Our Review of The Box Under The Bed by Dan Alatorre @savvystories #Horror

 

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Come along for a chilling ride on a ghost ship, experience eerie daydreams and psychotic killers, explore haunted houses, and send the deceased to their final destination.
And that’s just a quarter of the thrills.
Edited and compiled by Amazon bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of scary tales brings together the minds and pens of twenty authors, including bestseller Allison Maruska (The Fourth Descendant), bestselling author Jenifer Ruff (Everett), Lucy Brazier (PorterGirl), J. A. Allen, Juliet Nubel, T.A. Henry, Ann Marie Andrus, Heather Hackett, Barbara Anne Helberg, Scott Skipper, Joanne R. Larner, Christine Valentor, Adele Marie Park, Curtis Bausse, Annette Robinson, Frank Parker, Eric Daniel Clarke, and Maribel C. Pagan.

Perfect for Halloween or any time, these stories will make you think twice before walking alone on the beach at night, reading a diary, or innocently watching a train from your car.
Consider yourselves warned.

https://amazon.com/Box-Under-Bed-anthology-stories-ebook/dp/B075C9D7L1/

Our Review

We really loved reading this anthology. Each story is original and well written with a unique quality of its own.

From the bonus story, The Water Castle by Dan Alatorre, to The Blind Tattoist  by Allison Maruska , there is something here for everyone.

It would be hard to pick a favourite, for we loved them all. Some were scary, some mysterious, but every single one was a darn good read.

Not exactly bed time reading, unless you want to have nightmares!

 

Author Bio

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International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi, to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators. To comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heart-warming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series.  His knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.
And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.

“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”

Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.

His unique writing style can make you chuckle or shed tears—sometimes on the same page (or steam up the room if it’s one of his romances). Regardless of genre, his novels always contain unexpected twists and turns, and his endearing nonfiction stories will stay in your heart forever.

25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew, co-authored by Dan, has been a valuable tool for upcoming writers (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping new authors is evident in his wildly popular blog “Dan Alatorre – AUTHOR.”

Dan’s success is widespread and varied. In addition to being a bestselling author, he has achieved President’s Circle with two different Fortune 500 companies. You can find him blogging away almost every day on http://www.DanAlatorre.com or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week, Writers Off Task With Friends.

Dan resides in the Tampa, Florida area with his wife and daughter.

The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other Stories by Jim Webster #short stories

Today, we are joined by Tallis Steelyard, otherwise known as Jim Webster, on day two of his book tour for his lovely book of short stories. Just the ticket for those odd moments when you simply have to read something interesting!

Take it away, Jim…

 

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steelyard-Monster-Bell-Wether-Gardens-stories-ebook/dp/B075DG5JJ6

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A seaside sojourn

A poet can be susceptible to many influences. Yes the beauty of the rustic vista has stirred my soul and provoked me to verse. Similarly I have been inspired by the Beauty sitting opposite me at a table in a busy coffee shop. But all things considered, it is the sea in all its majesty which really stirs me. I feel the waters of the estuary sweep past me every night as I sleep in the barge. The water caresses the timbers of our bedroom and the scents of salt and weed and who knows what hang around us. Even deep in the city of Port Naain one can at times catch the taste of salt on your lips and hear the cry of the seabirds wheeling overhead.

My travels brought me at last to the coast. Where the mountains meet the sea you find Sweethaven. Apparently it was named because here there was both a stream of good water and a steeply shelving beach so that boats could come in to take advantage of it.
Now it’s a thriving fishing village which must have three or four hundred inhabitants. They live in sturdy stone-built houses with slate roofs and live by fishing and farming. Sweethaven even has a sea wall that stretches out like a protecting arm to give shelter to the harbour from the worst of the storms.

I arrived one evening and found my way to the only inn, the Fish Salter’s Arms. I slid a few coins across the table and purchased a glass of reasonable ale and a bowl of fish stew and a couple of rounds of bread. In casual conversation with men standing at the bar they asked my trade.

“I’m a poet.”

This was greeted with silence, then one of them said, in what I felt was a speculative tone, “So you’ll be able to read and write then?”

Now I realise there are oral poets who work entirely from memory but they are not a common phenomena in civilised parts, so I answered, “Certainly.”

“So you can do it quite well then?”

Here I felt that confidence was called for, “Absolutely.”

“It’s just our school mistress is ill and we could do with somebody to cover for her for a few weeks.”

Now I’m not a pedagogue. But I was a long way from home, could do with a few regular meals and a snug bed and was willing to be flexible.

“Well I’m available, but I’d like to know the terms and conditions first.”

Eventually we agreed that I would have my meals in the Fish Salter’s Arms, a bed would be made up for me in the small stockroom next to the school room, and, after much haggling, they’d pay me a vintenar a day. This latter was a pittance but they made a strong case by pointing out they were already paying for one school teacher who was lying sick in bed and couldn’t really afford to pay for two.

I agreed to the terms, the assembled company clustered round to shake my hand and several glasses of beer appeared on the bar for me. Then the assembled company disappeared to their own homes to tell their harassed wives that they’d got a new teacher.

Next morning, early, I dropped in to see the school teacher, one Dame Esbeth. She sat next to her fire, wrapped in blankets, coughing and shivering. Still she gave me a rough idea of how her charges were getting on. With that I left her and plunged into the fray.

I was lucky, it was a fine day. This meant that the older class were far too busy to attend school. They were either out on the boats or collecting salt for salting the day’s catch. This meant I had chance to get to know the younger class, a score of children aged between six and perhaps twelve. Firstly I heard everybody read. That gave me a baseline. I then decided to see how many could write. Chalk screeched on slate as they all laboriously copied what I’d written on the board. This done I could see that Dame Esbeth had mastered the basics with them and I decided to just keep them practicing.

There were problems. One was that they keep referring to me as Dame Steelyard. The idea that a male could become a teacher was so beyond their comprehension that they instinctively fell back on the comforting assumption that I was actually a lady.

The other was parental attitude. One mother, a cobbler, sent her daughter in with a last and some leather to work. The girl was supposed to do this whilst doing whatever else school involved. I gathered the other children round and let her show them what she was doing. As a group we explored the whole subject and some of them also had a try. I’m not entirely sure what the girl told her mother when she got home, but mother never tried that trick again. I think she was a little fearful that she’d end up with a village full of people perfectly capable of doing their own cobbling.

It was one wet evening as I sat over my meal in the Fish Salter’s Arms that somebody came in and said that the harbour light had gone out. Various worthies were summoned, the main bar acting as a village meeting house, and it was discovered that Old Joaggy, who had one leg and a liking for strong drink, had forgotten to fill the oil reservoir. The problem was that night was falling, the weather was rough, and all of the village boats, containing virtually all the men and quite a few of the women, were out at sea. They would doubtless be heading home as we spoke. Without the light to guide them, they could be in trouble.

Now because of my time in Port Naain, and working with Shore-combers and suchlike, I was used to harbour-side lights. I mentioned that I didn’t mind going out along the wall to fill it up and get it relighted.

I was given a heavy seaman’s woollen pullover. It comes down to your knees, is belted at the waist, and has so much lanolin left in the wool that it’s virtually waterproof. I was then given a small firepot which I hugged close to my chest. I was informed that there was oil in a barrel near the light. I left the bar and walked straight into the teeth of what I would have regarded as a gale; the waves were breaking over the harbour wall.

I made my way to the shoreward end of the harbour wall and looked along it. There was no rail, the top was absolutely flat and level. Apparently they had not bothered trying to fix a railing because any rail would just be torn off in the next storm. So I asked them to tie a rope around my waist with the other end held by my accomplices, half a dozen sturdy ladies.

So equipped I set off across the harbour wall. As I walked I tried to get a feel for the rhythm of the waves breaking across it. I stepped forward more quickly to try and avoid being struck, but the top was smooth and slimy, so I fell flat on my back and the wave rolled me off the wall and into the harbour. My stalwart band pulled me out. I collected another firepot and had a second go. This time I decided I’d mastered it. I waited until a wave had broken, and then started running. Because I was keeping a steady pace and watching where I put my feet I didn’t slip, but the next wave still caught me in the middle of the wall and pushed me off into the harbour again.

For my third attempt I decide that I would try another approach. I got them to put the third firepot inside a barrel. This I tied to me, and on hands and knees I scurried along the harbour wall. When a wave hit I lay flat and let the water just wash over me. I got across but barely. Twice I hung on to the top by jamming my fingers and toes into the gaps between the stones.

When I reached the end I stood up in the lee of the low tower. I opened the door and tied the rope to the handle. Then I surveyed the inside of the tower. It’s perhaps four times the height of a man with a spiral stair running up the middle. At the bottom was a barrel of oil and a jug. I filled the jug and carried it up to the lantern that was set just below the roof. I poured my oil into the reservoir and then set too to trim the wicks and get everything ready. As oil soaked up the wick I made several more journeys with the jug. How one legged Old Joaggy managed this I don’t know. No wonder he had a liking for strong drink.

Finally the reservoir full, I lit the wicks from the firepot. I carefully adjusted them, made sure the mirrors were aligned to collect the light and reflect it out of the window. By this time I had warmed up a little, and had even started to dry out. I spent a further half hour just warming myself and making sure everything was going well. Then with the casual insouciance of the hero, I left the tower closing the door behind me. I started to swagger my way along the harbour wall, when a wave hit me and washed me clean off the wall into the harbour. Without the rope I had to swim for the shore unassisted but made it.
To be fair the good folk of Sweethaven were most generous. Dame Esbeth had made a good recovery and was perfectly capable of taking her place once more in the classroom. I took her place by the fire, wrapped in blankets, coughing and shivering.

 

At this point it seems pertinent to mention that the story of Tallis’s escapades continues on other blogs. They will be reblogged in what may one day be accepted by biographers as the chronologically correct order on his own blog. Thus and so you can easily follow his gripping adventures.

Also, as an aside, the reason for this whole performance, (aside for being ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’) is that another volume of his anecdotes has been published. Containing some work that has never appeared on the blog, this is ;

Tallis Steelyard. The Monster of Bell-Wether Gardens and other stories.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Steelyard-Monster-Bell-Wether-Gardens-stories-ebook/dp/B075DG5JJ6/

 

https://www.amazon.com/Steelyard-Monster-Bell-Wether-Gardens-stories-ebook/dp/B075DG5JJ6/

 

 

 

The Lost Sentinel Blog Tour: Dark & Thrilling #Fantasy Novel #Book Review @rogersonsm

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Silent Sea Chronicles   The Lost Sentinel – Book 1

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel. With the Kalayan people turning their back on magic, can Tei help the exiles find their new Sentinel before it’s too late?

Kalaya is controlled by the Assembly – set up to govern but now under the control of Rathnor, who is intent on persecuting those who have magic, many of whom have taken refuge in the Turrak Mountains.

Tei has been raised to hide her magic, until her father, Migil, is visited by an old friend who warns them that they must seek refuge in the mountains.

On the journey, an enemy attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He sees her into the care of two exiles, Rike and Garrick, and makes a shocking confession that changes Tei’s life.

Tei must put her trust in these strangers, especially when mysterious Masked Riders seem determined to stop her reaching Turrak.

Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles in their search for their lost Sentinel. But the Masked Riders want the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Can Tei help the exiles save the island magic and reunite the Kalayan people before their ignorance destroys them all?

Available at Amazon The Lost Sentinel

Our Review

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its guardian, the Sentinel. This is caused by the ruling Assembly with their determination to rid Kalaya of magic and the people who practice it, thereby giving them total control of the island and its inhabitants. The people go along with this, for they are starving and believe that magic is the cause.

As the people turn their backs on magic and the people who use it, Tia is forced to flee to the Turrak mountains with her father to join the other exiled inhabitants.  Shades of Game of Thrones here, as the leaders of Kalaya battle to be victorious against the Exiles.

I began to despair of Tia’s future, convinced that she was the lost sentinel. This was enforced by the conversations she has with the dying sentinel. But when the dying Sentinel declares Tia as the ‘confidante’ to the next Sentinel, I hoped he was wrong.

I knew this book to be the first in a series but was unprepared for such a cliff-hanger at the end. The people of Kalaya had a new sentinel, but it wasn’t Tei after all. Their new world was a mess with more disasters looming.

There are several villains in this story, and I was hard pushed to say who was the worst. I have the feeling it will turn out to be Rathnor, as his motives are the strongest.

Although I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a little more magic in this story, it was a frustrating and exciting beginning to what promises to be an extraordinary series.

Spoiler Alert about Tei…  but I have a feeling about her!

 

new blog tour schedule

Suzanne Rogerson  Author Profile

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Social Media links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Amazon Author page

Instagram

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#TuesdayBookBlog 13 Steps to Evil @sacha_black

 

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Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

 

I have read many ‘how to’ books before, but none of them talks quite like Sacha Black. She tells it straight from the hip in an inimitable and refreshing style of direction.

This book is an in-depth and thorough expose of all things villain. Far more complex than you would first imagine.

Cause and effect are explained in easily understood writers speak, along with some amazing examples, just in case you have your dim head on!

Most crime/thriller writers love to create a good/bad villain and probably spend more time on them than the good guys. We should definitely make our villains bad, but giving them one ‘nice’ trait is an interesting idea.

The first thing that surprised me was that the hero is not the most important character in your novel. And that we tend to create a villain and then just let him/her get on with it.

If this book does nothing else, it will encourage, nay, demand that you create some awe-inspiring villains, and some of them will be female. The world seems to think that women don’t make good, bad people, so it could well be time to change all that.

Anti-heroes are something I haven’t given much thought to, but this book explores many such interesting concepts. Anti-heroes can get away with anything, so long as they finish on the side of the angels.

My favourite chapter was all about fear. That the idea of fear is all you need and far more important than all the stark reality of any awful world you create. Fear is such an emotional part of your imagination because you can only guess how bad it really is.

Another good question; should we really kill a villain?

Summary

I am going to have to recheck all my villains after reading this book. Have I actually created believably bad men, or are they just a tad second rate?

I received an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

UK Amazon Link Here

US Amazon Link Here

About the Author

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Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills. Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son. When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

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Our very First BLOG TOUR!

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The idea of having a blog tour is really taking hold, and we want to be brave enough to give it a go. Unfortunately, it won’t have the reach of a professionally organised tour, funds just will not stretch that far, so we will be relying on all the wonderful bloggers and retweeters who follow us to help spread the word.

The general idea is to have week where lots (I’m hoping) of you offer to post reviews and promo posters and posts about my last book in the Lives series, The Broken Life.

We are looking for anyone who enjoys mystery crime thrillers and would be willing to offer your time and blog space to promote my book.

We offer #Free ebooks, promotional posters and material and of course, our eternal gratitude.

If you decide to help with a review or promotional piece about this book on your blog , Amazon, and  Goodreads, we will love you forever and return the favour when you need it.

Time plan: We were thinking of the week beginning 20th June. Please leave any comments below, or use the contact form on the website to email me.

The Broken Life is the third book in my mystery thriller series, but reads well on its own. We are also thinking of releasing them all as a box set in the near future.

Even if you cannot spare the time to read or review it, we would appreciate any retweets and reposts you can squeeze in during that week…

 

Here’s what some lovely people thought of books one and two…

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If you like the thriller genre that keeps up the momentum then The Ninth Life would be a good read for you. The pace never falters, building up the plot and characters with timely intervention. The author cleverly keeps the story centred around the main character, with the other players coming into the story and yet there are no plot holes or false timings.
Not once did I get bored reading it or find the story faltering at all – definitely one of those where ‘you need to know what happens next’ but I think the author’s gift when writing this is to keep the protagonist centre whilst keeping the reader constantly hooked. The antagonist is typically a nasty character, one whom the reader takes an instant dislike to and the edge he adds to the story is almost palpable.
Other characters are kept to a minimum but play pivotal roles in the story; the good thing here is you never know quite how they will turn out. Will your fears be unfounded? Or did you correctly guess the next step? The ending is not what you would expect (another good talent to have when writing) but you’ll have to read the book!

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 LL kindle x2

I enjoyed reading Jaye Marie’s first book, The Ninth Life, and although the story was fast paced and gripping, the ending disappointed me a little. I was left wondering if the main character had really died or if the killer had managed to get away scot free. Perfect cliffhangers for a series though, and I looked forward to the next instalment.

The Last Life is, I thought, a much stronger story than the first. I fell in love with the new character, DI David Snow.  He brings a new dimension to an interesting plot, making the story far more of a crime thriller.

I love the attention to detail the author gives to all of her characters. They are like old friends and you instantly feel you know them well. The Last Life is a well written thoroughly enjoyable read, good plot and well- paced suspense. There is one more book in this series and I can’t wait to read what happens next.