Masks Off – We’re less than a week away from Halloween! If you had to design a costume that channeled your true, innermost self, what would that costume look like? Would you dare to wear it?

Her slight, svelte, lithe, muscular body seemed part of the shadows as she moved in near total silence through the shadows of Gotham. The chill of the night barely registered on her heightened vampiric senses. She was on the hunt, prowling to find an evil-doer whose warm blood would satisfy her.

She no longer needed blood, not at her great age. She could easily live on nothing … but the hunger remained after the need was gone. Tonight, the thrill of the hunt amplified that need and sharpened her senses.


She smiled, a little ruefully, wondering what her family would think if they could see her now. She had been very careful to avoid letting them see. Waiting until they were deep in slumber before creeping out. Flying over rooftops, hunting the dark alleys of nearby cities. Never prowling the streets of her town.

The dogs knew. Her granddaughter knew, but didn’t believe. In the end, it didn’t matter. Marilyn Armstrong, intrepid blogger, sometime author, pundit, and senior wise-ass … was Vampiric Authoress, ancient blood scourge!

Evil-doers everywhere, quake in fear. She is coming. You will pay for your misdeeds.


with friends like theseWhen Callie Walking — child of a Lakota magician father and a Scottish witch mother — meets one of the oldest living vampires, a creature so powerful it’s impossible to even gauge the extent of his power, one of two things is going to happen. Death or friendship.

I would be struck dumb if this is not the first story in a series. Callie Walking and Aristo Ionios are perfect for a series. He’s ancient with powers beyond understanding. She is young, but no slouch in the power department and one can only imagine how much more powerful she will be as she matures.

They meet. They talk. They take a wild ride on a classic Indian motorcycle. They talk some more. A chord is struck, a resonance.

She wants to know how he defeated the wards she set up to protect her client. She’s not deep in mourning for the client — he was, after all, a serial killer. But she want to know how her wards were defeated. The vampire she meets is not what she expects. He’s something else. Unique. Despite herself, Callie is fascinated and attracted.

This isn’t a full length novel. It’s 93 pages, which makes it either a long short story or a novella. Whatever you want to call it, it’s very good. I don’t say this lightly, but rarely have I encountered two more intriguing main characters. And I want more. There isn’t any more, not yet … but I live in hope. This could be a series worth following. Magic, witches, vampires, great dialogue and the entire story just oozes atmosphere.

You can buy With Friends Like These on Kindle at Amazon for $3.99 and it’s worth every penny. Buy it. If you do, maybe the author will write more and I would personally appreciate that.

The World’s Most Powerful Soccer Mom Vampire – Samantha Moon Rising, by J.R. Rain

Samantha Moon Rising, by J.R. Rain includes 3 short novels and a short story.

Under one cover, you’ll find books 5, 6, and 7 in the Vampire for Hire Series: Vampire Dawn, Vampire Games, Moon Island, and the short story Teeth.

BenBella Books — Publication Date May 21, 2013

I was really happy to have the opportunity to review this collection. I read the first four books when I had just gotten my first Kindle and they were on sale, whipped right through them and looked for more. Alas, there were no more and I grumpily moved on.

A couple of years have passed and lo and behold, she’s back. And wow, is she back. More powerful than a locomotive. Maybe more powerful than two locomotives and not merely able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, but able to fly long distances on her very own, powerful wings. Okay,  she’s not really human when she’s flying having morphed into “something else” which I glean is more or less bat-like, but still and all … she can fly. She can do a lot of things. Read minds. Send mind messages. Control other people’s minds. Beat the crap out of almost anyone, human or other.

But she’s still a total wimp about her kids … but her kids are growing up. Fast and they aren’t your ordinary kids, either.

Her ex is still a total sleaze, but hey, what are exes for, right? She’s more than a vampire. Much more. She has powers and abilities well beyond the ordinary and she is beginning to realize what she knows she can do is the tip of a very large iceberg of power she has barely tapped. It may turn out that Samantha Moon will be the most powerful of her kind — ever. Because she is changing and growing and learning … and so are her children and even the friends and family who are in frequent contact with her. It turns out that power is contagious.

She retains her ambivalence about her peculiar condition. There are aspects of it she loves. There’s nothing like a good long fly to clear ones head and her physical strength and ability to virtually instantly heal from injury is nothing to sneer at. But she knows her powers come from a foreign entity who lives as a parasite in her … an “other” who is not the kind of creature she would welcome into her parlor, much less her body. She has a lot to sort out. In the mean time, there are crimes to solve and wrongs to right — and Samantha Moon is the vampire to do it.

These are short books. Too long to be novellas, but not really long enough for me to consider them full-length novels. Having three of them under one cover is much more satisfying. I could dig in and read my way through to the end. These are very smooth reading and quite addictive. The characters are unique, interesting, with enough back story for long contemplation. A bit of philosophy, arcane history, modern mystery, some love and cuddly sex … and you have a formula that will keep you up until dawn is breaking. I lost some serious sleep reading this book — or maybe books.

No, it’s not deathless literature, but it’s very well written, smooth as silk. The characters are unique. Highly recommended and I do hope that more books are on the way!!

Samantha Moon Rising follows your favorite suburban-mother vampire to where she’s never gone before as she tackles her most frightening cases yet.

Book 1: Vampire Dawn – Someone is leaving victims drained of blood, and all signs point to a killer vampire. At the same time, Samantha’s son is undergoing some astounding changes. He’s becoming a little super guy and she needs to understand what this means. But her work is keeping her busy, tracking down a serial murderer. Soon, another ancient medallion will change her world …

Book 2: Vampire Games – Samantha Moon is investigating the strange death of a popular boxer. She realizes the official story doesn’t add up; there’s a lot more going on than reports indicate. A talk with the M.E. confirms her suspicions and as she uncovers the young fighter’s past, she comes face-to-face with an unexpected evil. Samantha has to confront the growing supernatural powers of those near and dear to her and the unexpected betrayal of someone she has come to trust, maybe love.

Book 3: Moon Island — In a very Agatha Christie setting, Samantha and her new best friend travel to a private and remote island off the Pacific coast. Here she must hunt not merely a killer, but an entity of enormous and evil power who has been murdering members of one family for generations. Still struggling to understand what she has become and is becoming, she realizes that this creature is personally targeting her,  threatening to destroy her and those about whom she most cares.

Available in paper back. So far, I could not find the three-in-one version on Kindle. Probably it will become available. In the meantime, you can buy the paperback and you can buy each of the books included as a separate Kindle download. Worth it, no matter how you do it.

Pale Demon, Kim Harrison

Pale Demon (The Hollows, #9)Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

The next to the last (so far) in this great series. I’ve come to love the characters so much that they feel like personal friends … and come to feel like the world Kim Harrison creates is as real as the one I live in. Almost.

Most books in this genre are fun, but not especially well-written, Not true of Kim Harrison (or her alter ego, Dawn Cook). Her writing is elegant, beautifully crafted. She doesn’t count on sex to keep you reading. She does it with interesting characters who grow and develop. With complex plots crafted with as great a skill as any mystery writer ever has. These are not just “chick” books. There are GOOD books.

This book falls late in the series. You do need to read from the beginning. Do not start with this book. The relationships between characters are based on long history and shared experiences, and to appreciate them, you must have been there too. For you mid-westerners, the entire series is based in Cincinnati.

The plot in this story, as it does in all the books in this wonderful series, moves briskly along. You will laugh and cry at the same time. If you’re looking for sex, you won’t find it. Romance? A whiff, a hint, a tease. More action and mystery-thriller intertwined with magic and myth than romance. Which I appreciate. She does it all by writing well rather than via steamy sex. Not that I have anything against steamy sex.

There will only be another few books in the series, so I’m gearing myself up for going cold turkey when they are done. GREAT series, read them all!

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