A parallel world. A trapped soul. To save her friends, they’ll battle addiction, magic, and eternity…
Elena Zucchero has lived and lost in reality. Now she fills her heart through her work as a hypnotherapist by helping her patients improve their lives. But when a nightmare plagues her sleep, she learns her friends have gone missing in an addictive alternate plane. And the only way to save them may require feeding the demons of her handsome new client…
Draper Montgomery painfully resists the call of the Dreaming. But despite his dangerous cravings, he senses his enchanting therapist has a wound he can help heal. And to satisfy his heart’s desire, he may just have to risk the very foundation of his mind…
As Elena and Draper discover a deeper soul connection, the therapist struggles to keep her distance in the hunt for her friends. If the people she loves even want to be saved…
Will the perilous hunt to rescue her friends lose them their lives and their souls?
Deep in the Dreaming is the fourth standalone book in the captivating Natural Gifts paranormal romance series. If you like mysterious worlds, conflicted characters, and love that conquers all, then you’ll adore Gina Briganti’s enthralling tale.
WYRD’S END, Book III in The Elwardain Chronicles series written by gifted epic fantasy author Carol Browne, is now live! The books in this trilogy may be read in order or at your choice. Whichever you choose, be sure to get your copy today!
Determined to spare Godwin the violent death shown to her in dreams, Elgiva uses the portal to cross over into his dimension.
Meanwhile, members of Godwin’s tribe seek sanctuary at the settlement. What has caused them to flee for their lives?
Disguises must be lifted and secrets revealed and wyrd will unfold as it should.
Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.
I can hardly wait for the weekend so I can indulge my need to read. I’ve been waiting for this book and had it on my library requests, where it sat, stalled, with the note that it was being transferred to my local branch. Our libraries are remaining closed for the time being, so I cancelled the request and answered my daughter’s query about what I wanted for Mother’s Day with this book title. Of course, she knew who the author is. Everyone who will listen has heard me rave about the In Death series.
Did you also ask for a book/books for Mother’s Day? Did you give books as gifts for Mother’s Day?
For many years folks played board games at night with their kids. This of course was before the widespread use of video game consoles and even TV. Imagine spending hours sitting around looking at a game board trying to figure out the next move to make. Sound boring? Or are you playing board games now?
As writers, don’t we sit at our desks trying to figure out our characters’ next moves? Bet that doesn’t sound boring, if you are a writer. Have you ever thought of using a board game in a novel? How about using a board game as a way to escape from prison?
Too fanciful you say? Well hold on a minute. The British secret service MI9 came up with a way for captured British airman to escape POW camps. They sent them the board game Monopoly. MI9 conspired with the British manufacture of the game to produce “special edition” Monopoly sets with a red dot on the Free Parking space. While that looked like a printing error the dot meant possible freedom. The Monopoly escape kits had compasses and files disguised as playing pieces. French, German, and Italian bank notes were hidden in among the Monopoly money. Maps, printed on silk, were concealed within the board itself. British historians believe the Monopoly games could have helped thousands of captured soldiers escape from their prison camps.
Though silk maps from that era exist in libraries, homes and museums around the world, none of the original rigged Monopoly sets still remain. You see the airmen were instructed to destroy the special game sets so they would not be discovered.
C.D. Hersh have published a number of excellent books. Check out their Amazon Author Page to see what books we have to offer.
Do you plan to have a game board in one of your books or have you already used the idea? Let us know.
New year, new diary. This is still an annual ritual for many people in spite of new technology. For some things only pen and paper will do. As teenagers we tend to fill our diaries with complaints about the present and dreams of the future, a smorgasbord of teenage angst. As adults we use diaries as portable reminders of appointments and anniversaries; to-do lists designed to goad us into perpetual motion least we get to the end of another year with nothing to show for it.
But where did it all start?
The most famous diarist and one of the earliest was Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). It was Pepys who made the format a personal account rather than a business record and the eleven volumes of his diary (I have actually read them all!) are a fascinating description of day-to-day life in Restoration England. Although he was an administrator at the Admiralty and regularly encountered the Merry Monarch himself, Charles II, and other worthies of the time, he also had a fairly mundane home life which provides a wonderful contrast to his onerous duties at the office. While great affairs of state occupied his working life, his activities at home often vacillated between comedy and pathos. He wrote for himself (in fact the diaries weren’t published until 1825) and so it is no surprise that he unburdened himself with endearing honesty. You can take issue with him on many counts, most notably his adulterous behaviour, but he was only human and, while he had his flaws, he was compassionate and caring too. He was a man who adored his wife and hated cruelty of any kind, a man who worried deeply about the health of his mother yet had no time alone to be able to weep for her in peace. And let’s not even get started on the cystitis! Poor Pepys was a martyr to it.
Pepys lived at a time of great upheaval and transformation and we are so lucky that he thought to put his observations down on paper. We know about the Great Plague that ravaged the country but reading first-hand how Pepys walked to his office through eerily deserted streets makes it more real to us. Here is a man who knows how to buckle up. The Black Death may very well stalk old London town but staying at home won’t get that in-tray emptied! His descriptions of the Great Fire are also more riveting as a day-to-day account than they would be in any other narrative form. (Surely everyone knows about the very expensive Parmesan cheese he buried in the garden for safe keeping!)
When I wrote my novella Reality Check I knew that a diary format would be the best way to tell the story. The novella traditionally avoids chapter divisions, changes in POV and sub-plots and focuses on the personal development of the main character and a diary is a very personal thing—and for that perhaps we can say a big thank you to Samuel Pepys, the most famous diarist of them all!
Here’s a brief intro to my latest release. I hope you like it.
Gillian Roth finds herself in middle age, living alone, working in a dull job, with few friends and little excitement in her life. So far, so ordinary.
But Gillian has one extraordinary problem.
Her house is full of other people… people who don’t exist. Or do they?
As her surreal home life spirals out of control, Gillian determines to find out the truth and undertakes an investigation into the nature of reality itself.
Will this provide an answer to her dilemma, or will the escalating situation push her over the edge before she has worked out what is really going on?
Thursday, 26th March, 2015.
My house is filled with people who don’t exist.
They have no substance. They are neither alive nor dead. They aren’t hosts or spirits. They aren’t in any way shape or form here, but I can see them, and now I need to make a record of how they came to be under my roof.
Why now? Why today? Because we line in strange times, and today is one of the strangest days this year; this is the day that Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, was interred in Leicester Cathedral, with all due ceremony, 530 years after he was slain at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. How surreal is that? I watched the highlights on Channel 4 earlier. A couple of my house guests sat with me and together we marveled at the event. They did Richard proud, no doubt of that.
I left them to it after a while and came up here to my bedroom to start writing a diary: this diary.
Life feels unreal today, as if time has looped back onto photo albums. The house clearly passed must itself and everything is happening now. And if I can set my thoughts down on paper, perhaps I can make sense of everything, make it all real somehow.
Where did it start, this thing that has happened to me? A couple of years ago? I can’t say when. It evolved without my conscious input. The existence of my house guests was a fact long before I began to wonder at it. I do wonder at it now and I know I must keep track of what’s happening before I lose myself in this crowd of imaginary beings.
At first there was only a few of them, and I observed their doings without much concern. I watched them snooping around the place, choosing the most comfortable chairs to sit in, leaning against the furniture, inspecting the bookcases, checking the kitchen utensils, and peering into my photo albums. The house clearly passed muster and they stayed. In time, they knew me down to the marrow. I have never known them as well as they know me. They have an air of mystery, as though they have a life outside my house they will never divulge. Even so, I felt I was safe with them and I could tell them my problems. Tell them what no-one else must ever hear. And so these shades thickened, quickened; their personalities accumulated depth and solidity, as though they were skeletons clothing themselves in flesh.
I no longer came home to a cold, empty house, but to a sanctuary where attentive friends awaited my return. I was embraced by their jovial welcome when I stepped through the door. I never knew which of them would be there, but one or two at least would always be waiting to greet me, anxious to hear about my day and make me feel wanted, and for a while I could forget the problems I have at work (even the one that bothers me the most). Since then I have felt a subtle change.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I really need this to be a faithful account of the entire situation from start to finish, so I have to try to work out how it all began, even if I’m not sure when.
If I cast my mind back, it floats like a lantern through a city cloaked in fog. I must try to isolate the shadowy figures that flit up at me out of the murk. So, let’s begin with the friend I remember first. I was cooking my evening meal. My mind wandered. I remember feeling sad. And there she stood, at my right elbow, peering into the saucepan.
“Watch you don’t burn that,” she said.
I don’t have names for my imaginary friends, just titles, so I call her Kitchen Girl. She’s dark-haired with porcelain skin, and she’s tall and voluptuous. The sort of woman I’d like to be except I’m small with red hair and a ruddy complexion, and I need chicken fillets to convince people I’m female.
I suppose Kitchen Girl is rather daunting, with those fierce blue eyes and no-nonsense approach to everything. I can stand up to her though. I use humour as my weapon of choice and she appreciates wit and banter. I’d like it if she didn’t nag so much, if I’m honest (“Use less salt… keep stirring… is that all you’re going to eat?”) but, criticism aside, I know she’ll compliment me on the finished product as it lies uneaten between us on the table. Long conversations back and forth have been played out while the meals go cold on their plates. Fried eggs congeal and go waxen. Ice cream melts into a tepid sludge. Sandwiches curl up with embarrassment to be so spurned. You know how it is when you get gossiping. Someone wants to talk to me and that’s better than food.
And sometimes, it’s curious, but it’s Kitchen Girl who cooks the food and serves it to me like a waitress. She likes to surprise me with new dishes.
I have no idea how this happens.
Nor why she never leaves the kitchen. But I wish she’d do the washing up now and then.
Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol writes both fiction and non-fiction. Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Sometimes, life throws you a rose. Or, in my case, a brownie.
Let me explain.
Recently I received an e-mail.
I was looking at our records and noticed that you have been a Fairytale Brownies customer since 1995. Thank you for loving our brownies!
Our co-founders, Eileen Spitalny and David Kravetz, will be giving special VIP tours of the Fairytale Brownies bakery before our annual Open House next Tuesday and we would love for you to be a part of it. Are you available for a 2:30 p.m. tour? We would love for you and a guest to join them. Please let me know if you can make it. Spaces for the tour are reserved.
How cool is that!
Of course, I jumped right on the opportunity to see the fairies bake the brownies I’ve been sending friends for years. I’ve spread those chocolaty delights worldwide. So, I called my youngest son – who has dabbled with the idea of becoming a pastry chef – and made the date.
Upon entering the massive kitchen in Phoenix, a fabulous aroma makes visitors swoon.
It might be all that butter and those big bricks of chocolate shipped in from Belgium.
It might be giant racks of brownies, with lovely names like Toffee Crunch, Chocolate Chip Blondie, Espresso Nib, Mint Chocolate, and Raspberry Swirl.
Whatever it is, my son and I agreed it was magical.
As we toured the facility, I was on the lookout for the brownie fairies, but they were often shy and elusive. We caught this one hiding behind a massive pile of sugar.
Others were tasked with sorting scads of swirly, cream cheese brownies.
Then there was the freezer. A good 50 yards of frozen treats, packed high to the rafters on both sides. Though I’m a desert dweller and quite averse to the cold, I contemplated remaining in that fridge, setting up a tent and one of those high-altitude sleeping bags, a warm cap over my head, a matching scarf perhaps, and some mittens. In the advent of a zombie apocalypse it might be the perfect place to stay.
Unless, of course, zombies like brownies.
Gosh. Maybe I’ll have to share.
Here’s a little from my suspense novel based on a true incident. I hope it intrigues you.
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.
When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers.
And then the girl vanishes.
While the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.
Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.
When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.
I have another favorite fantasy series! The world-building, magical concepts, and story started in A Promise Of Fire hooked me early and kept me there. The main character, Cat, hasn’t had an easy life, which means she is particularly unprepared for meeting Griffin, a man with a mission. A man who knows too much about her hidden abilities. There’s a good dose of romance, which I enjoyed. Griffin is one of the good guys, determined to make the world a better place. He’s a likeable character. Another highlight for me was the role played in the story by various Greek gods. All of that was good, but it was the monster battles that glued me to the page. Bouchet writes great magic battle scenes.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
A Promise Of Fire gets a solid 5/5 stars.
I love when a series continues from where the last book left off the way this one did. Cat is rapidly maturing into the leader she needs to be and has lost the touches of what seemed like annoying personality traits in book 1; her home environment left a whole lot to be desired and her reasons for leaving would turn anyone’s hair white. To expect her to be an adjusted young woman after that is asking too much. Her character growth arc was awesome to watch.
Book two offered more imaginative monsters, battles, and well-crafted action scenes. I loved the relationships between all the characters and the twisty surprises. There was also some satisfaction that a couple of my premonitions proved to be true, which is interesting because if that happens too often a book might be called predictable. It definitely was not, and I was excited to read the final book in the series.
Breath Of Fire gets five/five glowing stars.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
I was anticipating reading the boss battle that was inevitable from the first book, which was always a concern because the boss is the heroine’s mother. The way that battle went down was wonderfully unpredictable. The outcome, better than my expectations.
Sharing a little bitty spoiler about a certain portion of the book that made me know for sure that Cat and Griffin get a happy ever after is tempting, but I just can’t do it. The point is, Bouchet didn’t tell me they will be happy together forever, I believe they will. Their bond has been thoroughly tested.
My emotional investment was 100% tripled, which is so hard to achieve. I’m kind of a tough critic. I read a lot of books that never get reviewed here because I only want to highlight the best books I read. Like this entire series.
If you’re into action, romance, Greek gods, and fantasy, I highly recommend this series.
And more good news, I hear there will be a spin-off novella featuring the Beta-team. I cannot wait. Thinking about it steals my breath.
Heart On Fire gets five/five glowing stars.
The Kingmaker Chronicles series gets 5/5 glowing stars. Hurry up and release that novella, Mrs. Bouchet! I mean, pretty please?
Chris Pavesic writes fantastic fantasy and she’s an amazing cook. That’s why I invited her back today to share a recipe that helps us eat more vegetables and exciting books to binge on.
Take it away, Chris!
1 lb. red potatoes, cubed in 1 inch pieces
4 large carrots, sliced thin
3 celery stalks with leaves, sliced thin
2 medium zucchini, 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable stock
Large Soup pot/Dutch oven
Combine all of the ingredients in the soup pot/Dutch oven except the parsley. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer about 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add parsley during the last 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.