Date Published: 3/26/21
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Following a global pandemic, which has either killed or weakened most of the male population, women now dominate all aspects of life.
Dr. Morgan Digby, married to a man rendered bedbound from his bout with manflu a decade prior, is working tirelessly on a vaccine, yet obstacles keep springing up in her path.
When she meets a handsome neighbor who has never been exposed to the deadly virus, things become…complicated. There’s something between them, but he can’t leave his home.
Morgan’s struggle to remain faithful to her ailing husband isn’t her only battle. Someone has been one step ahead of her, countering her every move. Will she find a vaccine before it’s too late to protect those she loves?
About the Author
Simone de Muñoz writes dystopian, or perhaps utopian, fiction, depending on your perspective, where women drive the story and sometimes even run the world. She holds a master’s degree in public policy from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in economics from MIT, which she uses in her day job as a data analyst at a nonprofit. Based in Silicon Valley, she lives with her patient husband, their two young sons, and a grumpy dog named Fish. Manflu is her debut novel.
Morgan Digby woke up groggy from her usual nap as her self-driving, electric car pulled into the driveway of her small suburban house. She had dreamt that her husband Jonas was walking toward her on a crowded sidewalk, cradling a baby in his arms. If only any small part of that dream had the remotest possibility of coming true, Morgan could be happy.
She stretched and brushed her black bangs out of her eyes, feeling the hollow spaces beneath them with her fingertips. Tired from a busy day working at the lab on the manflu vaccine, the nap prepared her for the long evening of caretaking that lay ahead. Her husband Jonas was mostly bedridden after his bout with the pandemic ten years ago. His body no longer actively fought an infection, but he would never be the same.
Morgan was about to enter her house when she saw her neighbor put down her garden rake and cross the street to chat. Sarah, like many women nowadays, no longer bothered with a bra. Her full, bouncing breasts, barely covered by a thin, V-neck t-shirt, drew the eye. An image quickly flashed through Morgan’s mind of a time years before when Sarah had pressed those breasts against her and leaned over to kiss her on the lips. Morgan quickly shook her head to clear the thought.
“Morgan, big news!” said Sarah when she was within gossip range. “Beth’s nephew came to stay with her. He’s a Vulny. I got a glimpse of him through the curtains, and he is a hunk and a half. Pale, obviously. About 5’10” with black, curly hair and surprisingly muscular. He must spend a lot of time lifting weights. I’m charging my vibro3000 as we speak.”
Wow, a Vulny! Morgan had never seen one before. Vulnies were the men who had never gotten manflu and were therefore still vulnerable to it. These men could not go out in public for fear of being infected, thus the pale skin. Women could be infected as well as transmit the virus to others; however, they experienced very mild cold-like symptoms and quickly recovered. Both men and women who had previously been infected could not contract the virus again; however, men with post-manflu viral syndrome were immunocompromised and at high risk of contracting other infections.
Morgan immediately thought of the vaccine she was working on, and she wondered if this man could be a test subject for it when it was completed. She wanted to rush over to Beth’s house right away to meet him and find out more, but she couldn’t. Jonas waited inside for her to make his dinner, bathe him, and keep him company. She was accustomed to putting aside her own desires to care for her husband, but she still felt a sting of disappointment each time.
Simone de Muñoz
Author of Manflu
March 16, 2021
After the 2016 election, I felt an emotion that I had never felt before–rage. It was scary. I had to find a safe place for those feelings, so I started to write. In my fiction, women weren’t the victims of misogynistic men and a patriarchal society–they were powerful heroes. If women couldn’t come out on top in real life, they could in my fiction. I slowly thought about sharing my writing with the world–maybe other women could read my work and feel the possibility of this power.
I had the idea for my novel, Manflu in the summer of 2019. The “Me Too” movement was in full swing and I thought, what if there was a way to get these men out of power and replace them with women? What would the world look like if women were in charge? I came up with the idea of a pandemic that weakened or killed men. I started writing down my thoughts, centering the story around a married researcher seeking a vaccine for manflu when she meets a handsome neighbor who has never been infected. And only a few short months later, Covid hit!
I attended my first writing conference in February of 2020 right before the US basically shut down. I met the women who would eventually publish my book at that conference and I remember them saying, “This concept is so timely, you have to get the book written as soon as possible.” We had no idea what was coming because there were hardly any known cases of Covid in the US at that time. However, it was clear that the pandemic was about to affect us all. Despite a full-time job and family obligations, I wrote as quickly as I could to take advantage of the moment.
I found myself in the midst of a pandemic, writing about a pandemic. For a while, all I thought about were viruses as I researched pandemics, tried to keep my family safe from Covid, and worked to help clients affected economically by the pandemic at my nonprofit job. I finished writing the book in the fall of 2020, right around the time it became clear that my children wouldn’t return to in-person school for the 2020-21 school year.
My hope is that I have ultimately created a novel that is timely, and yet a break from the pandemic-restricted world that we are all still living in right now, and that Manflu helps to empower women to dream of a different society where they are in charge. It is always a good time for sexy, escapist fiction featuring diverse characters and a strong female lead and it is an especially apt moment for Manflu.
Date Published: May 12, 2020
Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.
To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…
Abby L. Vandiver, also writing as Abby Collette, is a hybrid author who has penned more than twenty-five books and short stories. She has hit both the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller list. Her latest cozy series, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery, published by Penguin Berkley, is out now, with the second book, A Game of Thrones, coming in March 2021.
Flashing red and blue lights lit up the dark, dreary corner where North Main and Bell streets met. Yellow crime scene tape draped around trees cordoned off the perimeter of the wooden overlook. Floodlights invaded the stillness that surround the falls and voices bombarded my eardrums. I was numb, but not from the cold.
I had panicked once I realized I’d tripped over a body. Not a panic borne from fear, it was because I didn’t know how I could help. What to do. Blowing out a breath, I had to calm myself so I could figure it out.
It was dark and I hadn’t been able to see clearly enough to make a decision. Had the person still been alive? Should I try to start some life saving measures?
Not that I knew any . . .
Should I go get help?
The body hadn’t moved, even after me falling over it.
Not a grunt. Not a moan. Not a whimper.
Feeling with my hands in the dark, I found a face. I leaned in, my face close, to see if I could feel a breath.
I laid my head on its chest to listen for a heartbeat.
I should call for help.
Crap. I’d left my cellphone in my knapsack, sitting on the prep table in the ice cream shop. All I had was my aluminum bowl and scoop, so I started banging them together.
“Help!” I yelled out and hit the scoop on the side of the bowl. “Hey! I need help! Anybody! Somebody help me!”
But all my noise making hadn’t gotten one response. I looked down at the silhouette of Dead Guy and back up to the street. No lights from passing cars. No footsteps crunching in the snow.
I needed to get up the hill to get help.
But the snow was thick and cumbersome, I trudged up at a slow crawl. My foot sinking into the snow with each step forward, my gloves wet and covered with the powder. It seemed to be deeper and heavier the more I tried to get up to the sidewalk. Bent over, hands clawing in the snow up the incline, I was out of breath with heavy legs by the time I made it to the top. Once my feet were planted on the sidewalk, I had to place my hands on my knees to catch my breath and slow my heart before I could go any further.
With what I knew lay at the bottom of the falls, it made the night more ominous. The streets more deserted. The lights more dim.
I looked one way down Bell Street then the other. Not quite sure where I should go to get help. I just knew that I wanted to tell what I knew. Get someone else there with me. Then my eye caught sight of the woven scarf I’d seen on the kid who’d been down the hill with me. With Dead Guy.
I started to grab the scarf but thought better of it. People always come back to where they’d lost their things to find them. The little boy might return. Maybe I’d report the lost item to the police.
The police . . .
I had to call the police. Or an ambulance.
I scurried around the block, past the front of the ice cream shop to the side door and unlocked it. I hastily dumped the contents of my knapsack and had to catch Grandma Kay’s tin recipe box as it tumbled out before it dropped onto the floor. Hands slightly shaky, still breathing hard, I found my phone and pushed in the three numbers.
“911. What’s your emergency?”
I had to make a restroom pit stop to try to collect myself.
I shook my head. There hadn’t been anything I could have done. He hadn’t moved. He hadn’t made a sound. He wasn’t breathing and I didn’t know how long it would be before someone came along to help.
I ran warm water over my hands at the sink, dried them off and started to head back into the kitchen to get my knapsack, and ran right into Felice.
“Hello there, Muffintop, I said and stooped down, running my fingers through her white coat. “How did you get down here?” She looked up at me, fluffed out the end of her tail, then eyes half-closed, she blinked slowly. I picked her up. “You want some kisses, Sweetie?” I said knowing it was me that needed comforting. She rubbed her cheek up against mine. “Thank you.”
Holding her, I walked around to the back area where the stairs led to Rivkah’s apartment, and called up. No answer. “She must still be at the restaurant.” I looked at Felice. “Did you just come down for me? To make me feel better?”
“Mrra,” she said.
I met her forehead with mine, but only for a moment, she didn’t have to be gracious. She jumped out of arms and ran up the steps. I watched as she strutted up, I didn’t know how she’d gotten out. Rivkah never left the door unlocked.
Tonight I was glad she had.
I went over to the prep table and stuffed everything back into my bag, grabbed the bowl and scooper and headed back outside. By the time I got out there, a police cruiser was pulling up in front of the store. The officer got out of the car and walked over to me.
“Are you the person who called 911?” he asked.
“I am,” I said.
“What’s going on?”
I pointed toward the falls. “There’s a guy down there. I think he’s dead.”
Dark Paranormal Romance
Date Published: January 18, 2021
Publisher: FyreSyde Publishing
The Sunfire Queen, Sierra, has waited for her chance to rule, thinking life would be better with her mother dead. She was wrong. The Court of Light is in Shambles. Her people are terrified and despise her. She has no friends, no love, and no hope. When a new war hovers on the horizon, Sierra must find the lost beastkyn Mikhail or her court will perish, and she’ll lose her shot at redemption.
Quick to grin and quicker to kill, Mikhail has made his share of mistakes–being imprisoned has given him time to ponder each poor decision. But when Sierra frees him, he earns the opportunity to make some more. She’s gorgeous and despite her fiery nature, as cold as the snow-capped mountains of Russia. He can’t wait to see how fast he can make her melt.
About The Author
Rachel Hailey was born and raised in the South. She’s all about that nerd life and in between writing she’s dedicated herself to raising the next generation of nerds. If she’s not online or staring at a book she can usually be found at the local game store rolling dice, shuffling cards, or planning her next cosplay.
Her childhood was most prominently shaped by the works of R.L. Stine, Stephen King, Anne Rice and the Brothers Grimm.
Mikhail leaned down, giving her plenty of time to turn her head or pull away. The orange specks bloomed in her eyes. He closed the minuscule gap, capturing her lips. They were as soft as rose petals. He stifled a hiss of pleasure as her mouth opened under his, and when his tongue swept over hers, her entire body shuddered, and she moaned.
He deliberately kept his hands where they were, but how they wanted to roam down her body. Too soon, the song ended, and she broke the kiss.
He opened his mouth to apologize, but stopped. He wasn’t sorry about keeping secrets. This was how his life was. Yet, when he looked up and found her brown eyes leveled on him, the scent of sadness rolling through the car, he was sorry this was the life he had to offer.
“How many other secrets are you hiding?” she asked, but not accusingly, more like she was as tired of his issues as he was of hers.
“So, where does that leave us?” Sierra asked, voice low.
He smiled, baring his teeth. “The closest thing to friendship two Kyn royals can have.”
The pink lightkyn made a strangled sound, her back pressed harder against the door. He expected her to disappear into the glass.
Scalded by shame again, his talons shrank. He ran a hand through his hair. None of this was the girl’s fault. He opened his mouth to apologize, but before the first syllable left his lips, she exploded into laughter. The sound was like chiming bells and as lyrical as a child’s rhyme. Although beautiful, it was joyless and manic, the kind of sound the condemned might make as they laughed on their way to the gallows.
Reassessing her threat level, it was his turn to take a step away. Was she dangerous or merely unbalanced? Any creature who laughed like that needed to be handled carefully.
“Are you well?” he asked as the loud peals continued to ring out.
“No, I am most certainly not,” she said between gasps. “Are you?” She collapsed against the door, dropping her injured arm.
Wary of the lightkyn and her bizarre reactions, he shook his head. “No.”
She sobered and looked at him with soulful brown eyes. “I suppose you wouldn’t be. Would you like to come inside?”
“Who are you?”
“Sierra,” he said, tasting the name. It rang with power and depth, matching this girl with wild laughter and sad eyes. “Will you help me escape before the new ruler finds me?”
She smiled, revealing even white teeth, and tilted her head. The last of the sunlight fell across her face like a mask. “I’m afraid it’s too late for that. I am the new Queen of The Court of Light.”
Date Published: November 30th 2020
A tale of two communities learning to live in harmony but will the trust stay strong between them?
After everything they have gone through. Why now? Why this?
Kelpie and Jason grew up in peaceful solitude, at one with nature. Yet when they are forced to move, they are also forced to change. Nevertheless, they grow to appreciate this new life and the harmony between both the human and the fae societies. When the killings start, their tranquillity is threatened and in their midst a well of fear, mistrust and discord has risen.
If she is to survive, she must learn to adjust and be ready for the danger hidden in the shadows. Will the life she fought so hard for fall to pieces? Or will Kelpie and Jason withstand the darkness and escape the misfortune of their troublesome cycle?
Emilie Dallaire was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec and now enjoys her full-time job as a QA Lead in the Gaming Industry. After having the unique opportunity to have her works – ‘My Demon’ and ‘Starved’ – published in the Melting Pot Anthology (compiled by Syndie Beaupre), she has finally been able to switch her attention more to her true passion; writing! The project reignited her deep affection for the written word and gave life back to her childhood dream.
Throughout and since her youth, Dallaire has always had a wild imagination allowing her to be the author she is today. The author likes to unwind with classic Disney movies, video games, anime and photography, that all help her to relax while still stimulating her creative juices. Dallaire adores and is inspired by relatable fiction stories including impelling romances, of which you will often see incorporated into her own works.
The Crone had left me this particular book a few times to read, but I’d avoided it several times. It was a book on different Fae, and the knowledge within was a mixture of factual and assumption. It was everything that had been learned over the years, with some common mistakes mixed into the pot.
I smoothed my fingers down the spine of it, contemplating my options. I wanted to know more about my kind, but the fear that the information would be inaccurate twisted my gut.
“Everything okay?” Jason finished his sweeping and had taken a quick look around the shop for any remaining cleaning before coming to my side. He glanced at the book and slid it out of its place for me, then arched a brow. “She’s been encouraging you to read it.”
“Why haven’t you?”
He was right, of course, but that didn’t settle the nerves twisting my gut.
At least he seemed to acknowledge that and he patted my thigh before slowly getting back up. “Why don’t you take the rest of the day? Decide what you want to do and if you need time alone to read, I can give you that. I’ll send you some coffee from that shop you like.”
“…The pumpkin spice?”
“I’ve told you a million times it’s out of season now.” His grin seemed to quirk at the question, but he wouldn’t laugh. At least, not while I was in the room.
I appreciated that, at the very least. I don’t think I would have been able to stomach his mockery. No, not mockery…I knew better than to label it as such a thing. That was the little voice talking to me. I took the book from him, nodded in thanks, and made my way back upstairs to our home. “Fine, surprise me then, since you know me so well.”
That comment did pull a laugh from him and I couldn’t help but smile. It was a sweet sound to hear from his lips.
[tweetshareinline tweet=”Tova’s Dragon” username=”A_SliceofOrange”]
Kingdoms and Legends, Part 2
Steamy Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
By Lyndi Lamont
Seek help of the Lord of Drakkenberg. Only he can aid you. You must fly with the dragon.
Tova Svensdottir, an earth mage, is on a mission to save her homeland, the Kingdom of Velosia from the evil wizard Bruno of Grimmdorn. Her grandmother tells her to seek help of the Lord of Drakkenberg, but the old lord is dead. In his castle, high on a mountaintop, she instead encounters his son, the Outlaw Kane.
Kane fled Velosia after a futile attempt to rescue his father and his mate from Bruno’s cruel prison, killing the head guard in the process. Now that Bruno has been banished, Kane has returned to clear his name, but his purpose changes when he meets Tova. Tova’s warmth stirs his passions and her courage touches his heart, but he dreads telling her of his true nature, certain she will recoil. But Tova is made of sterner stuff.
Together, Kane and Tova have the power to save Velosia. If they survive the coming battle. But can an earth mage find happiness with a dragonshifter?
Release date Oct. 24, but now available on pre-order. Go to Amazon for purchase or to read via Kindle Unlimited:
Seek help of the Lord of Drakkenberg. Only he can aid you. You must fly with the dragon.
Her grandmother’s words rang in Tova’s head as she climbed the path into the mountains. Why had Mutti Zee sent her out of her way on a fool’s errand? Everyone knew the dragonfolk had fled Velosia years ago, driven away by Bruno of Grimmdorn’s crusade against them. Until he’d been driven from power. Now Bruno had returned at the head of a mercenary army, if Mutti Zee’s vision could be believed. And Tova had no doubts. She’d felt the vibrations in the earth.
And somehow she was supposed to save the kingdom?
She raised her gaze to the sky and asked, “Why me? I’m no hero.” The heavens gave no answer, though she saw clouds form to her left. She shook her head. Now she was talking to herself, like mad Magnus, the village idiot.
She stopped to catch her breath and rest her tired legs in a level area. The path ahead grew steeper and narrower the higher it wound into the mountains. She groaned. After walking all day, her legs ached. She was glad she’d worn men’s breeches and a tunic with her sturdy boots. A gown and petticoats would be but a hindrance.
After a deep breath, she started to climb again. Dusk came early in autumn, and she needed to find shelter before dark. Castle Drakkenberg, abandoned and forlorn, perched high above on a cliff, its turrets silhouetted against the leaden sky. Almost as if mocking her with its remoteness. Too much was at stake and her chances of reaching the capital in time to warn the king were slim at best. Even without this detour, she estimated the journey to Castle Novita would take three days or more.
For centuries, the dragon lords had resided in the castle, ruling the isolated mountain communities. People in this area were known as dragonfolk, though Tova knew not why. A great puzzle, but one she had no time to ponder. With luck, she had but to find the dragonlord, and he would take charge of the quest.
A shadow blocked the sun, and she looked up at an enormous bird silhouetted against the sky. Goddess, she’d never seen such a large raptor. It turned and the sun’s rays glinted on its shiny red-gold wings and barbed tail. She stopped and stared after it, shaken to the core of her being.
No, impossible. Dragons didn’t exist. They couldn’t.
About the Author:
Lyndi Lamont is the racy alter ego of romance author Linda McLaughlin. Writing sexy stories gives her a license to be naughty, at least between the pages of her books! She has written several full-length novels plus numerous short stories and novellas, ranging from historical to futuristic. She believes that love is unending and universal, and enjoys transporting her readers into a different world where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward.
Reading Room blog: http://lindalyndi.com/reading-room-blog/
To celebrate the release of Tova’s Dragon, Linda is doing a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $25.00 Amazon gift card, ending October 30. There are three ways to enter for the Rafflecopter:
1. Like her Lyndi Lamont Facebook page
2. Subscribe to her mailing list and upcoming newsletter
3. Subscribe to her blog at https://lindalyndi.com (on right sidebar or scroll to bottom of the page)
Tanya is stuck at home. Can a baby elephant make her less lonely?More info →
How can a young widow fall in love with the man who denied her justice?More info →
One October morning in 1932, Vicente Sorolla entered the white house on the hill and was never seen again. Now, Detective Dori Orihuela witnesses his brutal murder in her nightmares.More info →
As if Olivia Merriman doesn’t have enough to do in her beloved town of New Moon Beach, now her grouchy great-grandmother has recruited her to head up their coven of witches; her sisters are miffed, the coven is pushing her to accept the job, and to top it all off an evil wizard is messing with her love life.More info →