Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review - The Art of Ruining a Rake by Emma Locke

The Art of Ruining a Rake is not quite your typical Regency romance. Lucy has been in love with her brother's friend Roman since she was a little girl. When she gets her chance to spend the night with him, she takes it, then hies off to Bath to run a school for young ladies.
Meanwhile Roman is bewildered by her rather carefree attitude. Roman is a rake and has a strong dose of Peter Pan syndrome. He lets his brother handle his responsibilities and flits among the ladies of the Ton. He can't understand why Lucy turns down his proposal of marriage - twice.
This is a story of misunderstandings and growing up. There were times in the book when I didn't like either Roman or Lucy, but you can't help rooting for them both. It was interesting to see these two young adults (well, Roman is a little older, but acts younger than Lucy) evolve into people that I really liked by book end. Well done, Ms. Locke!
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trad Tuesday - Irish Rebel Music

Irish Rebel Music has been around for centuries. Songs like Come Out Ye Blacks and Tans or The Minstrel Boy depict events in the history of Ireland, usually rebellion, oppression, or the life of an Irish hero. Even songs about the San Patricio brigade from the Mexican-American War are considered rebel music.
These songs have always been popular in Ireland and in recent years, band have mixed more 'rock and roll' type instrumentation into the music.

I picked The Pogues song Streams of Whiskey for this week's song, mostly because of a discussion of the differences between Irish wiskey and Scotch wisky that I was a part of  (that's a blog for another day). The song was written as a tribute to Irish Republican leader Dominic McGlinchey who was assassinated in 1994. He was a poet and playwright as well as a long-time member of the INLA.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Second Chances

Consequences of Your Facebook Group Behavior and Why You Should Care as a Writer/Author

Millions of people use Facebook and most of them are in at least one group or more. We’re humans, it is part of our herd mentality. Even for those who consider themselves ‘loners’, a Facebook group online is an easy way to socially interact with other people when you choose, even if you just lurk.
It is also easy to behave badly in a group. Maybe it’s the crowd mentality or the anonymity, but in loosely moderated groups you often see a feeding frenzy where everyone is trying to outdo the other with witty quips or funny memes.
What people don’t realize is the consequences of this behavior. Or maybe they don’t care. In today’s world more and more organizations are checking online behavior to vet a person for college admittance or corporate or private employment. I’m not making a judgement about whether or not this behavior is ethical or legal; it really doesn’t matter because this is the way it is.
So you say it doesn’t matter, I’m a writer. I’m not applying to college or I’ve already been. I don’t need a job because I’m going to support myself with my writing.
But it does matter and here is why:
1.            If you are published or plan to publish, your readers and/or potential readers could be in those groups. Even if they are not in your group, there is the potential that they can still see your behavior. Readers today want to get to know authors. They follow them on Twitter and Facebook and read about them in blogs. And they search for more information about that author to build a connection.  Finding out an author’s extremely personal traits and habits could easily affect more readers than ever with the way they can get to know an author through Tweets, blog posts, or Facebook walls. 
2.            Childish, rude, or just bad behavior is a terrible marketing strategy. You can be the best writer in the world, but people will not buy your book if they see you behaving badly online. Sure, some will if you are a good writer, but how many authors get the one-star troll war going when they respond to a bad review? It’s the same thing if someone is offended by you using profanity or vulgarities online. There are no stars on Facebook, but it’s still a bad review for you.
3.            Depending on your group the information is available for everyone to see. See the handy chart from Facebook to determine who can see what you post, what you like, and what you comment. The only group that is safe is a secret group. Everything else is pretty much available to anyone without even having to look very hard.

It is easy to just respond to a post without thinking much about it. You want to see if you can make your friends laugh or out-meme everyone. But would you do that if you are losing book sales because of that comment? Think about that the next time you join on a thread that has gone off the rails. Banter is fun, but it is all too easy to carry it too far. And that behavior can ruin your professional image as an author and lose sales.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Book Review: Guardians of the Crystals by K.D. Martel

Guardians of the Crystals starts out with excellent world-buildng. The story takes place on Earth, but where Atlantis has sunk under the Antarctic. The Atlanteans have moved with their crystal power technology to somewhere in Central/South America. They share the planet with other species, especially the Osirions. The descriptions of the culture of the Atlanteans is very well done and draws you into the story almost immediately.
Deanu is a young Atlantean woman who has a rare gene that makes her a guardian of their crystals. When a half-Atlantean, half-Osirion man named  Enkarath comes to learn their technology, Deanu and the elders agree to help.
This is where the story devolves into a silly romance. Enkarath has an ex, Deanu has an ex, and there is all sorts of soap opera drama between them all. Meanwhile, a rebel faction of the Osirions are trying to steal a crystal.
This could have been a great book if it had stayed in the science fiction genre. Instead, it's a mismash that treads the line between romance and scifi. There is way too much heaving bosoms and manly biceps and it's just inane. The book could use an editor also. It's very readable, but Deanu's eyes kept changing from turquoise to green. I personally started skipping over the very detailed descriptions of every wardrobe change; a good editor would have cut some of that out.

Link to Amazon

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review: Fireflies by P.S. Bartlett

Fireflies is one of those books that I just couldn't get a handle on. It is the story of the Whelan family, Irish parents Owen and Sarah and their many children, who live on a farm somewhere in Pennsylvania (I think). Owen is a doctor and Sarah runs the house and the children. The story centers on the youngest child, Ennis. Ennis starts to manifest a gift, paranormal power and the story goes from there (I don't want to give any spoilers).
The writing is fine, but rather simplistic and I thought I was reading a book for young teens until the second half of the book when it morphed into sex and violence (none of it is graphically described). The author also attempts an Irish accent which baffled me. Sarah and Owen were both raised in wealthy families and I couldn't see why they would talk like poor Irish or allow their second-generation children to speak that way. The Olsen family (Swedish neighbors) did not. It threw me out of the story.
I liked the first half of the book much better than the second and the ending left me confused. There were a few typographical errors and a few anachronistic phrases uses, but those were fine and shouldn't put a reader off. I was given this book in a LibraryThing giveaway for an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Arrows Over Agincourt by D. Lawrence-Young

I would give this one 3 1/2 stars. It is the story of two young men, Davey and Tom, who decide to sign up to join the army of Henry V. The book is told through Davey's eyes. They are involved in the siege of Honfleur and then in the battle of Agincourt.
The history is solid and that was part of my problem with the book. I have trouble believing that two young men, one who could barely read, would have as much inside knowledge of the goings on as these two did. Even some of the stories going back to the battle of Shrewsbury, while extremely accurate and detailed, seemed unlikely as to be known and recounted by these young men.
The book is well-written with a few errors such as Uncle Rafe who is referred to as both Davey and Tom's uncle at points in the story. There is also some modern speech (I think Davey says something like 'he's a good kid') that seems inappropriate to the time.
I think this is a good book for teens to get them involved in English history and would recommend it as such.

Link to Amazon

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: The Winter of Springtide's Queen by Danielle Ste. Just

The Winter of Springtide's Queen is a modern retelling of the Greek legend of Persephone and Hades. The story is cleverly done. The author obviously knows her Greek mythology and keeps true to the standard tropes about each Greek god.
Persephone has been hiding, passing as a human named Stephanie. Hades has been looking for her for centuries because she once ate four pomegranate seeds, she is bound to spend four months of each year in Hell. Once he discovers where she is living in Maine with her friend Jane, Hades has Zeus enforce the judgement that was passed on her and Persephone/Stephanie is whisked away to Hell.
Events go on from there. The story of Orpheus and Eurydice is recreated also, but I don't want to give too much away. An interesting character who acts as Hades' aide-de-camp is Portia from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. I enjoyed Portia as she tends to speak in iambic pentameter.
There were a few parts that were a little slow for me in the latter part of the book, but it ends very satisfactorily. I would recommend this book for a fun and well-written read.

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Free until July 22nd at midnight - Rosco the Rascal Goes to Camp

New Childrens' Book now free - Rosco the Rascal goes to Camp  by Shana Gorian

James and Mandy are off to camp. 
Rosco is lucky enough to join them for an exciting week of swimming, canoeing, arts and crafts, and campfires. But when another camper’s mischievous pranks frighten the kids, and a thunderstorm leaves Mandy stranded in the woods, will Rosco be able to save the day

This book has all the traditional fun that you and your children will remember about summer camp. 136 pages, 17 black and white illustrations throughout.

Author Bio: 
Shana Gorian is the author of the Rosco the Rascal series, in which a sometimes rascally German shepherd uses his true heroic nature to help his pals, James and Mandy, face fears and overcome obstacles.
Shana Gorian
Originally from Western Pennsylvania, Shana has lived in Southern California for 20 years. She lives with her husband and two children, and their German shepherd, Rugger, the real Rosco the Rascal. 

Shana attended the University of Pittsburgh, earning her Bachelor of Arts in English Writing in 1994. She dabbled in journalism for a short time during and after college, before dropping everything and migrating to the West Coast. Shana then attended San Diego City College, where she trained as a graphic designer. She went on to work as a website designer in San Diego for nearly a decade. But she always wanted to venture back to her love of the written word, and try her hand at fiction. Ten years into motherhood, she published her first children's book. Shana is an avid lover of the great outdoors, and is always searching for more stories!

Visit her website at
Follow her blog at
Twitter: @AuthorShana
Facebook: Author Shana Gorian

Trad Tuesday - Celtic Harps with the Chieftains

The Chieftains are a traditional Irish band that have been around since the early sixties. They are known the world over for their music and have played with any number of musicians.

Here they are playing with the Belfast Harp Orchestra at Kilmore House in Glenariffe, near Cushendall, county Antrim, Ireland. My sister, Betsy, reminded me of this recording when we were having a family history discussion. Kilmore House originally belonged to the MacDonnell branch of my family. It has a lovely view of the Red Bay and is just on the way to Glenariffe Forest Park with its Waterfall Walk, one of the most beautiful hikes my family has ever taken.

Monday, July 20, 2015

New Release Announcement: Arrows Over Agincourt by D. Lawrence-Young

Title: Arrows Over Agincourt Author: D. Lawrence-Young Genre: Historical Fiction Length: 186 pages Release Date: July 20, 2015 ISBN-13: 978-1514218860 SYNOPSIS: “Then call we this, the field of Agincourt.” (Shakespeare: “Henry V”) 1415, Davey and Tom, two eighteenyear old lads looking for excitement, join Henry V’s army despite their parents’ and girlfriends’ wishes. The king is determined to regain his lost lands in France, and the two lads, now archers in his army, set sail for France hoping for adventures and the spoils of war. Their hopes of a quick and glorious victory are shattered during the prolonged siege at Harfleur where they witness the deaths of thousands of their fellow soldiers and some of their friends. Eventually, the king’s forces prevail, but now this small and sickly army must march many miles to meet the over-confident French army at Agincourt. Will the dispirited English army have any chance this time? Will our heroes return to England rich and unharmed to marry their sweethearts? Based on much historical research, this novel gives the reader a new and distinctive insight into what it was like to be a medieval soldier at one of England’s finest military events.


D. Lawrence-Young has been teaching and lecturing on drama, history and English for many years. He is happiest when researching Shakespeare, English and military history. He has written Communication in English, a best-selling English language textbook as well as a dozen other historical novels. These include three based on the life of Shakespeare.

He contributes regularly to Forum, a magazine for English language teachers and has also written several articles for Skirmish, a military history journal. He is a member of the local history club and is the Chairman of the Jerusalem Shakespeare Society. He is also a published (USA) and exhibited (UK and Jerusalem) photographer. He plays the clarinet (badly) and is married and has three children.

Currently Available at:


Anne  of  Cleves
Catherine  Howard
The  Man  Who  Would  Be  Shakespeare
x  Million  Accusers
Welcome  to  London,  Mr.  Shakespeare
Mary  Norton:  Soldier  Gi

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Winter of Springtide's Queen by Danielle Ste. Just

Today I welcome fellow Maine author Danielle Ste. Just and her new book. The Winter of Springtide's Queen.

Book Blurb:

Persephone, the Greek goddess of springtime, has been masquerading as the human Stephanie for almost 500 years to escape her annual imprisonment. 
Now Hades has found her and dragged her back down to Hell. 
Forced to judge souls and craft their perfect punishment, Stephanie chafes at her long-forgotten role as the Iron Queen of Hell. In retribution for her long absence, Hades vows to find a way to keep Stephanie with him forever. When the fiance of Stephanie’s best friend Jane dies in a car accident, Hades offers a wager. If Jane can find her fiance’s soul in Hell and bring him to the Earth’s surface without looking back, she'll win his life. 
The price if Jane fails? Stephanie must spend the rest of her eternal life in Hell. 
With her powers dormant until spring, Stephanie has no extraordinary skills to contribute other than her knowledge of the underworld. Armed only with their wits and a few gifts from Hephaestus, Stephanie and Jane must battle through Hell’s multiple facets to rescue Jane’s lover. 
As their quest brings both women to the brink of despair, Stephanie must not only ensure that Jane wins the wager at all costs, but also relearn what it means to be a goddess.

Buy on Amazon

Author BioDanielle has been a writer since her childhood, after she found new and exciting worlds in fantasy and science fiction. She loves to bring strong characters, new worlds, and poignant situations to life.
Since earning a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College, Danielle has worked and traveled in many locations. She finds inspiration in unfamiliar places, new people, and unexpected situations.
Hiking, traveling, reading, cooking and photography are some of her favorite pastimes. She is a passionate consumer of SF/F, mysteries, literary fiction, classics, history, science, mythology, and many other genres, and is always on the lookout for new writers. One of her favorite things is discussing books with other writers and readers.

Links to reach her:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tips for Writing Critiques in the Online World

I wrote a guest blog over at  Mark Morris' Blog Link
Check it out

Image result for writing critique

Frozen Angel by Jane Thornley - Excerpt from her Paranormal /Time Travel /Suspense book

As a performance artist in New Orleans, Armelle plays a stone angel frozen to the spot to amuse tourists, but she is anything but still. The past shifts, the margins between centuries blur, and she is pitched into 18th century New Orleans, accused of treachery by a man dead since 1759.
And now her time lapses intensify, impacting her current life. Did she really make an indecent pass at her professor, shove a customer downstairs at the Bourbon Street bar? And where was she the night that customer died, since it was her purse found at the scene? Armelle desperately needs help but not from physicians or psychiatrists or any modern science. No, she has to convince everyone that the soul plays by different rules and can transcend place and time. Adrian, her own professor who she passionately loves, must understand that his rejection is based on a tragic event replaying itself over and over again, that they are tangled in time's web and must fight their way free.
Only Louise Dupre, her friend's Aunt Loo, can guide them. A phenomenal spirit in her own right, it is she who leads them back to New Orleans in 1756, when a young Acadian convent girl living amid the Ursuline nuns risks her life to save her city, and in so doing, unleashes a storm. As history claws its way into the present, Armelle must track her parallel self back through time and learn to change the future with her soul.
History, reincarnation, passion, and redemption stir the elements of this time travel tale of suspense, Frozen Angel.

Excerpt from Frozen Angel by Jane Thornley

 This heat. The air hung with such humidity in the streets of New Orleans that afternoon, Armelle’s limbs felt coated in syrup. Praline heat, she thought, as she steadied her breathing — sticky and seductive. She could smell the brown sugar wafting from the open windows of the candy shops, imagine the rum cocktails pouring in the bars lining the streets. Everything in the Old Quarter simmered and boiled until it distilled into something rich, intoxicating, and far too addictive for a single taste.
And, surely she had to be either addicted or crazy to pose as still as death in these conditions? Traffic noises and conversation snatches wrecked her conversation. The heat leeched her energy. She’d posed for nearly an hour with no results until weariness weighed her down and a headache loomed at the back of her skull.
  “Is she real, mommy?” Armelle heard a little girl ask. From the corner of her eye, she could just see blond curls and pink plastic sunglasses perched on a little freckled nose. 
  “She’s real a person, Susie, just not a real angel,” the mother said from somewhere to Armelle’s right. “She’s only pretending to be made of stone like those angel statues we saw in the big cemetery tour.”
  “Like playing make-believe?” the little girl asked.
  “Yes, but for money, sweetheart. She’s what is called a performance artist. Some people do that when they can’t get other kinds of work.”   
Irritation stabbed Armelle just to the left of one fake wing. Well, what did she expect? It’s not like the truth read any better—a doctoral student dressed like a kneeling angel to lure a ghost. No, she corrected, not a ghost, a past life event. And, in order to recreate exactly the right conditions for the phenomena to occur, she had to stay focused which was nearly impossible on a busy street.
I’m addicted to this place, she thought. A sober person would have left at the first sign of danger. Surely she had to be either addicted or crazy to pose as still as death in these conditions? Traffic noises and snatches of conversation wrestled with her concentration. The heat leeched her energy. She’d posed for nearly an hour with no results until weariness weighed her down and a headache loomed at the edge of her temples.
I’m addicted to this place, she thought. A sober person would have left town at the first sign of danger. A sober person would never watch her career shatter into a thousand pieces, or push her body to extremes day and night. And, more significant than anything, a sober person would never kneel perfectly still in the burning heat waiting for a man who had been dead for over two centuries. 
But she could not stop herself. 
Maybe she wasn’t trying hard enough? Or, then again, maybe she was trying too hard. Coins clinked in the little bowl at Armelle’s feet but, the moment she dipped her head in thanks, the headache detonated. Startled by the sudden pain, she instinctively pressed her hands against her forehead and waited for the throb to pass. As she counted the seconds, the child’s chatter receding along with the honking horns and traffic noises of the Old Quarter. 
When she opened her eyes, the street had plunged into a watery light that smeared her vision and blurred everything around her. She blinked, stunned. Instead of exhaust fumes, the pungent odor of dung stung her nostrils. A horse whinnied nearby. Waves washed ashore from somewhere behind her, though she had been standing nowhere near the river. She had crossed at last. 
A man’s voice speaking French rose out of the background. “Answer me, damn it! Are you a spy, is that it? Speak, why don’t you?”
All at once, her vision cleared and Armelle blinked up into a man’s face. Dark hair plastered a bruised forehead above a jaw clenched in pain. One eye was swollen shut. Blood soaked the linen of his shirt and she read ferocious pain in his eyes. 
Speak? She longed to scream her throat raw, to kick out at the world for the unfairness of everything. She knew that with a desperate certainty but couldn’t fix on specifics. Something in this long ago lifetime had been lost and something remained in danger still. 
  “I am a soldier,” she whispered at last, though neither the words nor the voice were hers. “A soldier does what must be done. Love and war should never mix,” she said, her voice hoarse. “Is that not the soldier’s creed? For once, it is the woman who is at the warrior and the man the pawn.”
Men shouted all around her, shoving her back. She had to escape but hardly had the will to move. Hitching up her skirts, she turned but as she did, the world around her burst into noise and motion. 
She nearly fell headfirst onto the cobbled street. A hand shot out to catch her. Shrugging it away, she stumbled backward. Only when she tripped over her gown and tumbled backward onto the pavement, did the reality of traffic, footsteps, and voices penetrate her senses. She had catapulted into the present as suddenly as she had entered the past.
  “Mommy! Look, the Frozen Angel’s fallen!” a child cried.
The Frozen Angel’s fallen? 
  “Susie, hold mommy’s bag. Miss, are you all right? We were watching you and you started stumbling backwards.”
Armelle blinked up into the concerned face of the woman— - thirtyish with a cap of highlighted gold hair. 
  “You called out in another language, French I think. I couldn’t understand a word,” the woman said. “You need a doctor.”
  “No.” Armelle pushed herself up from the ground, looking around. “I mean, thank you but please don’t. I’m fine, really. Just a bit dizzy.” Where had she been? She shook her head, trying to dislodge wisps of powerful emotion she didn’t recognize. She gazed around at the busy street, overcome by a sense of terrible loss. “If they hang him, it will be my fault,” she mumbled.  
  “Hang who?” the woman asked, her face struck by fresh alarm.
Armelle paused, staring at her. “The man.”
  “What man? You called out for someone, is that who you mean?” the woman said, her hand still on Armelle’s arm.
  “Did I say a name?”
The woman nodded. “Antonio.”
“Antonio,” Armelle said in wonder. “His name is Antonio?”
 “Your boyfriend?” 
  “No.” She didn’t have a boyfriend and she didn’t know anybody named Antonio, either. “You’ll get covered in white,” Armelle said, trying to restore normalcy to this ridiculous situation. “From my grease paint.” She pointed to the woman’s hand.
The woman glanced down at the smudge of white on her palms. “Oh, it’ll wash off. Are you sure you don’t want a doctor?” 
For the first time, Armelle noticed the woman’s t-shirt, the camera, the shopping bag from one of the souvenir shops —- a tourist, then. “No, really. Thanks for your help. Now, I’d better get going.”
But the woman wouldn’t leave. “Suzy and I must have watched you for, like, ten minutes, and you didn’t even blink,” she said. “A lot of people just kept right on walking, you know, but Suzy wanted to watch. Still, there’s got to be an easier way to make a living, if you know what I mean.” 
The little girl, no more than six-years-old, stood nearby, gazing up at Armelle with an expression of utter wonder. She pointed to the feathered wings Armelle wore strapped to her back. 
  “A pretend angel,” she whispered. “Can you fly?”
Armelle stifled a laugh. “No, I can’t, sweetie. Believe me, if I could, I would have long ago.” Like on the day her world fell apart. 
  “Stone angels, real or pretend, can’t fly, Suzy,” her mother said.
  “Bet you could if you tried,” the child insisted, following along beside her mother as Armelle made her way back to her upended milk crate pedestal. “Wanna try now?”
  “Hush,” the mother admonished.
Armelle smiled. Pressing her fingers to her forehead, she forced her head to clear. Even with the headache gone, she felt drained and empty, almost bereft. It had been the same way the other two times she experienced the phenomenon.
Around her, a little cluster of onlookers still watched. Most had dispersed, probably disappointed the amazing frozen angel, the performance artist who could freeze like a statue for nearly an hour, had confirmed her humanity in such a pathetic way.
The last of her audience finally trail away, heading for their chicory coffees and beignets along Decatur Street. How many customers had she attracted this time—twenty, twenty-five, thirty? 
She shook the imitation marble dish that served as a till, taking a mental count of the contents -- maybe twenty-five dollars, much less than usual but she had gained in other ways. At least she had a name. Antonio. 
  “Are you sure you’ll be okay?” the woman asked again, still hovering. 
Armelle nodded. “I’m fine, really. I’m not used to the heat. Thanks anyways.” 
“I couldn’t do what you do in these temperatures,” the woman said. “I almost hate to leave the air conditioning to go outside. How do you southerners stand it?”
“Actually, I’m from the north,” Armelle told her. “I’ve been here on a study visa for three years.”
She attempted to straighten her wings with a shrug. Those heavily feathered monstrosities, bought from a lady who made Mardi Gras floats, drooped over her shoulders on their broad elastic harness. After securing the fastenings, she stooped to pick up the crate and bowl, nesting one inside the other and covering both with the white canvas cloth. Now she could use her free hand to lift the long starched gown high enough to keep from tripping. 
Turning, she dropped a practiced bow to the woman and her daughter and prepared to make her way home. Pulling herself upright, she took a deep breath and walked down St.Philip Street with slow, measured steps, masking her fall with some semblance of dignity. She’d remain in character all the way home. Part theatrics, part good business, she fixed a glazed stare on the path ahead and walked as if with unseeing eyes.
People did a double-take and moved from her path. In New Orleans, where dressing up was part of the culture, the sight of a stone angel walking the streets in her own solitary procession still had an unsettling effect. Old Mr. Benjamin, who took visitors for rides in his mule-drawn wagon, always crossed himself when he saw her coming. Cindy Murphy, who took the tourists for walking tours through the French Quarter, as did Armelle twice a week, addressed her clients in hushed tones when the Frozen Angel walked by. At dusk, like now, when her costume took on a ghostly sheen, people scattered from her path.
Amazing to have such power through illusion. Respect, Armelle, decided, as she crossed Royal Street. They respected what she represented--one of those strong, dignified guardians of forever that perched atop the cities of the dead. But today, as she walked home slightly weak and uncommonly weary, her angel stumbling, she felt the presence of another weighing her down. Whoever or whatever the identity of that woman who spoke to Antonio, Armelle sensed their fates were inextricably connected. They shared something with that man, something that could survive time itself. 
Her reflection in the shop windows showed a tipsy-looking angel with one wing askew. How fitting. She took a deep breath and carried on, trying to fortify herself with visions of stone dignity while blocking away the memory of an unknown man admonishing her for treachery. 

"For the length of time that I was reading the book I suspended my critical judgment and enjoyed one of the best told stories I have read in a long time.

The plot of Frozen Angel is intricate, but all parts mesh in the end. The present is explained through insight into the past and every character is involved in both the past and present aspects of the story. And the characters-- wow! Thornley has a gift for developing complex, fascinating characters that compel not only your interest but your sympathy.

Frozen Angel is a mystery and the suspense holds until the final page of the novel. It is a great read for someone looking to be caught up in a story that removes him or her from the everyday elements of his or her life and excites the imagination. It is a fun read that, fantastic as some of the plot seems, is written with intelligent precision and has the power to draw even the most skeptical reader. Like myself."

Casey Dorman, Editor, Lost Coast Review

Follow Jane on Twitter

Once upon a time, Jane Thornley filled many roles--librarian, teacher, designer, school administrator, software consultant--but writer has always been her default self. She began writing stories in elementary school and completed 4 novels before graduating public education. But that was just the warm-up. 

Today her fast-moving suspense blends intrigue, humor, and romance against a rich world interwoven with archaeology, ideology, history, and women on a quest for the ultimate truth.

Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, she continues as an art-to-wear knitwear designer and impassioned traveler, while weaving her stories against a colorful international backdrop so vibrant, readers constantly remark on it in reviews.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Fairy Hills of County Antrim, Ireland

The Fae, or aes sídhe, are the fairy folk that live under fairy mounds in northern Ireland. In many Irish tales, they are said to be the remnants of the Tuatha de Danann, the mythic gods of ancient Ireland. The Tuatha de Danann retreated to the fairy mounds after their defeat by the Milesians and live there still in splendor.

 I've visited a famous fairy hill called Tiveragh in Cushendall, county Antrim. The north of Ireland has many of these mounds and there are many strange stories about them. Fairy hills are often marked by a rowan or hawthorn tree that often have a small hole allowing the wee folk entrance. Humans who go down those holes may never be seen again or worse may appear several hundred years later with all their family and friends dead and gone. 

In The Black Swans Taisie, Owen, and Gilly use a fairy mound in the Other World to find their way to the court of Queen Maeb to save Conn and the other black swans.

Joseph Noel Paton abt 1849

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Paranormal Romance Blog Hop Excerpt from The Black Swans

Taisie took a deep breath and dove in, breaking through the water cleanly. The further down she went, the colder the water and at a sudden shiver, she rose back to the surface and flipped onto her back, letting her arms and legs splay out and float. She lifted her right hand to her face, looking at the sparkle of the silicon from the water on her skin reflected by the sunlight. It would gradually dry and fall off her skin, but the small pieces of mica would stay on her clothes and in her hair. She wouldn’t be able to wash it off until she got home tomorrow. Well, maybe she’d hike back down tonight if Conn didn’t show up before sundown. She had the flashlight if it got dark and she could take a quick shower at the farm and then stop at his cottage.

There was a splash behind her and she flipped her feet down, turning to see the black swan that had landed on the water.  The bird arched his neck, dipping his head down to the water, half turning away from her. But Taisie let out a delighted laugh, and she splashed at the bird. Conn, for surely it was him, backpedaled in the water, as if surprised by the sudden attack, but then tilted his head, black eyes studying her. Suddenly, he flew at her, scooping water at her with his head, drenching her face and shoulders. Then he flew across the pond and turned back to eye her reaction. She sputtered and wiped the water out of her face, then ducked under the water and swam towards him. She exploded back up, splashing water in his direction. He let out a squawk, fluttering his wings, drops of water splashing everywhere.

The girl and the swan glided and dove back and forth, playing and spraying water at each other, not conscious of any oddity in the situation. Finally tiring, Taisie treaded water, taking deep breathes and blowing bubbles out while she watched Conn swim slowly towards her. She reached out and stroked his head, trailing her hand down the arc of his neck through the silky feathers. At first he looked away, as if he could not bear her scrutiny, but bit by bit Conn turned towards her. They stayed in this tableau for a moment, then Taisie took her hand back and lazily swam to the lower lip of the quarry. She climbed out and turned back to say to the swan, “I’m getting cold. I’m going to get dressed. Wait here for a moment.”

Visit the rest of the authors in the Give Us Your Best Excerpt: Paranormal Romance Blog Hop!
1.Precious Monsters2.The Antrim Cycle
3.Barefoot at Midnight4.Ani Gonzalez
5.Marilyn Vix's: Stories From My Soul Blog6.Lisa Kessler's Blog
7.Allison Merritt8.Marci Baun
9.Paranormal Romance That Sizzles10.From Invisible to Indie-Author
11.Cassandra's Journey12.Author Sherry Soule
13.Wicked Red Stories14.Robin Wainwright
15.Defender of the Realms16.Selena Kitt
17.Rose Wynters18.Stormie Kent
19.Michelle Irwin20.Regina Shiderly Erotica Author
21.Lucy Felthouse22.Lily Harlem
23.Victoria Blisse24.Lisa Medley
25.Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles26.Tasha's Thinkings
27.Michelle Howard Writes28.Lorraine Pearl
29.Aimee Easterling30.Claudia King
31.Kenzi Kreel32.C. Marie Bowen
33.Holley Trent34.Talina Perkins
35.Rebecca Writes Romance36.Ashley Andrews
37.Valerie Zambito38.Stacy Claflin, Author
39.Alexis Duran40.Edward Hoornaert
41.Wittegen Press Blog

Trad Tuesday - Neil Gow's Apprentice sung by Roddy Woomble

Neil Gow was a Scottish fiddler and composer from Dunkeld born in the 18th century. This song was actually written in 1993 by Michael Marra and is a tribute to Dougie MacLean, modern day singer/songwriter from Dunkeld.

Roddy Woomble is the frontman for the Scottish rock band Idlewild and a well-liked folk singer/songwriter on his own. I happen to like him and his music in both genres. Usually, he is singing songs that he wrote himself and I compare his lyrics to Dylan Thomas poetry.

Bonus for Outlander fans: Roddy Woomble or Angus Mhor (Steven Walters) - You decide!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Book Review: Mistress of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle

I read this book back when it first came out and I remember thinking it was just okay. I don't know if it's the rewrites or time passing but I enjoyed it much better this time. The plot is a little unrealistic but it's a fun Regency romp.
Maybelle is the granddaughter of a famed courtesan and has never quite adjusting to romance, love, or men. Edmund is a Duke, very serious with no time for women. It's love(or lust) at first sight when they meet at a ball. I liked that Maybelle is the aggressor. It's up to her to change Edmund at first but once he gets the bit between his teeth he's off to the races (or rather Maybelle's bed).
While I haven't read all the books in the School of Gallantry series, I have read a few and this book reminded me to go back and find the others. I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley for an honest review.

Link to Amazon

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Book Review: Queen of the Night by Leanne Hall

First of all I did not read the first book and it took me a good part of the book to figure out who the characters were and what the story was about. It's not the fault of the author or publisher but I feel that this is one book where you need to read the series in order as there isn't much in the way of backstory here in the second book.
So the two main characters are Wolfboy (Jethro or Jet-Ro) and Wildgirl (Nia).. Wildboy lives in Shyness, a town that is under perpetual night, while Nia lives in a more regular section as far as day/night goes. Apparently six months before they shared a night of adventure with some sugar-addicted kids and monkeys (that's the first book). But they haven't been in touch since. But Wolfboy is worried about his friend Paul who is hanging with blue-clothed people under the aegis of Dr Gregory (again from the first book so I think he's supposed to be bad but it's not clear). Dr Gregory is running a sleep clinic using Datura to capture dreams. So Wolfboy gets in touch with Nia so they can work together to figure out what's going on?
By the end of the book I wasn't sure that they had found out anything. The characters are interesting and were what kept me reading, but I wanted to know more about Lupe, Diana, Blake, and Amelia than I ever found out. The concept behind the story, the town of Shyness that is cloaked in perpetual night, is a good one but there were so many loose ends in the story that don't seem to be resolved: why the fighting pit, what is the matter with Wolfboy, why did the sugar kids leave, why is Dr Gregory stealing dreams?
Ultimately this was an unsatisfying book for me. I love Martin Millar's books so this should have been a great read for me, but it never felt like a complete story. I received this book as an ARC from the publisher for an honest review.

Link to Amazon