Category Archives: Authors

Burrowed by Maressa Mortimer #BURROWED

Burrowed is Maressa Mortimer’s latest novel.
Maressa

BLURB

The beautiful island of Ximiu has a plan for a more sustainable future. But not everyone living on the island is on board. Jasira, daughter of the governing matriarch, is determined to uncover the dark forces threatening her home. With the help of her friends, she embarks on a desperate bid to save her island community. When the price is higher than she had bargained for, will Jasira still find faith and beauty in the world around her?

Maressa

EXCERPT

Prologue

A good mystery was what she needed. And someone to admire her detecting skills. Jasira walked down the path from the ferry office to the harbour wall, her short brown hair glinting blonde in the sunshine. She stared out across the long channel leading to open water. So many exciting changes coming to Ximiu, but she would have to experience them without her best friend. Her dream of becoming a detective seemed to have left with Xandra. After all, every self-respecting detective needed a sidekick.

The sun was too bright for Jasira to see the open sea, but her mind had no problem following the route to the Mainland. She could just make out the small dark shape of the ferry, taking her letter to Xandra.

She leaned over the dark brown blocks making up the harbour wall. Jasira closed her eyes for a moment, feeling the slightly salty breeze on her tanned face, rough stone under her fingers and sighed. She let her eyes wander along the rugged coastline, the hills a green speckled yellow after the hot weeks of summer. Dry. Just like her soul at the moment, she thought. The poetic thought reminded her of Ilori. His mother was the Vice-Xibai and as the Xibai’s daughter, Jasira ended up spending a lot of time with Ilori. If only there was something to work on and practise her detecting abilities.

Jasira looked at the sun. It was time; she’d better go home. She drew herself up, hoping a heroic stance would give her energy to face the changes coming to her island. Jasira spun round, her trainer foot pushing off from the low harbour wall, turning her back to the water. She was in too much of a hurry to notice movement in the shadowy cliff face. Even as she walked, frowning, back to the city, the pale figure watching the ferry launch was too well hidden to catch her eye.

HOW TO BUY

https://www.amazon.co.uk

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Maressa

Maressa grew up in the Netherlands and moved to England soon after finishing teaching training college. Married to Pastor Richard Mortimer they live in a Cotswold village with their four children. She is a homeschool mum, enjoying the time spent with family, travelling, reading and turning life into stories, she wants to use her stories to show practical Christians living in a fallen world.

WEBSITE LINK

vicarioushome.com

Marsali Taylor brings you A Shetland Winter Mystery #ASHETLANDWINTERMYSTERY

Marsali Taylor

The Shetland Islands are the backdrop for another murder mystery by Marsali Taylor.

Marsali Taylor

Blurb

It’s the dark nights in the run up to Christmas, and sailing sleuth Cass Lynch’s first night on dry land is disturbed by strange noises outside her isolated cottage. Tiny footprints in the moonlit snow trail from her front door before mysteriously disappearing. Soon Cass learns others were visited by the same tiny feet in the night.

It looks like ingenious local teenagers playing tricks – but what happens when festive games turn deadly?

Cass soon finds out as a schoolboy disappears, leaving only a trail of footprints into the middle of a snowy field. She’s determined to investigate, but uncovering the truth will also put her in danger . . .

Chapter One Extract One

trow: The trows were Shetland’s “little people”, who lived in mounds in the hill, and could only come out after dark. They liked bright colours, feasting and music (there are tales of human fiddlers being kidnapped underground for a trowie wedding), and were known for working mischief about the croft; sometimes their actions were more sinister, like substitut- ing a baby of their own for a human child (Old Norse, troll)
There was the sound of children giggling, stifled quickly as if they were up to mischief; a group of trainees planning some devilment. Kitten growled and jumped down from the bed. Whoever was on watch would deal with it, I thought, hunch- ing into the bedcover, and the thought jerked me awake. I wasn’t in my cabin aboard Sørlandet but in Gavin’s cottage in Shetland. Our nearest neighbour was a mile away over the hill, and didn’t have children.
I eased my nose out from under the downie and listened. Cat stirred and sat up. Nothing; silence, that dead silence after snow had fallen. There had been the first few flakes as Gavin had driven me back from the airport, followed by a rattle of haily puckles that had covered the ground in white; a good base for snow to lie on. I tilted my head up to look out of the window. Yes, more had fallen while I’d slept. The low hill of Papa Little was blue-white in the moonlight, and the stars sparked with cold light.
 I reached for my watch and pressed the button to light up the face. Half past eleven. Naturally the youngsters of the ship’s watch would be up at that hour, but I wasn’t on board ship now. All good land children were tucked up in their beds, sleeping peacefully, or illicitly playing on their computers or texting their friends. They weren’t wandering round a cottage miles from anywhere.
I was thoroughly awake now. Sørlandet had spent the last two months exploring the eastern seaboard of the States, and my body-clock was telling me it was six in the evening. I’d had a short nap to refesh me, and now I could get up and party. Beside me, Gavin was curved over on his side, back towards me, his breathing deep and even.
I slid out of bed and padded over to the window. The sliver of crescent moon had gone down, but the clear sky gave a pale light over the snowy hills and stars gleamed in the depths of the coal black water. There was no sign of move- ment anywhere, yet I had this sense of something stirring in the darkness. Kitten looked downwards from the sill, growled again, then trotted downstairs. I heard the clack of the cat flap.
Whatever it was, I supposed I’d better inspect. Maybe the ponies in the field behind the house had broken into the gar- den. I lifted up my bundle of clothes from the chair, and was tiptoeing out of the bedroom when I heard a car start up, way in the distance. I wouldn’t have heard it at all if I hadn’t been awake, if the back skylight hadn’t been open, if it hadn’t been such a still night. I reached the window just as the sound died away, and thought I saw a brief flash of headlights move across the starry sky. The silence closed in again.
I went slowly downstairs, not switching the light on. The ground shifted disconcertingly under me, as if the land had become fluid. It would take a couple of days before my balance adjusted. Freezing lino under my feet, the air icy on my skin.

AMAZON LINK TO BUY

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shetland-Winter-Mystery-Sailing-Mysteries/dp/1472292065/

ABOUT MARSALI

Shetland
Author Marsali Taylor photographed onboard her yacht in Aith Marina, Shetland, Sep 2005

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women’s suffrage in Shetland. She’s also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.

You can follow Marsali at these links:

AUTHOR WEBSITE:www.marsalitaylor.co.uk

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/MarsaliTaylorAuthor

TWITTER: @marsalitaylor

Beyond the Hills by Maressa Mortimer

Beyond the Hills by Maressa Mortimer Blog Tour and Review #BEYONDTHEHILLS @vicarioush.ome

What happens when you go Beyond the Hills?
Beyond the Hills

BLURB

Macia Durus, daughter of the well-known Brutus Durus AMP, works hard to achieve a life of honour and prestige in her beloved Elabi. When a so-called “friend” challenges her priorities, Macia’s confusion threatens her carefully constructed plans. And her decision to investigate a forbidden book could have serious consequences for Macia as well as her family, turning their lives upside down.

Beyond the Hills

MY REVIEW

I had to step out of my comfort zone for Beyond the Hills, since it is a Christian/Dystopian type of book. That being said, the book was well-written and left you thinking. What if? Could you live in a strictly controlled society where emotions are frowned upon and faith of any kind was taboo? In some ways, things aren’t all that different in today’s society.

Written for a target audience of young adults, it’s a good read for any age.

LINK TO BUY BOOK

amazon.co.uk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beyond the Hills
I grew up in the Netherlands and moved to England soon after finishing my teaching training college. Married to Pastor Richard Mortimer we live in a Cotswold village with our four children. I’m a homeschool mum, enjoying the time spent with the family, travelling, reading, and turning life into stories. I want to use my stories to show practical Christian living in a fallen world.

AUTHOR WEBSITE

http://www.vicarioushome.com/

SOCIAL MEDIA LINK

INSTAGRAM/FACEBOOK @vicarioush.ome


Beyond the Hills

 

Harper’s Highland Fling by Lizzie Lamb

It’s publication day for Harper’s Highland Fling, the latest offering from friend and author, Lizzie Lamb.

Harper's Highland Fling

BLURB

After a gruelling academic year head teacher Harper MacDonald is looking forward to a summer holiday trekking in Nepal. Her plans are scuppered when her wayward niece, Ariel, leaves a note announcing she’s running away with a boy called Pen. The only clue to their whereabouts is a scribbled footnote: I’ll Be in Scotland.

Cue a case of mistaken identity when Harper confronts the boy ‘s father – Rocco Penhaligon – accusing him of cradle snatching her niece and ruining her bright future. At loggerheads, Harper and Rocco set off in hot pursuit of the teenagers, but the canny youngsters are always one step ahead.  And, in a neat twist, it is the adults who end up in trouble, not the savvy teenagers.

Can cupid convince Harper and Rocco that they have found their soul mates?

Faster your seatbelt for the road trip of your lifetime –

It’s going to be a bumpy ride

Buy Link

mybook.to/HarpersHighlandFling 

Meet Lizzie

Harper's Highland Fling

Hi, I’m Lizzie and I like writing about ‘that moment’ when the hero and the heroine fall in love. That, and trying to track down that all elusive hero-in-a-kilt, is what gets me in front of the computer every morning. In 2012, I published Tall, Dark and Kilted quickly followed by Boot Camp Bride, Scotch on the Rocks, Girl in the Castle and Take Me, I’m Yours. My sixth novel – Harper’s Highland Fling is now available on Amazon to download as an ebook or to order as a paperback. I hope to start work on number seven – Dark Highland Skies very soon. I belong to the Society of Authors and co-organise the Leicester Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I present workshops on indie publishing, and deliver an annual ‘state of publishing’ lecture to Creative Writing students at De Montfort University, Leicester. Luckily the skills I learned over thirty-four as a teacher haven’t deserted me.

My feel good/uplit novels would be very happy to sit on the bookcase alongside Jilly Cooper, Jenny Colgan, Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews. And, as for writing for Scottish themed romance, it’s given me the chance to celebrate everything I love about my homeland and the opportunity to share those feelings with you.

Slainte Mhath.

Connect with Lizzie

viewAuthor.at/LizzieLamb 

www.facebook.com/LizzieLambwriter

lizzielambwriter@gmail.com

website: www.lizzielamb.co.uk

https://twitter.com/lizzie_lamb

Newsletter – http://tinyurl.com/ELNL-2016

Linked in: uk.linkedin.com/pub/lizzie-lamb/18/194/202/

Goodreads http://tinyurl.com/cbla48d

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

Harper's Highland Fling

 

The Shadow Prince ~ a Mortal Enchantment Novella

shadow prince

 

shadow prince

Blurb

THE SHADOW PRINCE is a prequel novella to the award-winning YA fantasy series Mortal Enchantment. Discover a world of elemental powers, courage, duty, sacrifice, forbidden romance, and a war for the very elements of life.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan is an elemental prince. Banished to the mortal world, he doubts he will ever return to Avalon and claim the fire court throne. Until he receives a challenge from his estranged mother. If he slays Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental princess and heir to the court of air, she will abdicate her throne. Is he capable of completing such a heinous task? And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Perfect for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas.

My Review

I have to admit I was out of my element here with a fantasy novel. I’m more apt to settle in with a police procedural, cozy mystery or a romance. But I’m keen to discover new authors.
The Shadow Prince didn’t disappoint. It was fast-paced and kept me turning the pages. Stacey O’Neale did a fantastic job of creating the setting for the elementals’ world. With a well-placed portal, these elementals can pass through to the land of mortals. Interesting concept.
As I said in the beginning, I was a bit out of my element, but having read this book, I’m anxious to read the entire series.

About Stacey O’Neale

shadow princeAward-winning author, Stacey O’Neale, lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult fantasy and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. You can also visit her blog at staceyoneale.com/.

 

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SHADOW PRINCE

Direct from Australia, please welcome Dr. Bob Rich! #author #giveaway

Hi, Bob. Welcome to Celtic Connexions. I’ve had a nosey around your website and blog to get a better insight into the man who is Bob Rich. You have your fingers in many pies, as they say. Author, psychologist, environmentalist.

Thank you, Melanie, for the honor of having me here. I promise to behave as well as I can, which is usually not very good.

There is something funny about “psychologist.” In Australia, this is a registered term. I would be breaking the law if I referred to myself as a psychologist, even as in “retired psychologist.” Go to jail, go directly to jail, do not collect $200. 🙂  So, I have to be careful and say something like, “Bob Rich has a Ph.D. in psychology and 22 years’ experience in psychological counseling.”

While as Bob Rich I have no Celtic connections at all, I have actually been an Irishman who was transported to New South Wales (what later became Australia) for the term of his natural life. If that sounds odd, you have to read the story of my life, Ascending Spiral.

I met Bob recently, after he left a comment on my blog interview of our mutual (but virtual) friend, Joan Y. Edwards.

What compelled you to start writing? I use that phrase because as writers, we’re driven to do it.

I’ve always been buzzing with ideas, but never knew I was a writer until 1980. I enjoyed distance running, and as the miles passed, I sort of meditated, without thought, but at the same time all sorts of things cooked in the background. In school and university, that’s how I dealt with essays and assignments: read the question, go for a run, have the answer all ready and hardly needing any revision. Often, though, what cooked was some story or monologue or a new way of looking at something. I didn’t share these with anyone — who could possibly be interested in MY ravings — but many years later, these ancient thoughts were the kernels of some of my best stories.

I did scientific research in exactly the same way. I still didn’t know I was a writer, but my reports were actually readable. Then I retired for the first time at 35 years of age, and started building an adobe house, with my own hands, not by hiring Experts. I even invented a new way of making the bricks. One day, the local kids were playing a boys vs. girls soccer game, and needed one more male. They kidnapped me, and who was I to argue? I went, muddy boots and all, slipped, and tore a cartilage in my knee. Let me tell you, this is not a good idea. So, there I was in hospital, with nothing to do. I borrowed the office typewriter (you know, one of those ancient things with wire levers, worked entirely with biological power), and wrote an article about my new way of making adobe bricks for Earth Garden magazine.

I’m still writing for them, 39 years later. My articles resulted in my first book, The Earth Garden Building Book. This came out in 1986. The 4th edition finally went out of print in February 2018. During that time it sold hundreds of thousands of copies. This was because although it was well-researched nonfiction, it was also fun to read.

Then I decided to train as a nurse. This meant staying in a nurses’ home. Being surrounded by gorgeous 18-year-olds, I had the choice of making a fool of myself or of doing something useful with my time. So, I tried my hand at short stories. The first one won second prize in a contest, and I’ve been writing fiction since.

Your books have a spiritual side to them, as in goodness prevails in the end. Can you tell us more about this underlying thread that brings the books and characters to life?

Melanie, that’s an astute observation. It is certainly true of the stories I’ve written this century, but it wasn’t always so. Look, until about 15 years ago, if an insect annoyed me, I killed it. I simply can’t do that anymore. I’ll either put up with them, or catch them and take them outside.

My novel, Ascending Spiral is actually my life story, fictionalized to protect the guilty. The hero, Pip, faces all the life experiences I did, but handles them the way I wish I had at the time. This is a valuable form of therapy, as I describe in my latest book, From Depression to Contentment. Because I had significant past life recalls, Ascending Spiral is the story of several lives as experienced by the same spirit (me/Pip). And I learned a lot of things about myself, including that, as Dermot, an Irishman born in 1780, I became a bully. I have no doubt that being on the receiving end for the first 20-odd years of my life was paying fair restitution. So, from my childhood on, I have always hated bullying victimization, exploitation. As a youngster, my response was to belt up the bully. As I grew, this changed to leading the bully to a better way of being.

So, my early novels, and short stories, and my award-winning biography, Anikó: The stranger who loved me celebrate the ability of the downtrodden in overcoming those with power. I have a collection of 26 short stories with the title Striking Back from Down Under. But my first novel to win a first prize, Sleeper, Awake has no villains. There is plenty of tension and conflict, but no nastiness. And, as you note, the books since have the theme of leading people to spiritual growth. This is true of my two recent novels, Guardian Angel and Hit and Run and also of my self-help book, From Depression to Contentment.

Where do your ideas come from?

To some extent, I’ve already answered this question, but if you have time for a few laughs, you might want to read one of my monthly essays on writing at Bobbing Around. There I introduce you to Little Bob, who lives inside my head, and does the actual work.

I mentioned in my introduction you’re an environmentalist. I’m not talking tree-hugging extreme, but you care about climate change and the effects it’s having on the earth. What have you done to create a ‘carbon-neutral’ or as near to as possible in your home and community?

Melanie, there are only two kinds of humans on this planet: Greenies and Suicides. I am a Professional Grandfather. Every person under about 25 qualifies as my grandchild; they only need to apply. I want a survivable future for them, and a future worth surviving in.

In the 1970s, I joined a recently established rural cooperative. Working for a sustainable future was an explicit part of what we were about. This cooperative is still vigorous. I’m still a member, although too many injuries have forced me and my wife to move closer to shops and doctors and things.

One of my mottoes is “Live simply, so you may simply live.” In 2001, I described how I do that, and why, in a speech, Saving Money — and Saving the Future. It even has a handout on what to do to reduce your personal footprint, and the first item is: get rid of your TV.

My electricity bill shows that my daily consumption is about one-tenth of that of my neighborhood. And of course we have solar on the roof. I am a member of a local group with the aim of making our little town 100% carbon neutral, and also a member of a political party with environmental sustainability as its major aim, the Australian Greens.

The trick is to have philosophy come before a list of recipes for action. This philosophy is, “Only two things matter in life: what you take with you when you die, and what you leave behind in the hearts of others. Everything else is Monopoly money.” Let go of stuff, and you won’t be stuffing up our lovely planet.

As a writer, there is always something percolating in the grey matter, whether it’s for the work-in-progress or ideas for future projects. How do you keep track of them?

Sometimes, I carry an idea around for years before doing something with it. Often, something around me leads to a concept, and I record it in a file, which goes into a folder in my computer. I occasionally inspect these, and one might take off.

Do you have a favourite time of day to write? I’m talking bum in chair and fingers on the keyboard (or pen to paper even).

Paper? PAPER? Not while paper is minced trees. In a sane world, paper would be recycled rags, agricultural waste like straw, or harvestable plants like bamboo.

I think on the keyboard, and my favourite time is whenever the world lets me. Before I retired the last (5th) time, this may have been ten-minute spans between clients, or between getting home and “Dinner is on the table, darling!” Now, life is far freer, and I have more time.

Today, I helped to run a solar energy workshop in the morning, then instead of writing worked on my answers to you, then a nice lady from a newspaper came to interview me about that community I mentioned, and if I wasn’t still answering your questions, I’d be writing.

But then, answering questions from lovely people is just as creative. The current children of my mind can wait.

Of your 18 books to date, do you have a favourite?

I don’t like playing favourites among my children. It is always the last project I’ve finished.

What’s next for Bob Rich?

Since early 2015, I’ve had an on and off and on again project, the Doom Healer series. Four books are complete, and I’ve submitted the first to a publisher. I am working on the 5th and probably final volume. This one is fun. Twelve humans have invaded a planet in another Universe, in order to help this Universe to grow up and become enlightened. Only, this planet, Magog, has 26 billion people of the dominant species, who are genetically cannibals, and where punishment for any crime is to have the victim torture you to death as slowly as possible (then eat you).

My twelve “special children” are doing well. You can read the start of this volume here: The Doom Healer part 5.

And what’s next after writing this is to once more thank you. I welcome comments, and am happy to offer an electronic version of one of my books to one randomly chosen person who comments before [2 weeks after the interview goes online]. You can inspect the list of books at Bob’s Booklist.

Here is one of my standard wishes, to you and our visitors:

May you live in contentment.
May you be healthy.
May you rise to your challenges.
And above all, may you grow spiritually.

About Bob

Bob Rich lives inside his computer. Everything outside of that, including you, is an illusion. This is just as well. In the outside world, there is a lot of suffering, and wars, conflict, terrible stuff. In the reality of his computer, you’ll find the same things, only there are solutions that work, so it’s a much nicer place to be.
Bob has been magically inhabiting his private world for a long time, and has written regular reports, some of which are disguised as short stories, others as novels. You can find out about them, and more about him, at his blog, Bobbing Around.
Naturally, you can’t believe anything he says, because he is a storyteller.
The picture shows Bob leaning against one of his favorite people.
Bob
You can follow Bob at the following links:
Writing showcase http://bobswriting.com
Environmental site  http://mudsmith.net
Newsletter archives with lots of good stuff http://mudsmith.net/bobbing.html

 

Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview. It’s been a pleasure hosting you here, today. Don’t forget the giveaway for your chance to win an electronic copy of one of Bob’s books!

 

 

 

N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ~ December giveaway

N.N. Light's Book Heaven

There’s still time to enter the December Curl up with a Book Giveaway! No better time to fill up that kindle you got for Christmas.

Having a hard time choosing what to read this month? While there’s so many wonderful authors and books available, it’s imperative to have a dependable and responsible place that can help you choose what to read. It’s even better when you get a chance to win free books! Every month, you can win free books from multiple authors hosted by N. N. Light’s Book Heaven. Numerous authors are offering their books in this collaborative group entitled Literary Giveaway Portal.

Literary Giveaway Portal:  https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal

Here’s the list of books up for grabs in this month’s giveaway…

e-copy of Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwan

e-copy of Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

e-copy of Too Good to be True by Livia Quinn

e-copy of Debriefing the Dead (Book 1 of The Dead Series) by Kerry Blaisdell

e-copy of The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin Book 1) by Judith Sterling

e-copy of Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

e-copy of The Queen of Paradise Valley by Cat Dubie

e-copy of The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser

e-copy of Once Broken by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of A Debt to the Devil by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of The Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher (Smashwords voucher)

e-copy of The Colony and The Last City by RM Gilmour

5 e-copy of Angelica by Clabe Polk

2 autographed print copy of Erin’s Gift plus swag generously donated by Nancy Fraser (US/Canada only)

e-copy of Life Sucks After You Die by Crystal-Rain Love

e-copy of Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski

audiobook copy of Rescue Love by Melissa Keir (US/Canada only)

e-copy of To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston (US only)

2 e-copy of Cinderella Busted by Petie McCarty

print copy of Sweet Seduction by Janet Lane Walters (US/Canada only)

autographed print copy of Seventeen Days by Linda Griffin

e-copy of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace by Melanie Robertson-King

e-copy of Dreamtime Sensuality by David Russell

e-copy of Romeo Vs. Juliet (Descendants of Time Book 1) by Laura Hogg (US only)

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

December Book Giveaway from N. N. Light’s Book Heaven

book giveaway

Once again, I’m taking part in N. N. Light’s Book Heaven book giveaway!

Want to find a new writer, learn what novels some of your favorite authors are reading, or find new book reviewer and blogger recommendations? Visit https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/literary-giveaway-portal  to enter this new multi-author giveaway. All genres are included whether it’s novels from debuting authors to award-winning/bestselling authors with multiple books and/or series. The best part — it’s all free for readers to enter, as authors are generously donating copies of their books as well as other prizes each month to help find new fans and build up their reading communities. I’m excited to participate in this month’s giveaway and can’t wait to share with you all that will be offered this month and moving forward. You never know which surprising authors might just show up on the list this year!

Here is a list of the books on offer this month:

e-copy of Tied Up With Strings by Madeline McEwan

e-copy of Three Lessons in Seduction by Sofie Darling

e-copy of Too Good to be True by Livia Quinn

e-copy of Debriefing the Dead (Book 1 of The Dead Series) by Kerry Blaisdell

e-copy of The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin Book 1) by Judith Sterling

e-copy of Arresting Mason by Amber Daulton

e-copy of The Queen of Paradise Valley by Cat Dubie

e-copy of The Mystery of Flight 2222 by Thomas Neviaser

e-copy of Once Broken by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of A Debt to the Devil by D. M. Hamblin

e-copy of The Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher (Smashwords voucher)

e-copy of The Colony and The Last City by RM Gilmour

5 e-copy of Angelica by Clabe Polk

2 autographed print copy of Erin’s Gift plus swag generously donated by Nancy Fraser (US/Canada only)

e-copy of Life Sucks After You Die by Crystal-Rain Love

e-copy of Dickensen Academy by Christine Grabowski

audiobook copy of Rescue Love by Melissa Keir (US/Canada only)

e-copy of To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston (US only)

2 e-copy of Cinderella Busted by Petie McCarty

print copy of Sweet Seduction by Janet Lane Walters (US/Canada only)

autographed print copy of Seventeen Days by Linda Griffin

e-copy of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace by Melanie Robertson-King

e-copy of Dreamtime Sensuality by David Russell

e-copy of Romeo Vs. Juliet (Descendants of Time Book 1) by Laura Hogg (US only)

Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Haunted Headstone? You decide.

you decide

In keeping with the spooky atmosphere of the evening, I give you one of my short stories. The cemetery I based this story around is located just west of my hometown.

I chose the particular headstone because it’s set off by itself on a bit of a hill surrounded by trees.

I hope you enjoy this seasonal piece.

A Halloween Tale

Brian and Emily clambered off their bicycles in front of a large three-storey, red brick house in the western end of the city. A huge sign bearing a wildcat and the words B&B hung from a post in the yard. “Is this the place?” he asked.

“I think so.” She slid her heavy rucksack off, dug into its small outer pocket, and pulled out the confirmation e-mail. Scanning the document, she checked the house and guidepost. “Yes. We’re here.”

Emily slung her pack over one shoulder. They walked their bikes to the side of the house and leaned them against the wall before going to the door. She reached out to ring the bell. At the same instant, the inside door opened. Startled, she jumped back.

“You’re the Wolvertsons? I’ve been expecting you.” The grey-haired, bespectacled woman craned her neck to see past them. “Where is your car?”

“We rode,” he said.

“Come in, you must be exhausted. Your room is this way.”

Hands clasped, the young couple accompanied the proprietor to their room.

“Here you are. Breakfast runs from seven to nine o’clock. You’re on your own for lunches and suppers but the town has a number of places for a good meal.”

“Thank you, Mrs. …, ” he began.

“Griffin, but you can call me Miriam”

Meanwhile, Emily had walked to the window. The street below bustled. “We passed a couple of cemeteries west of here.” She turned to face Brian and their hostess. “What can you tell us about them?”

The woman’s face went pale. “Y-you don’t want to be going to the necropolis on the south side of the road. Rumor has it, it’s frequented by spirits.”

“We do. I think my ancestors are buried there and that’s why we came. We’re researching our family tree and want to take some rubbings of the ancestral slabs and photograph them for the book we’re writing.”

“If you think you must go, go early in the day so you’re out well before dark.”

She dropped to the bed and ran her hand over the white duvet. “Tell us more. This sounds intriguing.”

“Two hundred years ago this Halloween that Emily McPherson went away. My, but your name is Emily, too, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Please go on.”

Brian sat down put his arm around Emily’s shoulders.

“The story goes a young girl lost her fiancé – an infantryman – in a dreadful accident in the first part of the war of 1812. His ship was carrying a load of dynamite and it exploded. The blast killed everyone on board.”

“What does that have to do with the churchyard?”

“Well, they say she visited his entombment every day until her disappearance and was there as always when a terrible storm blew up and folks never saw her again. A blood curdling shriek was heard over the crashing – and then nothing. Silence. The disturbance cleared as quickly as it had formed. Alarmed by the horrendous noise that came from the direction of the graveyard, some men sprang into action. When they reached the location where the poor, bereft young woman spent most of her time, she was gone. No indication of a scuffle. No suggestion someone dragged her off – just the bluish phosphorescence surrounding the headstone. From that night on, no one had ever set foot in that corner. You understand why it is imperative you’re out of there before dark.”

“What a tragic, yet romantic tale. We must find that grave.” Her eyes sparkled.

“We will but in the morning. Today, we scope out the town.” Brian stood and helped her up from the bed. “Thanks for sharing that. Em, here, well she’s a pushover for a burial ground and a love story.”

***

Outside, Emily wrapped her arms around Brian’s waist. “I wish we didn’t have to wait.”

“Come on. If anything untoward is going to happen there, it will be tomorrow on the actual day. Not today.”

“I suppose you’re right,” she muttered.

Brian took her hand and they walked tothe town’s centre, stopping first at the local repository where the genealogical society housed its archives.

Emily scanned the floor to ceiling shelves lined with books, binders, maps and the society’s own publications. If the young woman’s exodus were such a big deal, then there had to be something written about it. She discovered a notebook of newspaper clippings dating back to the commencement of 1812, sat down at one of the tables and flipped through it. Emily ferreted out the piece about the detonation and couldn’t believe how much detail the press included on the crews’ injuries. Still, she removed a page and made a photocopy. A few pages later, she found the other including a photo of the alleged sinister chamber. you decideWhile she perused those, he busied himself with the old charts. Two older women came down the stairs as she photocopied the article. They spoke in hushed tones about the anniversary of the McPherson girl’s departure. Armed with the information she wanted, Emily and Brian left the museum and went to a nearby pub for lunch. Over a pint and burger, they shared their findings.

“According to the one, Emily’s engagement occurred on June 1st and her fiancé died the second,” she said, taking a sip of beer.

The longer they stayed, the more uncomfortable Emily became. The people pointed and stared at her, like they were comparing her to the long-since missing girl. “Let’s leave. These people are creeping me out.”

“If you want.” Brian picked up his glass and draining the last of it.

After exiting, they wandered in and out of some of the more eclectic stores on the main street. In a second-hand shop, Emily bought a cherry amber pendant. Another young couple entered, talking about the city of the dead as she fastened the clasp.

“They say that tomb is haunted.”

“Yeah, I know. Even in the daylight people don’t go near it.”

On their return to the B&B, she emptied the contents of her backpack on the bed ensuring she had everything she needed for their trek. Camera, extra batteries, blank newsprint, and charcoal sticks in a baggie. She added the photocopies to the essentials and repacked her bag.

***

The next morning, Miriam begged them to reconsider visiting the ossuary. “It’s just all the talk about how the unfortunate girl vanished and this being the bicentenary,” she moaned, wringing her hands.

“We’re leaving as soon as we’re finished eating so will be back long before it gets dark,” Brian reassured her. “If it makes you feel better, we’ll stop here before we go to supper.”

Emily slipped on her leather riding gloves and heaved her pack on her back. “Don’t worry. We’ll be back late this afternoon.” Hesitating by the front door, she turned back. “Bye. We’ll see you later,” she called cheerily as they exited.

It took about five minutes to reach the cemetery’s entrance. After dismounting, they walked their cycles down the winding road and parked them against a bench near the river. She took her Canon out and shot a few wide angle shots of the area for comparison later on.

Since they hadn’t gotten away as timely as they would have liked, Emily decided they should split up so they could cover twice as much territory. She gave Brian some of the sheets of printing paper and a couple of the anthracite crayons. He had a point and shoot Kodak so could take pictures as well as rubbings.

A row of white tombstones, beginning with two substantial memorials followed by some smaller, all of the same design, caught Emily’s eye and she walked to them. It appeared to be parents, and their ten children. She carefully photographed each one planning on looking into the family at a later date. Emily glanced over her shoulder. Brian had worked his way out to an earlier section adjacent to the highway.

Walking along the narrow road, she spotted a flight of stone steps leading to a spot sheltered by trees. As she climbed them, she noticed a small marker next to a bathtub-like sarcophagus. Up on the rock about four feet higher than the terrain where she stood, a solitary tribute occupied the plot. Emily pulled the copied articles out of her holdall. This matched the one in the copy. The thick canopy of poplar, pine, and maple trees kept the space in darkness even at his time of day. A gust of wind rustled through the treetops overhead and a leaf fluttered to the ground, landing on the covering of brightly colored autumn leaves. What was once a stately oak stood guard over the site; its trunk and remaining branch denuded of bark and pocked with woodpecker holes.

you decideUp close, the tombstone didn’t look menacing. Emily walked around it, feeling its roughness under her fingertips, and read the epitaph. It told the sad tale of a young man who expired away tragically in a ship’s explosion. She took a picture of the wording.

“Brian, come quick.” She turned and swung her arms to get his attention. “I think this is the monument.”

He lifted his head and waved back but made no attempt to approach.

When he didn’t respond a second time to her calls, she scampered off the crag, pausing to take more photos then ran to him, stumbling over the uneven ground. Breathless when she reached Brian, Emily found it difficult to tell him she had identified the cenotaph of the young soldier.

“You’ll remember where it was? I’d like to get some rubbings of the ones in this precinct. Let me finish up here and we’ll head over.” He pulled her to him and kissed her forehead.

Another one with a worn but interesting inscription soon held their interest. They were engrossed with it – Emily with her digital SLR and Brian with the paper and carbon. They were so preoccupied they didn’t notice the skies darkening.

you decideNot wanting to leave without a final visit to the shrine, she ran off towards it, with him following. It was dusk when they reached it. They drew nearer and the hairs on the back of Emily’s neck stood on end.

Suddenly, the sky turned black. The intensity of the city’s streetlights no longer visible. Emily couldn’t see him, yet they were only arms’ length apart. A brilliant flash of lightning and a simultaneous, deafening clap of thunder frightened her and she screamed. The pungent smell of ozone filled the air. The tall masterpiece now bathed in that ominous cerulean glow, made her entire body tingle.

***

The next day, when the owner of the B&B raised the alarm after they had failed to come back the night before, a search party went to the funerary grounds to look for them. Just as it was when Emily McPherson disappeared all those years ago, there were no signs of a struggle, no trace of the couple at all. At the stone’s base, one of the rescuers found a necklace – the same one the young woman was last seen wearing when she and her partner left for the cemetery. On the back was a message which read, ‘to my Emily June 1st, 1812. All my love B.W.’. The searchers looked at each other incredulously, then at the gravestone. B.W. – Brian Wolfe. Were these two people the ghosts of Emily and Brian?

*****

And here is the row of headstones belonging to the family near the haunted one on the hill.

you decide

Strange phenomena? Coincidence? Or were Brian and Emily really the ghosts of the couple from long ago?

Trick or Treat! It’s binge-read giveaway time

trick or treat

Trick or Treat! It’s binge-read giveaway time.

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