southern Magic RWA’s 2008 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence

* Finalist, Romance Category, 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards

What readers are saying:

“… a classic tale of love, lore, and intrigue with just the right amount of humor to balance a dark plot.”–Nina Davis © American Library Association. All rights reserved

4-1/2 stars–”Kean brings medieval England to romantic life in a story that’s both heartwarming and suspenseful.”–Romantic Times Book Reviews Magazine

9/10–”…fast paced, well plotted, with a climactic ending. A feast for any medieval fan.”–Historical Romance Writers

The average Amazon reader review is currently 4.5 stars {12 reviews}.

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Southern Investigation, Bert Carson {$2.99}

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Bert Carsons Frugal Find Under Nine:


Description of Southern Investigation:

Southern Investigation – Bill Simmons, David Hendricks, and Robert Hightower served almost three years together in Vietnam, leaving only when they were “wounded out.” They, along with Shirley Jacobson, a widow whose husband was killed in Vietnam, formed Southern Investigation, a commercial private investigation company. David, seriously wounded when he and Bill intervened to thwart a convenience store robbery attempt, required a helicopter evacuation. That was the beginning of Southern Investigation’s involvement in a POW rescue that involved the DEA and President Ronald Regan. Southern Investigation is the story of Vietnam Veterans facing the effects of the war – building meaningful relationship – and experiencing advanced esoteric teachings…


Amazon Reader Review:

Having read Bert Carson’s book “Fourth and Forever” I wanted to delve into his world again, and so picked up “Southern Investigation.” And was not disappointed. I can go on reading Bert Carson’s honeyed voice for hours at a time without getting tired. He has the natural storyteller’s gift that makes it look easy, and he has a fascinating story to tell.

Southern Investigation is about a group of Vietnam veterans who stick together for decades after the war. They know each other so well they know what the others are thinking before they say it. And they love each other in a spiritual and esoteric way that maybe only other veterans of foreign wars can fully comprehend. This tight group of people form a company that’s involved in private investigation work in the part of Alabama that they come from. They grow older as the years go by, righting wrongs and digging up information, keeping their skills and minds sharp. Their ultimate mission puts all their skills and beliefs to the test, and this makes gripping reading.

Southern Investigation should be required reading for active duty servicemen and -women as well as veterans, and anyone else who is interested in understanding what might go through the minds of the men and women who are charged with defending our freedom.


Amazon Reader Reviews:

Southern Investigation currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 5 stars. Read the reviews here!

Southern Investigation is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


Connect with Bert Carson:


{CLOSED: Updated with Winners!} THE SATURDAY GIVEAWAY: 5 Kindle Copies of Deep Blue!

Happy Saturday!

It’s time for a Frugal eReader Giveaway!

See below for how to win one of five gifted Kindle copies of Deep Blue, sponsored by the author David Niall Wilson... but first, a little about the novel:


Brandt is a down-and-out guitarist and vocalist who believes his life has hit rock bottom. He can barely make the rent on his apartment, he drinks so much he can barely make it to the crappy gig that keeps his band afloat, let alone play when he gets there. When he leaves the bar one dark night with a bottle of Jose Cuervo in one hand and his guitar case in the other, he finds he’s locked out of his apartment with no where to go.

As he stands alone in the dark and feeling sorry for himself, he hears a lone harmonica being played in the distance. The sound is deep and powerful, and something in the music draws him away from his doorway and into an old alley where the homeless gather around garbage-can fires.

In that alley, Brandt meets the harmonica player, Wally, an old black man who can play the music that Brandt dreams of – the blues. Not the blues as you hear them on the modern radio, but they way they were once played – filled with an extra “something” that can’t be taught. Despite Wally’s warning, Brandt begs the old man to teach him the songs he is playing, and in the ensuing encounter, Brandt is gifted – or cursed – with new abilities.

He feels the pain building up around him and inside him. Not his own pain, but the pain of others, the pain of those who have passed away, the pain of those who died with no one to hear their stories. Wally explains it. The music will release the pain, and it is the only thing that will release the pain. Brandt must play, or the pain will build up inside until he destroys his own mind from the weight of it. He becomes a conduit for the pain of the world, and then he is left alone.
Brandt plays one last concert with his band, and his performance draws them all, audience and musicians alike, into another world. They witness a panoram of pain and horror, and Brandt plays it up and out of himself, then walks away from the bar and the band, leaving them to wonder what just happened.

What follows are a series of revelations, one for each member of the band, and one for a young girl named Liz, drawing them together, and ultimately reuniting them with Brandt. Together, Brandt, Sinthia, Shaver, Dexter and Liz take off to the mountain town of Friendly California for a date with pain, destiny, and a silver haired Reverend who would like to see them dead.

In the final showdown, they must meet the challenge of the music, the pain, and their mingled histories and stand, or fall, with the pain of the world in the balance.

Deep Blue is available for $2.99 at the Kindle Store

Now, for the giveaway:

Simply leave a comment on this post to be entered to win one of five gifted Kindle copies of David Niall Wilson’Deep Blue!

Want more opportunities to win? Share this giveaway via the buttons at the top of this post, and leave a separate comment stating that you’ve done so! {Every share/comment counts as an extra entry!}

Entries will be closed after midnight on Sunday ~ and five random winners will be chosen and notified next week!

Good Luck!


Congratulations to the five winners!


Debbie R




Your Kindle copies will be gifted shortly!

Doodling, Jonathan Gould {$0.99}

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver’s Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters and experiencing some most unexpected adventures.

What readers are saying:

Doodling by Jonathan Gould gives us a fantastically funny social satire that never takes itself too seriously. -

Doodling is an entertaining, light, yet deep novel.  After first reading, it seems like just a quick fun romp through Gould’s imagination, but upon reflection layers of messages reveal themselves. -

I have to say, it was truly delightful!…The writing is creative and perfectly paced—quite comparable to Lewis Carroll.  The book is chockfull of metaphors, if you care to notice them. -

The average Amazon reader review is currently 4.5 stars {32 reviews}.


THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: Something Witchy This Way Comes, Veronica Blade {$2.99}

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Veronica Blades Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of Something Witchy This Way Comes:

Brainiac Tessa McClean’s newly discovered magical powers give her an escape from her self-absorbed parents. But the thrill of being a witch fades when she learns of a rival coven and begins to suspect her own coven’s motives. Evidence tells Tessa to trust one side, but instinct drives her toward the other.

When the school’s scrumptious delinquent, Hayden Anders, offers Tessa self-defense lessons in exchange for tutoring, his timing couldn’t be better. Although hanging out with him is a necessary evil in Tessa’s fight to stay alive, resisting a bad-boy she secretly yearns for might be more than she can manage.

Together, Tessa and Hayden work to unravel the mysteries behind the two covens to discover why they’ll stop at nothing to lure Tessa to their side. She must form an alliance with one of the covens before it’s too late. But the wrong decision could cost Tessa the lives of all who she holds dear — including Hayden.


This novel is full of action and mystery. Tessa was a great main character, she leads the reader through the story and allows the reader to view her innermost thoughts. Tessa is sometimes volatile, smart, brave, and inquisitive. The reader may want to shake the love interest, Hayden, every once and awhile. He is one of those charismatic heart breakers…he can be devoted, but the reader will still view a few scenes that will frustrate him/her.

This novel centers around witches and their abilities as well as the developing relationship between Tessa and Hayden. The reader will be entertained by at least one, if not both, topics. This novel is fast-paced and high energy. There are some scenes that were very well-thought out on the author’s part, the reader almost feels as if he/she could slip into the book and experience the events firsthand. This novel is highly recommended to teen/young adult readers.

Amazon Reader Reviews:

Something Witchy This Way Comes currently has a Amazon reader review rating of 4.5 stars. Read the reviews here!

An excerpt from Something Witchy This Way Comes:

Chapter One


Principal Linton had to be kidding.

“You want to use me, a seventeen-year-old boy, to guard someone?” I much preferred to think of myself as a man, but that wouldn’t get me out of doing what he wanted.

“I’m not any happier about this than you, Hayden.”

I doubted that. The new principal had signed on only two weeks ago and already he knew how to throw his puny weight around. Linton probably read my file and decided to make me pay for all the crap I’d pulled so far in high school. I’d been better this year. We were two months into the first semester and I hadn’t even been in one fight. Not that I’d get any gold stars or merit badges.

I rolled my eyes. “Who’s the girl?”

“You probably know her. She’s a senior here. Tessa McClean.” He leaned back in his seat and steepled his fingers.

Tessa… I couldn’t match a face to the name. If she turned out to be a dog, it could hurt my rep. But my curiosity was piqued. I sat higher in my chair, which brought the top of Linton’s thinning hair into view. “I’m supposed to shadow some girl just because you ask me to?”

Mr. Linton glanced at Agent Phillips who stood rigid by the door, then back to me. When he’d introduced her to me moments ago, I figured she might be FBI. She hadn’t flashed a badge though. They probably thought I hadn’t noticed or maybe they expected me to take them at their word. But I didn’t care who she was. She could’ve been the first lady and my answer would still be no.

By Agent Phillips’s steely glare it was obvious she’d rather be anywhere else than in a room with an uncooperative teenager. “While she’s on school grounds we want you close enough to smell her perfume.”

“Seriously?” Something didn’t ring true in the whole scenario. No way would anyone trust a high schooler with a job so important, much less depend on anyone with a rap sheet like mine. I slouched in the hardwood chair and let my gaze drift to the dull off-white walls of his office. “Wouldn’t an FBI agent be better qualified for the job?”

The principal tapped a pencil on the desk. “They don’t have anyone local who looks young enough to blend in with the other students.”

Yep. Payback. But not if I could help it. “Ship him in from somewhere else.”

Agent Phillips straightened her suit jacket. “We’ve put in a request. Now we wait.”

“In the meantime, we think you might prove useful,” Mr. Linton said.

If the girl needed a bodyguard, she was obviously in trouble. That kind of thing was highly contagious at close range. “It’s gratifying to know you have no problem putting me in danger.” I kept my tone flat, one brow raised. “Why not keep her home? Then you don’t have to worry about your agents blending in.”

“It’s unlikely anyone will try anything around a bunch of kids. Even if they did, they’d be easily spotted. We’re only asking you to keep an eye on her and alert us if you see anything unusual. It’s just a precaution, Hayden.”

I grunted, not quite buying it.

Mr. Linton eyed me then flipped through papers on his desk. “Some of these notes indicate you’ve successfully defended yourself under difficult circumstances. Last year, three boys jumped you and everyone required first aid — except you. I suppose those guys were lucky to walk away, eh?” His gaze met mine again. I didn’t rise to the bait and he continued. “You’ve got some valuable fighting skills. It’s time to use them for good instead of evil,” he said with a straight face.

Yeah, I needed those skills to defend myself against my alcoholic stepfather. It had been a while since he’d laid a hand on me or my mom though. He still limped from the last time. “Is this some kind of joke?” I asked.

Agent Phillips glided across the carpet to stand next to Principal Linton. She looped a thumb in her waistband, nudging the front of her black suit jacket aside to expose a gun. If it weren’t for her butch clothing, she’d be attractive — slim build and dark auburn hair. I imagined what she’d look like in a short skirt and high heels.

Maybe later I’d get a chance to see if she was open to younger men. If I seemed eager to help, she might be more receptive… I shook off the thought. A semi-hot woman didn’t catch enough of my interest to make me want to keep company with the school principal.

I opened my mouth to speak but she beat me to it. “Not a joke, Mr. Anders.” Her eyes narrowed to slits. “A fellow student needs help.”


Linton nodded at Agent Philips who opened the door and stepped aside. A blond girl beamed from the doorway, including everyone in her sunshine. Okay… definitely not a dog.

I’d seen her around school before, but had never known her name. She hung out with the kind of kids I wouldn’t look at, much less socialize with. Not outcasts but not A-listers either. The only reason my crowd would bother talking to her was to use her, then dump her and brag to the rest of us. Hit and ditch. Anything else was unacceptable.

A dim memory took shape in my mind of one of the guys bitching about a girl named Tessa. He’d been pissed off at how hard he worked for that first kiss. That would never happen to me, because I was always upfront about what I wanted. The girl would either stick around or she wouldn’t and I’d move on. I already knew not to even try with a girl like Tessa.

If Linton thought I’d jump at the chance to waste my time and make the rest of the school year suck more than it already did, he’d sniffed too much of the janitor’s cleaning products. It’s not like Linton had anything to offer to make the job worth my time. Unless he possessed magical powers that would give me a new life… But he didn’t. No one could save me from my crappy destiny.

“Tessa, this is Hayden,” Mr. Linton said.

She approached me, blond hair bouncing, eyes bright with life and hope, and held out her hand for me to shake. “Nice to meet you.”

Still slouching in my chair, I stared at her hand, slim, delicate and flawless. I didn’t care how good she smelled — like blooming flowers in springtime — I wanted nothing to do with her. People like that, ones overflowing with positive energy, only made you want more from life. Things I would never have. Being rude was the only way to discourage them. “Nice?” I smirked. “You might regret saying that later.”

That beautiful, angelic smile vanished.

Instead of feeling triumphant, I felt like an ass. That feeling would pass though. It always did.

She grinned again, startling me. Then she claimed the empty chair next to mine. “Well, I can already tell this is going to be fun.”


Chapter Two


I dropped my hand when it became obvious that Hayden’s reputation had been legitimately earned. He had the manners of a hyena. And he was right — I already regretted thinking it was nice to meet him.

Everyone in school knew Hayden Anders. My friends and I dubbed him King Douche last year after he’d dated every single cheerleader. Strangely though, none of the girls complained. I found it fascinating that being played by a man-whore didn’t piss them off. Of course, when a guy looked like Hayden, girls could be pretty stupid with forgiveness.

Then there were the fights he’d gotten into. Nothing of note this year, but I assumed that, as a senior, he didn’t have older boys to contend with. Anyone our age already knew to steer clear.

I’d dealt with guys like him before, guys who thought they were better than everyone else. Hayden had taken me off guard when I’d entered the principal’s office, but I came back full force and smiled sweetly, leaving no doubt that his asinine behavior couldn’t touch me. Being even nicer usually repelled his kind. Right on cue, Hayden flipped sun-lightened brown hair out of his gray eyes and turned from me.

Seeing him in the principal’s office wasn’t unexpected but why was I called in too?

“This is Agent Phillips, FBI.” Mr. Linton nodded toward the woman standing by the door. “She has reason to believe you’re not safe, Tessa.”

I searched the faces in the room for some sign that I was being punked. Maybe I’d heard wrong. “Excuse me?”

“This may come as a shock, but unfortunately I can’t give you classified information. But I can tell you that we’ve had a dissident group under surveillance for some time. Lately, they’ve been a little more aggressive.” She picked up a stack of photos from Mr. Linton’s desk and handed them to me. “By the looks of these, it appears they’ve taken an interest in you.”

My fingers numbly grasped the glossy pictures without glancing at them. “Why aren’t my parents here?”

“You’ll be seeing them soon. Right now, we have other matters to tend to.” She nodded toward the pictures.

I scanned the multitude of images — me with my mother and father, another of my little sister and me getting into my car, me at work — even a shot through our dining room window during dinner.

A chill ran up my spine and my mouth went dry. “Who took these? And where did you get them?” My words came out sounding shaky, panicked.

“From a raid at a house we’d staked out. That’s all I can tell you right now but I promise everything will be fine. We won’t let them hurt you.” Something about her voice made me want to curl up in front of a fire with marshmallows. Strange. It was as if her words rode on a different wavelength.

It had to be my imagination.


Something Witchy This Way Comes is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $2.99


Connect with Veronica Blade:


Twitter: @VeronicaBlade




Top Five Under Five Friday! {Romance}

Happy Friday! Check out the Top Five Under Five bestselling Romance eBooks from the Kindle Store!








#1 ~ Can You Keep a Secret?, Sophie Kinsella ~ $1.99 {4.5 Stars, 627 Reviews}

#2Unfinished Business, Nora Roberts ~ $3.99 {4 Stars, 4 Reviews}

#3 ~ Don’t Say A Word, Barbara Freethy ~ $1.99 {4 Stars, 42 Reviews}

#4 Treading Water (Treading Water Trilogy), Marie Force~ $3.99 {5 Stars, 4 Reviews}

#5Only Us: A Fool’s Gold Holiday, Susan Mallery ~ PRE ORDER FOR $1.99 {RELEASE 11/1}

Click on the above covers or links to read more about and purchase The Top Five Under Five eBooks from Amazon

THE FRUGAL FIND OF THE DAY: 90 Miles To Freedom, K.C. Hilton {$0.99}

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K.C. Hilton‘s Frugal Find Under Nine:

Description of 90 Miles To Freedom:

Prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster.

The counselor suggested I start a journal and write down my thoughts. He called it ‘Journal Therapy’ and said it would help me cope with my feelings.

I’m not sure where to begin, except to say that I had a wonderful life. Actually, it was a perfect life. A loving family and everything money could buy. A life envied by all, but it was stolen from me.
I know I made a mistake. But I’m the one struggling to forgive myself.”

To explain I need to start from the beginning. But before I do, I must be honest and admit that I wasn’t perfect. No, I had a secret. A secret that came with a price. A secret that will haunt my dreams forever.



“Collin had the perfect life. He had a loving family and everything money could buy. A life envied by all. But Collin wasn’t perfect. He had a secret, one that came with a price. A secret that could destroy his life and everyone in it.”

So begins K. C. Hilton’s remarkable novel. Not that it starts off with a bang, because it doesn’t; it starts off as a very likable family story about two loving parents and their two sons. Then, all of a sudden — Blam! — it hits like a thunderbolt, and I was in for the ride. Whew! What’s going on? What happened? There was nothing that was going to tear me away from this book until I found out. And I did, and so will you.

K. C. Hilton is a very skillful story teller and, in my opinion at least, it takes one to tell this kind of story, a story that could have been maudlin in less capable hands, but never does in hers. Interestingly, the significance of book’s title “90 Miles to Freedom” may not hit you at first, as it didn’t hit me. Then it appears and Collin’s secret and its significance begins to dawn and build to a dramatic, gut-wrenching climax. Then K. C. Hilton delivers her surprise, about which I’ll say nothing. You have to get there and read the book to catch its impact. I was awe-struck, and still am. Another one of the best reads I’ve had in a year filled with great reads.


When is your next book out, K. C.?


90 Miles To Freedom currently has a customer review rating of 5 stars. Read the reviews here.

90 Miles To Freedom is available for purchase at:

Amazon Kindle for $0.99


Connect with K.C. Hilton:

Finkleton Blog -
Twitter – @kchilton1
Audio Teaser/Male Voice – Prologue and First Chapter:
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