Wicked Origins by Paula Black
I have no idea what’s happening to me.
When a tornado dropped my car in a land of short, wild people, I was shocked. With no way to get home, no idea where I was and no clue how to communicate with the muchkins, I was completely out of luck. Then I found out that my car had landed on someone and killed them. Supposedly she was the Wicked Witch of the East.
If that wasn’t bad enough, now her ruby slippers magically appear on my feet, and slowly, I’m becoming her.
Now I need to get to Emerald City and see the Wizard if I want to stop the transformation and return home. But the yellow brick road is no cake-walk, and I don’t know what I’ll find at the end of this journey. Luckily, I have three brothers I meet along the way to help me on my journey. Each of them is vying for my affection, as if it doesn’t matter that my skin is turning green.
Wicked Origins is a modern YA Reverse-Harem Fantasy Retelling of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz tales.
Paula Black is a USA Today Bestselling Author who wears many hats - and none of them is a night cap. Running on tea, Kpop, and sheer adrenaline, she battles monsters and witches with little to no sleep. She is the sleepy panda who loves to cuddle with boys, dogs, cats, and other pets. If you want to know her other identities or when she will release the next book in series, subscribe to her mailing list:
Jack Jetstark travels the universe to seek out the descendants of superpowered freaks created long ago by VesCorp scientists. The vibrations encoded in a particular song transform the members of Jack’s crew into a firebreather and an angel, a wildman and telepathic conjoined triplets, so they hide the truth of who they really are with the theatrics of a carnival.
The song plays every night through the receptor Jack carries with them, but when one night it has a different ending and their temporary powers become permanent, Jack believes the change is a signal from the woman who sent him on this quest in the first place. He and his freaks must navigate a universe at war to protect the love of his life.
But does the ruler of VesCorp really need protecting?
Author Jennifer Lee Rossman is a disabled and autistic freak, and proudly so. Her work has been featured in many anthologies and her debut novella, Anachronism, was published by Kristell Ink in 2018.
She blogs at jenniferleerossman.blogspot.com and tweets @JenLRossman
“First thing you’ve got to know,” I said, brushing my hair from my face as the wind began to pick up, “is that we’re all freaks. Everyone in the whole universe, for one reason or another. Most try to hide this fact. A few of us embrace it, not so much because we want to but because there’s nothing else for us. So we show people the terrifying and unseemly parts of us no one wants to see, and we charge ’em good money to see it.”
Lily stepped forward and knelt to display her shoulders and back, all bare, featherless skin down to the dangerously low neckline of her sequined dress. “See? No wings.”
“But you flew,” Cara insisted. “If it isn’t costumes and harnesses, then what?”
I held up the receiver, a small wooden box the size of my hand with a speaker on one side and images of galaxies and solar systems carved into the others. Not the most advanced technology, but I wouldn’t have anything else.
I checked the time. Soon.
I debated how much to tell her. No matter how many times I tried to explain it, it never sounded remotely plausible, but I had to warn her. Seeing the end result was one thing; seeing it happen before your eyes was another matter entirely, though the complete truth was an ancient burden none of them deserved to be saddled with.
“The music plays,” I said. “Same song, same time every night, and it triggers something inside us. That feeling you had, like you were made of magic? That’s what it feels like when your DNA recognizes a song, even if you’ve never heard it before.”
She stared at me in eager anticipation, nodding slowly. Whether she actually believed me or was just humoring me, I couldn’t say, but it was a nice change from the usual interruptions of “that’s impossible” and “science doesn’t work that way.”
I cast a sideways glance at Theon, who had given me more trouble than the others, and continued. “Makes you feel alive, like there’s a purpose to your existence and you can do the impossible, and that ain’t just in your mind. We’re all freaks, but we—” I motioned to my crew. “Well, we’re different. Our bodies hear that song, and it triggers our genes to change, to grow into… I don’t know, the true selves that live in our heart or some sentimental crap like that.”
“How poetic,” Lily said with a laugh. She looked up at Cara. “I know it’s hard to understand. It happens to me every night, and I still have no idea how it works, but I can fly, Merulo becomes the feral wildman, Parthen and the boys really can read each others’ minds and feel each others’ pain… Jack breathes fire and gains the ability to give impassioned speeches without sounding like an uninterested jerk.”
I checked the time again.
“So what changed in you?” Pneuman asked with earnest interest. “During the music, I mean?”
Cara hesitated, almost like she was afraid of hearing the absurdity out loud.
“I turn into a wild beast,” Merulo pointed out quietly. “And these three grow into one, psychic organism. Whatever you’re about to say will probably be the most normal thing we’ve heard in months.”
After another moment’s thought, Cara rolled up her sleeves. Her arms, though pale peach and freckled like her face, gleamed in the diminishing sun.
I reached out to touch her. Cold, almost metallic. That explained how she opened the lock.
“You’re a cyborg,” I said, tapping my nail on her forearm to hear the clinking sound. They just couldn’t get the texture right, no matter how hard they tried.
Her moon didn’t seem like the type of place to have a neurologist trained in bio implants, and I doubted anyone there could afford to travel to see one.
“Fancy. Who wired it into your brain?”
“I did it all myself.” She held up a hand and demonstrated the various functions and attachments installed in her fingers, glossing right over the fact that she had just admitted to performing brain surgery on herself. She yanked her sleeves down. “And I’m not a cyborg,” she clarified. “I’m just good with electronics and I like gadgets. My dad says it’s bad to be a cyborg.”
“Well, I tell you what, kid. You can’t make a person change by pointing out their flaws, but you can be the one person who doesn’t try to.”
“I’ve always had a connection to electronics,” she said, shyly extending a hexagonal wrench from her forefinger, “like I could talk to them. But when I heard the music… something happened.”
I checked my watch. Not long now. “Yeah, something always happens. What matters is what happened to you, kid.”
“They… talked back.” Her words came slow at first, her reluctance to being different still holding her back, but as she talked, she grew more excited, more animated. “I could hear the messages stored on the phones of everyone around me, could see the last videos that played on their contact lenses. I could see the blueprints of your ship in my head. She’s an Aldebaran cargo ship, High-wire model. Superluminal capability, more weapons than she came out of the factory with, and she has a capacitor that should be repaired soon. And I felt like, if I wanted to, I could touch any source of power on the ship and control everything remotely.”
“Ready to feel that way again?” I asked, holding out the transmitter as showtime approached.
It was time, but the music didn’t play. The music didn’t play.
Why didn’t the music play?
Museum curator Robin Grinling, in her new position in the small Danford museum, prepares to exhibit a collection of long-hidden still life paintings recently inherited by young deb Slinky Chase. When Slinky is murdered, Robin suspects something in the innocent-seeming paintings is the cause. But Slinky isn't the only one to die. As Robin uses her research skills to interpret the paintings, she finds clues in the still lifes suggesting the paintings tell deadly secrets about the wealthiest old families in this aging Massachusetts milltown. She identifies the artists and exposes stories of intrigue, passion and betrayal hidden in the paintings. Now, she is in danger. To save herself, she must reveal the killer.
Michal Sherring is the pseudonym of retired art historian Joan Mickelson who spent three decades in the museum profession holding positions from museum assistant to curator to director. (The Biblical David's first wife was named Michal, in case you wondered.) Friends suggested she write a museum mystery since she loves traditional mysteries in the puzzle-solving format. The idea for DONE FOR AT THE DANFORD came to her as she was walking through an exhibition of still life paintings. Although a native Floridian, Michal loves to travel to very cold places, especially the Norwegian/Swedish Arctic.
Ingenious twists, hidden pasts are skillfully woven together with art appreciation. The setting is in 1965 but the readers journey covers the pre-WWI art scene. Aside for the murder mystery surprises I was left with a feeling that I had walked the hallways of the Danford museum with curator Robin Grinling, The characters are multidimensional and believable. The story allows the reader to feel connected to some of the characters through their art as much as their actions. There is much that I liked about this book. The characters are presented in a way that one can easily visualize them, the knowledgeable tidbits on the work of a curator and other aspects of art add a dimension of learning as one is being entertained that I love in historical mysteries. Be prepared to be surprised. Done For At The Danford will make all mystery lovers happy. I bought my paperback copy from Murder On The Beach Mystery Book Store in Delray Beach Florida
Danger lurks around every corner as these courageous cops, adventurous agents, and daring detectives hunt for the answers to stop the crimes by vicious killers.
But what if the damage is already done?
Inside these pages, you’ll find 25 adventures full of captivating conundrums, hair-raising homicides, and suspenseful secrets from today’s USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling and award-winning authors.
Become a private investigator yourself when you inspect plots of deadly assassins, cold-blooded killers, and bone-chilling suspense inside the pages of DEATH AND DAMAGES, an enthralling mystery and thriller boxed set.
Fans of Lee Child, James Patterson, Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Grisham will devour these puzzling, mysteries and gripping thrillers.
Patricia Loofbourrow Pauline Creeden John Ling Alexa Padgett Siera London Shereen Vedam Deborah Shlian Kelly Hashway Maggie Carpenter Tiana Laveen Angela Sanders Karen M. Bryson Aime Austin Lisa B. Thomas Fiona Quinn Kerry J. Donovan Jane Blythe Dan Alatorre Muffy Wilson Dariel Raye Ja’Nese Dixon Terry Keys Bill Hargenrader Judith Lucci Maria Grazia Swan
The Purple Haze (The Western Lands and All That Really Matters Book 1)Being a princess is hard. Especially when you're just a little OCD.
And your twin goes missing.
Sure, Princess Eloise is Future Ruler and Heir to the Western Lands and All That Really Matters. And yes, her life is structured by Protocol and full of little "habits" that help her get through the day.
But none of that matters when her twin sister disappears.
Eloise has to suck it up to try and get her back.
She sets out with her champion (a nervous, yammering chipmunk), her guard (the human incarnation of rectitude), and two horses (one an equine perfection, the other on a vow of silence). Like a kind of fantasy-world Gilligan's Island meets Discworld, a quick little two-day jaunt turns into traipsing across realms. sniffing out a trail that is getting colder by the minute.
The Purple Haze is a humorous novel set in a world of weak magic, talking animals, and wäÿ töö mänÿ ümläüts. If you like quirky, clever characters, lively dialog, and fun, ripping yarns, then you'll love this fabulous debut novel from Andrew Einspruch.
Get The Purple Haze today and dive into the freshest fantasy series in years. ON Sale for $.99
The Star of Whatever (The Western Lands and All That Really Matters Book 2)
The slightly OCD princess was doing just fine, thanks.
A simple Mayan girl. A powerful spirit. A bloodthirsty monster. All leading to a desperate quest.
When the Mayan calendar ended some people scoffed while others joked and a few waited for the end of the world. After living half her life apart from her native people, Dalia no longer believes in the supernatural and monstrous things that the final cycle predicted.
But unbelief is not protection.
Going home draws her into a fight against mythical creatures, limitless power and a battle for humanity's survival. Can Dalia balance an outsider's knowledge and tribal wisdom to give the world a fighting chance? Or will she choose to stay blind and let the world collapse around her?
Reign Drops the running start to launch The Bloodborne Series, a saga of urban fantasy novels. If you like tenacious heroines, Mayan legends, and new twists on magical beasts, then get this book today!
Join us for an Entertaining Talk and Cocktail Party to launch The Yiddish Gangster's Daughter
7-8 p.m., Friday, November 16, at Murder on the Beach Mystery Book Store 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach.
Deborah Shlian will also discuss her award-winning medical suspense, Silent Survivor.
Refreshments and a chance to support the arts!
(click on book to order)
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY HYSTERICAL
A belly-laugh worthy video. The fellow in this Ted talk does what we'd all love to do when a Nigerian businessman asks for money. (thanks to Jenny Milchman, an amazing writer). It's worth watching at least briefly.
THE CORRUPT JUDGES
Halloween is my favorite holiday and I couldn't pass up the chance to dress up and act like my gangster character for this Halloween party and talk at Murder on the Beach Mystery Book Store October 31. Joanne Sinchuk manager, (right) as RBG with a lace collar and Susan Biele with a paper doily from Publix.
In Which a Jewish Mother Brainwashes Her Son and His Wife to Love Hanukkah
Here’s my Hanukkah present to those of you whose children have married outside the faith. Yes, you can get them to carry on the traditions that make the Celebration of Lights so special. But it takes a lot of effort. And a little luck.
When my son married a woman born in mainland China, I thought I’d dodged a bullet. That country discourages religious affiliations and her parents saw no point in joining a church once they moved to the U.S. That worked out well for me -- sort of. I wasn’t competing over which religion the kids would practice. But my son and daughter-in-law saw no reason to embrace the rituals or beliefs of Judaism . . . or any other religion for that matter.
So I set out on a mission to convince them otherwise. They live in New York and I live in Florida so I couldn’t be there for every holiday. But I did my darnedest to make the major holidays as fun and meaningful as possible. On Yom Kippur, I’d fly up and prepare a traditional break-the-fast, even though neither of them fasted, and welcomed their friends to come over. It wasn’t an elaborate affair. I brought in bagels and lox and eked out a noodle pudding in their miniature oven. But it made the holiday real.
Later in the year, when my son announced he’d picked up a pine tree and Christmas ornaments, I raced to the Judaica store and express mailed a menorah and candles. I also put together a package for my daughter-in-law—one gift for every day of Hanukkah. Sure it was a bribe. But who cares? When I fly in for Hanukkah now, we light candles and sing songs. And the ready-made latkes from Katz’s Delicatessen are a big hit.
Passover is my favorite holiday so I cram a Seder plate, a silver hand washing cup and a pile of coffee-stained Haggadahs into my carry-on bag. One year, I found the ingredients for a Seder plate at Zabar’s and spent an hour and a half on the subway to get it. I was stunned by the number of young people who wanted to participate in our Seder that night.
I have no guarantees that celebrating these holidays means my son and his wife will continue to observe these Jewish traditions. But by making such rituals an important presence in their lives, I hope I’ve shown them what they’d be missing. My daughter-in-law recently gave birth to twin boys and agreed to have a cantor officiate at their baby naming ceremony. They also plan to send the boys to a Jewish preschool, claiming it offers the best education in their neighborhood.
My son argues that he’s raising the boys Jewish for me and his father. I don’t believe him. I suspect he likes the idea of belonging to a unique tribe. He’s comfortable having a sense of identity that dates back multiple centuries. The couple socialize with Jewish, Indian and Asian friends and seem to find pleasure in sharing our rituals with all of them. I can only hope they will continue to share these traditions with their own children.
Not that they have a choice. If they don’t, I’ll be up there, lighting candles and holding Seders with the grandchildren myself.
This is the BIGGEST sale I’ve ever offered you–and it won’t be around very long, so jump on it like a pile of crunchy autumn leaves!
SIX of my first in series books are on sale for only 99 cents. That’s right–you can grab a single book for less than a cup of coffee, or you can get ALL six for under six bucks.
But be ready: once you start reading these, you’ll be hooked on six incredible series, too!
Every gift has consequences . . .
Tasmyn Vaughn didn’t expect much when her dad’s job moved them to a small town in Florida; it was just another new school. But King is a town founded by magic and steeped in mystery, and soon Tasmyn’s ability to hear others’ thoughts is the least of her worries.
There’s Ms. Lacusta, the science teacher who just might be teaching more than chemistry, and then there’s Nell Massler, the ultimate mean girl whose extracurricular activities include blood rituals. And she wants Tasmyn’s blood next.
Entangled in a web of first love, quirky and secretive townsfolk, magic and blood spells, she discovers the town’s secrets aren’t just bizarre, they’re deadly.
In a story of friendship, loss and second chances, Jude will learn her life is far from over.
Being a widow at the age of forty-four was never in Jude Hawthorne’s plans. After her husband’s untimely death, she’s left with her family’s beach restaurant and two nearly grown children. The last thing she’s looking for is another chance at love.
However, if her husband’s best friends have anything to say about it, love is just what she’s going to get. They’re determined to take care of Jude, and when they decide the best way to do that is for one of them to sweep her off her feet, three begin to vie for her affections. But only one can reach her heart.
The first book in the acclaimed Crystal Cove Romances!
Julia worked for weeks planning the perfect surprise birthday party for her boyfriend, Liam, but that night, she was the one who got the biggest shock. He broke up with her in front of all their friends, humiliating her in the process.
Clearly revenge was in order.
The plan is simple. Make him jealous, win him back, and then crush his heart. Fair is fair. However, there is one little hiccup, and he has curly brown hair and dimples.
Jesse is everything she wants. With him, she could almost forget her bruised heart. Almost. Julia has one choice: let Liam walk away after everything he did, or lose a chance at love in pursuit of payback.
Pour some wine, put up your feet and spend some time in Palm Dunes . . . where people aren’t always as they appear.
Want a recipe for disaster? Take one thirty-something food columnist, living the high life as the youngest resident of a Florida retirement community in the house she inherited from her grandmother. Sprinkle with early-bird specials and nights of bingo.
Add one college professor-turned-novelist, seasoned heavily with deep, dark secrets sprung from a night of drunken fun that left him changed in ways he doesn’t understand.
Toss in a dash of murder that rocks a quiet community.
And heat until neither one can deny their growing attraction to each other.
Best served hot with a side of wicked humor and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Max Remington has never been anything but a soldier. The oldest son in a family that served our nation for generations, he’d never considered any other path. The army is his life, his home and his one true love.
Until he meets Samantha Crewe.
Part millennial flower child, part spunky free spirit, Sam was raised by parents who encouraged her to express her feelings and embrace peace. She’s quick to love and open to just about any new adventure . . . but Max might be her biggest challenge yet.
When these two clash, expect immediate combustion . . . of the very hottest kind.
Since you scrolled allllll the way down, you get the bonus! One more series starter–THE LAST ONE–is FREE on all vendors for a limited time!
That means you can get SEVEN books for under $6. GO, you!!
Welcome to Burton, a small town just west of Savannah where the men are sexy, the women are sassy and happily-ever-afters are a speciality of the house.
Meghan Hawthorne is restless and ready for a change. As she begins her final summer of college, Meghan’s looking for excitement and maybe a little romance. Nothing serious; this girl just wants to have fun.
Sam Reynolds doesn’t need excitement, and he doesn’t want romance. Fun is out of the question. He’s been the steady, responsible one since his parents died, and serious is his way of life.
When Sam rescues Meghan alongside a dark Georgia backroad, she falls hard for his deep brown eyes and slow drawl. But making him see a future beyond their summer fling feels downright impossible.
Sam’s tempted by the fiery young artist, even as he realizes that giving into his feelings will mean radical change . . . maybe more than he can handle. But Meghan makes him want to believe in crazy things like forever and happy endings.
He may be the last one she should want. She may be the last one he should need. But no one ever said love was easy.