Magic of Solstice – Cheri Schmidt

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour I visit Ali Cross and welcome fantasy author Cheri Schmidt.

Cheri is the bestselling author of Fateful. Think “The Vampire Diaries meets Jane Austen.” Fateful is followed by Fractured, Forever, and The Order of Curse-Bound Knights. And she has one other book in another series out entitled, Fair Maiden.

Her Fateful Series has been a bestseller ever since she published it, and well over a 150 thousand copies have been downloaded worldwide.

Cheri will say that her head is a very crowded place, and she wishes she could write faster. She will also tell you that if you do not like glittering fairies, hot vampires with British accents, knights in shining armor, the dashing Mr. Darcy, girly-girls who wear skirts, modern-day vigilantes, or large amounts of snogging, then perhaps her stories are not for you.

Currently she is working on The Trapping Club, a sequel to Fair Maiden, a contemporary/spy romance series, and a Steampunk series.


For Danielle Darcey, when the sun sets in London the magic begins, but just as that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends…because the hero of her story is a vampire.


A dying knight, the infamous Sir Maximilian…

A curse saves him. That curse makes him even more dangerous…and he likes it. To him, a new life as a vampire is an appealing thing.

The man who turned him into this great, fearsome warrior tasks him to watch over and protect his mortal daughter, Nadia. But the beautiful Nadia puts Max’s skills as a knight to the test, captures his heart, and bewitches him with eyes of emerald green. A power more potent than any magical curse.

Inspired by ballads of Robin Hood, Nadia is a bit too rebellious for her own good. And with a kind heart, she is much too trusting and forgiving for Max’s peace of mind, because those attributes get her into a great deal of peril. Deadly creatures surround her—some of them are there to protect her and some want to lure her into a trap—and she has no idea…

But can a knight in shining armor heal a lady’s heart when her love for the legend of Robin Hood is used against her?

Connect with Cheri:

Website        Blog

Amazon         Goodreads         Smashwords

Mailing List

Facebook      Twitter     Pinterest    Instagram

Magic of Solstice Blog Tour – RJ Mirabal

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Today we welcome RJ Mirabal. RJ loves the Middle Rio Grande Valley having lived there for most of his life. Los Lunas High School 2006 Teacher of the Year, author RJ Mirabal, went on to win the Excellence in Education Award for NEA-New Mexico in 2007, having taught English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now happily retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with a motorcycle club and teachers’ organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. The Tower of Il Serrohe is his debut novel.

The Tower of Il Serrohe front cover final

The Tower of Il Serrohe and Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (Books 1 & 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax Series)

  • Don Vargas, a man who has lost his way.
  • A rundown casita near the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico.
  • Nightwing, a bat offering an unlikely hero a formidable quest.
  • A Portal to another valley, the Valle Abajo, where lifestyles are primitive.
  • Clans in the Valle Abajo begging for help to overcome the Soreyes, a wily clan terrorizing the valley for generations.
  • A Tower erected by the Soreyes which seems to be a mysterious source of their power.

All this leads to a unique modern fantasy involving curanderas, an alcoholic looking for escape from the failures of his life, an enigmatic bat who manipulates events behind the scenes, adventures, a beautiful woman, and more surprises in this contemporary New Mexico-based tale.

Though the book ends, the story doesn’t. Book 2 of the Rio Grande Parallax: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is now available. Many familiar characters from The Tower return along with new exciting personalities to spice up the adventure:

extreme_dust_cover_final JPEG_by_wujiart-d7ersnu

Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (release date coming up in mid-July 2015):

It is five years after the final events of The Tower of Il Serrohe and Esther, a sixteen-year-old honor student and athlete, suffers a mysterious accident and dreams of a valley much like her Rio Luna home, yet ominously different. Next, a bat repeatedly slams its body against her window during a powerful wind storm and she hears a whispering in the darkness.

It is the bat, Nightwing, who persuaded Don to take on his mission in The Tower. Nightwing begins to persuade Esther, Don’s younger cousin, to use her intelligence and resourcefulness to drive away the Soreyes from the Valle Abajo—the valley of her dreams. As she shares these disturbing details with her best friend, Markey, they both worry Esther is going insane.

However, new dangers threaten when word reaches the Valle about a murderous clan in the far away Mountains of Sky east of the Valle while in the west there lives another band of Soreyes. Meanwhile, a mysterious presence lurks in the background as the saga of the Rio Grande Parallax continues.

RJ stopped by for a brief interview. Tell us RJ, how real are your characters?

Some of my characters are obviously fantasy, but based on interesting human peculiarities of most every person I’ve ever met. Even Don, though a regular human, is not based on any one person, but a collection of individuals I’ve known and other characters I’ve encountered in literature. I’ve tried hard to “test” my characters—even the fantasy ones—against reality so that I hope readers will find them believable given the setting and plot I’ve created.

What larger social message does your series convey?

People tend to put themselves in little groups and the groups come into conflict with each other… I think people from different cultures are a bit suspicious of each other. The clans in the book have some elements of New Mexico, but they are also universal; they could be from any part of the world.

What attracts you to fantasy?

I can create my own world with its own rules and method of operation. That freedom allows me to engage my imagination more freely while I being as realistic as I desire, but then throw in a twist on reality to keep me and my readers on our toes. Only problem: I have to follow my own rules once I set up this world, challenging my consistency!

What are you reading right now?

I’m reading Donald A. Wollheim’s 1989 Annual World’s Best SF. I’ve had a life-long love of science fiction and came to fantasy a little later on. I find my SF ideas are rather worn-out or require more scientific background than I possess, so fantasy satisfies my need to “go out of this world.” I also love mysteries all the way from the traditional private detective to modern police procedurals.

If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?

I would travel to the Valle Abajo (the world of my book series) of course! It’s wonderful to think about it, but to actually be there would be wonderful though I’d have to watch out for Soreyes (my nasty villains).

Tell me one odd thing about you.

I’m not sure how odd this is, but I’ve always had so many interests that I cannot devote myself to one thing for any length of time. In addition to writing, I play the hammered dulcimer, volunteer for the New Mexico Dulcimer Festival, I am now in the process of organizing my high school class’s reunion, I get out on wilderness trails on my Polaris RZR 4Wheeler, and have worked for years organizing events for my motorcycle club, The Land of Enchantment BMW Riders. No one in any of those groups seems to feel a need to do as many different things!

What is the general theme of The Rio Grande Parallax series?

The message is: “All of what we perceive to be reality is a function of our perception which is informed by our normal senses and our emotional and philosophical states of being.” And, as always: evil is bad, kindness is good, and love is essential to life.

No big agenda other than entertaining my readers who will share in my imagination as they read the book.

Tower of Il Serrohe Map Aug 2012

So why New Mexico Fantasy?

I’ve always loved the way fantasy and science fiction take my imagination beyond the ordinary. Realizing the obsessive creation of stories in my head meant I should be a writer, I set out to fashion a unique niche for my musings calling it Southwest Contemporary Fantasy, specifically New Mexico fantasy. Thus Don, Nersite, Raquela and all the other characters were born and sent out on their unpredictable adventures.

But like many children, they have their own ideas, and I struggle to keep up with them, attempting to tell their story as accurately as I can. I admit they share some of my life experience growing up in New Mexico with its unique culture, terrain, and climate. But at times, I wonder where these people came from!

Join me as I chronicle their adventures and challenges.

RJ face original hi res

Connect with RJ Mirabal





For a limited time, RJ’s first book, The Tower of Il Serrohe, is available in Nook and Kindle formats for free on his publisher, Black Rose Writing’s site: The Tower for Free!

Pick up your copy of The Tower of Il Serrohe today!

Black Rose Writing:


Barnes & Noble:


Signed copy from the author or other questions, email:

Magic of Solstice blog tour – Jan Marie

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Today on the Magic of Solstice blog tour we welcome Jan Marie.

author shot

Jan shares with us an excerpt of her paranormal romance, Angelic Confessions.

I awoke to the feeling of being encased in luscious warmth so I nuzzled into it more.

“Are you nuzzling me?” I heard Pio’s voice underneath me. I opened my eyes wide finding myself lying against Pio in his lap. I jumped up him sliding off his lap, stumbling to my feet. How long had he been holding me? “I was not.” I said defensively.

“Fine if you say so,” he said as he rose raising his hands in surrender. “You should get dressed then,” he said motioning me up and down. Again the familiar heat rose to my cheeks. Ugh! The man was incorrigible. I stomped away to dress in a simple medium length white dress with a red sash that tied in the back. Still fuming in my mind I tried to tie the sash behind me, when I felt Pio’s hands take over. The man confused me. A total jerk one second, kind and gentle the next.

“Why do you have to be such a jerk?” I said exhaustedly.

“Well, I have been called worse, and by my own men too….”

I turned to face him wondering if he was insane. “Don’t you miss your former duties? Why are you watching over me? I-” He took my face in his hands as my breath caught in my chest. “No, you are not. Your Father requested me, but I was honored he trusted me to do so.”

“Thank you,” I said slipping his warm hands from my face. I then smiled sweetly clasping my hands behind my back. “I am fine now.”  Pio dropped his head wearily, as he went and collapsed  onto my bed. “You’re going to give me grey hairs now.”

“Angel’s don’t get grey hairs do they?” I said slinking myself back towards my door. Just as I turned to grab the handle a hand instantly slapped onto my wrist.

“Oh no you don’t,” he said as he slipped his arms around my waist swinging me around.

“Let me go,” I glowered tugging at his arms around my waist.

“But you were nuzzling me before,” he whined.

“I thought you were a pillow.” I glowered.

“No you did not think I was a pillow,” he smiled against my cheek.

“Okay! I didn’t you win,” I said giving up when there was a sudden knock on my door. We both looked up surprised as he let me go. I walked over to the door oddly feeling naked without his arms around me. I quickly shook that thought out of my head as I opened the door to reveal Raphael. “How are you feeling Princess?” Raphael beamed cheerfully. “I am better, thank you,” I curtsied.

“May I speak with your guardian for just a moment?” Raphael looked over at Pio and I looked back to see Pio nod; he then walked out with Raphael as he closed the door behind them. I crouched down putting my ear to the door to listen.

“I’m fine, Raphael, thank you. I will do as our Lord requests. She is listening by the door by the way.” I gasped as the door swung open and out I splattered onto the marble floor. “Very well then,” Raphael said. I looked up to see Raphael pat Pio on the shoulder with a weary look as then he walked away. I stood up and bowed before Pio.

“I am sorry for listening!”

“You are an impossible girl, aren’t you?” I winced as he put his finger under my chin lifting up my face to look at him.

“And you still like me right?” I smiled sweetly. He chuckled. “Yes, I do, though I cannot let this misbehavior slide,” he scolded as I stood up straight a bit shocked.

“Pioooo,” I pouted. He intertwined his hand with mine and pulled me along to leave. “Father gave me permission to punish as needed.”

“Father did not!” I choked. He looked back at me smiling quite mischievously. “Let’s go now, naughty girl.”


Kitty Corner

Some of the authors visiting Paws 4 Thought want to introduce us to their furry friends. Here are the kitties that live with Jan Marie.  Kitkat (the cute black and white one) and Heizy (the tabby, AKA Jedi kitty!)

kitkat  jedikitty

Jan Marie is an establish online article writer. Mostly self trained with only attending one Rock Valley College writing course she first broke into the comic book writing scene where she worked with new independent companies as head script writer. She then moved into freelance writing having been published by various online publishers and also was featured in FATE magazine. She also hosts her own Review business blog site Authors and Angels where she host reviews and interviews of fellow indie authors. She now has written her first fantasy romance novella, Angelic Confessions.

Connect with Jan:

Website,    Blog

Amazon page   Facebook:  Twitter

Pinterest:    Goodreads:

Head on over to Allison D. Reid’s blog today Weaving World where I am Alison’s guest.

Magic of Solstice – C.B. MacGillavry

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Welcome back to the Magic of Solstice blog tour. Today we welcome Italian Eco-fantasy author C. B. MacGillavry.

C.B. came by and answered a few questions:

Q: What attracts you to fantasy?

A: I love magic, and since it’s not appropriate to use it outside of fantasy, well, it really leaves only one option, doesn’t it? Besides fantasy is such a versatile genre, it can be anything the author really wants and it always fits! Fantasy also gives me the space to interact with some people I dearly love and who aren’t in this dimension anymore.

Q: If you had a superpower what would it be?

A: I think I would love to be a shape shifter… I remember wanting to be able to turn into a cat as a teenager. So my superpower would be the ability to turn in a cat or other feline.

(Just like my character, Miri, of course! DMK)

Q: What are you reading right now?

A: I’m reading, among many others (I tend to have at least 2 reads at the same time), Aurian and Jin: a love story by Emily Russell. I like it very much, as it’s both a love story and a fantasy for adults, the characters are very well portrayed and the storyline is great. Besides Jin is fun to read.

Q: If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?

A: There are so many places I would like to visit, it’s really hard to choose… P.A.W.S. definitely  would be one of them! Any place where the magic blossoms attracts me.

 (Yay! The folk at P.A.W.S. would be very happy to have you. DMK)

Q: Tell me one odd thing about you.

A: The oddest thing would be that I look normal but I’m not. What I mean is that people who see me for the first time think of me as of the typical quiet person, which I am. But underneath I have a very vivid imagination and I like to make jokes. I love it when people laugh thanks to me, sometimes also because of me, I love to make people happy, even for a very short time. That’s why I’m blessed with many good friends and as they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed, which they always turn out to be.

Here at Paws4Thought we like to welcome our author’s fur families too. Here are some of C.B.’s.



Visit C.B. MacGillavry on her blog

And trot over to Lee Dunning’s blog where I am guesting today.

Magic of Solstice Blog Tour – Charlotte Henley Babb

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Hello everyone and welcome to the Magic of Solstice fantasy writers’ blog tour. During the month of June I’ll be hosting a whole manner of fantasy authors here on my blog. I’ll also be out and about visiting the blogs of others. To keep up with the tour visit our Facebook page.


Our first guest is Charlotte Henley Babb. Charlotte has been writing since she was four, and now makes up fractured fairy tales for people who have survived beyond the last love’s kiss. Today she shares with us an sneak peak from her new steampunk adventure, 20 Hours to Charles Town. Her upcoming novel  is set on an airship brothel where a secret meeting of ambassadors is discussing the recognition of the nation of Texas in an alternate history line where the American Revolution failed. New France and Mexico are at odds, Spanish Florida is barely hanging on economically, and the freed slaves have joined with runaways and Natives to form a new country on the southeast coast, Liberia.


Brandy walked into Madame’s office, standing before the imposing desk, the elegant lighting and the books–so many books. She waited to be spoken to, standing in the position they used to photograph the hostesses. Madame said they were to be seductive at all times on the job.

After a few seconds of scrutiny, Madame spoke. “Why do you want to work for me?” She sipped from a shot of tonic.

“I want to go to college, and this is the only way I can make enough money to go.” She kept her glance steady on Madame’s face, taking in every shift of expression. She didn’t know why she was in trouble.

“Why college?” Madam’s expression didn’t change, and her voice was even, almost friendly, like a maiden aunt.

“I want to be a financier, to make money in the stock market.” She didn’t say anything else, waiting for Madam’s reply.

“My accountants are well paid for their work. You could learn on the job.” Madame shifted in her seat, crossing her long legs that even at her age were firm and supple. She did the same training that she required of her girls and had been known to take some of them down a peg if necessary.

“Yes, Madame.” Brandy shifted slightly and suppressed a wince. “What are the advancement opportunities?”

Madame tilted her head. “Show me your ribs.”

No one hesitated to disrobe on the ship, especially at Madame’s command. Brandy dropped her kimono, standing nude with her arms by her sides.

Madam motioned for her to turn around. “Did you learn anything from this?”

“Yes, Madame. I need to be quicker, and I need to learn when to back up.” Brandy looked away. Dixie was three inches taller and had much longer arms and legs. Brandy hadn’t been able to find a way inside the barrage of hands and heels and elbows. Dixie seemed to enjoy it. Maybe getting off the ship would be the way to go, as she’d never be able to get to Dixie’s status as long as Dixie was the top.

Dixie made in one night what Brandy would pay for a year’s tuition, on top of the money the men, and some women, paid just to ride The Elephant, even after Madam’s twenty percent.

“I won’t have bruisers–or rumors of bruisers–on this ship.” Madam stared out the gallery windows at the late afternoon skyline of New York. She waved her finger at the kimono on the floor.

Brandy grit her teeth as she leaned over to pick it up and slid into it. She stood straight again, waiting to be dismissed, probably forever.

“Opportunities for advancement are found for people I can trust.” Madame glanced up. “I have an assignment for you this trip, a man who won’t have sex with you on principle, but who needs some encouragement to trust me. You’ll have to think like an accountant instead of a whore.”

Brandy did a double-take. “Madame?”

“An accountant has no feelings about the numbers, except a sense of satisfaction when everything adds up and is in the black. Can you work with a person like that, seeing the investment  rather than the man?”

“Yes, Madame. What do I need to do?”  She always thought of the men that way, another tuition payment, a book or ledger for her studies. She liked sex all right, but it was a business for her. “What will make him trust you?”

“I don’t know.” Madam shook her head as if she were thinking of something far away. “He doesn’t approve of what we do here, but he pays his way to do his networking. Just being here is a sacrifice of his principles, but he can’t get what he wants any other way.”  She gave Brandy an appraising look. “I need for you to change that impression. I know what he has to offer, and I want in on the deal. Make that happen, and I’ll see that you are trained as an accountant, a financier and a securities broker. I’ll even send you to law school, if it works out favorably for me.”

Brandy’s heart leapt to her throat, and she could not speak. She nodded, pulling her composure together. She didn’t want to know what would happen if she failed. “I can play an innocent, maybe, a runaway who is working passage to a new life. Do you think he would like that? It’s not that far from the truth, except for the innocent part.”

She shifted her stance to stoop a little, hanging her head and opening her eyes wide. She dropped her shoulders, and let the pain of her cracked rib show on her face. 

Madame laughed. “I think you can pull that off. Can you still talk like a Brooklyn street rat?”

“I’m a good, honest girl. I just need a job.”  Then Brandy straightened up, almost rigid, with her eyes turned away. She changed her voice to sound more like the mountain people. “I got away from the Iroquois, so I know how to work. Give me a chance.”  She stared directly at Madam, letting her hands fall limp from her wrists and straightening her shoulders.

Madam stood up, walked around Brandy, looking her over again, like a horse she might want to buy. She lifted Brandy’s hair, twisting it up into a knot, just to get the effect.  She stood back, crossed her arms, and tilted her head again. “I’ll work you hard, and you’ll have a half-day off on Saturday. Can you cook and clean?”

“Yes, Ma’am. I can tend babies, sew and keep a garden. I’m your all-around girl.” Brandy crossed her arms too, mimicking the stance of the buyer, as she’d been taught to do. She even matched Madame’s breathing.

Madame smiled. “I believe you can. We’ll give it a try. If nothing else, I can put you on the stage.” She put her arm around Brandy, again like an aunt, instead of the hardest, most dastardly scheming robber baroness of them all. “I’ll have Mei Lin train you. She is smaller than you, and can handle a full-grown Irish boxer with one hand. You may give Dixie some of her own back, then.”

“Dixie doesn’t like my client.”

“That’s why she isn’t working with him. You are. Do me proud.”

Madame left the “or else” unspoken.


Look forward to the release of  20 Hours to Charles Town in late summer 2015.

Can’t wait then check out Charlotte’s first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, an adult fantasy (not erotica) about a down-and-out 50-something who gets a job as a fairy godmother and proceeds to fracture each fairy tale she is assigned. A sequel is in the works, That Darn Maven, wherein she is transformed into a cat until she can grant three wishes.

Charlotte also has three story collections out. Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales includes three stories, “Mavenstiltskin,” “Fairy Frogmother,” and “Bubba and the Beast,” though they are much in Maven’s future. Just a Smidgen of Magic has five urban fantasy stories, not connected to Maven. Walking Off Heaven’s Shore contains ten pieces, including a bit of poetry and illustrations, mainstream flash fiction and short stories.

Walk-Shore  Just-a-Smigen-of-Magic  Maven cover 333x500

Maven’s Fractured Fairy Tales: 

Just a Smidgen of Magic:

Walking Off Heaven’s Shore:

Charlotte sat down with me and answered a few questions. What attracts you to fantasy?

Reality is for people who have no imagination. Nobody in their left mind would live here.

If you had a superpower what would it be?

I would remove all deleterious effects from all delicious foods like chocolate, fried chicken, mayonnaise and sausage biscuits. Did I mention I live in South Carolina?

If you write YA, how have you attracted teens to read your books?

I don’t write YA, but my stories do include YA characters. I hope sometime to explore their experiences, but at 64, I don’t really remember much about being a teen.

What are you reading right now?

I’ve collected a number of Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Place stories, and some of his other science fiction. There are few people who write science fiction humor, and he is one of the good ones I missed in the 80s and 90s..

If you could travel to any place, real or imaginary where would you go?

The Place, Jake Stonebender’s replacement of Callahan’s. Or perhaps Lady Sally’s place, the model for my airship.

Tell me one odd thing about you.

My silver hair is currently dyed cobalt blue and copper. It’s nice to be old enough that nobody questions why I want to do what I want to do.

Connect with Charlotte through these linky-links!


Facebook author page



Twitter: @charlottebabb


Also check out my post today on Joshua Robertson’s blog, Robertson Writes.