Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Giveaway - Enter to win a free copy of The Black Swans

Win a copy of The Black Swans! 
See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: The Black Swans: A Tale of the Antrim Cycle. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jan 6, 2016 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules

Free Giveway - Enter Here!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Trad Tuesday - Skibbereen by the Wolfe Tones

Skibbereen, also known as Dear Old Skibbereen, 'Farewell to Skibbereen', or 'Revenge For Skibbereen', is an Irish folk song, in the form of a dialogue wherein a father tells his son about the Great Hunger (Án Gorta Mór), being evicted from their home, and the need to flee as a result of the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848.

The Wolfe Tones are an Irish rebel band that take their name from Irish patriot of the 1798 rebellion, Theobald Wolfe Tone

(Patrick Carpenter)
O, Father dear, I oft times heard you talk of Erin's Isle
Her valleys green, her lofty scene, her mountains rude and wild
You said it was a pleasant place wherein a prince might dwell
Why have you then forsaken her, the reason to me tell?
My son, I loved our native land with energy and pride
Until a blight fell on the land and sheep and cattle died
The rents and taxes were to pay, I could not them redeem
And that's the cruel reason why I left Old Skibbereen
It's well I do remember on a bleak November's day
The landlord and his agent came to drive us all away
He set my house on fire with his demon yellow spleen
And that's another reason why I left Old Skibbereen
Your mother, too, God rest her soul, lay on the snowy ground
She fainted in her anguish of the desolation round
She never rose, but went her way from life to death's long dream
And found a quiet grave, my boy, in lovely Skibbereen
It's well I do remember the year of forty-eight
When we arose with Erin's boys to fight against our fate
I was hunted through the mountains as a traitor to the Queen
And that's another reason that I left Old Skibbereen
Oh father dear, the day will come when vengeance loud will call
And we'll arise with Erin's boys and rally one and all
I'll be the man to lead the van, beneath our flag of green
And loud and high we'll raise the cry, "Revenge for Skibbereen!"

Monday, December 28, 2015

Book Review: Last Dance by Maria Grace and Half Agony, Half Hope also by Maria Grace

Last Dance smallThis was a sweet novella about the middle Bennet sister, Mary, in a Pride and Prejudice reimagining. Mary was the quiet studious daughter. Her two oldest sisters are married as is the youngest. Her parents have taken Kitty off to London to find her a husband, but Mary stays in Meryton with Aunt Philips who is determined to find Mary a husband also.
Enter two cousins: Mr. Lacey, a gentleman farmer and a catch and lame Mr. Parris who will be clerking for Uncle Phillips. Both seem interested in Mary who prefers the more frivolous Mr. Lacey until she spends some quality time with Mr. Parris. All's well that ends well.

Link to Amazon

I also read Half Agony, Half Hope, another novella which is a retelling of Persuasion. I enjoyed it, but it was pretty much just a retelling of the original story. But I love Austen reimaginings and will be reading more from this author.

This is free on the author's website.

Random Bits of Fascination

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review: The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar

I read and review a lot of Indie authors on this blog, but I also read a lot of traditionally published authors as well. I also reread my favorite books, both classics and just best-loved. On Christmas Day, I picked up my copy of The Good Fairies of New York in order to reread a book that always makes me chortle, giggle, and sometimes laugh out loud.
The copy I have now has an introduction by Neil Gaiman. I will quote from him to give you an idea of what the book is about:
The Good Fairies of New York is a story that starts when Morag and Heather, two eighteen-inch fairies with swords and green kilts and badly-dyed hair fly through the window of the worst violinist in New York, an overweight and antisocial type named Dinnie, and vomit on his carpet. Who they are, and how then came to New York, and what this has to do with the lovely Kerry, who lives across the street, and who has Crohn's Disease and is making a flower alphabet, and what this has to do with the other fairies (of all nationalities) of New York, not to mention the poor repressed fairies of Britain, is the subject of this book. It has a war in it, and a most unusual production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and Johnny Thunders' New York Dolls guitar solos. What more could anyone desire from a book?
This book originally came out in the early nineties and my original copy did not have the introduction from Mr. Gaimen. Martin Millar is well-known in Britain both for his Lonely Werewolf series and for the Thraxas series (under the name Martin Scott). For some reason, he is not as well known in the States and that is a shame because he belongs in the respected author grouping of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Neil Gaiman. Maybe it's his covers, I don't know, but Martin Millar has a style all his own. Some people don't like it, but the rest love it. There seems to be no middle ground here.
There are a lot of Celtic stories and music here as well as musical references to early punk rock. The New York street scene is well-drawn as well as the Scottish countryside and people.
Here is the opening of the book to give you an idea:
Dinnie, an overweight enemy of humanity, was the worst violinist in New York, but was practicing gamely when two cute little fairies stumbled through his fourth-floor window and vomited on the carpet.
"Sorry," said one.
"Don't worry," said the other. "Fairy vomit is no doubt sweet-smelling to humans."
I highly recommend this (and all) of his books. This one is a quick read; trust me, it will make you laugh.

Link to Amazon

Friday, December 25, 2015

Book Review: Everealm by J. D. Wright

I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.
Bree is a princess in Everealm. She has been in love with Rowan since she was fourteen years old. Unfortunately, he is not considered suitable and the fact that they went a little too far at one point means that he has been sent away to work as an assassin. When her father dies, Bree becomes Queen and there is the somewhat predictable story where Bree, Rowan, Dagan the wizard and others have to fight to save the kingdom from Bree's wicked uncle Silas and his wife.
The cover is lovely; that and the style of writing led me to believe that this was a YA fairy tale story. The book needs an editor (in my opinion). There is head-hopping between characters and a lot of poor phrasing that takes the reader out of the story. For example, "he certainly preferred her in red or deep green to match her eyes" made me wonder about the color of her eyes. Another example, "her body had rubbed against his groin, making it hard to concentrate on where he was leading his horse. And he was forced to rearrange his trousers to cover up his excitement caused by it". Was he excited by leading his horse or her body? There are a lot of sentences like this that just were not clear and stops the reader in order to try to understand what the author is saying. I can forgive a few instances of this, but there were too many throughout the entire book. I think an editor would have corrected this and made the book much better.
And this brings me to my second issue. This is definitely not a YA book. There are explicit sexual scenes of rape and violence. I don't particularly care if there is sex in a book, but here they are inserted somewhat gratuitously and I found them jarring. I don't think they were necessary and again they take the reader out of the story.
This book was a disappointment and I would not recommend it.

Link to Amazon

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Book Review: The Machine by E.C. Jarvis

Larissa Markus is an ordinary shop girl living a somewhat dreary life in her steampunk era city. When the Professor, a rich and handsome older man, approaches her, she is flattered and falls for his attentions. What he really wants is her Anthonium necklace since he needs the rare stone to power his machine. Things don't work out the way he plans, though. The machine blows up, the Professor is kidnapped, and Larissa is left with Cid, the Professor's assistant to try and clear things up.
What follows is a rollicking adventure as Larissa assembles a motley crew to assist her in her quest. The story reminded me a little of The Princess Bride by William Goldman, only Larissa is no Buttercup. She is the Wesley of this tale. Besides Cid, she has her cat, Imago, the mysterious Holt, and a pirate crew to help her find and free the Professor.
I cannot tell you how much I loved this book. I intend to gush here. I read a lot of books and this one is just terrific, one of my very favorites from the past year. The pace is fast; the book really is a page-turner. I both wanted to find out what happens next, yet I savored every word of the story and did not want it to end. The characters are well-realized and Larissa's growth throughout the book worked in  a very believable manner. The love triangle between Larissa, the Professor, and Holt also works (I won't give it away, but I liked the way Larissa deals with it). There are some scenes of violence because the villain here named Doctor Orother is sadistically evil.
The ending is satisfactory (not a cliffhanger) and I'm happy that this is apparently going to be a trilogy. I will be able to spend more time with these wonderful characters. E.C. Jarvis has done a great job with this story and I look forward to more from her. I most heartily recommend this book - you will not be disappointed. Oh, and don't forget there are pirates!

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Release for the Antrim Cycle

A new Holiday Short Story FREE!

Nola McLaren and Owen Campell are ready to celebrate their first real Winter Solstice together along with other friends and family in the small town of Antrim, Maine. An old Celtic legend will be the foundation for a big surprise for Owen.

Trad Tuesday: Snow by Loreena McKennitt

Snow is a poem by Canadian poet Archibald Lampman. He died in 1899 and was described as the "Canadian Keats". He was of the school of "nature poets".

Loreena McKennitt is an Canadian new age singer noted for her dreamy Celtic melodies. She often sets poems to music and this is a fine example for the holiday season.
White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height,
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof and tree,
Falls down scarce audibly.

The road before me smooths and fills
Apace, and all about
The fences dwindle, and the hills
Are blotted slowly out;
The naked trees loom spectrally
Into the dim white sky.

The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.

Save when at lonely intervals
Some farmer's sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runners and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;

The barking of a dog, or call
To cattle, sharply pealed,
Borne echoing from some wayside stall
Or barnyard far a-field;
Then all is silent, and the snow
Falls, settling soft and slow.

The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Review: An Unexpected Death by M.E. Maki

Caitlyn is a graphic designer with a successful business in Washington, DC, but she travels to a small town in the Catskills when her cousin Todd is murdered. Todd is a nice high school boy, popular and a good athlete with an interest in the environment. Caitlyn wants to help with the investigation, especially after she meets Ethan, the Sheriff. She has a boyfriend, but it doesn't seem very serious and part of the book explores her deciding on their relationship. Ethan has his own entanglements that no one suspects.
Together they investigate Todd's murder which becomes increasingly complicated with all sorts of environment issues such as fracking and a plethora of suspects. I don't want to give too much away, but this is a rip-snorting ride of a mystery with a lot of twists before it is solved. I especially liked the neighbor farming family who came from the South and are mixed up with herbal folklore, but there are a lot of great characters. I hope to meet them all again in the next book.
I heartily recommend this book and enjoyed it immensely.

Link to Amazon

Friday, December 18, 2015

Book Review: The Adventures of Alexis Davenport by Shay West

I won these three books in an author giveaway. Alexis Davenport is an unhappy teenager. Her parents are getting divorced and her mother is moving her away from all her friends to start freshman year in high school. She's a smart girl who loves history and the books show her trek through her high school years, the new friends that she makes, the football jock that she has a crush on, and the typical fights with her mother that most teenagers go through.
On the other hand, Alexis is not a typical teenager. She is a time traveller who has the mysterious power to travel back through time to prevent an evil traveller named Drifter from changing the course of history. At times it it dangerous for her and she learns a lot from the bodies and minds of the women that she takes over.
This is a great YA series. I loved the bits of history strewn into the story and learned some new facts myself. Alexis, or Alex, grows up quite a lot over the course of the series and is always interesting. I highly recommend these books to teenagers who like fantasy and good reads.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Trad Tuesday - My Heart's in the Highlands sung by the Barra MacNeils

My Heart's in the Highlands is a song by Robert Burns from 1789 and sung to the tune Failte na Miosg.

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

The Barra MacNeils are a Canadian group from Nova Scotia consisting of several siblings. The Isle of Barra is the clan home for the MacNeils.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Book Review: Unhidden by Dina M. Given

Unhidden is the first book in The Gatekeeper Chronicle. Emma is a mercenary who hires out for special jobs with a team of two others, Jason and Daniel (the computer nerd). She is captured by a nefarious figure who attempts a strange sacrifice ritual on her before she is rescued. After that, all sorts of paranormal characters start appearing. There is a lot of action and fighting, too much in my opinion. It takes away from the character interactions. For example, Emma is a cold fish, but she will sacrifice for Jason and Daniel. I'm never sure why except that they were her team; Jason was a short term affair and Daniel is a nice kid she took under her wing while in the foster care system. She seems to mow down hundreds of men and creatures to save these two, but I'm never sure why as she's pretty callous otherwise.
The same thing with the romantic triangle (I'm not even sure it was a triangle). Zane is a mage from her past life, but spends most of his brief appearances trying to kill her. Alex also hates her, but then maybe becomes another love interest.
I'm not sure if the problem was that the author was waiting for the next book to straighten some of this out, but I felt that the story was often disjointed. It has an interesting premise, but I'm not sure I'll bother to continue the series.
I received this book free from NetGalley for an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Book Review: Spiral of Need by Suzanne Wright

Spiral of Need is a paranormal werewolf romance. Ally has been alienated from her pack because of a jealous mate of her ex. Dereen brings her to his own pack because of a favor he owes to her brother (well, he grew up with her and his family adopted her).
There are predictable crises with the jealous mate on Ally's side and another jealous woman on Dereen's side. Plus another jealous woman who is trying to wipe out her new pack. Every other chapter is another sexual encounter for no particular reason that I could see except to lengthen the story.
I like paranormal, but this one was not for me. I was given this book as an ARC by the publisher for an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

IndieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop

Today is my day for the IndieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop and I'm very excited about it. It has been a wonderful trip through the blogs so far, full of interesting stories. I am very proud that my book, The Black Swans, was awarded an IndieBRAG Medallion. The Black Swans is based on the Irish story of The Children of Lir, so I thought it apropos to talk about some of the Celtic customs that the Irish celebrate at Christmas time.

In many parts of Ireland barns and outbuildings are still whitewashed, a holdover from older times when buildings were cleaned to purify them to welcome the coming savior. Houses were decorated with holly and ivy. You wanted to find a holly bush that contained many berries as that signified good luck in the coming year. 

Christmas decorations are kept up until January 6th, or Little Women's Christmas. On this day women can leave their housekeeping and go out with each other to have fun. This is still celebrated especially in the Western part of Ireland.

Many families leave a candle in the window to welcome the Holy Family. They might also leave a mince pie and a Guinness out on Christmas Eve for Santa instead of the milk and cookies that we leave for him.

The Winter Solstice is also an important day in Ireland. December 21st is the day that the Oak King of summer must battle his twin, the Holly King. The Holly King always wins the battle and rules until the Summer Solstice. The Holly King was a giver of gifts, helping people to live through the harsh winter months, and is one of the earliest incarnations of Santa Claus.

Tuesdays on this blog are also known as Traditional Tuesday where I showcase a traditional Celtic song. Today I picked The Wexford Carol sung by Irish singer Loreena McKennitt.

The Wexford Carol is a traditional Irish Christmas carol. It is also known as 'The Enniscorthy Carol' and 'Carul Loch Garman'. The tune goes back to the 12th century though the lyrics are newer. 

The Wexford Carol - Lyrics
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done
In sending his beloved son
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessed Messiah born

The night before that happy tide
The noble Virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town
But mark right well what came to pass
From every door repelled, alas
As was foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble ox's stall

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep
To whom God's angel did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear
Arise and go, the angels said
To Bethlehem, be not afraid
For there you'll find, this happy morn
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born

With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find
And as God's angel had foretold
They did our Saviour Christ behold
Within a manger he was laid
And by his side a virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life
Who came on earth to end all strife

There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at his feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.

The next stop on the indieBRAG Christmas Blog Hop is tomorrow, December 9 with Cheri Gillard, so be sure to hop along and see what Cheri has in store for you.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Book Review: Darkness of Man (The Edge of Reflection book 1) by C.C. Genovese

Darkness of Man is based on an interesting premise. When a human finally has a truly dark urge for violence, the urge creates an image copy of the person in a mirror world. Occasionally, the two worlds meet when the person views his image and each is transported to the other's world.
Gabe finds out that Allie, his girlfriend, is creating on him with his boss. The desire to do her violence transports him through the mirror and allows Cutter, his image, to escape that dark world and wreak havoc in the 'real' world.  Meanwhile, Lisa, Gabe's shy friend at the office, has her own transfer with Ivy, her alter ego. Lisa has always had a crush on Gabe, but it isn't until they're locked in this dark world together and struggling to return to their real world that Gabe realizes Lisa's worth.
Gabe's arrival has been foreordained as the Haissem and he gathers a crew of interesting people and images to support him in his quest. I enjoyed these side characters almost as much as the main characters. Nothing is black or white and even the worst characters have good points. There are also many dangers in this alternate world which move the story right along.
This was an interesting concept and way to visualize the struggle between good and evil. The writing is good, but be warned: the story is raw with both graphic sex and violence. It is an engrossing read, dark fantasy at its finest. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Trad Tuesday - Sweet Bells sung by Kate Rusby

Kate Rusby is an English folksinger from Yorkshire and her Christmas album reflects her origins. Sweet Bells is also the title of her album.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Coming Darkness by Eric Swett

Justin is a fallen Angel. He just happens to be one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, the Grim Reaper himself, Death. A year has passed since he remembered who he was and what he is. He is regaining some of the abilities and memories he lost when he chose to fall to earth and live amongst humans, but he has a long way to go before he can fully reclaim his title. When Justin comes across a young girl being chased by a monster, he does what he can to save her, but he soon discovers this is no normal girl, and failing to save her will change the world forever.
“Something tells me this is the place,” said Samantha.
“I think you’re right.” Justin felt the Power emanating from the place; the origin or intent of the magic cast upon the little building remained elusive.
Justin opened the door and Samantha strode inside. Her sharp business attire and well-manicured look terribly out of place in the shop filled with countless shelves filled with books and dark little trinkets and charms that hung from hooks throughout the room. She sniffed and wrinkled her nose. “It smells like a tomb in here,” she said as she picked up the desiccated corpse of a chameleon from a nearby shelf.
“I’ve smelled worse,” Justin said as he entered the room and shut the door behind him. He stopped when he stood behind her and whispered, “Human magic often requires these sort of physical components, at least until the wizard is powerful enough to eschew such trappings.”
“How…uncivilized,” Samantha said as she placed the dead lizard back on its shelf.
“So true.”
The Angels turned to see a man entering the shop through a doorway behind a broad wooden counter. He was tall for a human, though he fell well short of Justin’s six and a half feet. He wore a dark purple button down shirt that nearly concealed the tattoos that covered his biceps and upper chest. Thick black and grey stuble covered his shaved head. His eyes caught Justin’s attention. He saw that sort of dark fire burning within the eyes of men before. Monuments carved in their likeness and tomes filled with tails of heroism and infamy contained their names.

“Welcome to The Curious Cat. My name is Mathew Finitz, and this is my shop.”

Eric Swett is the husband of Tracy and the father of Zachary, Connor, and Kaitlyn, and could not be prouder of his family.
He lives in Statesville, North Carolina, spends his daylight hours working in IT and has done so for the past six years.
Being a fan of all things geek, he has spent most of his life reading science fiction and fantasy. He started writing in high school, but it wasn’t until he moved to North Carolina that writing became anything more than a hobby.

You can find Eric online at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and My Writer’s Cramp. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Book Review: Crestfall by Lily St. John McKee

Aria Andrews comes to Newfoundland for the funeral of her twin sister, Sonata, whom she has not seen in seven years. Sonata has been brutally murdered and Aria must find the murderer with the help of her brother, Finn, and the policeman in charge, Bennet Halfknight. All three of the Andrews siblings had magical powers: Aria has command over earth, Finn over fire, and Sonata had command over the air.
Finn's new girlfriend is a witch and she and Aria become friends. Sophie also helps in this paranormal murder mystery where there are werewolves and other creatures.
Crestfall is an engaging story and brings a fresh perspective to paranormal worlds that is still within credibility. I especially liked the origin story for the werewolves. The descriptions of Newfoundland were right on and perfect for the story. I enjoyed this book and I think that any lover of paranormal tales would like it too.

Link to Amazon

Saturday, November 28, 2015

New Release: An Unexpected Death by M.E. Maki

An Unexpected Death: A Caitlyn Jamison Mystery
By M.E. Maki

When Caitlyn Jamison learns of her cousin’s murder, she’s determined to see justice served. She leaves her comfortable life in Washington, D.C. and travels to New York’s Finger Lakes region where she is faced with her estranged family and painful memories she had long since buried.

Against his better judgment, Sheriff Ethan Ewing acquiesces to Caitlyn’s request to assist in the investigation, though neither expected to be confronted with another murder, environmental issues, politics and fraud as they worked together to solve an unexpected death.

Link to Amazon

About the Author

M. E. Maki is a writer, editor and genealogist. Her genealogy research has been published in Connecticut Ancestry and The Nutmegger, a publication of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists. She writes a genealogy blog, Growing Up in Willow Creek, and produces family history monographs. This is her first novel.

Mary grew up in Upstate New York, where this story is set, and now lives in Virginia with her husband, Ray. She is a member of Sisters In Crime, and is currently working on the next Caitlyn Jamison mystery. Visit her at:

If you're interested in her genealogy works, here are her books and a link to her genealogy blog: Harry Nunn and His Family - genealogy monograph
The Hardenbrook Family: Honoring Ancestors in Upstate New York - genealogy monograph

Friday, November 27, 2015

Book Review: Mountains Never Meet by Stephanie Smith Diamond

Mountains Never Meet is a delightful read. Maggie is a 30-year-old editor with a nice fiance, Thomas, and a good life in Boston. Handing with her rowdy brothers compensates for the blandness of life with Thomas. Though she's supposed to be planning the wedding and moving in with him, Maggie becomes distracted by the idea of a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Thomas reluctantly agrees, but at the last moment on their layover in Paris, he backs out and leaves Maggie on her own. She breaks the engagement and continues to Africa.
The week-long trek up the mountain is described in detail and makes you feel as if you are on the hike. I believe the author also took this hike and she's translated the experience expertly in the book. Maggie continues to gain confidence being on her own. Though Adam, the last minute replacement for Thomas, is attractive and willing to help her, Maggie is suspicious of his motives. Her journey to learn to take help and not just accept 'good-enough' is what makes this story so interesting. She has decisions to make after the trek. Should she go on the safari that she and Thomas had also planned? Should she go back to Boston, Paris, or stay in Africa?
I can not wait to read more from this author.

Link to Amazon

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Book Review: Caretakers of Eternity by Edward Gordon

Caretakers of Eternity is a ghost story that takes place in a vineyard in Arizona. Horrible things have taken place there and a little girl dies and ends up haunting the place. Years later the current owner, Robert, wants to move to California so he makes a deal with a local real estate agent, Jennifer, to sell her the place. He's had a dream that she is the new Caretaker and he makes her promise to never sell the place.
Jennifer and her partner, Mike, agree but plan to sell it anyway since it isn't in writing and they can make millions of dollars. They don't count on the ghost, Whitney, nor what they find in the basement.
Horror is not a genre I particularly like, but this was a well-written story. There are parts that creep the reader out, but that is the purpose of this kind of book. If you are looking for a good story that moves along and makes the hair on your neck rise, then this is a book for you.

Link to Amazon 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Trad Tuesday - Ar Lan y Mor sung by Catrin O'Neill

I was reminded yesterday that I've neglected one of the Celtic nations, so today I am featuring a Welsh song.  Ar Lan y Mor is a love song set beside the sea which pretty much surrounds Wales. Catrin O'Neill is a Welsh folk singer. The lyrics are:
Ar lan y môr mae rhosys cochion
Ar lan y môr mae lilis gwynion
Ar lan y môr mae 'nghariad inne
Yn cysgu'r nos a chodi'r bore.

Ar lan y môr mae carreg wastad
Lle bûm yn siarad gair â'm cariad
O amgylch hon fe dyf y lili
Ac ambell gangen o rosmari.

Ar lan y môr mae cerrig gleision
Ar lan y môr mae blodau'r meibion
Ar lan y môr mae pob rinweddau
Ar lan y môr mae nghariad innau.

Llawn yw'r môr o swnd a chegryn
Llawn yw'r wy o wyn a melyn
Llawn yw'r coed o ddail a blode
Llawn o gariad merch wyf inne.

Mor hardd yw'r haul yn codi'r bore
Mor hardd yw'r enfys aml ei liwie
Mor hardd yw natur ym Mehefin
Ond harddach fyth yw wyneb Elin 

Beside the sea red roses growing
Beside the sea white lilies showing
Beside the sea their beauty telling
My true love sleeps within her dwelling

Beside the sea the stones lie scattered
Where tender words in love were uttered
While all around there grew the lily
And sweetest branches of rosemary

Beside the sea blue pebbles lying
Beside the sea gold flowers glowing
Beside the sea are all things fairest
Beside the sea is found my dearest

Full the sea of sand and billows
Full the egg of whites and yellows
Full the woods of leaf and flower
Full my heart of love for ever.

Fair the sun at new day’s dawning
Fair the rainbow’s colours shining
Fair the summer, fair as heaven
Fairer yet the face of Elin

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Release - Crestfall by Lily St. John McKee

Crestfall is a dark fantasy with a heart of love—for the earth, its creatures and plants, for people who strive, care, and face down fear. Its young heroine, Aria Andrews, interrupts her medieval history studies to attend her sister’s funeral in a town on the rugged coast of Newfoundland. Her estranged twin was murdered, and Aria becomes a suspect before setting out to uncover the brutal truth with the help of her brother Fynn, his girlfriend Sophie (a witch), and forthright Bennet Halfnight, a handsome detective. All three Andrews siblings have possessed unworldly natural powers; Aria uses hers to pursue an old antagonist and confront new ones: shape-shifters and werewolves in this startling romantic novel of beastly gore and human tenderness.
Lily Portrait-2 copy-2 copy

Lily was an accomplished author who was on the verge of publishing her first novel when she became sick. For seven weeks, she struggled with ARDS–acute respiratory distress syndrome–in the ICUs of both Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC and Johns Hopkins of Baltimore. In sickness, she showed the same bravery and determination she demonstrated throughout her life. Should you wish to support the doctors who tried to save Lily’s life, please visit to make a donation in Lily’s name.

Lily’s family has also established The Lily McKee High School Fellowship in her honor. Please see details on the tab above. Donations support students from across the Washington Metropolitan Area who share Lily’s passion for Shakespeare.

Link to Amazon

Book Review: Flashbacks by Morgan Smith

Since I'm just a few years older than the author, I was interested in reading this and see how her memories compared to my own. I was very pleased with this book. The writing is terrific and the anecdotes were both familiar and often jogged my own memories of the sixties.
Since the author lived in Canada growing up, it was a new perspective for me. Her father was a university professor and her mother was an activist. This gave the author quite a bit of freedom for a young girl, but that was what those times were about. This is a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

Link to Smashwords

Friday, November 20, 2015

Book Review: Little Girl Lost: Home is Where the Heart Is by Angelique S. Anderson

Little Girl Lost: Home is Where the Heart Is continues Star's story from Book 1, Separation. Star is living in Montana, her parents seem to be getting it together - until they're not. They take off with her to a possible job on the West Coast, but stop at an old friend's house and end up staying there. They are back to their old ways and Star finds that her step-mother has even worse problems.
Based on the author's own story this is a sad and touching book. At times,
it makes you cry, but it also uplifts as you see how this little girl overcomes all these issues.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Trad Tuesday - Thousands are Sailing sung by Planxty

There are probably hundreds of Irish immigration songs. The Irish Famine drove thousands of immigrants away from Ireland and provided much fodder for this type of song. The Irish spread out all over the world, but often wrote songs about their immigration experiences and the hope to go back home one day.

Planxty is an Irish band that has been comprised of many great Irish musicians. Among them are Donal Lunny, Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, and Liam O'Flynn.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Libraries and E-Books

I grew up in libraries. My mother had us at the local library at least once a week and sometimes more. My grandmother was the town librarian in the next town from us and we would visit her there also. Libraries are just some of my favorite places to be.

As an Indy author I still believe in libraries. I've donated my softcover books to places where I am able. And I participate in the SELF-e program sponsored by Library Journal that allows e-books to become part of library catalogs across the country (USA only). Further information is in the link below, but I would urge you to think about participating in this program. It is free to submit and if accepted, your book is entered into the SELF-e catalog as a curated book.

I think this program is a win-win. My book is now available in my local public library as a curated selection and libraries are promoting Indie authors to their readers. Check out the information below if you are interested.
Check out this link if interested

See if it's right for you!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cover Reveal: Time for the Lost by Chess DeSalls

TFTL Cover RevealCalla's disappearance leads her family and friends to suspect that she’s lost. In a desperate attempt to find her, Valcas seeks help from a man he betrayed. A new search begins, one that sounds promising, even if it forces Valcas to confront his past. The travel team reunites for a mission they never saw coming: a journey to a world caught between life and death, and hidden within the deepest recesses of time. Ivory rediscovers a friend and Ray learns the meaning behind his tattoo. But the connections they make between travelers and the lost may twist the core of the Time and Space Travel Agency inside out. Time for the Lost is the third installment in The Call to Search Everywhen serial series. Catch up with Calla and Valcas' adventure before the third book releases in February 2016!
About the Author
Chess Desalls is the author of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She's a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. Her non-fiction writing has led to academic and industry publications. She’s also a contributing editor for her local writing club’s monthly newsletter. The California Writers Club, South Bay branch, has awarded two of Chess’ stories first place for best short fiction. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.
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New Release - Mountains Never Meet by Stephanie Smith Diamond

Exciting New Release

When Maggie has second thoughts about getting married, she thinks an exotic vacation will bring her and Thomas closer together. Thomas agrees but he isn’t thrilled with her choice of a destination – Mount Kilimanjaro. Their rocky relationship becomes even more strained, however, and Maggie finds herself in an unexpected situation. 

Maggie hates asking for help but she finds it in the form of an unlikely stranger. Against the magnificent backdrop of the African savannah, Maggie starts to question everything she’s ever thought about love, life, and where to call home.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: Brothers of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

Brothers of the Night is the continuation of the Blood & Company series. I read book three New England Nights, but not the first two so I was not familiar with some of the people in the Chicago/Slater part of the book. Still, it did not make a difference as I was able to follow along and really enjoy this vampire book.
Truthfully, the vampirism is not the focus of the book. The focus is on a group of family and friends and how they interrelate with each other. Some are vampires and some are humans, but I thought that the vampirism was treated more as a disease (like diabetes). It is the impact of being a vampire that the story is about, how it affects both the vampire and those around them.
This makes for a very interesting and thoughtful story. The ability to have children, the power of a vampire to persuade humans, and the ordinary human stories of adoption or finding a lost sibling all combine for a well-written and engrossing story.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Trad Tuesday - The Wind That Shakes the Barley performed by Solas

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" is an Irish ballad written by Robert Dwyer Joyce (1836–1883), a Limerick-born poet and professor of English literature. The song is written from the perspective of a doomed young Wexford rebel who is about to sacrifice his relationship with his loved one and plunge into the cauldron of violence associated with the 1798 rebellion in Ireland. The references to barley in the song derive from the fact that the rebels often carried barley or oats in their pockets as provisions for when on the march. This gave rise to the post-rebellion phenomenon of barley growing and marking the "croppy-holes," mass unmarked graves into which slain rebels were thrown, symbolizing the regenerative nature of Irish resistance to British rule. As the barley will grow every year in the Spring time of the year this is said to symbolize Irish resistance to British oppression and that Ireland will never yield and will always oppose British rule on the island.
Solas is a Irish-American band noted for their traditional music and original compositions. The band members have changed over the years, but have always had Seamus Egan and Winnie Horan.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Book Review - Linked and Holding the Link by Hope Welsh

Lana is a work-at-home web designer. Her mother recently died under suspicious circumstances. Lana refuses to have anything to do with the paranormal abilities that she seems to have inherited from her mother. But when something invades her house one night, she barely escapes.
Cole is a private detective with a secret of his own. He finds Lana and is immediately attracted to her and wants to help her.
This two-book set is the first part of the Prophecy Series. Lana and Cole are steamy together and must work to find out what happened to Lana's mother and then resolve Lana's own difficulties. It's a good story and a quick read, especially if you like paranormal romances. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. I intend to read the third book when it comes out though there isn't a cliffhanger ending (each book can be read on its own).

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Trad Tuesday - Aird Uí Chuain performed by At First Light

Aird Uí Chuain is one of many emigrant songs for the Irish. It speaks to the longing to return to country Antrim near Cushendun which is where my Irish ancestors came from. Below are the Gaelic and English lyrics.

At First Light is a traditional music Irish band made up of Members: John Mc Sherry (Uilleann Pipes, Low Whistles) Dónal O'Connor (Fiddle, Keyboards) Francis Mc Ilduff (Uilleann Pipes, Whistles, & Bodhrán) and guests Ciara McCrickard (Vocals & Fiddle) Michael McCague (Guitar, Bouzouki) Tony Byrne (Guitar) Rubén Bada (Bouzouki, Guitar, Fiddle).

Aird Uí Chuain

Dá mbeinn féin in Aird Uí Chuain
In aice an tsléibhe atá i bhfad uaim
B’annamh liom gan dul ar cuairt
Go gleann na gcuach Dé Domhnaigh

Is iomaí Nollaig a bhí mé féin
I mBun Abhann Doinne is mé gan chéill
Ag iomáin ar an trá bháin
‘Is mo chamán bán ins mo dhorn liom

Agus och och Éire ‘lig is ó,
Éire lionn dubh (melancholy) agus ó,
‘Sé mo chroí ‘tá trom ‘s bronach.

Nach tuirseach mise anseo liom féin
Nach n-áirim guth coiligh lonndubh nó traon
gealbhán, smaolach, naoscach féin
Is chan aithním féin an Domhnach

‘Sé seo an choraíocht atá buan
Ar a’ tsaol go gcuirfeadh sé cluain
Mheallfadh sé an chaora ón uan –
Agus mheall sé uaimse an óige

Dá mbeadh agam coite is rámh
D’iomairfinn liom ar dhroim a’tsnáimh
‘S mé ag duil le Dia go sroichfinn slán
Is chan aithním féin an Domhnach
English Translation

I wish I were in Ardicoan
Near yon mountain far away.
I would seldom let the Sunday go
From the Cuckoo’s glen across the bay.

It is many a Christmas Day I had
In Cushendun while still a lad;
Hurling on the White Shore Strand
With my good ash hurley in my hand.

And it’s oh dear Ireland, you’re my home!
Far from you I had to roam
And my heart is heavy and alone.

But my heart is weary all alone
And it sends a lonely cry
To the land that sings beyond my dreams
And the lonely Sundays pass me by.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Book Review: New Avalon, Love and Loss in the City of Steam by Neal F Litherland

New Avalon is a series of short stories that take place in the fictional steampunk city of the same name. The city of New Avalon is vividly described and mapped out. Parts of it reminded me descriptions of Victorian London, but other sections of the city are unique.
I enjoyed every single story, something I do not always find in anthologies. The prose is elegant and descriptive, noting small details that enchant and cause the reader to linger over a sentence. Each story revolves around a love that goes wrong in some way. There are no happy endings here and that seems fitting in New Avalon.
Many of the stories hark back to Greek mythology which I found interesting. The Flight of Icarus is a retelling of that myth in a style that I found unique and intriguing. I particularly liked The Legend of Black Jack Guillotine which tells of an affair that spawns a horrific legend. Another story I really liked was The Understudy which reminded me of The Phantom of the Opera.
I highly recommend New Avalon and I will definitely be looking for more from this author.

Link to Amazon

Saturday, October 31, 2015

New Release: The Dragon Children: The Prophecy (Dragonsreach Book 1) by Hannah Byrnes

The Dragon Children: The Prophecy (Dragonsreach Book 1) 

Aimed at middle-grade readers, and lovers of all things magical, the novel is the first installment in a four book series set in Dragonsreach, a mystical island where the wisdom of dragons is man's last link to the magic realms.

Kai is the shy, studious son of a TV Astrologer. Pony-loving Bridget hates maths and wants to be a Knight. They are the Dragon Children, destined to restore man’s faith in magic. Their arrival in Dragonsreach means that an age-old prophecy may be fulfilled, and dragons will rule the skies again. 

After a legion of iron birds attack, the dragon eggs are lost and Bridget and Kai are separated. Each sets out on a perilous quest leading to dragon hordes, mysterious wizards, invisible temples and ancient magic before facing a deadly foe who is not what it seems. 

The first edition novel was released in February 2015 and attracted 4 & 5* reviews and hit the bestseller lists.  However, the author noted comments regarding the flow of the story in a couple of reviews and decided to revise the story for the new edition. 
Hannah says:
The Dragon Children: The Prophecy already has fans, but I am still learning my craft.  I want readers to become fully immersed in this magical world so I revised the book.  It has been a learning experience, but I am really proud of the results.

The Dragon Children: The Prophecy is now available on Kindle and will be FREE to download between 31/10/15 and 02/11/15.  Please take advantage of this offer, share with those who will enjoy the book and leave a review.  

The paperback will be released the week beginning 2/11/2015 and will raise funds for Make-A-Wish UK.

Follow Hannah here
twitter and instagram @hbthewriter.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Review - The Corpse Candle and Other Nightmares

I decided some Halloween stories might be appropriate and I picked this anthology. It was a very pleasant surprise. Most of the stories were excellent and a few good while only one was just okay. They are all well-written, by a number of authors, and sufficiently scary.
I especially enjoyed The Corpse Candle, Resting Bones, Of Holes and Craters, I'll Be There, Sade, and Return of the Caledonians (I'm a MacDonald - readers will understand).
A very nice read for Halloween or anytime you're looking for some horror stories.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review - The Life and Times of Daniel Ulysses Barrow by Bittersweet_Rose (Cheryl Rosecrans)

Quite a while ago I tried my hand at some Jane Austen fan-fiction. Otherwise, it is a genre that I have not involved myself with until my friend Cheryl told me about her series. She has written a three-book series of Doctor Who fan fiction. I like the tenth Doctor so I decided to give them a try.

Born of Fire  (Doctor Who AU)

Born of Fire is the first book. It tells the story of Daniel Ulysses Barrow, the "clone" of the Doctor with some DNA from Donna Noble mixed in. The Doctor decides to leave Daniel with Rose Tyler in an alternate universe and alternate Earth, sort of as a substitute for himself. Even though Daniel looks like the Doctor, Rose rejects him because he is not her Doctor. Desolate, Daniel goes to live in the western part of Scotland and becomes a school teacher, trying to make a new life for himself.

Forged in Ice (Doctor Who AU Novel)
Forged in Ice is the second book. Daniel has met a woman, Nora, with a young son, Robbie, and fallen in love.  They are building a life together in spite of issues with her ex-husband. Daniel still has contact with his old friends, some of whom have gender-swapped from their alternative personas back on old Earth. He does contract work for Torchwood and loves teaching his students in Glen Coe. Nora becomes pregnant and Daniel finally feels that in spite of being an alien, he is starting to fit in with these people.

After a devasting tragedy Daniel must remake his life. Rose realizes what she lost in rejecting Daniel, but is it too late for them?

I loved these books. There are familiar characters from the television series, albeit with some differences (see gender-swapped reference above) and new characters like Nora and Robbie. I've tried not to give too much of the stories away in my synopsis, but they are well written and a roller coaster of emotion. Daniel is a wonderful man, like the Doctor, but also with his own flaws and perspectives on life among the humans. I did not like Nora at first (team Rose here), but soon grew to love her and Robbie and cried (a lot) when tragedy struck. Cheryl has done a remarkable job and paid a loving tribute to these characters. You do not have to be a Doctor Who fan (though it helps) to enjoy these books. I suggest you run right over to Wattpad and follow her.

Here is the link to the first book: Born of Fire Start reading now - I promise you will enjoy these books.

Trad Tuesday - The Wheels of the World by John McSherry & Colin Harper

The Uilleann Pipe has been discussed on these pages before. John McSherry is one of the elite Irish Uilleann pipers today having played in Lunasa, Tamalin, and Coolfin. He's also played with many other musicians and his current bands, At First Light and The Ollam. He has provided the music for films such as Waking Ned Devine and This is My Father.

He currently has a book out about the Uilleann Pipe, The Wheels of the World.
From the website:

One chanter, three drones, three regulators, thirteen keys, too many near-extinctions to mention and 300 years of heroes:  that, with a frisson of fairies on moonlit knolls, is the Irish uilleann (‘ill-in’) pipes. The Wheels Of The World presents an epic tale of triumph and survival, where the soulful heart of a nation has been kept alive across ages by a slender thread of guardians – blind men, eccentrics, self-aggrandisers, noble heroes, bloody-minded revivalists and at least three people compared to Jimi Hendrix. 

Uilleann piping is Ireland’s equivalent to the story of the blues in America, save that here the trail of legends and lore is richer and deeper by far. It is the sound of eighteenth century blues – a micro-tonal virtuoso machine wielded by misfits and geniuses, often one and the same.

This is the story of a continuum, from John McSherry, a 21st century luminary, backwards in time through his three formative heroes – Paddy Keenan, Liam O’Flynn and Finbar Furey – and thence to Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Johnny Doran, Leo Rowsome, Patsy Touhey and a litany of unrecorded legends before them. It is also a snapshot of professional Irish traditional musicians, after the goldrush of the late 20th century, keeping calm and carrying on.

You can order the book here:

John McSherry & Paul Meehan play ''An Bhean Chaointe / The Old Bush / The First Month of Summer" to a live audience on TG4's music series 'Bosca Ceoil'.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Cover Reveal - Becoming Bryn by Angela Carling

Hi Ya’ll! I’m so excited to share with you a brand new cover for my Contemporary Young Adult novel Becoming Bryn. This fun contemporary young adult story was republished in 2015 complete with a new cover. Here’s what some of the reviewers are saying about Becoming Bryn.
Becoming Bryn went to places I didn't expect. You want to laugh and cry and swoon (yes, very much swooning indeed... there was an excellent kiss... not telling you with WHO though!) and not be able to put the book down because of it. Angela Carling knows how to hold together an intricate story and tell it in the best way possible.
-Jessica L Sankiewicz
The book is beautifully written very well done from start to finish. I ended up staying up super late till three in the morning reading, even had tears in my eyes because the end is just so amazing.
-Mandy Sickle
Here’s the blurb you’ll find on the back of the book and THE NEW COVER FOR BECOMING BRYN!
For months, Jesse has been envious of her twin sister Bryn and even has a crush on Bryn’s gorgeous, popular boyfriend, Quinton. When Jesse awakens from a coma to learn that everyone thinks she IS Bryn, the option of actually taking over her sister’s life is beyond tempting, but there’s a downside. She’d have to give up her relationship with Ethan, her best friend and the only person she trusts. Could she actually live s Bryn for the rest of her life? And if her family and friends found out, would they ever forgive her?
AND NOW…..the new cover for Becoming Bryn!!!!
Want to read it (or any other one of my books) for yourself? Get your digital copy here.

Not sure What You Think? Here’s an excerpt to check outJ
The night air was balmy, and after awhile we turned off the air conditioning and opened the sunroof. Last summer Bryn and I had spent hours shopping with our dad, looking for a car we could live with and Dad could afford. Neither of us had seen a Honda four-door from the nineties as our dream car, but the sunroof had made it all better. The sunroof was the only reason we begged Dad to get it for us. He bought it on one condition, that Bryn and I would be willing to share the vehicle. Tonight as we drove down the weathered two-lane road toward the corn maze, warm air slipped in through the sunroof, brushing against our cheeks and dancing through our hair. Between the smell of freshly cut corn and alfalfa and the open sunroof, I felt so alive, almost untouchable. “Turn on the radio,” Bryn said loudly over the moving air above us. I reached over and pushed the plastic knob. Inside the car, the air was instantly charged with the pounding beat of a dance song. We both belted out the lyrics, singing badly but joyously over the radio. I looked over at Bryn as she sang. Pieces of her carefully done hair had escaped from their bobby pin prison and now flew wildly around her face. She looked happy and surprisingly, for a moment, I felt a sense of contentment. It wasn’t genuine happiness, but it was enough for tonight.
Up ahead on the right side of the road, I could see the tall stalks of the corn maze. Next to the maze sat a small organic supermarket. I’d been to the store with my mom to buy local honey a couple of years ago. That day, I’d ended up waiting an extra thirty minutes while she chatted with the owner as if they were old friends. I’d tuned out a lot of the conversation but I did learn that the same family who grew the corn maze owned the store and a citrus orchard just behind that. Tonight the market was decorated with long strands of small orange and purple lights. Out front, leaning up against a weathered picket fence that ran the perimeter of the property, was a large hand painted sign that read: Haunted Corn Maze, $8.00. As we got closer, I could see that just beyond the fence, waiting for the maze to open up was a large crowd of people dressed up as everything from doctors to vampires. We knew somewhere in the mass of people were our friends.
 There was no turn lane on the narrow road, so I flipped on my turn signal and began to slow down just before the dirt entrance that led to the market came into view. Bryn, who had been straining to look past me for her friends, finally gave up and undid her seatbelt. By the time we stopped, she was hanging out of the sunroof, waving wildly and yelling across the street to a couple of the girls I recognized as cheerleaders on Bryn’s squad. I looked up at her, smiling, so excited and confident… Then as I glanced in the rear view mirror I saw another car coming up behind us. The car was weaving all over the road and driving way too fast. Worst of all, I could see from the headlights behind him that the driver wasn’t paying attention, that he was looking down at something in his lap.
Like a voice in my head, I remembered my mom complaining about the fact that there was no turn lane to get into the farmer’s market, talking about how dangerous it was. “Someone’s going to die out here,” she’d said. I thought she was being melodramatic.
I watched helplessly as the car barreled towards us. There was nowhere to go. There were only two lanes and a constant stream of cars came from the other direction. Even if I’d wanted to pull off the road, a huge canal filled with irrigation water made it impossible. Panic began to surge through my veins in the form of adrenaline; yet suddenly, simultaneously, time seemed to crawl, putting everything around me into slow motion. The approaching car, the screaming teenagers across the street, my sister calling out to them – it felt choppy, like an old silent movie. I could imagine in my head a black and white version of the scene with comments added like, “Oh no, we’re going to die!” written in old typewriter text against a flimsy screen.
Just before the car behind us made impact, I could feel myself laughing darkly at my own imagery. Then, in my ears and in my bones I heard and felt the crushing of metal as the car struck us with full force from behind, launching us like a pinball in a classic pinball machine, shooting us forward with deadly aim right into oncoming traffic. For a second, or maybe half a second, I was aware of my sister’s legs being lifted from the seat she was standing on, and I knew somewhere above me she was being thrown around like a ragdoll. Then I saw nothing but the enormous cement truck right in front of us. Somehow I knew the truck driver had no time to change his course, and my heart, which suddenly felt as if it was made of lead, plummeted into my stomach. With only feet between us, I noticed that the word “Rock Solid” had been plastered across the black exterior paint of the truck. Clever, I thought morbidly, remembering that I had seen similar trucks in our neighborhood. Then before total panic could even really set in, before I could scream or cry, or move out of his path, our tiny economy car and his massive cement truck collided and all of my thoughts and fears and impulses slipped away into total blackness.

A little about the author, Angela Carling
Angela Carling was raised in Palm Springs California, but lives Arizona with her husband, three kids and five felines.  After years of denial she finally admitted that she is a hopeless romantic which led her to write her first Young Adult book Unbreakable Love. Since then she’s published three more books, Shackled, Becoming Bryn and The Secret Keeper. Shackled won the silver IPGA award in 2012 and has been optioned as a screenplay. She always eats the frosting off her cake and leaves the rest, and can be caught singing in public bathrooms just for the acoustics.  When she’s not writing YA novels, she’s mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order. 

Stalk her! She digs it!