Review for The Scarlet Ribbon… #Supernatural Romance #Excerpt @dlfinnauthor

Nothing quite like the unexpected review to brighten our days and remind us why write…

Lately, we have needed a break from the constant struggle to stay cheerful, what with our health problems and the terrible weather.

Miserable grey skies do little to cheer us up, so when something unexpected happens, it is very welcome.

This wonderful review from D L Finn really brought the sunshine back!

“Scarlet Ribbon” is a story that made me wonder about the afterlife and what is in between.
Maggie was out with her husband when she was run down by a car. She ended up in a coma for two long years, but her time became relative as she found herself in a strange place. Her body was in the hospital, but her mind or soul was experiencing a different reality.
While she was under, she could see what her husband was doing and was taken to other worlds and the past. She wanted to help, especially a young girl. There was cruelty and a blissful existence that coincided in the different places.
As she seeks answers to her dilemma, she finds out more than she wanted to about how sheltered a life she had and people’s true side. I have always wondered what goes on when people are in a coma, and this was a fascinating idea of what could happen. There never seems to be one simple answer or outcome to Maggie’s desires.
I love her determination to do what is right, but within her new world, I felt her confusion as she bounced from one situation to another. I was rooting for the person she connected with on the other side. The story picked up the pace when she emerged from the coma, and work began for her to heal and try to remember.
The ending was a surprise but didn’t feel done just yet. I hope there are more versions of her life to come and I will be reading them.

Thank you so much, Denise!

Excerpt from The Scarlet Ribbon

I had no idea how long I lay there in the darkness, talking to myself, half hoping that someone or something would hear me and show me the way out. I felt like a defence lawyer, pleading my case before an invisible judge, promising all sorts of things for a second chance. I’d be more patient, and more caring and help all those who needed it. After all, thirty wasn’t a good age to die. That was my final plea. I’d be as good as anyone could be if they’d let me live out the rest of my life with Jack.

But who were ‘they’? Who the hell was I talking to? There didn’t seem to be anyone with me in that dark, empty void.

That’s when I realised I hadn’t left even a small part of myself behind. No children. For the first time, I felt regret. Jack and I had decided that we didn’t need children; we were enough for each other and didn’t want to share our lives with smaller versions of ourselves.

During our second year together, we had allowed one small invasion of our privacy in the form of a tiny black kitten. She’d been dumped in the rain in a brown paper carrier bag like unwanted garbage. It was soaking wet, skinny, and hardly able to walk. I remember taking her home and the look on Jack’s face when I took her out from inside my coat, her dark, spiky fur almost dry from the heat of my body.

It was love at first sight, and we took turns that night feeding her baby milk and comforting her. The following day Jack said he couldn’t stand the smell any longer.

‘She’s got to have a bath, Maggie. She’s a sorry state.’

So that’s what we called her, Sorry. And that’s exactly how I feel now, sorry that we didn’t have a child, someone to remember us, to talk about us when we were gone. But it wasn’t too late; I wasn’t too old, and there was still time…

Haloed: Grafton County Series, #5 ~ Review #CrimeThriller @SueColetta1

She may be paranoid, but is she right?

A string of gruesome murders rocks the small town of Alexandria, New Hampshire, with all the victims staged to resemble dead angels, and strange red and pink balloons appearing out of nowhere.

All the clues point to the Romeo Killer’s return. Except one: he died eight years ago.

Paranoid and on edge, Sage’s theory makes no sense. Dead serial killers don’t rise from the grave. Yet she swears he’s here, hungering for the only angel to slip through his grasp—Sage.

With only hours left to live, how can Sage convince her Sheriff husband before the sand in her hourglass runs out?

Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net.” She also blogs at the Kill Zone (Writer’s Digest “101 Best Websites for Writers”) and Writers Helping Writers.

Sue lives with her husband in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writes two psychological thriller series, Mayhem Series and Grafton County Series (Tirgearr Publishing) and is the true crime/narrative nonfiction author of PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND: True Stories of Violent Vixens and Murderous Matriarchs (Rowman & Littlefield Group). Sue teaches a virtual course about serial killers for EdAdvance in CT and a condensed version for her fellow Sisters In Crime. She’s appeared on the Emmy award-winning true crime series, Storm of Suspicion. In October 2022, she’s filming three episodes of Homicide: Hours to Kill for Cineflix. Learn more about Sue and her books at https://suecoletta.com

Our Review

The mysterious red balloon that suddenly turns up in Sage Quintano’s bedroom triggers panic, setting the scene for a promisingly terrifying story.

Years might have passed, but the fear and the awful memories have not.

I have always loved the relationship between Sage and her husband, Niko, but this time, life might just give them more than either of them can handle. Worrying about them will keep you on the edge of your seat!

The tension in this story never ceases; reading it is like running a nightmare marathon. But I loved every word!

Haloed is one of the best thrillers I have read this year…

Silent Sunday… Autumn in waiting…

Image by yoshitaka2 from Pixabay 

Today will be a good day… I am writing the new WIP!

Jaye’s Journal… From a Reader to a Writer…

From a Reader to a Writer

I have always enjoyed reading books. Mainly for the sense of escapism involved. Somewhere you can forget about your own life and live someone else’s, albeit vicariously.

It has been a blessing, sometimes more than at other times, depending on how my own life was going at that moment.

I honestly believe that reading books has kept me sane. They have taught me practically everything I know, for if I need or want to know how to do something, I turn to books to find out. Nowadays, we have the internet, but in my youth, all we had were books.

These days, something else has been added to my enduring love affair with the printed word. Putting it quite simply, they have inspired me to write. You could say that the art of reading could do this anyway, to anyone. But up until a few years ago, I was unaware of this. They were my retreat, my sanctuary. Nothing else.

But then everything changed.

I had always been a compulsive reader, consuming anything I could get my hands on. I didn’t discriminate and read everything. If asked to list my favourite authors, I would have been hard pushed, for I loved them all.

Somewhere along the way, I have developed a ‘criterion’. I no longer just read a book. My brain seems intent on sifting the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. Who knew it could have that kind of opinion?

Two pages into a book, and if it is not talking to me by then, I discard it and try another. These days I love the kind of books that inspire me and make my fingers want to pick up a pen. Not to copy or emulate but to write down how the author has made me feel. Sometimes I find myself with a book in one hand and a notebook in the other.

It’s as if a doorway has been opened in my mind. Artists say colours work for them; for me, it’s the power of the words and how they are used.

Something else has changed in me. I have always considered myself reasonably adept with the English language. It was my favourite lesson at school, and over the years, as I have said before, it has saved my sanity on many occasions.

For the first time in my life, I have doubts, and they are growing all the time. I have helped other people edit and proofread their books and have been totally convinced I was good at it. Many people (including an agent) once said that I was. I have also reviewed dozens of books along the way.

But that was before I picked up a pen and wrote a story of my own. I never expected it to be as hard as it was, for words usually came easily to me. But I discovered a very important fact about writing a book. Not only must it have a beginning, middle and end, but it must also flow, make perfect sense and be interesting to read.

It also has to have structure and subplots; the list was endless. I discovered to my horror that I was not as clever as I thought when the pen was in my hand! Words tend to come at me in a rush, short spasms of prose that seem quite eloquent at the time but appear quite truncated when you attempt to join them all together. So much so that I nearly gave up several times.

I began to seriously doubt I could ever be a writer, that this wasn’t something I could simply learn how to do. But I persevered, did my absolute best, and after my edits and even more soul searching, I uploaded it onto Amazon, thinking my work was done.

But I was wrong.

In my haste to achieve something that will hopefully outlast me, I forgot the most important step of all. Someone else should have read it first. Someone objective, who would come to it afresh, with no desire or agenda to bin it at the first error.

I learned that I can’t see my manuscript with a subjective eye. You cannot possibly hope to, really, because you have lived with it for so long. I wrongly assumed the reverse would be true, that the fact you created every word would make you more than qualified.

This was all so long ago, and I have learned so much more since then…

Anatomy of a Best Seller #Review @sacha_black

                      

Do you wish you could write like your favorite authors? Do you want to improve your writing? If you want to power up your stories, write with your readers in mind, and deliver what the market wants, this book is for you.

In The Anatomy of a Best Seller, you’ll discover:

A step-by-step guide to deconstructing your favorite books so you can utilize the tools of winning authors.
Tips and tricks for breaking down everything from sentence level prose to plot, pacing, characters, story arcs, and more.
A comprehensive guide to understanding your market and what readers want.
Tactics for turning the lessons and tools you find into practical prose and stories.
The Anatomy of a Best Seller is a comprehensive guide that will help you break down the best books in your genre, understand how and why they work, and then learn how to do it yourself.

By the end of the book, you’ll be armed with the methods you need to deconstruct best sellers, understand the tools those authors are using, and how to implement them in your own work.

If you like dark humor and learning through examples, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to deconstructing winning books. Read The Anatomy of a Best Seller today and start writing your best seller.
    

Our Review

I have always wanted to know why some books become best sellers and some don’t. So when I saw The Anatomy of a Best Seller by my friend and excellent writer, Sacha Blake, I knew I was about to find out.

Sacha is a wonderful writer, and her helpful, well-written books for writers everywhere should be gold-plated, as I have always found them easy to understand, totally absorbing and exceedingly helpful.

I have learned so much from Anatomy of a Best Seller, and I am convinced it will help me to get further up the ladder!

Amazon Review

“If you’ve ever wondered what catapults a title to bestseller status, then this book is for you. The Anatomy of a Bestseller had me both laughing out loud and tearfully wishing it had existed sooner. With her trademark humour, let Sacha Black take you through her step-by-step process for identifying what makes a book truly sing. A must-read for all authors who are serious about success and shaping their work into list-worthy stories from the get-go.” Helen Scheuerer, bestselling fantasy author.

New Review for Bad Moon… Yay! #Fiction #FamilyHorror @HowellWave

Book Description

Growing up, Annie’s life was perfect
She loves her parents and thought she knew them
But when she discovers a nasty family secret
Her perfect life becomes a nightmare
Her struggle to change everything makes life so much worse,
how far must she run to escape the truth?
Can Annie make a new life for herself? 
or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

The Latest Review

John W. Howell rated it really liked it  ·  

After reading the book’s blurb, I picked Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. The part that got me was. “Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.”

I was intrigued by the idea of a story about someone coming of age in a family with some dark secrets. I expected maybe some unusual sexual activities or maybe abuse. These would be bad enough, but it turned out undoubtedly mild compared to what Annie had to discover and overcome.

The story is told in the first person by Annie herself. Although not unique in point of view, the author crafts the narrative so the reader not only sees the world from Annie’s perspective but identifies with the struggles Annie must overcome. Even when Annie is at her worst, I was always rooting that she would find her way to happiness.

Although the setting is the backcountry, the emotional turmoil and the depth of character development give the reader the feeling that this story could have taken place anywhere. This fact is where the quality of the author’s storytelling skills shine. Using the backcountry setting as an excuse for what transpires in the plot would be easy. However, that would be a disservice to the story since the action gets down to fundamental human issues and predispositions that are not necessarily only the purview of uneducated backcountry folks.

There are examples that I would like to cite, but each would be a spoiler. So I guess I will leave it at this. Once you start reading Bad Moon, you won’t be able to stop. The story is well-crafted and moves at just the right pace. If you like well-written human drama stories with a lot of action, this one is for you.

This lovely review from our friend and fellow writer, John Howell, came as a wonderful surprise, just when we needed a lift.

We really appreciated the time and care involved in such a detailed and well written review for Anita’s story.

Huge thanks again, John, from both of us!

Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie # Psychological Fiction #Review

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.

Book lovers are welcome to contact her on alexcraigie@aol.com

Our Review

Gwen Meredith’s life seems typical of many families, all trying hard to care for an elderly relative and a family.

Add to the mix a demanding job at the local school, and Gwen’s life has all the stuff of nightmares.

Her life would be a nightmare without her best friend, Cat, and the arrival of a new neighbour, Ben, a kind, good-looking man.

All the interesting complications of her life are revealed as the story heats up. The brilliantly written plot gradually becomes terrifying as tensions rise, creating an ending I really didn’t see coming!

Right from the beginning of this story, I loved how the author gradually reveals the character’s true emotions effortlessly and accurately.

This is the first book I have read by Alex Craigie, but I know it won’t be the last.

Means To Deceive is a master class in how easily life can mess with your head, leading you to distrust everything and everyone…

Anita Writes… #True Story

A Day Remembered

A few years ago now, Jaye and I decided to visit a zoo; it was more like a safari park without the need for a car. Jaye read that there would be a display by an orca, a black and white whale. The Ying and yang of the ocean, I call them.

When we arrived, we found that this would take place at 2 o clock that afternoon.

We walked around for a while. Jaye found a group of people listening to a man talking about one of her favourites. He was holding an arachnid, a huge orange and black spider. Of course, she wanted to be able to hold it right after he had said that it could shoot stuff from its black bulbous backside that would irritate the skin. Plus, it had a venomous bite.

Jaye tried to get me to take it from her hand. No chance, I thought. What if it is fed up being poked, prodded, and decided that I was the one to take a bite out of?

I watched her cooing over it like a fluffy white rabbit. Finally, I told her I had to find something with fewer legs. Walking around with 2 o clock in mind, we found one of my favourite animals. The sloth.

I thought cats were laid back and knew how to relax. This beautiful creature takes the biscuit. They live life in the slow lane, plus they only need to pee once a week. These days I could do with that skill.

A few paces along, we found the pandas lying on their backs as though sunbathing. We stood watching, and I swear they didn’t even blink.

I walked away, thinking they looked like stuffed toys and were not very entertaining. Whenever I see them on TV, they roll around and practice play fighting. Maybe they were tired.

Next, we found the giraffes, magnificent animals. I wouldn’t want to get on their bad side. I kept my distance while Jaye fed one, remembering when they get fed up being stared at, they spit at you. I didn’t fancy walking around for the rest of the day with gloop all over me.

Further along, we found a moth-eaten gorilla. Nothing like the one I fell in love with while visiting Regents Park Zoo with my husband. His name was Guy. People would throw their cigarettes at him; he would place it between his fingers and pretend to smoke it. After a while, he would turn to his audience and let out a stream of hot water, letting them know what he thought of the faces staring at him.

He sadly died while having a tooth removed. A short while later, I heard he had been stuffed and displayed in a glass cage at the History Museum. Something told me I had to say goodbye to the beautiful creature I had fallen in love with, and standing there, lost in his eyes, I was in a world that only he could explain.

Next, we came to the snake house, something else I am fond of. Skipping past the bats, not one of my favourites, I made my way outside.

We found the camels. Desert taxis, I call them. Snooty-looking devils that can spit for the fun of it.

It was time to make our way back to the small pool. The first three rows were full of people. Fools, I told myself. Steering Jaye to the sixth row, I had no intention of getting soaked when the whale dove in and out of the water.

When the display was over, the whale would hug the poolside, and we were encouraged to touch it. Its skin felt like a rubber tyre. Jaye was at the mouth end, her hand in its mouth, touching its tongue between a magnificent row of white teeth. God, what if she made it gag, and it snapped his mouth shut on her hand?

Before persuading her that it was almost time to go home, there was one more stop. I’d heard they had an elephant. King of the jungle in my book.

We found him alone on a small island, chained to the wall, swaying back and forth. I knew this meant he was very unhappy as they are pack animals and need company. Why was he chained to a wall by himself? I couldn’t stop my tears. I wanted to pull the chain from the wall and set him free. But I knew it would take more than that. He would need care for a long time if he were to recover. This is proof that all creatures should live in their own environment.

I drove home, compiling a letter of complaint in my head, hoping that someone would see the error of their ways and get him the help and companionship that he needed.

My day out remembered…

©AnitaDawes2022 All Rights Reserved

Letters to a Friend ~ Part Two ~ #Fiction

My Dearest Anne,

After receiving your letter last week, I had a lot to think about and to tell you. First, I am so pleased that Jack’s landscape business is doing so well that he has employed you to do the books. I will take up your suggestion of checking the census to see if I can find out more about Flo and Albert.

However, I must tell you, I decided to check the attic as you suggested and under a loose floorboard by the round window seat, I found love letters to Flo from someone called Margaret. From the contents, I could tell they were very much in love. I cannot tell if Albert knew about this.

The strange thing is, ever since finding them and reading them, Flo has been quiet. Not a peep from her all last week. Albert, on the other hand, is haunting my dreams. He stands beside my bed, telling me to look under the step. I can only assume he means the front step.

Can you imagine what Richard would do if I started digging it up? I can already see the men in white jackets arriving.

Night after night, Albert is most insistent, so I have decided to ask Richard if we can have a porch built. In light of having parcels left on the doorstep, he thinks this is a good idea. The builders will be starting in two weeks’ time.

It may be nothing, but I am worried as to why Flo is being so quiet.

I loved your idea of writing a book about this, and I am giving it thought.

Richard is still wondering why I use pen and paper rather than email. I tell him that emails are too impersonal when talking with a friend.

Looking forward to your next letter,

Your dearest friend,

            Alice

to be continued…

another episode of Anita’s WIP… possibly a new book! what do you think of it so far?

Ghost of a Chance: Book 4 of the DI Snow Series ~ Tour Stop Day Three ~ Jan Sikes and Colleen Chesebro #Bookrelease #Ghost #Mystery

Day three, and we get double the fun with two hosts for Ghost of a Chance. Jan Sikes and Colleen Chesebro, both wonderful writers, are sharing the centre stage to promote my story.

Jan Sikes

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story.

Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivalled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment. In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done.

Wrong!

The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain.

I love all things metaphysical and often include those aspects in my stories.

I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Story Empire, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.

Connect through Jan’s website: http://www.jansikes.com

Follow Jan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

Follow Jan on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JanSikes3

Follow Jan’s Blog: http://www.jansikesblog.com

Our Review for Ghostly Interference

Rena Jett grew up inside the foster care system with her brother. I grew up in the same circumstances and identified with her every step of the way. I know how hostile and confusing her world must have been. It can confuse how you see the world, a world you never knew existed while inside a system that meant well but never felt like it did. The author has captured every confusing emotion and how they interact with a person’s life extremely well.

I especially loved Rena’s relationship with her brother, Sam. He tried so hard to be there for her and his constant caring and mysterious presence made this romantic and beautifully written story lovely to read.

Just heard that the second book in the White Rune series, Jagged Feathers is now available, and I cannot wait to read it!

Please follow Jan’s link to read more about Ghost of a Chance   HERE

Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly poetry challenge called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry.

Along with Jules Paige, Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. The debut issue of this journal will publish in October 2021.

Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in various other online publications. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for Carrot Ranch. Colleen’s poetry has poetry in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures,” and Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships.

Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House.

Find Colleen at Word Craft Poetry at wordcraftpoetry.com.

Our Review for Fairies, Myths & Magic

 Prepare to be enchanted!


These enchanting poems and stories are a joy to read and would make a truly beautiful present for anyone who loves the magical world of myths and magic.
I had just finished editing my complicated mystery/thriller and wanted something to undo all the knots in my brain. I chose to read this delightful book written by Colleen Chesebro and it worked a treat!
I was transported back to a time when I saw fairies everywhere, and the years simply fell away as I remembered those golden days of my childhood.
Thank you, Colleen, for restoring the magical centre in my brain…

Please follow Colleen’s link to read a special interview with David Snow HERE

Our thanks to both of these ladies for taking part in the book tour for Ghost of a Chance!