5 Facts about Sydney Farina, the sleuth of Dead Messages

Sherlock Holmes. Nancy Drew. Miss Marple. A mystery novel is nothing without a good sleuth.

Sydney Farina, the protagonist of Dead Messages, is nothing like the detectives above. In fact, she compares herself to the bumbling inspector from The Pink Panther because she has no clue what she’s doing.

Since Dead Messages comes out next week, let’s meet the main character. Here are five facts about Sydney Farina.

She’s a pessimist

Sydney isn’t just a “glass half empty” type of person. She’s more “the glass is half empty and the remainder is probably poisoned.” Of course her on-again-off-again boyfriend is an insensitive flake. Of course her job sucks. What else would you expect?

That being said, there’s expecting the worse, and then there’s coming into work to find a dead body. Sydney’s pessimistic outlook doesn’t quite prepare her for murder.

Her favorite flavor is double chocolate

And since she works at a bakery, it’s hard not to snack on it all the time. Double chocolate cake, cupcakes, cookies, brownies–the list goes on. She loves baking and would love her job if her overbearing boss didn’t make it miserable.

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Read the First Chapter of Dead Messages

Dead Messages, a paranormal cozy mystery with a hint of the paranormal, hits stores in less than a month. Check out the first chapter below to see if it’s something you’d like.

Dead Messages Cover

Chapter 1: People are trash, especially Glenda

Sydney was cooking dinner when her phone dinged. Turning down the heat on the stove top so her tomato sauce wouldn’t splatter everywhere, she picked up her phone and glanced at the new message.


I need you to come in tomorrow at 7.

Oh heck no. Sydney’s muscles clenched tighter than when she’d gotten her first body piercing, and her thumbs darted across the screen as she typed a reply.


Tomorrow’s my day off, remember?

I requested it a month ago. You approved it.

Continue reading “Read the First Chapter of Dead Messages”

Read The Ghost Machine on Radish Fiction

Long-time blog followers are familiar with the saga of The Ghost Machine, my gothic steampunk novel that is possibly cursed. It’s had some rough luck on its publication journey, but I’m happy to announce that it’s found a new home.

Radish: Premium Fiction Serials

Radish is a mobile app for serial fiction, and The Ghost Machine has joined the ranks of its many, many stories. Nine episodes are out now, and new ones release every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 12 EST.

The Ghost Machine Serial

A tale of gothic castles, snowy mountains, and deadly iron automatons…

Ella Rosenfeld can’t see ghosts. Her visions are obviously hallucinations, which is why she doesn’t argue when her family sends her to the remote Auttenberg Asylum for treatment.

But the longer she undergoes the doctor’s torturous “cure,” the more gruesome her visions become, until Ella discovers she really is seeing ghosts—and Auttenberg’s doctor knows it. He doesn’t plan to cure her; he wants to study her ability by dissecting her.

But Ella refuses to die without a fight. She assaults her captors, scales the asylum fence, and finds sanctuary in the castle of Baron Viktor Szarka. Young and arrogant, the baron offers her protection, but he’s rumored to have locked a woman in the asylum to hide his dark past. Unable to trust him, Ella must uncover the conspiracy surrounding the asylum, her visions, and the baron’s secret… or join the rest of Auttenberg’s ghosts.

If you don’t have Radish on your phone, you can download the app from Google Play or the App Store and find The Ghost Machine by searching or clicking here.

Happy reading!

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Any Paranormal Cozy Mystery Fans Out There?

I’m going to be releasing two new series next year. (Two!) One is The Shadow Journals, an urban fantasy series I’ve already mentioned a few times on the blog. The second is Texts From Beyond, a paranormal cozy mystery about a woman who gets text messages from dead people.

The first book was originally released as a chat story, but I’m revamping it into a novella. It’s called Dead Messages.

Dead Messages Aesthetic

Here’s the current blurb:

Continue reading “Any Paranormal Cozy Mystery Fans Out There?”

The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus is in stores now!

Were you waiting for the right time to read the Dark and Otherworldly series? Well, the right time is now. The omnibus edition hit stores today, and you can get the entire trilogy in one ebook for a cheaper price than buying all three books separately. It’s also available in paperback.

New books not in your budget? The omnibus is available in library catalogues, so ask your local library to order it today!

Leigh Morgan has one mission: to stop the fae who abducted her sister from ever kidnapping another human again.

Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to Otherworld’s throne.

When their paths cross, it changes everything, and neither Otherworld nor the human realm will ever be the same.

Three romantic urban fantasy novels; one darkly enchanting volume. The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus includes:

Poison and Honey

She hunts the fae. The last man she should fall for is a cunning fae prince.

Sting of Thorns

She’s been cursed by the queen of Otherworld. Now the only one who can save her is the man she betrayed.

The Cruelest Curse

When dark forces threaten Otherworld, she’ll have to join forces with her enemies to save the kingdom… and the prince.

Read Dark and Otherworldly and enter the captivating realm of Otherworld… if you dare.

Rejected Book Covers for the Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus

Last week I posted the cover reveal for the Dark and Otherworldly omnibus, and I’m super happy with how the cover turned out. But designing it was a process, and I made a few less-than-stellar book covers along the way. Here’s a glimpse at some that didn’t make the cut.

Book Cover Attempt 1

This is my first attempt, and you can tell I was thinking of glowing blue flowers from the beginning (taking inspiration from the scene with the star blossoms in Book 1). I think this is a perfectly respectable book cover, but it’s not anything special. I wanted something with more of a wow factor.

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Cover Reveal: The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus

Time to unveil something I’ve been working on for a while now: The Dark and Otherworldly Omnibus Edition! Three books; one massive volume. It will be available in both ebook and paperback on September 30th.

In the meantime, check out the cover.

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The Art of Otherworld

I’ve been playing around with Photoshop a lot lately, my goal to eventually create my own book covers. For practice, I’ve made a few pieces of art from the Dark & Otherworldly series that I felt like sharing.

So step into Otherworld with me.

Woman entering magical portal

You’ll find enchanted forests.

Woman in enchanted forest

Some interesting flora and fauna.

Glowing mushroom

And you might meet some shapeshifters along the way.

Raven flying near tower

And that’s all for now. Thanks for coming along with me.

But I can’t help you get out of Otherworld, sorry. You’ll have to escape on your own. 😉

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New Superhero Fiction (2021 pt. 2)

We are halfway through 2021, so it’s time once again to spotlight some new superhero fiction. We’ve got a few collections and next-in-series books this time, and I hope you can find something that catches your eye.

As usual, I haven’t read all these books personally, so please check out the reviews and samples before reading.

*This post contains affiliate links.

The Horror of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga Book 7)

by C.T. Phipps

The Horror of Supervillainy Cover

Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM has decided to give up supervillainy and embrace the path of righteousness. Unfortunately, he’s terrible at it and no one wants him to be their superheroic protector. That all changes when a talking raven arrives with the perfect quest to make his mark: rescue the President’s daughter from Dracula.

Unfortunately, Gary is being led into a trap. The location of Dracula’s castle is in Satan Swamp, which is where Gary suffered one of the few defeats of his life. There’s also a camp full of superpowered children, the return of alternate reality allies, a pair of psycho killers in love, and an old enemy returned.

Enjoy the latest installment of the Supervillainy Saga!

Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

Nemesis (League of Independent Operatives Book 4)

by Kate Sheeran Swed

Nemesis Cover

Mary O’Sullivan’s world is on the brink of collapse.

The Enhanced Abilities Enforcement Association is persecuting humans with powers, forcing them to register their talents with the government. With LIO no longer sanctioned, agents swarm the streets in search of the entrance to the league’s hidden HQ.

When Mary helps an enhanced teenager to escape across the border, she uncovers a huge community of people trapped in hiding. With even greater threats lurking among the stars, she must usher them to safety before the EAEA finds them first…

Amazon | Kobo | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Google Play

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Introducing The Shadow Journals Ezine

You may have noticed that it’s been a little quiet around here lately, and that’s because I’ve been working on a new project.

It’s still in the early stages, but you can check it out at TheShadowJournals.com–especially if you’re an urban fantasy fan, as I plan to post short fiction, book news, and articles about the genre there.

Why a new website? You’ve heard me talk about my upcoming urban fantasy book series, The Shadow Journals, before. This new website is a form of content marketing for it. My personal blog here at KristenBrand.com is a bit scattered and random, and I’m planning a more targeted approach at TheShadowJournals.com for urban fantasy fans.

(It’s already got a slightly revised version of The Memory of Ghosts, which I serialized here last October. Thank you again to NeriSiren for the feedback on that story, which I’ve incorporated!)

Am I abandoning this blog? Absolutely not. You can still expect posts about comic book stuff, books I’m reading, and extras from my novels. But I’ll be moving to a biweekly rather than weekly schedule for the foreseeable future.

And that’s all for now. Keep an eye on The Shadow Journals for fun stuff coming soon!

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