An Alisa Review: Crashing Waves (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries #2) by C.J. Baty


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


crashing-waves-by-c-j-batyJustin Warfield ran away to Italy to put the events of last summer and a certain dark-haired private eye behind him, to no avail. If anything, he can’t help but rehash what happened over and over. When he finally returns to South Carolina, the hotel he runs with his brother has suffered a series of incidents that are starting to look less accidental after a death threat is received.


Not satisfied that Moses Lee and his local police will find the culprit, Peter Warfield calls in the services of his good friend Marcus Drummond to help. Marcus is torn. He wants to help his friend, but he also knows that if Justin has moved on after their failed flirtation last summer, he will be devastated.


Tensions mount as danger seems to follow them at every turn, stalking them as they get closer to solving the mystery of who is behind the sabotage of the hotel.


I read the first book in this series last year and had a bit of trouble remembering it, so it took a little bit for me to get into this book.  Justin had pushed Marcus away after the first book leaving both himself and Marcus hurting.  This book begins just after Justin has returned to Beaumont and there have been “accidents” happening around the hotel.


Marcus and Justin are forced together again when Justin’s brother, Peter, calls Marcus to come and help.  Both plan to avoid each other, but it doesn’t work out quite as well as they thought.  When Peter decides to be responsible and to actually talk to Marcus about his feelings things seem to take a turn for the better.  However, no matter what happens between them there always seems to be something going wrong.


In this story we get to see both of the MCs points of view, but are also given a glimpse of the one who is causing all of the problems.  Seeing how Justin and Marcus still care for each other and are willing to work through their problems was wonderful, but knowing the crazy thoughts of someone wanting to hurt them dampened it a little.  They’re working out their relationship at the end of the book and it seems like the series may be continuing and if it does, I can’t wait to see these characters a bit more.


Cover art is great and catches a reader’s eye.


Sales Link: Bottom Drawer Publications | Amazon | ARe


Book Details:

ebook, 199 pages

Published: September 16, 2016 by Bottom Drawer Publications

Edition Language: English

Series: The Warfield Hotel Mysteries #2

In The Spotlight: Drifting Sands by C. J. Baty (excerpt and giveaway)


Drifting Sands 600x900

Drifting Sands by C. J. Baty
Release Date: June 7, 2015

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Goodreads Link
Publisher: Bottom Drawer Publications
Cover Artist: Mumson Designs


Sales Links:  Bottom Drawer Publications  – AmazonAll Romance (ARe)

STRW Author BookSynopsis

As he approaches his fortieth birthday, Justin Warfield feels alone, drifting like the sand that blows along the beach near his family’s hotel. He has done exactly as his father wanted. Married the right girl and carried on the family tradition of running the Warfield Hotel. On paper things seem perfect, but happiness hasn’t been a part of his life for a very long time.

Marcus Drummond once spent a summer with his best friend Peter at the Warfield Hotel and fell hard for Peter’s much older brother. Five years later he’s back, and this time hopes that Justin will see him as more than his kid brother’s friend.

Sparks fly when the two meet again, but there are a few things standing in their way. The closet that Justin has himself buried in and someone on a killing spree, dumping bodies on the Warfield beach . . . victims that indicate Justin may be involved in some way.

Pages or Words: 57,000 words

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The night air was cool and damp as it blew off the ocean. Ian McAlister toed the sand where he stood, looking out into the darkness surrounding him. A soft glow filled the sky over the Warfield Hotel several hundred yards away. This was a public beach and closed at night, and the only sound was the soft lapping of the water against the shore.

Ian fingered the note in his pocket as he thought of the words he’d read over and over again since he’d received it.

“Ian, I need your help. Please. Come to the Warfield and meet me on the beach at 10 p.m. on Friday evening. There’s a spot on the north end of the beach, just between the public beaches and the private beach of the Warfield. There’s a sign, meet me there. Don’t tell anyone. Please, Ian, I need you.”

Ian had not heard from Justin Warfield since Justin got married. It had been too hard to see each other as only friends. They’d each gone on with their lives. But for Ian, Justin Warfield was a hard man to forget, so when the letter arrived, his decision to come had been easy.

The sound of footsteps treading through the sand caused Ian to turn around. He was surprised to find a gun aimed at him.
“What are you doing?” Ian asked, but there was no answer.

He felt the pressure as the impact of the bullet pushed him back slightly. A searing pain knifed its way into his chest. He didn’t have time to run or even scream out. Darkness took him as he crumbled to the ground.


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

C. J. Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to fan fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is: “You are never too old to follow your dream even if it takes you fifty years!”

Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page


Tour Dates & Stops: June 7, 2015
Parker Williams, Cate Ashwood, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Happily Ever Chapter, Molly Lolly, Amanda C. Stone, MM Good Book Reviews, Mikky’s World of Books, Havan Fellows, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads, The Hat Party, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves

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Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotion. Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Drifting Sands’
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Down Under Author: L. J. Harris


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Meet L.J.  Harris


L.J. Harris is the author of Heart of Glass and other story listed below.

To get to know L. J. Harris a little better, the author agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.


Author Bio 1

L. J. HARRIS is a mother of teenage twin boys who she loves with all her heart. Her family is her life, her soul, and the very reason she gets out of bed every day. Coming a close second to her family is her writing.

She only just discovered a passion for writing in the past five or so years. She’d always written little poems in birthday cards for family members, but that was as far as her writing aspirations went…until she decided to write poems and give them to family members as homemade gifts.

It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she hasn’t been unable to switch off the urge to write.

After a close family member fell ill, she began questioning what she wanted and searching for answers. Unable to sleep one night, she sat up and typed out her feelings on the laptop. Her husband read what she’d written and encouraged her to write more. It was then she knew she wanted to share her thoughts with others. She began with writing what she knew–her life story, but couldn’t get into it. Instead, she decided to write about something not based on fact, but fiction, and wrote a dream sequence which she showed to her family. They encouraged her to expand on it, and she hasn’t stopped since.

L.J. Harris discovered that as much as enduring pain, loss, betrayal, or any other negative thing in our lives can be devastating, if she hadn’t experienced them for herself, she not only wouldn’t have found some lifelong friends, she doubts she would have been able to write the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure.

L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work.

Author Contacts

Contacts/Follow at :
Twitter: @LJHarrisAuthor
Facebook: author page


Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

Out now:

Heart of Glass (Bottom Drawer Publications)Heart of Glass cover

This story was originally included in the SECOND CHANCES Anthology released in August 2012 and has been individually released to celebrate BDP’s anniversary.

Days after arriving in Australia for a working holiday, Zack Doherty is blindsided by the connection he instantly feels to Heath Connors, but circumstances don’t work in their favour. Zack is uncharacteristically forward in pushing Heath to accept a date when fate gives him a second opportunity.

Heath has only recently had the courage to admit his true self, walking away from his marriage and a good job when he could no longer lie to himself. The attraction he feels for a stranger that fleetingly crossed his path confirms he made the right choice.

Will Zack be the one to mend Heath’s heart of glass?

Second Chances Anthology coverKindle Edition, 203 pages
Published August 31st 2012 by Bottom Drawer Publications
edition languageEnglish


Just Like Pulling Teeth (Bollocks Anthology from Wayward Ink Press)

Bollocks coverA trip to the dentist has never been so… interesting…
Kindle Edition, 54 pages
Published November 7th 2014 by Wayward Ink Press
edition languageEnglish


m/m romance/erotica


Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, L.J. Harris) is an eBook copy the reader’s choice of either my e-book Just Like Pulling Teeth or Heart of Glass via amazon. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.


Author Qand A

When did you start writing?

Five years ago.

Were you a reader as a child?


What books as a child has the most impact on you?

My favourite was a pop up Wizard of Oz book. Also loved Disney stories such as Pinocchio and Cinderella.
Did that impression carry over into adulthood when you started writing?

I worked in a library for 11 years so that fed my addiction.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

People watching. Situations I find myself in can also often trigger an idea. And when I get writers block the shower is my place from which to draw inspiration.

Favorite genres to write in and why?

Love a good love story! I’ve always been a fan of reading the story of how two people meet.
Title or characters or plot? Which comes first?

Characters 90 percent of the time.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written?

That’s like choosing one child over another. All my characters have different aspects I love about them.

Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source):

“Friends are the family you wish you had.”

Favorite book/story you have read as an adult:

Too many to name.

Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?

Not at all. I’m a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ kinda girl.

What inspired you to write your first book?

As stated in my bio, a close member of my family fell ill. My father was my inspiration, my rock, and as a talented musician himself, the one person who understood me. He passed 2 years ago, and I miss him every day. He and my husband were the ones who inspired me to write my first sentence, and I haven’t looked back since.

Do you have a specific writing style?

See above (fly by the seat of my pants). I find that until I start to write a character, and peel back the layers little by little, only then will plot points make themselves known.

What’s the hardest part of writing your books? Writers block! They need to make a pill…

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?

Oh God yes! Mostly tweaking bits and pieces, nothing major.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor or has the biggest influence on you?

It’s impossible to choose one, but a group of people including M B Feeney, R E Hargrave,  Kaye P Hallows and my co-author in a story that is close to my heart P Austin are among the endless number of people who have encouraged, inspired and made me feel as though I belong in the world of the author.

What book are you reading now?

Kaye P Hallows ‘Take my Chances’.

How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?

Well the spelling and slang is often something readers from countries outside Aus/NZ have to contend with. The unique settings these countries provide also make for a nice change in backdrop, language, characters and scenes, the whole shebang.

My first impression of AUS/NZ was from stories and novels like Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as well as from movies like The Man from Snowy River, The Dish, Rabbit Proof Fence, Strictly Ballroom, and yes, Crocodile Dundee! There are so many out there. What is your favorite AUS/NZ stories and favorite Australian/New Zealand movies?

Anything by N R Walker (Red Dirt Heart series is my fave) or Renae Kaye (Safe in His Arms and The Shearing Gun are fab!).. I have read everything he’s written and it’s all fantastic. Movies: The Lord of the Rings series (and Hobbit) for NZ, and Strictly Ballroom is my fave Aussie film.

If you were a tour guide, what would you like a visitor to see and what impression would you want them to take away with them when they leave?

I haven’t travelled so long I couldn’t say, but I guess the Great Barrier Reef would be a great start, followed by going to Crystal Creek rainforest retreat on the mid-north coast of NSW. Hubs and I went on our honeymoon there.

What’s your favorite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

I haven’t travelled much, but do go between home and the coast to see family on a regular basis.

What are your current projects?
His Personal Assistant, my new m/m novel.

What’s next up for you?
Finishing up HPA early 2015 and publishing, then working on whichever of my partially done documents inspires me.

Q: Is there any genre you love to read but wouldn’t tackle yourself?

Most definitely. Anything kinky – yes I am naughty and I love to read it (but it has to have a good plotline too) but would be terrified to write it.

Down Under Showcase Author: Meredith Shayne


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Meet Meredith Shayne!

Meredith Shayne is the author of recent releases such as Cutting Out, Metal Heart, Equilibrium, and Whitewater.

To get to know Meredith Shayne a little better, the author agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within.

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍Author Bio 1

A scientist in a past life, these days Meredith Shayne mainly uses her scientific training to poke holes in television pseudoscience. Originally from Australia, she moved to New Zealand to start a new life a few years ago and hasn’t regretted it for one minute, even if she frequently wishes that the New Zealand weather was a little better; if she’s forced, she’ll admit that the refreshing lack of animals that can kill you in New Zealand makes up for a little rain. Meredith travels a lot, so much so that she has developed a shameful love of airplane food and knows her passport number by heart. When she is at home, she enjoys baking, horrible music from the 1980s, reality television, and gloating any time Australia thrashes the living daylights out of New Zealand on the sporting field.

Author Contacts

Contacts/Follow Meredith Shayne at :


********************Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

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Your Books

Cutting Out, published by Bottom Drawer Publications.

Blurb and Details: A twenty-year veteran of the shearing shed, Aussie Shane Cooper loves his job, and the home he’s made for himself in New Zealand. If he’s a little lonely, he’s got good mates to keep his spirits up. When a hot, cocky young shearer named Lachlan Moore catches his eye at a competition, he’s content to look but not touch, knowing the young man is out of his league.

Lachie wouldn’t mind a piece of Shane, but the gorgeous gun shearer from Australia is soon forgotten when the Christchurch earthquake hits, and tragedy strikes Lachie’s family. Lachie deals with it the best he can, cutting himself off from all he knows. A year later and he’s back in the shearing shed, out of practice and lacking confidence. That Shane’s there to watch him flounder doesn’t help his nerves.

As Lachlan struggles to re-acclimatise, Shane can’t resist giving him a hand to get back on his feet. As they move from friends to something more, Shane finds himself wanting to know everything he can about Lachie. But Lachie’s got secrets he desperately wants to keep, and when things come to a head, those secrets might just mean the end of them before they’ve truly begun.
ebook, 200 pages
Published October 11th 2014 by Bottom Drawer Publications

Whitewater, part of Under the Southern Cross Anthology published by Dreamspinner Press ( A Scavenger Hunt Prize)

Blurb and Book Details: Baker Luke Henderson loves his job, and owning a bakery at Coogee Beach makes it even better. When he opens the shop before dawn, he hears the waves. When he walks along the beach after sunrise, he admires the surfers—one in particular: Cameron Brown. A chef and café owner, Cameron secretly watches Luke right back. When Luke proposes a business deal, Cameron seizes the chance to get close. But Cameron’s ideal man is physically perfect, and Luke’s awkward limp could be the flaw that fractures their romance.

Part of the Under the Southern Cross anthology. (less)
ebook, 117 pages
Published March 13th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 12th 2013)
ISBN 162380468X (ISBN13: 9781623804688)
edition languageEnglish
seriesUnder the Southern Cross

Metal Heart, published by Dreamspinner Press:

Blurb and Book Details: Scott King swore off rock stardom after his band, King Phoenix, crashed and burned. Now in his forties, Scott lives a quiet life as a music producer and session guitarist. But in a box hidden in his wardrobe lie the relics of the past he left behind—a past filled with drugs, booze, and broken hearts. For sixteen years, Scott has had no contact with his former bandmates, so when he’s asked to play at a benefit gig for King Phoenix’s old sound man, his world turns upside down. A King Phoenix reunion means a run-in with Scott’s ex, Ash Walker—and sixteen years ago, believing Ash wanted to leave the band, Scott OD’d and almost died.

Since then, Scott has ruthlessly suppressed his feelings. As a result, he’s completely unprepared for the impact of seeing Ash again, or for dealing with his emotions about the band’s demise. He definitely didn’t expect Ash to want to start up where they left off. Now Scott has to decide between his safe existence and the twenty-year-old love song that could cost him his sobriety—and his heart.
ebook, 264 pages
Published January 28th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 27th 2013)
original titleMetal Heart
ISBN 1623803233 (ISBN13: 9781623803230)
edition languageEnglish

Equilibrium, published by Dreamspinner Press

Blurb and Book Details: Welcome to Burreela, New South Wales. Population: more animals than humans. Although most (human) occupants are trying to get out of Burreela, the tiny town is the perfect place for veterinarian Michael Stone to break out of the bad habits that almost cost him the most meaningful part of his life: his profession.

Michael is struggling to regain his balance after hard personal losses and two years of promiscuity and drug abuse. He’s not prepared to meet Ryan Mitchell, a nice guy who won’t take no for an answer, whose patient pursuit leaves Michael less and less inclined to keep refusing. But Michael’s bad habits aren’t that far behind him. Can Michael hold himself together enough to be the man Ryan needs, or will he lose his equilibrium while trying to be man enough to hold on to the one he loves?
eBook,Paperback, 1st Edition, 212 pages
Published June 24th 2011 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 23rd 2011)
original titleEquilibrium
ISBN 1615819509 (ISBN13: 9781615819508)
edition languageEnglish
seriesEquilibrium #1


Truce (free at All Romance (ARe)
Reasonable Force published by JMS Books
Tinsel and Dust (Equilibrium sequel), published at Dreamspinner Press
Eyes Wide Shut (Flying Doctors #1), Torquere

Genre(s): Contemporary, paranormal


Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Meredith Shayne) is an eBook copy of one book from Meredith Shayne’s backlist. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here.
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Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt “word or phrase” in bold green . Collect all the words from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

 Author Qand A

Q. When did you start writing?

I started to write fanfiction in 2005, but the first original fiction I wrote was 2009. That was the short story Reasonable Force, for the Torquere Press Care and Feeding of Demons anthology.

Q. Were you a reader as a child?

Definitely! I always had my nose in a book back then. The Narnia books were big favourites, as were a series of books about a herd of brumbies (wild horses) in the Australian Snowy Mountains by an Australian author, Elyn Mitchell. The first was called The Silver Brumby; the Goodreads link to the series is here. Those books were amazing, I loved them to absolute bits.

I also read a lot of Stephen King. It’s possible those weren’t the most age-appropriate books I could have been reading. But I couldn’t get enough of them.

Q. What books as a child had the most impact on you?

I read Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot when I was in primary school, I think I was about nine or ten (see above re: lack of age appropriateness of my reading material). It scared the absolute crap out of me, and because of that it really stuck with me. To this day I believe that vampires should be how they were in that book. None of that sparkly, going out in the daylight crap!

Also, the Diary of Anne Frank had a big impact on little me. So much so that one of the first things I did when I went to Amsterdam was to visit the house where her and her family were in hiding. That was quite an experience, seeing the tiny space where all those people lived for so long. In the diary Anne talks about gluing pictures of movie stars onto the wall next to her bed, and those pictures are still there. Amazing.

Q. Do you have a favorite character that you have written?

I like all my characters, for different reasons, but I have a soft spot for Scott King, from Metal Heart. And Ryan Mitchell from Equilibrium. I know, I just cheated and named two!

Q. How do you think books written from authors in Australia or New Zealand differ in style, language, and culture?

I think they differ from books set elsewhere because of the culture of both countries, actually. On the whole, Australians and Kiwis are laid back, casual people who enjoy a laugh. Teasing the people you’re fond of is a way of life, and we dish it out as much as we take it. I’m not sure you could survive very long in either country if you couldn’t take a joke at your own expense. We swear a lot, and drink a lot; in both countries, politicians can be seen doing both on national TV, and no one bats an eyelid. In a book written by an Australian/New Zealander about Australians/New Zealanders, all those things spring from the page.

Q. My first impression of AUS/NZ was from stories and novels like Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds or Nevil Shute’s A Town Like Alice as well as from movies like The Man from Snowy River, The Dish, Rabbit Proof Fence, Strictly Ballroom, and yes, Crocodile Dundee! There are so many out there. What is your favorite AUS/NZ stories and favorite Australian/New Zealand movies?

The book I’m going to recommend is not fiction; it’s Bryce Courtenay’s April Fool’s Day. Bryce Courtenay’s son, Damon, was a haemophiliac who contracted HIV from infected blood products during his treatment. He eventually died of AIDS, and this is his father’s tribute to him. It’s funny, and it’s sad, and overall it’s just one of those books that’s really worth reading.

In terms of movies, the following are delightful:

Better Than Sex: David Wenham meets a girl and goes home to her house for a one-night stand that ends up being not so one-night. David Wenham spends a lot of time naked or nearly naked, so it’s totally worth it just for that!

Cosi: A group of inpatients at a mental facility put on the Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutti. Toni Collette is in this one. Just as oddball as it sounds.

The Price of Milk: One of Karl Urban’s early films, it’s fluff about a dairy farmer asking his girlfriend to marry him and the hijinks that ensue because of it. It’s not much more complicated than that, so it really is fluff. It’s cute fluff though.

Whale Rider: an absolutely beautiful New Zealand film where a 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as a Maori girl who wants to be the chief of her tribe struggling against the disapproval of her grandfather, who thinks only males should be chief.

Q. What are your current projects?

I’m currently working on a few things: the story of a music photographer meeting up with his best friend from high school after almost 10 years apart, and the story of a washed-up musician in his forties and the friend who’s stuck by him through thick and thin. With luck those will see the light of day sometime during 2015.

A MelanieM Review: Mythica by L.J. LaBarthe


Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

MythicalgishHalf selkie Caiden is unhappy that as a Mythica he is unable to serve his country as his father had done.  In fact all Mythicas are banned from service because they might not be able to handle the stress, changing forms in combat.  While Caiden agrees intellectually with that assessment, emotionally he’s frustrated and taking his discontent out on those around him.  Its even affected his viewpoint of the  sy’lph, an alien race that arrived on Earth seeking sanctuary and a home after their galaxy was destroyed in a war.

But when a minotaur goes wild at the government offices of the Bridging Lives agency (a sort of  Social Security other being checkpoint and social agency), Caiden jumps in to stop the minotaur and his world changes forever.   First he is rescued by Gray, a sy’lph who is the local liason between humans, mythica and the sy’lph.  Gray is gorgeous and Caiden is overwhelmingly attracted to a being he has resolutely disliked.  Secondly, the minotaur had been poisoned.

Soon all the mythicas are under attack.  And Gray and Caiden take their first steps towards understanding and a relationship just when everything starts to fall apart around them, putting themselves and Caiden’s family in danger.

Mythica by L.J. LaBarthe is a book that defies categorization, something that surely thrills its author.  How to describe a beautifully written story that encapsulates human mythological creatures come to life, along with an alien race fleeing galactic genocide and bringing inhuman technology with them.  Then throw in a interspecies romance, racial purity rights terrorists, and much, much more and you have Mythica – scify, supernatural, paranormal, action, suspense, mystery romance!  I would expect nothing less from L. J. LaBarthe.

From the opening lines, the author pulls you into the joy of Caiden’s life as a half selkie!  He is frolicking in the ocean waters near home which is Broome in Western Australia:

Dolphins swam up to join him, and he grabbed the dorsal fin of the nearest one, laughing when he surfaced and breathed in air again. The dolphin dragged him along through the water at a rapid rate, making him whoop with delight, a sound echoed by the raucous cries of the seagulls hovering overhead. Schools of fish swam below him, sometimes their silvery bodies brushed against his toes, and Caiden loved that too, the feeling of being so free, so connected to all the elements—water, air, light, earth. The dolphin that pulled him along through the water brought him close to shore, and Caiden felt the soggy roughness of sand beneath his feet. He let go of the dorsal fin, calling a thank you and goodbye to the dolphins as they swam on.

LaBarthe conveys the lightness of being and the spontaneity of Caiden’s selkie behavior in the waters.  And just as quickly, the author is able to ground Caiden in his human half, complete with his discontent and unhappiness at leaving the watery haven behind as he reluctantly arrives at the Bridging Lives agency.   LaBarthe has created with her “mythicas” a fascinating new group of beings (albeit from an ancient beginnings).  The mythicas are

“Mythica were the descendants of all mythological creatures of antiquity—the pixies, fairies, selkies, minotaurs, dragons, and more—who lived and worked alongside humans.”

Caiden himself is half mythica, his father human and his mother a selkie, a human/mythica pairing not uncommon in this story. The author is quick to give Caiden a  painful past made bearable by a supportive, loving family, only some of which are mythicas.  Broome is pictured as normally as is possible when mythicas and aliens such as the sy’lph casually walk about its facilities and streets.  There is an authenticity to each scene that is wonderful considering who and what is appearing throughout each description and event.

Also marvelously imagined are the sy’lph.  Alien beings of mallable metal (think mercury) whose real shape and body is confined within a synthetic humanoid shell.  Just seeing their true shape/body is enough to blind any human.  Their back story and natural history is as complex and captivating as everything else that LaBarthe has created here.  But while all the outside elements are fantasical in nature, inside there exists a lovely romance between two beings/people trying to learn about each other and work their way towards something more lasting and real.

Interspersed throughout the myriad of plot threads is the threat to Caiden, his family and all mythicas.  It isn’t long before the villain of the pieces appears  and the uncertainty and dread that comes with this nasty little storyline

is yet one more element that will keep the reader engaged and deeply involved in Mythica until the ending.  Which I was sorry to see arrive.

Mythica has such a wide appeal and such a ingenious universe, that I hope to see LaBarthe revisit it again in another story.  Both the mythicas and the sy’lph deserve to have their stories told.  But while we are waiting for that to happen, pick up Mythica and see why I recommend it so highly.  Never has such a concoction of genres been so appealing.

Cover by Mumson Designs is lovely, and captures the joy of Caiden perfectly.

Sales Links:      Bottom Drawer Publications   All Romance (ARe)          Amazon          Buy it here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 217 pages
Published September 18th 2014 by Bottom Drawer Publications
edition languageEnglish


Down Under Author Showcase Continues and this Week’s Schedule


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Down Under Author Showcase continues this week.  It’s been wonderful to have all these talented authors talking about their books, and their countries.


So far,  Christian Baines,  Nicki J. Markus (2), and Anne Barwell (3) have been featured.  Our Down Under Author Scavenger Hunt has begun, along with the individual giveaways, and Bottom Drawer Publications contest on the Down Under Page.  We are still looking for people who have vacationed in New Zealand and Australia who want to share their favorite places and moments with us this month.

kiwi and NZ country

Our Schedule This Week:AUS flag over country


Monday, January 5:

  • Down Under Featured Author: N.J. Nielsen
  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • A Sammy Review: Rival Within by S.J. D. Peterson
  • A Mika Review: In Too Deep by Kate Sherwood
  • L.M. Somerton’s Investigating Love Book Tour and Contest

Tuesday, January 6:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author:  L.J. LaBarthe
  • A MelanieM Review: The Body on the Beach by L.J. LaBarthe
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Candy Man by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Review: Mythica by L. J. LaBarthe

Wednesday, January 7:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: Michelle Rae
  • Cover Reveal: Jess Buffett “Always Been You”
  • Moment of Impact by Karen Stivali Book Blast
  • A Sammy Review: A Spartan Love by Kayla Jameth

Thursday, January 8:

  •  Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author:  Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  Safe In His Arms by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Shearing Gun by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Review:  The Blinding Light by Renae Kaye
  •  E. S. Skipper (false identification)book blast and contest—cancelled

Friday, January 9:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: John Wiltshire
  • Review: Love is a Stranger by John Wiltshire
  • Mika Review: A Captive to His Wonder by Remmy Duchene
  • A Sammy Review: A Royal Affair by John Wiltshire

Saturday, January 10:

  • Down Under AUS/NZ Facts, Updates, and Contests
  • Down Under Featured Author: N. R. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Red Dirt Heart Series by N. R. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review:  Red Dirt Heart 4 by N. R. Walker
  • Sammy’s Review of Thomas Elkins series by NR Walker


New Reviewers!  Welcome to Stella and BJ, our new Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reviewers!

Down Under Author of the Day: Nicki J Markus



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Meet Nicki J Markus!

Mett Nicki J Markus…author, linguist, editor, and so much more. To get to know Australian author Nicki J Markus a little better, she agreed to an interview. Look for the interview below and the Down Under Scavenger Hunt word found somewhere within this post.

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍Author Bio 1

Nicki J Markus was born in England in 1982, but has lived in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband since 2007. She has loved both reading and writing from a young age and is also a keen linguist, having studied several foreign languages.
Nicki launched her writing career in 2011 and writes under two pen names: Nicki J Markus (M/F) and Asta Idonea (M/M). 

Nicki has worked as an editor and proof-reader since 2012, completing work for several online publishers and indie authors.

When not writing and editing, she enjoys many other pursuits such as: reading, music, theatre, cinema, photography, sketching, and cross stitch. She also has a keen interest in history, folklore and mythology, pen-palling, and travel.

Author Contacts

Linked In:
Facebook Author Page:

Author Books Stories Down Under1 copy

My currently available works are two M/M short stories in the Wayward Ink Publishing anthologies Stranded and A Likely Story.

Previously, I had two novellas—Day-Walker and Time Keepers—published through Silver Publishing, but they are currently unavailable since the publisher closed its doors. I may look at re-releasing them in the future, perhaps with some changes.

I am a few short weeks away from completing the final edits on my new M/F fantasy-mythology trilogy. I am going to be self-publishing this work and will have more news on that in the next few months.

A Likely Story Anthology coverA Likely Story:

Book Details and Blurb:

Suspend rational thought.Leave logic at the door.Be ready to roll your eyes and pick your jaw up from your lap.

The tales in A Likely Story don’t let truth get in the way of telling a good yarn.

They might push your buttons or make you laugh.They may make you scoff or spit out your coffee.You might even scratch your head in disbelief.Whatever your reaction, the one thing the …more

ebook, 231 pages
Published December 19th 2014 by Wayward Ink Publishing
original titleA Likely Story
edition languageEnglish

Stranded AnthologySTRANDED-Jayscoverdesigns-preview

The boys in this collection of short stories have most definitely been left STRANDED!

They’ve been shipwrecked and abandoned. Marooned and cast away.And left helpless and high and dry.

But you should never underestimate the tenacity of the human heart…


Craving Stains by Alina Popescu
Say Cheese by Michael P. Thomas
Standby by Kim Fielding
The Raider by Asta Idonea
The Buckle by Rob Colton
Ari by Nephylim
Opposites Attract by Lily G. Blunt
Out of Order by Eric Gober
Dating for Deafies by Nikka Michaels
One Snowy Night by Louise Lyons
The Climb by kirifox
Did You Leave Any For Me by Sarah Hayes
Sweetness and Strength by J.N. Olsen

Awaken to the Night coverAwaken To the Night by Nicki J. Markus

Predominantly paranormal and fantasy for M/F, but I also write some contemporary and historical pieces in M/M.



Contests and Giveaways:

1. Today’s Giveaway (thank you, Nicki J Markus) is an PDF copy of one of my previously published paranormal/horror short stories: Awaken to the Night. Enter using this Rafflecopter link here. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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2. Down Under Scavenger Hunt – find the Hunt word/phrase highlighted in green. Collect all the words/phrases from each author and submit the list in writing no later than midnight on February 1st. Make sure you include an email address where you can be reached. Prizes will be given to 5 people selected, from 1st place to 5th! Happy Hunting.

******************************************Author Qand A

• When did you start writing?
I guess you could say I started writing properly, with a view to actually publishing, in 2011. Prior to that, I wrote for my own pleasure and penned a number of fan fics centred on films and television series such as Van Helsing, Red Dwarf, Alias etc.

• Were you a reader as a child?
Absolutely! My mother has a favourite story of how she would ask my younger sister and I want we wanted to do when she had time to play with us. My sister would invariably call for the Barbie dolls, whereas I would always ask to read a book. And that love of reading has stayed with me all my life. By the time I reached my teens, I swapped from modern writers to the classics and devoured Jane Austen, Dickens, Dostoevsky… and then since my twenties I tend to read a mix of classics and new works. I’m not a fan of chick lit or true crime, but otherwise I read from most genres, with a particular focus on literary fiction and paranormal/fantasy.

• Where do you draw inspiration from?
Often from other sources, be it book, film, or theatre. My current work-in-progress is a fantasy trilogy based around Norse mythology. I have a great love of mythology in general and the Norse tales in particular. I had been rereading them this year and they became the stepping stone that led me to imagine the characters and storyline of this series. Obviously things happening in my own life can also play a part, and this fantasy trilogy is no exception—this story has more personal meaning for me than any of my previous works. Quite often an idea takes root in my mind because I’ve watched or read something, and then I’ve begun to wonder what would happen if things in that story were changed or approached from a different angle. That gives you the springboard and a plot and characters grow from there.

• Favourite genres to write in and why?
The majority of my work is paranormal/fantasy. It’s a genre I love to both write and read because of its escapism. Vampires are my favourite supernatural creature, so I always enjoy writing them. I have a great fear of death and growing old, so for me vampirism is the ultimate aspiration! 🙂 I love how in these genres you can explore deep issues under the guise of an amazingly different world full of danger and excitement.

• Title or characters or plot? Which comes first?
Honestly, it depends. With my fantasy trilogy it went characters-plot-title, but with an M/M short story I have just submitted for an anthology call, it was plot-title-characters. It can vary depending on where the initial idea came from. Perhaps I fell in love with a character in a book and wanted to do my own take on something similar; or maybe I was inspired by the plot of a film and had an idea for adapting it into something new.

• Do you have a favourite character that you have written?
Oh yes! Again, from my fantasy trilogy. The trick here is not to reveal too much because his real identity is a secret until partway through Book One. Let’s just say, he’s an anti-hero. He’s mischievous, and a bit of a bad boy, but deep down he cares deeply and is trying to do the right thing, battling his inner demons. I can understand my heroine being in love with him—I’m head over heels for him myself.

• Favourite book/story you have read as an adult
Oh, wow, that’s tough because there are so, so many. In classics, firm favourites are Les Misérables by Victor Hugo and Eugene Onegin by Pushkin (I can read those again and again and love them just as much each time). In more modern works, any of the Saint Germain books by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (so well-written, and a compelling hero), anything by Murakami, and then there are recent books I’ve adored such as Joanne M. Harris’ Gospel of Loki or the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. There are the books you love all your life, and then there are those that really speak to you and mean a lot in the moment you read them because of your personal situation at the time, but perhaps when you go back to them later they don’t have the same impact a second time. To pick just one… sorry, I just can’t do it!

• Do you have a certain regimen that you follow as a writer?
Yes and no. I don’t have a set time of day to write—I simply write when I have the freedom to do so—but I do like a particular environment: I prefer to be home alone, sat in my study, and have complete quiet. Usually I love music; just not when I’m writing.

• Do you have a specific writing style?
Not especially. I tend to write in third person, but I have been known to stray into first person from time to time when it feels right for the story. I like descriptive and varied language-use and vocabulary too. I don’t approve of the way some people these days believe language and grammar usage has to be dumbed-down for e-book readers—I really don’t think they are any less intelligent than print readers.

• What’s the hardest part of writing your books?
Letting go! I work as a freelance editor and proof-reader and I find it hard to leave my own prose alone at times. If I wasn’t strict with myself, I’d keep on tweaking sentences forever and nothing would ever get submitted or published.

• If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your first book?
I’d like to think I’ve grown as a writer over the last 3-4 years. My first published longer work was a novella called Day-Walker, and although it got decent reviews, looking back now there is a lot I would change. The rights to that work returned to me last year when the publisher it was contracted to closed, and I am giving serious thought to reworking it into a full-length novel because I truly feel I could do more with it now than when I first wrote it. Watch this space!

• If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor/has the biggest influence on you?
I would say Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is a big influence, because I so admire her prose and the way she can describe characters and scenes. She’s certainly who I aspire to be like one day.

• What book are you reading now?
At present, I am reading The Idiot by Dostoevsky and a book on learning to read and write Old Norse.

• What is your favourite AUS/NZ stories and favourite Australian/New Zealand movies?
The first Australian film that struck a chord with me was Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I still love that movie today—it’s both very funny and yet incredibly poignant. More recent, I was very impressed with The Little Death. In terms of Australian writers, I admire Peter Carey and Tim Winton, and I loved the recent novel Burial Rites from new Australian author, Hannah Kent.

• What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?
Here in South Australia, it would be the Barossa Valley. It’s a lovely day out to just mooch around the wineries and enjoy the local food and wine. My husband and I got married at a winery there too, so it has added importance for us because of that.
Going back to my old ‘own country’, I always loved wandering the West End in London. It’s great to live here in Australia, but I do miss London at times—I was always happy there amidst theatre and bookstores.

• What are your current projects?
Well, my fantasy trilogy is just undergoing final edits. I started off looking for a publisher, but then decided to self-publish this one. It’s my first time going that route, so a bit of a learning curve, but I hope to release the three books in a one volume omnibus edition in a few months’ time. Keep an eye on my blog and social media for news on that! Afterwards, I hope to rework and rerelease my previous two novellas, Day-Walker and Time-Keepers. Meanwhile, with my M/M writing, I have submitted two more short stories for anthology calls, and if my works are accepted, they will be published in March and June respectively. After that, I may extend one of them into a follow-up novella as I still feel I have more to say about those characters and their story.

Down Under Showcase Day 2:Nicki J. Markus, AUS/NZ Fun Facts and Contest Details


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Day Two of STRW Down Under Showcase. Our author of the day is Nicki J. Markus, make sure to visit her author page.  Discover her books, find the Scavenger Hunt word of the day and don’t forget to enter her contest/giveway.  Now here are the Australia and New Zealand Fun Facts of the Day:



Biggest State in Australia (you knew they had states, right?)Western Australia map

Western Australia is the biggest Australian state and covers one third of the continent. Its total area is over 2.5 million square kilometres. That makes it 3.6 times bigger than Texas, 4.6 times bigger than France and 11 times bigger than the UK. It’s an interesting fact that, despite its large size, Western Australia is home to only around two million people.

Which Down Under Authors have  books that take place in Western Australia?


New Zealand:

tasmansNew Zealand was first discovered by Europeans in 1642 when Dutch sailor Abel Tasman arrived. He left New Zealand after several of his crew were killed by Maoris, and it was not until 1769 that English Captain James Cook arrived and mapped the land.

Tasman and Tasmania?  Hmmmm….do you know what the connection is?





1.  Nicki J. Markus’ Giveaway -see Rafflecopter Link

2.  Scavenger Hunt continues-search for the green bold word or phrase to collect.

3.  Bottom Drawer  Publications Contest – BDP BADGE 1

Bottom Drawer Publications will provide a $20 gift voucher to spend in our shop and a copy of each of the e-books from our participating authors:

Mythica – L. J. LaBarthe
Cutting Out – Meredith Shayne
Second Chances Anthology – contains 2 stories contributed by Lisa Harris (Heart of Glass) and Bette Browne (Dirty Martini)

enter here

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Now onto today’s Down Under Author Nicki J. Markus!