I’m just a girl with an obsession for Marvel movies, a love of all things Urban Fantasy, and a cheerleader for the underdog in any given story.
If you’re looking for a heroine you can root for … someone who defies the odds and gets up every time they’re knocked down … then look no further because that’s what you’ll find in my books.
The Name of Red Beena Khan Publication date: May 15th 2020 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Romance
Two strangers on the same path.
They will be each other’s salvation.
On a rainy, winter night, a mysterious woman in a red dress seeking shelter comes inside the restaurant Kabir was busy working in —primarily the bar— and night after night, drink after drink, she comes back to the same spot. That is where he sees her for the first time.
Hundreds of patrons around her try to speak with her daily, but she dismisses them. It appears she wants to remain in a blissful peace alone with her booze and books. After seeing the mysterious woman reading a book, and because of his shy nature, Kabir gains entrance into her life by anonymously leaving books with notes for her.
The Name of Red is the story of two strangers, two different personalities who meet on a winter, rainy night who challenge each other. They have a connection which blossoms into a friendship due to their fondness of books. But they both have secrets that can bind them together or threaten their newfound relationship forever.
The restaurant Ferdaus was filled with a buzzing crowd.
The smoke around the people twisted and formed curls, illuminated under the bar lights. The atmosphere was a hazy cloud, lingering against their clothes. Several people came in seeking shelter from the pouring rain outside. The customers of the restaurant turned to look at the entrance door- bell jingling. They glanced at the large crowd coming as the glass door was pulled open, and they watched as someone newstepped in behind them.
The woman walked into the bar for the first time in the winter rain.
She didn’t have an umbrella on her; her little sleeveless dress ended at her ankles, fully drenched. Her wet dress clung to her body, showcasing the outlines of her curves. In one hand, she was carrying the skirt of her dress. Suddenly, she let it go, and her long, bare arms moved upwards as she tried to fix her damp hair which had darkened in intensity due to the rain. It fell past her shoulders, the strands sticking to her face. She attempted to comb through the tangles with her fingertips.
The men watched her movements hungrily, their eager faces drawn to her and at the sight of someone new. Their eyes trailed from her face, to her wet body, then back to the movements of her hands entwined in her hair. Under her arm, she carried a book and a trench coat. It appeared strange she wasn’t wearing the coat when it was pouring outside and freezing in the middle of November. Men were left mesmerized by her, and she turned heads as she walked by. Something radiated from within her, drawing the men around her in.
The women who were with some of these men noticed their gaze on the unfamiliar woman. Now they stared at her with jealousy and anger.
Who is she? they wondered.
Beena Khan lives in a suburb in Queens, New York in her apartment. She’s’s a Literary Fiction Novelist and Poetess. She is 27 years old and from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. She’s an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology from Cuny School of Professional Sciences. She enjoys reading, writing, and netflixing.
Elephant Natalie Rodriguez Publication date: May 29th 2020 Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Summer of 2006. Four childhood best friends. A family secret.
After a strange encounter leaves him hospitalized, a timid teenage boy named Matt “Matty” Smith comes home to a continuous series of events met with anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Under the guardianship of his grandma, Lucia, Matt lives with unspoken questions about his grandfather and parents. The elephant in the room. As Matt develops over the summer, the secrets only grow more profound and complex. Will the answers ever come? While searching for answers, Matt and his three childhood best friends encounter the meanings of love, forgiveness, and fate.
Derek stuffed another soy sauce-loaded Italian meatball into his mouth.
“Shut up, midget!” Jamie retorted and set another pepperoni sausage olive pizza slice onto her plate.
“That’s so rude.” Lisa shoved a spoonful of chicken manicotti into her mouth. “You’re like calling her fat.”
“She’s the one who’s always saying, ‘I’m so fat! I’m so fat! Guys do I look fat or phat?!”
“Oh,” Lucia chuckled, “neither one of you needs to lose weight. In all honesty, you can all gain a few pounds.”
She peered at Jamie, who smiled. “Thanks.” It was in the eyes.
“Well.” Matt chewed off his last bite of a sweet and spicy boneless chicken wing from the sticky orange sauce on his fingers. “Who’s next?”
“Mine.” Jamie handed over a sealed envelope. On the front, “MATTY” was handwritten in bold navy-blue ink.
“Thanks.” As soon as their hands brushed, a shock of electricity ran through his body. “Uh, thanks.” It was all he had thought of—that spark between them and taking an extra look at Jamie; her eyes were still on him like a hawk’s.
Everyone sat at the edge of their dining chairs. Lucia took a sip from her glass of red wine, as she leveled up the digital camera in the other hand (mad pro skills). Matt glanced at their eager faces, although Derek’s big ol’ goofy grin held his attention for a moment longer. The boy sure had some crooked ass teeth, to be truthful. It was also unsettling that Derek’s grin grew wider like a mannequin in a window display and not the pretty looking ones either; more of the Stepford wives with clown makeup and pumped lips and cheekbones.
Matt opened the envelope and into his hands spilled two gift cards: Tillys, and iTunes. For some reason, he sighed with relief.
“See.” Jamie leaned back in her chair. “I can follow your crazy, ‘Only gift cards’ rule. We all remember last year.”
Lucia snorted and covered her mouth to prevent the wine from spilling out. But a few splashes sputtered through her nostrils.
“Yeah,” Lisa added on, “those clothes were all baggy in the wrong places.”
“You looked like a damn hobo!” Derek cackled.
“Thanks, Jam,” Matt said with a bit overzealous smile.
Shit, he thought to himself. Motherfuckin’ shit.
He turned away and placed her gift on the small pile: gift cards Derek got him for Chick’s Sporting Goods and Best Buy with Target and Starbucks gift cards Lisa got him.
“Anytime, Matty.” And that time, Jamie smiled back. Holy, moly! She had pretty little teeth too.
“I’m done!” Derek backed up his chair and unbuttoned his Levis to air out his potbelly. That was when Jamie broke focus with Matt.
“Derek—put that thing away!” she screeched.
“Mini Buddha’s belly!” Lisa chanted and wiggled her arms over her head like a gorilla.
“Sorry, Lucia.” He scooted his chair back in, which gave the floor a few squeaks, so the red tablecloth concealed his stomach—his VERY pale, sole patched, Buddha’s belly.
“Well, I don’t know about you four but I’m tired.” Lucia swayed to her feet; her fingers went white as she clutched a hold of her glass. Matt eyed that second empty wine glass like it would come alive. “I’ll see you all.”
“Wait,” Derek interjected. “Aren’t we supposed to—”
They had their fingers pressed to their lips. Jamie and Lisa even glowered his way. Matt’s eyes broadened with horror, as his head drooped closer to the table. It was done, all over.
Clueless at first, Derek’s eyes shot wide open as though struck by lightning. “OH—”
“Matt,” Lucia said, her speech troublesome. “is this…”
The pieces of confetti on the table were shinier than ever. Matt rolled one of them between his thumb and middle finger. The confetti was a lustrous blue circle, although it felt like blazing hot fire. The creators of confetti had it all wrong. They should have been red—a mighty, burning passionless red.
“I want you to…” On that last deep breath, he looked up at his grandma. “We’re going to the cemetery—”
“Why don’t you ever want to talk about it?!”
Jamie, Derek, and Lisa moved robotically. The lower halves of their bodies went paralyzed, as their eyes rolled side to side to catch glimpses of each other and the Smiths. By now, Matt was on his feet, his fists planted on the table. The tablecloth was scrunched up as he leaned forward, steadying his balance on his elbows. His pulse raced throughout his body, rigid as stone and hot as lava.
“Why can’t you let it go,” he pled unintentionally. “I did.”
“Matt, I’m very…” Her back was to them. Lucia lingered in the dining room archway, but by the sniffles and refusal to turn around, it was obvious. She did everything she could to cover up the waterworks; she even tugged at her sleeve (long sleeves shirts were all she ever wore). “I’m very tired. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Off her glance, she was gone. Her red sea of swimming pool-eyes was no longer in their sight. His sight.
Jamie, Derek, and Lisa averted their attention away from Matt. Suddenly, he felt…funny. Something seemed to boil at the pit of his stomach. Whatever it was, it shot up to his chest and formed a sour taste in the back of his mouth, like he had just eaten something spoiled, weeks after its expiration date.
Her fingers drifted over his fist like a cloak. Matt’s fingers unfolded, but he refused to look at her. It was obvious—the strain and worry look in her eyes, as she caressed his hand. His shoulders shot up, about an inch from touching his earlobes. The twinge of sorrow prolonged in his eyes and strengthened the veins to pop right out; red, so very red from the haggardness and stress, all from another wasted amount of energy from a big waste of time. Every year, he thought to himself. Every year on my birthday.
Natalie Rodriguez is an award-winning writer, director, and mental health and anti-violence/trauma advocate based in Los Angeles, CA. In 2014, she graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio-Television-Film. Her first experience in entertainment was an internship at the Conan O’Brien show and Peter Guber’s Mandalay Pictures, where she worked at the offices of producers, Matthew Rhodes (“Cherry,” “Men in Black: International”) and Academy Award-winner, Cathy Schulman (“Sharp Objects,” “Crash”).
Natalie was also a panelist at events, including Google, Hispanicize, and YouTube, where she has shared her story as a writer, filmmaker, and a female working in the entertainment industry. Some of her previous writing work can be found in publications such as the HuffPost Blog, Thrive Global, Anxiety Resource Center, Opposing Views, NowThis News, Zooey Deschanel’s Hello Giggles, The Mighty, and more.
In 2017, she founded her production company, Extraordinary Pictures, focusing on both films, television, digital series, and social issue projects. The company has a list of projects in its roaster, including development on a TV sitcom, “The D,” which placed in top-ten for best comedy screenplays at Stage 32. At the moment, Natalie’s second directorial feature film, “Howard Original,” is in post-production and set for an August 2020 release date on YouTube Premium. The film is based on the award-winning short film about a washed-up screenwriter named Howard, who encounters more than just selling a story, a studio rejection, and writer’s block when his pet cat comes to life.
Natalie’s directorial feature film, “The Extraordinary Ordinary,” which she also wrote, produced, and was the executive producer on, is making its round through the festival circuit. The film deals with young adults, mental health awareness, and the aftermath of trauma. The film won ‘Best Film About Women’s Empowerment’ at the Glendale International Film Festival and scored nominations in Best Director, Best Female Director, and Best Picture. The film also had a sold-out world premiere screening at the Los Angeles Diversity Film Festival (LADFF), winning ‘Best Performance’ by the leading actress, Maddison Bullock. Further details on the project can be found @theextraordfilm, including recent film festival awards and nominations.
Her other screenplays and films have also been featured and placed in the final rounds at HollyShorts Film Festival, NALIP: Latino Lens Film Festival, ShortsTV, Stage 32: Comedy Screenplay, Beverly Hills Film Festival, Culver City Film Festival, Indie Night Film Festival, Hollywood Screenplay Contest, Table Read My Screenplay – Austin Film Festival, and others.
Natalie was most recently an ambassador for Jen Zeano Designs (JZD), a clothing company in association with USA Networks. While she continues to build her creative background, Natalie is always open to collaborating with other artists and advocates. Currently, she awaits the publication of her first young adult novel this April 2020, “Elephant,” a story about four childhood best friends who uncover a family secret. The book was also a finalist at Clare Books’ the Binge-Watching Cure II contest for ‘Best Novel.’.
Bounty K.N. Banet (Kaliya Sahni #1) Publication date: March 13th 2020 Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Kaliya Sahni. Tribunal Executioner. Bounty hunter. The last nagini.
Her reputation is larger than the desert she lives in.
Dangerous. Irresponsible. Antagonistic.
When a friend asks her to look into a supernatural bounty on a human, Kaliya finds herself taking the first steps into a conspiracy that had been in the shadows for nearly a decade. Too intrigued to get out before it’s too late, she dives straight into the deep end, ready to discover the truth.
When the mysterious bounty takes a personal turn, she knows there’s no turning back, no putting the lid back on the box.
It’s all or nothing in her world and Kaliya doesn’t like to lose.
“Why did you even come here?” I demanded, not moving.
“To see how my favorite Executioner was doing,” he said with that cold smile he was known for. “I figured if you saw me here first, you would be less inclined to try to kill me on the streets and lose your job. Consider it a courtesy call. I’m in Phoenix for work and would like to finish it and leave as soon as possible.” He turned and walked out of the bar, leaving me standing alone, everyone watching me.
“Kaliya…” Paden’s warning tone came out. “Maybe you do need to just head home and stay out of this.”
“Funny. I was thinking I needed to join this little hunt for a stupid human. Ten million is good money.” I grinned over my shoulder. I never gave Sinclair a free pass. He was in my city, and I was going to win this time. Less than twenty-four hours back in Phoenix, and things were getting interesting. This seemed like it was going to be the most fun the supernaturals of Phoenix were going to see for at least a decade.
Sinclair, The Board, Mygi Pharmaceuticals, and one human stuck in the middle of it.
“You could lose your job,” Paden reminded me, walking close to say it under his breath. “Kaliya, they warned you off Sinclair fifteen years ago, the last time Cassius was able to get him to stand in front of the Tribunal.”
“He’s in my city,” I reminded my friend. “He wants to play? We’ll play.”
I walked out. I didn’t intend to follow Sinclair, but I needed to get home so I could start hacking into Mygi’s system. I needed to know what he knew if I had any chance of beating him to the prize. If this Raphael Alvarez knew anything important to my personal case, I couldn’t let that fucking vampire make him disappear.
K.N. Banet loves to read books that make people cry. She likes to write books that make people cry (and she wants to hear about it). She’s a firm believer that nothing and no one in this world is perfect, and she enjoys exploring those imperfections–trying to make the characters seem real on the page and not just in her head.
She might just be crazy, though. Her characters think so, but this can’t be confirmed.
You can find her reverse harem works under Kristen Banet!
Check out her social media to catch what’s going on in the worlds inside her head. She drops teasers, new covers, and opens ARC reader slots through her Facebook group, The Banet Pride.
The Dark Awakening D.L. Blade (Chosen Coven #1) Publication date: October 2nd 2018 Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Get ready for a new kind of witch—she’s about to save humanity.
Haunting secrets, witches, vampires, werewolves, love, betrayal, & twists you won’t see coming!
Mercy’s life has devolved into a string of bad events. A brutal beating that nearly stole her life, a dangerous stalker lurking in the shadows, and a car accident, where the man who rescued her disappears right before her eyes.
But this man who she thought was a hallucination, tracks her down at a nearby cove, and claims they were once in love from another time. Another century. But Mercy has no memory of this world he shares, and instinctively doesn’t trust him. He also reveals to her a life-changing secret—she’s an ancient witch, vampires are real, and she’s destined to destroy them.
There’s also the troubling discovery that her blood is lusted after by the undead, and a sadistic vampire leader sets his eyes on her, and will stop at nothing until he takes Mercy as his own.
Mercy needs to fight. Fight for her life, fight to discover the truth, fight to remember who—or what—she really is before it’s too late.
They were there in the shadows again. This was the third time this week I had thought someone was watching me.
The last few weeks, I’d heard the rustling of leaves and the crackling sound of old fallen branches beneath someone’s feet, or the hairs at the back of my neck would stand straight because I knew someone stood silently behind me. Last night wasn’t any diﬀerent. I exited my car after an exhausting day at work and heard what sounded like a low, deep exhale coming from the forest next to Lily’s house. I swiftly turned around, fumbling with the ﬂashlight on my phone, but when the light pierced the darkness, the sound stopped.
Tonight, it was a silhouette behind my aunt Lily’s fence in the backyard. It wasn’t someone walking by with their dog or a neighbor taking out their trash. They were standing there, staring, as I walked to the sink to rinse my dinner bowl. I wasn’t going to tell her again. She’d just tell me what she’d told me last time I brought it up. She’d say I was just seeing things and that it was normal to feel this way after trauma.
“Your turn, Mercy,” Lily said. Her voice pulled my gaze from the window.
“I’m coming,” I said, taking one last glance toward the silhouette.
They were gone.
D.L Blade grew up in southern California where she studied at The California Healing Arts College for massage therapy, then working as a Massage Practitioner for thirteen years. She now lives in Colorado, where she worked in the real estate business for a time, before deciding to focus on family and writing.
She has always loved writing, concentrating on poetry rather than prose when she was younger. That changed however, when she had a dream one night that inspired her debut novel, ‘The Dark Awakening.’
In D.L. Blade’s spare time, she enjoys a wide variety of hobbies, including reading, attending rock concerts, playing pool, wine tasting, and exploring new vegan restaurants in Denver.
In the future, she hopes to continue to write exciting novels that will captivate her readers and bring them into the world that she created using her imagination.