Interview and Tour Mega Giveaway: Debra Anastasia


Poughkeepsie App Tour




















Welcome to the Poughkeepsie Enhanced Collector’s Edition App Tour!


Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia has been a cult hit bestseller since 2011. A homeless guy counting the smiles of a kind train commuter spiraled into a novel that was nominated by the Rockstars of Romance as one of the most romantic stories ever and won 2nd place!   It was a story that deserved getting a jumbo-sized enhancement. Extra scenes out the ying yang was, of course, a huge part of the fun. Getting to spend some of those previously undiscovered first moments with Blake and Livia or the moment he proposed was worth exploring. In Debra’s wildest dreams she imagined Poughkeepsie with its own soundtrack, anchored by her favorite musicians. When blockbuster talent Ron Pope signed on with fourteen songs and then Rustic Overtones agreed as well, she knew things were going to get crazy cool.


After almost two full years of development, the Enhanced Poughkeepsie is ready.  Debra lost count of the hours spent, as did the developer poured into this. It was beast, and more amazing than she could have ever imagined. This app became the most exceptional reading experience Debra could devise for her readers.


Check out what’s in store for you:


Trailer Link


This app will be available for all kinds of devices!


It is available now as Enhanced Poughkeepsie for iPad

Website for Droid, iPhones, and Computers is coming soon! Visit

Debra’s Facebook Page


The website app (which is the same content as the iPad app) will be available this week.


For this tour, there is one HUGE giveaway that you totally should treat yourself to entering.


Poughkeepsie PicMonkey Collage App Prizes


Poughkeepsie BookdonationsCollage



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rafflecopter direct link:





Immerse yourself in the world of Debra Anastasia’s Poughkeepsie.
Experience this bestselling novel for the first time…again as you break all the rules about books with Omnific Publishing and Debra Anastasia. In this enhanced version of the novel, you’ll enjoy insights from the author, music by Ron Pope and other artists to set the mood, and images and video that bring the scenes to life as you read. You’ll delve deeper into the world of Poughkeepsie through nearly 50,000 words of added scenes (more love, more drama, more romance!) and informative insights into how this marvelous story and its characters came to be.

Self-contained in this app (no wifi needed after downloading):
•complete novel Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
•author/director’s pop-up commentary
•music by Ron Pope, Rustic Overtones, Monoxide G, Violet Winter, Bo Heart, and Jeff Epstein and the City Line Singers
•more than 100 images to enhance the story
•videos of your favorite characters in action
•special animation
•sound effects
•interviews with the characters, author, and more
•interactive games
•trailers for the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood series
•how-to knitting instructions
•how-to instructions for making a paper rose
•recipe for the dinner Livia makes for Blake


Debra Anastasia Author2013_edited-1


Debra’s twitter

Debra’s Facebook


Debra’s website


Interview with Debra Anastasia:

I’m so glad to have Debra here today! She’s a friend to everyone she meets. And what a talented storyteller! The ground breaking, Enhanced Poughkeepsie app is an experience you don’t want to miss. Now let’s talk to Debra about the Poughkeepsie stories.

I love the covers of the Poughkeepsie books. How did you come up with them and how were they executed?

It was a team effort. With Omnific, they sort of ask for a general feeling from the author and then we work together. Micha Stone (the lead designer) and I have very similar tastes, so the process is pretty fast for us. Now that we have the hands set as the tone for the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, it’s fairly easy to knock them out.


Animated Cover eebpough
















This seems like a series that would require a lot of research into organized crime. How did you tackle it?

Google is a beautiful thing. I get to research anything! I’ve been known to tap my husband and his friends for suggestions on various guns and things too. And you’d be surprised how much a PTA board and the mafia have in common.


LOL! Not many surprises there! The subject matter of these books is gritty but fascinating. What made you want to write about these characters?

Thank you! It’s interesting, once they develop they sort of tell me how they want to be portrayed. Like I’ll plan for Beckett to do one thing, then he waltzes into the scene and changes everything. I think I’m driven to see what’s next for each of them.


I love it that Trish changed all Ryan’s phone contacts to Fifty Shades of Grey names!!! How brilliant. I laughed my ass off. But, wow, is she vindictive. It amazes me that people spend that much effort on being spiteful. Did you google ‘things people do to get revenge after break-ups’? I always thought sending bouquets of dung was kind of fascinating. Such people! *shakes head*

Sounds like you are coming up with a good idea there! I loved writing Trish. I actually changed my son’s phone’s contacts to Dr. Who characters a few weeks ago. He’s left them that way too! I pretty much turned any fun-loving pranks I could think of and mixed them in with a few mean ones and Trish was born.


In Return to Poughkeepsie, Father Callahan tells Kyle, “God does give us more than we can handle.” How important is that message to the overall series arc?

I think it is more of a life lesson. When I hear of things happening to people, I think we do get more than we deserve. We handle what we have to, but nice people deserve smooth lives.

Readers? This was my first reaction to this amazing app:

Capture Debra Poughkeepsie app FB chat


Blog Tour Character Interview: Hayden Stryker, Clipped Wings by H.Hunting

Their body art is hot. Their chemistry is even hotter.From her dark hair sweeping below her waist to her soft, sexy curves, Tenley Page intrigues tattoo artist Hayden Stryker in a way no one else ever has…especially when she asks him to ink a gorgeous, intricate design on her back. Yet for all her beauty, there is something darkly tragic and damaged about Tenley that Hayden is everything.Covered in ink and steel, Hayden is everything Tenley has never dared to want, awakening a desire to explore more than the art adorning his stunning body. Trapped by a past that leaves her screaming from nightmares, Tenley sees Hayden as the perfect escape. Although he has secrets too, if they both keep themselves guarded perhaps their intense physical connection will remain only that.But nothing, not even passion, can keep them safe from their pasts…


Character Interview: Hayden Stryker

steven james hendry

Hello there, Hayden! You’re a bit of a mystery and I’m sure readers would like to know more about you. Thanks for joining us today!

Hey. Helena told me I needed to be here or she’d kick my ass and make sure Tenley and I didn’t hook up, so here I am. Shit. I probably wasn’t supposed to say that, was I? Can we start over?

LOL! Sure! You’re a tattooist and obviously very artistic. How did you choose this career path?

I don’t know that I specifically chose this career path as much as it chose me. I was young when I started apprenticing. I started as a piercer, but it wasn’t my bag. So when I didn’t have clients I designed tattoos for the other artists in the shop. I’d watch them work when I could, especially Jamie and Chris. Those two are stellar tattooists and they ended up being my mentors. Eventually they let me have at it. My first few tattoos were shit, but I put them on myself and Chris covered them over not long after with the phoenix, so it’s not like I have reminders of how crap I was when I started, other than the pictures they took. I enjoy what I do because it allows me to be an artist and I can make a reasonable living at it.

What was your first tattoo and why did you get it? How old were you?

My first tattoo is on my back. It’s difficult to describe, but most people tell me it’s creepy.

Stephen James Hendry as Hayden

hand tatt by Jason ButcherI was eighteen when I got it. I wanted one long before that, but I spent a long time scoping out artists to make sure they weren’t going to eff it up. It’s the darkest piece I have and reflective of my headspace at the time. It’s a reminder of how low the lows can get.

Your aunt has a bookshop across the street from your parlour. Family must be important to you.

Yeah, definitely. I’m pretty tight with Cassie. She’s always been a significant part of my life. I doubt she’d ever admit it, but I have a feeling part of the reason she bought Serendipity was so she could keep tabs on me. I think it was coincidental that it actually became a semi-viable business. Cass reminds me a lot of my mom, not like she’s a replacement for her, but they share a lot of the same traits and she’s always been supportive, even when I was effing my shit up. But family isn’t always about blood ties, yeah? Chris and Jamie and Lisa are just as much family as Cass is, even if we aren’t related by DNA.

Tell us about the new girl who works in the bookshop.

Tenley? That chick is effing hot. And she lives right above my Aunt’s store, which is extremely convenient, you know, since I live across the street in the condo above Inked Armor. I like that she’s into piercings. I have a lot of those. And she seems pretty cool from the limited number of times I’ve run into her. I plan to get to know her better.


You and Tenley seem to have a bit of a mutual stalker thing going. *winks* You’ve both been caught lurking in each others’ haunts and peeking in windows. Care to explain?

What? Mutual stalking? I wouldn’t go that far. I visit Cassie all the time. I always have. She’s my family and there’s a coffee shop attached to her store. They sell awesome cupcakes so I usually scarf one of those back while I’m there so Chris doesn’t take the piss out of me. That Tenley works there now is a bonus. As for the peeking in the windows business, I’m not sure where you get your information from, but it sounds pretty effing skewed. There was only one time when I saw Tenley in her apartment and that wasn’t intentional. I was closing my curtains and when I looked across the street I noticed hers were wide open. It’s not my fault she was standing there, short shorts and a tank top.

What have you figured out about Tenley?

She likes ink and piercings, so we’ve got that in common. She’s skittish though which makes conversation with her difficult. I make her uncomfortable, or maybe I just make her nervous, but I’m trying to fix that. From what Cass has told me, she’s not from a big city, so I don’t think I’m the norm where she’s from. Oh, and she’s good at organizing books. I like that, too.

Thanks for chatting with me and my readers today.

No problem. Thanks for having me. Wait, that sounds wrong I mean thanks for interviewing me.

Helena’s Social Media

Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her English degree to good use by writing popular fiction. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.


Release Day Blitz: Beatless by Amber L. Johnson



Mallory Durham has been left behind and it is making her feel less like an adult and more like an afterthought.

Divorce, sickness, educational aspirations being shattered, and her Aunt Sam moving into her home, have made Mal’s life nearly unrecognizable to her.

When Tucker Scott re-enters her life along with his band, will they offer what she needs to once again find her voice and self confidence or will it strip her of it even more?

Told through the dual voices of Mallory as she navigates her new world, and Aunt Sam’s letters to her niece, Beatless tells the story of two women at very different points in their life, fighting the same battles; proving that no matter what age a person is, there are always lessons to be learned.

About the Author

Amber is a full time mom, full time wife, is employed full time, and writes when she can. She believes in Happily Ever Afters that occur every day – despite the obstacles that real life serves up on a regular basis. Or perhaps they’re sweeter simply because of them. She always has two rubber bands on her wrist, a  song in her head, and too much creamer in her coffee cup that reads ‘Cocoa’ – because she’s a rebel. If she’s not at her desk, with her boys, or behind the computer, she’s supporting live music with her arms raised above her head and eyes closed, waiting for the drop.

Buy Links:



Add BEATLESS to your Goodreads shelves!

Connect with Amber


Twitter: @WhereIsJakeRyan

Facebook author page: Amber L. Johnson Author


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Under These Restless Skies Tour: Interview with King Henry VIII


Under These Restless Skies By 

Lissa Bryan 

Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS

Will Somers has always thought himself unlovable. When he encounters a creature of myth and magic, he seizes the chance to finally have a wife and family of his own. Emma is a selkie—one of the immortal fae-folk of the sea—bound to Will by the magic of her kind, and eager to learn about life on land. She has to learn to adapt quickly to human customs, because Will is headed for the court of Henry VIII, to serve as the king’s fool. It’s a glittering, dangerous world, where a careless word can lead to the scaffold and the smallest of gestures is loaded with political implications. Anne Boleyn is charmed by Emma’s naïveté and soothing selkie magic and wants Emma for her own fool. Can Will protect his newfound love from the dangers that lurk in every shadow? Circa regna tonat: around the throne, the thunder rolls.

Author Bio:

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medallist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist, who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot . . . though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.





Interview with His Majesty, King Henry VIII:

Ah, noble readers, today we are graced with the presence of His Majesty, King Henry VIII.

 Henry VIII 2

Good day, Your Majesty. How fare you?

Well as always, Lady Brown. Those of us chosen by God are rich in His blessings.

I understand you have recently received the gift of a fool named Will Somers. What is he like?

He’s an odd one, that Will Somers, and I speak not of his crooked back. He spends his free time in the company of that wife of his, and does not seek the company of other ladies, if you understand my meaning. Material wealth also seems to mean little to him. He gives away what coin he has— and not in bribes or gifts to seek advancement, but to the poor. Did you hear how he tricked Cranmer out of one hundred pounds? And what did he do with it? He went straight out of the house and distributed it to the poor at the gates of the archbishop’s palace.

I cannot understand it. Any man can be bought, but I have yet to find his price.

Are Will and Patch very different?

Patch is a “natural,” my lady. Surely you know the difference? His wits are addled. Cardinal Wolsey gave him to me as a gift before Wolsey’s … unpleasant situation occurred. Wolsey valued the fool highly, for whatever reason… Methinks Wolsey used to have him sing. But I have singers enough. Patch is far more amusing when the court is teasing him. ‘Tis almost as amusing as a bear baiting to watch him become befuddled. But Emma has spoiled that of late, marching in whenever she sees Patch upset and putting a stop to it. No matter. There are always other entertainments.

Will is an “artificial” fool, one who tells jokes and the like to entertain the court. His wit is keen, and he has a way of putting things into perspective for me that makes my troubles seem lesser. And so I indulge his fancies, such as setting someone free from prison or buying a cloak for a beggar.


Will is married, is he not? What manner of woman marries a fool?

As to why such a woman would end up as the wife of a fool, I can only conclude the girl’s father must have been deeply in debt, and sold her hand in marriage to Will. For a time, I thought Emma was half-addled herself, because she seemed to know naught of court life, or the way a woman should behave. Certainly, Emma’s father put little effort into raising her properly, because she does not know to drop her gaze in the presence of a man, or defer to him. Her manner is as bold as that of a man, and seems to feel herself equal to her husband. Will is so besotted, he seems content to allow her to wander about in that delusion.

Nor has she any notion of the natural order of the world. Just the other day, I espied her in conversation with one of the charwomen. I tried to explain to Will that it is unseemly for a servant of the queen to be seen in the company of such a lowly creature, but he merely shrugged and said she is kind to all. Bah, what can you expect from a fool?detail454


Is Emma Somers fair?

Long have I puzzled over this. She is not the most beautiful woman of my court, nor is she the most blessed by grace, or artful in manners. Yet there is something about her that draws my eye…

Your Majesty allows Will to call you ‘Uncle Hal’. Is it customary to grant servants such favours?

Fools are different, Lady Brown. They are somewhat between a relative and a pet. Formality cannot be expected from most of them, especially the witless, like Patch, and so they are excused from it.

Having lost most of my family, ‘tis pleasant to hear an endearment again. If only I could be so close to my own son, Henry FitzRoy, but the boy is sickly and cannot stay long at court. And my daughter … Well, Will says she may get her stubbornness from her father.

Court gossip has it that Will Somers promised Your Majesty that he would always tell you the truth. Is this true? Was his promise amusing?

Verily, methinks that man doesn’t know how to lie. And what is a promise to a fool, anyway? No more than a promise to a woman.

Does Your Majesty consider Will more than a servant?

I suppose he is ‘family’ of a sort, which is why I had him included in several of my portraits. I have given him a chamber of his own, but if he were unmarried, he would sleep with the hounds on the floor by the fire, as Patch does.


It is just past the day of St. Valentine. What thinks the king of Cupid and his arrows?

I have been struck by the dart of love many times. Why, only recently, I noticed a fair maiden of the court, and it seems God’s will is leading me toward her…










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Connect with Lissa Bryan on: 

Other novels by Lissa Bryan

                                                  Ghostwriter                The End of all Things
Short stories by Lissa Bryan


                                             Tales From The End   The Golden Arrow and The Butterfly

Coming soon The Land of the Shadow 



Cupcakes and Ink by H.Hunting: Review and Giveaway


C&ITourSquareHelena Hunting has scores of ardent fans, including me. I’m thrilled, today, to be able to shout, “Hey, readers! H.Hunter is publishing!”

We’ve been waiting a while. And you know what? The wait has been TOTALLY worth it. This incarnation of Tenley and Hayden’s story is beautifully styled, mysterious and has a whackload of UST. This story is not for readers under the age of 18.

*hint: there are intense love scenes coming*

The novella is here and the trilogy is on its way!


There’s also an awesome giveaway on Helena’s website.


C&ICoverThe first dose of story comes to us as Cupcakes and Ink, a short novella which forms a useful prologue to the coming trilogy. Tenley is a college student who’s obviously isolated. She lives across the street from a tattoo parlour. Above that establishment (opposite her apartment window) lives a smoking hot guy named Hayden. He’s a tattoo artist who is, himself, covered in ink. Hayden and Tenley begin a reluctant dance of attraction that involves frequenting each other’s hangouts, stopping by with treats such as coffee and cupcakes, and even peeking in windows. It’s not creepy-stalker-ish, more like a modernized “I saw him/her across a crowded room.” It’s super cute. One just knows that whatever their qualms, they aren’t going to be able to avoid getting involved.

How involved? If you like spicy romance, you won’t want to miss this one. Yes, I’ve read Clipped Wings and I’ll be blogging its release in March.

Here are a few little hints about the story:






Polydactyl kitten “Fireball” by A. Silverstein



I can’t wait to share more of this with you. Four stars to this novella, and a full five to Clipped Wings.







The prequel to Clipped Wings—“twisted, dark, incredibly erotic…a love story like no other” (USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton)—this emotional tale follows Hayden and Tenley as they struggle to let go of their pasts and maintain an emotionally safe distance from each other.Tenley Page is looking for a new start: a new city, a new apartment, a new life. Her plan is to keep to herself and stay focused. But leaving her past behind and starting over isn’t as easy as she thought. And neither is maintaining her solitude. As Tenley settles into her new surroundings, she finds herself drawn to Inked Armor, the tattoo studio across the street. But it’s the gorgeous, dark-haired tattoo artist who captures her interest. There’s something about his severe beauty that captivates her—and not just in her waking hours.Covered in the ink he inscribes on other people’s skin, Hayden Stryker has made a career out of being a tattooist. He’s got his own business and a tight circle of friends. As far as he’s concerned, that’s all he needs. At least until his aunt, who owns the antiques and used book store across from his tattoo studio, hires a new employee. At first his intrigue is based on physical appeal; hot chick equals something nice to look at. But as he begins to catch glimpses of the fiery personality under the fragile, feminine exterior, his fascination with Tenley grows. Annoyed by his inability to control his fixation, Hayden decides the best way to cure him of the new obsession is to get to know the girl under her skittish façade.But like the ink he wears as armor, Tenley has the ability to get under his skin and stay there.
Buy / Pre-Order Links

 Cupcakes & Ink

Kobo Inked Armor
Kobo Cracks in the Armor
(not listed yet)
Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s putting her English degree to good use by writing popular fiction. She is the author of Clipped Wings, her debut novel, and Inked Armor.





Tales from The End by Lissa Bryan Review & Sneak Peek


tales-from-the-endWhat would you do if society, as we knew it, ended? That’s the killer question in Lissa Bryan’s The End of All Things. I don’t go out of my way to read dystopian novels, but this book is one of my all-time favourites because it’s delivered with a big dose of compassion and hope.

Today, Lissa’s released a companion set of short stories entitled Tales from the End. If you’re a fan of this series, or if you simply enjoy dystopian fiction, go and snap it up. It’s the perfect complement to TEoAT.

*Ssh, don’t tell anybody, but I’ve been privileged to read the sequel*

Don’t ask me! I’m not telling you a darn thing. Our hero, Justin would shoot me.

Tales from the End is a set of four short stories. By the time I was five pages in, I was totally engrossed. Not many writers can hook you with a short story. Pearl, the character in the first, positively owns me. You’ll love getting to know her. The second story’s protagonist, Veronica, humbled me with her bravery. I got a big lump in my throat!

The third story is about a horse named Cloud. Her story begins sadly but ends on a hopeful note. And the last story is a bright flame in a dark place. Sweet, sweet Carly and Justin…


It’s a troubled time but one that bleeds compassion and hope. A Lissa Bryan story delivers that. Maybe that’s why I admire her so much and count myself so lucky to be her friend. So, what are you waiting for? Go and read it! And let me know afterward what you think.  🙂


From the author of The End of All Things comes a collection of short stories about the Infection that swept around the globe, decimating the population, and leaving behind a small number of survivors, unprepared to deal with the brutal new world which had replaced the one they’d known.

The End of All Things told the story of Carly Daniels and Justin Thatcher’s travels across a shattered nation in search of a safe place to settle, after the pandemic. But it was also a journey into love, and an affirmation of hope. Carly finds strength in her faith that things can be even better than they were before, that compassion and charity are not luxuries; they are what make us human. Life endures, and so does love. The End of All Things is only a beginning.

And now, Lissa Bryan gives us three new stories in Tales from the End.
Two of them are an introduction new characters from the upcoming sequel to The End of All Things, and the other two are a visit with old friends.
The Horsemen

L.A.’s mayor has declared quarantine to try to halt the spread of the Infection. Pearl sets off across the city to buy supplies, but already the world is changing. Something strange is in the air. The Horsemen are coming …

When Veronica’s mother doesn’t come home from work and no one answers the phone when she calls for help, a nine-year-old girl is thrown into the chaos of a world coming to an end. Veronica decides it’s up to her to find her family. “Veronica” is the story of a little girl’s courage in the face of the end of all things.
“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”

They called her Shadowfax – the mare Carly and Justin found on their travels. But before she was found by Carly, the retired dressage horse was known as Cloud. An unusual tale of the end, told through the eyes of a confused and lonely horse, left in her pasture.

A previously-published bonus story. Carly knows Justin has never celebrated his birthday, and after society crumbled, no one knows what date it is, anyway. But she wants to do something special for him. Celebrating the little things helps them keep hope alive, and as a blizzard rages outside, a small gesture of love warms their home.
Tales of courage, tales of survival… Tales from the End.

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Veronica made herself a bologna sandwich at lunchtime and ate it in front of the TV. The soap operas should be on now, but they were still showing the news. That guy her mom thought was so cute, Troy Cramer, was talking about how everyone was getting the flu. Lots of people were at the hospital, and they were closing schools in some places.

She put in another movie. By the time it was done, her mom should be home from work. She would tell Veronica that her car had broken down and she’d lost her cell phone or something, and be so proud of Veronica for taking care of herself. Or she would say that David had gotten sick, but it was a false alarm and everything was fine now.

Everything would be fine.

Five p.m. Any minute now.

Five thirty. Just traffic. Or David’s daycare teacher wanted to talk.



Veronica sobbed as she curled up on the couch, crying like she hadn’t cried in years. “I want my mom,” she told the empty room.

She wiped her face with her palms and went into the kitchen. It was unavoidable now. She had to call her dad. She couldn’t spend another night alone. As she dialed, she remembered a book she’d read last summer called Pippi Longstocking. It was about a little girl who lived all by herself, and when she’d read it, Veronica had thought about how much fun it would be to have Pippi’s big house and all of that freedom. But now, such a fate seemed horrifying.

Her dad’s phone rang. And rang.

And rang.

His voice mail didn’t even pick up. She waited, because surely he’d see their number on the screen and pick up. He would pick up because she was letting it keep on ringing, and he’d realize it was something important when she didn’t hang up.

It kept on ringing.

Veronica thought she’d cried out all the tears she had, but she was wrong. She sobbed into the receiver, and those sobs turned into hiccups. She had to grab a paper towel from the counter to blow her nose, because she couldn’t breathe.

The phone stopped ringing, and a voice came on the line. Veronica sucked in a breath so fast she choked. She started crying again when it was just a recording saying that the other party wasn’t answering. Then there was just the hum of an empty line.

.¸¸•.¸¸.•´¯`• (¯`•♥•´¯)•´¯`•.¸¸.•.¸¸.
Tales from the End will be available February 4.

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About the Author:

Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot…. though only in her head.

Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

She is the author of two novels, Ghostwriter and The End of All Things. Her third, Under These Restless Skies, will be released on February 20, 2014.

Character Interview: Eire’s Viking by Sandi Layne




Éire’s Viking Character Interview with Agnarr

Agnarr Halvardson is a Viking from Nordweg –an Ostman. We have the pleasure of his company today.

Hello, Agnarr! I enjoy visiting different countries and learning about their cultures and trades. You’ve traveled a lot. Do you enjoy those things?

Different people did not interest me. I wanted only to gain wealth through what they had and take it back to my family, my village.

When did you first realize you belonged in Éire?

*He blows out a breath and rocks on the balls of his feet.*  The first time I saw the land, I knew it would make a good home for me and my family, if they would come. I wanted to return for the land. Having met Cowan—I knew that the men there were much like the men I knew in Balestrand. I felt I could make a life for myself. And so I have.

Let’s split straws: did you return for Éire or Eir?

Straws? I do not split straws. It is a waste of time. Do not tell Cowan, but his wife, my former trell, was the first reason I returned, ja. I thought my wyrd—my fate—was to be with her. I was wrong. *Shrugs* This does not happen often.

Are names significant to you? What does your name mean?

Names? They are names. The one a man earns is significant, but the one he gains from his father is how he is known. My name means I am fierce in battle.

viking-swords 7th to 11th centuries

Was it challenging for you to learn Gaelic?

Ja! *Shakes his head* But there was no choice.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen?

Strangest? Strangest thing I have yet seen was a thunderstorm in midwinter. *Grimacing, he rolls his shoulders.* It was uncanny.

What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen?

Watching a man grown attack a gate with his head. Erik the Hard-Headed earned his name well, that day.

How much of the Viking culture is influenced by the struggle to survive harsh conditions?

My people are strong. We are strong, I think, because of the land in which we are born.  Culture? Our way of life? I do not know for certain, but I do know that not many from warmer countries could survive in Nordweg. Our stories tell of our forefathers, the gods, and they teach good lessons. Would we need these lessons if we lived in a softer climate? I do not know. But I have heard many stories in Éire, and they are very different from what I grew up hearing.

(Note from Sandi: Sorry, Jess – Agnarr doesn’t quite get the concept of culture, but he did his best. lol)


The daily routine on a skipniu must be grueling. Can you share what it was like?

*Grins at her use of the proper term.* Well, the rowing is grueling, ja. We sit on chests or benches and row as the sun climbs in the sky. But when the sails are full, we sit. We wait. It is dirty, on a skipniu, and a man gets tired of salted fish. It is crowded, too, when we have had a good raid.

How many raids would a man take part in before retiring?

Eh. It is not the raids, but the summers away. Each man has his own destiny to follow. Some die before they reach the shore, others grow old enough to rest by the fire or go fishing.

Do you count age by years? Seasons? Who is considered old?

*Flexes his arms – just a little.* We are civilized and count by years. When a man has seen fifty years, he is considered old. I, myself, am in my middle years, as I am over thirty.

How is it determined if a couple may marry and at what age do most people marry for the first time?

A girl may marry for the first time by the age of sixteen, unless there is something wrong with her. It is the duty of her father to find her a husband, and he does so by conferring with men of age or by the fathers of younger men. It is a fair business, and we say that once a woman is wedded, she is then to be dreaded. *chuckles* It is usually a woman who will end a marriage. It is not hard for her to do, if she has cause.

What are the rules of courtship?

A man and a woman, once betrothed, may not spend time alone together. It is unseemly. It is very different in Éire, I’ve found, and I think the Éire-landers make more sense. A man has to have money for his bride, both for the bride price and for the morning after the wedding. *winks*

The Vikings consider marriage to be a permanent relationship, quite independent of emotion. How does one pick a wife? What traits are most admired?

It is a permanent relationship unless the husband does not do his duty for the wife. Then she may divorce him. I, however, will not fail my wife in any way. *nods* Marriage is for the mutual support of the families, you know. It is not a personal thing – it is for all of them. A bride will always belong to her family, so if she goes to a man, her family wants him to be of good standing, so that will improve their status as well. Halvard’s family has always had high status among our people, for example, and there were many fathers who wished to wed their daughters to Halvard’s sons.

A wife’s chief duty is to see to it that the family has food and clothing to last during our long winters. Within the walls of the langhús, she has authority and control in that regard. So if the girl is smart, good with her loom, and can make good cheeses, she is a good candidate for a wife.

What is the average family size in the communities where you’ve lived? Are families in Nordweg smaller than families in Éire? Is that due to the weather?

It is a true thing that fully one out of every three people born in Nordweg do not reach an age of maturity. This is why I am settling in Éire. There is better land and a longer growing season—one could see that by seeing what the Islanders stored for the winters, there. It is a prosperous land. I have seen many more small children in Éire than I was accustomed to seeing in Nordweg. I plan on having many, myself. *nods*

Why do you suppose Charis and Cowan did not adopt more children?

Who knows why Charis does or does not do anything? *shrugs* The woman makes no sense to me. *He smiles reflectively.* It is possible that they found Aislinn to be a handful all on her own…

Vikings seem to have less restrictive gender roles than many more modern societies. Would you agree?

The women of Nordweg are very strong and do have much control in society, yes. As to modern? What is modern? I think they do well, and they do not complain.

Is falling in love considered disadvantageous or is it merely odd?

Love? A feeling? This is something I am still trying to understand. Love is not good sense. A woman loves her children. Her parents. But it is not beneficial and serves no purpose for a warrior. Aislinn, though, finds this feeling to be important. I still do not know why.

medieval hair viking we heart it

Tell us about Aislinn.

*His expression stills for a moment before he frowns, though there is a twinkle in his eye.* She is a kvinn medisin – a healer. She would say a physician. She is a good one, too. I have not seen her make cheese, but she does do fine spinning and weaving. Through Cowan, she is related to a king of her people. I was surprised when I found she was unwed, but they do things differently in Éire.

At first, I thought she was a goddess. I learned differently soon. She is much like Charis and I do not want to touch the sharp edge of her tongue. *He allows himself a small smile, here.*

I do think she would make a good wife. She is tall and strong and would bear fine sons, I am sure of it. *shrugs* I am setting aside gold for a bride price, but her father will not compel her to wed me. I will have to convince her on my own.






Available from AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ten years after Charis marries Cowan at the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, Agnarr Halvardson returns to the Green Island—this time, to stay.  He wants what any man wants:  To make a life for himself, wed, and have sons.
Before he can express these goals, he is injured and taken to Bangor Monastery.  There, Aislinn—adopted daughter of Cowan and Charis—treats him as a patient while she ignores the immediate attraction he holds for her.
Agnarr decides Aislinn would be a good wife for him as she teaches him her language and customs. She commands his respect and wins his affection. The past is just one barrier of many between them, however.
There are new invaders to Éire. Pledging his loyalty to the new king of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home while persuading Aislinn to be his wife.
Success or failure will affect the lives of many.
Author Bio:
There are many profiles that detail the author’s lifelong dream of authorship being realized with the publication of their first novel or short story.  This is not one of those profiles.
To make an exceedingly odd story moreso, Sandi Layne had no wish to be a writer, but went through a storyline bootcamp in the form of strange dreams for a month and took careful notes.  Fifteen years later, she’s still writing stories that veer slightly off the beaten path, both in Christian and historical fiction.
Married for more than twenty years to a very tolerant (and brilliant!) man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends.  Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction for both reading and research.  With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.
If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter.  She invites you to visit her online space at Bring coffee.
Connect with Sandi Layne on 
Other books by Sandi Layne

Refuse to be Homogenized


Refuse to be Homogenized—Beauty, Bullying and Media “Mean Girls” Reblogged from author Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Yes, Kristen will never be a toothpick. 140 pounds in this picture and 5' 3" (technically overweight)

140 pounds (at 5’3″) in this picture and an “old” 35.

Last week I wrote two posts Brave New Bullying: Goodreads Gangs, Amazon Attacks—What Are Writers to Do? and Are Some Humans Born to Bully? Born to Be Victims? Can It Be Changed?. The first post was my own story of enduring hoards of Mean Girls and bullies in school (I switched schools 18 times).

Many people in the comments seemed perplexed as to WHY bullies acted the way they did and how to handle them. Thus, the second post offered even more tips and my Armchair Neuroscientist explanation as to what FEEDS bullies what they CRAVE (and tips to shut bullies down).

A Culture of Control

Since these two posts, I’ve received hundreds of comments and loads of messages and links shared on Facebook. This prompted me to speak a bit more on this topic. My opinion? I feel we live in a culture of bullies. We see it everywhere.

Yes, Steve Jobs was a genius, yeah, yeah, yeah. But, he was also a legendary nightmare boss and a foaming-at-the-mouth-bully…who will be remembered for all time for being awesome. Marissa Mayer (the current CEO of Yahoo) is well-known for being ruthless and even cruel to the employees, yet she’s rewarded.


The corporate world is rife with bullying (which is often encouraged) and mob mentality rules…and we won’t go there. Not enough room on today’s soap box. And, yes I am speaking out on this issue because things need to change. Look at any major cultural revolution and writers probably started it.

I think that’s probably why coups and dictators shoot us first.

Media Mean Girls

In advertising, I feel we see a subtler form of bullying. As a white female, I am unattractive if I’m not a size 0-2 with flawless 20-year-old skin and giant Angelina Jolie poofy lips. I’ve always been muscular. Right now, I am 158 pounds and a size 6-8 (and buy my jeans at Cabela’s because only gals with guns apparently have curves).

I have 42-inch shoulders and an hourglass shape. I have hips and THIGHS. Yet, try to shop anywhere other than an ethnic store or a hunting store and what I find are rows and rows of Skinny Jeans, Matchstick Jeans, and Toothpick Jeans.


Use my skinny @$$ to hold hors d’oeuvres together. Yay!

Um, when did MATCHSTICKS become sexy?

Um, when did MATCHSTICKS become the ONLY sexy?

The attractive Size 6-12 woman is the New Media Sasquatch.

If THIS is Plus-Size? SIGN ME UP!

If THIS is Plus-Size? SIGN ME UP!

The image above is Australian model Robyn Lawley (who is a Size 16, 180 pounds…and 6′ 2″, btw) and the photo is from the Huffington Article Robyn Lawley Is The New Face Of Plus-Size Lingerie Line Boux Avenue (PHOTOS).

Me at 5'3", 165 pounds and a Size 10.

Me at 5’3″, 168 pounds and a Size 10-12.


I’ve given up on women’s magazines. I tried buying a handful of copies of More? *rolls eyes* This was supposed to be a magazine that catered to women 30 and over. The issues I purchased mostly had pictures of food. Recipes. Diets. Craft projects. Face-scrubbers.

Have a hot 45-year-old in a sexy lingerie ad? Are you nuts? 

When women’s magazines have an article about how to do our makeup as we age, do they have a 40-something model? NO. A twenty-something (ok, we can throw in a Hollywood starlet “repaired” with plastic surgery).


I also bought a copy of Women’s Health. As an athletic/curvy woman, I have a hard time finding clothes. I can be 100 pounds and still have a butt and thighs and wide shoulders and big arms (um, look at my wedding picture). So, in this past October’s issue, WH had this feature of dress clothes for the athletic woman. Did they use any of the gorgeous muscular women from their workout routines or ads? Nope. They used six-foot tall toothpicks.

Oh, and they were all super-young because we all know any woman over thirty is a fat slob who lives in sweatpants and wolfs down donuts daily. DUH.

Have We as Consumers Unwittingly Encouraged This?

We’ve allowed Hollywood and Madison Avenue and the fashion industry to tell us that anorexia is healthy and aging women should be hidden. They are at least classy enough not to recommend a burkha. Our culture treats aging like ebola. With all the creams, surgeries, injections and procedures, one might think growing older was a disease. We’ve shamed women about their bodies and faces so they’ll line-up and hand out cash for creams, diets, magazines and surgery.

I’m not quite sure, but I think smile lines might be captured in a tube at the CDC somewhere deep in the belly of the Earth, cached away with smallpox and Spanish Flu.

What this “bullying” has created is a generation of older women who either give up or go to extremes and even plastic surgery addiction (um, Jenna Lee?). Young girls are lining up for breast implants even though their bodies have yet to fully develop. Truly athletic women live in yoga pants because one can’t have muscles and wear Matchstick Jeans.

Oh, but even yoga pants are no longer safe. Lululemon’s CEO blamed the “piling” of their overpriced yoga pants on women’s thighs and bodies (not the quality or lack thereof regarding the product). I’ve been 11% body fat before and my thighs still touched.


Benevolent Bullies

And if we don’t fit the “Hollywood Image”? Angels with plastic surgery skills will step in and help the hideous. Maybe I’m missing something, but when one of my Facebook friends posted this article in Today Health, I wanted to cry: Tormented over their looks? Bullied teens seek free plastic surgery from a NYC nonprofit.

This young teen, first of all, had yet to fully grow into her looks. I was actually kinda goofy-looking when I was her age. When I was her age, I’d also suffered my front teeth knocked out when I was 8 and my nose broken at 10 (so I had a crooked nose and gapped teeth for a time). I never had braces or surgery on my nose. Time allowed me to “grow into my face” so to speak.

This girl was beautiful, but the surgeons benevolently made her “more acceptable.” Boy, I bet the bullies cheered when they could cower someone into slicing up their face for “approval.”

She didn’t have a cleft palate or an extra ear. She had a unique nose.

Why are we allowing this homogenization?

A Jewish nose or Armenian nose or an African nose is just as lovely and far more interesting than a fake Hollywood nose. Sarah Jessica Parker is an actress I respect and admire. She has embraced her lovely and distinctive features and continues to have a great career. On the other hand, Jennifer Grey (from the original Dirty Dancing) gave into the pressure of bullying and traded being a stunning Jewish woman to be a “cute white girl”…and hasn’t really worked since.

Embrace gaps in teeth, different noses, freckles, curves and wild, curly hair. Embrace the naturally super thin gal as well as the gal with curves. There are all different kinds of beauty and we are missing that as a culture.

Be brave!

Refuse to Give in to Bullies

Write to the editors. Stop buying magazines who don’t represent you. Complain to store managers. Refuse to allow cultural bullies to make you a drone. We should not permit bullies to create the agenda or affect our behavior.

And I’m not saying I don’t highlight my hair, use creams to take care of my skin or exercise so I can age well. I stay out of the sun, take loads of vitamins and kale and my Vitamix are my best friends. But where I see the problem is instead of being shown how to look great and age well we’re brainwashed into believing we shouldn’t age at all. I have NO CLUE if I look good for my age. Everyone is Photoshopped or Botoxed. What does a healthy weight even look like?

Granted, I’ve used tools on Pic Monkey to brighten the light, enhance the color of the image, erase smeared mascara/eyeliner, cover a blemish or crop a good picture taken from a bad angle that makes my arm look like it’s the size of a small oak, but I leave my smile lines. I earned them.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 9.09.38 AM

Me at Size 12 with….neck wrinkles *hides face*

Me at Size 12 with….neck wrinkles *hides face*

I’m not opposed to plastic surgery, creams, botox, etc. so long as our decisions are for healthy reasons. For instance, if I ever start looking like an issue of National Geographic? Breast augmentation might be a consideration :D. But my desire is to be the best darn looking 50 or 60 year-old I can be, not to try and look like I’m 20 (and only end up looking bizarre).

When It Comes to Blogging/Writing

Blog. Write what you want. Wear what you want. Laugh a lot and make some smile lines. Be you. There is only ONE, you know ;). You are precious, unique and one-of-a-kind. There will never in human history be another YOU.

And THAT is super cool.

If you blog, don’t shut down your comments because of fear. Then you are allowing bullies to deprive you of the joy of a wonderful, loving, supportive community. THEY WIN. When their behavior makes us alter our lives, or harms our self-esteems? They score bully-points. Whether they can get us to change our habits (hiding in a library, avoiding the coffee break room), our on-line activity (shutting down comments or taking down a site or profile) or even harass us into needless surgery, THEY WIN.

Regular bullies profit from shaming others because of the high it gives them. Bullies in the form of corporations, advertising, the fashion industry, magazines and surgeons profit from shame with…um, money.

We can be the change we seek.

So many of you make me SO PROUD when you dare to write stories with characters who are different, older, ethnic, overweight, clumsy, etc. You show the light beyond the surface so keep doing it!

What are your thoughts? Have you given up buying clothes? Given up on “women’s” magazines? Do you feel our culture is driven by bullying because it creates insecurity which equals profit? Do you have children and what are you doing to help them feel good about who they are and resist the Drone Deception? Are you tired of all actresses and models looking like they fell off an assembly line? Do you have a hard time finding clothes? Do you write (or enjoy) characters who are different? I, personally, LOVE writing love stories with seniors (two have won awards).

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less)

I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!

Return to Poughkeepsie: Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway

Return to Poughkeepsie blog tour banner

Beckett Taylor is a murderer. His calling, his craft are destruction and intimidation—whether he wants it that way now or not. He left Poughkeepsie to keep his brothers safe, to keep Eve safe. Set up with happy lives to live, they’re better off without him, right?

But all his willpower crumbles when he hears his brother Blake’s frantic voice on the phone. An unknown enemy has moved in on his old territory, and Livia’s been taken. In an instant, Beckett knows it will take an attack only he and Eve can execute to bring her back. All his self-imposed embargoes are torn to shreds, perhaps along with the new man he’s struggled to become.

“Brother, call Eve. I’ll be there soon.”

In this emotional and action-packed sequel to Poughkeepsie, Debra Anastasia conjures a tale of love at its most raw and ragged. With Beckett and Eve, how could we expect anything less? But even when it’s messy, not magical, true love perseveres. Real love finds a way—for better or for worse until death does part.
Return to Poughkeepsie cover large

Debra Anastasia Author2013_edited-1Debra Anastasia is busy, just like every other mom. There’s dinner, the dogs, the two kids, the two kids, and her ongoing battle with…ahem… digestive issues, which combined with her adolescent boy sense of humor makes for colorful and sometimes cringe-worthy social media updates. Her first love and crowning achievement is her thriving career as the weirdest mom on the block.

Her writing started a decent handful of years ago when–along with the animals and humans in her house–the voices of characters started whispering stories in Debra’s ear. Insomnia was the gateway to plots that wouldn’t give up, wouldn’t let go. Now they stalk her everywhere. Halfway through making lunches, a twist takes hold and–fingers full of peanut butter–she finds somewhere, anywhere to write it down.

She’s eternally grateful to Omnific Publishing, which has now published four of her books: two in the Seraphim Series and two in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series, as well as her novella, Late Night with Andres. That one is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. (So go get it right now, please!) She also very much appreciates her open-minded readers, who embrace everything she has to offer, with a focus on anti-heroes and bathroom humor.

Debra lives in Maryland with her family. You can find her at and on Twitter @Debra_Anastasia. But be prepared.

My Review:

More than a year ago, it came out that Debra Anastasia was writing a sequel to Poughkeepsie. I put the tentative release date on my calendar and waited. And waited. And now, I have my own site and the privilege of reviewing this book.

Yes, I’ve been a fan for a long time. Don’t ask me how long, because I don’t remember. It goes back to the days when a cardboard piano was making a world tour.

Blake's cardboard piano


So, this is the second book in the series, and it’s not for the faint of heart. This world is gritty and stark, black, white, blood red and murky gray. There are three brothers who grew up in foster care. Beckett (the lead male in this book) is the leader and provider. He’ll do anything –even go outside the law- to protect the people he loves and ensure that they have everything they need to live successful, safe lives. Blake found his solace in music with Livia, and Cole found his in religious faith and the love of a girl named Kyle. But Beckett has no personal comforts; he’s a Mafioso, a murderer, with his fingers in a dozen illicit pies. And –sad day- he’s in love with a lady assassin who’s not quite sure whether she’d rather love him or kill him.

First, I adore the cover. It’s striking. Just thought I’d get that out of the way!

This book is gripping. The second I got my hands on the ARC, I had to start reading. I stayed up half the night, finished it, set it down, went to bed and when I got up the next day, I picked it up and read it again. The characters are all beautifully developed and the storyline is first rate. If I ever get to sit Debra down and pick her brain (and I will!), I’ll ask her how she researched it. This is a tough universe and obviously, quite foreign to my experience. For one thing, Beckett and Eve can be simultaneously tender and brutal to each other.

“These violent delights have violent ends
 And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
 Which as they kiss consume.” (Romeo and Juliet Act 2, Scene 6)

As Father Callahan tells Kyle, God does give us more than we can handle. Life is full of trials and how we respond to those trials affects their outcome. That’s actually a comfort, because we all know that nobody’s life is easy. That’s especially true of the characters in this book. They all have difficult circumstances to endure.

Other supporting characters are fascinating. Ryan, for instance.  He’s a straight-shooting cop who’s unlucky in love. When his ex, Trish, changed all his phone contacts to highly apropos names from Fifty Shades of Gray, I did cackle. But, wow, is she vindictive. It amazes me that someone could spend that much effort on spite.

It’s good to see Mouse’s memory kept alive in this story. I like it that Livie uses the afghan that he knitted. I LOVE it that Beckett prays to Mouse (calling him his personal saint). I truly liked Mouse and Beckett’s affection and loyalty to him is pleasing.

Beckett and Eve are no fairy tale lovers. The closest comparable couple I can think of is Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Some couples love each other and yet get so frustrated that they might fantasize about beating each others’ head against the wall. Beckett and Eve? Well, they might actually do it. Their dynamic is appalling, and yet their love is so real it leaves an aftertaste.

Five stars.


The Perfect Christmas


On this day, there can be a lot of pressure to make Christmas perfect.

The Perfect Gift:












The Perfect Tree:





The Perfect Dinner:













The Perfect Family:


















And yet, our Christmases are often far from perfect and it makes us unhappy. Perhaps we need to remember the very first Christmas:
















Doesn’t look like the perfect place to have a baby, does it!


God didn’t send Jesus because we were perfect, yet we try to make everything perfect on Christmas Day.


Lost Found (Olsen)

Lost Found (Olsen)








Ironic, isn’t it?

So maybe we ought to remember the reason for the season, and forget about trying to be perfect.



imperfect cookies












And instead of fretting about presents, let’s focus on being present (maybe not with our loved ones, but with other people, animals, or in worship).




Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


Thanks for spending time with me this year. Merry Christmas!