23 December 2012

Chapter Four (Free blog story)

Another great chapter at your disposal! This time, in Chapter Four, Merewyn Simpson is the storyteller. (Click here to read)

If you haven't been following Set me Free, then I urge you to check it out. Six authors, one story and free to you the reader. Here are the links for the past chapters if you would like to catch up:

Click here to go to Chapter Four
Click here to go to Chapter Three
Click here to go to Chapter Two
Click here to go to Chapter One

19 December 2012

Technological Challenges

I've had two days without internet and boy has that been a challenge. Sometimes we don't realize how much we rely on technology for day to day things until it isn't there any more. I've grown so used to having facebook, and gmail up and running in the back ground whenever I'm working on my books that it felt strange not to have it any more. 

I kept thinking that something was missing or that I had forgotten something. Being the resourceful person that I am (combined with the supreme awesomeness of one of my besties - thanks CJ) I managed to 'borrow' the internet to post my chapter for the free blog story yesterday.

I've been working steadily on my writing and edits for The Fury, I found time to work on my YA shifter story with my son and I was even able to finish my Christmas shopping. Phew! It's been a crazy week so far and its only half way through!

18 December 2012

Chapter Three - Free Blog Story

Can you believe that we are already up to chapter three? I hope you are all enjoying getting to know Renzo, Sera and Father Giovanni. This time around its my chapter, which you will find below. 

To read chapter one Click here
To read chapter two Click here

Chapter Three

Johanna Rae

 Renzo must have walked the Villa Borghese for an hour or more before he found himself at the fountain. He always seemed to end up here at this very spot. Most days when he came to the gardens, the tranquility was enough to calm him. Failing that, the gentle sound of the water trickling through the fountain would soothe his woes.

On this day even the fountain did not have the power to dispel his torment. Renzo’s gut churned as he thought about the path his life had taken and he stumbled to a stone bench a short distance from the shallow pool. Taking his head in both hands, he tried to quell the anguish brimming to the surface.

Even by human standards, Renzo could be described as attractive. He would never be the sort of Romeo that the females flocked to, though somehow he held a charm words could not recapture. The rich burnt-coffee color of his hair always caught the light on a sunny day, its soft feathery texture belying other harsher elements of his Physique. If not for his misshapen pupils, his gold flecked hazel eyes would have drawn attention without a doubt. They only turned red when he was in emotional extremes, something that happened far too often these days. He might not have been beautiful but Renzo had intensity to his gaze and a sexual allure that could have put the world at his feet had he only realized it.

His whole life Renzo had felt like a tool or an instrument. Never once had he believed he mattered. Never once had his opinions or thoughts been of any significance.  Deep within the core of his being he yearned to make a difference. He didn’t care what, couldn’t comprehend how. He just needed to be more than he was. Mating with a female he did not know could never achieve that. Reproducing would only serve to repeat the cycle he had become trapped in.

Father Giovanni always showed him such patience though Renzo couldn’t understand how he’d earned it. The Priest saw something in him and Renzo would have given anything to understand what that was. Given everything his father had told him, all that was expected of him, how could he possess the good the Priest claimed? He was a demon… did that not speak for itself?

Renzo’s skin began to crawl as he envisaged his future. The linen fibers of his sleeves caught on rough hands as Renzo rubbed up and down his arms, a subconscious attempt to cleanse himself. Visions of escape filled his head but it would do no good. There was nowhere he could run; his father would always find him. The only place he had sanctuary was the church. Once he stepped inside he felt as though something within him lifted. Renzo’s clan had no time for the church and they never bothered him when he went there.

Since there lay an intense fire at his core, it did not take much for Renzo to feel as though he was about to explode. At times he often wondered what would ever happen if he allowed his anger to take charge instead of his fears and frustrations. It would truly be a frightening thing indeed.

Finally the effects of the running water began to filter across the demon’s tense form. Letting the murmur of the fountain become the ice to quell his fire Renzo sighed and looked at the stone sculpture in the middle of the pool. 

The agonized expressions of the four horses said it all. Their front legs emerged from the water in a feeble escape attempt, their backs bowed from the weight of the burden they were all forced to share. No matter how hard they reached, they would always have that heavy dish settled above them, robbing them of their freedom.  Renzo knew just how that felt and in that moment he realized why he was always drawn to this spot.

I want what I can never have. With a heavy heart, he dragged himself to his feet and made a slow retreat. There were many places he could have chosen to go, but Renzo knew that he was a creature of habit.  He hoped one day he would have more to offer Father Giovanni in gratitude than the apologetic look in his haunted eyes.  The striking silhouette his taut musculature usually cast faded as Renzo’s posture drooped, his strength sapped away by the hunger of his father’s greed.

***                              ***                              ***                              ***

Sera cracked her eyes open, met with an instant throbbing at the back of her skull. As her eyes adjusted to the dim light cast by the solitary candle, she saw a body lying in the shadows. Though he was face down Sera knew at once that it was Father Giovanni. His crisp white robes were the last thing her eyes fixated on before she fell and the world turned black.

Stifling a gasp, she fought to ignore the pounding in her head and looked around her. The small room smelled damp and musty as though it hadn’t been used in a long time, their only means of exit a door that bore no handle. Where are we? Judging by the eerie silence, Sera decided it was safe to assume they were alone. Not a single sound permeated the darkness beyond the circle of candlelight, it was so quiet she could hear her own soft breathing.

Sera looked down at herself expecting to see some manner of ruin. It came as a surprise to find that her dress along with all its underskirts remained perfectly intact. She fingered her hair, discovering the twin braids as she had styled them that morning. Her abundance of flaming curls still spilled forth from beneath the binding where the two braids joined.

Papa had always said that the autumn colors of her hair were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. He loved when she wore it loose, the multicolored hues blending together when the curls bobbed as she worked. Mama –God rest her soul- thought differently. Sera’s hair worried her. You’re too easy to single out. She’d always told Sera. Put a hat on love, before someone recognizes you.

A month or two ago Sera would have still been confused by this but she was slowly beginning to understand. Her parents had been shielding her from something or someone. All this time she’d had no idea. A good girl who worked hard to keep the household and family enterprises running smoothly, Sera never once dreamed that she would be sought after by someone she had never met.

“Oh please don’t let it have been my fault,” she whispered, sorrow crushing her like a vice. “Please don’t let them all have died because of me.” Her ice-mint eyes blurred with tears and Sera swiped them away with the back of her hand.

Looking again to Father Giovanni, Sera sucked in a breath and crawled across the floor. Small dust clouds arose around her and it was all she could to do refrain from coughing. She didn’t want to make any unnecessary noise, not when she didn’t know where she was or who might come for her at any moment.

Unable to find signs of injury, Sera carefully rolled the Priest onto his back. The only thing that marred his pale complexion was the gash at his temple. Because he’d been lying face down, most of the blood had pooled on the floorboards and had soaked into the wood. With no way to tell how much blood he’d expended, Sera could only pray Father Giovanni could hold on long enough for help to arrive.The older man emitted a groan and writhed on the cold hard floor.

“Shhh,” Sera pleaded. “I’m here Father, its Sera. I’m not going to hurt you.”

Grasping his hand in her own, Sera looked around in frantic hope there would be something in the room she could use to help him. Behind where he lay sat a simple wooden table. A few items of religious significance were scattered atop a rich purple cloth. Kissing the back of the Priests hand out of respect and uttering a silent prayer for his well being, Sera got to her feet and stepped closer to the table. Moving aside the items, she bundled up the velvet cloth until she had a makeshift pillow. Dropping back down to her knees, Sera slid it under his head.

The Priest began to shiver and his eyelids fluttered. Was that because of the cold or was he going into shock? Tugging her lower lip into her mouth, brows drawing down in consternation, Sera stroked his forehead with the palm of her hand. Though she was careful to avoid the injury at his temple, he let out another moan.

“So cold…” He whispered.

The cold had seeped into Sera’s bones too but she couldn’t sit by and watch the man suffer. She had been sent here to him for help. What if it was her fault someone had come here and attacked them? What if she was the reason they were locked in this room? Shrugging out of her coat, Sera lay it over the old man, tucking its edges around his body. Father Giovanni was tall but thankfully he was not an overweight man. Once opened out the coat was just big enough to cover him.

“Thank you child,” he murmured, gazing at her through half lidded eyes.

“I don’t know where we are,” Sera said in a voice that sounded far too small and distant to be her own.

“We are in one of the rooms beneath my church.” His words slow and labored, Father Giovanni shut his eyes for a brief moment to compose himself.

“Is there a way we can get out?”

“This door locks from the outside, so I fear not.”

Tears sprang to Sera’s eyes and she tried to blink them away. “Is there anyone who will look for us?”

Father Giovanni’s face twisted into an expression of despair. “There is one, but child we must pray that he does not come.”

“But why?” She gasped.

“He will be in far greater danger than you or I. The people who have done this to us do not seek him but if he tries to free us, his location will then be revealed to others. I would rather stay down here than risk anything happening to this man. He is so much more than he believes himself to be, a man capable of miracles. I have offered him my protection. Though I wish it not, I suspect he will come.”

Sera lowered her lashes, hiding the look in her eyes. I can’t bear for anyone else to get caught up in this nightmare that has become my life.

 ***                    ***                    ***

16 December 2012

Sales and Feedback - THE MERCENARY

Sales and feedback for my novel The Mercenary are going very well. It gives any author a case of the warm fuzzies to know that not only is their book selling, but that people are enjoying it. It's even more of a boost when you have people asking how long they must wait for the second book in the series. I've decided to share some of my reviews here, so that if you are considering buying my book you can see what others have thought. (If you would like to purchase the book you can CLICK HERE)

Some of the initial reviews I will share below came from Goodreads and Amazon. However, there are also a few comments at the bottom that I received on the wall of my author facebook page or via email. (To go to my facebook page you can CLICK HERE)

Gigi Gia rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars
Loved all of the characters and the easy flow of the story couldn't put it down can't wait for book two please wrte faster

5.0 out of 5 stars By Megan B -
This review is from: The Mercenary: Book One of Therian Secrets (Kindle Edition)
This book was amazing! It was a page turner and hard to put down. The character development is very in depth. I fell in love with the characters and they made me laugh at their antics. I loved the description on the Therian race and the differences between them and Lycan races. Very fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved this book and can't wait for the next one.

5.0 out of 5 stars By MamaS449 
 Format:Kindle Edition 
Awesome Read! 
This book is a fast-paced, excellent read! A page-turner! If you are a fan of Lora Leigh's Breeds Series, you'll love this book! The characters are easy to become attached to. I would recommend this book to all of my friends!

5.0 out of 5 stars By Erin 
This review is from: The Mercenary (Therian Secrets) (Paperback)
I could barely put it down!
I fell in love with the characters, and had a hard time putting the book down. It was a suck you in read, and it sure managed that. Very few lulls at all, and a lot of nail biting. I can't wait for the next in the series! By far the best shifter book I have ever read.

Yvette rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars
 I seriously could not put this book down. I loved every part of it. I'm not really one for books about shifters but as soon as I started this book, I knew it was going to be different. The struggles between Danny and Jodie were proof that even non humans have to fight to keep a relationship going. The interaction with all the characters was great too. And in places I actually laughed and I also cried a little. If a book can make you laugh, cry and have a fantastic storyline then you know it's a winner. Some authors can't achieve that but the author of this book certainly does. The ending was a real cliffhanger and I am certainly looking forward to the next book!! This book is a defo must read.

Asher rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars

What an A-MAZING adventure!!! Holy flying bat monkeys!!! First off let me say I am an Avid reader, I love to read and I read fast! I finished the 7th Harry Potter book (700+ pages) in 24hrs. But this book I took 3days. Yes, three days!! This book made me want to savor it, and WOAH baby it did not disappoint! Nope, not at all. I loved this book from cover to end, I could not stop reading it!The whole storyline and history behind the Therian race was something I hadn't seen done which was a nice refreshing change! I love the authors that I follow, but I am always looking for someone to astound me, to surprise me and show me something that hasn't been done before! This was it, and I simply cannot wait for the next book in this series!

Sandy Kam rated it 4.0 out of 5 stars
Read it in less than twenty-four hours! Did not want to put it down!

I picked up this book and didn't want to put it down. Seriously. Even when I finally had to go to sleep I woke up three hours later and with still a little over half the book left, immediately jumped back into it and didn't stop until it was finished. I'll start with the cons, because there really aren't that many. Editing-wise there are several places that if you're an OCD editor will make your eye twitch. However after the first few chapters I hardly noticed them and when I did I was too engrossed in the story to pay them much mind. I could also excuse any overlooked edits seeing as how this is the author's debut novel and she self-published it. There were also a few times where certain things were alluded to as if it had already been explained, yet hadn't. Again, the author was very forthcoming in admitting that the passages where such things had been referenced had been cut in the editing process. But the evidences of this happening were very few and did not hamper the reading the experience at all. The only other very small thing I noticed was the terminology the author, who is a native New Zealander, used for various places or objects. ie. car park is a parking lot. Again, while it caught my eye it did not hamper the story at all.

The pros:

This book was a breath of fresh air in the seemingly overwhelming mountain of were/shifter stories being pumped out. The characters sprang to life, jumping off the page and pulling me into their world with such ease that I was soon smiling, laughing, gasping, and even crying as they whisked me through their story in a way that only a handful of books has ever done before. It truly made me enjoy having picked up a book again after way too long. Even the `secondary' characters managed to wrap me around their fingers, some from their very first introduction (i.e. Rufus *Grins and nods like a dork*). At first I did feel like the female lead (Jodie) took to finding out about were's/shifters way to easily and calmly (especially given the circumstances of how she finds out). However once I stopped and thought about it, in this day and age with so many books on such creatures, along with vampires, zombies, etc. I had to reassess my initial thought, realizing that if I found out someone close to me whom I had known for a long time was really a were-, would I really freak out and go crazy? Or would I accept it. Obviously since this is in the `pro' section, it would be the latter.

The history of the `Therian's' was very plausible and very easy to understand. It was so believable and well explained that I had to go look up `Therian' online to see how much of it the author came up with herself. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find out that she had woven together such an amazing world based on the definition of Therianthropy (an actual clinical term) and a basic knowledge of lycanthropy. Yet she didn't just stop at lycanthropy. One of the refreshing aspects of The Mercenary was that it's not just your typical were's, i.e. wolves, leopards, brown bears (although each are represented). The author has expanded the were- genre to include boars, lizards, polar bears, falcons, Tasmanian devils and even house cats. (Yes it even made me stop and look at my own house cats with an arched brow for a moment.) One can only imagine how many more were-species this amazingly talented author will include in future installments of this series. I for one will be waiting (rather impatiently) to find out.

In conclusion The Mercenary is, in my very humble opinion, a must read and a must buy. And Johanna Rae is definitely an author to keep your eye on.

Kimberly rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars
The Mercenary by Johanna Rae first and foremost is a great book, worth the money and certainly worth falling in love with her characters even if some of them break your heart at times. We all can’t help to love a bit of a bad boy, even when we know our hearts may not survive the fall. 

Side Note: Before going into this book, you must remember that it takes place in New Zealand, not America nor England.

As the book starts off, Jodie comes home after work to laundry on the line and a sink full of dishes not done. What woman hasn’t come home to that? So instantaneously any woman could connect with the book. I did find it slightly unrealistic when Jodie first met Danny. *Waves a hand.* You’ll either agree with me or you won’t. After the initial chaos that ensues within the first couple of chapters, you’re sucked into this completely surreal yet very original world where there’s always a fight between good and evil. Rae did a ‘standing O’ job of creating Redcliffe and the characters that reside there. I’m not sure I’ll look at another picture of an animal without possibly seeing one of Jo’s characters. (^_^) 

‘The Fortress’ soon becomes a place you would love to be as you read the book, get to know the guys and ‘listen’ to their quick banter with one another. In all the chaos the men keep you smiling, even laughing as you wipe away the tears from your eyes. It’s the heartfelt moments, the quickening heartbeat scenes and the ensuing giggles that keep a great momentum going through the book, effectively keeping you ensnared into the story.

I came to love each of the characters quirks, wanting to hold them when they were hurt and join in on the laughter they helped create. There are many authors out there with secondary characters that play a lot in a book, but Rae is one in the small group of authors I’ve found that pull their secondary characters forward and fill them with such life, causing an urge in the reader to know more about their lives and back stories, to want to see their happiness unfold and their happily ever after’s come about. 

Thank you Jo, for giving the shifter world a new scent to follow and track down.

Soxie Weston rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars
Read from September 30 to October 02, 2012
Welcome to the wonderful world of shape shifting, Johanna Rae has has captured the Shape shifters in a way no other has that I have read, The story was captivating, and sucks you in from the start, it was a massive struggle to put the book down to sleep, the romance between Danny and Jodie was funny, Loveable, heartbreaking and just hot.The friendship the guys all have with each other and Jodie was a just a breath of fresh air, she has truly upped my expectations for other shape shifter authors. for her first full novel it was amazing and I can't wait to read more of this series I highly recommend this book to all

5.0 out of 5 stars - Just Amazing
Ashley Brown
This review is from: The Mercenary: Book One of Therian Secrets (Kindle Edition)
Absolutely AMAZING....I could not put this book down. I was forced to have to stop reading. The whole time while I read this book I kept thinking, "The Author who wrote this is a friend, I CAN'T BELIEVE IT." I have not enjoyed a shifter book this much ever. It's been well over a year when I spent an entire day just reading, I couldn't put it down and when I looked and saw 97% left on my kindle I was like damn it to hell I won't have answers!!! Seriously not enough words I can say for how much I enjoyed the story. The characters make me laugh. I told my husband I don't remember laughing this much in a book in forever I would latterly laugh out loud. I cannot wait for the 2nd book to come out. This was worth giving my Sunday up for because it took me away to a place in New Zealand where I just got lost in the wonderment of shifters. LOVED IT!!!!! I wish all PNR books captivated me like this.

Janice rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars
I loved this book. I love the interaction between Danny and Jodie. It wasn't an easy start to their relationship and for Jodie, finding out she was like the man she was falling for was a surprise. The other males of the group are all like big brothers to Jodie. The only thing I didn't like was the cliff hanger at the end. Now I want the next book to find out what happens with Luke.

Helene Robin gave  4.0 out of 5 stars to:
The Mercenary 

Kisa Mythos rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars

Carolyn gave 5.0 out of 5 stars to:
 The Mercenary 

Maryahvenged Warriors rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars 


Amy Beth- Just finished The Mercenary....LOOOOVED it!!! Can't wait for more from these boys! I might have a bit of a crush on Mark :)

Cilla - I picked up your book 'the mercenary' last night and 11 HOURS LATER I READ THE WHOLE THING lol i need more!!! i LOVED IT :D its one of the very few books (and i have read quite a few) where i have done this, i couldnt put it down! thank goodness for coffee because otherwise i would be a zombie right now

 Shai Mayhem-Cambion
I just finished reading a fantabulous book. The Mercenary by Johanna Rae. I HIGHLY recommend it. I was sad when I reached the end. JOOOOOOOOO!! When's the second one come out?????

Melissa A- your book was awesome!!!! I loved it and i can't wait for the next one

Rhiannon C- *Waves her Kindle* I finished!! Geez woman! I will admit that i cried a little at the necklace part and i loved the ending! Well, i loved the whole book but the ending was brilliant!

Quinn D- I LOVED IT!!! I'm ready for Book Two now ...

Sandra - It's not the sort of thing that I would usually read, but I've read it quickly because I really want to know what happens next. Somehow you have bridged the gap between paranormal and about two or three other genres, and its a great fresh perspective. 

Kimberly A- Finished the book last night. Great story and cannot wait for the next one. Hurry please :)

Nicola C - Grrrrrr you finished writing book 2 yet? Hurry up! Do it! Do it now!

Soxie W - I have always loved shifter books but never have i read a shifter book like what you have written. i can honestly say that this is the best by far in a lot of ways, you do the shifting, you have a wide variety of shifters, the way Jodie drew to the leopard BEFORE she even knew what he was, just captivates you from the start.. the emotions, the funny ways, the fights they have all captured my attention .. I am in awe that this is your first novel it is up with the best of them in my book and i seriously am itching for more and i have not even finished the book ...  I adore this book enough to make me want to read it again as soon as i finish and i don't do that to a lot of books .. it is amazing .... thank you


15 December 2012

Set me Free Chapter Two - Free blog story!

Chapter two of our story project is up! Come and check it out. Six authors, one story - what a fun way to have an adventure! And all free to you, the reader. What will happen with Renzo and Sera? Both on the run for different reasons... both seeking help from Father Giovanni.
Click here for CHAPTER ONE

Participating authors:
L.S. Broomfield
Ashley Nemer

13 December 2012

SET ME FREE chapter 1 (paranormal romance)

A new and exciting adventure is about to unfold! One story, six authors. There will be wonders to behold in this paranormal romance. Follow it chapter by chapter on the blogs of the six participating authors. This story comes FREE TO YOU! Come and check it out! The first chapter is available on Ashley Nemer's blog. (click here to go to chapter one)

Other participating authors:
Stacy Moran

L.S. Broomfield