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Author Showcase / Interview – Diane Shute (After Midnight & Midnight Crossing)

Welcome, Diane Shute!

 

  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?

(Diane) First of all, thanks for having me, Kam. I’m a somewhat typical West Coast girl (at my age, the term is best used loosely) I’ve always loved crafting stories, but writing did not evolve beyond a hobby until after I retired. Now that my children are grown, I’m free to enjoy my own pursuits. Before my mother passed away, she encouraged me to publish my work. I dedicated my first book, After Midnight, to her memory.

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  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Diane) Nothing is worse than the intimidation of the blank page of a new work. For me, it’s best to just start writing. The story shapes itself later. Syntax and rhythm don’t matter in a first draft. The point is to get it down to edit later. Afterwards, I put my work away and let it sit while I do other things. When I pull it out again, I go back to work. Voila—no more “block” in the process of defining the sentences.

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

(Diane) Absolutely—I write 19th century historical fiction, with a twist of mystery and suspense. When I’m not writing a book, I can usually be found with my nose in one. My kids tell me I’m a good cook, but maybe they just like to eat. I love flowers and putter around with light gardening. I also have two dogs and three cats, all of which are rescue animals. I’m guilty of taking too many pictures, some of which I post on social networks.

(KAM) Kids will tell you when they don’t like a food/meal, so I’m sure you’re a fantastic cook. As for gardening, I’ve never had any luck making anything grow — well, except weeds.  😛 

 

 

  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?

(Diane) Yes, with one book published and on the verge of launching the sequel, everyone in my family is aware of my passion to write. One of my daughters is actually my chief beta reader…I love to brag about my supportive family!

 

 

 

  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.

(Diane) Holy cow; where to start? I hold near and dear the writings of Kahlil Gibran. In high school, I read all the classics I could find in the local libraries. John Steinbeck’s The Red Pony was my first real book, a gift from my grandmother when I was eight. Lewis Carroll was also intriguing because he was my father’s favorite author. My older brother is actually named after him…but out of all those old classics, I would say Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe win out. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Kipling have long been exciting. Of contemporary writers, I admire Gregory Maguire and Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly, and I’ve just begun a fantastic new series by Ken Fry that’s very promising.

 

 

  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 to see cast in the parts?

(Diane) I would cast my own, of course!

Of the characters from the Midnight Trilogy, I’d like to see

Natalie Portman as Alix and her twin sister Lily

Richard Armitage as her uncle, Quenton Saint-Descoteaux

Taron Egerton as Lily’s husband, Nicholas Griffon

Hugh Jackman as Alix’s guardian, Sir Robert Gordon

Ryan Gosling as the mysterious Drago Fortescue

Ryan Reynolds as the notorious Count Claude Rouget, and lastly but not least…

Jessica Chastain as Alix’s friend, Leah Burton

(KAM) I love your casting choices! 

 

 

  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.

(Diane) Book 3 of the Midnight Trilogy is my WIP. It is as yet untitled, and is the conclusion of the series and solutions to mysteries will be revealed.

 

 

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

(Diane) After Midnight is Book one, Midnight Crossing is Book two. Book 3 of course is under construction. They can be found online at Amazon, Kobo, Barns & Noble, Taylors–wherever books are sold, basically.

 

As far as Alix is concerned, she has no past—only today, and her plans for the future: creating a dynamic stable of Thoroughbreds that will take the 1830s British racing world by storm. When forced into assuming the role of Lord Griffon’s wife in London, her plans are threatened by disturbing images of a castle from her past that fight to resurface. Alix is determined to find a way to take control of her life and fulfill her dreams. This women’s historical fiction novel is the first in the Midnight Series.

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When Quenton wants to take Alix home to France after years of exile in England, she is torn between the restoration of her fortune and her dream to build her Sterling Wood Stable into a successful racing business. She finds an unlikely friend in her uncle’s companion, Nicholas Griffon. Caught by her surprising fondness for him, Alix does not realize shadows from the past are stalking her―until she’s trapped by their darkness.

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

(Diane) Anyone can find me at www.dianeshute.com… After Midnight is on Facebook, and I’m @DianeShute on Twitter.

 

 

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

(Diane) I appreciate the invitation to join you, Kam. I look forward to hearing from your followers and reading their reviews! Thank you!

 

Thank you so very much, Diane, for joining me today. It was a true pleasure learning more about you. I wish you all the best in life and oodles of sales!

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Andrew Cull (Knock and You Will See Me)

Welcome, Andrew Cull!

 

 

  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?

(Andrew) Hi there! Thanks for having me. I’m a horror writer and feature director. I started out writing and directing in the theatre while I was at Uni. From there, I moved to writing for TV and film. I returned to directing in 2007, when I created the Louise Paxton mystery for YouTube. Following on from that, I wrote and directed The Possession of David O’Reilly. Recently, I’ve written my first novel, Remains, four novellas, and a new feature film which I’m hoping to get my teeth into soon.

 

Based on actual events, THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’REILLY is a terrifying supernatural shockumentary about a demonic presence in a young couple’s home in London.

US – Amazon Link

 

UK – Amazon Link

 

 

(KAM) Oh my goodness gracious, this trailer scared the $#*! out of me! 

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Andrew)  I think I’m really lucky when it comes to writer’s block. It’s not something I tend to suffer from. In fact, I often have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all! But, if I ever get stuck plotting or find a scene’s giving me problems I take a train journey. By the time I’m half an hour into the journey I’m normally filling my notepad with thoughts and ideas about how to move forward or what to write next.

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

(Andrew)  I’m primarily a horror writer. I believe that horror is much more effective if it’s believable and so my stories tend to be grounded in reality, sometimes focusing on urban myths and legends. I’ll always choose suspense over gore. I’m a huge Hitchcock fan.

When I’m not writing I’m a big gamer. I’m a screenarcher, which means I shoot the worlds and characters of video games. I have a Flickr page with all my screenshots on it.

flickr link

 

I also study Taekwondo and try to fit in some reading. I’m almost always the last person to watch any given horror movie as I have trouble finding the time to fit everything in! I’m still trying to find time to watch Get Out!

 

 

  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?

(Andrew)  All my friends and family know I’m a writer. I’m very lucky in that, even through the tough times (and there have been plenty) they’ve always been very supportive of my work. I’ve never had anyone suggest I give it up and do something else.

I think if you’re a writer you should be proud of it. Success shouldn’t be something measured in book sales or income. Every day you sit down to write you’re a success.

 

~~ Another short story to check out! ~~

Print Length: 23 pages

 

That summer should have been filled with laughter, with slip n’ slides in the yard, lazy afternoons lying watching ice cream clouds swirling through the blue sky, melting in slow motion. I watched a plane rising high above our house. From the ground it looked completely still, as if it hung suspended in the air, a model on a string. I wished I was on it, I wished I could escape. I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home.

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  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.

(Andrew)  That is a tough question. It’s an eclectic list. OK, here goes…

 

10. Koji Suzuki

9. Arthur Conan Doyle

8. Roald Dahl

7. H.P. Lovecraft

6. Chuck Palahniuk

5. JG Ballard

4. Richard Matheson

3. Shirley Jackson

2. Stephen King

1. James Ellroy

 

 

  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 to see cast in the parts?

(Andrew)  I’d really like to direct an adaptation of my forthcoming novel, REMAINS. I’d cast Gillian Anderson in the lead. I wrote the novel with her in mind. She’s fantastic, one of my all-time favorite actors.

 

 

  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.

(Andrew)  I’m working on a new horror feature script, a new novel and a number of shorter stories. One of them is a new novella based in the same town as HOPE AND WALKER.

Print Length: 29 pages

 

“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him.”

Em Walker is just like any other 10-year-old girl growing up in the small, outback town of Hope. That is, except for the fact that her Dad runs one of the town’s two funeral parlours, and the dead have just started speaking to her…

When Hope is rocked by a terrible crime, Em, stubborn, scared of spiders, and with a temper that’s likely to get her into trouble, will find herself thrust into the middle of a dangerous hunt for the truth.

“Being scared’s good,” Grandpa Walker had told me once. “Stops us from doing stupid things.” 
It hadn’t stopped me.

 

Praise for Hope and Walker:

“An exceptional short story.” – Frank Michaels Errington.
“Andrew Cull proves himself.” – Eddie Generous, Unnerving Magazine.

 

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

(Andrew)  My novellas are available exclusively through Amazon at present. When REMAINS is released, it’ll be available worldwide through most bookstores. There’s no a specific order to read my stories in at present, although some of the characters from my books will cross paths in the future. I’m probably the worst person to ask about which story to read first as I’ll always recommend the one I’ve just finished. That’s always the one I’m most excited about. I would say though, that if you pick up any of my stories I’m very grateful to you for doing so, and I really hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for checking out my work.

 

 

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

(Andrew)  I’m always open to anyone who’s read my stories or seen my movies getting in touch. I love to hear what people make of my books and films. I can be contacted via my Facebook page, my Twitter, or directly via email. I try to reply to all the messages I receive. Sometimes it takes me a while, especially if I’ve got my head down on a project, but I do get around to all of them eventually.

Website Link

 

 

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

(Andrew)  Well, I’d like to say thanks for hosting me and reading my work. It was great to talk to you!

 

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

First, I would like to thank Andrew Cull for partaking in this interview and for inviting me to read Knock and You Will See MeIt will haunt my dreams, much like Ellie’s dad haunted her and her children. 

Continue reading below to catch a sneak peek of  Knock and You Will See Me and to read my full review on this nightmare-inducing tale. 

 

 

Now, lets check out the frightfully good read….

Print Length: 77 pages

 

“We buried Dad in the winter. It wasn’t until the spring that we heard from him again.”

Knock and You Will See Me is a new ghost story by award winning writer-director Andrew Cull.

When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys will find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.

“Dad? I looked down at the scribbled note in my hand, at the words torn into the paper. What had started as a whisper had grown louder, more desperate. The words had been screamed onto the page. Dad? Please. What’s going on?”

 

 

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

 

When I was much younger, I was captivated and freaked out by two blockbuster movies — The Sixth Sense (1999) and the original Flatliners (1990). The very notion someone could see dead people, the dead could interact with the living, scared the daylights out of me. This gift of seeing, hearing, or interacting with the dead was frightening, much like Knock and You Will See Me. 

When we bury a friend or loved one, we hope he or she is going on to a better place. Our wish is for their suffering to be finally over. If that’s not the case, it makes you rethink dying and those we’ve buried. Also, if Death comes after you or someone you love, who can really sleep soundly at night. 

Eerie notes, knocking noises, maggots, and black ooze would be enough to send chills down anyone’s spine but Andrew took it a step further. He tapped into the unknown and brought the boogeyman to Ellie Ray’s door… literally. She fought it. Her children fought it. In the end, I didn’t feel like their story was truly over. Death never goes away; therefore, I can see why Knock and You Will See Me didn’t end with a typical conclusion. 

Some readers might be hoping for a more complete ending. Actually, I was expecting more as well. I tapped more than once on my kindle thinking this can’t be the end. It didn’t feel like it should be the end. Yet, it was over… for me. For them, their nightmarish tale continued on. Maybe in another tale? We shall see. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Author Showcase / Interview & GIVEAWAY CONTEST – Simon Lindley (Mannethorn’s Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy)

Welcome, Simon Lindley!
 
 

  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?

(Simon) I got the bug early. My first literary work, The Magic Skates was picked up by my elementary teacher. I was six. First gold star! That was it. Hooked. The problem that accosted me later was that although writing fiction, especially fantasy, turned out to be my lifelong calling, the realization also struck me that I wasn’t very good at it. So somewhere between age six and fifty-one I broadened my writing abilities. I’ve written about a dozen books but I wouldn’t put any of them ‘out there’. I refer to them as my ‘growth phase’, which is a euphemism for working at sucking less. Mannethorn’s Key was a culmination of over a decade’s worth of work. I’m proud of it. It’s my first work that I feel has earned a place in the literary ether.

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Simon)  I am not so much cursed by the block as I am the Mull. I am a muller. I write a paragraph, analyze it, read it back, demand that it speaks to me, write a fake following paragraph just to coax it, and then delete it and rewrite it. I never have a block. In fact, at times, I’ll write 10,000 words in a single shot. My issue is that I will then spend four weeks mulling over it.
 

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

(Simon)  I love writing epic fantasy. For me, no other genre provides more firepower for my imagination or lets me fully immerse myself while writing. It delivers the palette to create a unique world that doesn’t limit the scope. As George R. R. Martin proved, it can be terribly dark, vulgar, violent and sexual while still world building. Besides, there’s a lot of mutants, vampires, zombies and dystopian futures out there, according the number of scribes chronicling such tales. Don’t get me wrong. Some of the best books produced this decade are in those sub-genres. I have read some brilliant works, and many are far beyond my writing and imaginative abilities. However, I believe there is still a place and a desire from many readers for the epic.

 

 

I am also a huge fan of science fiction but I’m not that smart. To write really good sci-fi these days requires, in my humble view, a commanding grasp of physics and science. In fact, many of the best writers in the genre are brilliant physicists.
When I’m not writing I’m hiking in the alpine, crooning in the basement while playing my guitars (badly), outside chopping wood, or building very questionable additions onto our house in the Rockies.

 

 

  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?

(Simon)  They do now! It’s funny. I’m the reverse of that, I guess. I’ve played the corporate game. I was a newspaper publisher and, for a while groomed for upper management with all the ‘perks’. I walked away. It was killing me both spiritually and physically. I’m a fortunate man because I had the choice to do so but it’s been a struggle nevertheless. I am both a musician and writer. That’s what I put ‘out there’. Yeah, I picked some real winner careers for making the big bucks but it is what I love. Friends and family have been incredibly supportive and believe in what I’m doing.
(Kam) I’m thrilled you have a solid support team behind you. 

 

 

  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.

(Simon)  Yeah, I’m with you on that one. There are so many amazing writers. However, I have my all-time favorites, no doubt. Stephen R. Donaldson was a genius with the Thomas Covenant series, really launching the dark, introspective side of fantasy. David Eddings has been a huge influence. Tolkien, well – we can just leave it there. Terry Brooks, Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, Isaac Asimov, Piers Anthony, and I quite liked the Runelord series by David Farland. The first books of Robert Jordan and Terry Goodkind were stellar but then I just got bogged down – or they did. Still, they impacted my own writing, no doubt, even if it was just to remind me to treat the reader with respect and keep the story moving.

 

 

  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 to see cast in the parts?

(Simon)  Wow. That’s a tough one. I would have to say the Belgariad series by David Eddings would make my dream list. However, it is so painful to watch great books get butchered by the movie industry. The first three LOTR’s were done reasonably well. I won’t talk about the Hobbit. Let’s not speak of Eragon.
If it was done right, with a great screenwriter, it would top those that have preceded it. The most unsung face for a wizard has to be Tommy Lee Jones. He would make a perfect Belgarath! Maybe Mr. Ratcliffe could launch a new career as Garion??
(Kam) Eragon, I actually loved the movie. Never read the book but the movie wasn’t half-bad. 

 

 

  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.

(Simon)  Ha! No, let’s be open and avoid any covert ops. I have two buns in the oven. The first, of course, is the sequel to Mannethorn’s Key, called Outworlder. I have the full plot of the trilogy laid out and have penned about a third of Book Two already. It’s slated for a winter, 2018 release. My other project is one that I am quite excited about, an urban fantasy entitled Gaia’s Assassin. It’s dark, a bit dystopian, but I feel it’s quite unique from the work we’re seeing in the genre.
(Kam) Can’t wait to check them out! 

 

 

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

(Simon)  Mannethorn’s Key is my debut work. You can find it on Smashwords, Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and in many fine bookstores. The book is out in both ebook and paperback editions.

 

 

 

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

(Simon)  I am always excited to hear from readers. They can contact me through my website ,  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or at AllAuthor. 

 

 

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

(Simon)  Remember the internet when the vision was about freedom and access? I know – I’m dating myself – but we are at that point again with literature. At our doorstep is the opportunity for a diverse voice unlike any time in our history. For the first time, you, the reader can access independent bloggers, reviewers and authors in a way that was unfathomable a decade ago. Keep it that way. Support new authors. Write a review, and buy your books from alternatives that support a free and open marketplace of ideas, not a monopoly that ends them. Sure, we don’t all have the marketing and editing resources of the big boys, but that’s why we have sites like this to help you discover the gems.
Thank you for supporting indies like me, along with independent blog and review sites.
There. That’s my plug. Thank you for reading!
(Kam) And thank you for giving me and our lovely visitors the chance to get to know you a wee bit better. Also, I appreciate the opportunity to host you and this amazing, generous giveaway.
FYI: Any reader would be lucky to have Mannethorn’s Key so, if you want to add this epic fantasy novel to your library, stick around for more details! 
 

 
  
 

Ladies and Gents, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Simon Lindley. Now lets discuss the giveaway!

Prize up for grabs — A KINDLE COPY of the Mannethorn’s Key: Book One of the Key of Life Trilogy.

To enter the contest – Leave us a comment below. Say howdy, leave a smile/heart, or ask a question.

One entry per person. International residents are welcomed to enter, too! 

The contest will end Friday at 11:59 p.m., central time. On Saturday, I will select a winner, post their name on a comment, and be in contact with him or her  SO……. have your settings open to receive messages or follow the comment thread and be ready to give me or Simon your kindle email address. 

 

Thank you and Good luck.

 

~~ PRIZE! ~~

TWO WORLDS. TWO SPIRITS. ONE POWER.

At the end of an age, a Bearer wielded the Key of Life and ended Dragon’s Rule. Such powers and heroes, long dead or lost, must again be raised and found…

Algarth Willowbrow is about to gamble everything. His once-powerful Order is in ruins, and he faces an unwinnable battle to save his life and his people. In a last, desperate attempt, he lures his arch nemesis deep within his keep, hoping to utilize him and reclaim a long-hidden magic, powerful enough to save the world – or destroy it.

Bartholomew Waxman, former derivatives broker extraordinaire has gambled everything – and lost. Bankrupt, unemployed and divorced, his only hope for salvation is to try and rebuild his self-inflicted shattered life. But at his first job interview, he is grabbed by a spell and thrust into the netherworld of Between. There, he is groomed to wield a power so vast that it will decide a world’s fate.

The land’s only hope is the reluctant and unprepared Bartholomew, the wizard Algarth whose powers are gravely in doubt – and the Key of Life, with its true power hidden from all.

Delve into the beginnings of a vast fantasy epic that embraces a man, a wizard and a world seeking redemption.

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EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER SIX, MANNETHORN’S KEY:

 

The wind picked up with a sudden, icy bite. He smiled and ended his melody. The gust had not originated from the waning heat of the departed sun or the hills beyond. It was born from a Seether landing on the road ahead.

Behind three of the wolf boars who had taken position directly in front of the cart’s path, dust and gravel churned up from the flaps of massive, leathery wings. The stranger saw nothing but the black silhouette of a two-legged beast towering twice the traveler’s height. It blotted out the early stars; the only discerning features were its yellow phantom eyes, now assessing its prey.

The Seether spoke, snakelike, assuring its hunters, “Itsss a wizzard! It bearsss the mark. But itsss magic iss ussselesss. Rip it to piecesss!”

The wolf boars were ecstatic. A meal was coming sooner than expected, but only the three who stood ahead of him on Ferryman’s Way advanced.

The wizard stood silent with eyes focused on the road ahead, as if his enemies were invisible.

Slowly, cautiously, the entire pack tightened its noose. The three forward gained courage as they sensed no meaningful defense from their prey, saliva dripping from their muzzles.

The stranger remained motionless, the only tension was in his fingers, taut about his staff, knuckles white.

“Ghaawww!” The wolf boars attacked, lunging for the quick kill, one for the stranger’s neck, the other for the legs, with the last to rip open his abdomen and feast on his guts.

The wizard’s arms rose just as the wolf boars leapt – and the air cracked.

A soundless percussion reverberated out from the crowd of odd company on Ferryman’s Way. The attackers momentarily hovered in the air, frozen in the eerie wave of dark power. The remaining wolf boars looked on in confusion and fear, but they too were frozen in the vile energy. The ground underfoot and surrounding fields along the roadway trembled, and the boulders in the fields glowed with a fiery tinge as if ignited to life.

A second passed, and the night awoke anew, the spell over. Three wolf boars lay dead only inches from the traveler’s bare feet; their bodies twitching and bellies split open, blood spilling from their wounds in great black pools, reflecting the resplendent stars above.

“By the Grail! He wieldsss the Han! He isss one of usss!”

The traveler under the cowl grasped the staff and the harness of his wagon but remained ominously silent.

“My lord, forgive uzzz. Why hide your Order?”

The stranger spoke. “I answer to no subordinate. Am I your Lord, Seether?”

“You wield the Han, my Lord. Yesss,” it replied.

“Good. Then answer me this. Are you the Seether of the conquered Plains, keeper of the Map of Ismantrutna?”

“Yesss, Lord. Do you ssseek the power over the Zzzhin puppetsss? It showzz uzzz all the ancient HanZzzhinSsshasss. I keep it ssssafe.” From a pouch strapped to the creature’s barreled chest it produced a scroll in its clawed grasp.

“How is it that you approach an unknown enemy carrying such a valuable relic and take no precautions to ensure your master’s property remains safe?”

“I. I –”

“Just as I suspected. Mindless beast. Must we Mil-HanFanthas and the Hanlord do everything ourselves? Give it to me.”

“I will take you to it, Massster. I am the keeper of the map.”

“Not anymore.”

“Have you permisssion from Hanlord Grailborn to take the Map from me, my Lord?”

The stranger paused. “Here is my permission.”

He raised his arms, staff held high overhead, and to the dismay of the remaining pack, the wizard let loose the dark Han magic upon the night once more. With a look of satisfaction, the wizard forever released the wide-eyed Seether and his wolf boars of their duties.

 

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – A. A. Medina (Siphon)

 

  1. Welcome, A. A. Medina! 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? 

(A. A. Medina) To start with the basics, my full name is Adrian Alexander Medina. I was born and raised and still reside in Phoenix, Arizona with my lovely wife, Samantha, our cats, Ishtar and Monkey, and our puppy, Sansa.

As far back as I could recall, I leaned toward the creative side. Whether it was drawing, music, or writing; however, I never really focused on one. To make a long story short, after my father (somewhat abruptly, i.e. long story) passed away in October of 2012, it was like getting hit by a train while skipping nonchalantly in an open field. Weak analogy, but I hope you get the drift.

After the shock and awe and soul-crushing nature of the loss, I reflected on my life and realized I was kind of just floating along. Sure, I played and wrote in bands, we played lots of shows and released albums, but my heart was never truly “in it”.

I don’t remember my thought process at the time, but I decided I wanted to focus the rest of my life on storytelling. I knew – being a person that easily jumps from one idea to the other without completion – that if I didn’t find a way to light the proverbial fire under my ass, I would let that decision fall through the cracks when the next shiny thing came along. So, I enrolled in school, figuring the hard deadlines and financial burden could be that fire.

Many things about the craft I could have learned on my own, but what the school did teach me was a deadline oriented work ethic and a sense of community and networking. That is where I met my business partner for Aphotic Realm Magazine, Dustin Yoak.

@DustinSchyler (Twitter)

@AphoticRealm (Twitter)

 

We graduated in March of 2017. Overall, I think my plan worked out.

(Until the debt cripples me)

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(A. A. Medina) First, I just try to push through it with force.

If that doesn’t work, I go on a walk or bike ride and try to work it out in my head.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll usually keep the document/notebook open next to me while I do something mind-numbing like chores around the house or videogames and if something comes – and idea, scene, piece of dialogue, or otherwise – I’ll jot it down.

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

(A. A. Medina) I like to try my hand at everything, but much of my stuff falls into the “Transgressive” genre. Looking back, there are a lot of crime and/or thriller elements to my stories.

When not writing, I’m usually working on Aphotic Realm. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading or playing games with the wife and friends – both video and tabletop. And if I’m not doing that, I’m being an utterly useless sack of garbage on the couch.

(Kam) It sounds like you lead a busy, fun life. Congrats! 

 

 

  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?

(A. A. Medina) If they didn’t know before, they do now due to social media. Many say it is a fitting path for me, many say they’re proud, but most just reply, “That’s sweet, dude.”

 

 

  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.

(A. A. Medina) I, as well, have a long list. However, I’ll just keep it to my recent favorites. I tend to consume mostly science fiction, with that said, my two current favorites are John Scalzi and James S.A. Corey (technically three because James S. A. Corey is two people: Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck). I haven’t read anything I haven’t loved by them in the recent years.

 

 

 

  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 to see cast in the parts?

 (A. A. Medina) I love this game!

I’ll choose Siphon since this is why I’m here to begin with.

First, I think Dr. Gary Phillips should be played by Gary Oldman (circa 1998). That man can transform into any character almost flawlessly. I would like to see Wendy Carter played by Sharon Stone (circa 1990). Francis could be played by Rip Torn. And Snowflake could be played by Kate Beckinsale (circa 2003).

Could you tell I’ve never thought about this?

If it were a current production let’s say, respectively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alison Brie, still Rip Torn, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

(Kam) Siphon definitely left a lasting impression on me. (Review posted below.) 

 

 

 

  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.

 (A. A. Medina) Besides a bunch of things over at AphoticRealm.com, I am outlining what you could call the spiritual successor of Siphon. I don’t want to release the actual title just yet.

 

AphoticRealm.com

Book_Skull

 

Our Approach

First and foremost, we are here for the love of the craft. In addition, there are a lot of young, talented writers that struggle to find a home in a very competitive market. We wanted to provide such a home and from that desire, Aphotic Realm was born.

Our Story

Adrian and Dustin met during their studies at Full Sail University and quickly gravitated towards each other due to their similar tastes in dark fantasy, humor, sci-fi, and more. A short time later, they were critiquing each other’s work and collaborating on projects. After graduation, they decided to combine their talents to form Aphotic Realm.

 

 

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

(A. A. Medina) You can find Siphon on Amazon and all those other places people find books online. But, if you really want to be a winner, you’ll buy a physical copy from HinderedSoulsPress.com

I don’t have too many stories floating around, but that will change soon.

 

 

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

 (A. A. Medina) You can follow/contact me on Twitter: @UglyByProxy

 

 

 

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

(A. A. Medina) Check out AphoticRealm.com where we have some upcoming publications and online stories by a plethora of amazing authors! Go to HinderedSoulsPress.Com and pick up everything in stock and if it is not in stock, email them and complain.

I hope everyone who read, or plans to read, my work enjoys it.

Thank you for your time!

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

And thank you for joining me here today.

Folks, now for the grand finale….

Let’s check out Siphon, the story that will creep you out (but in a good way). 

 

THERE IS AN URGE INSIDE YOU…

Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, is a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle.

Burdened with an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break.

That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self, forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.

 

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Excerpt from Chapter Three

 

I was exhausted. It was about the time I would usually lay my head in my arms and close my eyes to kill a few hours. The centrifuge hummed and I turned off half of the overhead lights. It gave the room a warm, soft, luminescent glow. Instead, I hustled.

When handling sensitive material—blood in glass tubes and crucial information about the livelihood of people I’d never meet—I knew I had to work slow, careful, with grace, without shaky hands, with a keen eye and a sharp mind. So, there I am, excessive fatigue and under the influence of downers. And jittery from the uppers.

Amid retrieving multiple vacutainers from the refrigerator, I dropped one. It shattered, and chilled blood oozed onto the dirty linoleum floor.

Cursing through my clinched jaw, I squeezed the bridge of my nose and accessed the damage. I slid the other two vacutainers I was holding into my lab coat pocket and reached for the paper towels. Quilted. I knelt to clean it up, but then something happened.

I leered at the human oil crawl toward me. In that moment, my mind was empty. Not a loss-for-words empty or nodding-off empty. But, empty. No worries, no feelings, no opinions, no identity. No longer was I tired, but I was not awake either.

A comfortable void.

Nothing mattered. Not I or anyone else. I wasn’t sure how long I must’ve been on my knees as I gazed at the pool of vital, room-temperature fluid. My mind was a dark abyss, my body was a barren cavity. I’ve heard of out-of-body experiences before, but I’d never experienced one myself. I, or – for lack of a better word – my soul, watched as my body was taken hostage by another being. A stronger being. A godly being. And then it pulled me back in with it.

The stillness was broken and the vacuum was filled as I jolted back into my body, yet I was still unable to move. My eyes forced to fixate on the blood that had started to congeal. At first, the voice was just a whisper. It was confident, omnipresent, and not after long did it feel like a loudspeaker was installed inside my skull. A mantra, it repeated:

 

                                        There is an urge inside you…

                                                   … which cannot be satisfied…

                                                                  … with conventional methods.

 

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

 

Whether you label Dr. Gary Phillips a psychopath or sociopath, everyone who reads Siphon will agree Gary is a total whack job. There were a few scenes, so vividly written, I actually felt the urge to vomit. Example: Consumption of blood is gross enough but swallowing vaginal blood and getting aroused by it simply made me want to hurl. Other sections involving blood, gore, and violence were also very descriptive and thus showed the true depth of Gary’s warped mind. 

Despite the grotesque content, I have to commend A. A. Medina on creating a story that came alive on the pages even as characters were falling prey to Gary’s delusional mind. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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p style=”text-align: center;”>Audiobook – Unabridged Link (UK)

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Petie McCarty (Betting on Cinderella)

HOWDY and welcome, Petie McCarty! 

 

 

  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?

 

(Petie) I would love to and thank you for allowing me to spend time with your Kam’s Place readers today and to share my new release, Betting on Cinderella.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology, which was no help at all when I decided to write romance novels as a second career. However, several unique assignments during my early career as a state biologist—which included surveying many Florida lakes and streams by airboat—provided background for my very first release, Everglades.

Everything that happened to the heroine in Everglades during her safari through the River of Grass happened to me at some time during my career: the bug storm, swimming with gators, the leeches, the heart-stopping airboat maneuvers. Everything, that is, except getting stranded overnight with a hunky airboat guide. I never got one of those, so I wrote my own.

 

Photographer Kayli Heddon has been given the biggest assignment of her career — a photo essay on the Everglades Restoration the Florida governor intends to use in his re-election campaign. A special airboat safari is arranged, so Kayli can get her pictures. What she doesn’t count on is being stranded alone in the Everglades with her handsome and enigmatic airboat guide. Kayli is forced to learn some tough lessons. Trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner can make all the difference in your survival. 

Skye Landers takes the airboat safari gig as a favor to his cousin who is called out of town. Skye doesn’t expect the governor’s photographer to catch his eye, but Kayli Heddon is unlike any woman he has ever met. He knows he should keep his distance, but common sense goes out the window whenever he gets near her. Trouble is, Kayli thinks honesty is the most important thing in a relationship — any relationship — and Skye Landers is a fraud. When secrets surface from Skye’s past, Kayli and Skye are soon on the run from more than just alligators.
 

 

 

I was lucky enough to spend most of my career working for the Walt Disney World Resort. What could be more magical than driving by Cinderella’s Castle on your way to work every day? I came late to the world of publishing and had never considered writing until about ten years ago. I think it was living in the heart of the theme park entertainment industry that constantly tweaked my imagination and made me want to write. I had the fun of working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating my own romantic fairy tales by night. I eventually said good-bye to my wonderful “day” job to write my stories full-time.

At present, I live—and write—on the beautiful Cumberland Plateau with my horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English springer spaniel addicted to green olives stuffed with pimento, and a talkative Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.

 

…a cozy mystery with a touch of romantic suspense from the Mystery Angel Romance series — with an angel hidden in every book. It’s up to you to figure out the angel’s identity… 

Child psychologist Rachel Kelly isn’t quite sure how to handle the situation with her newest client — a six-year-old boy who says he can talk to angels and one is coming to help Rachel. She already has her hands full of trouble this Christmas season, and things quickly take a turn for the worse when a stalker crashes Rachel’s Christmas party and takes her young clients hostage.

Police negotiator, Lt. Jake Dillon, walked away from his fiancée Rachel when she suddenly balked at having kids. His kids. Yet as the hostage crisis erupts, Rachel calls Jake first. Now he has a choice to make — stand back and wait for the cavalry to save Rachel or step in and try to save her himself. Time is running out, and Jake may be their only chance for rescue.

Unless Rachel’s little angel-spying client is telling the truth…

 

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  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Petie) This may sound weird, but I see movies that run in my head. If the beginning, middle, and end of the story are all there, then that’s the next book I write. When the movie starts running, I speed-write scene bullets, so I can begin the sequel whenever I’m ready. The bullets become my outline.

Thus, I’ve never really suffered full-blown writer’s block, but I suffer from my own viral strain that I call “climax block.” Now doesn’t that sound scary? For me, it induces a very real panic that occurs with every novel I’ve written to date. I get to the big climactic scene at the end of the book, and I just can’t seem to get it on the page.

I know what must happen from the movie in my head and even which characters should participate, but I can’t seem to get the action sequences to formulate on the page. Therein lies the panic. My particular block strain lasts from one to three weeks, which is the amount of time to elapse before the initial action sequence in the movie finally starts to run in my head. Thankfully, the movie has always appeared, but the shreds of panic never completely dissipate. The ever present worry… what if the movie never shows?

 

 

  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 do you spend your time?

(Petie) Marketing, marketing, and more marketing. Social media rules the world now and authors need to have a solid place in the various online venues if they expect to have successful book sales. A lot of a book’s advertising and promotion is trial and error. What works for one author or book may not work for another. Every book is different, but perseverance is the key. Marketing is like trying to get published, never ever give up.

 

 

  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?

(Petie) I write full-time from home now, but when I first started writing, I was a bit nervous about letting anyone in the workplace know I was writing novels on the side. Huge mistake. My co-workers got really excited about my first book and ended up being some of my biggest supporters and celebrated every release with me. It’s hard to know how co-workers will react, so it’s an individual decision for a writer whether to share your new venture or not.

(Kam) I’m so thrilled you have a supportive team at your back! 

 

 

  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.

(Petie) Easiest question of all since I’m a voracious reader, and I love a mix of fiction. So here is my mix of authors:

  1. Suzanne Brockmann – Her SEAL teams are incredible. I want to write like her when grow up.  =)
  2. Jennifer Crusie – She gives true meaning to romantic comedy. I have most of hers on audiobooks and have re-listened to all of them.
  3. Sarah MacLean ­­– I buy any historical romance she releases
  4. James Patterson – Synonymous with the word suspense
  5. Monica McCarty – Sorry, no relation though I wish there was. I LOVE her Spec Ops Highlanders in the Highland Guard historical series!
  6. Rachel Gibson – She is amazing, and I LOVE her humor
  7. Lisa Kleypas – Her contemporary romances are even better than her historicals.
  8. Lee Child – The Killing Floor scared me to death! All his books are riveting.
  9. Linda Howard – Awesome romantic suspense
  10. Michael Connelly – Always enjoy his twists-and-turns suspense

(Kam) Oooo, I just found me some new authors to check out. Thank you! 

 

 

  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 to see cast in the parts?

(Petie) Of course, I would want to choose Betting on Cinderella. *grin*

If my casting were fortuitous as well, then Chris Hemsworth—I can’t help it…I’m a huge Thor fan—would be Garrett Tucker. I mean, what landscaper wouldn’t have great biceps? And innocent-eyed Alexandra Daddario would make a lovely Andi Ryan.

 

 

  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.

(Petie) Right at this moment, I am finishing up Par for Cinderella, book three in the Cinderella Romances series. Billionaire Aidan Cross, who had a big part in the first two books of the series, insisted on having his own story. Aidan visits quaint Cypress Key, Florida—the future site for one of his world-famous golf resorts that no one in the small town wants. He promptly gets arrested for booting the mayor’s obnoxious son into the marina.

After that, I’ll start lining up my movie scene-bullets for Earl Away, the next book in my new Lords in Time series. The Earl of Dexter didn’t want to be left out and begged to be in the sequel to Duke du Jour, which released a few weeks ago. Like the Cinderella Romances, this series is comprised of standalone stories that have returning characters.

 

Jared Langley, present-day Duke of Reston, tumbles into an abandoned fountain on his ducal estate and travels back in time to the year 1816. There, Reston servants and local villagers think him a dead ringer for his namesake and rakehell ancestor—the seventh Duke of Reston, gone missing at the Battle of Waterloo. Unfortunately, Seven got mixed up with French spies out to assassinate the Duke of Wellington, and an unwary Jared ends up in their crosshairs.

Lady Ariana Hart has loved Jared Langley, the seventh Duke of Reston, since she was twelve years old, until the night the rogue broke her heart. Given up for dead, her rakish neighbor makes a miraculous return from Waterloo—only Jared shows up a changed man and reignites all the feelings Ariana had long ago buried.

Jared is in a race against time. He must waylay the suspicions of his quirky servants and neighbors, get to Wellington before the French spies do, fix his fountain—before Seven shows up—so Jared has a way home, and definitely not fall in love with the irresistible Lady Ariana.

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

(Petie) All of my books are available on Amazon, and all but the Cinderella Romances [because they are in Kindle Unlimited] are available at Barnes & Noble.

The Mystery Angel Romances each have an angel hidden in the plot whose identity is not revealed until the finale, unless the reader figures it out first. The stories can be read in any order since there are no returning characters, only an angel in each one.

The Cinderella Romances books have returning characters, so readers may want to start with Book 1 although all the stories read as standalones. Same for the Lords in Time series.

 

 

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

(Petie) I’d love to hear from readers at any of my social media links:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

 

 

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

(Petie) I just want to thank Kam’s Place and her loyal readers for allowing me to spend time with them today and share stories about my books. I hope you’ll give the Cinderella Romances series a try. Happy reading or writing to all — your pick!

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

 I think after reading Petie’s interview, you’ll have no problem finding something to read  for a long while.

I’ve enjoyed my time with Petie and I also enjoyed Betting on Cinderella.

Please keep scrolling down to get a glimpse inside the book and to see my feelings on this romancic tale.

Enjoy! 

 

Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather’s casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire’s shoes as the “Prince of Vegas.” His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight.

Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction.

A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.

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Andi Tells Garrett She’s a Virgin

 

“I want to make love to you.”

Andi stilled.

Garrett mentally kicked himself. He had gone and scared her.

Too much. Too soon.

But he couldn’t make himself move. He could lie here forever with Andi in his arms.

She wriggled from his grasp to sit up. “Um . . .”

“What?”

She looked too uncertain.

Not good.

He was okay with, “Not now, but maybe later.”

“I can’t,” she whispered.

Good thing he was sitting down. The jangle of fear that hit him could have knocked his knees out from under him.

“Can’t or won’t?” he forced out. No maybes on this one.

“Both.”

What the hell? Can’t and won’t?

All his uncertainties flooded back. Flora had said Andi and Peters were just friends. Was that friends with benefits? And what about that damn Drakos pawing her last week? No, he wouldn’t let those doubts crowd them here on the couch.

“Too soon?” he tried.

“Partly.” She looked away, and his heart sank amongst the growing heap of doubts.

“There’s someone else,” he said flatly, working to keep his expression blank and the hurt at bay.

She met his gaze square on then, no doubt trying to muscle her courage. “There’s something I should tell you.”

Damn.

“I’m—” She exhaled hard. “—no good at it.”

What? Is that all?

He fought back a grin of pure joy. “I’ll give you lessons.” He pulled her back for another kiss.

She shoved at his chest. “No. I don’t think I should.”

She flinched at his expression, and he worked to smooth his scowl.

“Go ahead. Spit it out.” Even he didn’t like his tone. “You’re sleeping with someone else, right?”

He should have done his homework before he went off half-cocked with all the flowers and balloons, trying to woo her.

“No, and I should slap you for that, suggesting I’m loose enough to go out with you while sleeping with someone else.”

“Then what the hell is it?” he shouted, forgetting all about Flora at the back of the house.

“I’ve never done it before!” she shouted back.

“What? Slapped someone?”

“No, you jerk. Slept with someone.” This, she didn’t shout.

He froze, right down to his heartbeat, and stared at her bright-pink cheeks. Could it be? Was she? A virgin?

“Holy smokes,” he wheezed.

She stared at her untouched glass of wine. “I’m not saying you and I will never,” she said softly.

Relief, warm and desperate, allowed his muscles to finally move. He gently traced the line of her cheek with his finger, a lump forming in his throat at the touch of something so rare and priceless.

“Glad to hear that.” He brushed his lips across hers, light as a whisper. Once. “My little sweetheart.” Twice. “My precious—” Three times. Always a charm.

“You’re not mad?”

Those big blue eyes stared up at him with an innocence that made his too-experienced heart ache with emotion.

“Mad?”

Should he tell her he wanted to go outside and howl his joy at the moon? To yell to the world what a lucky son of a gun he was? His Andi would be his Andi—proprietary, like his stock portfolio. All his. No one else. A primal sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.

“No, sweetheart, not mad. Glad,” he managed, then tugged her close and let his kiss show her exactly how he felt.

“When you’re ready,” he said against her lips. “Only when you’re ready.”

He had finally said and done the right thing, for she grabbed his shirt and laid an eye-crossing kiss on him.

 

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

 

Evil stepmother.

Two stepsisters. 

A Godmother who’s goal is it to try and make an orphaned girl’s life a bit brighter.

These are a few similarities to the famous Cinderella storyline. In both stories, there is a blue dress and a HEA with the damsel finding her one true love. 

However in Betting on Cinderella, the storyline contains things the original never touched upon: embezzlers, casinos, and mafia looking villains.

In each storyline, the good guys prevailed BUT in Betting on Cinderella readers will be surprised at how far Flora Merrywether will go to ensure Andi’s has her own fairy tale ending. 

BTW: Cute name selection when deciding upon Flora Merrywether. As an avid viewer of Disney movies, I recognize Sleeping Beauty’s magical guardians/protectors’ namesakes. You might’ve spelled ‘Merryweather’ slightly different but I see your inspiration for the name choice loud and clear. 

 

Flora

Merryweather

 

For the plot in Betting on Cinderella, there’s so much going on.  I knew we were in for a big surprise. Heck, I figured one out from the start. However, as the final chapters unfolded, I realized I only solved part of the puzzle. For that, my score, my feelings on the overall story increased by one point. 

 

Heart Rating System

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

 

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