bloodmark-book-1Ashling Boru wasn’t your average werewolf princess. she was able to shift into a wolf from birth while others of her kind were not able to until they were older. She also never received her bloodmark  which is a brand that wolves get at birth when they are initiated into the pack. Her father is the king of their pack and instead of initiating Ashling into his pack he has promised her hand in marriage to a man she doesn’t know.


Ashling defies her father and the ancient laws of the pack and ends up going from Ireland to York Harbor, Maine. When she gets there she meets and falls in love with a rebellious human named Grey Donavan. Ashling is now leading a new life far away from everyone she has known but her wolf packs ancient traditions and secrets come back to haunt her and she has to make a choice between Grey or the path that she was meant to follow.

Bloodmark by Aurora Whittet is the first book in a trilogy and a pretty good YA novel. What drew me to this book was that it got into werewolf mythology and it was partially set in Ireland. I really enjoyed that this book was written from the first person perspective, in the beginning it had the feel of a diary as Ashling talked about her family. Bloodmark has a good story to it, I loved the character of Ashling and I think she is someone who teenage girls can relate to. This is a book that young readers will love.

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Guest Blog Post: Aurora Whittet

We are all surrounded by inspiration


Aurora Whittet

aurora-whittetI’m often asked where I find my inspiration and I always say everywhere. I see it in my waitress at the café, in the man at the bus station, in the child at the park. I find it in my friends and family. I find it in my dreams. Inspiration is endless if you open your eyes. It can be a word or phrase or even the way a bird mesmerizingly swoops through the sky. A photo you see in your FaceBook feed or a song on the radio.

The Bloodmark Saga is a combination of a few things I’m fascinated with: Mythology, Werewolves, and Ireland. And it all started from a scene in the third book. I knew how it was going to end. I saw Ashling’s face as she screamed those words, and I knew I had to tell her story.

I didn’t know who she was just yet, but I knew who she would become and I wanted to walk with her every step of the way to that moment that she dared to show me. I saw her hair in the wind, the fierceness of her face, and heard the strength in her words. Then I backed up to where her story began and I began my research. Her red hair told me she was Irish, her strength told me she was a wolf and then I dug through gobs of mythology until I found just the right pieces to braid together into the Bloodmark Saga.

So where do you find inspiration . . . you have no further to look then inside yourself.




1-iRead Button small 136, Finale: G TOM MAC, Abie Ekenezar, The Count

Horror Addicts Episode# 136
SEASON 11 Finale & Halloween Special
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich with Camellia Rains and Ariel DaWintre
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

11finaleg tom mac, abie ekenezar, the count

Find all articles and interviews at:

9 days till halloween

cry little sister, skullman contest, halloween costumes, horror door hangers craft, blood of socorro county, sean t. young, movies, underworld, phantasm ravager, the ouija, madea’s halloween, the windmill massacre, sorority slaughterhouse, the laughing mask, the charnel house, unfriend, incarnate, amityville the awakening, the bye bye man, split, m.night shyamalan, the happening, resident evil: the final chapter, property horror, butch patrick, lobsterman jeopardy at sea, midnight texas, david, books, mark taylor, the human condition, penn jillett, stephen king’s, mr.mercedes, the cell, the count interview, cemetery confessions, the belfry, deaths in 2016, david margulies, angus scrimm, sweet kill, alan rickman, snape, harry potter, sense and sensibility, colonel brandon, something…

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Michelangelo’s Ghost

30972176Jada Jones is starting to get a reputation as a treasure hunter. She is also a historian and professor at a local University. She isn’t sure she likes her new reputation but it leads to a an invitation from her old mentor Lilith Vine. Lilith once had a good career going once but has fallen on hard times. She may have the key to changing everything in the form of sketchbooks from the 16th century, written in the hand of Lazzaro Allegri, an artist who was Michelangelo’s protegé before moving to India.

Lilith has more evidence pointing to the fact that Allegri may have had a secret art studio in Italy’s Park Of Monsters. Within that studio lies priceless artwork and a connection between Indian art and the Italian Renaissance. when Lilith dies under mysterious circumstances, Jada starts to believe that someone else may be trying to find the lost art treasure.  Now Jada is in a race against time to find the paintings and restore Lilith’s reputation.

Michelangelo’s Ghost by Gigi Pandian reminded me a little of a Dan Brown book but with deeper characters. To be honest I’m not big on mysteries, what got me interested in this book was that it was set in a location that I knew very little about. I had never heard of The Park Of Monsters, this and the idea of a ghost haunting it drew me in. It’s not the main point of the story but it got me wanting to know more. I felt this book got off to a slow start but I liked the characters enough to keep reading and the book gets better as Jada arrives in Italy. From that point, the pace of the story picks up and you start to see a good mix of superstition and history in this mystery.

To me the best part of this book is the historical research that went into it. I love the details given about The Park Of Monsters, the history behind the park and the connections between Indian and Italian art. Michelangelo’s Ghost is as much a historical fiction novel as a mystery and that’s what makes it a good read. My favorite part wasn’t the mystery or the ghost, it was when the professors talked about the history of the area and how exciting it was that their could be an art studio on the grounds. It does work as a good mystery too and fans of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery will finish this book feeling satisfied.

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life

 Tis’ the season to be horror-y
Need last minute costume tips?
Or a bevy of pumpkin recipes?
Check out…

Horror Addicts Guide to Life

HAGuide2LifeFrontCoverCover art by: Masloski Carmen

Editor: David Watson

Do you love the horror genre? Do you look at horror as a lifestyle? Do the “norms” not understand your love of the macabre?

Despair no longer, my friend, for within your grasp is a book written by those who look at horror as a way of life, just like you. This is your guide to living a horrifying existence. Featuring interviews with Midnight Syndicate, Valentine Wolfe, and The Gothic Tea Society.

Authors: Kristin Battestella, Mimielle, Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette, Steven Rose Jr., Garth von Buchholz, H.E. Roulo, Sparky Lee Anderson, Mary Abshire, Chantal Boudreau, Jeff Carlson, Catt Dahman, Dean Farnell, Sandra Harris, Willo Hausman, Laurel Anne Hill, Sapphire Neal, James Newman, Loren Rhoads, Chris Ringler, Jessica Robinson…

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Dance Diaries: Ballroom Budgeting: How I Afford to Dance

30821527Dance Diaries:Ballroom Budgeting: How I Afford To Dance by The Girl With The Tree Tattoo is the second how to book in her series. While the first one focused on Starting your journey and what to look out for, this book focuses on how you can afford to follow your dream of dancing. Dancing can be very expensive and this book breaks it down into something that even a person on a tight budget can pursue.

Ballroom Budgeting tells you everything you need to afford being a dancer. It gets into creating a budget, how to cut costs, increasing your income so you can afford more dancing, alternatives to competition and what to do when you feel ballroom poor. The most important lesson that she teaches here was not to compare yourself to other dancers that have more money. She says to remember that everyone has their own problems and path to follow and not to compare yourself to others. The most important thing to remember is that you have a passion for dance and you want to stick with it, no matter what it takes.

What I liked most about this book was the same thing I liked about the last one. It’s a great instructional manual on what you need to do to get what you want. This author is following her passion in life and telling you how it’s possible for you to do the same, no matter what your passion is. Whether it is ballroom dancing or something else, the lessons that the author gives you in her books will help you make your dreams come true. The budgeting spreadsheets in Ballroom Budgeting can be applied to helping you to achieve a goal even if that goal isn’t ballroom dancing.

Personally I enjoy dancing but the classes that I’ve taken were from my community recreation department and I have no desire to go further than that, I was generally just looking to have a good time and the author even gives tips on how to get the most out of ballroom Dancing if a little fun is all you want. I really loved this book mostly because it was written by a person who has a passion for dance. Even though I don’t have that same passion, I can take away some of the lessons that she teaches here and apply them to other areas of my life.  This book teaches us that no matter what your dream is, there is a way to make it happen.

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Guest Blog Post: The Cost Of Following Your Dreams

The Cost of Following Your Dreams

dance-diaries-1-learning-ballroom-danceI really want to order pizza tonight. I have the money, but if I look at my projected budget spreadsheet, my bank account balance will dip in about a month and a half after my next dance lesson payment. So I’ll hold off on the pizza.

Getting take-out doesn’t seem like a big expense, but every little bit counts. A splurge today could mean no dance lessons in a month.

At different stages in life, money takes on different meanings. When you’re a kid, you might think of money in terms of how many candies you can buy or that really cool toy you want. When you first start living on your own, money is defined in terms of this month’s rent, a tank of gas, or yes, even take-out. For the last several years, my money has been defined in terms of dance lessons and competition entry fees.

When I started taking ballroom dance lessons in December 2012, I thought I was going to have a blast learning dance steps and maybe make some new friends. I had no idea it would wake up a part of me that I had assumed had withered away from being buried under layers of fear and self-doubt. That part was still very much alive and just waiting for a chance to burst out and make herself known.

The more I danced, the more a passion fire grew inside me. Ballroom felt like home, where I could 30821527be my true self. To this day, I’m still chipping away at those layers of fear and doubt and learning more about that true self. My passion for ballroom has inspired me to pursue other passions, like finally finishing the design for a tree tattoo that I had been working on for 15 years. It went from being put on the back burner to covering my entire back! My passion for writing also exploded. After my tattoo was completed, I created the Girl with the Tree Tattoo blog and, in 2016, published the first two books in my Dance Diaries series.

Through it all, I danced. I found my niche in pro-am (professional-amateur) competition and blossomed even more. I’ve placed first and second in my events at the five competitions I’ve done with my teacher over the past two and a half years. It’s been incredibly satisfying to see my hard work in the studio turn into success on the competition floor. There’s only one thing that’s holding me back from going further: money.

Ballroom dancing as a student is expensive. Competing as a student is ridiculously expensive. You start off with private lessons that cost an average of $80-90 for 45 minutes. Then to enter a competition, you have to pay entry fees, which average $40 per dance. You also have to buy a ticket to the session in which you’re competing ($20-40 depending on the competition and if the session is during the day or evening). Then you have to pay your teacher’s fee for dancing with you at competition and their expenses. You’ll need to rent or buy a costume (dress rentals are usually $250-300), and if you’re a girl without beauty skills like me, you’ll need to have your hair and makeup done (around $150). If the competition is out of town, you also have to account for your and your teacher’s travel and lodging. Most people enter around 20-30 dances and some will even dance hundreds of entries in multiple dance styles at a competition. I enter 8-12 single dances plus one multi-dance round called a scholarship. Even with my minimal number of entries, one local competition can cost me over $1,500. That is on top of paying over $500 per month for private lessons.

the-girl-with-the-tree-tatooI make a decent living with my full-time job as a report writer/editor, but it’s barely enough to cover living expenses AND my ballroom pursuits. I can afford to take private lessons once or twice a week. That’s at most an hour and a half per week with my teacher to learn and practice the four different dances of American smooth (waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz), the style in which I compete. In the last few months, since I didn’t have any upcoming competitions, we also started working on the five different dances of American rhythm (cha cha, rumba, East coast swing, bolero and mambo). An hour and a half per week to learn nine different dances is not very much time at all, and so I supplement with a lot of practice time on my own.

My limited funds set me apart from most of my fellow dancers. After paying for private lessons, I usually don’t have enough to attend group classes or workshops, which are also great supplements to learning ballroom. It’s difficult when someone encourages me to come to a class with them by saying “come on, it’ll be fun, it’s only $20.” Only isn’t a word I apply to any of my ballroom expenses. I have struggled with feelings of insignificance or exclusion because of my financial status compared to other students.

Luckily, the other dancers I’ve met and with whom I’ve become friends have never validated these feelings. The ballroom community that I’m a part of is full of support and encouragement. In the end, it is our love of dancing that unites us; it doesn’t matter how much green is in our wallets.

That green, or lack thereof, does put me on a different path for reaching my ballroom dreams, however. Like with the pizza, I evaluate every expense carefully and track everything to ensure I can still pay for my dancing. When it comes to competitions, I have to start saving and planning months in advance. Every competition has been funded in slightly different ways, as I get creative when it comes to producing extra income. I cut other expenses to the bone, I clean out my closet and sell whatever I can to bring in extra cash. I’m always on the lookout for freelance work. I also get extra dancing in by volunteering to work at dance events or parties.

Persistence has been key to my success thus far in following my ballroom dreams. That and avoiding comparison as much as possible. It’s important to remember that even if you’re pursuing a similar dream as someone else, you two will not be on the same path to get there. Sometimes I get caught in the comparison trap and despair over not being able to take as many lessons or enter as many competitions as other students and therefore, never being able to get as good as those other students. But then I remember my success in the few events I have competed in and compare myself now to when I first started. I can’t give up now. I’ve achieved so much with so little already, imagine if I kept going!

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