Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Trad Tuesday: Nil Na La sung by Solas

Nil Na La is a traditional Irish song. Nil 'Na Lá means "Daybreak Has Not Yet Come." The arrangement here is done by Solas during their reunion concert. Brendan Nolan has translated the Gaelic here:

Tá na caoirigh ag ithe an gheamhair
Tá na gamhna ag ól an bhainne
Prátaí síos gan díolachán
's duine gan mheabhair na raghfá abhaile

(The sheep are eating the corn
The calves are drinking the milk
The potatoes they are unsold
You madman, will you not go home!)

Is deas an bhean i Siobhán óg
Gúna nua uirthí aníos ón siopa
Is breathnaím ar mo ghiní óir
'S i a' rince ar an mbord leis an phoc ar buile

(Siobhan is a nice young girl
In her new dress down from the shop
I gaze at my golden guinea
And it spinning on the table
While I get angry)

Curfa (Chorus)
Nil 'na lá, tá 'na lá
Nil 'na lá, tá ar maidin
NIl 'na lá, tá 'na lá
Bean a rá, is i ar fhaga

Don't send me out into the dark
The night is cold and I'll be perished
But come to bed with me awhile
And we'll be warm beneath the blankets

Buailim suas, buailim síos
Buailim cleamhan ar bhean a leanna
Cuirim giní óir ar an mbord
Is bím ag ál anseo go maidin

I go up and I go down
I've a rendevous with the tavern lady
I put a guinea on the table
And I drink me fill until the morning

Tá mo bhróga I dtigh an óil
Tá mo stocaí I dtigh á leanna
Tá na coiligh go léir ag glaoch
Is b'éigean domsa dhul abhaile


I left my shoes in the pub
I left my stockings there as well
The cocks have all begun to crow
And it's time for me to head on homewards


Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: The Impossible Art of Falling by Sara Fiorenzo

Jena Grayson is an 'eventer' in the world of horse training, someone who rides to take jumps. The
author's note mentions a little more about Three-Day eventing, but as someone who is not a horse person, I had to make a guess as to what this sport is about; that took away some from the story.
The death of her father in a fall from a jump gone wrong sends her world into a tailspin. Her mother just leaves (this was explained near the end of the book, but it never made much sense to me), so Jena goes to live with her uncle and aunt on their horse farm after a year has passed.
Luke lives and works at the farm where the aunt and uncle have taken in him because of the tragedy in his own life. A fairly predictable whirlwind romance occurs between Luke and Jena as they share their tragedies.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. The bits about the horses were interesting though it was more about trail-riding and grooming. There seemed to be some time jumps that I didn't understand. Why Jena still rode after her father's death, then stopped and wouldn't ride again didn't make sense to me. Why it took a year for the uncle to come get her and why her mother left also didn't make sense. There was a lot of drama that seemed to be fairly easily resolved; conflict in a story is good, but it has to be believable (Tyler and Luke).
There is also a lot of 'tellling' in this book. Some of it is beautifully written, but too much slowed the story down. I'd love to read a book about eventing, one that focused on what happens at an event and what the sport really entails. This book was just okay for me.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Review: Borrowed Wings by Ruthie Morgan

Skylark was my favorite Indie book read of last year. The sweeping journey of Evan and Billie
Skylark from Paris to Scotland to tiny St. Cloud in the Pacific is lovely, poetic, and gut-wrenching. Therefore, I was extremely excited to see that the sequel, Borrowed Wings, was released this month.
Borrowed Wings continues where Skylark left off. Billie is back in Scotland with her twin toddlers, Sunny and Evie, grieving for all that went wrong in St. Cloud. She misses the friends she made there, especially Jack, her neighbor who was always a solid presence in her life when Evan couldn't support her and the children.
The people in St. Cloud also has their stories. Jack is dealing with his family: his mother has senility issues, there is an ongoing dispute with his father, his oldest brother Saul is trying to deal with their parents and his wife's pregnancy, and his other brother, Raife, is an ongoing grief and sorrow in Jack's life.
Jed and Sadie have secrets, Zoe and Felix are expecting, and Dan is struggling with his place at the core of the islander's lives.
The story is told in multiple POVs: Billie is first person and the rest of the people in St. Cloud in third person. It jumps around but always in a linear fashion that moves the story forward. It is a beautifully written story, one to be savored and slowly digested. I'm a fast reader, but I took my time with this book, dreading the coming ending just as Billie does in the story with The Grapes of Wrath. There is a lot to ponder here.
Ms. Morgan covers diverse topics such as motherhood, grief, aging parents, friendships, and sibling feuds and weaves the strands into the story effortlessly. The ultimate question of the book is one Billie asks herself throughout the book: "Do I deserve two great loves in one short lifetime? Is there room in my packed heart for the love Jack deserves when Evan will always rest there? " Billie yearns for Jack but doesn't want to make the same mistakes that she made with Evan. Jack himself must resolve his family issues before he can move on with Billie.
Borrowed Wings is one of those stories that stay with you for a while, coming back at odd moments as something in your life reminds you of a paragraph in the book. Because isn't life all about love after all?
Link to Amazon

About the Author

Ruthie Morgan lives and writes near the beach in New Zealand’s South Island with her husband and four children. Her debut novel Skylark was shortlisted for the UK Impress Prize 2015, placed as finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards 2015, won the Drunken Druid Book of the Year Award 2014 and was nominated for the B.R.A.G. Medallion.

Also, go read Skylark!  Find it here!  

blurb: “When he asked me to forgive him for everything I thought I could. I said yes and I meant it. But I didn't realise that night, everything was what he’d take away.”
When Billie May Worthington falls for Evan Skylark she believes she’d do anything, be anything and give everything for him. But can she forgive him when he asks for her world?
Everything twenty one year old Billie knows about life, love, beauty and art are challenged after graduation when she meets Evan, an enigmatic Irish artist with a dark side. Suddenly immersed in Evan’s intense world of artistic brilliance, flying sculptures and sexual obsession, Billie’s carefully planned future is quickly unrecognisable. Spanning London, Paris, Scotland and finally St. Cloud, the South Pacific island they make their home, the young couple chase Evans dreams and run from their past.
But what happens to young obsessive love when unplanned pregnancy reshapes the future? As Billie struggles to cope with the demands of motherhood Evan is forced to deal with the repercussions of a previous mistake that rock their world altering the future forever. 
Emotionally gripping and darkly humorous Skylark is an unconventional love story. A novel about what we do for love, of beauty in imperfection, betrayal and the weight of obsession.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

New Release: Bleeding Hearts by Dana Louise Provo

Bleeding Hearts 
Genre: New adult, romantic suspense
Blurb: Orphaned at an early age, now twenty-four-year-old Camryn Lucks is ready to commit to find
that special someone, and so accepts a date from a charming, gallant, handsome stranger. The last
thing she imagines after accepting that first date with Carson would actually be the beginning of her worst nightmare.
Red roses, a reminder of her parents' killer, soon become an emblem of horror for Cami as one by one, those closest to her fall victim to a serial killer. Cami becomes an obsession for Carson, the man she had finally allowed herself to love. Not only is he vying for her heart, but also her life.
Finding herself in a whirlwind of torments shadowed by the blood-colored bloom, Cami finds solace in Isaac, a neighboring police officer. She’s desperate to escape the haunting memories, but she must revisit them in order to catch her would-be killer. Living life in constant fear has driven Cami to second-guess every choice she makes. Will the police catch the illusive murderer, or will Cami be forced to face him once again?
Author Bio: Dana Provo has always loved books and reads everything from young adult fantasy to Adult Historical Romances. She is the author of the Romantic Suspense novel Bleeding Hearts. When she's not reading or writing her next novel, Dana can be found riding her horses and getting ready for competition. Dana lives with her husband and two house plants in Richmond, Virginia.

My arm trembles as I grip the cool handle of my pistol, keeping a firm grasp to ensure it doesn’t slip out of my sweaty hand. It usually stands sentry in my left nightstand to scare the nightmares away. But this isn’t a dream. The room is dark and hides the face of the man whose intent is to kill me. But I know who he is. A metallic taste fills my mouth; I want to gag. My blood drips off the blade in his hand in slow, steady beats on the carpet. My arms shake as I lift the barrel and point it in his direction. He doesn't move. His heavy breaths alert me to the meager distance between us.
We’re at a stalemate.
A soft glow from the lamppost just outside my window casts a sliver of light on his face. His dark, beady eyes that I have grown to know rake over my body like I'm another one of his many victims. He lifts the edges of his mouth into a smile. My heart plunges into my stomach. I know what that sinister expression means, and I think back to all the times he had looked at me like that before. I had been so blind.
Before I react he lunges at me, grabbing onto my waist and twisting me to the ground. I shriek as my head slams against the bed frame. Black spots flood my vision. I squeeze my hand only to find it empty. My gun is gone. The sound of the knife clattering on the floor gives me slight hope. Not much though. He climbs up my body trying to pin my arms to the floor. I thrash my fists around, desperate to knock him off.
“Get off!” I scream, pulling on his shirt and kicking him off balance. Wrapping his hands around my arms, my attacker cuts off the circulation of blood. Rug burns flare across my skin as he drags me across the carpet. He closes his hands around my neck, shutting off my air supply. I pull at his hands but it's no use; he has always been stronger than me. My pulse drums a frantic beat in my ears. The air slowly leaks out from my lungs, killing any hope I may have left. I search for the gun around the room; it may be my only savior now.
"Why are you doing this?" I struggle to get the words out. He squints his dark eyes. I'm wondering if there might be a chance that he will stop this madness. I am wrong.
"It'll be over soon, sweetheart." His hands again tighten around my neck, blocking the air from entering my lungs.

Social Media Links (You don’t have to use all):

Buy Links:
Barnes & Noble:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/660974


Friday, August 26, 2016

New Release: Strength by Karen Raines

Blog Tour
Title: Strength: Claire’s Spiral
Series: Spiralling Ink #2
Author:Karen Raines
Release Date: August 22, 2016
Presented By:Itsy Bitsy Book Bits
“Use those feelings Claire, channel that fear and anger into something positive.” He swept his gaze over my face and looked me straight in the eye. “You’re not a victim, not any more. It’s time to take control and fight back. Not just physically,” he tapped at my temple. “Up here.” His hand glided down my neck and settled over my pounding heart. “And here. Anything is possible.”
Pain. Broken. Fear. They took it all... my body, my soul, my strength... My Matty. I was floating through this life, my face an endless smile for my loved ones so they wouldn’t know the emptiness inside, the coldness that stayed with me. Then the numb faded, I broke from the devil whispering in my ear. I was awake, alert, ready to find my strength. But I wasn’t expecting him... Heat. Desire. Need. My name is Claire - and this is my Spiral. Warning: This book contains explicit sex scenes, graphic language and is intended for mature audiences.
Other Books by Karen Raines :
Karen has been a self confessed book addict for as long as she can remember. She has always been a fan of multi genres, but her love of romance has taken centre stage in the last couple of years. Karen’s idols are too many to count these days with all the fantastic authors on the scene.
When she’s not writing, she’s trying to keep up with her three wild children and trading smack talk with her awesome husband (she always wins though!).
Presented By:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Second Chances series: Tour the book locations in Icarus Rising - Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh sits at the bottom of the Royal Mile at the opposite end from Edinburgh Castle. Icarus and Eve visit the Palace in search of clues for the quest that Zeus has assigned them.
The Palace was originally a monastery in the 12th century and the ruins of that structure still remain on the back side of the Palace. Queen Elizabeth and the royal family maintain apartments still in the Palace, but the older part of the structure is open to the public.

The apartments that Mary Stuart used are still in existence. A blood-stained mark shows on the floor, supposedly left by David Rizzio who was stabbed 56 times by her Mary's husband, Lord Darnley, who was jealous of the Italian secretary's influence on her.
My favorite room is the Great Gallery. The Gallery is the largest room in the Palace, and is best known for the extensive series of portraits of the Scottish monarchs that line the walls. These were commissioned by Charles II from the Dutch painter, Jacob de Wet, and delivered between 1684 and 1686. They feature every king of Scotland, real and legendary, back to the supposed founder of Scotland, Fergus I, in 330BC, and were a clear message about the lineage of the Stuart kings, mostly that they all had large noses as did Charles II.

Cover Reveal: Dragon Moon by Julie Nicholls


Thank you very much for letting me take over your blog today to reveal the cover for my latest novel, Dragon Moon. 

This is a Teen & Young Adult Fantasy, and I hope to publish with Amazon’s Kindle Scout program.

The story concerns Scarlett, an almost nineteen year old who is undecided about her future. Throughout her school life she has been the subject of ridicule and bullying because of her flame, red hair. While college was easier, because she stood up for herself, she can’t make up her mind if University is the place she wants to be, and is taking some time out from studying to decide. She visits the Nottingham Goose Fair, and meets Dizelli, a psychic, who gives her a gold pendant and instructs her to wear it to bed. Scarlett wakes up the next morning but she’s not in her bed, or her home. She’s in a field. In her pajama’s. Her adventure begins and she’s thrown into a world of dragons and magic. She’s the Dragon Mage, and it’s her responsibility to save the dragons from slaughter, and also bring two warring tribes together. There are just a few days left before the Dragon Moon arrives. All the dragons currently asleep, protecting their eggs could die unless Scarlett finds a way to unite the silver haired, and black haired races together and to stop Lord Ithel from killing the elder dragon who knows the secret location of the dragon eggs.

Here’s a sneaky peek!

No matter what Elyan’s surprise is, at least it’s another lovely day out. The sun is shining and despite the cool breeze, it’s perfect for riding. We set off at a walk but once outside the city walls, Elyan kicks his horse and he’s off. I have a hard time keeping up on Sootli; bless her. Once he reaches the foothills, he slows and when I catch up to him, he pulls off to the left instead of the path through the mountain.

“Where are you going?” I ask.
He doesn’t answer and just waves at me as he trots ahead. He’s in charge again; he can’t help it.
We ride for only a little way, and then the smell hits me.
Soon we’re looking at a blanket of white flowers. They stretch along the side of the track as far as the eye can see, and the smell is amazing. Elyan dismounts and wraps the reins around a fallen tree. He helps me down and leads me to the huge log where we both sit.
I can’t stop sniffing the air and notice he’s staring. “What?”
He smiles and I notice for the first time how charming he looks when he’s not scowling.
“I know how much you like Vanillium and thought you would like to see where it grows. Am I right?”
“Yes! Thanks.”
I’m smiling as I look at him and see him in a different light. He can be thoughtful when he puts his mind to it. He stares at me for several moments, his gaze unfathomable. Do I want to know what he’s thinking?
“I am sorry for my behavior yesterday with Mostyn,” he says.
Wow! Didn’t see that coming.
“I expect learning he and your sister were an item was a bit of a shock.”
“I learned something else too. From my father.”
“What was it?” I ask as if I don’t know.
“That there was someone else he loved before mother. I am not angry about that. He expected me to be, though. I have a reputation, it seems.”
I can see a hint of a grin forming.
“My father relies on me to protect the town. While I have my warriors to aid, I am constantly on my guard. My responsibility to our people is foremost on my mind.”
“That’s why you’re so wound up, Elyan. You’re stressed out.”
I know how he feels. In my last year of college I was worrying over my exams, the bullying, and concerns about my life after college. My dad said when someone is stressed, they are short-tempered, have trouble sleeping and are unable to see the positive side of things. Elyan ticks all of the above. People don’t realize they are stressed, but once it’s pointed out to them, it becomes clearer.
“What am I to do? This is my life. I am responsible for our people.”
“I understand you have an important role, but you don’t have to do it on your own. You have warriors who follow your lead. They are just as capable as you are. Let them take some of the pressure.”
Elyan narrows his eyes as he looks at me. He’s listening to what I’m saying rather than spouting off. That’s a good sign.
“But will they then act as I do? Become ‘snippety’ as you say?” He grins.
“No, I don’t believe they will. If you divide the tasks between yourselves, it will be less of a burden. Do you see that?”
“Yes, I do.”
It could be my imagination, but I swear he looks less stressed already. He’s a smart cookie and I know I whined about him plenty of times, but he isn’t a bad person. Actually, as he is now--calm and thoughtful--he’s very attractive. He was already ranking high on my “hot men” chart, but it was his attitude that stopped him reaching a higher position.
Oh, I know you think I’m mean, but I bet I’m not the only one who has a score card.
“When we return home after the meeting today, you can gather your warriors and delegate your duties. Start enjoying your life, Elyan.”
“I like the way you think. You are as smart as my father said.”
“Did he say that?”
“Yes, last night after you left. I spoke with him for a while, and he believes you are too wise for your age.” He chuckles.
Ha! I think what the Earl said probably went something along the lines of “she’s too big for her boots.” But I’ll accept it as a compliment anyway.
Elyan is looking at me again. Not quite a stare but his gaze is lingering and I know I’m blushing. My cheeks are on fire. I’d like to know what he’s thinking. Wait...maybe that’s not a good idea. There’s a glint in his eye, which isn’t a bad thing, but I’ve got too much to think about at the moment.
Extremely bad timing.
“Are all the women in your town like you?” he asks.
“No. They are much nicer.” I laugh. “Women are equal to men, though. They share responsibility, work and some earn such a good wage that the man plays househusband and takes care of the children.”
“That is a story you have made up.” He laughs. “It is a woman’s responsibility to tend the children.”
I’m surprisingly calm after that misogynistic statement. In all fairness, he lives in a world where men are chivalrous and women are skivvies, and that’s not entirely his fault. However, I will nevertheless attempt to enlighten him of why a role doesn’t need to be filled by only one sex.
Here goes.
“Elyan, I’m going to explain something to you which you may find surprising. Women are quite capable of fulfilling any job a man is tasked with. The only difference is that some women might struggle depending on the physical strength required, but that does not mean that some women are not a strong as some men. There are some who are stronger.”
He’s shaking his head, so I continue.
“Women are in the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Where I’m from, we are ruled by a Queen, as are many other countries. So you see... there’s nothing a man can do that a woman cannot. As for taking care of children, why shouldn’t a man look after his child? There’s no rule that says a woman should be the only person to wipe a baby’s bottom!”
He laughs and shakes his head. “You are making this up, surely?”
“No, I’m not.” 
I look at him and wonder how he would cope if he were to visit my world. Not only because of the women’s issue but all the technology we have as well. I don’t think he could take it all in, although he might have fun playing my X box.
“I should like to see this for myself. Your world sounds interesting. Do you think I would like it?”
“There are some wonders that would impress you, Elyan, but just as you have problems here, we also have them. Countries fight one another and man has built horrendous machines and created poisons that could kill us all. People starving to death live side by side with people who are so rich, they will never be able to spend their money before they die.”
He’s listening closely.
“Our world is full of different races and we are not all the same color. Whole nations have been targeted because of the color of their skin or religious beliefs. So you see it’s important that we try and resolve the issues here before they escalate.”
Elyan narrows his eyes. He’s thinking hard, I can see from his expression. He will be the Earl once his father passes and he could help implement changes now that would stop future warring.
“This makes you sad, does it not?”
“Yes, very much.”
“We are from different worlds and yet, we are not so different.”
He takes my hand in his and smiles softly. He’s capable of becoming a great leader, I feel it. He has already made changes to the way he acts based on information he’s acquired. He is a smart cookie.
“We have a saying—‘there’s nothing new under the sun’--and this is so true. Wherever we are in the world, whether we’re black-skinned or white, if we have black or white hair, or we worship the sun or the moon, we are all human beings and we have a right to be free and to live.”
“We shall have that here, Scarlett. I promise. I will do everything within my power to make Lord Ithel understand we must live together in peace.”

Elyan pushes up and pulls me with him. “You will show us how to make a start. Will you not?”

Thank you for taking the time to read the sneaky peek... you can read another on my official website www.julienicholls.com to the page, Dragon Moon where a link will be added once the book is available for purchase.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: Beckoning Darkness by J.D. Stonebridge

Beckoning Darkness is an interesting concept. Ariel, an angel who has been imprisoned in Heaven for her misdeeds, is given a second chance. She is sent to Chicago to help the new prophet ordained by Heaven.
Meanwhile, Caelum, a demon, uses Chicago as his territory, not liking Hell. By accident, he comes across Ariel and the prophet and is fascinated by the angel while wanting to cause trouble with the prophet. Eventually, the two must team together to ferret out the schemes of both Heaven and Hell.
The book starts out slow. It needs a bit of editing to do more showing and engage the reader right away. There are also POV changes and some headhopping that can make parts of this hard to follow.
Once I got about a third of the way in, I really started to enjoy the story. Ariel can be a little too prim sometimes, but Caelum is a great character with a good sense of humor. The fight scenes are terrific, too. Book 1 ends on a cliff-hanger, but I'll go on to read Book 2 based on the story so far,

You can get Beckoning Darkness FREE right now!  Link to Amazon

Friday, August 19, 2016

Icarus as performed by the Paul Winter Consort

This has long been a favorite piece of music. I've seen the Paul Winter Consort many times and love this song. It is very easy to picture Icarus flying too near the sun, then falling to Earth as the music rises and falls.
The amount of instruments that the Consort plays from around the world is staggering. Every winter they play a holiday concert in St John the Divine's Cathedral in New York City that is truly lovely to see and hear.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Now on PreOrder: Icarus Rising by N.W. Moors

Icarus Rising is now on PreOrder at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iBooks, and Smashwords. You can find the link to them all here:

After his fall to Earth, Icarus has been in Hell, punished for his hubris. When he wins a chance at parole, he's thrilled - except for the set of wings attached to his body. 

Eve Gregory runs a small bookstore in northern Connecticut. When she hires the handsome stranger to work for her, she doesn't know the secrets he's hiding. Or that becoming involved with him will embroil her with the Greek gods and goddesses. 

Icarus and Eve must perform a quest set down for them by Zeus. If they are successful, will that be end of their relationship? Or will love teach them a new way to soar?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Trad Tuesday: Bitter the Parting by John Doyle

John Doyle is an Irish singer/guitarist who also writes songs in traditional modes. He played with Solas for several years and is now on his own. Bitter the Parting is one of his songs, here sung with Kate Rusby, the great English folksinger.

With a red rose in summer, the leaves often green
You walked without speaking, your arm held in mine
And the lon dubh was singing as we passed on by
And bitter the parting of lovers entwined

[Kate Rusby]
You said that you loved me, you said that you cared
You told me you would never go and leave me behind
The one that I love has altered his mind
And bitter the parting of lovers entwined

I have to leave now this place I adored
No more can I wander the wild glens and the shores
For the tyrants have robbed me of house, lands, and pride
And it's bitter the parting of lovers entwined

The dew from the morning still hung from the leaves
The dogs they were barking from over the fields
[both]When you sighed and I cried for what we had done
And it's bitter the parting of the wounded in love

So we kissed and we parted and from her I didn't steer
I sat by the river and watched it flow by
[both] Like time in a bottle, it weaves and it glides
And bitter the parting of lovers entwined

Monday, August 15, 2016

New Release: Grey by Kade Cook

All the truths of her life were born from the promise of a lie.

A lie that could change everything.

Gabrian Shadwell studied hard and kept her nose to the grindstone in order to live the successful full-life most humans strive for. The problem is, she isn’t exactly human; she can see auras…and she yearns to devour them—she is comprised of the things nightmares are made of.

With her eyes opened to the truth of her Borrower heritage, her chaotic journey of self-discovery takes her down a dangerous road when the tainted eyes of the self-righteous Elders in the Realm turn against her. With good and evil before her, she must choose which path she will walk upon and learn the biggest truth of her life.

The only difference between a Borrower and a Vampire is hope.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Book Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

I read a lot and do a lot of book reviews also, but here on my blog I usually stick to Indie books. Colleen Hoover is a big-time author now, but started as an Indie author (you can read about it here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/69455-how-one-bestselling-indie-author-became-a-book-box-entrepreneur.html). So I don't feel I'm cheating to post the review of her latest book, It Ends With Us. It's one of those books that will stay with you and you need a box of tissues while reading.

I just finished It Ends With Us and I am absolutely gutted. The writing here is raw and powerful and heartwrenching. While I love Colleen Hoover's books, I think she went just a step beyond with this story.Lily comes from the small town of Plethora, Maine. The book starts with Lily having just left her father's funeral. He abused her mother and Lily is emotionally depleted by having to provide the eulogy. Back in Boston where she currently lives, she meets Ryle, a handsome neurosurgeon, who only believes in one-night stands. Lily doesn't so they part before the obvious attraction between them can become anything stronger.

Meanwhile, Lily starts reading her teenage diaries where she wrote about her love affair with the Ellen DeGeneres show and the homeless boy, Atlas, that she meets and tries to help. The plot is woven primarily between Lily and Ryle with Atlas often an unknowing catalyst in their relationship.
This is a hard book to read. All of the main characters are finely drawn and it's easy for the reader to fall in love with Lily, Ryle, and Atlas as well as the minor characters, Alyssa and Marshall. The anguish they all go through can be hard to read, but there's also much joy and love here.

Ultimately, this is a story about forgiveness and strength. The book ends the way it must though that ending brought me to tears. There's a lot to think about here and I'm sure it will haunt me for some time to come.

Now on Amazon or read on KU: The Pellucid Effect

A tale of love and adventure between two different people in the far reaches of space.

Winner of a 2018 IndieBRAG Medallion!

The Cymrians and Manxi people have lived on Manx in peace for many cycles. Mic is a Manxi and
Anais is a Cymrian. They have arrived at the age where they must undergo the Assimilation ceremony to find their places as adults.

But change is coming to Manx. The Pellucids of the Singing Caverns are aware of what to give the people of the planet to survive if they can understand and use their gifts.

Will Mic and Anais find different destinies or will the Pellucids give them a chance to be together and overcome the forces that threaten their planet?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Throwdown Thursday!

Hi Everyone!
Welcome to Throwdown Thursday!  If you're an author, share an excerpt fewer than 500 words from your book in the comments below.  Be sure to include the title and your buy link(s).  If you have a WIP, include the title and a link to you FB author page.
 Then go spread the word about this post so more people will find it.  If you're a reader...enjoy!
Happy reading (and writing)!!

Here's mine: The Black Swans  - you can read more at https://books2read.com/u/mdKNDW

“It’s the magic that is dispensed with your art that counts, whether to one person or to many,” Conn replied thoughtfully. 
“Magic?” Taisie didn’t understand. 
“Aye, it’s the heart of the craft, the love and sweat that you put into it. If you think about the old tales, the magic comes from inside the person who creates it.” 
It was quiet then, neither of them speaking as they considered their conversation. After a while, Conn pulled out a pipe from the back pocket of his jeans where it seemed he always kept a flute or whistle. He put it to his lips and played and the tune sparkled, like the moonlight on the water. Taisie thought, “This is what magic feels like.” 
She pulled her legs up under her skirt and put her arms around her knees, hugging them close. Her skin felt hot and itchy as if her body would jump right out of it, and into the water, needing to cool off. Her gaze was fixed on Conn’s long, slender fingers, as they danced and flew on the small pipe and she sighed, wanting them to stroke her, play with her body. The song drew to a close and she took a slow breath. When she raised her head, her gaze locked with Conn’s and she trembled. She wanted more, she didn’t know how to ask, but Taisie knew that Conn was the only one who could give her what she needed. 
After a moment, he stood and held out his hand to help her to her feet. They slowly walked back up to the house, carrying their shoes, as the grass wound between their toes. At the back door, they stopped. 
“Thank you for an enjoyable evening,” Taisie said. 
Conn leaned forward and finally, his kiss found her lips. A spark flew between them, his mouth firm against her softer lips, and she melted towards him. Her arms reached up, but before she could clasp him to her, he stepped back. His hair had come loose over his face and Taisie could only see the gleam of his eyes in the dim light, almost feral against his pale skin. He was still holding her hand, his fingers tight against hers as he reached up with his other hand and touched her lips. 
“I’ll see you tomorrow night, yes, with your Gran, at the show,” he asked. “Please, please will you come?” 
“Yes, I’ll … we’ll be there,” Taisie promised. 
He nodded, then turned and disappeared around the house. Taisie looked out over the field, hugging her arms around her waist as the stars spun in the sky and she thought dreamily, “Yes, this is what enchantment feels like.” 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New Release: Eye of the Storm by Frank Cavallo with Guest Post

 Catapulted into a lost world, Eric Slade and Anna Fayne must hunt down an ancient treasure that holds their only chance to return home.

On a research mission in one of the most remote regions of the world, former Navy SEAL Eric Slade and Dr. Anna Fayne are caught in a mysterious storm. Catapulted through a rift in space-time, they are marooned on a lost world.

Struggling to survive and desperate to find a way home, they must confront the dangers of this savage land—a dark wizard and his army of undead—a warrior queen and her horde of fierce Neanderthals that stands against him—and a legendary treasure with the power to open the gateway between worlds, or to destroy them all: the Eye of the Storm.

Frank Cavallo is the author of The Hand of Osiris and The Lucifer Messiah. His short stories have appeared in a variety of publications, including Every Day Fiction, Ray Gun Revival, and Lost Souls. He has also written for the Black Library’s Warhammer property, including several short stories in their monthly fiction magazine Hammer & Bolter, as well as a novella featured in the collection Gotrek & Felix: Lost Tales.

EMAIL: frank@frankcavallo.com

What was your writing process like for The Eye of the Storm?
My experience writing this book was a little different than for my past novels. One of the things I always try to do when I’m in the middle of a project is to get as close to the real location as possible. When you’re writing about a specific place, there’s no substitute for seeing, hearing and feeling it yourself, for going there and soaking up all the little details.
For one, I think it lends the material a level of authenticity that is close to impossible to get any other way (you can read everything ever written about Gettysburg, for example, but you’ll learn more about how the place really is by spending one day walking the field for yourself.)
Second, immersing myself in a new place always gives me a kick-start. Seeing new sights, meeting new people, tasting new foods, all of it makes me want to write. Sometimes I’ll sit down on a break somewhere, flip open a notebook and just start scribbling down every random observation I can—the way the grass smells after an early morning rain shower, how the desert sun bakes the dirt so that it’s rock hard—all the things you’d never get from a book, but strike you deeply when you’re really there.
This book is a fantasy tale though, set in a completely imagined parallel world. So, I did the next best thing—I found the spot that most closely resembled what I was writing about. For Eye of the Storm, a lot of the action takes places on rolling grassy steppes and a vast, bleak desert, much of it dominated by hordes of mounted warriors. That made my choice clear—Mongolia.
With a hired guide and a group of other travelers, I spent several weeks touring the land of the Khans. Like most tour groups in that country, where roads outside of major cities are largely non-existent, we rambled around the countryside in a couple of old Russian UAZ vehicles, spending our nights in yurt camps or pitching a tent on the steppe.
The country is huge, mostly empty and in many places totally inhospitable. I got a sense almost from the get-go how this landscape could forge a people so hardy they would conquer half the world. Despite that ferocious reputation however, and in stark contrast to the barren land they inhabit, I found the Mongols of today to be some of the most hospitable people I’ve ever met.
One family of nomads we encountered—totally at random—invited us to spend a few days with them. They brought us into their home, a portable structure called a ger, where they showed us their Buddhist shrine, their solar-powered flat screen TV and offered us their own home-made fermented horse milk.
The father was a man with a wind-burned face that looked chiseled from stone. He had sun-narrowed eyes that formed the most intimidating stare I’ve ever seen, yet he was almost disarmingly friendly. It turned out he was just as curious about us as we were of him.
Even before I left the place, this book was being written. So much of what I saw there is in the final product. The vast, red rock desert of the Gobi Desert’s Flaming Cliffs. The rolling steppes and the endless sea of grass where I camped under the stars. Fearsome warriors and their powerful horses—the Mongols who welcomed me and showed me their amazing country.
Writing this book was an experience unlike any other I’ve had, and hopefully that gives The Eye of the Storm something that it could not have had otherwise.

Friday, August 5, 2016

New Release: The Girl from Dreamcatch by RoZita Berry

Fifteen-year-old Tara was looking forward to a summer of fun and friendship, maybe even romance.
Then a cousin she didn't even know she had decided to come visit for the entire summer. Sadie was from the Ozark Mountains, was home schooled, and didn't even have (gasp!) TV, a computer, or a Smartphone. And her fashion sense! What's a poor girl to do? What would Tara's friends think? Her whole life would be ruined...or would it truly begin?

Link to Amazon

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trad Tuesday: Will You Go, Lassie sung by Tommy Makem

Tommy Makem often played with the Clancy Brothers. Here he is with them as well as Cherish the Ladies and Barley Bree. He was known as the Bard of Armagh. He played the long-necked 5-string banjo, tin whistle, low whistle, guitar, bodhrán and bagpipes, and sang in a distinctive baritone.

"Wild Mountain Thyme" (also known as "Purple Heather" and "Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?") is a folk song written by Francis McPeake, a member of a well known musical family in Belfast, Ireland, and is of Scottish origin.[1] McPeake's lyrics and melody are a variant of the song "The Braes of Balquhither" by Scottish poet Robert Tannahill (1774–1810), a contemporary of Robert Burns. Tannahill's original song, first published in Robert Archibald Smith's Scottish Minstrel (1821–24), is about the hills (braes) around Balquhidder nearLochearnhead. Like Burns, Tannahill collected and adapted traditional songs, and "The Braes of Balquhither" may have been based on the traditional song "The Braes o' Bowhether".

Monday, August 1, 2016

Blog Tour: The Cove by Julie Spencer and Book Review

Some accomplishments are easier than others…

For Olympic swimmer Gail Pederson, gold medals came easy. Finding true love and marrying him in the temple? Not so easy.

Especially with three men competing for her attention, and temptations leading her further and further from her goal.

Choices have consequences, and each choice Gail makes affects all four of them. One choice changes their lives forever, and leaves unexpected consequences in its wake.

Innocence lost, promises broken, and friendships destroyed.

Gail may choose how to live her life, but she can’t choose the consequences.

Link to Amazon

Book Review
I admit that LDS romance is not a genre I'm familiar with, but romance is romance so I gave this a try. The book is well-written with vivid descriptions and interesting characters.
Gail Pederson is an Olympic swimmer from a wealthy family in the Midwest. At the beginning of the story, she becomes engaged to Stephan, a fellow student who she's been dating a few months. Meanwhile, she's still writing to Patrick, her childhood sweetheart who is away on mission in the Philippines.  She takes her confusion over these two men to a third man, Todd, Patrick's best friend who lives across the cove from her.
I found Gail somewhat frustrating. She's pretty shallow and callous about these men's' feelings. You can see who she's going to end up with from the start, though how she gets there is a surprise. Her self-centered attitude was a big turnoff for me actually, but the story and the men, especially Todd, give the book some depth.
This is a good clean romance. It helps to have some knowledge of LDS customs to understand everything that's going on, but it's not essential for the love story.

Julie L. Spencer lives in the central Michigan area with her husband and teenagers. She has a very full life
managing a conservation district office, writing grant proposals & book reviews, and chasing after several teenage athletes. Julie’s been writing since she was in junior high, but prior to publishing The Cove, her only published work was her Master’s Thesis. She loves to read and write New Adult Contemporary Christian Romance novels, and has several more novels nearing publication.