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Author Showcase / Interview with Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee (Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse)

Welcome, Philip W. Kleaver

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  1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(PWK) Thanks for the interview! I’m never sure how to describe myself. Uh, I’m a typical twentysomething in that I’m constantly questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life, even when things are going well. I graduated from a liberal arts college, so I believe (naively, I suppose) in the value of human equality and open-mindedness. I try to use that underlying belief to guide my decisions and interactions with people. I like punk shows, so-bad-they’re-good movies, breakfast foods, bourbon, and wandering around in nature every once in awhile. Shit, this is starting to read like an OkCupid profile…

I’ve been writing all my life. When I was a kid, I used to collaborate on illustrated short stories with a good friend of mine. Part of my pen name is a tribute to him. As a college student, I made Xeroxed zines chock full of angsty poetry. I first started writing horror and thinking I could get published after reading a lackluster entry in an anthology called Dark Masques. The story was about a guy who started running and couldn’t stop. I rolled my eyes and said, “Man, I could write a better story than this…” The voice in the back of my head replied, “Then DO IT already.” I churned out a few pieces before getting my fourth effort (“Working Stiff”) published in the Shotgun! Strange Stories e-zine.

(EL) I started writing when I was in the first grade. My first book was called Nire, the Purple Aardvark. Nire is my first name spelt backwards and purple is my favorite color. From that story, on, I was hooked.

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(PWK) Poorly. Haha. I know there are a lot of dedicated writers out there who will power through a couple hundred words every day, no matter what. I’m not the type. If I start drawing a blank, I’ll take a week off. Sometimes I’ll work on another idea, but mostly I’ll mull over story beats in my head until something clicks. I can usually get over the hump when I realize a new truth about one of my characters… that can steer the plot in a needed direction.

(EL) I don’t experience writer’s block. There are times when I am not in the mood to write, so I don’t. During those times, I read or enjoy other hobbies. But I never have trouble coming up with stories. In fact, I have too many of them in my head to ever be able to get them all down on paper.

 

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(PWK) Like a lot of writers, I pay the bills doing something else. My “9 to 5” (or more accurately, my “7:30 to 3:30”) is teaching social studies and language arts to middle schoolers. I like to travel, too. I live in Baltimore, so it’s easy to take a day trip to New York, Philly, D.C., etc. I probably spend too much time on the internet… recently I’ve been reading political news and frothing at the mouth.

Kam: Yeah, I’ve been hooked on every news program. I can relate to time flying by once you start reading articles. Plus, I tend to interact on the articles or social media posts and that’s always interesting. 

(EL) I work as a home-based therapist. This means that I go into people’s homes and do therapy there. This is how I get characters, settings, and plot lines. Of course, my primary mission is to help families in crisis, but it’s also why I don’t get writer’s block. Every day, in my work, I’m faced with real stories and real conflicts that generally make their way into my books eventually.

Kam: Oh, I bet you have a notebook (or file folder) full of wonderful experiences/mini stories. Lucky duck! 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(PWK) Family and friends, yes. Everyone has been supportive, even though many of them can’t stand horror fiction. I tend to take their comments with a grain of salt. I’d rather have some random dude online tell me he likes my work than my girlfriend, because she’s too sweet to tell me if I’m writing garbage.

(EL) My clients don’t know I write. My friends and family do. Lee is a middle name. I do this intentionally to keep my work away from my clients. I’m not sure too many clients would want to know their therapist writes about serial killers in her spare time.

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(PWK) Whew, that’s difficult. It’s a mix of genre and literary authors (and subject to change at any time). In an intentionally-mixed-up order, here are the authors who most I enjoy reading: Harlan Ellison, William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates, James Baldwin, Thomas Ligotti, Ursula K. LeGuin, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, and Haruki Murakami. I think these ten have also had the greatest impact on my own authorial voice.

(EL) My favorites really depend on my moods. Like with my own writing, my taste in genre for reading is all over the place. My all-time favorite writer is Sylvia Plath.

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(PWK) I think I’d have to go with the most recent novel I’ve read: F by Daniel Kehlmann.

It’s incredible. I know there are a lot of novels about dysfunctional families out there, but Kehlmann strikes the perfect balance between pathos and comedy. He’s got some pretty interesting ideas about art that resonated with me, as well. I’d cast Jonah Hill as Martin, the eldest brother. He’s a priest who doesn’t believe in God and has a penchant for snacking or playing with a Rubik’s cube in the confession booth. Adam Driver could play the younger twins, Eric and Ivan. Eric’s a banker, and his section of the book (my favorite) is a madcap sequence in which he tries to manage his family, business concerns, and an affair while tripping out on a cocktail of prescription meds. I’m dying to see that on screen. Get Paul Thomas Anderson to direct.

(EL) Frankly, I never like seeing books go to the big screen. I’m a person who never thinks the movie matches up to the book. I wish books would stay in print and screen plays would stay in the theaters and on stages.

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(PWK) It should be published by the time this interview runs, but I’m currently working on a collection of short stories about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll with my friend (and fellow Baltimorean) Wallace Boothill. It’s called Psychodelic. We were inspired by and hardcore/punk bands who put out a split EPs. Why can’t writers do the same? The collection has a handful of stories from each of us, and one co-written piece. So far, my half is leaning a bit more towards the humorous side while Boothill’s is just plain freaky. Our shared aim is to gross you out!

(EL) I just finished a novel about a serial killer, Jimmie Putnam. The novel is called “Just Things” and will release sometime this year. I intend to follow it up with a sequel called “Jimmie’s Ice Cream.”

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(PWK) I’ve had a number of tales published in Shotgun! Strange Stories, which can be found at…

 

deadlightsmagazine.com

 

A print anthology of the first six issues is forthcoming. I’ve also got a satirical story called “The Appointment” in Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse, available on Amazon. (Fuck that self-centered orange clown, by the way. Get active–I’ve donated money to the ACLU and NRDC.) You can read some short works on my website,

(Contributing authors: Mr. Deadman, Michael Epstein, Kelly Evans, Patrick Winters, Eric Nirschel, Erin Lee, Mark Slade, Joey Whiston, and Philip Kleaver.)

 

“People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me.” – Donald Trump

People love you, alright. But not in the way you think, Mr. Get-Rich-Off-Of-Daddy’s-Tit. People love to mock you. People love to shower you with disrespect. If it was an option, people would drop a steaming pile of sloppy feces on your name. When you pass away, people would line up just to piss on your grave. But that wouldn’t matter to you, would it? The golden showers would come at a price, and boy would people fork over the cash. Regardless, you are the president of the United States of America, and I will raise a glass to you and give you that much. I’’ call you President, but with it comes a whole nasty serving of unadulterated ridicule. This issue of Deadman’s Tome is all about you, Mr. Trump. Dark, twisted, satirical tales at your expense, plus with a interview you had with me that you may not recall. I hope you enjoy.

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(EL) All of my books, twelve novels, a handful of novellas, and too many anthologies to count, are on my website: www.authorerinlee.com

My facebook page is www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon

On Twitter I’m at @Crazylikeme2015

To stay up to date on my works, join my author street team-The Outsiders Street Team-at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/596733930532264/

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(PWK) Follow me on Twitter @pwkleaver or email me at pwkleaver@outlook.com.

(EL) The best way to reach me is through my facebook page at www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(PWK) Sure! If you’re an aspiring writer (or musician, or artist, or whatever), put your nose to the grindstone and start producing! The internet has made DIY much easier. I doubted myself for the longest time and was afraid that if I wrote short stories, they’d suck. Some of them do… but when I became serious about honing my craft, I started seeing improvement in what I was doing. If someone tries to discourage you, fuck ‘em. Everyone knows almost all of the good artists weren’t appreciated in their time.

 

Closing remarks and a bit of a rant…. 

I want to thank Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee for allowing me the opportunity to interview you. It was a true pleasure “meeting” you and I’m sure your responses have sparked the interest of many followers/readers.  🙂 

 

And now for my rant…….

Every voice matters. We have the right, the duty, to stand up for our rights and the rights of those around us. No race, no religion, no gender, NO ONE is better than the other. NO ONE should be persecuted, targeted by the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their faith, or where they were born. To single out a group of individuals based off the actions of the few is thoughtless, inhumane, barbaric, and morally wrong. People should treat others with respect. Our leaders should LEAD BY EXAMPLE. That means, those who hold political power shouldn’t be bigoted or racist. In every race, religion, gender, nationality, and so forth, you will find bad apples. However, you will also find good, hard working, loving people with kindness in their hearts and only good intentions. Don’t persecute the whole for the actions of the few. It goes against everything this country stands for. Everything I stand for. I’ve said this once and I’ll probably say it several more times in the near future. Our leaders should DO BETTER, BE BETTER! And Trump, I do believe you above all else should think before you speak (and tweet). You have the tendency to run off at the mouth, consequences be damned. Remember as the leader of the USA, your actions have consequences that affect not just your inner circle but the whole damn world! 

 

 

 

RANT OVER…….. (for now) 

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Review of “Letting Go” – Cassandra Riley

Publisher: Mascot Books; 1 edition (August 18, 2016)

 

Jasmine Parks is a strong, no-fuss woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Benson Walsh is a fraternity brother who was raised in a life of privilege. After a chance encounter on the campus of William and Mary, their worlds collide as they start on a path that will forever change their destiny. When forces work to tear them apart, will their love be enough to help them let go of their pasts so that they can build a future?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

For those who’ve went to college or are attending it now, you know those years are about discovering yourself, pursing your dream job or figuring out what your career should be, and sometimes stumbling upon the love of your life.

For Jasmine and Benson, they are in their senior year of college and also building a life together. They might not have been each other’s firsts but I have the feeling they’ll be each other’s lasts. In the short months they have been together, each has shown their true feelings, character, and all I see is two sensational, loving, giving people who deserve each other. Their backgrounds, upbringings might not be similar (poor woman, rich man) but their souls are undeniably alike…… pure and good.

And even though Tyler (psycho/jealous guy) and Deborah (Benson’s mom) tried to tear them apart, nothing was too difficult to overcome as long as they had one another. (FYI: Still surprised no one saw the warning signs Tyler was a few apples short of a full basket. He hid his evilness rather well but the “best” psychos usually do.) 

One last thing, Cassandra Riley wrote plenty of sweet and steamy love scenes. Various locations, some full of heat, some on the gentler side but all portrayed their love beautifully. However, the scene that stood out for me was the one where Benson wanted to sleep with Jasmine. No sex — just wanted to sleep next to her and wake up with her. That’s love, folks, and their story is just beginning.

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Hello, my pen name is Cassandra Riley. My real name is Renee. I live in Yorktown Virginia with my husband and two children. I have been a teacher for 14 years. Two years ago I sat down and wrote what was to become my Coastal Love Trilogy. I have since completed two novellas and I am working on two more novels. Two of my works can be found on Kindle, Holding On (book 2) and Reflections (not really a romance).

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Author Showcase – Connie Chappell (Wild Raspberries) 📕

When Callie MacCallum sews her first quilt after the death of her lover Jack Sebring, she doesn’t realize she’ll be drawn into a Sebring family battle between wife and daughter-in-law. She simply wants to fulfill her promise to Jack to visit their cabin in the West Virginia mountains, where their long love affair was safely hidden. Instead, her emotionally reminiscent trip becomes crowded with the two Sebring women, a grief counselor, and the massive role Callie assumes. She must speak for Jack in order to protect his four-year old grandson Chad from his stubbornly manipulative and blame-passing grandmother and his recently widowed and power-usurping mother. Callie understands both women grieve the loss of Chad’s father. He died when a raging storm split the tree that crushed him. Grief isn’t the only common thread running between the four women. One by one, their secrets are revealed on the West Virginia mountaintop.

 

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~~ A scene from Wild Raspberries ~~

 

Out in the street, ten-year old Carson Tillman from next door rode his bike in circles, watching the proceedings.

            After loading Arnett’s things, Lizbeth slammed the cargo door. She turned to Beebe. “We’re ready,” she said.

            Beebe made an arm gesture that gathered Arnett, Lizbeth, and Callie into a line at the foot of the drive. Carson’s bike jumped the curb. He ground it to a stop nearby. The nosy boy might have thought the ladies were posing for a send-off photograph.

            A breeze kicked up Beebe’s crop of straw-colored hair so that it stood out from her head like a crayon drawing of the sun. She raised her right hand into oath-taking position, then used several upward gestures with her left to prompt the others to hoist their hands as well. Beebe recited a pledge, breaking it into five chunks, which the others repeated in unison.

            “I hereby swear an oath to honesty. From this point forward, I promise to provide fully factual information and will express my feelings earnestly and without reservation.”

            As all the hands dropped, Carson, a respectfully polite tattletale, his broad mouth gleaming with dental hardware, announced, “Miss Arnett had her fingers crossed.”

            Lizbeth’s mouth flew open. Her gaze jumped off the boy and landed on Arnett. “How could you?”

            In a teacher-to-student tone, Beebe said, “Show me your hands.” Arnett complied. “Do you swear to this honesty pledge?”

            “Yes, I swear.” Arnett glared at Carson. “Are you satisfied?”

            He shrugged and pedaled away.

  

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Chappell does a wondrous job allowing her words to speak for her characters, immersing the reader in scenes where dialogue would have typically done the trick.” ~~Maxy Awards

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Review of “Proper Goodbye” – Connie Chappell

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Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and, eventually, draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father, Cliff.

Months earlier, Cliff stood back from that sparsely attended funeral, unaware the woman’s passing made him a widower. Cliff, devoted caretaker of the cemetery, doesn’t know he’s tending to his wife’s grave. Beebe must find a way to tell her father that the homeless woman was misidentified. In reality, she was the wife and mother who abandoned them decades before.

Oddly enough, the first person Beebe meets upon her return is a young man who’s new in town. Yates Strand is also chasing the secret behind the homeless woman. He has another story to tell.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

Death, no matter how it happens, takes a toll on the living. It can bring people together or tear them apart. In the case of Abigail (also known as Terri), it helped reunite a father and daughter. Two people who were harboring a lot of anger and hurt, all centering around the abandonment of a wife and mother.

Abigail/Terri, like most of us,  made some bad decisions in her life. In her case, she lost her family, job, respect, and her body to AIDS. However, despite her mistakes, she was a good person. She used her nursing skills to save lives. Unfortunately, through a chain of events, she couldn’t be there for her family. An accident, painkillers, drug addiction and trouble with the law led to the loss of her loved ones.

For three decades, Cliff and Beebe had no clue if she was alive or dead. When you are faced with that question, you hold onto hope. When you finally get the answer, you must then face your true emotions and deal with them accordingly.

I can’t imagine living in this type of limbo or the aftermath of such an event.  Connie Chappell illustrated beautifully the pains, the internal battle people face in this type of predicament. She made a dark, dismal story come to life. After I read Proper Goodbye, I immediately hugged my family. I imagine you will too. 

 

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Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Connie Chappell is a bestselling author of both literary fiction and cozy mysteries. Proper Goodbye, the long-awaited standalone sequel to her debut novel, Wild Raspberries, is now available for purchase. In Proper Goodbye, Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and eventually draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father.

Connie’s other books, Wild Raspberries and Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, were awarded the 5-Star Readers’ Favorite distinction. Two additional awards were received by Connie and Wild Raspberries in 2016: the Maxy Award for Best Literary Fiction and the Readers’ Favorite Book Award for Women’s Fiction.

In Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson solves a double mystery in her hometown of Havens, Ohio. A murder, coupled with a theft, pulls her away from her duties for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge and her after-hours job of writing historical articles for the local newspaper. Wrenn’s knowledge of hometown history, specifically the old train station, plays into this mystery. Connie’s inspiration behind the inclusion of a Havens train station extends from her hometown, Springfield, Ohio. A postcard and short history of the Big Four train station are uploaded to this profile. A second Wrenn Grayson mystery has been hatched, so stay tuned.

Wild Raspberries, released in April, 2015, is especially dear because memory quilts are stitched to it. Photos of the memory quilt Connie sewed are uploaded to this profile. Like hers, the memory quilts described in Wild Raspberries were sewn with squares cut from favorite clothing a loved one wore in life. The quilts tell a life story, and through them, the reader meets the loved ones the women in Wild Raspberries have lost.

Connie’s novels are published by Black Rose Writing.

Learn more about Connie and her novels on her author webpage: www.conniechappell.com. Reviews of her books are there as well, so take some time and look around. In addition, she’s written several short stories—all ready for viewing on her website. Also available are a host of interesting podcasts.

Connie is a lifelong resident of Springfield, Ohio, where she serves its citizens from her office in City Hall. She also produces videos about Springfield, government projects, and community events for the local government-access channel. She devotes as much of her free time as possible to anything out-of-doors. Flowerbeds, golf, walking, and riding her bicycle are particular favorites.

 

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Nabila Fairuz (The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar)

Welcome, Nabila!

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  1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Nabila) Ahoy, mateys! I am a Bangladeshi Canadian living in Calgary, AB at present. I published my first novel, The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar, this year in October. I love Anime, video games, and reading. A lot of reading. Not all of it necessarily needs to be books. I hate not knowing what happens at the end of movies. And I am a big fan of lame puns. The lamer, the better. Here’s one: A man walked into a bar, and said, “Ow!”

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Nabila) First of all, I’ll have you known, I don’t handle it well. When writer’s block hit me, I tend to become very lazy. I end up doing everything else except writing. So if you want advice, here’s what I would tell you: don’t be like me. Try some other way. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that even if you are facing writer’s block, still try to write something. It may not be your best work, but it will keep the habit going.

 

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Nabila) I like to play video games. Or read books. Currently I’m playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, and reading “Siege and Storm” by Leigh Bardugo.

I also like to check up on events happening nearby. Street festivals, Harry Potter themed outdoor markets, new movies, etc.

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Nabila)  Thankfully, I have a very tight-knit group of family and friends who always wish me well and are very appreciative and proud of my work. I published my first book quite recently, and the love and support I have received from them has been astounding!

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Nabila) Um… I am not good at coming up with top tens, but here’s a couple: J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Stieg Larsson, Neil Gaiman, Dan Brown.

Among Bengali writers (i.e. writers from Bangladesh and Calcutta) I love Tagore, Humayun Ahmed, Zafar Iqbal, and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay.

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Nabila) Well, I’ll be a little narcissistic and say that I would choose mine. I think ‘The Chronicles of Captain Shelly Manhar’ would make an excellent movie. It’s about a female pirate captain, and I think movie industries could use more of that.

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Nabila) It is still in the outlining/planning stage, but I am planning to write another YA fiction with a sixteen year old girl called Celeste as the protagonist. There will be nursery rhymes. That’s all I’m saying.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Nabila) So far, there’s only one book published by me, so no need to worry about reading order. My book is available on Amazon, and in e-book format from Kindle and Kobo.

It is also available in Barnes and Nobles, and the e-book version is available through Chapters and Indigo bookstores in Canada.

I am not 100% sure but I am pretty certain it is also available in UK and Australia.

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Nabila) Yes! I am available on Facebook and Goodreads under the name Nabila Fairuz. Check out my page on Facebook and send me a message!

I am also available on Twitter and Instagram.

My Twitter handle is @N_FairuzR and Instagram ID is n_fairuzr.

Finally, and most importantly, you can contact me on my blog, My Own Little Corner, at the following address:

http://nabila-fairuz.blogspot.ca

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Nabila) Goodbye, my dear friends,

‘Tis the mighty end of the road.

Again, we shall meet.

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it probably a 1000 more times but I love interviewing authors. It’s so interesting finding out more about the person behind a story, what or whom inspires him/her and what he/she are working on next. When I read an interview, I find myself adding new books to my reading list based off question 5.

And, like many of you, my TBR is constantly growing and that warms this bookworm’s heart.  With that said, I have ONE MORE BOOK I hope you add to your reading list because it’s a voyage I think you’ll rather enjoy taking.

Enjoy, Mateys! 

 

 

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The youngest of three siblings, Shelly’s childhood tragically ended when her family disappeared under cryptic circumstances. Shelly and her sister embark on an epic journey to find them, only to face more hardship.

Witnessing the death of her only sister’s hardened Shelly more, and she was left with facing the bleak reality of continuing the mission alone. It affected her deeper than she imagined, and fueled her every move. It made her become the pirate captain whose name would eventually be feared everywhere. She gathered a crew and despite all odds always managed to come unscathed from any of her crazy exploits.

Along the way, she bumps into her brother who is now charged with arresting her, reconciles with her father who is hiding his own secrets, and frees her mother from the clutches of a power hungry Admiral of the English Navy. Will the fearless Captain Shelly Manhar manage to evade the hangman’s noose, or be forever lost in Davy Jones’ Locker?

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images-2(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

You can’t have a pirate’s tale without a hunt for lost treasure and what would a hunt be without a map. Shelly and her merry crew go searching for Neptune’s treasure and a magical goblet that grant a user’s request. Of course, the journey to the great booty isn’t easy as a finding an X on a sandy beach. No, they have to face creatures, scoundrels, and traps — some of the magical nature. 

This all sounds like a making of a Disney movie — aka Pirates of the Caribbean. Well mateys, Jack Sparrow didn’t suddenly appear from stage left but he was mentioned in passing. No, the pirates in this tale weren’t lead by a mascara wearing bloke. Instead the crew was led by a woman who wore an eyepatch and was quite the swordsman ….err swords-woman. 🙂

For that alone, I had to give this story high marks. The only reason why I knocked off a full point was due to the interaction between her and her brother. In First Contact, Conrad (Shelly’s brother) flats out states he wrote to her and Anna but they never responded. They argued about it. Then down the road in the chapter titled Family Reunion, they once again argue over it and Shelly appeared perplexed by him stating the same thing again. Why? Did she suffer from short term memory loss and forget he made this claim already. 

Anywho……

Despite that, I had only one other eh moment. I like how the story ended. The epilogue was quite comical but what about the buildup of Roy and Shelly throughout the adventurous tale? They had a moment, he loves her, and then nada. Maybe it’ll be played out in part 2. One can only hope!

Oh and one last thing, nice jaw-dropping, bombshell in Her Father’s Daughter. I do love surprises. It keeps me coming back for more! Others too. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Author Showcase – Michael Hughes (The Crimson Shamrock)

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A scotch-swilling DUI attorney, a cynical congressional staffer, and a retired bomb- sniffing German Shepherd are just some of the characters Chuck Wesson meets after he takes a travel assignment from his new boss, mysterious Silicon Valley entrepreneur Axel DeWilde. Chuck has been sent on a flight from San Francisco to Boston in order to demonstrate the Crimson Shamrock, a breakthrough portable communication device code-named the RedClove.

However, Chuck begins to suspect that all is not as it seems after a robber tries to steal the device at the airport, and his flight later has to be diverted to the Twin Cities after a threat is made. After his meeting is relocated to the D.C. suburbs and does not go according to plan, Chuck flies back to California to discover who and what are behind his travails.

 

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After dropping Blake off at the VC headquarters, Axel drove me back to the office.  As we got inside, Axel began to go on one of his euphoric monologues.

“You see, Chuck, all of the opportunities that we are presented with!”  I was afraid he was going to shatter the glass front door given how enthusiastically he had shut it.  “Just look how eager Blake was for our product!”

“Is he OK with our timeline, do you think?” I asked.  I turned on my computer and took a seat as Axel continued to pace around the floor.  I was half afraid he was going to start dancing.

“Why, of course!  All things take time, and Blake and his people understand that very fact.  We are, in a way, building up the anticipation even more, yes?”

That didn’t seem like the soundest logic to me, but who was I to tell Axel this?

“That’s one way of looking at it, I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

“Oh, yes,” he said as he almost tripped over himself on his way back to his desk.  “The anticipation of the new product is key. Absolutely, essentially, key.  Key, key, key.”

I twiddled my fingers as I waited for my computer screen to turn on.  Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long.

“I think you’ve done enough work for the day,” said Axel.  He looked at my computer, walked over, and turned it off.  “You should head home and get some rest.  Next week is going to be a learning experience for all of us.  We are going to have to have the boys finish engineering the prototype, and then we will have to have it transported to the East Coast for its demonstration.”

“How are we going to get it over there?”

Axel grinned.  “The method of its transport is in this room.  He, I should clarify, is in this room.  I generally try to avoid flying.  You are free to draw your own conclusions.  Shall I see you tomorrow, ten o’clock, no?”

 

 

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I’m 25 and currently work for a bank in compliance in Los Angeles.  Pumpkin Farmer and The Crimson Shamrock are my two published paperback novels; I also self-published a novel titled Loafing by La Brea. 
 
 

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Review of “That Potent Alchemy (Treading the Boards Book 3)” – Tess Bowery

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Is his love her safe place to land…or just smoke and mirrors?

Grace Owens danced her feet bloody to become the finest en pointe prodigy of her generation, but the only accolade she longed for—her father’s approval—never came. Finally, broken and defeated, she cut ties and fled to London to live life on her own terms.

Now, after four years as an actress in London’s smaller theatres, a last-minute production change lands her right where she never wanted to be again. Front and center in the ballet—and back in toe shoes.

From his perch on the catwalks, machinist and stagecraft illusionist Isaac Caird can’t take his eyes off Grace. A woman who wears men’s clothing, but not as a disguise. An exquisite beauty who doesn’t keep a lover. A skilled dancer who clearly hates every pirouette.

The perfect lines of her delicate body inspire him to create a new illusion—with her as the centerpiece—that will guarantee sold-out shows. Maybe even attract a royal’s patronage. But first he has to get her to look at him. And convince her the danger is minimal—especially within the circle of his arms.

Featuring a gender-fluid ballet dancer, an amateur chemist who only occasionally starts fires, and an old rivalry that could tear them apart.

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images-7(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Historical romances, for the most part, have a common denominator — couples DO NOT rush into the act of love-making. In this genre, I’ve discovered couples are more prone to tread slowly, basking in the rewards of subtle touches and lustful glances. They understand the act of foreplay with their words holds the same amount of power, if not more, than succumbing to the carnal impulse to inert slot A into slot B.

In “That Potent Alchemy”, Isaac and Grace had their share of tender touches and they also dabbled in various acts of eroticism: oils, scarf, and a strap-on. I have to say I’m impressed with Isaac’s attitude and reaction to Grace’s “prick”. He wasn’t close-minded and found himself thoroughly enjoying his *never before touched* area pleasured.

Kinky!!

Now when the couple wasn’t seeking sexual satisfaction, a plot was unfolding. Someone was attempting to sabotage the play Isaac was a set designer for and Grace was dancing/acting in. For me, the plot seemed like a problem any theatre company would face then or now. For that, I give Tess props. (no pun intended)  😀 

Tess stayed true to circumstances faced my anyone in the “business” and also delivered us a nice portion of romance/kinkery.

Lovely work, Tess! 

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Other books by Tess Bowery:

She Whom I Love: Amazon Purchase Link

Rite of Summer:  Amazon Purchase Link

High Contrast (Evolution Ink): Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

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Tess Bowery lives near the ocean, which sounds lovely, except when it snows. An historian by training and a theater person by passion, she’s parleyed her Masters degree in English history into something that would give her former professors something of a surprise.

Her love for the Regency era began as they always do, with Jane Austen, and took a sharp left turn into LBGT biographies and microhistory. Now she indulges in both of her passions, telling the stories of her community in the time periods that fire the human imagination. Her first foray into contemporary M/M fiction, High Contrast, releases in 2016.

Along with writing, Tess splits her time between teaching, backstage work, LBGT activism and her family. She spends far too much money on comic books, loves superheroes and ghost stories, and still can’t figure out how to use Twitter properly.

Get updates and book information at http://www.tessbowery.com, or hang out with Tess at http://tessbowery.tumblr.com, or @tessbowery on Twitter.

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Review of “Goslyn County”- A. M. McKnight

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A mostly black community with its roots in farming, Goslyn, Virginia lay just south of the State’s Capital. The once small, close-knit county had grown rapidly in the past two decades and boasted a population of just over fifty thousand. But the county’s crime stats had grown as well, and the latest offenses included several break-ins and rumors of a meth lab. Time had brought many changes, and many of the longtime folks of Goslyn no longer recognized their community and longed for days gone by. 
 
Goslyn PD Detective Olivia “Ollie” Winston loves her family and friends and shows it through her sense of humor. Just like her neighbors, she too worries about the recent events, and it’s her job to find out who’s behind the crime spree.

While investigating three burglaries, Olivia meets IRS Special Agent Maureen Jeffries who is pursuing a tax fraud suspect. Their cases are connected, and both soon discover they have much in common, personally and professionally.

 

Excerpt from Goslyn County:

“I think we’ve talked about everything except politics and sex,” Olivia said out of the blue.
Maureen blushed and was speechless.
“Sorry, Maureen. I don’t know where that came from.”
“Don’t worry about it. You just reminded me of Carol, my receptionist. She’s far more graphic though. Let’s make another date so we can talk about politics. Then…perhaps a third date for sex? I mean, to talk about it.”

 
 
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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

When you first pick up Goslyn County, you’ll note the cover isn’t flashy. There are no sexy women on the cover. Nothing that screams it’s a book focusing around the love that blooms between two lesbians.

What you see is a detective’s badge. 

Maybe A.M. McKnight’s intention was to let our imaginations conjure up how we think Olivia and Maureen would look or maybe she wanted the readers to buy the book because it was a crime story (first) with a love story attached.

All I can say is …thank goodness for book summaries because without it I wouldn’t know it had a same sex coupling in it. 

Those of us who look towards a cover first, seeking a lesbian story, I think they might pass on it, unbeknownst to its content. That’s why I always read the back cover. 

 

Moving on……

The first thing I loved about McKnight’s story, Goslyn County, was the countless strong women gracing the pages. Brains, beauty, brawn – her characters had it all and were respected members in their field of expertise and/or distinguished members of society. Take Ollie, she was a detective and taught math at the community college. Her mother, a retired teacher, was in Haiti helping to re-open schools devastated by Mother Nature. Lisa, her best friend, was a IT goddess and business owner. Gloria, Maureen’s sister, was also a business owner. I could go on but you get the idea. Smart, strong women — ideal role models for our youth. 

In regards to the cases being investigated by Ollie and Maureen, the plot of  the tax  fraud and subplot of car cloning had its moments were I was totally engrossed into the unfolding action and other times where I felt the story had gone stale.

When the lull moments came about, McKnight would bring me back into the fold with their choice of date topics. And McKnight, if you are reading this, I will never be able to look at the Pillsbury Doughboy the same way again. (See page 147 for explanation) 

Since this is a book revolving around two women falling in love, I must discuss my thoughts at the pairing. I liked they didn’t rush into sex. They waited until they were in love. When they finally consummated their relationship, they didn’t rip each other’s clothes off. They weren’t consumed with a fiery passion where they were frantically pawing at each other, starved for physical content. Like their courtship, they took their time — exploring one another. For me, the slow loving was more sensual, more erotic, than most “must have you now” sex scenes most authors seem to write.

Well done, A.M. Knight!! 

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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I’m a longtime Virginian and practice law as a first profession.  I decided to try my hand at writing after getting hooked on lesbian crime and romance novels. As a lover of fast crime action and black lesbian romance, I combined the two and wrote my first book, Goslyn County–self published. My future works include a short story romance and a second self-published novel–both based on the characters of Goslyn.

Twitter: @wordmc46

Website: ammcknight.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ammcknightbooks

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Review of “The Last Immortal” – Jenna Whittaker

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Death was alien to them. The people of the world never knew death for as long as any could recall; yet when their world slowed on its axis, the atmosphere disintegrating, the immortals felt death for the first time.

A wasting sickness ravaged their species. The old could not fight it, and the young who survived were permanently scarred by it, unable to ever bear children. Yet when it seemed that the sickness had passed, further destruction was laid upon them; the earth shattered. What was once a whole world became a mass of small shards of land held together, barely, with never-ending chasms separating them.

But when an immortal girl appears, Kyrilee, who cannot catch the wasting sickness, she tells a tale of dreaming thousands of years past, of giving birth to a cat. Most dismiss her as mad, but some believe she is the one they have been searching for. The one who holds the key to curing the sickness, who can bring the people together once more.

Kyrilee finds that she is no immortal, but instead a mortal body with an immortal soul, constantly reincarnating throughout the ages.
When she discovers the cats, the descendants of the one she birthed in her dream, and she realises it wasn’t a dream at all. These creatures hold the key to restoring the earth. She must take this key from them before they enslave the humans.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

For a science fiction book, I will admit there were certain elements of The Last Immortal which fell in beautifully with the sci-fi genre: immortal women, speaking cats, portals, and soul transference.  The cats, monstrous in size, were thought of Gods because of how they made their appearance to the humans. Humans whose lives were altered dramatically due to radiation and these cats. For the humans in the story, I would have appreciated more backstory on certain people: Marissa and Avery in particular. Jenna mentioned Avery loving her and her hating him in return. No explanation. No flashbacks. Nothing. Their part in the story felt incomplete and I think an expansion of their roles would have benefited their storyline greatly. I also wondered why they were the appointed leaders of their respected groups. Maybe this can be addressed in a prequel?

Now back to the cats, whose roles were the main focal part of The Last Immortal. I didn’t quite understand the whole concept of where they came from but science fiction is the genre of WTF. Basically, the impossible made possible through imagination and Jenna sure does have one helluva imagination.

However, due to the incompleteness with character development and the all-together feel this story was a sequel instead of a first in a possible series, I must dock it stars.

(Ends with a cliffhanger.)

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤1/2

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My name is Jenna Whittaker and I am an Australian author who has been writing fantasy, science fiction, and horror novels for as long as I can remember! I love writing, my artwork, and caring for animals.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jen_W_95

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennawhittaker

Deviantart: http://ky306.deviantart.com/

Tumblr: http://jenna-whittaker.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCObXlq2opvKiBg5PjRhfXRg

Pinterest: https://au.pinterest.com/jenna_whittaker/

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jennawhittaker

Sketchmob: https://sketchmob.com/user-profile/Jen144/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/jenna.artwork

https://www.facebook.com/jennawhittakerauthor

Blog/Websites:

http://jennawhittakerart.weebly.com/

http://jennawhittaker-author.weebly.com/

 

 

 

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Review of “Law Of Attraction” – Darlene Fredette

 

Lawyer Christina Crawford has a successful career and stable financial future, but is it enough? Her world is disrupted when a routine divorce case means working with a man she never expected—or wanted—to see again. During their first meeting, she can’t deny a connection still exists. Her head warns her to run, but her heart yearns to stay.

Steven Mitchell is ruthless in the courtroom, but outside those doors, his easy charm, good looks, and unlimited stream of female companions gives him an unscrupulous reputation. Six years ago, Christina saw beyond his façade, but the emotions she evoked scared him and he pushed her away. Now he wants a second chance and he is determined to get her back…even if he has to play dirty.

 
 PURCHASE LINKS:  KINDLE / PAPERBACK
 
 
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
 
Five years ago, Christina meets Steven through work, they go from despising each other to liking one another to becoming much more (in a span of three weeks) and is it no wonder why trust wasn’t ever fully achieved. 
 
It takes time and patience to build up trust. Seriously, I don’t think this can be achieved in 3 weeks, especially given their rocky start. (He questioned her character upon their first face-to-face meet.)  
 
He goes from  0-60 without thinking causing him to make one disastrous judgment call after another. All those years ago, his rash actions got her fired, tarnished her reputation, and hurt her in every way possibly.
 
Stephen really needs to learn to think before he speaks. His actions/words keep hurting her, even after they meet again due to a case they are both representing counsel on. 
 
Present day: Stephen’s mouth doesn’t seem to know when to quit. He still hasn’t learned the importance of slowing the eff down.  
 
With their history and his present attitude, I’m thoroughly surprised how quickly she melted in his arms…. again.  
 
As you can guess, I wasn’t a huge fan of their coupling.  
 
Sure, he was sweet towards the end. The letter to her, nice gesture. IMHO, one small gesture doesn’t erase a multitude of  pain. 
 
The only saving grace was Vince. Now him, I couldn’t get enough of and I think you’ll agree with my sentiments after you get a taste of him. 
 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤
 
 PURCHASE LINKS : KINDLE / PAPERBACK
 
 



An avid reader since childhood, Darlene loves to develop the stories swimming in her head. Following a career path in administration, she excelled in the art of editing and design, which eventually led to a position as Director of Administration and Marketing.

Now, making her dream come true to write full time, Darlene writes heartwarming contemporary romances with a focus on plot-driven page-turners.

Darlene resides on the East Coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and Yellow Lab. When not working on her next book, she enjoys spending time with her family.

  

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