Author – C.D. Hersh
Genre – Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense Romance
Heat Level – Sensual
Release Date: July 27th, 2016
The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4):
A mercenary soldier lands in the middle of a double kidnapping, an ancient shape shifter war, and two female shape shifters after the same thing … him.
Mike Corritore wheeled up the circular drive of the impressive house on Lakeshore Road and cut the engine on his motorcycle. After a quick glance around, he shouldered the bags containing his clothes, ammo, pump shotgun, and talwar sword. Then he headed for the carved front door. The doorbell echoed inside indicating the mansion had a cavernous entry hall. He searched the entrance stoop for security cameras and found none.
What the heck had he gotten himself into? A rich bitch, with no security on her home, mixed up with a bad syndicate spelled major trouble. With this chintzy level of security, it would take more time than he originally anticipated to make her house and business secure.
After a couple of minutes the door opened.
“Can I help you?” asked an attractive redhead.
“I’m Mike Corritore. Here to see Fiona Kayler. Will you tell her I’ve arrived?”
The redhead looked him over, then braced her legs shoulder width apart and crossed her arms over her curvy bust. “Do you have identification, Mr. Corritore?”
Mike returned her once-over. Her porcelain complexion blushed pink at his bold examination, and she tossed her mane of wavy, mahogany hair defiantly.
Damn, she was gorgeous.
If she thought her insolent pose enough to keep him, or intruders out, she’d better reconsider.
“Hugh sent me.” He stepped forward but she blocked him.
“A driver’s license for your very expensive motorcycle will suffice,” she said, wiggling her fingers at him. When he didn’t comply, she stepped back and reached to the side of the door.
The distinct cachung of a gun cocking sent him flying to the right of the doorway.
“Identification, Mr. Corritore. Please,” she said as she leveled a pistol at him.
Mike dug in his rear pants’ pocket. “Hugh lied,” he said as he held out his driver’s license. “You don’t need protection.”
After inspecting his identification, she lowered her weapon and waved him inside. “For my business, Mr. Corritore. I’m capable of protecting my home, but I can’t draw my gun just anywhere.”
“You should get a conceal and carry license,” Mike said as he entered.
She put the safety on the gun and stashed the weapon in the table beside the front door.
“I take it you’re not the help,” he said, glancing around the entry hall.
She held out her hand. “Fiona Kayler. Nice to meet you, Mr. Corritore.”
“Mike,” he said, taking her hand. Her palm, warm and soft, told him she lived a life of leisure. But her strong grip screamed, No patsy. He held her hand a bit longer than he should have. She wriggled free and waved him to the left.
With a nod, she led him toward a sumptuously decorated room. He followed, his eyes taking in the soft curves of her rear as she sashayed across the marble-tiled floor. Mike’s body reacted to the seductive wiggle of her bottom. She walked as sexy as she looked.
Keep your mind on the job, Corritore. He shifted his gaze away from temptation, searching the ceiling and corners of the entry for security cameras. If she had them, they were well hidden.
The measured click of her high heels on the hard marble tile floor disappeared as they stepped on the thick, white carpet of the living room. This room appeared cozier than the entry. A huge gold, gilt-edged mirror hung over the fireplace reflecting the scene outside the oversized plate-glass window.
She motioned to a seat beside the fireplace. Mike chose a location less exposed to the exterior, where he could watch the entrance to the room. Fiona dragged a side chair across the room to where he sat, positioning it at a right angle to his seat. Two vertical furrows appeared in the carpeting, bisecting their shoe impressions and the vacuumed paths in the thick fibers. Apparently, she didn’t use this room much.
“So, Ms. Kayler—”
“Fiona,” she corrected.
“Fiona, exactly what do you need me to do?” As he said the words, he had a lurid vision of what he’d like to do to this lovely woman. He shook it off. She was Hugh’s friend and in trouble. He had no business screwing around with damsels in distress. They were needy. The last thing he wanted.
“A couple of years ago I had a problem with smugglers. They brought in some hazardous materials which got me in trouble with Homeland Security and the FBI. They cleared me, but my business took a pretty big hit. To keep things afloat, I’ve had to get in bed with some rough characters recently.”
At the phrase get in bed with Mike cocked his eyebrow at her.
“Not literally,” she amended quickly, as a dusky pink blush crept over her pale complexion. “I need my security beefed up so I don’t have a replay of two years ago.”
“Any good security company could upgrade you.”
“I also need someone I can trust implicitly. Hugh vouched for you, and I trust Hugh.”
“We should start with your home security. I didn’t see surveillance cameras at the door.”
“My home is perfectly safe. It’s my business I’m concerned about.”
Fiona crossed her arms over her chest, her body language closing off to further suggestions. Mike followed her motions. As he did, he spotted a red dot on her chest. The dot wiggled.
“Get down!” Mike shouted as he dove for Fiona.
To those of you who have contacted me with teasers, THANK YOU. I will be doing the schedule next week and will be letting you know who will be featured and when. Thanks for your patience 🙂 Have a great rest of your day.
There’s still plenty of room, so if you want to be featured, please email me (email@example.com) and comment when you send the message.
I posted an invitation the other day about Teaser Tuesday. Only two people have asked for a feature. I think that’s crazy. Seriously… I’m here to help you. If you want a featured teaser on my blog throughout the summer, just email me (traceeford@rocketmail). We’re authors. If we don’t help each other we’re missing the point.
Let me clarify what I’m asking for and offering; that might help. You send me an email with either poster-type teasers like the one featured here, or you can send me a block of text from your book. You can even send a few sentences. It just lets people know what your work looks like and what you write. I won’t make a poster-type teaser for you, however. You have to send it to me already prepared. If I did that, I would have to charge you.
The feature is free, no strings attached. I’m doing this because I believe in holding other authors up. There isn’t enough of it. Too many are in competition with one another, so much that we end up under the bus from time to time. I’ve been under the bus with the wheel spinning on my face. I know what that feels like. I’ve deleted people from my Facebook, my Twitter, my life because of that sort of mentality.
So, take advantage of this opportunity. It posts here, on Twitter, on my Amazon account, and my Facebook page, so folks are bound to see it. When you email me, make sure you comment here so I can be looking for your message to come through. I am looking forward to hearing from you 🙂
There are a vast array of tools and they even have featured blogs. They showcase authors and books as well. Additionally, they have a cover contest which I’ve been involved with two years in a row.
The other great thing is the customer service! I encountered some problems last night on the site and was responded to immediately. It was shocked, to be honest, at the quick response. It was also a little comforting knowing that they are attentive to their authors and members.
So, if you haven’t checked them out, take a moment and do so. It is a great place to find your friends and to see what’s new.
Here’s how to connect with me on that site: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/8150-tracee-ford
Fifteen stories of the punk era set in Los Angeles, written by LA Punk Queen Brenda Perlin and her friends who lived every moment of an electric era in the City of Angels. That unique and precious time when punk rock was more than just a rebellion.
This is what Billy Idol had to say about L.A. Punk Rocker…
“Pretty wild chapter on me…maybe u shouldv’e written my book, good luck with it..BFI.”
Inside you’ll discover Billy Idol. Iggy Pop. X. U2. Bad Religion. Tales of local punk rockers on the brink of glorious fame. Late nights at the Roxy. Wild times at the Whiskey with some of the best rock ever. Here you’ll find the in-your-face attitude, the clothes, the fashion, the sex, the music as hard as nails and fast as lightning.
It’s all here.
LAPunkRocker. The next thing to being there…
Special thanks to the contributors of L.A. Punk Rocker, Mark Barry, Steven E. Metz, Deborah Hernandez-Runions, and Cindy Jimenez Mora who put themselves out there.
Much gratitude to MAB and #mrword.
L.A. Punk Rocker
Each day I discover something brand new that Ozwind can do. So, I’m focusing on marketing for the post. I didn’t realize that clarification was needed about our marketing benefits until today. So, I wanted to relay some information about what we do as a provider.
I wanted to address something that was brought up last night on LinkedIn. I was basically placed on the chopping block because the company I founded (Ozwind) actually charges fees to providing publishing services. Can you imagine? A company that asks for payment in return for services? And entry fees? For a contest? How unreasonable! Right?
This sort of situation is exactly why I left LinkedIn before. The nastiness and disrespect hasn’t changed much it seems. My stay here may be temporary yet again, not that anyone would notice it if I left. I don’t mind discussions and exchanges, but there is no sense in being involved in perpetuating harsh comments and arguments. I won’t. It goes against who I am and what I believe in.
I run my life with a positive outlook (or at least I try). I also use that same concept as a foundation for my business. STRENGTH-BASED approaches to problems, situations, and personnel go much farther than negativity. The old saying, “You attract bees with honey, not vinegar” still holds water.
The fact is that everything in this world COSTS us something, whether it is time or money. When I get a hair cut, I have to pay for it. When I go to Wal-Mart, I have to pay for goods. When I want to be involved in a virtual book tour, I have to pay an entry fee. When I want to set up a booth at an event, I have to pay a set up charge.
Ozwind DOES charge fees because we are PROVIDING A SERVICE. Our authors get 60% of their net royalties. That is much more than a traditional publisher, whether they are large or a small independent press. I have personal experience in that area, so I know I’m speaking the truth.
We are a small business just beginning our journey. To ask for entry fees for a contest IS NOT unreasonable. The PRIZE is that the chosen works are put together with other stories and the winners WILL BE PUBLISHED. I would have jumped at a chance like that when I started out in my writing career. It would have been well worth the $5.00 entry fee.
I know there are “free” services out there, such as GoodReads, but formatting, editing, cover design are NOT free, unless you can take care of all of that yourself. So, as I said, in some form, there is a cost.
From researching our business model, I learned that large traditional publishers usually ask authors to sign over their rights, so essentially you lose the control that you have over your work. Vanity presses simply ask you for the money and then publish the work, whether it is ready for the market or not (that I know from my own experiences).
HYBRID PUBLISHERS, which is what we are, have guidelines that are put in place to ensure quality. The contest we are having right now is aside from all of this. It is to give first time authors a chance to add something to their history. It makes them more marketable. Essentially, we are helping one another by gaining momentum toward the same goal: being published and finding a fan base.
First of all, if you can’t be nice, don’t say anything at all. That’s how I was raised. So, if you disagree with our business model or anything I’ve said here, that’s okay. Not everyone is going to agree on everything. Nevertheless, if you’re going to be rude, keep your thoughts to yourself. We don’t mind being challenged, but there is no point in being hateful about it.
Secondly, if you have questions, we welcome those. We don’t mind explaining who we are and why we do what we do. It gives us the opportunity to help.
Thirdly, if you do leave a nasty comment, then we will rise to the challenge gracefully. I don’t believe in responding to hate with hate. That doesn’t solve anything. What I do embrace is professionalism. With that said, I will not tolerate hate filled language or hate filled criticism. So if life on LinkedIn is cut short again, I won’t go back. And if Ozwind “lost” you “at the fees,” then we wish you all of the best in seeking free publishing services, because trust me, you will not find them.
As Indies, and yes, Ozwind is an INDEPENDENT HYBRID PUBLISHER, we need to be helping one another. That is why I hosted three blog tours, devoted myself to countless other activities, and give away more than I need to. I believe we are all trying to reach the same goal and if we don’t give each stepladders to get there, what does that make us? Well, what it makes us is rather ugly, so I won’t get into that. The point is that we need to support one another in this market because it’s overwhelming. The market is flooded and to stand out is a hurdle in itself. So, I hope you read this post with an open mind and heart and leave the negativity in the dark.
Ozwind is seeking authors who are interested in publishing anthologies of the aforementioned genres. This will not only be helpful to us as a new publishing company, but will also be great for first time authors to get their name out there and build a resume. I have put submission guidelines up on the website, detailing what this project is about and the deadline for each genre.
So, tomorrow is opening day for Ozwind Publishing. This means that the submission window will open at midnight tonight. This also means that you are welcome to submit your work for consideration. I wanted to write this blog post to set straight some misconceptions that people have about publishing.
I have personally journeyed through the self-publishing route to the traditional route and now back to the self publishing route (sort of). The first thing I remember being told when I first started looking for a publisher was this: “You don’t need to pay for your work to be published. If they are good, you shouldn’t have to front any money.” This is absolutely not true. In the world of publishing now, this doesn’t hold any water. The fact is that if you want to keep your rights and your independence in this great big world of publishing, you need to PAY to have your work published. This means you need to front the cost of editing, design, and formatting unless you can do all of this yourself.
Most traditional publishers want you to sign over your rights. Some don’t, but there is a different kind of opportunity cost there. For smaller presses, and some are excellent, you run into issues of integrity and character. Be very careful. Do your research and look at reviews before you start submitting. You may not have to front any money at the beginning, but examine how much of your royalties you will be sacrificing and read the fine print regarding contract termination.
At Ozwind, we will be doing things very differently. We have a rate scale for services we offer, but it is substantially less than market. In fact, to try out the model, I published my own three books (the BETWEEN WORLDS series) through Ozwind once I became independent. Everyone thinks that because I founded the company, that I got everything for free. I didn’t. I paid for formatting and cover design on all three books. I fronted some serious cash for the production of those books and it was worth every penny. There is a price attached to success and I was more than willing to pay it once I regained my creative freedom.
That same sort of freedom is what I wanted Ozwind to offer. I wanted the company to be a hub for authors to publish work and still maintain their control. I also wanted them to have marketing at their fingertips and have support during the process of publishing and long after that. I wanted to enlist service providers that would make the magic happen. That is the vision I have. We are not a traditional publisher in that we cannot shoulder the entire cost of having your books published. We are not a vanity press because we do have submission guidelines and criteria we look at before we will offer a contract. I had no idea that there was an actual model for that vision. The hybrid publisher is a new concept, but I think it will be one that will attract authors. It will help lessen the stress of “self-publishing” and be affordable.
The other idea, that people have told me I’m crazy for using, is this: I didn’t want to do rejections. I didn’t want authors to feel that their work wasn’t worthy. I hated that feeling. It made me feel like a failure every time I received a rejection letter. We have an acquisitions department that will evaluate any manuscript we receive. If a book doesn’t fit the guidelines we have set up to offer a contract, it doesn’t mean the author can’t publish their work. It means that we can’t offer an “Ozwind contract.” However, we can and do offer self-publishing services to prepare your book and get it out there. We can also market your book like crazy. This is when I came up with the NO REJECTIONS, JUST DIRECTION slogan.
I believe that everyone’s work has value. I am not saying we can make anyone rich. What I am saying is that the business model Ozwind will operate under is a strength-based plan where we offer support and suggestions in replacement of rejection letters. Our goal is to help people become authors, not discourage them from reaching for the sky, riding their rainbow, and finding that pot of gold at the end.
So, if you are interested in what I’ve said, please visit our website, http://www.ozwindpublishing.com.
We are also on Twitter now as well as Facebook and Tsu.co