Friday, December 13, 2013


I'm introducing you to a new world with the first book in my new Urban Fantasy, The Starbuck Chronicles: AfterLife! This story is about Lily Starbuck, a witch who has totally lost her memory. The change in her life is drastic and heartbreaking when she finds that her business partner of three years has betrayed her and cleaned out their bank accounts. Lily can get no answers when she finds her dead. Her partner's death sets her on a path of danger, intrigue, and the fantastical. Will Lily survive long enough to discover who she is?

Here is the cover!

Thank you so much to Julie at A Tale of Many Reviews Tours for arranging the cover reveal today. If you see it around, please comment, retweet and share so we can get the word out to everyone.

   This cover was designed by the patient, talented and fabulous Jessica Allain.

Please take a moment to add AfterLife to your Goodreads Shelf!

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Release Date:  January 20, 2014


Series Overview

The fine thread between reality and the fantastical has snapped. The mortal and supernatural must learn to co-exist in post-reality Minneapolis/St. Paul where video games leak monsters into the night, demons roam, thirsting for more than just blood, people are not who or what they seem and a diabolical evil plots and plans to devour the world.


Lily Starbuck’s day doesn’t start well with blood on the horizon and a grumpy werewolf who refuses to pay his catering bill. Her day only gets worse when her catering company business partner turns up dead after cleaning out their bank accounts. Lily is now heartbroken and flat broke.

Enter the Fairy Dust Administration (FDA). Fae dust hounds hot on her partner’s trail for dealing in illegal dust now turn their attention to her. Their leader, sexy Talon Sunstrike, takes a particular interest in her and is hard to shake.

With Lily’s very livelihood in jeopardy, she has no choice but to discover who killed her partner and try to track down the cash with only a cantankerous gnome who delights in going invisible on her as backup. Clues lead her to an open case being investigated by Otherworld Security (O.S.) and the tough O.S. Warden, shapeshifter, Rayne Parish.

It seems a rogue mage has created a video game that is unwarded and game monsters are being released to terrorize the citizens of the Twin Cities. Trouble is Lily has reason to believe that this mage killed her partner.

In this world gone mad, Lily’s biggest challenge…is to survive


“I don’t go around giving out my cream puffs for free,” I said.  My hands landed on my hips, a good sign that I was agitated.  The wood decking of my client’s patio was vibrant beneath my feet, sending power up through bone and tissue with perceptible warmth.  A wisp of my blonde hair had escaped the haphazard bun and caught in the gentle, but chill early morning breeze that sailed past me to play hopscotch with the dead leaves.  With a fitful gust, the wind lifted the leaves off the deck and threw them out into the backyard, like feathers from an angel’s wing.

The accusation hung between us like a portent of danger.  Mr. Bailey’s muscles tightened.

The full moon was just setting behind the tall buildings of St. Paul, and the soft glow of dawn played peek-a-boo with the horizon. “I can’t believe you’re trying to stiff me on the bill.”

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

That was a really good question. And because there was a black hole where my memory should be, I didn’t really know the answer.

Mr. Bailey was sprawled in a chair on his deck, having just turned back from a werewolf into his human form.  He looked spent and effectively partied out.  Sweat dripped from his shaggy black hair onto his bare shoulders and slid down his well-muscled chest.  The chill breeze didn’t seem to affect him at all.  I stared at Mr. Bailey and he focused on me with piercing blue eyes that transitioned from contented to puzzled.  He didn’t answer, looking to the rising sun as if he was contemplating his next words carefully.

I followed his gaze and took a quick intake of air.  The sky was tinged a bloody red.  The ominous sign made the back of my neck prickle with fear.

After a moment, our eyes met and Mr. Bailey’s deep blue ones were guarded.

I sighed, my hands flexing on my hips.  Was I a good witch or was I a bad witch?

Glinda had it right, but when she asked Dorothy that question there wasn’t any turmoil for that goody two-shoes from Kansas to ponder.  Me, on the other hand...I was the witch in this story.  At the moment, rightly acting so, but I’d lost my memory and had no idea how to answer that question.

I could blast Mr. Bailey, or I could reason with him.  If my inclination was to blast him, was that about anger at not getting paid, or some kind of bad witch character coming through?

Maybe if I clicked my ruby slippers a couple of times, that answer would come to me?

Then again, I figured it was more prudent to ask questions first, blast second.  Otherworlder Security usually frowned on blasting as a means to handle disputes.

Not many, supernaturals or humans alike, wanted to be on the wrong side of the O.S. But I had a few tricks up my witch’s sleeve.

 “Kitchen Witches is a business, Mr. Bailey, not a charity,” I said pointedly, ignoring his expression.

He looked at me, incredulous.

My partner, Olivia Vesta had been generous enough three years ago to bring in an unknown Starbuck’s employee with no memory.  She had mentored me and nurtured me into the kitchen witch I was today both in food and in the craft.  Together we had built the business from the ground up.  She had taken me in and provided something concrete when my world had vanished.

She had given me my afterlife.

Olivia had taken this job for her main supplier Mr. Chris Bailey, and this full moon party had been a howling good time thanks to our food and drink.  I was bone tired, which didn’t add to my disposition or my patience.  It was almost morning and I wanted to sleep.  My anger was taking on a life of its own.  Growing.  Imposing itself.  His silence incensed me.

With my elfin features most people mistook me for fae, but I wasn’t one of the fairy folk.  I was one hundred percent witch.

As to who I was and where I came from?  That was a mystery that I hoped to solve someday.  Right now, I was being stiffed.

“Look, Mr. Bailey, I’ve been up since five o’clock yesterday morning preparing to make your party the hit of the season.  Judging by the happy members of your pack who have just left, I’d say that mission was accomplished.  Now, it’s time to pay the piper.”

“Ms. Starbuck, I think there’s been some kind of a miscommunication here.”

“Oh?  How so?  Because usually when someone provides you with a service, you pay for it.”

Easy does it.  There’s a reason that witch rhymes with bitch.  Lest you make him feel cornered and then you will have an angry werewolf on your hands.

His expression didn’t change, but he conceded a nod, “Yes, that is true. . . .”

“Wasn’t everything to your satisfaction?  From the appetizers to the dessert?”

“Well, yes, exquisite.  The meat had that just killed flavor and was perfectly raw.  The cream puffs were. . .words escape me.”  He waved a hand.  “That isn’t in question.”

“Well, then it seems that we’re at an impasse, Mr. Bailey.” I spread my legs and balanced my weight. “I’ll take the remainder of the bill now, Mr. Bailey.”  I said quietly.  Tacit promises, should he refuse, in my tone.
I would have used my womanly wiles on him.  Being five foot ten gave me the advantage of a tall and willowy frame, my figure full in the right places.  But my hair was up in a messy topknot, my Kitchen Witches apron splotched in different places with hot buttered this and creamy that.  Nondescript baggy jeans, and sneakers didn’t exactly scream sexy.

I didn’t get the expected reaction from him.  He stood, but I held my ground.  Attitude was everything.

My show of strength would either be something he took offense to or admired.  I wasn’t about to back down from a client no matter who or what they were.  I had a car payment due.  Just this morning the landlord called about our commercial property and said he hadn’t received the rent this month.  So now my stomach was starting to clench.

The transformation from virile human male to snarling were happened in a twitch of Samantha’s nose.  Before I could say anything or backpedal away from him, he sprang.

I braced for the impact.  The strength of him was evident when he hit me and knocked me to the deck, his paws heavy on my shoulders.  He effectively pinned me down.  His breath was hot on my face; the smell of feral had quite a distinct, lethal odor.

My heart pounded.

I grinned and spoke one word. “Permoveo,” and invoked the spell I had stored in my chi  with the softly spoken word.  The power word was whispered into the cauldron at the precise moment it becomes the spell.  If it wasn’t done right, the spell would either be too weak to work or ruined and the witch would have to start from scratch.

Mr. Bailey found himself kissing air on the deck as I viewed him from a safe perch on his balcony.

He looked up at me and I smirked taking any chance that I could to practice the fine art of smirking.

I might not know if I was a good witch or a bad witch, but I was definitely a prepared witch.

“There aren’t many who can surprise me.”

I shrugged.  “I’m not much of a roll-over-and-show-you-my-tummy-kind-of-gal.”  I gave him another one of my perfected smirks.

His eyes darted behind me and, too late, I felt the push of two strong hands as I tumbled off the balcony.  I only had a moment to invoke my levitation spell before I hit the unforgiving wood of his deck and broke my stupid neck.  Just before I hit, the spell took effect and I found my nose only inches from the heavy wood deck.  Righting myself, I looked up to find a beautiful female I had seen hanging on Mr. Bailey at the party.  She narrowed her golden eyes at me, morphed into a were and jumped from the balcony to the deck with the ease of a cat.

She stalked towards me, her lips pulled away from her very sharp teeth.  She growled low beneath her breath and leapt at me.  This time I was sure it wasn’t to just teach me a lesson.

Great, double-teamed by a pair of weres. The anticipation of besting them was probably a good sign that I was a bad witch. A bad-ass, bad witch. Now if I could just avoid getting my throat ripped out long enough to collect my due.

That was always the trick in this new world order...survival...