INDIE AUTHOR DON LORAH TALKS WIPS & NEXT STEPS

For frequent flyers on the Twitter hashtag game circuit, Don Lorah is a familiar face. #MuseMon, #2bitTues, #1lineWed, #Thurds, #FictFri, & #SlapDashSat know him for his regular contributions. Gritty, honest, funny and thought-provoking, his words find a home 140 characters at a time.

With three books already available on Amazon.com, Don looks forward to completing his current WIP with a mind to querying. Agents, be aware!

 

Welcome, Don.

 

 

 1.

Like me, you’ve had a lot of jobs, changing careers with apparent ease. Pop commentators on job trends say that this is the way in North America. Did you find career changes easier with each transition?

 

I don’t know if it’s easier. I’ve never really thought of it that way. I became a teacher because everyone said I’d be good at it. I wish people had told me I’d be great at making money. I might still be doing that.

But I am a seeker. My philosophy is if I haven’t used something or done something within a two-year time frame, I get rid of it. This philosophy is in contrast to my wife’s. Disagreement’s ensue.

People get upset about that. They think I’m rejecting them. I’m not. I love the people I meet at different stations in my life. But I’m not ready to settle. I’m not someone who will be doing something for 40 years and accept a plaque at the end of my life. Some people — that’s what they want and I think that’s excellent for them — but it’s not for me. I am a creature of habit, but I’m also someone who can have a conversation with anybody. I’ve never met a stranger, just someone I haven’t talked to yet.

Right now, I am patiently/not patiently waiting for my kids to graduate so I can pick up stakes and move again. If I could get paid to travel that would be awesome. That’s one of the things I like about writing. I can type away on my computer anywhere!

 

2.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could change our perceptions in the same way? You seem to have through your fiction. Good characters, bad characters, all with equal amounts of flawed and redemptive qualities. Are you a ‘character’ author?

 

Yes. Yes. And more Yes.

People fascinate me. I tend to read mostly biographies. I want to know people’s stories. I want to know what they’re thinking. When something happens, what’s their reaction? Why? Why do people do the things they do?

Plus it’s so cool creating someone you would want to hang out with. It’s like creating your own friend.

Dean Koontz wrote two books Fear Nothing and Seize the Night. The characters he created in those books made me go and read the rest of his collection. There was a part in the second book where Bobby and Christopher were sitting in Bobby’s jeep drinking beer and I kept thinking I want to be there with them knowing full well murderous monkeys were hot on their tail!

When you break most stories down to their basic elements it’s the same thing; good guy vs. bad guy, bad guy vs. really bad guy, guy meets girl, etc… But it’s the characters that make you care about the story.

I can speed read a mass market paperback in an hour and tell you the butler did it. The books I care about enough to slow down and savior the words are the ones with lasting characters.

I hope to one day create such a character.

 

3.

You long for the beach. What draws you to water?

 

Two reasons really. One, I love the ocean. I love the waves crashing over and over. I love the feel of the ocean breeze. I love how I feel floating in the water. The beach is a happy place for me.

The other reason is because of nature. Me and the outside do not get along. I break out from everything. I hate touching plants because I know a rash will form. I cut the grass and look like I’ve got walking pneumonia. (Maybe that’s an exaggeration.)

But every spring, every fall, when the weather changes, I break out. Right now I have these spots on my arm, I get them every year, that make me look like I’m a heroin junkie. Poison Ivy will send me to the emergency room. I’m a pro at taking my steroid shot.

The ocean helps wash all that away. It’s a cleansing every time I go in the water. Hiking in the mountains is a completely different experience.

With the ocean, I’m refreshed. We’re drawn to each other. That being said, I cannot surf. Tried. I’m not coordinated enough. I also hate open water. I don’t do well on boats. I have heard every shark story ever. No thank you.

 

Ed-I hear ya! I never go in past my knees. JAWS really ruined it for me. Lol.

 

4.

The list of writing credits you’ve supplied is lengthy and varied. Will you give us an excerpt from one of them?

 

The following was something I submitted for a short story contest. You had to use the line “You don’t have enough points, sir.” as your opening line. I didn’t get nominated. The contest encouraged creativity but the five finalists were all dystopian society pieces. If the contest rules had said they were looking for dystopian pieces I would have written something along those lines. Either way, I had fun. It was a short 700-word contest. Title of the piece is Devil’s Grin.

“You don’t have enough points, sir,” the young attendant scolded Big Jim.

“Points? Who said anything about points?” Big Jim scowled. “I want that doll.” He spread his hands on the counter with a thud demonstrating his strength and willingness to do anything to get the doll.

“Sir, in order to get a prize, you need to collect points through those machines.” She pointed. “You don’t have enough points.” The young girl was matching his intensity.

Big Jim squinted trying to stare her down. She matched his gaze. He knew what was up. He stood up and grabbed his wallet. “Alright, how much?” Big Jim threw two twenties on the counter.

The prize attendant blew out an agitated breath, “Sir, I can’t sell the doll to you. You obtain the doll through points.” She pointed towards the video game machines with their beeps and flashing lights.

Kids wired on sugar stared blankly into the screens accumulating that which Big Jim did not have.

He threw two more twenties on the counter, “My little girl wants that doll and I ain’t staying here all afternoon chasing electronic pellets.”

The attendant folded her arms in refusal.

Big Jim tossed another twenty on the pile. A young punk eyeballed the cash. Big Jim shot him a look telling him to move on.

Big Jim scooted the five twenties towards the attendant. “Look, I don’t care if you keep the money or not. I just want the doll.”

The girl looked at Big Jim, then at his young daughter. She was covered in melted sugar. Sticky. No woman accompanied Big Jim.

“Must be hard raising a daughter without a wife.” The young attendant motioned towards Big Jim’s little girl.

Big Jim followed her motion seeing his princess sucking on a lollipop. He smiled, sure he’d won, “Sure is.”

The attendant smiled back and pushed the money back towards Big Jim. She leaned in close drawing Big Jim down to her level. With a wicked grin she whispered, “Still gonna need more points to get the doll, sir.”

If Big Jim thought he could have gotten away with it, he would have slapped her. He slapped the counter instead. The attendant, those nearby, and Big Jim’s little girl all jumped from his sudden outburst.

He poked a finger in her face, “Look here, missy!”

The young attendant stepped back, folded her arms across her chest and smiled.

Big Jim’s face was redder then the polo shirt his adversary was wearing.

Big Jim was not used to people treating him this way. Usually, he demanded something and he got his way. This insolent little girl was due for a spanking. That’s what he told her.

She feigned fright, “Why are you threatening to beat little ol’ me? Do I need to be punished? Was I a bad girl?” She swayed from side to side with her finger to her lips teasing Big Jim for his outburst.

Big Jim finally read her name tag, “Nancy.”

She raised her eyebrows at the sound of her name.

Big Jim pulled out his wallet and threw a hundred-dollar bill on the stack of twenties, “May I please have the doll?” He asked as calmly as he could.

Before Nancy could answer, her manager walked up, “Nancy, is there a problem here?”

“No.” Nancy looked at Big Jim.

The manager looked Big Jim over, “Well, then let’s get a move on, you’re starting to get a line.”

The manager walked away.

Nancy pushed the money back towards Jim, “You’ll need to get more points, sir.” She smiled the same smile the devil wears when meeting someone in the desert.

Jim grabbed the money off the counter and walked towards the machines with their beeps and flashing lights. He sat his daughter up on a stool facing the electronic screens like so many other children. They chased pellets, points and dignity one token at a time.

Fifteen minutes later, Nancy finished her shift. She stole the doll off the shelf, clocked out and never went back wearing the same devilish grin she’d worn every day of her life.

 

5.

The promo tag I saw recently on Twitter for SHARE GIRL carries a warning: Not for the faint of heart. Exercise caution when reading. Was it your intention to shock and awe, or did the characters hijack you?

 

The characters totally hijacked me. I never really know what’s going to happen. In Share Girl, she’s attacked. But it couldn’t be a simple attack. It had to be something horrific to change her from Amber to Share Girl. Otherwise it’s unbelievable. We watch her as she is slowly sucked into a world she is not prepared for. It leaves her broken both physically and spiritually. What is she going to do? How does she change into Share Girl? What type of person is Share Girl?

I want to write a nice story about a guy and girl who love each other. But the guy isn’t cooperating.

The Love Tree was like that. I sat down to write a witty, romantic short story but a couple sentences in, I knew the guy was lying. He bummed me out, but it gave me a great story.

The characters hijacked what I wanted to do, but they helped me create this world, a dark world, a world I wouldn’t have been able to create on my own.

That totally sounds weird.

My characters always do that. In the book I wrote, Something Wild, the same thing happened. My main character got into his car and was joined by someone else. I wrote the scene not revealing the other person. My wife is reading the draft asking, “Who is it? Who is it?” I’m like “I don’t know? I’ll find out tomorrow.”

It adds some excitement to the day!

 

Ed – I do that too, create characters with nic names not really knowing their true identities until they reveal themselves. It’s always shocking for me!

 

6.

We met through Twitter #hashtag games. Care to comment on this trend? What do you get from playing them?

 

I love playing the #hashtag games. I love the sense of community the games provide. We’re all in this together. We met through Twitter, we may never have met otherwise. Like I’ve said earlier, I love meeting new people. Some of my biggest fans are people who I’ve connected with on Twitter. I find that amazing.

Plus, there is such an abundance of talent on Twitter. How some people can take 140 characters and evoke such strong feelings is amazing.

I love the instant feedback a line can give. It’s awesome to think of a great line and share it with the world. I’m always amazed at what people like and don’t like. Something I think is great may only get a couple of likes, but something I think is a throwaway could be my most popular tweet that day.

 

7.

I love writing series, but I need breaks from time to time, usually through short stories and novelettes. Do you write more than one manuscript at a time? If so, how do you keep it all sorted?

 

For a while I was. I’d have a couple of things going at the same time. That’s changed with the last book and the one I’m working on now.

I was writing short stories for different contests and magazines, but I found the process difficult.

The last book I published on Amazon completed a trilogy, and this book now is tying a lot of my recent short stories together.

I haven’t been blessed with a new idea yet. Most of my ideas come from dreams. Maybe I need to sleep in a little bit more and the good stuff will flow once again.

 

8.

Have I forgotten anything?

 

I don’t think so.

I’ll end with advice. Write because you can. Write because you love to do it. If you become famous or successful, awesome, but don’t do it because of that.

Yes, you have talent. Yes, you have incredible ideas. Yes, no one may ever read them. But you did. You took the time to create something that is from you. You have value, therefore, your work is valuable, even if no one has ever put a price tag on it.

You never know what may last in this world and what will fade away. None of us knows the future. In a time we may not be a part of, your words could be what changes a generation.

If your words, your story, your creation changed the world, changed the course of human history for the better, would it matter if you never made a dime?

Maybe your words will do nothing more than prove to your kids anything is possible. Dreams are worth chasing. There is more to this life than social media and video games.

We all have something to say. Some of us simply have the courage to write it down.

 

In his own words

donI grew up at the beach in Delaware. After a couple of twists and turns down the road of life, I got stranded in Northern Virginia. But I’ve got my wife and kids with me, so life isn’t so bad. Trust me, as soon as the youngest graduates, I’m out of here. Life is short, I need to spend it at the beach.

I’ve had an abundance of day jobs. My family owned a well-drilling company, so I dug a lot of holes every summer. I finally got out of that and worked at a bookstore, selling books and learning how to make foam for a cappuccino.

People always told me I’d make a great teacher. I didn’t like school, but that didn’t stop me from becoming a teacher. News flash, if you didn’t like school as a student, it isn’t any better as a teacher. At least, for me, it wasn’t. I taught 7th and 8th grade math and social studies.

I hated every day!

I’m not exaggerating. Every day.

Still I won several awards: Outstanding Student Teacher, First-year teacher of the year, Math teacher of the year, Social Studies Teacher of the Year, and yes, Teacher of the Year.

Imagine if I had liked teaching!

I left teaching to become a youth minister. Here’s another tidbit to tuck away for future reference: Do not work for small minded people who have no want for growth, personal or otherwise. Too many people get comfortable and don’t want to explore new things. I want to change my whole life about every two years.

In the end, we both believed in God but the similarities ended there. Again, good with the kids, terrible with everyone else.

I gave up ministry life, and worked at a gym for two years. I’m not big on fitness, just really good at picking things up and putting them down. Simply put, I love sugar, carbs and all the other bad things I’m not supposed to like.

I workout regularly but I’m not interested in being Mr. Universe or extending my life cycle.

Now I write. I’ve got a website: www.donlorah.wordpress.com. It contains short stories I’ve written. Some I’ve submitted to magazines and contests, some I haven’t. I also have a three books on Amazon.

something-wildThe three books in the series are told from the point of view of three different people. In the first book, Something Wildthe story is told by Bodhi, a children’s writer whose wife, Rachel, has gone missing. After accepting the fact she may never be found, clues start popping up that may help him find her.

In A Bona Fide Good Guywe find Gene, a demolition specialist good-guyfor the mob trying to make a better life for himself. He’s paved with good intentions, but that doesn’t always make things right. He learns about Rachel and tries to rescue her.

the-winter-roseWith The Winter Rose, we learn there is more to Rachel then a simple missing wife. There is something evil attempting to change our world forever. Our new hero, Kendall, wants to find inner peace after a lifetime of pro ball and wealthy living. He becomes the final piece of the puzzle, helping Bodhi, Rachel, Gene and the others stand against a force more evil than Satan himself.

 

My current WIP

 

I had two different ideas. I even had people vote on them. The first story was about a two siblings with special powers in search of their mother. The other was a full length novel based off of some short stories I had written. The stories revolved around characters found in the Blue Tree Forest. Simon and company, if you’ve read the stories, are not good people. Some unlucky travelers ended up in the forest and are in a fight for their lives to escape.

The story about the siblings won. It made sense — happier ending, people like kids. I’ve been working on the story in my head longer, etc. But when I sat down to write, the second story came out.

I have very little idea where the story will end, and how my travelers will fare. I do know the story will combine, Simon, the fairies, the Blue Tree Forest, The Love Tree, Share Girl and Limbo.

The whole concept of the story came about from one of those crazy late night pillow talks you have with your wife, when you’re half tired, half loopy.

I don’t remember the details, but we got talking about mischievous things and fairies came up. I said I should write a story about fairies. I had this idea of a man taking a leak in the forest and fairies biting his butt. My wife asked if the fairies could have blue hair. I said sure, their hair will be blue as an homage to the Blue Tree Forest they live in.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/the-blue-tree-forest/

 

The Love Tree was supposed to be a sweet love story. Something sappy. But I realized early on that my male character was a liar. His lying introduced me to Simon. Simon is in charge of the Blue Tree Forest, a forest that contains the Love Tree.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/2016/06/24/the-love-tree/

 

Once I had those two stories, I realized I had a world to explore.

The idea for Share Girl came about from a miscommunication. One day the hashtag #Sharegirlstalkboys was trending on twitter. It was to promote the single, Girls Talk Boys, from 5 Seconds of Summer. The song was featured on the Ghostbusters Movie Soundtrack.

I didn’t know all of this when I saw it. Not a big 5 Seconds of Summer fan. Not really their demographic.

Anyway, I inquired, “was the hashtag Share Girls Talk Boys or Share Girl Stalks Boys?” I liked the character called Share Girl. It’s a hard read. It was hard to write. Our main character Amber is Share Girl. She is used, goes through a metamorphoses with Simon’s help and comes out as Share girl.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/share-girl/

 

Limbo was a five part mini-story based off of a series of dreams I had. The first night I dreamt of losing my youngest son. So I wrote a story with this character in mind. Each night I would dream different details I would add to the story. Limbo ended up in the Blue Tree Forest as a challenger to Simon.

https://donlorah.wordpress.com/2016/08/09/limbo-part-1-the-creation/

 

So now, I’m attempting to unite all these characters into one story. Crossing my fingers, it can come out like I want. I won’t self-publish this book like I have done with the others. This will be the one I send to agents in the hope of landing a book deal.

Thanks for joining us Don, and best of luck with the querying. *sending good vibes* — ABF

 

TOMORROW:  Historical fiction author Ralph Peluso tries his hand at short stories and wins with a new anthology coming SOON.

 

A SHADOWY PAST AND A DESIRE TO GET CLOSE IN M. A. CORTEZ’ YA SISTER SLEUTHS

In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, mystery writer M. A. Cortez crafted a tale of two sisters who meet two sisters with secrets to hide. Drawn to the irresistible unknown, the young sleuths pursue a line of inquiry that combines deduction with the acute in-your-face panache of youth. Welcome to the blog, M.A.

 

1.

Your character Samantha has Autism Spectrum Disorder. How did you prepare your character in terms of research?

 

Samantha’s character was inspired by a family member who is on the spectrum but is much younger than Sam. I did further research by interviewing teens and siblings of teens on the spectrum, and visited several online sites hosted by young people with ASD. There are many informative online resources that bring awareness to the understanding of Autism.

 

Book Description
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Sandy and Samantha may be twins, but sharing the same birthday is where their similarities end. Sandy is desperate to find a friend she can relate to. Samantha lives life on the Autism spectrum, her social skills can be off putting to some, but her honesty is endearing to others. Sandy likes cute boys and cute clothes. Samantha likes math and mysteries. It seems like the girls will never find a common ground until they stumble upon another set of siblings. Sisters who are hiding secrets, telling lies, and living in the shadows of the past.

 

 

 

 

2.

Does Samantha’s ASD advance her deductive powers?

 

I would say she’s a natural born detective, but yes, I believe her fascination, (single mindedness tends to be a common trait among those on the spectrum) with the Nancy Drew mysteries gives her an advantage. Individuals on the spectrum often have an eye for detail, which of course makes for a good detective.

 

3.

Twin siblings I’ve known over the years acknowledge a shared telepathy: if her sister is ill, she feels it too. Do Sandy and Samantha possess the same ability?

 

They can definitely hone into each-other’s energy but not things like injuries, or physical pain.

 

4.

The girls find common ground when they discover the siblings. Can you tease us with a little more from the plot?

 

The second set of siblings, Adriana and Anabelle, had a quarrel that they never had the chance to resolve. It’s the bond of sisterhood that motivates Samantha and Sandy to help their new friend solve the mystery of her twin sister’s death.

 

Excerpt

I pace back and forth in front of my computer, compelled to check my messages again. A jolt of excitement rushes through me when I see the little exclamation point that means I have a message in my inbox. As I move the cursor to open it, I realize I’m not as angry with Annabelle as I thought. I’m more curious to see what she has to say. Sandy, I know you came to my house. I watched you from the window. Was that your sister with you? I tried to get your attention with the roses. I’m trapped up here. They won’t let me leave. I hoped she would let you in, but she sends everyone one away. Please try again.  I need a friend.

 

5.

Sister Sleuths is a mystery. Tell us how you got started in the genre. Who are your idols?

 

I’ve always loved Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew. The Sister Sleuths is my first attempt at writing a mystery. It was so much fun planting clues, asking questions and solving the mystery that I just had to write a sequel.

 

6.

The past is often characterized as ‘shadowy’ in literature. Is this a popular subtext in your writing? In 27xs and Moon Dance as well?

 

Not in those stories, but I have a WIP titled Dream Well that fits that subtext.

 

7.

You live in Colorado, a place that, to me, conjures up fabulous vistas and weather. What’s a day in your life like?

 

It’s not very glamorous. Most days are filled with typical household tasks. I try to write everyday or do something creative, like crafting or sewing. I love to spend time with my big family on weekends. When the weather permits I get outside and enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.  

 

About the Author

head-shot

M.A. Cortez is the author of The Sister Sleuths and the Shadowman, 27xs, and Moon Dance. She lives in Colorado surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

 

 

 

Links

getBook.at/SisterSleuthsandTheShadowman

https://twitter.com/@maryanncortez16

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryAnnCortez

https://itsthewriteplace.blogspot.com

 

Thank you for joining us, M.A. Please come back again when the sequel comes out.–ABF

 

TOMORROW:  The blog takes a long weekend to rest, recharge and resume work on the WIP. We will return Monday with Texas native and paranormal romance author Rachael Tamayo. See you then!

BLOGGER, JOURNALIST, NOVELIST DEBBIE DE LOUISE: ALL WRITING, ALL GOOD

Good Monday morning mighty Blogosphere. It’s decidedly fall-like outside, and with the cooler temperatures and school buses rattling past my front window, there is a tremendous sense of excitement brewing. Beginning last week, guest bloggers have been dropping by to share their work and insights. This week, we continue. Today’s guest, Debbie De Louise, is a multi-published author, catwoman, and library scientist. Check out what she has to say about A STONE’S THROW, the future of paper, and her exciting work-in-progress. Welcome, Debbie…

 

1.

You are an award winning writer with a third book releasing through Solstice Publishing. Trace your career for us with an anecdote or two.

 

After I self-published my first book, “Cloudy Rainbow,” I tried writing another but gave up. I didn’t have any experience promoting books at that time and had no network of professional contacts. Everyone in my family bought the book, of course, but it didn’t sell well otherwise. Since my daughter was young at the time, I decided it was a good time to take a break from writing.

 

I probably would not have written another book except for three things that happened years later. The first was that a patron at the library where I work kept asking if I was writing something else. She had read and enjoyed my first novel and urged me not to give up. This went on for some time, but then my library began to offer online classes through a database called Gale Courses. All the librarians were encouraged to enroll in one of the classes before we advertised the database to the public. Since Gale Courses included quite a few publishing classes, I enrolled in one. I got hooked and kept taking classes. Then I started writing articles and short stories again. I began sending out my work. I received rejections for the stories, but some of the articles were published online and in my local newspaper.

 

As I kept writing, I came up with more ideas. One of them grew into my second novel, “A Stone’s Throw”. Although I received some initial rejections for the manuscript, I took a chance and participated in an online twitter event called Pit2Pub where authors could tweet a pitch to publishers. I received several responses to my pitch and was offered a contract by Limitless Publishing. A year later, I pitched another book at this same event and was signed with Solstice Publishing.

 

2.

We have Sisters in Crime in common. What came first for you: crime writing or your Sisters’ membership?

 

I don’t consider myself exclusively a crime writer. My books usually feature both mystery and romance. I joined Sisters-in-Crime recently because I wanted to belong to a professional organization of mystery authors for contacts and networking opportunities. I also plan to join the International Thriller Writers after my book with Solstice is published.

 

3.

As a librarian, what kind of future do you see for paper-bound books in the digital age? Will libraries become museum pieces?

 

I don’t think digital books will replace physical books anytime soon. Patrons at my library still request physical books and indicate that, even though some of them have e-readers, they still prefer books in a physical format. I, myself, feel that way. While I appreciate the availability of the written word in various formats and own a Kindle Fire, I still return to the traditional format of paperback or hardcover books. My daughter who is of the generation that grew up with computers and is constantly on different electronic devices also still enjoys reading physical books.

 

Regarding libraries becoming antiquated, it’s true they are changing, but I don’t see them disappearing soon either. Libraries play much more of a role in society than places to borrow books and other materials. They are community centers featuring a variety of programs from defensive driving courses to cooking and exercise classes. Our library hosts a literacy group for adults learning English as a Second Language, and we also recently started a writer’s club in addition to open poetry nights and a memoir writing class. Children and YA programs are popular, and we loan free passes to local museums. Through Overdrive and subscription databases, we also extend the “walls” of the library into the homes of our patrons.

 

4.

Comparing journal articles, short stories and novels is tantamount to comparing apples and oranges and… heroically sized watermelons, but I’ll ask you to try. As a crafter of all three, do you favor one method of expression over another?

 

There are pluses and minuses to each type of writing, but I believe they are all connected in certain ways. Novel writing is extremely time-consuming but can be more rewarding because the product you produce is one that allows for full creative expression and the opportunity to receive recognition and acclaim (and eventually some profit). Article-writing is factual and requires research without the added imaginative spark. However, unless you’re writing scholarly articles, there’s always room for creative ways to present research. Blog posts are a perfect example of this. Also, even with novels and short stories, some factual research is necessary to lend realism to the writing.

 

I truly can’t say which type of writing I prefer because I like them all and enjoy doing each as a change from the other. It’s like an artist working in different mediums. It gives you a chance to develop skills in other areas. Another plus is that you can occasionally use something you’ve written in one type of writing in another. For instance, short story themes can be expanded into novels. Information from articles can be used in short stories and novels.

 

5.

We also have kitties in common so I have to ask about the Cat Writer’s Association. Where do we sign up?

 

Just check out their website www.catwriters.com. There’s an application form there that gives information on how to join. It’s a great organization, and I have been a member for many years.

 

6.

Tell us about your new release.

.

My upcoming mystery novel that I just signed with Solstice, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” (tentative title) can be read as a standalone or sequel to my novel “A Stone’s Throw” that was published last November. I don’t want to give too much away about it except to say that it features kidnapping, burglary, and murder. Some of the characters from “A Stone’s Throw” are in it and some new characters are introduced. It takes place in the same small, upstate fictional town of Cobble Cove, New York near the holidays and there are some scenes in New York City, too. I consider it a mystery, but it features many cozy elements and no explicit violence.

 

7.

And the WIP?

 

I’m very excited about my WIP because it’s totally different from my previous books. I usually write in third person but, in this book, I alternate chapters between first and third person. Most of the narrative is told by the main character, but I do include some other “voices.” The action also alternates from the present time to incidents that occurred twenty years before. While this book features a mystery, I consider it a psychological thriller. It deals with a variety of topics including alcoholism and mental illness Again, I can’t go into detail, but I’m hoping to begin querying it sometime in the fall to agents as well as publishers.

 

8.

Let’s finish with a library anecdote: humorous, spooky or both.

 

Lots of funny things happen in the library. My co-workers all say that we could write a book about them, but I can’t think of anything specific right now, so I’ll share a romantic anecdote instead. I actually met my husband when I first started working at the library. He was teaching computer classes there in the early days when there was a big demand for them. We still offer computer classes, but they are now given by our computer support technicians. Anthony was not an employee. He gave the classes in the evenings, and I took one. No one knew we began “seeing” one another until we were announced we were engaged. My co-workers threw an engagement party for us in the library’s community room and many attended the wedding. That was 24 years ago, and I am still working at the library and married to Anthony.

 

 

A STONE’S THROW

stonesthrowamazonWidowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John.

As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident. The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Ed.-WOW!

 

1

 

Excerpt

 

After Alicia unpacked her things, heated up Sheila’s stew that turned out to be quite tasty, and changed into pajamas, she lay in bed with a book, but she couldn’t concentrate on her reading. She turned off the light and tried to sleep, but the heavy rain against the window kept her up, as did the loud purring of Sneaky Cat, who snuggled against her, happy to have company again. She thought about Tina, the girl who’d stayed here last. From what Alicia knew of her, Tina was a young library school graduate who’d been hired by Sheila as quickly as Alicia had. She’d lived over the library in this space, as well, taken care of Sneaky, and left after a year and a half to care for her sick mother in Florida.

 

Sneaky dug his paws into the quilt at her back. It had been a long time since she’d had a cat, but she recalled the kneading sensation both male and female cats practiced to comfort themselves. Maybe it would comfort her too. Had she done the right thing by returning to Cobble Cove? Would she be bored in this small town with only a hand full of people patronizing the library each day? Sheila had mentioned the large number of homebound patrons, the seniors of the town, who needed books delivered. She might enjoy that. She liked reader’s advisory work, selecting books that would interest people. Sometimes it was a challenge, but she always learned through the experience and even found new authors and books for herself.

 

After a few hours of restlessness, Sneaky finally got sick of her tossing and left the room. She felt strangely deserted. She decided it might be better to get up and do something than spend unproductive time in bed. She turned on the light and went out into the hall. All was quiet from downstairs except the continuous downpour. She didn’t plan to go into the library, but she considered checking some of the unprocessed books Sheila had mentioned Mac was working on in the storage room. Perhaps she’d find something more interesting than her current reading that could help her fall asleep.

 

When she entered the storage room, she didn’t see Sneaky, although she thought he might’ve headed there to use his litter box. Cats can be quiet and liked to sleep in the strangest spots, so he could be there in some corner. Mac’s jacket was still draped across the chair by the desk. She laughed recalling the story about what Sneaky had once done to it out of spite, so typical of an angered cat. She sat in the chair and perused the stack of books on the desk. A few were from James Patterson’s “Private” series. She didn’t read too many series and had only read a few of Patterson’s standalone titles. As she was about to choose a book from the pile, she heard scratching in the corner. She jumped. Hopefully, that was Sneaky and not a mouse he hadn’t caught, for this place probably attracted them. She walked cautiously to the corner where she’d heard the noise. It wasn’t coming from the litter box under the window but from the opposite side.

 

Since the one bulb in the room was dim, she could hardly see in the dark recesses of the room. She wished she had a flashlight. As she approached the area where she heard the noise, she saw a bunch of boxes. She was relieved to see Sneaky scratching the side of one, cardboard pieces scattered at his feet. “Oh, Sneaky,” she said. “You scared me, but you’re only using a box for a scratching post.” The cat, caught in the act, stopped in mid-scratch and scampered away through his cat flap. Alicia made a note to speak to John about helping her find a real scratching post for Sneaky,. but before she left the room, she went over to the boxes. She figured they contained more books, but when she looked inside the one Sneaky had been scratching, she saw a few papers bundled together with rope. Newspapers? They weren’t that thick. She realized as she picked up the first bundle, they were a stack of letters. She felt uneasy snooping through them and was about to toss them next to the other two stacks in the box when she caught the name on the top envelope, Miss Carol Parsons. Her heart thudded in tempo with the rain. Were these the letters Mac wrote to Peter’s mother all those years ago? If so, how had Mac gotten them back?

 

About the Author

 

debbieDebbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island. Her first novel, “Cloudy Rainbow,” received an honorable mention in the Writer’s Digest self-published awards. Her mystery novel, “A Stone’s Throw” was published November 2015 by Limitless Publishing. The sequel, tentatively titled “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” is currently contracted with Solstice Publishing. Debbie was awarded the Lawrence C. Lobaugh Memorial Award in Journalism from Long Island University/C.W. Post where she earned a B.A. in English and a M.L.S. in Library Science. A member of Sisters in Crime and the Cat Writer’s Association, she has published articles in several pet publications and journals. Her Catster.com article, “Brush Your Cat for Bonding, Beauty, and Better Health,” won a special award from Hartz Corporation. Her short mystery, “Stitches in Time” was published in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats and is currently working on a standalone psychological thriller.

 

Links

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.delouise.author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Deblibrarian

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2750133.Debbie_De_Louise

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Debbie-De-Louise/e/B0144ZGXPW/

Website/Blog/Newsletter Sign-Up: https://debbiedelouise.wordpress.com

 

Here are some teasers for a Stone’s Throw and its buy links:

Buy links for A STONE’S THROW:

Amazon U.S.: KINDLE: http://amzn.to/1MjaJgN

Amazon Australia: http://bit.ly/1Sdh82D

Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/1SdheHi

Amazon U.K.: http://amzn.to/1QutXBW

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1nQPyv4

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1KGYHep

Also available on iTunes and Ingram

Thanks for dropping by, Debbie. We wish you well and look forward to that new release! — ABF

 

TOMORROW: Novelist, blogger and graphic designer Marie Lavender.

 

 

 

PARANORMAL CRIME WRITER DAZZLES WITH MULTI-ERA ANTHOLOGY

witchee pooFresh off the Carnival of Parahorror in Buffalo, N.Y., author Susan Lynn Solomon couldn’t fly higher. Not only did she sell a ton of books, but she got to road test her brand new Turbo Charged 5.0 liter RT racing broom. Okay…some of this is not true — the broom blew a spark plug and wouldn’t fly — and Susan, with her dry sense of humor, would be the first to NOT point this out. Likewise her character Emlyn Goode who is a modern day witch coming to terms with her newly inherited power.

 

It was my great pleasure to read and review THE MAGIC OF MURDER and BELLA VITA in 2016. Now it is my additional pleasure to spotlight an amazing new anthology as well as the author that sparkles behind it. Ready, Susan?

 

 

1.

Your anthology VOICES IN MY HEAD covers so many different eras. From whence comes the historian, sociologist, and sage, and how long did it take you to complete the collection?

 

How long did it take to complete the collection of “Voices In My Head Stories…? Hmm. Leave it to you, my friend, to ask the hardest question first. At my very advanced age, it’s hard to remember back that far. Fact is, dear heart, these days it’s hard to remember what I ate for lunch yesterday. Maybe if I spread out my tarot cards… Sorry, got lost for a second in the research I’ve done for the next Emlyn Goode Murder Mystery.

 

Okay, I wrote the first draft of “Mystery of the Carousel” about 12 years ago. A friend asked me to do a story for the museum in what used to be Herschell’s Carousels and Amusements Factory.  I’d been playing with the story on and off since then—just couldn’t seem to get it right. Then, last year I figuratively pulled it out of my drawer while searching for my notes on another story. After reading the first page, I recalled an article on PTSD I’d recently read in the newspaper. “Oh,” I said to my bedroom wall (my bedroom is where I do my writing), “is THAT what this story is about?” Working late into the night, two days later the story was finished.

 

Ah, and “Witches Gumbo”. About 10 years ago I was trying to write a romance for a short story competition. Short? Right. The competition limited the word count to 3,000, but the story kept growing and growing until it slid into the novella stage. It was about a woman—a descendent of a Louisiana bayou witch—who’d been hurt and was afraid to love again. She was using her distant relative’s writings to get past her fear. Not terribly original, but hey, I was reading Nicholas Spark’s books at the time. Anyhow, I brought the story to my writer’s group one evening. After I received comments on it, Trudy Crusella, who was moderating our group at the time, told me that while the writing was good, she was more interested in the back story set in my mythical Bayou Lafit. Happily, I listened to her. A lot of research into witchcraft, the nature of bayous and the use of language by people who lived there at the time, and I had a story. I can’t begin to thank Trudy enough. Seven years ago (and a lot of rewriting later) “Witches Gumbo” became my first published story.

 

As to why these stories take on their historical settings… I have no idea. The places and people—what they do and say… I suspect those characters jabber away in my head all night, because when I wake up, they’re sitting near my computer, yelling at me to listen to them.

 

AND THIS JUST IN…

mandm-126x150-126x150

 

2.

In his assessment of you as writer Gary Earl Ross touts you as a “devilishly clever tour guide who puts us in touch with the ‘rhythm of our lives’.” Did you know you were doing that?

 

Aw, Gary’s just being kind to a frail old woman… And me, Devilish? Why, A.B., who could think such a thing… cackle cackle. All I’m doing is telling fantastic lies… What? Aren’t we authors just professional liars?

 

Okay, okay. I’ve been around a while, gone places and done things—for some of which my mother would have beaten me with a spoon. Once upon a time I was a campus radical, then a music business attorney, and then I spent some years as a contributing editor and page designer for an art magazine. What underlies my stories, whether realistic or more fantastic, is what I’ve seen. And heard. People I’ve met, and the fixes they, like I, have gotten into. You might want to again read “Kaddish”, the last story in Voices In My Head” to see what I mean. “Kaddish” is blushingly close to autobiographical, and tells more about me than I usually let on.

 

So, in essence, the journey I want to lead a reader on is actually… my life. Of course, I’m never sure if I’m motivated to warn people about sinkholes in the road, or to teach them how to cause those sinkholes.

 

3.

We’ve been friends for only a short time, but I know from our delightful conversations that you find it challenging to say anything in under 500 words. (She said it first *laughs*) Would you say that writing VOICES was more challenging than your longer pieces?

 

This is too true. People have noticed I even have trouble saying good morning in less than 500 words. Fortunately, I wasn’t limited to a word count in “Voices In My Head”. Well, in all but one of the nine stories, that is. That story is “Second Hand”, which was initially written for a flash fiction journal that had an 800 word limit. 800 words! Aaargh!

 

The story was easy enough to write—different names, but the characters are my sister, Robin, and I. And the story is true… uh, more or less. See, I’d just finished researching witchcraft for “Witches Gumbo”, and I’d decided that the material I’d read made sense. I mean, witches are caretakers of the earth, and they know the herbs to mix and chants to sing to make things come out as they desire. Also, they get to worship a beautiful goddess instead of an old man who wants to smite you (and there are a lot of things for which I could’ve been smited). Need I say it? I decided I would become a Wicca, and practice witchcraft. I went out and bought colored candles, and a double bladed knife with runes carved in the handle (I had the herbs I’d need in my spice cabinet). That summer I visited Robin in Florida, and while driving around one day we passed a second hand store that had a cauldron in the window. This was the last tool I needed. When Robin asked why we had to stop at that shop, I made the mistake of telling her. That’s when she grabbed me by the collar, pulled me back into her car, and explained in words I’d understand why I was the last person on earth who should know how to do such things.

 

So, writing the story. My first draft was about 1,200 words. I spent two days cutting and moving sentences, and finally got it down to 817. After another day, it was 809 words, and no matter what I did, I just wouldn’t get any shorter. Damn! As I recall, I sat in my room, screaming at my computer, and threatening to beat it with a spiked heel if it didn’t get rid of those last 9 words. Right then I swore a mighty oath I’d never again try to write a piece of flash fiction.

 

4.

Identity is a feature of your work. What comes after we figure everything out?

 

A better question, A.B., is what happens after I figure everything out. I think the world is safe, though. I doubt I ever will.

 

But, good catch there, my friend. Much of what I write IS about trying to understand who I am, and what it is I’m meant to do. I don’t have an answer to that, so I keep searching. And my search keeps leading me to more stories… or, at least, more voices jabbering in my head.

 

5.

You visited the Carnival of the Parahorror recently. How’d that go?

 

Ah, the Buffalo Central Station. What can I say that the Ghost Hunters program hasn’t already said? To paraphrase the old song: Ghosts to the left of me, demons to the right, and here I am, right in the middle…

 

This is an incredible venue. Marble floors and walls, high ceiling, and crowds of people as much into the paranormal as I. I loved meeting other writers, and talking to everyone about my work—even sold a few copies of my books. What could be a better way to spend a long weekend…?

 

I just hope a ghost hasn’t followed me home—I already live with a ghost, and she gets rather jealous.

 

6.

And you also released Bella Vita on the heels of Magic of Murder. Tell us about those and when, if ever, did you sleep?

 

Sleep? What’s that? Who can sleep with all these characters constantly yammering at me, and demanding I tell the world about them?

 

Bella Vita CoverAnd yes, my latest release is “Bella Vita”. I didn’t set out to write this as the follow-up to “The Magic of Murder”, though. In fact, I was more than half done with “Dead Again”, the novel that was supposed to be the follow-up. At the same time, I was working on a short story called “Smoker’s Lament”. Yes, I’m a smoker, and yes, the story is about some havoc I almost caused. I won’t say more about it, because it will be published in an online journal this fall, and it’ll be more fun if people read it then.

 

Anyway, in the middle of this, my publisher, Solstice Publishing, put out a call for short stories focused on the summer solstice. To my ears, this sounded like a dare—something I’ve never been smart enough to turn down. Besides, the narrator in “The Magic of Murder” is an author who’d just learned she’s directly descended from a woman whom the Salem witch trial judges decided should dangle from a tree limb. Since I was heavily into murder mysteries at the time I wrote this novel, I decided it would be fun to annoy my narrator by dangling a murder in front of her.

 

To accomplish this, I gave her a neighbor and dear friend who was a Niagara Falls police detective. Then, I killed the detective’s partner. So, when Detective Frey’s partner was discovered in a frozen alley with eight bullets in his chest, he swore vengeance. But Detective Chief Woodward had forbidden him or anyone else on the detective squad to work the case. Emlyn Goode, my narrator, knew Roger would disobey his boss, which would cost him his job and his freedom. Because she cared for him more than she’d admit, she needed to stop him. Desperate, she could think of but one way.

 

41ZsodZxIJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Emlyn had recently learned she’s a direct descendent of a woman hanged as a witch in 1692. She had a book filled with arcane recipes and chants passed down through her family. Possessed of, or perhaps by a vivid imagination, she intended to use these to solve Jimmy’s murder before Roger took revenge on the killer. But she was new to this “witch thing,” and needed help from her friend Rebecca Nurse, whose ancestor also took a short drop from a Salem tree. Also in the mix was a rather hefty albino cat (Elvira detests being called fat). Rebecca was not much better at deciphering the ancient directions, and while the women and the cat stumbled over spell after spell, the number of possible killers grew.

 

Then, to keep people at the edge of their seats, I set it up so the women had to quickly come up with a workable spell, because, when Chief Woodward’s wife was shot and a bottle bomb burst through Emlyn’s window, it became clear she would be next on the killer’s list.

 

So, “Bella Vita”. Since the history of the summer solstice all the way back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, and certainly the Druids, is filled with the practice of magic, and with the characters in “The Magic of Murder” already talking to me, it was as if Solstice Publishing called out, “Susan. Susan! Wake up and kill somebody else!” I mean, how could I refuse?

 

In this short story (well, short for me), a car burns in the parking lot behind Bella Vita Hair Salon. The corpse in the front seat has a short sword pushed into his ribs. Beneath the car is a cast-iron cauldron filled with flowers. This seems to be a sacrificial rite Rebecca Nurse had been teaching Emlyn Goode. But is it? The corpse has been identified as George Malone, and earlier on this summer solstice day, he and his wife had severe argument. Could it be that Angela Malone murdered her husband? Prodded by Elvira, the overly-large albino cat that wants the case solved so she can get some sleep, to Rebecca’s dismay Emlyn again dips into her ancient relatives Book of Shadows to find the answer before her friend and neighbor, Detective Roger Fry, can.

 

Both stories have received 5-Star reviews, and people tell me that once they start reading, they can’t stop. This makes me smile, because I can’t stop writing about these characters.

 

Oh, and by the way, the Bella Vita Salon is where I have my hair done, and the women who run the salon are front and center in the story. Fortunately, they like what I wrote, so I’m still allowed to go there.

 

7.

And Emlyn Goode is making a comeback?

 

Absolutely. I mentioned earlier that I was in the middle of the next Emlyn Goode story when I wrote “Bella Vita”. This new story, which I call “Dead Again” is finished—five drafts finished. The story is about— No, let’s wait until it comes out. Right now I’ll only say that Gary Earl Ross, who was kind enough to edit it for me thinks this novel is better than the first.

 

And now that “Dead Again” is in its final stages, I’ve begun work on the next in the Emlyn Goode Murder Mystery series. This one will be titled “Writing Is Murder”—well, it is, isn’t it?

 

8.

Any last words, dear mistress?

 

Oy, this sounds like a call for my obit. Well, then I write because I must—can’t think of anything I’d rather do. The people I create have become friends… well, most of them, and I can only hope those who read their stories like them as much as I.

 

Thanks, doll. Let’s dive in to VOICES IN MY HEAD.

 

Voices In My Head CoverIn The Magic of Murder, Susan Lynn Solomon let readers laugh at the antics of an albino cat and a witch. Now, in nine short tales she takes a serious look at relationships and their impact on characters who confront their pasts.

A young soldier returns, changed by his war. A young British girl faces the people of her town after parental abuse. An older man who as a teenager fled his hometown, returns when his childhood girlfriend begs a favor. A radical of the ’70s leaves the cemetery after her mother’s funeral, searching for where her life will lead.

In these stories and five others, Solomon explores the persistence of memory and the promise of hope.

 

 

Praise

 

Susan Lynn Solomon is a writer’s writer.

Suzy, as she is known to her friends, is a person driven by an inescapable need to tell stories. She can no more give up imagining characters and circumstances than she can give up air or food. She writes at a furious rate, producing novels and stories that captivate and delight. Her imagination is what sustains her, and we, her readers, are the better for her obsession.

Like all gifted writers, Susan is a universalist, unburdened by the curse of being able to tell only one kind of story. She gets an idea, then decides upon the best way to discharge that idea, the best characters, the best settings, and the best narrative voice to attain maximum effect. If reading is a way to slip into other times and places and faces from the relative comfort of an armchair, she is a devilishly clever tour guide who can take you to surprising places and surprising connections. In the nine tales in this book, she dazzles us with journeys into the unexpected and its impact on people we feel we already know.

War? In Mystery of the Carousel, she explores the link between a veteran of the Great War and the carousel on which, as a child, he imagined great battles. Incest? Where better to explore its devastations than early 19th Century England in Maggie’s End? Magic? Witches Gumbo takes us to Bayou LaFit and a powerful comeuppance. Mystery? Try The Holmes Society for a new take on amateur sleuthing. Death? Kaddish shows the unavoidable bond between death and identity.

In these and the other stories that comprise the voices in her head, Susan Lynn Solomon opens our minds, and the rhythm of our lives, to the voices in her heart. Enjoy.

 

Gary Earl Ross

Professor Emeritus, University at Buffalo

Author of Nickel City Blues and The Mark of Cain

 

Excerpt:

The 9th life in Crisis: Kaddish

 

Pellets of snow stung my cheeks. I bent into the January wind, and reached for my brother’s arm. He glanced at me from the corner of his eye. For a moment I thought he might brush my hand from his sleeve.

“It was nice,” I said.

Linda, his wife of three years, leaned across him. “What was?”

“What the Rabbi said about Mom.” My chest tingled as I recalled the eulogy. “The only time she made her family cry was when she died—that was nice, wasn’t it, Robby?”

“Robert,” my brother corrected me in a voice as stiff as his shoulders. He stroked his moustache, then flicked snowflakes from his black hair, so flecked with gray it belied his age. Next month he would be forty-three.

“It was nice,” Linda said. She pulled her knit hat so low over her ears she nearly knocked the glasses from her small nose.

“I suppose,” Robert said. “But, he didn’t know her.” He drew his coat tight around his broad frame. “For a few bucks, he probably says the same thing about everyone.”

“I wish Phil were here,” I said. “He knew Mom.” Rabbi Bentley and his wife, Deborah, were old friends.

Robert shrugged. Who officiated at our mother’s funeral made little difference to him. It wasn’t that he didn’t love Mom—he and Linda had cared for her, seen to her every need during the nine months cancer gnawed at her lungs. But, for my brother, this rite—anything to do with religion—was merely to be endured.

“At least the guy kept it short.” He shook my hand from his arm, and wound his scarf around his neck.

Linda frowned at him. “Did you remember to ask the rabbi to come over and lead the prayer tonight?”

“Did you?” I said.

His eyes straight ahead, Robert’s lips tightened. It was as though I’d accused him of a breach of etiquette.

We were walking along the narrow road cutting through the heart of the old cemetery. To the left and right paths bent off, curled around a city of mausoleums, and ran through arches erected by burial societies named for the shtetls—the villages in Eastern Europe—in which our grandparents had been born. Beyond the arches were tall headstones which in the spring would be adorned by neat flower beds.

At the end of the road we passed through an iron gate, and into the chapel’s parking lot. I waved goodbye to my two surviving aunts and the cousins who’d braved the snow, and dropped my eyes when I received no more than half-hearted nods in return. This was the price of being the family outcast.

With a sigh, I pulled a set of keys from my purse. As I unlocked the door of my car, I called to my brother, “Is there anything we need? I can stop at the market on the way.”

We would sit shiva at Robert’s house, and I suspected he might not have bought enough food and drink for the relatives and friends who would stop by in the next seven days to share memories of our mother. Hosting this ritual wasn’t my brother’s choice: our father had passed away two years ago, so the obligation for shiva and gathering with a minion of nine other men to say Kaddish—the Jewish prayer for the dead—was wrapped as tight as the scarf around his neck. He was the only son.

“We’ve got plenty,” Linda said.

“And people always bring food,” Robert added, then muttered, “As if I can’t afford to feed them.”

Linda smacked his arm.

“Okay, then,” I said, “I’ll just stop at home to get what I baked.”

They didn’t hear me. My brother’s car was already exiting the lot.

 

***

The large colonial house in Roslyn Heights was by no means a mansion. Still, it announced to passersby a successful man dwelt within. My brother had become what my parents wished for their children. I, on the other hand, had been unable to do something as simple as make a marriage work.

What might have been a full stadium parking lot greeted me when I turned onto Robert’s street. Even his circular drive was jammed. A quick glance informed me my eight-year-old Saturn wouldn’t fit into the only small space, so I parked around the corner. Balancing two trays of noodle pudding—when I was a child, Mom had taught me Grandma’s kugel recipe—and fighting a wind that tried to rip off my coat, I made my way down the block. When I opened the front door, it seemed as though I’d walked into a cocktail party.

I saw no torn lapels, no covered mirrors or crates to sit on. I heard no soft-spoken remembrances of a woman’s life well-lived. Instead, laughter pealed from the large square living room, dining room, down the hall and up the stairs. Bottles clinked on glasses. Someone was playing the piano. My brother had made this an Irish wake.

Robert circled the corner from his den. He’d changed from his suit into a tan corduroy jacket, jeans, and oxblood penny loafers. His cheeks were red—they would get that way after only two drinks. He glanced at the trays in my hand. He glanced at my old wool overcoat. Speaking to the glass of tequila in his hand, he said, “Glad you could make it, big sister.” He didn’t reach out to take the trays I held.

Had I the desire, or at the moment the strength to point out his ill manners, he would have claimed he was being ironic. My brother had difficulty differentiating irony from sarcasm. He hadn’t always been this way. It’s just that he had little tolerance for failure, and a failure was how he viewed me since my divorce.

Mom had also thought me a failure—with good reason, I supposed. “You and Ron can work it out,” she’d told me the day I showed up at her house, suitcase in hand. “Your father and I always worked things out,” she’d told me each time I visited her at Robert’s house during her illness. Tied to a marriage which had gone sour, I had an affair, and moved out. The judge gave my ex custody of our daughter. Mom was again terribly disappointed in me, embarrassed in front of her friends. It had never been different: I’d been a hippy in college, a rebel, a nomadic wild-child disappearing who knew where, sleeping with who knew whom, and getting arrested in Birmingham and in Chicago. “No wonder you can’t get along with your husband,” she’d told me.

I’d lost my temper then. “Guess people are right when they talk about the apple and the tree,” I’d snapped. “After all, you named me for Dad’s great-aunt, and she got burned by the Tsar’s army for causing trouble.”

Unlike my brother, I recognized sarcasm when it bounced out of my mouth. I’d heard Mom crying when I stormed out my brother’s house a few weeks before she died. Though he never said it, I’m sure Robert blamed me for our mother’s death—he believed I was the reason she refused treatment which might extend her life by maybe a year.

Nights I sat alone in my apartment, I blamed me, too.

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Susan Lynn Solomon PhotoFormerly a Manhattan entertainment attorney and a contributing editor to the quarterly art magazine SunStorm Fine Art, Susan Lynn Solomon now lives in Niagara Falls, New York, where she is in charge of legal and financial affairs for a management consulting firm.

After moving to Niagara Falls she became a member of Just Buffalo Literary Center’s Writers Critique Group, and since 2009 many of number of her short stories have appeared in literary journals, including, Abigail Bender (awarded an Honorable Mention in a Writer’s Journal short romance competition), Ginger Man, The Memory Tree, Elvira, Going Home, Yesterday’s Wings, and Sabbath (nominated for 2013 Best of the Net by the editor of Prick of the Spindle).

Her latest short stories are Reunion, about an individual who must face family after undergoing a transgender operation, appeared in a recent issue of Flash Fiction Press, Captive Soul, which was included in Solstice Publishing’s Halloween anthology, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, Volume 1, and Niagara Falling, about a man returning to his hometown, which was written for the Solstice Publishing anthology, Adventures in Love.

Susan Lynn Solomon’s Solstice Publishing novel, The Magic of Murder, is available at Amazon.com, and Bella Vita, a short story written for Solstice Publishing’s Summer solstice anthology, continued the adventures for the characters from this novel.

Now, a collection of her short stories, Voices In My Head, has been published by Solstice and is available in both Kindle and paperback editions on Amazon.

 

Links:

 

https://youtu.be/_58_goH7sU0

http://www.susanlynnsolomon.com

https://www.amazon.com/Voices-Head-Susan-Lynn-Solomon-ebook/dp/B01FURPIZE/ref=sr_1_1?s=dig ital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1463655784&sr=1-1&keywords=voices+in+my+head+susan+l ynn+solomon

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01FURPIZE

http://www.facebook.com/susanlynnsolomon

https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-solomon-8183b129

 

Thank you, Susan, for your enthusiasm and artistry. You are my Wicca ‘go to’ person!

— ABF

 

 

HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND ONE AND ALL! The Blog returns Tuesday, September 6th with special guest Raymond Chilensky, whose topical F.I.R.E. Team Alpha series will surprise and scare while making you think…

 

 

 

 

MEET DEBUT AUTHOR KAREN MILLIE-JAMES

 

KAREN MILLIE-JAMES grew up in north-west London and now lives in the Buckinghamshire countryside with her husband, daughter and their three dogs.  Karen founded her international business consultancy practice in 1993 and is widely recognised as an expert in the corporate field, sitting on many boards of directors around the globe in an advisory capacity.

THE SHADOWS BEHIND HER SMILE is Karen’s first novel.

The sequel, Where in the Dark, which continues the story of Cydney Granger,

will be available worldwide later in 2016.

Find out more at www. karenmilliejames.com

 

Blurb

41zejsiXpiL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_As soon as corporate forensic specialist, Cydney Granger, hears the crunch of tyres on her driveway, she knows they’ve come to report her husband is dead. After all, Captain Steve Granger had barely left for Afghanistan when she’d had the first of those terrible premonitions.

Although Cydney is a psychic medium, she’s disturbed by her inability to connect with Steve. But when she’s contacted by recently deceased Ray Gordon, he agrees to help her, on one condition – can she put a stop to his brother’s greed and corruption and ensure Ray’s family get the inheritance they deserve?

Sean O’Connell, Steve’s former sergeant, had promised he would always protect Cydney and the children in the event of Steve’s death. However, during Cydney’s investigations into the scrupulous activities of two high-powered businessmen, and when George Edwards appears on the scene intent on pursuing her, Sean finds himself out of his depth.

From the heart of Cydney’s corporate world in London to the ruins of war-torn Damascus, men will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. Faced with secrets, fraud, attempted murder, and blackmail, can Cydney come out of this unscathed? And, after four years, is she ready to let Steve go?

A brilliant plot that combines the heat of the business world with the secrecy of the Special Forces.

In a genre of its own encompassing crime and mystery, this unique thriller is impossible to put down.

 

 

 

A LITTLE Q & A

 

IMG_1833If this were a Twitter pitch party, you would squeeze your tag line into a 140 characters. Would you like to try?

Transported from the boardroom to war-torn Damascus, the suspense erupts with a background of romance and a hint of the paranormal

 

Who are your main characters?

Cydney Granger – a strong, self-assured businesswoman with a hidden side.

Sean O’Connell – ex Special Forces who always gets to the truth

George Edwards – lawyer with a background he never wants to reveal

Rupert Van der Hausen – South African industrialist, whose fortune continues growing despite the circumstances

Steve Granger – Captain in the Special Forces.  A born leader of men. Killed on a secret mission – but his body was never found.

Craig Benton and Robert Crossley – accumulated their wealth through insider dealing and corruption

Ray Gordon  – in spirit, desperate to stop his brother, Charles, from defrauding his wife.

 

Tell me about the title. Are there any hidden subtexts we should know about?

Cydney has everything to the outside world but her feelings are kept firmly under wraps and nobody is allowed in especially as a result of her father dying in her childhood, and losing her husband, Steve.  Can she release those shadows and learn to love again with George.

 

How many books do you have planned?

The sequel, Where in The Dark, will be released towards the end of 2016.  There will possibly be a third book in the series.  I doubt I can let Cydney go now.

 

Tell me about your home base. Country or city?

I now live in the Buckinghamshire countryside in a cottage built in the 1890’s which has been extended and modernised.  We love the outdoor life with our three dogs.

 

Are you a fan of self-promotion? What is your weapon of choice? (I love Twitter)

I love the interaction and groups on Facebook.  I am still learning about Twitter but the social media scene helps you meet so many new people.

 

If eyes are the windows to the soul, the telly is the window to writing prompts. What are you watching on the telly these days?

I love period dramas and have just finished watching War and Peace.

 

Share your method with us.

I have no actual method.  I sit down and the story flows.  After a few chapters I read through, maybe change things around, then carry on writing.  I think through the characterisation and how the various people would react to circumstances, normally in the early hours of the morning when I can’t sleep, or when I’m driving.  Sometimes I would think of an amazing sentence or description and have to write it down to use when the occasion arises.

 

All writing and no play makes the writer suffer. What do you do in your spare time (other than work the day job)?

Believe it or not, I read.  I always have done from an early age, especially the classics.  I go to the theatre and love musicals.  I dance, particularly Ceroc and jive, and play tennis or table tennis.

 

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Sherbet strawberries!

 

What are you doing right now this minute?

Watching Would I Lie to You on TV.  So funny and makes me laugh out loud.

 

What’s next?

Continue my writing.  Possible radio and TV interviews promoting my background in business, which are in the pipeline.

 

 

Excerpt

As Ray left her, albeit reluctantly, his body melting out of the taxi, Cydney’s skin returned to normal. She was now alone and the thoughts of the man faded to be replaced by the nose-to-tail traffic as the taxi driver turned south off the Marylebone Road and into Park Crescent, a beautiful area of London with elegant stuccoed terraced houses forming a semi-circle, which linked to Regents Park opposite. As they moved between the two halves of the crescent, Cydney looked into the private garden and saw between the railings the seven feet high statue of Queen Victoria’s father, Prince Edward, wearing his field marshall uniform. Driving through brought pictures to her mind of old English gentry and41zejsiXpiL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_ peers of the realm visiting in their private carriages.

Turning her attention to the day ahead, Cydney took the opportunity to read through her papers once again. It was important nothing should go wrong and that the client maintained his faith in her. However, thoughts of Ray wouldn’t leave her. She took out her mobile and dialled her assistant.

“Granger Associates – Jennifer Vere-Nicholson speaking.”

Cydney never tired of hearing the sound of the phone answered so professionally by the staff of her own company. Jenny was her right-hand woman and had started work the day she and Steve had established the company. She had built up her own client base and always explained that she was learning from the master. Her father had been knighted several years ago for his contribution to industry and Cydney liked the fact she had such a good pedigree. Jenny was in her mid-twenties and had joined the company straight from university where she’d read law and criminology, deciding she didn’t want to go into law itself but work in commerce. Cydney had taught her the business world she’d come to know and love and now she completely relied on her; she was worth her weight in gold. With no time for small talk she got straight to the point.

“I’m on the way to the meeting but I want you to do a complete check on a company for me called Rayshel Plastics. Get Richard to help you. I want everything by the time I come into the office tomorrow morning.”

“Not much notice then…”

“This is important – full report, records, accounts, criminal stuff.”

Cydney rang off. She knew they could trust Richard. Even though retired from CID he still had an ‘in’ to the powers that be. Now she could sit back and relax a bit whilst they did their work.

 

THE SHADOWS BEHIND HER SMILE is Karen’s first novel. Where in the Dark, which continues the story of Cydney Granger, will be available worldwide later in 2016.

Links – Multi-Media:

Find out more about Karen at:

Website: www.karenmilliejames.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KMillieJames

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Karen-Millie-James-1672621729620381/

Linkedin: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/karen-millie-james-098a911

 

Buy Links:

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Shadows-Behind-Her-Smile-ebook/dp/B01BQ9OY3C

USA: http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Behind-Her-Smile-ebook/dp/B01BQ9OY3C

www.kingoftheroadpublishing.com

 

CELEBRATING SUPERBOWL 50 WITH AUTHOR PALESSA AND TOBEY FINE

tobey fine FULL cover LOGO

I don’t know about you, but mixing football with a lot of intrigue is a WIN WIN 10 times out of 10. Check out this excerpt from SACKED & TACKLED by Palessa. Then click the link and read some more…Oh, and it’s pretty HOT too.

 

Excerpt:

One of the dishes slipped from Niveah and Tobey swiftly caught it.

“Great reflexes. I’m going to have to add you to my Fantasy lineup.”

Tobey stopped short. “Add me?”

He turned to her, his hands dripping. Niveah stifled a smile as she remembered how sensitive he was about the subject. She backed up slowly, and he followed. “Um, well, look at the time.” She looked at her wrist and realized she didn’t wear a watch. “I think I had better be going.”

Just as she turned and was about to bolt, she felt wet hands grab her shirt and pull her back.

“Tobey Fine, you’re getting me all wet.”

Tobey groaned, his breath warm against her ear. “God, I hope so.” He kissed the sensual line of her neck as she felt him fist her shirt. Niveah rubbed her hand over his forearm, giving him more access to her neck. Her nipples puckered against the inside of her bra.

“Niveah,” his voice was low and gruff, “I can’t fight this anymore.” He kissed her slowly as his hands moved across her abdomen, pressing her back closer to him. “If you want me to stop, tell me.”

She turned in his arms and hooked her arms around his neck. His brown eyes sparkled as they pleaded with her to tell him what he wanted to hear. She could feel his hands urgently caressing her back.

“Don’t stop,” she moaned…

 

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?

 

GET MORE FOR FREE FEBRUARY 9 THRU 11 RIGHT HERE: http://amzn.to/1naewVr

Giveaway: Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire by Rachael Stapleton

Welcome back! Author Rachael Stapleton has been busy working on the next instalment in theTemple of Indra Series while at the same time promoting Book 2: Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire. It’s my great honor to shine a light on her newest offer: A Free Kindle copy available from June 15-19. Read on…

CURSE BANNER 

 

Looking for a great FREE mystery? June 15th -19th

Grab your copy of Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire Now. Free for Kindle. #mystery #timetravel #romance #freebooks

 

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire

The Temple of Indra MYSTERY Series

By Rachael Stapleton

Genre: Mystery, Adventure, Time Travel Romance

Publisher: Solstice Publishing

Date of Publication: February 3rd, 2015

ASIN: B00SNAF018

Print Length: 215 pages

Word Count: 66, 400

Cover Artist: Rebecca Boyd

Book Description:

Sophia Marcil hasn’t escaped her destiny or the mad-man hunting her but she’s doing her best to evade both and making a life in Ireland with Cullen—the one person she can count on to pull her out of deep water. There’s just one problem, despite his connection, she hasn’t told him the truth of her time travel and her reality comes crashing down as he proposes with the very sapphire that’s cursed her. Before she knows it, she’s wandering the hallway of an old Victorian house in the body of her great aunt. Unfortunately, her nemesis has also reincarnated in 1920—as one of her family members and she struggles to locate the Purple Delhi Sapphire in time to prevent the deaths of those she loves. When she fails and returns to her present-day life, she’s forced to confront the fact that her killer’s soul will always be tied to the sapphire and in every life she has, he will be resurrected as someone close to her. Her biggest question—who is he now? She doesn’t have to wonder for very long before she finds evidence that has her questioning everything she thought she knew.

Available at    Amazon   BN   CHAPTERS

Excerpt:

Chapter One

Dublin, Ireland

Today I would tell Cullen the truth. I swirled the champagne in my glass in an agitated fashion. I would not allow myself to be distracted. I looked down in early defeat and noticed the dark limp waves cascading past my shoulders. Who was I kidding? I couldn’t even get ready for a dinner party without being distracted. All that work curling it, and then Cullen had walked in, glimpsing my lacy black bra, and poof, my hair was flat again. Twirling a strand around my index finger, I attempted to bring it back to life. If only the jewels could work their magic on my hair.

I spotted Cullen a couple of feet away, making his way over to me. He looked handsome in his sport jacket and tailored shirt. His hair, a coppery red with streaks of blond that looked almost golden in the sunlight, was slicked back so the ends curled at his neck.

I should be over-the-moon happy right now. I was sipping Dom Pérignon in an elegant restaurant surrounded by rustic stone walls, as a soft and whimsical Irish fiddle played in the background in honor of our one-year anniversary. It wasn’t technically our anniversary. He had playfully called it that when he’d invited me out to dinner with his family, but what he’d meant was that it had been one year since we’d met. Since that ill-fated day on the Lerins Island, half a mile off shore from Cannes, when I’d rejected the marriage proposal of that egotistical lunatic Nicholas Bexx and endured his wrath. Lucky for me, Cullen had been looking up from the deck of his family’s yacht and had seen Nick push me off the cliff. Cullen dove in and pulled me to safety, and subsequently into his life.

It was hard to believe that in a full year I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the truth: that the fall had sent me to another time and place and into the body of a nineteenth-century princess. But what sane person would believe what had been only seconds underwater to them had been another lifetime to me? I was the owner of the Purple Delhi Sapphire. I had time traveled into my past life and uncovered my destiny—had done so repeatedly—and was always reborn, only to be murdered by the same obsessed spirit, again and again.

“Sophia, ye all right?” Cullen asked, appearing suddenly at my elbow.

“No,” I said automatically and pushed away the bothersome thoughts.

“Gah. It’s the restaurant. It’s too fancy, isn’t it? I said so, but ye know Móraí.”

“What? I love this place.” The room buzzed with mixed conversation. “I just didn’t hear what you said.”

“Where the tongue slips, it speaks the truth. I asked if ye were all right and ye said no.”

“I’m fine. I’m just soaking in the atmosphere. It’s so romantic in here.”

That was the truth. The place was intimate. A combination of comfortable leather and floral high-backed chairs surrounded the long table, and almost all of them were now full with Cullen’s family.

“It is getting loud in here. I thought this was just dinner, but it looks like you rented out the whole restaurant. Will this place hold your entire family?”

“Like that’d matter. Loud-mouthed arses. Let’s skedaddle and we can celebrate alone.”

I laughed as Cullen pretended to boot one of his cousins in the rear.

His eyes met mine, and it was just like that first day in the hospital after I’d awoken from the fall. There was no denying the attraction and it wasn’t just pheromones. It was as if my soul recognized his, which was exactly why I needed to be honest about the curse. I was giving myself an ulcer and all for what? I knew he felt the same way. For heaven’s sake, I’d overheard him tell his brother of his dreams, and they sounded suspiciously familiar. There were other clues. He shared a birthmark with Graf Viktor Ferdinand of Württemberg, who’d rescued me on three separate occasions when I was the princess, and of course his ancestor had been the one to sell the Purple Delhi Sapphire to my family.

Cullen bent his head toward me, his lips brushing mine, but at the last moment I turned my cheek.

“Cullen, your grandmother has arrived with your parents and she’s staring at us. It’s probably this dress.”

“Well now, she can be after findin’ her own frock, can’t she? ’Cause ye look bloody deadly in that one.”

He playfully tugged at the clasp centered between my breasts. He’d been the one to choose this low-slung, emerald-green dress. He said it reminded him of a shamrock, but I knew he really liked it because it provided a pretty little peek-a-boo if I moved just the right way. Truthfully, it was a little racy for this evening, but you only lived once. Well, maybe some people did.

His mother, Lucille, rushed across the polished wooden floor, playfully elbowing him out of the way in order to hug me.

“Ye best be behavin’ yerself, boy.”

She was a fine-boned woman with beautiful brown eyes and curly auburn hair. When they stood side by side it was easy to see he took after her with his ruddy locks, and lucky for him because she had great genes. His father—orDa, as they called him—wasn’t too bad himself. He had a charisma that both his sons carried.

“Sophia…”

My name was said in a strange, low whisper, and for a moment I froze as hands fell on my shoulders.

“Look at ye, lass.”

I smiled and turned to see Cullen’s brother with his dark, whiskey-colored eyes and raven’s-wing hair. A touch of gray at the temples made him look dignified. “Liam, I’m so glad to see you.” I hugged him back. He lived fairly close and was over for dinner at least twice a week.

“Aren’t ye a fine bit of stuff! For the life of me, I can’t be figurin’ why ye’re still with that gobdaw brother of mine.”

“Did ye hear that, Cullen?” One of the cousins, Ewan, called out. “Liam’s after ye’re wan.”

“Go ’way from her ye bloody jealous maggot, always after me scooter growin’ up too,” Cullen called back.

“Oh, here we go,” I said, preparing myself for their playful banter, most of which was lost on me.

Liam drew me in for a kiss on the cheek and lowered his voice, practically whispering into my ear. “I saw ye first.”

I smiled at the harmless peck. They were always teasing, although I couldn’t help but think sometimes Liam took it too far, especially for a priest. He let go and looked back at Cullen, who finished hugging his aunt on the other side of the table and strutted toward us.

“Hold tight. I’m on my way to rescue ye, luv.”

“No rescue necessary,” Liam said, grinning. “I’m a man of the cloth.”

“Bit of a holy joe is more like it,” Cullen slung back.

Ewan, the youngest of the three, jumped to his feet and pretended to step between them. Both Cullen and Liam gave their cousin a friendly shove, then gave each other a loving pat on the back as they hugged.

Cullen turned to me. “Ye sure ye’re all right, luv?”

“I’m perfect,” I said, finally beginning to relax. I’d made up my mind. I was going to tell him tonight, come hell or high water.

“Brilliant.” He kissed my forehead, his lips soft and warm on my skin. “I’ll miss ye next week. Ye gonna keep busy?” He fiddled nervously with his jacket pocket. It wasn’t like Cullen to fiddle; I gave his hand a squeeze. He was traveling to London tomorrow on business. He would only be gone four days, but he was never home long before he had to jet off again.

“I thought maybe I’d go to that fundraiser—see if one of your cousins wanted to tag along—and of course the bridal shower is the next day.” Maybe that was why he was so jittery. He knew I didn’t like being without him, and he’d mentioned once or twice the guilt he felt over leaving.

Someone clinked their fork off a glass and the musical tinkling made me look up.

“O’Kelley Clan, can I get yer attention up here for a moment?” Da called.

A champagne bottle opened with a satisfying pop.

“If ye haven’t noticed already, there’s a bit of the bubbly being passed about, so set aside the whiskey and grab one.”

The table quieted and we took our seats.

“I’d like to propose a toast to the lovely lass sitting at Cullen’s side.” Da raised his glass, and all eyes turned to me.

“Here here,” Cullen said. “To my Sophia.”

My glass clinked against his. “What’s going on?” I whispered.

He’d switched out my glass as the tray went by and now gave me his best I-have-no-idea look, extending an arm around my shoulders and pulling me in tight.

“T’was a year ago today she fell into our lives from Sainte Marguerite Island—or perhaps it was the sky, ’cause surely that one there’s an angel.”

“Quit stealin’ his lines, John,” Lucille chided smartly before he could go on.

The room roared with laughter.

“Aw sure look it. I did, didn’t I? Sorry, Son. Well then here’s another stolen line while I’m at it: to women’s kisses, and to whiskey, amber clear. Not as sweet as a woman’s kiss, but a darn sight more sincere! Anyway, Cullen, don’t run away now.”

“Yea, thanks, Da!”

The laughter faded as Cullen pushed his chair back and stood, pulling me gently to stand with him.

“Not sure how to follow that up, but how about: to passionate people, beautiful futures, and lovely lasses who fall from the heavens,” he said, knocking glasses with me. Clinks echoed all around, and I smiled as he set his flute down.

Then he lowered to one knee.

He grinned up at me—so charming and gorgeous. His green eyes, as always, were mesmerizing. They had flecks of gold in them that clung to the edges and danced in the center, like they were on fire. My heart beat so loudly in my ears that it almost drowned out the “awws” and “oohs.”

“Ye’re already mine, lass, in every way possible and I am yers, but I want the world to know,” he said, taking my free hand. Someone took the glass of champagne from the other one, as I was shaking so badly. The black velvet box squeaked open, and his aunts gasped in unison, as if on cue.

“Will ye make me the happiest man in Ireland, Aevil, and join our O’Kelley Clan?” He kissed my fingers as I stared down at him.

The marble-sized rock in the box swirled, and doubled in front of my eyes. Deep purple amethyst with a thin frame of diamonds, set in pink gold and accentuated with a slender shank and crescent details.

I looked past the ring, into his eyes, and found him still staring directly at me. He’d removed the ring from the box and was holding it out, ready to place it on my finger.

He cleared his throat. “It was my great-great-great-grandmother’s and I thought ye might appreciate it, since ye were so intrigued with her portrait.”

I nodded, trying to smile through the confusion, but my head swam with random bursts of chatter, the fiddle, and all the thoughts flooding me at once, mostly that Cullen had just proposed to me with the missing Purple Delhi Sapphire ring. A bead of sweat ran down the side of my cheek as the ring touched the tip of my finger.

Cullen’s face began to distort. A shimmery haze had fallen over the room as if the desert were closing in. The vibration from the ring traveled up my arm, and the room began to shift and blur at the edges. Another room, a darker room, was coming into focus. I could still hear Cullen’s aunt ordering someone to get me a glass of water.

There was something I should remember. Water. Rochus said water was necessary to ease the pain of time travel. Maybe this was what it felt like without. I tried to blink away the heat, tried to stop myself from going, but I couldn’t. The edges of the room were burning away fast now, like a Polaroid scorched by flames. I could hear the trickling of the fountain in the corner. I ran for it, or at least I intended to, but it was too late.

 

Reviews:

“Ms. Stapleton’s, The Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, is extraordinary! She brings us the story of Sophia Marcil, a quiet librarian, who has found love in this life but is haunted by and trying to break the trail of destruction and death that has haunted her through many lives. If you want a great mystery, enjoy the idea of time travel and/or like a wonderful romance – do not hesitate to delve into this one.” — Book Me Mel Paranormal Romance and Authors that Rock

 

“Plenty of twists, a sprinkle of humor and a whodunit with a surprising ending, Curse reminds me of great old story telling, but with a fresh and vital voice.” —Author A.B. Funkhauser

“Just barely surfacing from her dangerous travel into the 1800’s…Sophia has become part of a lethal adventure in the 1920’s. She is haunted by the same curse—the never-broken, deadly hunt for the possession of the Purple Delhi Sapphire, which has been plaguing her lifetimes over…Rachael writes in a way that is intriguing enough to keep the pages turning. Each scene segues into the next with new information, new conflicts, new prospects, new possibilities, new theories, and new revelations…In Rachael’s storytelling, there is never a dull moment. Her imagination is one of her greatest strengths as a writer.” —Lacey Crowe Best Book Reviews and Edits

 

“Twists, turns, great characters, and time travel … what’s not to love! This was a fantastic read! Can’t wait for book 3!” —Author Marissa Campbell

 

Book One Trailer: http://goo.gl/6vtX2r

Book Two Trailer: http://youtu.be/VCeG9eA09Fg

 

About the Author: Rachel Stapleton lives in a Second Empire Victorian with her husband and two children in Ontario, Canada and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers. She is the author of The Temple of Indra’s Jewel, Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire and is currently working on the third and most likely final book in the Temple of Indra series.

Website: www.RachaelStapleton.com

Blog: http://RachaelStapleton.blogspot.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Rachael-Stapleton/137831156290570

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaquelleJaxson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7271862.Rachael_Stapleton

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rachael-Stapleton/e/B00IE9W804

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RachaelStapleton/posts

Buy Links:

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire Paperback

Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire Kindle

The Temple of Indra’s Jewel Paperback

The Temple of Indra’s Jewel Kindle