29 September 2011

BlogHop4Writers 29th Sept '11

Question provided by author: Lark LaTroy

With the advancement of e-publishing and e-books, what new methods of marketing do you think authors should employ?

With both the market and the internet constantly upgrading themselves, for some it is hard to keep up, but, if you don't make the effor, your name, or 'brand' if you like, will fall below the reading publics' horizon.

When sites like Facebook make changes, the consequences rumble round the globe and some people search for alternatives, but can you completely desert something a big a as facebook?  However much you may wish to, starting to rebuild yourself on a new site is hard.

Joining every social network on the planet may not be the answer either, as many specialise and your genre of book simply may not appeal.  So, the question becomes, do i try to crack that nut, or continue building my base at networking sites that do cover my genre.  And I don't mean readers, other writers and publishers.  They are the subjects you touch on in your book, look for their facebook and twitter tags and so much more.

Is any of this new?  No, not really, it is how you keep adapting to reinvent yourself as the net and e-publishing marches on.

What is new is the pace of change.  The net, by its very nature is a fast moving chamealon, as authors we have to learn to keep up.  If anything is new, it is the mind blowing pace writers have to maintain to keep themselves in the main frame.

To visit other 'hoppers', go HERE

25 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

As always, my thanks to all of you who stop by and read my efforts. I appreciate your company.

This week I am taking a break from my short story Precious Treasures and posting six sentences from my current WIP

“You have today week to change your mind”
No signature, but she didn’t need one to know who’d sent it. Certainly not Brandon as the Butler claimed. Nor did she understand the reason for Ned Grainger’s chilling pursuit. She looked at the note again, ‘today week’, next Friday then. 
If she didn’t agree to marry him by next Friday he’d do…what?

To enjoy more SSS offerings  Click HERE

Six Sentence Sunday

As always, my thanks to everyone who stops by. I appreciate your company and your comments.
I am posting another six sentences from my current experimental Regency WIP.
Under no circumstances would she allow her pompous, if well meaning brother to interfere in her affairs now.
“Don’t be difficult, Deb. Brandon is waiting for me in the office, as we speak.”
“Do you mean to tell me, you have gone behind my back and contacted my manager without my knowledge?”
The dull red that crept from his neck to his face told its own tale.
“How dare you undermine my authority in this fashion?”
“Brandon contacted me.”

Visit Six Sentence Sunday for more wonderful snippets

24 September 2011

Sweet Saturday Sample

Thank you to everyone who visits every week and to those joining us all this week. Click here-> Sweet Saturday Samples to enjoy many other fabulous excerpts.
This week I'm  sharing more of a short paranormal story that so far has failed to find a home.

I’d locked both my front door and the side gate into the garden before coming outside. So how had an intruder gained access to my private space? And more to the point, I wondered, as panic and sanity warred for supremacy, where was he?

“See what I mean?” The indignant speaker demanded.

“No, I don’t!” My fear of intruders, and the absurdity of the situation, raised my voice to full throttle.

“That’s because you’re not looking.” Did I detect amusement in that voice?


Some invisible intruder dared to laugh at my situation!  I sprang up from the rocker allowing anger boot my fear away.

The sound of vitriolic cursing near my toes converted my anger into astonishment. "Watch where you put those clumsy feet of yours!"

“What the...” I bent over and peered at the decking, then reared back, as before my very eyes, the beige moth morphed into a human form about two feet high.

One, very angry male, human form.

23 September 2011

Where have they gone?

Goodness knows, I've whinged enough about my computer woes over the past nine weeks, so when I was presented with a nice shiny brand new one. I set about re-installing as much as I could as quickly as possible, but no matter how hard you try, some links get lost in the confusion.
So today I goolged my request, came up with a HUGE list of options and set off on a treasure hunt.
And like all true and good treasure hunts, the setbacks came thick and fast. 
Those pesky links didn't work, couldn't be found, went to goodness-knows-where, but not where I anticipated.
The odd one I could understand, but twelve out of thirteen, straight off. Annoying!
Yes sites change, they close, or move,  and the experience has prompted me to check all the links on my pages.
Sigh! :-)  How did I manage to give myself another task?  rofl. 

22 September 2011

What is the strangest thing you've done in the name of research?

Today's Alternative Read blog hop question is  provided by author: Victoria Blisse  QUESTION:What is the strangest thing you've done in the name of research?

It's not that I don't enjoy research, more a case of not being vry good at it.  I tend to get so wrapped up in the pursuit for answers, I have been known to forget the original question!

Now when that happens during a conversation with a member of the local constabularly, it does nothing for your credability! LOL

Fortunately for me, I knew the officer and we both had a good laugh about it!

19 September 2011


In 'olden times' ~ when crops were harvested by hand ~ farmers would band together during the havesting of their crops.  They'd move from one farm to the next helping each other gather in their crops, ready for winter.

When they came to cut the last swathe of corn in a field, the men used this last corn to make Corn Dollies.
Three straws can be plaited using the hair plait or a cat's foot plait. Favours can be made with two, three, four or more straws.

It is an art form dating back to pagan times, when the Corn Dolly was originally made out of the last sheaf of corn to capture the “corn spirit”. 

A countryman's favour was usually a plait of three straws and tied into a loose knot to represent a heart. It is reputed to have been made by a young man with straws picked up after the harvest and given to his loved one. If she was wearing it next to her heart when he saw her again then he would know that his love was reciprocated.
The Corn Dolly was kept over the winter, before being returned to the fields in Spring and burned or buried to ensure that the coming years harvest would be successful.

To win the pdf copy of my Valentine Novella
The Wrong Target,
Please follow my blog,
Leave a comment,
and remember -
include your email if you want to participate

The Wrong Target (pg)
Headmistress, Tina Blackberry and business tycoon, Ryan Thomas can't control events after Ryan's daughter steals his coveted golden arrow and takes it to school. But put Cupid on the job and nothing can go wrong, or can it?

“Goddamit,” he exploded, “Can’t you stand still for one second? I have something to say, but I can’t while you’re jogging round the room.”
She halted toe to toe in front of him. “You have me dismissed from a job I loved, because I upheld the safety of my pupils, and still have the audacity to stalk me to my holiday destination and demand I listen to you because you have something to say?” Flapping her hands at her sides, she spun away and back again, planting her hands on the chair arms, she pinned him in his place and snarled, “Let me tell you something. I’ve come here to enjoy myself and your presence isn’t part of my plan.”
“What is your plan?” he demanded.
“To get laid!” Astonishment pushed her away from the chair, her eyes wide, her lips curved up in a defiant sneer. “I intend to find myself a man and screw the living daylights out of him. And,” she paused deliberately, “I don’t need you for that.”

Please check out the rules below
~ ~ ~
1) HAVE FUN!!!
3) THIS TOUR STARTS: Monday, September 19, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
THIS TOUR ENDS: Monday, September 26, at Midnight (Arizona Time)
Winners will be drawn and posted September 27th! ***


***Authors & Book Pages have full discretion to choose an alternate winner in the event any winner fails to claim their prize(s) within 72 hours of their name being posted or after notification of win, whichever comes first. Anyone who participates in this blog hop tour is subject to these rules***

18 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

As always, my thanks to all of you who stop by and read my efforts. I always appreciate your company.

Here is another snippet from my first short story, Precious Treasures, published in 2009 by LASR

No whisper of a successor to her reign as his wife.  No surprise there.  Sarah knew his mother would persevere with her quest to see off any potential threats to her reign in her son’s home with the same speed and efficiently as she had been dispatched ten years ago.

Would she use the same lies? ‘Another man, Jason.’ Shock had rendered her speechless when her husband believed and accused her of his mother’s innuendoes.

Click HEREto enjoy more SSS offerings

17 September 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples

Thank you to everyone who visits me every week and to those joining us all this week. Click here-> Sweet Saturday Samples to enjoy many other fabulous excerpts.

This week I'm taking a break for The Brat and sharing more of a short paranormal story that so far has failed to find a home.

A moth, a light beige moth, with fuzzy hairs on its head, ignored the solar lamps and settled on the cushion beside me. I smiled. Moths, butterflies and other insects fed and bred off the plants and flowers, birds nested in the boxes I set up, and used the shrubbery as secret pathways to their destinations when they didn’t want to fly. But faeries?

“Nah!” Even I had trouble with that idea. The moth launched into the dark, hovered, then settled on my knee. Its beady eyes staring straight into mine. If a moth could exhibit disgust, then I was witnessing the event.

“The trouble with humans,” an indignant voice huffed, “is that they can’t see beyond the end of their noses.”

13 September 2011

Please join Lindsay Downs for next three days

Hi Lindsay, welcome to THoR
Sherry, thank you for inviting me.

Please, will you tell us a little bit about yourself?
There isn’t really that much to me. I live in Connecticut with my cat. I’m waiting until the right collie comes along before I get a new one since my Kebi died not long ago.

Why writing and not something else?
I’ve always liked to write. To create stories and the worlds the characters live and work in. With the stories I write I can give my readers a glimpse into a world they might not be able to enter themselves. For me that is a reward in itself. Growing up I thought about being a police person, to be politically correct, and now with my Emily Dahill Series I can through her.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve held different jobs over the years but this one, being a writer, seems to fit me like a glove.

When did you first meet Emily Dahill?
I’m not sure who found who. I’d been working on a book, which for a little while I self-published but have since taken it off the market for a rewrite, when the concept of doing a series of short stories and full books featuring an Army CID agent hit me. For those, and there are many I’m sure, not familiar with the CID they are the Armies equivalent to the NCIS and I’m not talking about the TV show. Unlike the previously mentioned unit, who are civilian, the CID are all soldiers. No officers are special agents, but are sergeants or Warrant Officers. United States Army Criminal Investigation Command
Before I started to write the first story I made a list of the attributes I wanted her to have and not have. My goal was to create a character that was believable and someone you, my readers, could relate to.
I also created of team of coworkers that respected each other and knew they could rely on her to get her hands dirty if need be. In other words, not what we see on TV.

And for those readers who do not know, please will you share the story of how Kebi became Dakota?
In actuality Kebi is Dakota’s mom. I created Kebi, based on the real collie Kebi, in the book Target Identified, which is currently pulled and going back into rewrites. The ‘Emily Dahill Series’ is an offshoot from that book. In the sequence of writing order, Final Mission was the fourth story written. I had the other three stories with Dakota and felt my readers needed to know how they met, thus that story serves as the prequel to the entire series. Most of all I didn’t want him, Dakota, to just be another dog in the story but a main character, mind you in more ways than one, as you’ll see in the stories. In upcoming stories I’ll be introducing you all to his brothers and sisters, one at a time until the Christmas story, currently being written, where all but two get together.

Please tell us about your writing day?
I’m lucky in that my paying job allows me the freedom to write at work. There I aim for 1000 words a day but, as we all know that’s not always possible so I don’t add the lost word count to the next days. When I get home I’ll spend another hour or so writing, but a different story then I did at work. Yes, I have two different stories going at the same time. And before you ask, no it doesn’t get confusing because I’m in two different writing environments writing the two different stories.

How much plotting do you do and how much do your characters interfere with your plans?
Hope you’re sitting down when you read this answer. I’m not a plotter but a panster. In the past I’ve tried plotting out the story but that’s never worked. I’d always gone off plot so I stick to what works for me. Being a series, the main characters stay the same. All I do is figure out what the crime is going to be, and that’s it. Heck, I might even throw in another crime or red herring along the way, just to keep things interesting. So, when Emily, Dakota and the other four members of her team start the investigation, so do I.

Do you work on more than one project at a time?
As I mentioned above, I do write two stories at the same time. That, however, is just the writing part of creating a story, as anyone who’s gone through the process knows. The planning of each story takes time. What will Emily et al be investigating? Where will the story take place? Their home base, Fort Del Gue or someplace else? What other people will be in the story? These are just a few of the items I list on my white board. I also have to figure out where it will fit into the entire project. Right now, I have fourteen stories ranging in length from about 1000 words up to the first full book, which I’m starting in a few days, and each story references an event or two in one of the previous stories.
So yes, I work in more than one project at a time.

When you research for your books do you do it all/most of it before you start writing, or while it is a WIP?
Most of the research is done before hand. Since I don’t plot I might have to research an event or something while I’m writing the story. With A Body in the Attic, currently out to my publisher, I was told by my muse, Dakota, the house had to be in the Victorian style. Not only that but the house had to have secret passageways and rooms, reminiscent of the period of the Underground Railroad.
When it comes to military weaponry and equipment I do my best to make sure its correct use falls within current guidelines as best I can.

How do you deal/cope with promoting your books?
Over the years I’ve gotten a little better with promotion of my books. It’s taken me a while to figure out Facebook and Twitter but now I’m on them both. Maybe not as heavily as I should be at times. I’ve also started my own blog, where I sometimes will post a part of the current Emily Dahill story I’m working on. Several times a month I invite guests to talk about a topic of their choice. I do ask they keep the discussion limited to a maximum PG rating so any YA or MG readers can visit. Frequently, I can be found on Six Sentence Sunday and the newly created Sweet Saturday Samples where I promote my release or a soon to be released book. I have been invited to guest on blogs and like here do interviews, promoting not only myself but my current release. I also have done character interviews, usually with Dakota as the individual being interviewed as Emily tends to be a little shy. One of the biggest helps for me is my iPhone. With it I’m constantly in touch with Twitter, FB certain blogs and emails.

I believe you started writing romance and have transferred to mystery and crime writing, what prompted your change in direction?
The short answer-it’s more fun killing people them having them kiss. The long answer. I found that focusing on the heroine and hero, to almost the exclusion of everything else wasn’t what I wanted to write. There’s so much more to a story then just them. The villain, why did they commit the crime, their motivation. The supporting characters, who are they, what drives them to either assist the criminal or help solve the case or problem. When I was trying, repeat trying, to write romance I kept drifting away from the, for lack of a better term, formula required in romance writing. That, plus when I’m watching a TV show or movie I like to try to figure out the ‘who done it’ before the stars. Another advantage with a series is I can develop the main characters as I go along. I don’t have to tell the reader everything about them in one book.

What do you like most about the heroine in your new book, and what annoys you most about her?
Emily is gutsy, feisty and except for helicopters isn’t afraid of much of anything. She uses her training, women’s intuition and smarts to resolve the problem at hand. She knows she has a weakness but that doesn’t let it get in her way. The only thing that I find annoying at least right now, she can’t fish to save her life.

Same questions for your hero, please. :-)
You have to remember my hero is a tri-colored collie Emily adopted from two friend at the end of Final Mission. What do I like about him, darn near everything. He has instincts that could rival most investigators, brains to know what to do and when. But most of all, he’s his own dog. Independent but still relies on Emily at times. If someone threatens her he’s right there to protect her and if necessary pee on a rifle.
What annoys me-I wish he’d chew up those darn pink fuzzy floppy eared slippers she has. Only thing is, he’s afraid of them.

Please will you tell us a bit about your new book?

Back cover blurbs for Emily Dahill, CID Part 1

Final Mission-After being seriously wounded in a copter crash in Iraq Sgt. Emily Dahill meets her new partner as she embarks on her new Army career as a CID agent. Who could this new partner be?

A Body in the Snow-Emily and her partner, Dakota, cross bullets with their most determined foe. Who will survive?

Right Place, Wrong Day-On leave to hang with friends Emily gets the surprise of her life.

Dog on Fishing-When it comes to knowing how to fish, and catch the big ones, never underestimate your partner. He might surprise you.


Final Mission- Her mission for today, to complete a special prisoner’s transfer. Tomorrow, back to the States and Fort Leonard Wood for school to follow her dream-CID Special Agent. She bit back a smile not wanting to make her new trainees jealous. Even though they knew, she was leaving the boiler plate of the world.
She and two other MP’s had been ordered to transfer a high profile and dangerous Al-Qaida leader from Tuz back to Baghdad. She’d chuckled, she thought to herself, when her commanding officer had said ‘dangerous’. Oops. His iron stare stopped her laughter almost before it started.

A Body in the Snow- For him to be late wasn’t the norm. Especially when it came to food. And tonight was special-roast beef, roast potatoes, pan drip gravy; everything he liked and deserved after the last case. If not for him, she’d be dead or worse; so severely injured that she’d never recover.
With confirmed reports that the brown haired man was back in the area, she had new cause to worry. Had the terrorist gotten her partner before he reached home and safety?
She prayed not.
She’d chased the brown haired man over half the country. At one point even thinking that he’d disappeared to Europe. But that turned out to be an unsubstantiated rumor. A trail of dead soldiers marked his wake. Once, she thought she’d had him cornered but a traitor helped the man escape. That man now is basking in the Caribbean sun at Gitmo.

Right Place, Wrong Day- At first she couldn’t understand the bugged-eyed look the soldier was giving her. Her gut told her it wasn’t the sudden, unexpected sight of her ID. Then she realized she hadn’t put any clothes on. She was still in her panties and t-shirt.
She started to backpedal deeper into the tent when the man started to reach in. Before he knew it, he found his wrist in a collie’s jaw grip.
Frozen in terror, the soldier was about to call for help when Emily said, “If you know what’s good for you, first set your weapon on the ground, then smile at my dog.”
As she wiggled into a pair of jeans, which wasn’t easy one-handed, the other still in possession of her pistol, she tried not to laugh as the poor soldier did as he was told.

Dog on Fishing- Early afternoon found the four streamside. Each at what they hoped and prayed would be the lucky spot. Actually, Emily was standing knee deep in the water, needing the extra space for back casting.
Meanwhile, Dakota had found himself the perfect spot overlooking the water. A maple tree provided the perfect amount of shade, while the sun warmed, weather flattened and smoothed, rock afforded him the perfect sleeping platform. From this vantage point he could keep an eye on the humans. And from past experience with them, they needed all the looking after he could muster.

Where can readers find you?
Website- www.lindsaydowns.com
Blog- www.murdersandmysteries.wordpress.com
Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1015004477
Twitter- Ldowns2966
LinkedIn- Lindsay Downs

Where can readers buy your books.
To request an autograph on your kindle (my author page)

Buy links for Emily Dahill, CID Part 1-
Astraea Press- http://www.astraeapress.com/#ecwid:category=662245&mode=product&product=5192868
Amazon- http://www.amazon.com/Emily-Dahill-CID-Part-ebook/dp/B005F5D2JG/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1312948076&sr=1-3
Barnes & Noble- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/emily-dahill-cid-part-one-lindsay-downs/1104547210
Bookstrand- http://www.bookstrand.com/emily-dahill-cid-part-one

Is there anything else you’d like to mention, I haven’t touched on>  If so, please add it here :-)

Yes there is- Until January 29, 2012, 100% from the proceeds of this book is donated to the Japanese tsunami victims.

Lindsay, thank you for joining us at THoR today.
I’ve had fun and thank you for having me.

12 September 2011

Book Review ~ Emily Dahill, CID Part 1 - Anthology

Title: Emily Dahill, CID Part 1 - Anthology
Author: Lindsay Downs
Publisher: Astraea Press
Length: short, 37 pages
Heat: Sweet

Book and review request comes from the author.

100% from the proceeds of this book is donated to the Japanese tsunami victims

Final Mission-After being seriously wounded in a copter crash in Iraq Sgt. Emily Dahill meets her new partner as she embarks on her new Army career as a CID agent. Who could this new partner be?

A Body in the Snow- Emily and her partner, Dakota, cross bullets with their most determined foe. Who will survive?

Right Place, Wrong Day-On leave to hang with friends Emily gets the surprise of her life.

Dog on Fishing-When it comes to knowing how to fish, and catch the big ones, never underestimate your partner. He might surprise you.

Review: This anthology is unusual in as much all the stories are written by one author, in this case Lindsay Downs. And the next revelation comes in the guise of Emily’s partner, Dakota--a dog. A Collie to be precise. You may be forgiven for assuming that a member of the Army would choose a dog more often used by the Services, such as a German Shepherd or Spaniel, but Dakota is perfect. Collies are herders, so Dakota is ideal for the part of Emily’s significant ‘other’.

While this is not Ms. Downs first Dakota book, she allows us to share Emily’s first meeting with Dakota.

For those who may accuse Ms. Downs of humanising a dog by allowing a Collie to have its own point of view will have little to worry about in these stories, because Ms. Downs writing style will charm you.

That doesn’t mean you are in for a ‘soft’ read, you are not. The author keeps you on the edge of the seat as often as she will have you laughing. Her writing style is fluent and vivid.

She has the ability to persuade her readers to connect as strongly with her secondary character as they will with her protagonist and antagonists. Be they human, or fish!

The skilful scene-setting drops her readers right into the action. And in a short story offering a full-bodied scene is not always possible, and rarely easy. Ms. Downs makes it look like child’s play!

Buying this book will not only give you enjoyment and a desire to discover more about Emily and Dakota –more details on the author’s website- http://www.lindsaydowns.com/ but it will also help victims of the Japanese tsunami.

My only disappointment with this book was I wanted more! Much more!

11 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

As always, my thanks to all of you who stop by and read my efforts. I always appreciate your company.
This week, I'm taking a break from offering snippets from my current novel, Duty Calls, available in paperback, ebook formats, kindle and nook.
Instead here are the opening lines of my first short story, Precious Treasures, published in 2009 by LASR
(editied for SSS)

From beneath her colour co-ordinated lashes she studied her ex husband; he’d broadened out and toughened up, money did that to a man. The sensual lips narrowed in a line of discontent, and his grey eyes resembled ash-covered ice chips, his bronzed skin had darkened from his sojourn in the tropics. Building exclusive resorts in exotic locations. She’d followed his meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the media, unable to avoid the zillions of pictures of him with a different woman welded to his arm each time. The coverage rose exponentially with his wealth.

Finally, she got real and stopped looking.

Click HEREto enjoy more SSS offerings

10 September 2011

Sweet Saturday Samples

Thank you to everyone who visits me every week and to those joining us all this week. Click here-> Sweet Saturday Samples to enjoy many other fabulous excerpts.
This week I'm taking a break for The Brat and sharing more of a short paranormal story that so far has failed to find a home.

A cool breeze replaced the relentless heat of the day and I imagined the garden sighing with relief. I sipped my dry white wine and let the taste linger on my tongue before enjoying its slide down my throat. Only the solar garden lamps lit the deck-area. I’d left the indoor lights off, allowing the breeze to filter through the house before going indoors and locking up for the night.

This was the time I usually ‘talked’ through the events of my day with Gerald.

“That is just so weird.” Rachel exclaimed when she turned up unexpectedly, one evening. “He’s been gone for nearly two years now and you ‘talk’ to him every night!” She’d shifted to the other end of the rocker. “I suppose you’re going to tell me he ‘talks’ right back at you!” She didn’t quite snort with derision, but it was close!

“Sort of.” I admitted cautiously. After all how did you explain the ‘sort of knowing’ that settled after you vocally aired your thoughts and problems aloud to an empty garden?

“Like I say,” she’d moved back and given me a hug to take the sting from her words. “You’re seriously weird.” She paused for effect, “but I still love you.”

7 September 2011

It's here!

Wey-Hey! :-)

I received the cover pic today for my upcoming book From Now Until Forever published by Astraea Press

Isn't it great?

4 September 2011

Six Sentence Sunday

As always, my thanks to all of you who stop by and read my efforts.  I always appreciate your company.

This week, I'm taking a break from offering snippets from my current novel, Duty Calls, available in paperback, ebook formats, kindle and nook. 

Instead here are the opening lines of my first short story, Precious Treasures, published in 2009 by LASR
(editied for SSS)

“Excuse me I’m looking for Sarah DeLacey.”

She didn’t need the touch of his fingers resting lightly on her shoulder, nor the sound of the gravelly voice to recognize the man standing behind her crouched frame. With a smile and word of assurance for the toddler grappling with his building blocks, she rose and turned.

Would he recognize her after all these years? Ten years had passed beneath the bridge called ‘Life’. Her hair no longer flowed down her back in a smooth black curtain, now it stood on end in carefully styled spikes of multi-hued blonde, her once make-up-free face was carefully masked beneath skillfully applied cosmetics.

“There’s no one here of that name.” She used her maiden name now.

Please visit my website to learn more, and read the reviews.
You will find other participants of Six Sunday Sentence HERE

3 September 2011

Sweet Saturday Sample

Thank you to everyone who visits me every week and to those joining us all this week.  Click here->  Sweet Saturday Samples to enjoy many other fabulous excerpts.
This week I'm taking a break for The Brat and sharing the opening of a short paranormal story that so far has failed to find a home.

Snip, snip. Two more dead-heads for the compost. Snip, snip. I sighed with delight at the best display of roses I’d enjoyed, since moving here five years ago.

Since my husband’s death, my garden was my life. I never felt alone when working with my flowers. Indeed, I enjoyed my connection with them, one that transcended the physical; the logical. When I tried explaining to my neighbour, Rachel, she jokingly scoffed at my description as being ‘almost spiritual’.

“Next, you’ll be telling me you have faeries at the bottom of your garden!” We shared her joke with iced tea and laughter, but something deep inside me shifted uneasily.

With one foot, I pushed the swing and watched the sky fade from rose to dusk, and contemplated my earlier sense of unease. Faeries were fantasies of children and story-books. They didn’t exist.

Did they?

My Website: www.sherrygloag.com
My Blog: http://sherrygloagtheheartofromance.blogspot.com/

1 September 2011

Review of Paramourtal

Title: Paramourtal
Author: Various
Publisher: Cliffhanger Books
Genre: Paranormal/Horror/Romance
Length: 205 – Anthology.
Heat: Mixed.
Review requested and book supplied foc by Kevin Hosey

Review: Story One.
A Touch of Sand by Nicole Brugger-Dethmers

Blurb: The Sandman is forbidden to love humans. Then he gazes upon the enchanting face of Angeline and wonders why she stirs his cold heart.

Review: Almost as soon as I started reading this story I heard the lyrics of the song Mister Sandman playing in my head.
Creating a full-bodied story within twenty pages is not easy. And in A Touch of Sand the author creates a charming tale within an indeterminate time period, cast with characters this reader instantly connects with. So why is there a ‘but’ coming?
Because I wanted more!
The opening line “Out of the night sky, above the sleepy English town of Ashborough, a whirlwind appeared.” Is guaranteed to grab the attention of any reader who knows there are few, if any, whirlwinds in England. Thus hooked and bombarded with several questions already you can only read on.
It contains lost love, betrayal, undying love that conquers and a happy ending in two parts.
From Sandman and his gnomes, to Angeline, her precocious sister Margaret and Nicolas each character is fully formed and plays their part impeccably. Emotion packs every page, and Ms Brugger-Dethmers’ fluent writing offers up a medly of scenes each as fascinating as the last.
This delightful story is a brilliant opening shot for the Paramourtal Anthology.
* * *
Review: Story Two
Dark Legacy by Elizabeth Ireland

Blurb:  As a teen, Katherine was saved by a mysterious lake spirit. Now she returns to that lake to face a dark family pact that may end her life.

Review: Occasionally a story pulls at the depth of the reader’s emotions whether it be sorrow and tears, joy and laughter, or the chills of horror and fear of the unknown. In this story I felt the intense and unquestionable love between Katherine and Patrick. And yet the skilful weaving of words at the beginning of the story gives a moment of doubt. A second of questioning about what might come.
Three people monopolize Dark Legacy, Katherine, Patrick, and Katherine’s cousin Julie. In the background Nana and Granddad lay the background story and Julie’s daughter, Rachel portrays the possible future.
In between Ms Ireland tells a tale of spirits, boundless love that lasts beyond the grave, the pull of the lake and what happens when one of them tries to evade destiny.
This is a story that will linger in my mind long after turning the final page.
* * *

Review: Story Three
The Fisherman’s Wife by K. Stoddard Hayes

Blurb: In an Irish fishing village, Sean has the perfect life with his loving wife, Muireen. But then she discovers a very dark secret he’s hidden for years.

Review: Deception, betrayal, forgiveness are the themes of The Fisherman’s Wife. Muireen, a selkie bound to the land by a scheming old man concerned only with his own comforts, discovers his plot, she leaves home and returns to the sea, ignoring her husband’s love for her. The way Ms Stoddard Hayes weaves past, present and myth together so fluently compels the reader to take pity on poor Sean.
So far, The Fisherman’s Wife is the shortest story so far, but like its predecessors is packed with emotion and charm. The author depicts the lifestyle of her characters in few words that add to their impact. Combined with the her seascapes and the call of the sea Ms Stoddard Hayes offers characters who will pull at her readers’ heartstrings and a compelling story that complements its companions in this anthology.

Review: Story Four
The Prince and the Spoon by Kelly Wisdom

Blurb: Walking in the park, Summer is attracted by strange fairy tale creature who seem to know her. And then things really get weird.

Review: The slow and compulsive build of tension--written in 1st person. Sibling rivalry, magic spoons and wishes granted. It’s all in this amusing tale by Kelly Wisdom takes the mystery of swamps and Summer’s love of nature, breaks all the rules and adds in a cast of hundreds, and makes it work.

Faeries, pixies and humming birds, with teeth, all walk through The Prince and the Spoon. And then there is Hunter. Hunter, who saves Summer and wins her heart. But how he does it and what he has to do to prove himself is part of the author’s magic.

I have read and reviewed man anthologies and this one is out there in front. Like the previous stories this has charm plus an effervescence of its own.

Review: Story Five
The Flower of Hell by Noree Cosper

Blurb: When Gabriella a demon hunter, meets the handsome Dimitri, it kindles long forgotten desires. But those desires may get them killed.

Review: Now, I have to ‘fess up. Mention demons as a book subject and I’ll usually choose to ‘pass’. But I am so glad I had the chance to read Ms Cosper’s The Flower of Hell. If I have a small nit with this story, it is set in Paris, but I can’t say I got a flavour of the city at all.
Gabrielle is no prissy heroine. She has scores to pay off, traumas to deal with, baggage to decide whether to continue carrying it through millennia or not, and when Dimitri barges into her well laid plans and creates mayhem she is not best pleased.
Considering his ancestry I am surprised he made such an apparently elemental mistake about Gabby’s potential target.
The author held my attention and carried me through her fantasy, so much so that when the end came I was both startled and disappointed. Coming from a reader, who’d previously avoided stories about demons that’s quite an admission.

Review: Story Six
His Familiar Touch by L.K. Below

Blurb: Unable to shift into natural cougar form, Rikkita seeks the help of Derek, a mystifying man who may have the cure—for a price.

Review: I have come across Ms Below’s writing before and so looked forward to reading her story, and I wasn’t disappointed. From the title I garnered the content of His Familiar Touch but the way she twists the normal expectation is masterly.
It is a sibling’s aim in life to annoy, and Rikkita’s sibling wastes no time, thus triggering long withheld secrets and the key to her future. A key she spurns. And so, with Ms Below’s skilful manipulation her heroine enters a world she has long scorned and has to face reality. But will her pride win over her heart and allow her to walk away from the only man to inspire emotions within her she’s never experienced before?
The author’s scene setting is vivid and immediate. Her characters are flawed, yet strong enough to take that leap of faith not knowing the consequences.
While this story lacks nothing, I came away feeling I wanted more.

Review: Story Seven
Of Fate and Fire by Rebecca Rhielle

Blurb: As a child Eleia last her family to strange marauders. Now she falls in love with a beguiling stranger whose past is even darker than hers.

Review: It had to come. The story that broke the pattern. The story that takes the reader to the pinnacle of emotional perfection and leaves them crying with frustration as the Fates combine to destroy true love. And this is the one that does that, and yet--.
The author takes the dark and paints it blacker by the end of a sweet and sensual tale of love and bonding. There are three characters in this tale and all have a major impact on each other’s future. All have the Knowledge, but not all of them are fully aware of the powers in store for them.
This is tightly and fluently written, and peopled with characters of impact. While it is a love story there is no HEA and I, for one, was left with many unanswered questions. Not something I would normally enjoy, but the sheer skill of Ms Rhielle’s writing ensures I ‘turn the last page’ and forgive her for not answering those questions.

Review: Story Eight
Sympathy From The Devil by M.C. DeMarco

Blurb: While protecting a soul from temptation, angel Ariel faces Forcas, a charming demon. And she soon learns her own soul may be at stake.

Review: I laughed so much through this story it took twice as long to read as expected. It’s all there. The two sides of the coin, the irreverent look at heaven and hell, and everything in between. And yet this is another story that leaves you with unanswered questions. Does that mean it would make for a longer story? Perhaps. We’ve all heard of Guardian angels, but the concept that they all belong to heaven is shot to piece, or perhaps hell, in this encounter.
You could say we meet guardians from both departments in this story, and it is Forcas’ job to lead Ariel astray. Which he does with great aplomb. Thanks to Ms DeMarco, I’ll never quite look on Guardian Angels in the same way ever again!

Review: Story Nine
The Underlying Beat by Evelyn Welle

Blurb: After meeting the reclusive music composer Lee, Megan soon encounters mystifying forces that test both her sanity--and her heart.

Review: Ms Welle provides enough false clues in this short story to fill a full length novel, and offers a tightly written and provocative story for her readers. The build up is beautifully paced and she builds her characters at an equal pace. As someone who enjoys listening to music, but not knowing the first technical thing about it, I may well have missed a specific beat in the author’s writing to represent a heartbeat. And it is the heart that is the central engine that powers The Underlying Beat.
The back story is interwoven seamlessly with the present and future and adds to the power of the author’s presentation. Each secondary character, none of them ‘seen’ all play their part in carrying the story forward.
Combine a sneaky spirit with Fate and lace it all with music and you have yourself a charming story you’ll not forget in a hurry.

Review: Story Ten
Rain by Kevin Hosey

Blurb: When his wife leaves him, Kyle escapes to a mountain cabin. There he meets the beautiful Reanna, a mysterious woman who can only appear when it rains.

Review: We were promised dark, we were promised horror and in this final story we get both. The longest offering in this anthology is hard hitting, dark and pretty horrific. That said a reader can empathise with both the hero and heroine and their dilemmas.
In both cases it was a matter of be careful what you wish for... for there are always consequences.
Reanna, a spirit of the rain is ‘living’ with the consequences of her wish and there is still more of her ‘contract’ to be worked out.
Kyle’s dilemma appears to be one familiar to many, and yet, nothing is quite as it seems. And the final confrontation with his wife take his life in a direction he never anticipated.
This story has not pretention towards the ‘feel-good-factor’ and the skilful writing of the author beguiles his readers into hoping for the best until the very end. And yet... in a convoluted way you can almost persuade yourself it IS a HEA. What I do know, is that Rain is a ‘disturbing’ story.

Overall Summary of the Paramourtal Anthology.

Fairy tales are for children! Aren’t they? Well, not these ones. O.K. but if they are fairy tales they all have happy endings, right? Wrong!
Some are inspired by mythology, other from these very children’s fairy tales mentioned above, but all take the reader to a fantasy land of one kind or another. All touch on the other-world reality.
Some will have you howling with merriment while others have you reaching for the tissues. But all of them have you totally involved with the unfolding events and the characters caught up by them.
More than once I touched on my disappointment the stories were not longer. I hold by that comment. Not only did I love the characters, but felt when reading I must have skipped a page on a couple of occasions.
I have reviewed many anthologies and understand the importance of balance of content, and in this I have to compliment both Cliffhanger Books and their editors for their selection.
For those who enjoy the paranormal, then this is definitely a book worth checking out. For those looking for well-written stories which, on the most part, will have you smiling, then dip your toe into the paranormal with this book. For those of you always looking for new authors to read, here are ten well worth adding to your TBR lists.
I know Cliffhanger books will be launching another edition of new Paramourtal stories. If they are as good as this anthology, the second book is one to put at the top of your wish list.