It’s time to pick a giveaway winner! Yay!!!
So, the winner of a $20 Gift Certificate to E-tailer of Their Choice is…. Continue reading
It’s time to pick a giveaway winner! Yay!!!
So, the winner of a $20 Gift Certificate to E-tailer of Their Choice is…. Continue reading
And welcome back to my world of dragons, intrigue, hot guns, fast cars and a grumpy, slightly anti-social Chimera of a Sidhe and an Unsidhe who really only wants to hunt monsters and go home to his probably carnivorous cat. My name is Rhys Ford and I’ll be your guide today as on July 14th, I’ll take you back to the Kai Gracen series for Book Four — Silk Dragon Salsa.
If you’re following the blog tour from the beginning, you can skip this bit and head to the serialized part of the story but if this is your first time with me, let me ramble a bit about my grouchy special kitten, Kai. I’ve used the past three books to set up his relationships and world and kind of settling him for what should have been a changing environment. He’s never really had a lot of contact with the elfin and never really wanted any. Ryder, the Lord of the Southern Rise Court, blew into Kai’s life like a hurricane with a grudge and Kai’s had to not only learn how to get along with the man but also adjust to the fact the elfin are in his life to stay. Not something Kai ever wanted. He was raised by humans, thinks of himself as human, and was pretty happy about it.
Then his world changed and he was dragged kicking and screaming and probably stabbing into a bit of elfin affairs even as he knew it would probably be the death of him.
And in Silk Dragon Salsa, I really turn his world upside down.
It was a long time coming and Kai, in his true quick-on-his-feet fashion, knows he must change with it. Because the Merged world is going forward — with or without his approval — and this time, he has a chance for a bit of happiness, if he can find it in the chaos storm hunting him down in Silk Dragon Salsa.
by Rhys Ford
“I hate salamanders.” This wasn’t news to Jonas. Especially considering he probably heard me say that exact same thing at least twenty times since we’d hit the tree line. “It’s like they’re pissed off because they’re not real dragons and gotta take it out on everyone else.”
It was a shit job. But shit jobs meant money in my pocket — well Dempsey’s pocket — and I liked eating.
Until — if — I got a Stalker’s license, I couldn’t claim bounty on anything I took in except for a black dog. The ainmhi dubh were like feral pigs, legal to hunt at any time of the year and anyone with enough guts to go after the insane abominations some Wild Hunt master dragged together from spare body parts could cash in on any state’s reward for its skin. The bigger the pelt, the bigger the payout and since no one could ever figure out a way to breed the bastards, any black dog anyone caught and killed was definitely one more monster taken off the land.
Salamanders were a different story.
They were a pain in the ass and came in different flavors, everything from the sleek, fire-gilled ones to the rhino-sized sewer dwelling monsters who liked to chew on concrete foundations. There was a make and model for any kind of trouble and the particular piece of shit salamander we were after today was a spotted Martin’s forest warbler.
Or as many farmers liked to call them… damned chicken munchers.
The diamonds I’d dug for would be enough to keep us going for six months but I didn’t like living too close to the edge. When we did, it was usually me that went into the dirty to get us out and if I didn’t dig through dragon shit again any time soon, I’d be happy. Dempsey tapped out of the run so it was just me and Jonas stalking the tree line. Montana was filthy with forests but there was enough clear land and townships to support a healthy farming and cattle industry.
Although a slimy reptilian predator the size of a lion and able to slither under chicken wire to eat livestock went a long way into making a rough, hardscrabble life even harder.
“You okay with getting your Stalker license?” Jonas dropped his hot little verbal ember into my lap, his eyes scanning the thicket for any sign of movement. “It’ll mean you being able to cut loose of Dempsey. Be your own man.”
I gave him a long look then answered, picking my way carefully through the pile of dead sticks and leaves as silently as I could. “I owe Dempsey my life. Not going to up and leave him now. If the old man needs me, I’m there. Just like always. Going to be a time when he can’t do this life any more. Got no savings. Don’t even have any land he can call his own. It’ll be my time to take care of him then.”
“Like you’re not doing that now?” He rumbled, stopping suddenly. “That it? Over there?”
“Nah, deer.” If we weren’t on a run, I’d have taken a shot at the buck. Venison was good eating and we had enough room in the solar-powered cooler in the back of the truck to hold at least a quarter of it. The rest could go to the families who’d hired us to hunt the salamander but now wasn’t the time. “Look, they might not even let me have a license. I’m not human. Shit, there’s still places I have to hide my ears and face so I don’t get shot when we go inside. It’s a crap shoot, Jonas, but one I’m willing to risk.”
“You’re just a kid, Kai.” Jonas sounded like he was trying to argue a point but I wasn’t sure what it was. “You should be in school, cruising for a Saturday night date so you can get your first kiss and complaining about doing homework. The family was talking about it and they’d like you to come down. Live with us in San Diego —”
“I’m not a kid, Jonas. Never have been,” I cut him off. “First kiss has come and gone. Just like my first kill. That life? It’s not mine. Save it for your kids because I’m not going to live it. Now let’s go find that damned slimy bastard so I can get something to eat. And on the way out, keep an eye out for that deer. Be nice not to have to pay for a steak.”
It’s time to pick a giveaway winner! Yay!!!
So, the winner of a $25 Gift Certificate to e-tailer of their choice is…. Continue reading
Hello! And thank you for joining the Back in Black Blog Tour! My name is Rhys Ford and I will be your guide through this serialized short story featuring Cole McGinnis and his trip to the altar. Hit each blog stop for the next bit of the story AND as a special bonus, Greg Tremblay has narrated each “slice of cake” on this wedding tour!
As some of you know, Cole McGinnis is a former LAPD detective who found love again in a romance suspense series called the Cole McGinnis Mysteries or as I call it, the Dirty Series. It is there he meets and falls in love with Kim Jae-Min, a Korean photographer with a few secrets of his own and a tiny black cat with an attitude. I left Cole and Jae in quite a happy place five years ago in Los Angeles with a promise to come back and “reboot” Cole’s life in a mystery series.
(You can find the first series here at Dreamspinner Press, including a special free bonus collection of shorts in both ebook and audiobook format)
If you’ve already met Cole, well then I am happy to announce he’s back and well, while things are a little bit different… and he’s a hair older… his life is still as insanely jam-packed with action and more than few mysteries to figure out. All of the old gang is back along with a few new faces and I hope you all enjoy Back in Black as much as I enjoyed writing it.
And as if Cole wasn’t fun enough to write, Greg Tremblay is back as Cole McGinnis in the upcoming audiobook which is supposed to be out on Feb 13th! If you aren’t a part of my Facebook group or follow me on social media, please be sure to find me to learn about any future stuff. Because 2020 is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.
As always, there is a giveaway! Please comment, rafflecopter or however this blog chooses to run their giveaway, Please Please enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to the online store of your choice!
by Rhys Ford
“Tell me they impounded your truck so it’s here in the holding yard.” I rubbed at my face, the stink of jail sticking to the inside of my nostrils. “Then at least we’d have a ride back to Chinatown.”
Considering I was allegedly on the right side of the law, it was astonishing at how much time I’d spent inside that particular institution. There was a particular smell to incarceration. Not prison which came with its own unique blend of aromas but jail itself, that pit stop between freedom and hard time. It was the slosh bucket of the seven sins, awash with puke, fear and bravado. Packed in tight with little room for long movements, men circled like guppies in a fish tank, watching the top of the water for the net to take them out and any larger shadows edging closer, a sure sign of a predator moving into their midst.
It was good to get out of there although from the sounds of things, Ralph made some really poor life choices he was going to have to live with for a long time. I left him with my contact information, promising him if he was able to shake loose the goat-napping charges, I’d work to help him find his uncle. One of the guys in the cell with us snorted loudly and within a second, a full-scale brawl had me backing down the hallway, eager to follow Scarlet out into the sunlight. Once I was reunited with Bobby, Scarlet dismissed us with a wave of her hand and after asking her driver to bring around the town car, she told us in no uncertain terms what she thought about us landing in trouble.
Every bit of the hard-scrabble young Filipino boy who’d clawed his way out of his own prisons emerged and my back snapped in straight. There was a lot of steel in Scarlet, a survivor who’d learned to love and nurture but there was never any questioning the strength it took to get her to where she was.
“Be there, Cole-ah,” she growled with a rare fierceness, peeling back the layers of sophisticated poise she draped herself in. “Disappoint Jae-Min today and you will spend what little time you have for the rest of your life regretting every crack you make in his heart. I love you — very much — but sometimes, love isn’t enough to save someone. And it won’t save you.”
“Nuna, you know me.” I’d protested, holding my hands up in surrender. Not because I was afraid Scarlet would hurt me but her driver and bodyguard both carried very wicked looking guns under their suit jackets and they’d stiffened up like old hunting hounds catching a whiff of duck in the air. “If zombies bite me and I’m sloughing off pieces of my body, I’ll be there. Nothing is going to keep me from marrying him.”
“Nothing but your lack of common sense,” she muttered, giving Bobby a stabbing glare. “And you, don’t make me regret taking you out of there. You are on borrowed time, dongsaeng, both of you.”
She left us in a chatter of heels, the afternoon sun smearing butter and apricot jam light through the clouds. Her car pulled away from the curb before it dawned on me we were without a vehicle, leading me to pray the cops somehow dragged Bobby’s truck on some magical mystery tour and it was waiting for us in the impound yard like some dancing pony on a side quest.
“No, they didn’t impound my truck so though I don’t want to go back down there, we’ve got to.” Bobby rubbed at his flat stomach, still a bit green around the gills. I’d been kicked in the nuts more than a few times in my life, most of them by Mike my older brother during one of our childhood fights so I knew the residual wave of sick lingering in the back of Bobby’s visceral memories. “Let’s make it fast. You heard what Scarlet said. Our necks are wound out for the axe if we don’t show up on time.”
“Just one problem there, Dawson,” I said with an apologetic grin. “I still have to pick up Jae’s present but if we don’t hustle, the shop’s going to be closed and I’m going to be fucked.”
“Pretty sure there’s only one thing Jae really wants from you for your wedding and that’s to be there.” He smirked, slapping me on the shoulder. “But sure, come on, once more unto the breach, Princess, once more.”
Welcome to the 415 Ink Hellion Tour! My name’s Rhys Ford and thank you for stopping by! First off, thank you to all the blogs who participated in this tour and also, a huge shout out to all of the readers who wanted to hear Ivo’s story. It was great being able to write something about the baby of the 415 Ink crew and well, he probably turned out to be the biggest surprise while writing him. So sit back, grab a bit of Ivo’s past on this tour and I hope you’re ready for his debut on Sept 17th!
by Rhys Ford
The woman was older, maybe in her early thirties, her Hispanic features nearly too strong to be called conventionally pretty but she wore her beauty with an easy confidence, her long black hair pushed back from her face. Fairly tall with long legs, her powerful stride carried her across the cement floor and she came to a stop in front of Ivo, raking a controlled gaze over him.
“You seem kind of young,” she said in a husky contralto. “Are you even old enough to drink?”
“You seem like a cop,” Ivo responded, keeping a smile to himself when her eyes narrowed. “And yeah, I’m licensed to tattoo and Bear would sooner cut off his own fingers then let someone who didn’t know what they were doing ink someone’s skin in his shop. As far as booze goes, less you know, the better. I can promise you I’m sober while I’m operating a tattoo machine.”
She regarded him with another cool look then nodded curtly. “Okay, fair enough. So long as you can operate that thing legally, I guess I can’t complain.”
“Actually, complain now because complaining after I put something permanent on your skin is sure as shit not going to do you any good,” he replied, this time giving in to his grin. “Come on over, have a seat and tell me what you want.”
She settled into the chair easily, looping her legs over the footrest. After rolling up her long sleeved shirt, she dug an old watch out of the pocket of her jeans, holding it up for Ivo to see. “I want a rainbow heart on my wrist but it’s got to be small enough to covered by the watch. Can you do that?”
The watch was ancient, an analog piece made of aged metal with a black dial. Its hands were long, striped with that odd luminescent paint watchmakers used to make the hands glow in the dark. It seemed to keep good time and when Ivo took it from her, he saw an inscription etched onto the back plate.
“To my dearest George from your wife, Adelaine.” He did some mental calculations on the date. “Your parents?”
“Grandparents. She gave it to him for one of their anniversaries. My brother inherited it when they died.” Her eyes glistened, then were hidden behind her long lashes. When she opened them again, any shimmer he might have seen was gone. “My parents kicked him out when they found out he told them he was gay. He told me to hold onto it. That he’d come back for it.”
“That’s fucked up.” Ivo frowned, pulling up his rolling stool with a hook of his boot into its base. “How long ago was this? You haven’t heard from him since then?”
“Twenty years ago.” Her full mouth lifted into a sardonic quirk when he looked up from examining the watch. “He was a lot older than me. I was seven. He was fifteen. I just made detective and I want something… I want to carry something of his with me. I want to wear that watch but one day, he’s going to come back for it so I’m going to need something … about him to have on me for when he does.”
The watch was large but as tattoos went, he would be able to fit maybe a quarter-sized heart beneath it. Glancing at the flash she’d chosen, Ivo knew he could do better than the plain, striped bands of primary hues. Putting the watch over her wrist, he pulled out one of his Sharpies and plucked its cap off with his teeth then drew a dotted line over where the beveled face would rest on her arm.
Something Bear said constantly dug itself out of the back of his brain, growing teeth and chewing on Ivo’s thoughts. Doesn’t matter how big a piece of ink is or what it’s about, kid, his brother would mutter at him as he inked yet another small daisy chain on a young woman’s ankle, every piece of ink means something to that person and they deserve your respect for getting it.
He got that now. Staring into the cop’s strong face, the pain of losing her brother to time and grasping at fading memories led her to walking into 415 Ink’s doors to look for something permanent to hold onto, so she would forget the young man who’d been forced out of her life. He knew how that felt, knew how that abandonment gouged down deep into a soul. The piece of flash she picked out wasn’t going to be good enough. Not for him. Certainly not for her wandering brother to find his way back to her.
“Okay, here’s the deal,” he said, handing her back her watch. “What you want is okay and I can do that in about twenty minutes and you’ll be happy with it. It’ll look nice. But I’m asking you to trust me here, because even though this thing is small, it means something to you and I want you to have something that’s… special. Let me make it a little bit bigger. It’ll still be tucked under the watch but if I can do just a little bit more, I can blend the colours so it looks like a real rainbow and maybe even emboss it, so it looks like a piece of jewelry on your skin. How does that sound?”
Her smile was bright, nearly as brilliant as the colours he intended to use on her silken gold skin. Nodding, she leaned back and plopped her arm on the rest, wrist side up for him. “That sounds fantastic. I’m in.”
“Awesome. Let me just get my inks ready and we can get started.” He stood up then stopped, holding his hand out to her. “Sorry. Fuck. I didn’t get your name. I’m Ivo and you are going to be my first official tattoo.”
“I’m Dell,” she said, giving him a firm handshake. “And I can’t wait for you to get started.”
by Rhys Ford
Hi! I am Rhys Ford and I would like to welcome you to this stop on the Ramen Assassin Blog Tour!
I am looking forward to introducing you a new series as well as two very fun characters I enjoyed writing, Kuro Jenkins and Trey Bishop. The first book, Ramen Assassin, came to me as a nebulous idea but then really pushed into the forefront of my brain while I was beginning to write Hellion, the third book in the 415 Ink series. Unfortunately, I scared TA Moore with a very bad habit of mine called staring into space while thinking. I was contemplating the ins and outs of a series called Ramen Assassin and she took my crazed, unfocused look as the possibility of a spider of the wall behind her.
There was no spider. But what did come out of it was a murder mystery about a former government operative turned ramen chef and the recovering drug addict, former child star he saves from certain death and eventually falls in love with.
This book allowed me to combine two things I love — killing people and cooking. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. On this blog tour, I’m going to be sharing a few of my favorite dishes as well as a how to throw together ramen with what you have in your pantry and refrigerator. Please be sure to hit up every single stop on the blog tour for a different recipe at each stop as well as that blog’s giveaway!
Be sure to enter to win a twenty dollar gift certificate from Dreamspinnerpress.com! One for every stop!
And now, onto the food…
Pho Bo Kho
For the Beef:
3-3.5 pounds boneless beef chuck or brisket cut into 1½-inch chunks
5 cloves minced garlic
3 T minced ginger
2½ teaspoons five-spice powder
1½ T brown sugar
1 t of chili oil or chili-garlic sauce (this is your heat element, adjust as needed)
For the First of Stew:
3 stalks of lemongrass, remove outer woody bits (mince fine)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced thinly
I can tomato paste
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
1 T ground black pepper
2 T chili powder
3 T sweet paprika
1/8 c of soy sauce
3 T of chili oil or chili-garlic sauce (this is your heat element, adjust as needed)
Second Part of Stew
32 ounces of beef broth
2 cups of pure coconut water/juice (can sub small can of coconut milk mixed in with 1 can of water) OR you can just use water.
2-3 whole star anise
8 large carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into 1½ -inch chunks
Rice or mung bean noodles (blanched)
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Thai or sweet basil leaves
Thinly sliced raw onion
T = tablespoons
t = teaspoons
c = cups
Put meat and all ingredients listed under meat in Ziploc bag to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is best but make sure all air is out of bag.
When ready to cook stew:
Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet on high heat. Add 2/3rds of lemongrass and allow it to infuse the oil for 1 minute. Next, add the minced onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Then add all of the beef to the pot, and brown evenly on all sides. After meat is browned, add rest of ingredients under “First of Stew”. Mix well. Let simmer for a bit.
Now… depending on what you’re using, you’ll toss the Meat, First Part of Stew, Rest of Lemongrass AND Second Part of Stew into either…
A stock pot and let simmer for 2-3 hours on low
A crock pot and let cook for 6 hours on low OR 2-3 hours on high
An instant pot and manually set the for 45 minutes of high pressure. After cooker time it is done, allow to naturally cool and release pressure. Once the pressure has released, open the steam valve then carefully open the lid.
To serve, remove the large lemongrass stalks and any star anise pods you can fish out. Cook your noodles per package instructions, transfer to bowls, and ladle the soup over the top. Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil and serve with some lime wedges on the side.
It is hard to believe that we are at the third book in the Kai Gracen series. Black Dog Blues was one of the first full-length novels I’d written inside of an urban fantasy genre I’ve always wanted to explore. The best part about writing Kai Gracen is creating not just the personalities but also the world they inhabit and it’s been great to blend in the fantastical with the mundane.
In his third outing, Jacked Cat Jive, Kai is faced with unique challenge of realizing he really is not as human as he thought and that the Court and its inhabitants mean something to him other than a thorn in his side. And of course, there is always Ryder, the Sidhe Lord who gets under his skin in the best of ways. I’ve enjoyed writing the push and pull of their relationship but also the growth between them as characters. They started off at very different points of view and are slowly working towards an understanding while also fending off any challenges that come at them.
This time out, Kai is not only set to rescue a group of refugees from the Badlands beneath San Diego, he also has to come to grips with his growing friendship with Ryder and how the humans in his life are getting older, something he won’t experience himself for quite a long time.
So I hope that you join Kai and his next adventure and also enjoy this serialized story of Ryder and the trouble he gets into when he doesn’t listen to what Kai says.
Also, I invite you to enter the giveaway on each of the blogs during the tour and get a chance to win a $25 USD gift certificate from an e-tailer of your choice (see below for more information)
by Rhys Ford
I was going to die.
It was too soon. I still had too much to do with my life; a Court to establish, discover a way for my people to be more fertile but most of all, I still hadn’t convinced Kai Gracen he belonged at my side. I should be sitting safe — barring Sidhe politics — as Ryder, the Lord of the Southern Rise Court.
Instead, I’d allowed myself to be convinced by Kai to go on a run and once again ending up in a situation where I would die far from my family with the possibly of leaving nothing behind of my body except for what a wild animal shat out near his den to ward off other predators.
I think that was the main reason he was trying to kill me. Given enough time, he would give in to the tight desire brewing between us but as in all things, Kai never did anything the easy way. He had to fight with everything, chew through all possibilities and then choose a course of action I never even considered.
Which was why I was clinging to the side of a large, hairy beast while it thundered us both to certain doom over a sheer cliff.
I’m not sure how I get talked into such precarious situations. No, that is a lie. I know exactly how I get talked into these things. I do this to myself. Because I cannot resist the challenge in Kai’s dusk-hued violet eyes when he throws down an impossible task at my feet.
There wasn’t much time to contemplate why, and how, I was holding onto the shaggy behemoth of a mammal — or at least I thought it was a mammal — instead of working on cementing the Court’s relations with the human world surrounding it. The beast itself smelled. Mostly of manure but also of dried grasses and dirt. Its thick wooly hide scratched my fingers and any other bare skin I had pressed against it, including my belly where my shirt rode up nearly to my chest, inching towards my throat with every thundering stride the monster took. There were bound to be biting insects riding the beast along with me and if I survived the experience, I was sure to be taking them home to the Court if I didn’t get a chance to disinfect myself.
Why didn’t I simply let go?
A few reasons. The first was the creature moved at an alarming speed, carrying us in magnificent leaps over the stretch of plains below the lava fields teeming with dragons. Secondly, those same plains were ripe with razor-sharp grasses and releasing my hold would mean a dangerous tumble through the knife-like surface where I also had a good chance of striking a prickly, shards-of-glass like patch of paho’eho’e lurking in the golden sheaves.
And lastly, but certainly more importantly, if I let go of the bison, I would instantly become a meal for the pride of lions chasing the herd down towards the sea.
I couldn’t hear the cats’ screams and roars as they chased the herd. Not above the gnash of hooves slamming into the ground and the terrified snorts of the angry beasts. For all I knew, the lions hunted silently, slipping through the grasses in a rush of whispered sounds. These were human creatures, so far removed from my experience I had no knowledge of how they hunted but one thing was certain, their teeth were massive, their claws were deadly and their fur so closely matched the swaying grasses, I couldn’t see them chasing us.
But they were there. I knew it. The bison knew it. And it would simply be a matter of time before one of them caught up with the beast I rode and I would be torn apart, leaving nothing for Kai to find once he caught up with me.