“Remember Della”, by Cynthia Mock Burroughs


Oooh–here’s another one that is fresh off the e-printer! Of course by now, o faithful readers, you must realize that I only blog the best–and this sounds like a real winner. Want to find out more? Why, sure you do! Read on:


Kat, a “slightly” psychic sixteen-year-old, begins having disturbingly persistent dreams. Dreams of a yellow scarf – with a seeming life of its own – which taunts her and haunts her every dream. Dreams about Della, a fellow classmate, who to this point has remained all but invisible to any and every one at school. Kat eventually comes to the realization that until she unravels the mystery surrounding that “dagblasted” creepy yellow scarf and this girl she hardly knows, she’ll not have another night’s rest. What Kat soon discovers is that she is the only person in Della’s life (including the girl’s mother and stepfather) who recognizes – or will admit – Della has simply vanished, gone “splitsville”! And Kat is helpless as her life becomes indelibly intertwined with Della’s – so much so, that she will carry the emotional scars for years to come.

Kat is surrounded by an extremely colorful cast of characters. You will meet: long-time friend and recent love interest, Em; Kat’s precocious eight-year-old brother, Gordy; her feisty octogenarian neighbor, Mrs. Harper and a chain smoking waitress named Clovis. All who, for various reasons, join Kat’s desperate quest to help a girl she hardly knows and to find answers to questions that, with any luck, will bring her the peace she seeks – the biggest question on her mind being, “Why me?”

“Remember Della” – which is predominately set in the South during the mid-fifties – is chock full of facts, trivia and slang from that era. While an entertaining read, I believe this book addresses bullying – both physical and emotional – in a fresh and unique way during a time before such issues were “labeled” as unacceptable or problematic.


This sounds intriguingly complex–just the way mysteries should be written. I like that it addresses bullying–it’s about time the light was shone on this problem.

So–anyone for an excerpt? Coming right up!


I HATED THAT despicable clock. I hated the way those two nerve-jangling, damnable bells blasted me so urgently from sleep every morning. I snatched the clock up, shut off the alarm and slammed the offending thing back onto the nightstand. Throwing the covers back and my legs over the side of the bed, I stood unsteadily a moment before aiming my body at the door leading to the hall. Destination—the bathroom. But as my fingers touched the doorknob the clock began its shrill intonations again. Oh dear Lord! That sound, so early in the morning, was the equivalent of fingernails screeeking down a chalkboard. Hadn’t I just turned the dad-blamed thing off? Maybe I jarred the lever into the ‘on’ position when I, perhaps a little too vigorously, delivered the clock back to its pocked resting place.

I retraced my steps and after turning the alarm off, again, placed the clock on the nightstand—a little more gently this time. And for more reasons than one, I moved a wee bit faster for the bedroom door. I reached it a second time and stopped cold—the God-forsaken clock was, once again, clanging for attention! With the strangest mixture of anger, fear and foreboding I walked back, turned the alarm off a third time and buried ‘Baby Ben’ not only under the covers, but both pillows as well. Then I ran back to the door, jerked it open and took off through it.

Instead of the hall outside my bedroom door, I found myself out on the street in front of my house—still dressed in baby doll pajamas and walking toward my bus stop. There wasn’t time to go home and change. The school bus had arrived and it sat idling as a half-dozen students climbed on. I waved and yelled for them to wait, but no one seemed to hear.

Running for the bus wasn’t even an option, for it was suddenly as if my feet and I were slogging through knee-deep mud. I could only watch as the door closed and the bus pulled off without me. Oddly, I felt thoroughly and utterly bereft—as if all my hopes and dreams had taken off with that big yellow bus.

As the bus lumbered down the road something yellow flew out an open window. Even from where I stood I could see it was a scarf—a yellow scarf—lifting, floating and fluttering in the early morning breeze.

My legs came unglued and I began running after that scarf like my life depended upon reaching it before it touched the ground. I caught up to it, but each time I attempted to pluck it from the air a breeze would whisk it away, lifting it just beyond my reach over and over again. I soon began to tire of the game and was about to abandon the chase when the wind picked up and blew the scarf toward me instead of away, pressing it against the lower half of my face. Slowly, almost as if caressing me, the scarf began to move along my skin. It slid over my mouth, under my chin, and down my neck. Snaking round and round my throat, it became longer and longer, tighter and tighter—and I began struggling for air . . .


Oh man–I recognize elements of that dream from those I’ve had myself. No yellow scarves though, thank goodness.

Now that the dream sequence has whet your appetite, I’d like to share where you can pick up this very excellent story:



Ms. Burroughs has also given us a chance to get to know her better:

~~~~~~~~~~~AUTHOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY~~~~~~~~~~~~

cynthia burroughs

I was born and raised in the South and to this day reside in South Carolina with my dashing husband, crotchety cat and nimble Jack Russell. My first novel, Remember Della, definitely reflects that Southern upbringing; and like Katherine, my main protagonist, I am also a child of the fifties.

I have enjoyed reading my entire life and relish childhood memories of long, languid summers spent in lawn chairs beneath shady old trees—my best friend and I devouring one library book after another. I hope to be proof of the old adage that everyone has at least one good book in them—but suppose that remains to be seen. You, the reader, will be the judge of that.

Drawing and painting have always been passions of mine, but I had never tried my hand at writing until my mother passed away several years ago. During my grieving process I found that painting was not keeping my mind as busy as I would have liked. Painting allowed me too much time to think. So in an attempt to ease my sadness, I decided to try a new creative outlet. The result was a 24,000 word children’s chapter book (as yet unpublished) and a newfound love—writing! In fact, I am in love with the entire writing process, especially the part where I get to tell really tall tales—and get away with it . . .


 I agree–nothing more fun than creating a world outside your won–and then letting others into it.

Keep up with all of Ms. Burroughs’ works – including that “someday” chapter book – at these links:

Website http://www.cynthiamockburroughs.com/

Blog | Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorcynthiamockburroughs?ref=notif&notif_t=page_user_activity

Twitter @cmburroughs

Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/cmburroughs/

Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/pub/cynthia-burroughs/7b/a80/107

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/23826688-cynthia-mock-burroughs

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Remember-Della-Cynthia-Mock-Burroughs/dp/1500199346/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420753436&sr=1-1&keywords=remember+della

Thanks for sharing your new book with us, Ms. Burroughs, and all the best to you!

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Spotlight on “Garden”, a steampunk novel by Jane Yates

* * * * *THIS JUST IN* * * * * Actually, I overlooked it by mistake.

If you go to Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/496280?ref=AutumnOrchard, and use the code EN36V, you can get the book at a 35% discount!!


I was out working in my garden just today. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But I get the feeling that Ms. Yate’s book is not about weed-pulling or how to fertilize the roses.

From the banner up there, I think I would have to say that, yes, it isn’t.

Before I confuse anyone any further, let’s check out the synopsis and see what the overall synopsis is:

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

Inspired by the classic novel The Secret Garden, Jane Yates introduces us to a steampunk world of bio-domes, robots and mysteries. Eleven-year-old Aberdeen is so used to being by herself that all she has to fill her thoughts are stories of mighty dragons and grand castles. But Aberdeen’s world is soon thrown into disarray however; her parents murdered.

Having no choice, Aberdeen is sent to live with her uncle back on Earth where her fascination into her new surroundings begin to take hold. It isn’t long before Aberdeen befriends three other children – Maisy, Peter and Lenard.

Oh, and there’s Frank too, Peter’s robot dog, who completes this special circle of friendship.

Garden is a journey of self-discovery, of trials and friendship. With adventure boundless, Jane Yates follows up her acclaimed Paradox Child trilogy with a new tale for young fans of steampunk and science fiction.

♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

This sounds marvelous. But don’t just take my word for it; seems there has been quite a bit of praise already:

‘Garden is very charming with some lovely parallels …’ Sharon Sant – Author of The Sky Song trilogy

‘This is an absolutely lovely story with a really intriguing mystery …’ – Jaimie AdmansAuthor of Afterlife Academy

‘Garden made me smile from start to finish.’ – Dan Thompson – Author of Here Lies Love

‘Jane Yates has written a wonderful story of self-growth, courage and learning how to love.’ – Book Raiders Blog

Garden Cover

I think this is a really good place for an


Left Alone
Deep in space, Aberdeen sat on a balcony overlooking a grand party her mother hosted. Everyone wore their finest clothes. The music was loud; a type of remixed jazz. Aberdeen searched her mother out among the crowd of guests. Upon spotting her, she gazed at her mother’s attire; a long silk dress, the colour of shock blue. This was matched by elaborate feathers and sparkling jewels that hung in her blue hair. Her mother’s hair swung down her back, which highlighted her large dragon tattoo. Aberdeen eyed the lead in her mother’s hand and followed it to the golden robot dog sat beside her. It was tall and thin, and even from where Aberdeen sat, she could see the cogs moving inside it as if it had a tiny heart beating.
Aberdeen’s mother laughed gaily. She had the full attention of a young officer with braided hair, who was smartly dressed in his green and gold uniform. As he chuckled along, his head dropped back and a cool thin line of rose-smelling cigarette smoke slid from the corner of his mouth.
Aberdeen continued to watch the party from above. As usual, there was no sign of her father; probably in the engine room of the ship, she guessed. She browsed at all the fresh fruit and flowers in the tall bowls and glasses decorating the table. She knew that they had been picked up the last time the ship had docked at one of the satellite stations. She had learnt that the fragrant, exotic flowers had been grown in large artificial garden domes and she longed to see one.
She looked down in awe at the musicians. A large man sat at a glass piano, his fingers elegantly flitting from key to key. Aberdeen could see his fat belly though through the transparent top of the piano; it wobbled tastelessly as he played, a huge contrast to his regal demeanour. Aberdeen also noticed a tall, skinny man, strumming a black shinny double base and three female trumpeters who all wore brown and white stripy suits.
Draped from the metallic ceiling were candle-shaped lights, and in between them dancers gambolled on trapeze ropes. They wore porcelain masks and flamboyantly displayed peacock feathers, midnight blue and jade green, in their hair. They matched the rhythm of the quintet perfectly, Aberdeen thought.
The floor was polished to a high shine and Aberdeen could see the refection of the sociable people in it. In the corner of the room was an old gentleman who caught Aberdeen’s interest. Upon his head was a black top hat and he rested a glass monocle on his eye, which magnified his golden brown iris so even Aberdeen could see. His long twisting moustache made Aberdeen giggle.
There were no children however, and Aberdeen wondered what the workers’ children were up to. She suddenly felt quite alone.
Aberdeen picked up some of the plastic cocktail sticks that had been dropped on the floor; planting them along the edge of the balcony and playfully imagining them growing into amazing flowers. She soon tired of the game and thought about going downstairs to join the party, but knew that her mother would not be pleased; her mother felt that children should be seen but not heard and, where possible, not seen at all. Her mother had not wanted children. Aberdeen knew she hadn’t been planned and her mother, a socialite, did not have time for her, nor did she wish for her daughter to mix with the other children on the ship, as these were the workers’ children. The elite children had been shipped off to boarding school, but Aberdeen had not settled in well there and caused fights with the other children. She was returned to her parents in disgrace.

Aberdeen had wanted to play with the ship workers’ children, but her mother, on one of her brief and rare visits to see her daughter, told her horrid stories about them. “They have revolting lice in their hair,” she had said, and “Do you want them to jump at you and bite you?”
So instead Aberdeen spent all her time in the company of her robot nanny; her Guardian. Her Guardian was programed to do whatevershe wanted, as long as it did not disturb the child’s parents. It was efficient but uncaring, which had led partly to Aberdeen becoming the same way. The Guardian was responsible for her education too and arranged her meals and even dressed her. It was also programmed to tell stories. The wondrous tales and adventures of frightful dragons and grand castles were her favourite and she would spend her time imagining dragons flying around her room acting out her own brave endeavours.

Early the next morning, Aberdeen awoke thinking she had heard screams and cries for help. Frightened, she locked her door and snuggled tightly underneath her covers. The thick duvet muffled the cries from outside, and before long, she had drifted back to sleep.
When she awoke some hours later, having convinced herself that the commotion from the night before had been a terrible nightmare, she opened her door and sat on her bed waiting for her Guardian. Minutes later, it still hadn’t appeared.
Aberdeen browsed her room to pass more time; it was only fair she allowed her Guardian a little extra before she left the room. Her room was plain compared with the lavish party setting of downstairs, although she knew she could have it decorated any way she desired. She chose to not have a lot. What she liked doing the most was playing with her robot snake. Aberdeen was content with her few intimate toys rather than having extravagant playthings she had no need of. She had books, but she preferred to be read to. The furniture was clinical white, undecorated and simplistic in design. Everything served a purpose and there wasn’t even a carpet on the floor, just white lino. There were pictures on the wall, but none that she had chosen, as if put there by someone who had no knowledge of her at all.
She suddenly remembered the soft toys she once had, which consisted mostly of dragons, but they had been stored away when she had been sent off to school. Her mother, still angry at Aberdeen’s quick return, as if she was but a nuisance, had not retrieved them yet. She much preferred her robot snake anyway.
Aberdeen felt herself becoming increasingly frustrated; why wasn’t her Guardian coming to dress her? She wasn’t used to waiting. When the rage become too much, Aberdeen jumped and stamped her feet screaming for the Guardian to come. When it still hadn’t arrived, she sulked down the hallway until she came to the balcony. All the food and glasses were still left set out, but there wasn’t anyone around. Aberdeen descended the staircase and quickly snatched some of the food. On her way back to her room, she grabbed an opened bottle of wine.
As she crossed the polished floor however, she froze and looked at her sad reflection. Her plain looks gave way to a sour jawline, giving the impression that she rarely smiled. In truth, Aberdeen realised that she hardly did. Her shapeless chestnut hair appeared dull. She looked as far away from the fashionable figure of her mother. Her words rung in her mind.
Spoilt, bad tempered little child!

Aberdeen promptly scooted back to her room. Perhaps her Guardian had arrived.

Aberdeen was furious to find it hadn’t. She slid her food underneath her bed and squeezed under herself, thinking mean thoughts. She ate some of the food and sipped the wine, which made her sleepy. Eventually, not realising how long had passed, and getting rather bored, she played with her small robot snake. She built high obstacles out of plastic bricks for it to slither around. She tried to imagine that the snake was a dragon from one of her stories and that the bricks were castles. When she had drained the wine however, Aberdeen soon found herself slipping into a slumber.

But when she awoke, her angry temperament hadn’t left her. Where was her Guardian?
Just then, outside her bedroom door she heard two muffled grown-up voices.
“It’s a shame; she was beautiful, taken in the prime of her life,” the first voice said.
“She was a mother too,” the second voice replied.  “I hear she had a child, a girl, although nobody ever really saw her.”
Aberdeen got out from under her bed and opened the door. She frowned at two officers who were stood in the hallway wearing gas masks.
“Oh, look, Barnabas, there’s a child here, alone in a place like this!” one of them said, pointing and grabbing another mask from his bag which was slung over his shoulder.
“Who is she?” the second offer asked.
“I’m Aberdeen Gale,” Aberdeen introduced herself, pulling herself up as tall as she could and staring at them both.
“Oh, this must be the girl no one ever saw. Poor thing, she must have been forgotten,” the first officer said, holding out the mask for her to put on. Aberdeen glared at the mask; it was a strange shape, light brown in colour with two round windows for eyes. She spotted a dull copper filter hanging from it. The gas mask itself could have been really old if it not for the fact that there was a green triangular light flashing on it.
“I don’t like it!” Aberdeen shouted, folding her arms across her body and scowling at the men.
“Oh, the poor thing, she’s frightened,” Barnabas said, a hint of patronisation in his voice.
“I’m not poor at all,” Aberdeen snapped. “My father is in charge of the ship. I need you to take me to him at once as my robot has not come for me.”
Barnabas knelt down next to Aberdeen. “You poor child,” he said softly. “Everyone is dead. There was a distress signal, which we picked up.” He helped her to put on the gas mask.
Aberdeen could not believe what she was hearing. She tugged at the gas mask, rearranging its strange structure. It felt heavy on her face and it made her want to itch her skin. Barnabas offered her a smile. He looked to his colleague for support, who continued to talk as if Aberdeen was invisible.
“Maybe the girl survived as she leads a solitary existence? Well, that will have to change now.”
Barnabas continued to smile at her.
“You must come with us, my girl,” the other officer instructed, holding his hand out to Aberdeen. “We need to take you off this ship and back to a halfway station for quarantine. Juno is probably the nearest one.”
“Your robot is not coming,” Barnabas told her as if he had sensed her thoughts. “All the worker robot signals were shut down when the distress signal was issued.”
Aberdeen glared at him, “I don’t believe you!”
“It’s true,” Barnabas said. “It’s part of the fail safe protocol. When the distress signal is sent it allows for every eventuality, even robot attack, so it shuts them down.”
Aberdeen stood still, her mind racing, she did not know what to do.
“It was some sort of virus,” Barnabas continued. “We are not sure of all the facts as yet, but from what we can piece together it looks as if one of the crew members released a fast acting, deadly virus as a grudge. We suspect a chemist.”
Aberdeen must have looked blankly at him, as he continued. “We were on our way to arrest him anyway. He had been developing new Class A drugs and had become paranoid.”
Aberdeen took a step backwards unsure to believe them or not. She wasn’t quite sure what ‘Class A’ drugs were, but she definitely didn’t like the sound of them.
The other officer said, “Look, we haven’t got time for this. We need to get you off this ship; it’s going to be decommissioned.”
Aberdeen ran back into her room and scooped up her snake and placed it in her pocket, then followed the two officers along the corridor and away from the only home she had ever known.
Text copyright © Jane Yates 2015


Fantastic! I was totally caught up in the story, and I am wanting more!

A good story means a good author, and I think it’s time to learn more about Ms. Jane Yates:

~~~~~~~~~~~About the Author~~~~~~~~~~~~


Jane lives in the historic city of Oxford, England with her two spaniels. She works at the Pitt Rivers museum there too and is amazed and inspired by its wondrous array of objects. Being a museum of anthropology and world archaeology, Jane often finds herself influenced by its exhibitions. And indeed it has helped Jane write a trilogy for children – the Paradox Child series.

Jane is not only a mother, artist and storyteller, but dyslexic too, which only highlights her success even more. Jane refuses to allow the disorder to halt her dreams and continues to enjoy her favourite hobbies. Jane is a lover of steampunk, adventure and children’s stories, which often play a huge role in her own books.


Ms. Yates has contributed some of her artwork, so I am going to host a mini-art gallery today too!

Jane artwork 1Jane artwork 4

Jane artwork 3Jane artwork 2

Wow–quite colorful. I really like the various designs and media she used.

Well, we’ve come to the end of another blog post. But before we go, I want to share those all-important links with you. I’m sure Ms. Yates would love to hear from fans old and new:

Jane Yates Links –

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jane-Yates/689082927842499

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JYparadoxchild

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7162069.J_Yates

Garden Links – 

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GardenNovel

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23294980-garden

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PAYYK3E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00PAYYK3E&linkCode=as2&tag=danthom-20&linkId=WO4VVE33IEHPWOBW

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00PAYYK3E/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00PAYYK3E&linkCode=as2&tag=danthom-21&linkId=3IAPVE54LBYJ5R3D

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/496280?ref=AutumnOrchard

Book Depository – http://www.bookdepository.com/Garden-Jane-Yates/9780993023927?a_aid=dan_pentagram

Kobo – https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/garden-7

B&N – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/garden-jane-yates/1120923206?ean=9780993023927

Nook UK – http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/garden-by-jane-yates/2940046457278

Youtube Trailer Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACQSVhtXpAo

Autumn Orchard Links –

Facebook – http://facebook.com/autumnorchardbooks

Twitter – http://twitter.com/autumnorchardbk

Website – http://autumnorchardbooks.wordpress.com


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For all you aspiring marathoners–this one’s for you

“Pushing the Wall”, a new offering from James C. Duckett, is newly out in the book world. Being a walk-event participant for the past ten years makes me extremely interested in what is between these covers. I get to post an excerpt, so I will be reading this for the first time along with you.

Pushing the wallFirst, let’s get a taste of what the book is about before we start to consider it in more detail:


What kind of idiot would run a marathon without training for it first? Me.

Sure, I’d heard all the horror stories. Endurance athletes always fear “hitting the wall,” that point where the body runs out of energy and, BAM! Roadkill. With no conditioning, I feared smashing into this wall hard enough to leave a dent.

I wanted to train for the 2010 St. George Marathon, but after breaking my foot, the only marathon I could handle was on Netflix. When the race came, I just wanted to pick up the shirt I paid for, but peer pressure and the energy of the other 7,000 runners convinced me to go for it. My plan? Push the wall past the finish line. Then I could grab some ice cream, crawl into my truck, and drive home.

This memoir details my love/hate affair with running, why I didn’t prepare, and how I survived 26.2 grueling miles that I had no business attempting. This book also includes running tips for anybody looking to maximize their training experience, covering topics like:

  • Finding the right running pace
  • Speed workouts
  • Running safely at night
  • Tapering and carb-loading before a race
  • Basic first aid for runners
  • Injury prevention
  • And more!

It’s whimsical, yet educational. It’s whimsucational!

Foreword by Aaron Metler, winner of the 2010 and 2014 St. George Marathons.


I love that Mr. Duckett has not only shared his experiences, but has given the rest of us tips on how to train correctly.

Now for the

************************BOOK EXCERPT*************************

Pushing cover wrap

Setup: After that last incident, I ended up in this boot-instead-of-a-cast thing and didn’t train for the marathon. But curiosity got the best of me and I ended up on the bus to the starting line the morning of the race. I figured I’d watch the runners take off and then find a ride back down into town. But this happened:

I got to the loading area by 4:40 am and climbed onto a bus. Two hours remained until the starting time and more self-doubt crept in. What am I doing here? I’m a fraud and it won’t be long before everybody realizes it. I didn’t train; I don’t deserve to be here.

It was a dark ride, both outside the bus and in my mind. The drive itself took over half an hour and I stared out the window the entire time wondering how I could ever cover all this ground. The girl I sat next to was the polar opposite of me. She’d ran eleven marathons; I feared I’d not survive my first attempt. She tried to make small talk; intimidation overwhelmed my every thought. She tried to encourage me with her giddy attitude; I probably came across as very rude as I questioned why I didn’t just stay in bed. She was relaxed and good to go; I was wound up like a jack-in-the-box and on the verge of puking from the butterflies in my stomach.

And of course, every worse-case scenario kept popping into my head. I wondered how far I’d get before I keeled over. How long would it take for paramedics to show up and scrape me off the road before throwing me in the back of an ambulance? My legs were stiff and my hamstring bothered me, and overworking them for over twenty-six miles only spelled doom. Running guides suggested putting in a good twenty-mile run a few weeks before a marathon, but I still hadn’t recovered from the longest run of my life which came nowhere close to that goal. Not only that, but those 13.1 miles left me with zero energy. What was I doing here, attempting twice that?

The girl I sat next to tried her best to rid me of my doubts, but it was easy to dismiss the energy and excitement of one crazy person. I’d embraced the doom and gloom; the bus driver had turned out the lights for the drive up there and it only added to my lack of confidence.

However, my pessimism vanished as soon as I stepped off the bus at the starting line and the night disappeared. Not that the sun had risen—that wouldn’t happen for another hour or so—but the city had set up so many lights in the area that it dispelled all darkness. The bright lights took on a symbolic meaning for me as it fought the doubt and discouragement that had built up in my soul.

There was also a different energy in the air. While one excited runner couldn’t penetrate my shield of fears, I could not resist the inspiration that came from over six thousand enthusiastic runners. Some of them appeared excited and anxious, yet ready for their big day. Some of them took on a demeanor like it was a typical morning for them—I wasn’t a big fan of those people. Most were something in between these extremes, but I didn’t see anybody that seemed as nervous or doubtful as me. This new energy was contagious, and I had nothing but excitement for whatever came next.

Music also filled the air, adding to the wonderful mood. The city hired a DJ who played upbeat music from the top hits at the time, and the throngs of runners reacted with the energy of a bunch of groupies at a rock concert. This wasn’t a dreary place to contemplate the fears of running, this was a party!

Every now and then, a moment happens that changes my entire perspective on a situation. A paradigm that, once embraced, I’d desire to share it with everybody I knew so they could see and understand the miracles of life. Call it spiritual experiences. Call it life-changing events. They happen so rarely, but they always leave a profound impact on my body and soul.

This was one of those moments.

My discouragement not only fled, but I forgot I even had any as an eagerness to participate took its place. I may not end up finishing this race, but nothing was going to stop me from trying.


I know exactly what he is talking about. There is nothing like the atmosphere he describes above. I’ve felt it at 3am under the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon–the starting point for the Portland-to-Coast event held every August.

Here’s a bit about the author:

James loves to write, but he doesn’t like to brag. Just kidding, he totally loves to brag. And refer to himself in the third person. Because both those things are cool. Right?


James Duckett is a founder and Chief Technology Officer of the Authors’ Think Tank Facebook Group and Podcast. He wrote his first story in the 2nd grade and has been excited about writing ever since. He wrote his first book when he was 14, but one of his friends did the world a favor and accidentally threw it away.

“Pushing the Wall: A Memoir” is his first book. A contemporary romance (yeah, you read that right) novella will appear in an anthology on March 31st, 2015. He’s introverted, geeky, funny looking, unpredictable, and easily distracted by the latest gadgets.







He sounds like a hoot! I recommend getting his book and seeing for yourself just what an adventure a marathon can be.

Buy Links:


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MyBookTour Presents: “First Blood”, by Judy Serrano

first blood book tour banner

Another great feature, this time from author Judy Serrano. I get to post an excerpt, and I’m reading it for the first time as well. I hope we come out at the other end okay–heh heh.

Oh–there’s a rafflecopter giveaway and some neat swag at the end of this too!

⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕The Excerpt⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕⊕

I am not a vampire, but the voices in my head tell me otherwise. My cold skin, my hunger for red meat, it was all a sign. My sister, Sapphire, seemed to miss the whole experience. No symptoms at all. No waking up at night in cold sweats, no sores in her mouth, or pain in her teeth. Why did she always get so lucky? It wasn’t fair.

The rain drizzled before us as a thick fog enveloped the taxi. I looked out the window, trying to steady my hands before we arrived. The guards let us through a tall, iron gate, and my sister reached over and grabbed my hand. “It’ll be okay, Diamond. This is what she wanted.” I nodded. It was always about what she wanted. No one else had any say.

“She’s right, you know,” my father added. “You’ll like him. Everyone does.”

I nodded again, still unable to speak. My father’s best friends accompanied us. Ashley, Kyle, and Rex. He wasn’t sure how Dante would take the news and he needed some backup. Kyle was ridiculously sexy. Broad shoulders and muscles other men envied. He had dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, with the bluest eyes I had ever seen. Rex was tall and slender with short spiked, blond hair. Also handsome but he may as well have had “womanizer” stamped on his forehead. He knew nothing of commitment and wore it well. Ashley was blond and gorgeous. I couldn’t understand how none of them ever claimed her. She was about 5 foot 6, thin, and tough as nails. Personally, I had always thought she was in love with my father, but my mother didn’t like to talk about her, so it was just speculation on my part.

The car pulled up to what looked like an old mansion. It was something you might see in an old movie. Terror ripped through me as the car stopped. My dad got out and held the door open for us. We approached the entrance, and my father rapped on the door using an old doorknocker. There was no bell.

A man opened the door and looked at my father. “Cliff,” he started. “You look well.” Then his face dropped. “Oh no… I’m sorry, Cliff. We hadn’t heard.”

“Thank you,” he answered. “Is Dante home? I need to see him.”

“The guards told him you were coming. We weren’t expecting you. This may be quite a shock.”

“I couldn’t tell him over the phone,” he continued. “Please tell him we’re here.”

He opened the door and we stumbled inside. The place was like a museum. There was artwork and sculptures all over the living room. There were three men and a woman sitting at what looked like a bar. One of the men had a neatly pulled back ponytail, much like Kyle’s. That was all we could see from the back. That had to be him. That had to be Dante.

He turned around and looked at us. “Heathcliff,” he started. He was smiling.

At first.

He started to walk in our direction when his face fell. It was quite sudden. “You’re 26.” My dad nodded. “You were in your 40s when…” He stopped and looked at me. “Is this Diamond?”

“Yes, she’s 18 today, Dante.”

He looked over my father’s head as though he was looking for someone. “No!”

“I’m sorry, Dante…”

“She’s gone? She can’t be gone. She wouldn’t leave me.”

“She didn’t leave, Dante, she was taken.”

He reached for a vase on a table near to where he was standing and hurled it across the room. It slammed into a wall and shattered. My dad reached around and grabbed both my sister and me, pushing us behind him as though he thought we suddenly needed protection. Dante was howling out in pain with agony of which I was not familiar. It was like something inside him was dying. The woman grabbed him, but he fought her. “No!” he kept shouting. “No, this can’t be happening!”

She finally managed to get a hold of him and he wrapped his arms around her and started to cry. He was weeping sorrowfully like his whole world had just been blown apart. The woman looked over at the men who were sitting with Dante when we first arrived and said, “They were linked. Cliff and Daphne were linked. If the human dies first in a link, the humanized vampire turns back into a vampire in his original form. Dante and the human were close.” They said nothing, but continued to look at him with distress in their eyes. “Too close if you asked me,” she added, looking back over at my father. “Give us a minute, will you, Cliff?”

“Of course, Julia. We’ll be in the kitchen.”

We walked away, although I was unsure of what to do next. I had never met Dante before, so I had no idea what kind of connection he had with my mother. When we discovered she was gone, there was a Bible on the floor with Dante’s picture in it. She had told me about him, of course, and prepared me for this day.

“You knew he’d take it hard,” Kyle reminded him. “Shoot, I’d do it if I could, you know that.”

“You would have been my choice,” he answered, “but we need him.”

A little time had passed, and Julia called us back into the living room. My anxiety level had reached its peak. I almost couldn’t breathe. Dante got up from the bar and approached us, his eyes focusing on mine. “I’m sorry,” Dante started. “I apologize. Your mother… she was everything to me.”

“Please don’t apologize, Dante,” my father said. “We knew it would be quite a shock.”

“Why not call and tell me, Cliff. A little heads up would’ve been great.” He looked at all of us as though he was evaluating us somehow. First Ashley, then Sapphire, and lastly me. He looked me up and down and finally rested his eyes on mine. “How did she die?”

“We don’t know,” I answered. “We heard her scream, and we ran to the bedroom to see what was wrong. She was looking at a picture of you that she kept hidden in a Bible.”

“In a Bible. You’re kidding, right?”

“No, no humor here, although the irony is not lost on us,” my dad added. “Imagine my surprise.”

Dante smiled as if he had won some kind of contest. “Go on…”

“That was all. Her Bible and your picture were on the floor. There was a broken picture of our family beside it. She was gone.”

“How do you know for sure that she’s dead, then?” he asked my dad.

“A few hours after she went missing, I turned 26 years old again. So whoever had her, killed her later that afternoon.”

“Oh.” He sighed. “So she’s really gone.”

“It appears so. I’m sorry. No one misses her more than I do.”

“I am sorry for your loss,” he continued. Then he looked at my father’s face as though he was trying to read his thoughts. “So, you’re here. Obviously it’s for more than a quick message. What’s going on? Do you need money?”

“No, not money.”

“There must be something.”

“I need to ask you a favor. It’s important.”

“Sure, Cliff. Anything, you know that.”

My dad let out a breath and looked at the wedding ring that he still wore on his left ring finger. It was as though he was gathering courage. He looked back up at Dante with an expression that would scare anyone. “Diamond is at the age of her transition.”

Dante’s eyes narrowed. “And…”

“I need your help, Dante.”

“You want me to be her first blood? Is that what you’re asking?”

“Yes, Dante. It was what Daphne wanted.”

“Cliff, do you know what that entails?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Sex, Cliff, she will ultimately be having sex with me.” I shuddered.

“Don’t make this harder on me than it already is, Dante.” My father put his face in his hands for a second, and then looked back up. “It has to be you.”

“I’m sorry, Cliff. It just wouldn’t be right.”

“It’s what she wanted. You. You are the one.”

“Why can’t Kyle do it?”

“He’s half human. It has to be someone who’s got true vampire blood.”

“Rex, then.”

“He won’t. Diamond is too much like a daughter to him.”

His face scrunched up for a second. “I’m sorry, Cliff, you’ll have to get someone else.” He walked away from us and sat back down at the bar. One of the men standing there poured a shot into a shot glass, and Dante downed it. “It’s been quite a day.”

My dad approached him and threw a sealed letter down in front of him. “I haven’t read it. But it’s got your name on it.”

He picked it up and smelled it. He closed his eyes for a moment as though he were breathing her in somehow. I saw what looked like fangs descend. I’m sure I gasped.

“Dante…” My dad rubbed his fingers up and down his own mouth, hinting, I suppose, that his fangs were showing.

“She’s even doing it to me now.”

“Please, read it,” he urged him. “Please…” Dante shook his head and his fangs disappeared. I know I let out a breath. We had no idea what was in that letter.

As he opened it, he looked over at me. “You look just like her. Has anyone ever told you that?”

“Yes,” I answered. “Thank you.”

“It is quite the compliment. My brother, Charlie… did she ever mention him?”

“Yes,” I answered. “He’s Sapphire’s biological father.”

“That’s right. He and Cliff fought over her like nobody’s business.”

“And you?” I asked. “Did you fight for her?”

He smiled facetiously and looked at my father, who was already scowling. “Obviously not,” he answered. “If I did, I would have won.”

“I guess I didn’t expect you to be so… immodest,” I admitted. He smiled. “If she meant so much to you, why not fight for her?”

“They were linked,” he answered. “When Cliff was human, he possessed the same soul that eventually found Daphne. When the soul found Cliff again… well… it linked them. I couldn’t compete with that. It was hard enough accepting that I would never have her. I couldn’t watch her long for me and then give her back to him.”

“You wish,” my dad added. “She loved me. The way she felt about you was not the same.”

“Is this the right time to piss me off, Cliff?”

My dad snickered. “Just read the damn letter.”

“Out loud?” he asked. “What if there’s something in there about her feelings for me that you don’t want to know?”

“I have no worries. If you want to read it out loud… that’s up to you.”

He opened up the envelope and unfolded the letter. He handled it with such care. It was as though he thought he might damage it if he wasn’t careful. Then he looked up at me. “Your mom and I… we never…”

“I know,” I answered. “She spoke of you often.”

He smiled. His friend poured him another shot and he downed it again. Then he cleared his throat and began to read.


My dearest Dante,

You are and have always been my very best friend. I know you are feeling disheartened right now, and I understand completely. But I need you to be strong for me. Once again, I am coming to you for a favor.

My daughter will die during the transition if she doesnt have someone to give her first blood. Although Sapphire appears to have missed her time of transition, Diamond is not yet there. I want it to be you, my dearest Dante. You and I will never have that bond. But its not too late for Diamond.

His eyes filled with tears and he looked away from us for a moment. We could tell he was trying to regain composure. Then he went back to reading.

I will always love you, Dante. You will always have a special place in my heart, in life, and now in death. Please dont turn her away. Dont turn your back on me.




Without another word, he put the letter down on the bar and got up from his bar stool. His eyes locked with mine in a way that paralyzed me. I couldn’t turn and run, although that was my first instinct. “I don’t believe we’ve been formally introduced. I’m Dante Franco.” My heart began to pound. I was sure he could hear it from where he was standing. “Diamond, it is a pleasure.” He kissed the back of my hand.

“Does this mean you’ll do it?” my father asked.

“I can’t say no to Daphne. You know that.” The relief in my father’s face nearly lit up the room. Then Dante put both his hands on my face and looked deeply into my soul. I thought he might kiss me for a minute, but he didn’t. He was drawing from me somehow, and I couldn’t make it stop. “Would you give me a moment to speak with her? Alone?”


Wow–powerful stuff! Sounds like some delightfully complicated relationships.

Now, as promised–if I am doing this right, which I hope:


<aclass=”rcptr”href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b6c4a50c1/”rel=”nofollow&#8221; data-raflid=”b6c4a50c1″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_chl5zn06″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a><script src=”//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js”></script>

Don’t ask me to simplify it–I missed that lesson.

Anyway–these are the goodies available for giveaway:

Rafflecopter Swag

And I think I want all of them…

Go! Rafflecopter away! Have fun! I’ll be here when you get back…

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Review of “A Dead Red Alibi” (The Dead Red Mystery Series, Book 4) by RP Dahlke

Dead red alibi

Lalla has been jilted at the altar, or so she believes. What else is there to do but to flee to Arizona, and the land deeded to her by her Great-Aunt Mae?

Alone? Not by far. Dear old Dad accompanies her, and promptly falls down a mine shaft.

And, as life seems to go for Lalla, he is not alone down there. With him is the body of the local police captain, whose absence is yet to be missed. He is supposed to have been off on a yearly vacation, and no one at the precinct would have been concerned for a week, at least.

Lalla’s household increases by two, as misunderstood groom Caleb and cousin Pearlie show up to complicate things – and to make life much more interesting for her. Pearlie’s insistence on creating a PR business, and Lalla’s dad’s incrimination in the crime scene, cause her to get caught up in yet another crime scene. And nothing–including being driven over a cliff, a demented man with a shotgun, or a rattlesnake attack–can keep the two cousins from ferreting out the truth.

Why is the artist compound so private? Is there something behind the criminal records of the people who live there?

Using local gossip and intellectual savvy, Lalla and Pearlie, with the reluctant help of Caleb, burrow into the reasons behind the murders. As they do so, they come dangerously close to the loss of their own lives.


RP Dahlke has done a terrific job of writing a mystery full of red herrings. The story has twists and turns that would be the envy of any maze-master. I love a mystery that gives many threads of possibilities and doesn’t give away the ending until the last couple of pages.

This is the fourth book in a series that involves the characters in this book, and although it references the past stories, it is not necessary to read the previous stories to enjoy this one. It is easy to get involved with the people and the scenes in this story, and I enjoyed the tale immensely.

By itself or with the series, I highly recommend this tale–a great read!


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A very intriguing title–“Antique Forgery”

AF Book Cover

I love antiques. I love mysteries. And this book cover is gorgeous! I’m only too happy to be part of this book tour, even though I’m almost a day late in my posting.

First of all, I should let you know that this book is the follow-up to “Antique Magic”.  To be fair, I think we should let you know what that one is about before we go into this one.

Synopsis for Antique Magic:

Antique dealer Alicia Trent is hired to appraise a huge collection of treasures hoarded by a woman who has recently died in the town where Alicia grew up.

The huge old house poses mystery after mystery from the moment she arrives, but the stakes become deadly when murder is added to the mix. The question then becomes, can she stay alive long enough to unmask the killer?


My favorite kind of genre, actually. 🙂

So let’s jump to the featured book, “Antique Forgery:

Synopsis for Antique Forgery:

This second book in the series takes the reader further into the life of Alicia Trent and her friends. Magic, forgery, betrayal, and fabulous jewels surround Alicia as she struggles to find the reason for her friend’s death.


Most mysterious! I am getting more and more intrigued…

Just for fun, have a look at an


We were nearly halfway up the stairs when I heard Lawrence groan. I turned to see what had happened. He was deathly white, and while I watched, he sank down on the closest step. He was sweating heavily and clutching his stomach. He didn’t seem coherent enough to answer any questions, so I ducked into my room and called for an ambulance. They only took about ten minutes to arrive, but it was horrible to wait. Lawrence was obviously in great pain, but couldn’t tell me what was wrong.

The ride to the hospital took an eternity. They wouldn’t let me ride in the ambulance, and I was so afraid of what would happen before he arrived. I was shaking and behind the wheel of a car was the last place I should have been, but as the ambulance tore through the streets with the siren blaring, I was right behind them.

I ran from the parking lot into the emergency room just in time to see them take Lawrence through a set of swinging doors where I couldn’t follow. I slumped into a chair, and for the next two hours I sat in a waiting room with dull green walls and hard metal chairs. I never moved while I waited. My mind was busy begging Lawrence to hold on.

Since I was the only one waiting, when I saw an exhausted-looking man dressed in scrubs walk into the room, I took a deep breath and hurried to his side.

He said, “Are you the relative who brought Lawrence Hall in tonight?”

Afraid they wouldn’t tell me anything if I confessed to not being a relative, I just nodded.

“Mr. Hall is a very sick man. He’s been poisoned, and we think he must have eaten poisonous mushrooms. Our tests indicate they were probably green-spored lepiota.”

At this point I wanted to scream at him to just tell me his condition. He could explain the details after I knew how Lawrence was.

However, he wasn’t finished explaining. “This particular mushroom doesn’t normally cause death, but among its other symptoms it can dangerously lower blood pressure. Mr. Hall must be on some type of medication that has the same effect, or at least exacerbated the effect of the mushroom, because we nearly lost him. It’s a good thing you got him here when you did. We have him stabilized now, and he should make a full recovery.”

I barely heard anything the man said except the last statement. Lawrence was going to be all right! My knees weakened with relief and I sank into the nearest chair.

He continued, “He’s awake, and we need to monitor him closely for a while. We want to keep him tonight and tomorrow for observation, but he can probably go home after that. If you want to see him, you can visit for a short time, but first, can you tell me what type of medication he’s taking? He was still pretty confused when I talked to him and wasn’t able to tell me.”

“I don’t know the exact medication. Lawrence is bi-polar, so it has to be something for that. I’ll see if I can find out the name for you.”


Yep, definitely sounds like my kind of book.

Let’s have a brief visit with the author:

From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.

Stalk The Author

Blog I Facebook I Goodreads I Amazon 

Lovely! Do check out all of her writing. I hope you had a nice read here today.

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Guest Post: Joanna K. Pitcairn on Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing

32Secs Book Tour Banner

Johanna K. Pitcairn is featured on my blog today, and I am happy to have her here. It is Day Two of the Blog Tour for her new book, “32 Seconds” which I will tell you about after Johanna’s post. Being an author in a small publishing house makes me keen on reading her take of this ever-changing market.


First and foremost, thanks for the opportunity to be featured on your blog. Every indie author needs all the support they can get, and I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received and am receiving.

Self-Publishing v. Traditional Publishing – where do you draw the line?

Is there even a line to be drawn? The debate is endless. With the latest editing software and a few tricks learned at a writing convention, anyone can self-publish. Does it mean your story will be worth the reader’s time? Absolutely not. Traditionally or self-published books belong to the same basket – ask and you shall receive a crappy story from a big 5 publisher or an indie author. Or, you’ll find a beautiful gem buried in the millions books available today on Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords.

Writing, like anything else, needs time and work. Poor grammar, spelling errors, lack of plot, unrealistic characters, the list goes on and on, make for a crappy story. That’s where the line should be drawn. I’ve read books published by big houses, and they weren’t great. These same books that were made into movies, and collected millions of dollars in merchandising, I’m sorry, but in my opinion, they were crappy as hell. Now, I dug through Amazon’s listings, and paid a couple of bucks for indie books, and bam! My day was made.

We’ve come to a point where reading is accessible to everyone in any format – but the time to read is becoming less and less, as we are busy with work, family and life in general. I agree it’s easier for me to sit through a two-hour motion picture than read a book, especially if the story doesn’t appeal to me. I rarely stop watching a crappy movie, I just don’t pay attention but the images still distract me. A book on the other hand…once you lost me, you don’t get me back.

So here we are – authors flourish and blossom at every street corner of Twitter and Facebook and Google + and so on, claiming they have finally found the story that will catch your attention. Marketing is key. Getting to know the author on a semi-personal level helps a bit too. I will read your book if I think you’re a cool chick or guy, with ideas and a style I identify with. Yet again, I will buy a book to be supportive, and behind closed doors, cry myself to sleep because I can’t finish reading the story. And then I can’t bring myself to review your work on Amazon or Goodreads because I don’t want to be a jerk. And when you ask me, so did you read my book? I nod energetically, yes yes absolutely, loved it! Oh gosh. At this rate, I’m going to get struck by lightning and vanish in a big poof of smoke.

Seriously, it’s not always like that though. Very often I’ve bought indie gems, and have raved about them on every platform possible. Talent and creativity cannot be manufactured, no matter how any marketing strategy works. And I’m saddened when I fall upon a great book, and notice the author doesn’t sell much because no one really knows his writing is so good, you want to stuff your face in it until you can’t take it anymore – just like a big piece of cake.

Today’s competition is extremely tough, but the secret is to hang on no matter how many hurdles we have to jump over. If you’re an author and decide to write commercial stuff because your goal is to sell, go for it. If you’re more inclined to write about what really makes your skin crawl and gives you goose bumps, go for it too. It doesn’t matter in this day and age what path you take, the journey will always be worthwhile.

I find it refreshing to see so much art and inspiration on a day-to-day basis. And next convention I’ll go to, I’ll enjoy it because I’m part of a process that makes me feel good about myself. Remember, writing is all about finding your voice. Just like painting, singing, tattooing, or designing clothes. To each his own. And the debate on traditional v. indie publishing should stop once and for all, because honestly, who gives a flying monkey banana?

Just write, read and have fun.



Well, alrighty then. I agree–whatever path you take, make it fun for yourself.

I promised a bit about her book, and this is a good place to follow through, I’m thinking.

32 Seconds Book Cover

I certainly do love that cover, don’t you? Let’s open it up and find out what it’s about:


To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.


Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Now I know the answer to this one already–but would you like a small sample from the book? Thought so:

A sudden shower pelted my windshield, reducing the visibility to almost nothing, but I maintained my speed. The black asphalt licked the bottom of my tires, striking every inch of the rubber, hungry to swallow me whole and transport me to my next destination. And at this point, I could go anywhere. Eager to get out, I didn’t even care whether I died in a car-crash. After what had happened between Mark and me earlier today, it truly was my way or the highway.

Planning my escape wisely hadn’t crossed my mind when I ignited the V8 turbo engine and dashed out of the school parking lot like a hoodlum in panic of being chased and caught by a platoon of law enforcement officials, after an unsuccessful bank heist. Like I said, I wanted out. And whatever I wanted, I achieved by any means necessary.

Running away brought me closer to freedom. No consequences for my actions. No guilt. No pain.

As my foot pressed harder on the gas pedal, I listened to the roar of the engine, which threatened to remind me of the overbearing loneliness I continued to ignore. My hand reached for the radio and I turned the volume to high. My head needed that noise to overwrite any internal monologues. Relentless, like waves on the shore, my thoughts wouldn’t stop crashing inside my brain, giving rise to a series of hot and cold sweats, while my inner self kept screaming the same question.

Why did I always have to run?



Since Ms. Pitcairn was so kind as to visit today, let’s get to know her a little better, shall we?

Johanna K. Pitcairn

Johanna K. Pitcairn has dreamed of becoming a writer since childhood—authoring her first novel at the age of nine, and countless poems, stories, and screenplays by the age of seventeen. Later, rather than pursuing a career as a director and screenwriter, she decided to go to law school, driven by her father’s opinion that “writing does not pay the bills.”

Ten years later, she moved to New York City, which inspired her to go back to the excitement, wonder, and constant change of being a writer. Pitcairn is a huge fan of psychological-thriller novels and movies, and delves into her hopes, fears, friends, enemies, and everything in between in her own writing.

Contact her on Twitter @themanicheans

Check her website: http://themanicheans.com

She’s also on Facebook at http://facebook/jkpauthor

And J.K. Pitcairn is also a proud member of the Independent Author Network. Check her author page: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/jk-pitcairn.html

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6894379.Johanna_K_Pitcairn

32 Seconds is available on Amazon as paperback and ebook. Here’s the link: http://www.amazon.com/32-Seconds-Johanna-Pitcairn-ebook/dp/B00PQTU6DG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416439816&sr=8-1&keywords=32+second

Thanks for being here today, Ms. Pitcairn, and all the best to you and your endeavors!

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“Sleepwalker Chronicles: The Awakening”, by Lillith Black

sleep banner

Vellcome, er, Welcome to my dusty little blog. It’s not much, but I call it home.

Today I am happy to host a new book by Lillith Black. I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to have a look…

First up, this is what you would be reading if you were to pick the book up and turn it over. (Mind the spiders–my housekeepers are a little, shall we say, skittish about being in this room.)

Elizabeth’s family dies in a house fire and she has no one to blame but herself… …after all, she sleepwalked out and was the only one to survive.

Elizabeth Hawthorne, barely sixteen years old, loses the only family she has ever known and now life throws her on the other side of the country to live with a relative she never knew existed. Her only goal is survive this new life, but she is presented with centuries-old family secrets that reveal themselves in the most unpredictable ways. Her sleepwalking trait turns out to be much more than that and people she meets along the way affect her very nature as she affects theirs.

As personal transformations consume Elizabeth’s days and sleepwalking nightmares invade her nights, a bigger, more sinister entity makes its appearance and now Elizabeth’s life and the lives of those around her are in danger. She will have to fully embrace her new self and form difficult partnerships to fight the demons that are approaching and those that are within.

Now, that sounds right up my dark alley!

We’ve gone this far–now let’s have a look at a snippet from inside the book itself:

The Awakening cover


She bent her head down, trying to be invisible, and began to move towards the front doors. She was at the top of the stairs, silently congratulating herself on sneaking in, when, out of nowhere, somebody’s wide chest appeared in her way.

Surprised and unable to get out of the way, Elizabeth flailed her arms to keep her balance, but began to fall backwards onto the stairs below. She gasped. Next thing she knew, the strong arms that belonged to the wide-chested body grabbed her and placed her safely back at the top of the stairs.

“Watch where you are–” she heard, and then suddenly, the tone softened to a mumble. “Sorry, gotta go.”

Before she could say a word, her accidental acquaintance disappeared inside the school. It happened so fast that all she could remember were his piercing black eyes.

Oooohhh—well alrighty then. Friend or foe? Demon or darling? I’m sure those questions will be answered in the book.

I managed to nab the author before she could get away (never mind how), and I was able to get some info about her.


Lillith Black is an American writer who lives in Southern California with her husband and daughters. By day, she works as an information analyst, and by night, or whenever time permits, writes fantasy and paranormal stories.

Reading was her obsession from a very early age and you could always find her curling up with the book in some inconspicuous spot. Her favorite genres were and still are fairy tales, sci-fi, paranormal fantasy and mystery. Favorite authors off all times: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Ivan Yefremov and Alexander Belyayev.

Lillith loves the beach where she spent countless hours as a child and finds the ocean inspiring and humbling. She loves yoga and is working on becoming vegan.

She is currently working on a fantasy vampire romance “Love Me or Bite Me” as well as the second installment of “Sleepwalker Chronicles”.

Website: http://LillithBlack.com

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/LillithBlackWriting

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/Lillith_Black

Instagram: www.instagram.com/Lillith_Black_Writing

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9820754.Lillith_Black

Amazon Author’s page: www.amazon.com/author/lillithblack


Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00R7A0WNG

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23958387-sleepwalker-chronicles?from_search=true

Now before everyone runs off, I want to let you know that there is a party going on, and Lillith would love to see you there. Here’s the link for that:


Go on ahead without me–I have to round up my pets and put out the candles here. I’ll catch up to you later. Best not to look back as you leave…

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Cover Reveal: “Garden”, by Jane Yates


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Steampunk is one of my favorite genres. This sounds like a great read, and I am honored to be a part of the cover reveal. What’s it all about, you ask? Well, read on:

Inspired by the classic novel The Secret Garden, Jane Yates introduces us to a steampunk world of bio-domes, robots and mysteries. Eleven-year-old Aberdeen is so used to being by herself that all she has to fill her thoughts are stories of mighty dragons and grand castles. Aberdeen’s world is soon thrown into disarray however; her parents murdered.

Having no choice, Aberdeen is sent to live with her uncle back on Earth where her fascination into her new surroundings begin to take hold. Untrusting of new people at first, it isn’t long before Aberdeen comes across 3 other children, and taking a risk, befriends them as she tries to adjust to her new home. And yet, along with Maisy, Peter and Lenard, Aberdeen comes across a riddle – a set of clues to reveal the hiding place of a lost manuscript. A manuscript that forces more questions than answers.

Oh, and there’s Frank too, Peter’s robot dog, who completes this special circle of friendship.

Garden is a journey of self-discovery, of trials and friendship. With adventure boundless, Jane Yates follows up her acclaimed Paradox Child trilogy with a new tale for young fans of steampunk and science fiction.


A quest, friends, and a robot dog. I’m even more interested!


Let’s meet the author of this book:

Jane Yates Profile Pic 2

Doggies!!!! Ooops–sorry. Back to the author bio:

Jane lives in the historic city of Oxford, England with her two spaniels. She works at the Pitt Rivers museum there too and is amazed and inspired by its wondrous array of objects. Being a museum of anthropology and world archaeology, Jane often finds herself influenced by its exhibitions. And indeed it has helped Jane write a trilogy for children – the Paradox Child series.

Jane is not only a mother, artist and storyteller, but dyslexic too, which only highlights her success even more. Jane refuses to allow the disorder to halt her dreams and continues to enjoy her favourite hobbies. Jane is a lover of steampunk, adventure and children’s stories, which often play a huge role in her own books.

Jane Yates Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jane-Yates/689082927842499

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JYparadoxchild


Garden preorder links

 Amazon Kindle UK

Amazon Kindle US



Autumn Orchard Links


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AutumnOrchardBooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AutumnOrchardbk


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Cover Reveal for “The Black Blossom”, by C. J. Anaya


I love book reveals/cover reveals. Especially when I get to see and read such great work. This is an absolutely gorgeous cover, and I am sure that you will find the book intriguing. Without further ado, I give you the


Forced into a strange, dream-like state, Hope Fairmont is reliving her life as Mikomi, Princess of the Kagami Empire and The Healer of the world. Life as an Imperial Princess is rife with danger, betrayal and intrigue as Mikomi joins forces with a rebel group of samurai warriors in order to usurp the throne from her tyrannical father. To win this seemingly hopeless war, she must train with Musubi, a warrior in the rebel army, and learn the art of the sword without revealing her identity as The Healer.  Unbeknownst to her, Musubi has his own secret identity and personal agenda which carries dark consequences for Mikomi’s future. Neither one can afford to share their secrets with each other. Nor can they ignore the powerful chemistry building between them.  To complicate things further, she must hide her dealings with the rebels from her betrothed, Masaru Katsu, who has arrived at the palace in order to train her in the art of healing the veil before she ascends as a full kami on her eighteenth birthday. Her betrothed is not the cold-hearted warrior god she expected, but how can she spend eternity with a deity she may never love? Determined to avoid the future her parents and Katsu have planned for her, she spies on her father and his generals, collecting intelligence for the rebel army in the hopes that one day all of Kagami will be free and the future will be hers to control.  Worlds collide in the second book of The Healer Series as this epic love story carries the reader on a journey filled with romance, action, adventure and intrigue. A paranormal romance unlike anything you’ve read before, you won’t want to miss out on the second installment in this clean teen romance series.


Oh, wow–I love it already!

Personally, I am always intrigued as to what makes an author tick. Fortunately, I have inside info on Ms. Anaya right here:

~~~~~~~~~~~~AUTHOR BIO~~~~~~~~~~~~~

C. J. Anaya began writing short stories for family and friends when she was thirteen years old. This soon morphed into an extensive project every year during Christmas as a way to create a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift.  Her passion for reading and writing led her to following her own dreams of becoming a published author. She was born in Utah and raised everywhere else. She even lived a few years in Brazil, enjoying the people, the culture and learning the beautiful language of Portuguese; a language she is still fluent in to this day. As a result of her exposure to varying peoples and cultures, her interests became varied as well.  As a mother of four children she is now a singer and a songwriter, a baker and a cake decorator, a dancer and a choreographer, a girl with a degree in Criminal Justice and a first time published author of YA paranormal romance and fantasy. She is also married to the most deliciously, handsome looking Latino. As always, she has plenty to write about.

CJ Anaya

Nice! She had me at Brazil and Portuguese–two topics very near and dear to my heart. Given where she lived in Brazil, I may ask her to teach me some of the language, since my son now lives there. Keep in mind that Brazil is larger than the United States–the dialect changes dramatically from one place to another. I’d be interested in the Sao Paulo area myself.

Veering–sorry. I do that. Let’s find out where to reach her, shall we?

Social Media Links:

http://www.facebook.com/cjanayaauthor http://authorcjanaya.com http://www.twitter.com/CJAnaya21 http://www.amazon.com/author/cjanaya http://www.goodreads.com/cjanaya

I can’t get enough of that cover–let’s have another look at it, shall we?


We’d love to hear what you think!

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