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The Chalk Man–A Goodreads Review

The Chalk ManThe Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor
Eddie “Munster” Adams’ dad often warned him not to assume things, and the author means for readers to take this to heart—one of the reasons this book is such a fun read. Its plot surprises again and again.

The story’s a lot like Stand by Me in that it features a group of 12-year-old friends: Eddie, Hoppo, Nicky, Fat Gav, and Metal Mickey and a series of macabre events—two freak accidents, a beating as well as an ax murder Stephan King might have penned. The chalk men symbols that the friends invented lead to the body. And guess what? The victim’s head is missing. (Not to be found until the very last pages in the tale in what is yet another well-plotted twist.)

The murder and the investigations haunt the group of friends and the town of Anderbury. Eddie is at the center of all. He’s never put the events of his twelfth summer, when the ax murder occurred, and now, in midlife Eddie’s a single teacher who nurses a drinking problem and still lives in his family’s home.
The story alternates between 1986 and the present, but in both timestreams the quirky characters and the sinister mysteries held my attention.

If you like whodunnits, as well as story twists, this novel will definitely be worth your time.

Just so you know-I borrowed this book from my local library.

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Website Restored

 

Photo by Rayi Christian Wicaksono on Unsplash

Apologies. Malware infected my site, but after experts and some updated security programs, we’re clear.

I hope you’ll visit once again.

Other Than Finals in the 2018 Maine Romance Writers’ Strut Your Stuff Contest

 

 

I’m please to announce that Other Than is one of the finalists in the 2018 Maine Romance Writers’ Strut Your Stuff Award.

Here’s the link to see the finalists and find out about the contest.
http://www.maineromancewriters.com/p/contest-finalists.html
Thanks.

Jennifer Trethewey’s “Tying the Scot” A Goodreads Review

Tying the ScotTying the Scot by Jennifer Trethewey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When they were children, Alex Sinclair rescued Lucy Fitzharris from her brother’s pranks. He vowed to protect her always, so… when her father, an English peer and his father’s best friend, asks him to marry her, he accepts. Because she’s illegitimate, Lucy has little chance to marry well in the London Ton. To accept Alex’s offer of marriage, she’s sent to Balforss against her will with only her adorable lap dog, Hercules for comfort.

Alex and his friends and cousins meet her at the docks to escort her to the family estate, but Alex decides to hide his identity as her future groom, and this is just the first misunderstanding between the two. Sparks fly. The chemistry between these two flares. They bicker and trick each other, but eventually learn to love each other.

Lucy is spoiled and privileged, and Alex is impulsive and jealous, yet as they face adversity together, they magnify each other’s best qualities, and become the heroine and hero we all want to root for.
Tying the Scot is a fun read that raised lots of smiles and chuckles from me. In addition, the setting and the descriptions of 19th century Scotland enchanted me as a reader. Balforss is a fantastic virtual vacation.

If you’re a fan of Scottish Historical Romances, this is one you’ve got to try for the endearing characters, the fiery romance and the magical descriptions of Balforss.

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Spring, Snowdrops and Courage

We’re a week into March and white still covers neighborhood yards, yet my cat and I are outside, searching for green—the early snowdrops, first of the spring flowers.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I love that they blossom in the cold when the weather could very well freeze or bury them. I like to think they’re brave. Just as I like to believe I am as I start a new novel or try teaching a lesson I’ve never taught before.

My snowdrops haven’t come up yet, but to encourage them, myself and my readers, I’ve decided to post quotes on courage and risk-taking in general.

“To turn back is one kind of death; to go forward is another.”
― Elizabeth LesserBroken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“When thinking about what to do next with your life, don’t ask yourself what you would succeed at, but what you would most enjoy failing at.”
― Clifford Cohen

“Love is not something you protect. It’s something you risk.”
― Gayle FormanJust One Year

“There is no discovery without risk and what you risk reveals what you value.”
― Jeanette WintersonWritten on the Body

“If you don’t take risks, you’ll have a wasted soul.”
― Drew Barrymore

“Happiness is a risk. If you’re not a little scared, then you’re not doing it right.”
― Sarah Addison AllenThe Peach Keeper

“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
― Chuck PalahniukInvisible Monsters

“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.”
― William S. Burroughs

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner

“To turn back is one kind of death; to go forward is another.”
― Elizabeth LesserBroken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow

“You’re never perfectly safe. No human being on Earth ever is or ever was. To live is to risk your life, your heart, everything.”
― Rick YanceyThe Last Star

“To live, to TRULY live, we must be willing to RISK. To be nothing in order to find everything. To leap before we look.”
― Mandy HaleThe Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

“To save all we must risk all.”
― Friedrich SchillerFiesco; or, the Genoese Conspiracy

“The practice of love offers no place of safety. We risk loss, hurt, pain. We risk being acted upon by forces outside our control.”
― Bell HooksAll About Love: New Visions

 

Are you beginning something new this season? Taking a chance? I’d love to hear about it.

 

Source

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/risk?

 

Thirteen Tips That Just Might Help You Write a Page-Turner

As an author I dream of writing page-turner fiction and as a reader, I hope each and every book in my to-read pile is an adventure I’ll lose myself in. If you’re like me, you might be seeking that kind of uber-exciting fiction, too.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rupp

Recently, Heather Luby, an instructor with University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Continuing Studies Writing Program, who is also a writer and developmental editor, gave a workshop, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Achieving intimacy through Voice and Deep POV, at a Wisconsin Romance Writer meeting, that just might help to authors create compelling fiction.

She introduced a technique called Deep Point of View, which is a method of telling a story that puts the reader directly into the head of the main character. Here are thirteen of the tips she dropped that help writers and readers alike drop into the character’s skin.

First, cut filter words like: thought, wondered, saw, decided, looked and felt.
For example: He saw the woman pull the 9mm from the waistband of her tight jeans and point it at him. (becomes) The woman pulled the 9mm from the waistband of her tight jeans and pointed it him.

Including filter words creates a situation that has the reader watching the character perceive things and distances the reader.

Next, avoid naming emotions. Describe them instead. For example: A vein pulsed in Rachel’s forehead. She narrowed her eyes and spat, “You’ll get yours.” is more interesting than saying, Rachel was angry.

Characters come alive in details, so have them notice the unique things about their situations. Heather gave the example of having a character repair the hem of her dress with scotch tape. The detail adds interest and says a lot about the character.

Limit your character’s knowledge. Not only is this limit more realistic, none of us know everything, but mystery and intensity hook readers.

In other words, only reveal things that your character would actually know.

The point of view character will be blind to certain story elements and this will string readers along.

Write in the main character’s voice. Pretend you’re a method actor, that you really are the main character. The Deep POV technique strips away the author’s voice.

Ditch dialogue tags. Use action tags instead. For example: change “I’ve got to go,” James said, hurriedly to “I’ve got to go.” James scooped up his bookbag and bounded out of the classroom.

On a similar note, avoid modifiers like angrily, and sadly. You shouldn’t have to tell the reader that a character is angry or sad. Instead, show that emotion.

Be careful when you identify character’s relationships. Although it’s quick to write James, my brother, is sitting at the lunch counter, it isn’t a thought that a character would have. Since the character knows who his brother is, he wouldn’t have to use the identifier (my brother) in his thoughts.

Heather suggested an author make the character’s relationships clear through dialogue, a memory or through actions. For instance, a character should address James and say, “Mom always liked you best.”

Although you might not use Deep POV for an entire novel, Heather believes you should consider it during pivotal moments or decisions, highly emotional scenes.

Obviously, Deep POV isn’t something you can learn with a mere thirteen tips, but Heather Luby’s advice just might start you on the way to writing those stories readers can’t put down.

Joe Ledger: Unstoppable-A Goodreads Review

Joe Ledger: UnstoppableJoe Ledger: Unstoppable by Jonathan Maberry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be fair I confess I’m crazy about the Joe Ledger series and I love, love, love Ray Porter as a narrator, so you can probably guess I enjoyed most of the short stories in the Ledger universe—true. All the stories gave me insights into the personalities I look forward to following most and I was happy to see that all the characters remained spot on to their Maberry-written-originals. Dr. Hu didn’t suddenly volunteer at the local soup kitchen and Church didn’t reveal a secret past as a stand-up comedian.

One minor disappointment was Joe didn’t get to meet Agent Franks. I’d love to see a Ledger-Franks smackdown.

My favorite story was Red Dirt. Although the story didn’t have any fighting, it had a lot of heart. I connected with Katherine, the down-home-girl who became a doctor to help her community. Next, I loved that Ruddy Sanchez got the chance to play team leader. Usually, he’s the guy who stays at the base camp waiting to put mental band-aids on the trauma victims or counseling the returning warriors after mission. This time he, Circe, Top and Bunny investigate a mysterious disease that mimics Adult Onset Galactosemia, a disease I didn’t know anything about before this tale.
Other highlights for me were Black Water, a sad, sort-of ghost story which involves Joe as a teenager and Banshee had a super suit which would give Antman’s a run for its money.

If you like Acts of Valor meets X-File tales, you’ll enjoy these stories.

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Dangerously Dark-A Goodreads Review

Dangerously Dark (The Dreamcaster Series #3)Dangerously Dark by C.J. Burright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Zaire is the Prince of Purgatory, a V’alkara, a creature of nightmare and shadow. He’s sexy and terrifying. a lost hero, who despite a horrid childhood, is capable of loyalty, kindness and great love. He protects those he cares about and will do anything to keep them safe…and being safe means being far away from him.

He knows he trouble, which is why he doesn’t want to get involved with Quinn. Luckily, she’s fabulously stubborn. When they were both children lost in the dark, he kept nightmares from consuming her. She remembers and still glimpses the goodness he hides from all, even himself, so when a blizzard traps her in her family’s mountain cabin and a wounded Zaire stumbles across her porch, she opens the door to him and the terror on his heels.

What happens next is a suspenseful blending of two flawed hearts with sorcery and dreamscapes. My only problem with this tale was that it kept me from sleep as I had to read on to find out what would happen next.

If you like strong heroines who won’t stop until they’ve saved their hot but tortured heroes, you’ll love this magical romance.

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Announcing Missing My Heart-A New Release

Title: Missing My Heart
Author: Tina Susedik         
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Blurb:
Time: 1975. Place: Bourbonville
After the death of the grandmother Ellie Farrell had lived with since she was sixteen, she is tasked with the job of cleaning out the over-packed house. When Ellie begins to find love notes and money from a Burt to Randi spanning over four decades, she sets out to find out who these people are and what they have to do with her. An unexpected check for $100,000 dollars delivered to her house, ramps up the mystery – especially when death threats begin to arrive.
Patton Trullinger, an investigative reporter, comes to Chandler County to research bootleggers for a book he’s contracted for. As a Vietnam veteran, he’s dealing with PTSD. When he meets Ellie, he finds her mystery too good to pass up.
Who are Burt and Randi? Who is sending death threats? Will Ellie and Patton’s love bloom as the mystery deepens?
As a child, Tina Susedik always had stories floating around in her head, but had no idea those stories could be put down in book form as writing stories wasn’t taught in her classes. One day her brother (yes, her brother) introduced her to Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and the Flower. Tina was hooked and a love of reading, and eventually writing romance, began. Besides her romances, she is also a non-fiction writer with seven history books in print. She also has written and published two children’s books. She also writes under a pen name.
Tina has been married for forty-four years and lives in Northwestern Wisconsin. She has two children and five grandchildren. After careers in accounting and teaching (not necessarily at the same time), she found her career in writing is what fulfills her the most. When not writing, she loves camping, hiking, photography, reading, and playing with her five grandchildren.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Wisconsin Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime
Author Links:
Buy Links:

Announcing a New Release: Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire


Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire just came out and it sounds like a wonderful read. Here’s its blurb—
Humans created the Ultras, a genetically enhanced race, to defend mankind. Instead, Ultras became their greatest threat. With the help of traitors, humans captured half a million of the immortal warriors.

Exiled to an alien world with no tech, no tools, and no resources, their leader, Pietas, must protect his people, find food and shelter and unite them. But before he can, he must regain command from a ruthless adversary he’s fought for centuries–his brutal, merciless father.

Ultras are immortal, and no matter how they die, they come back. Reviving after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Some wounds heal instantly and a few take time, but battered and broken trust? Immortals may heal, but a wound of the heart lasts forever.

Genre: Science Fiction with romantic elements
Rating: PG13 for violence, no profanity or explicit content


Cover artist Brumae
DeviantArt https://brumae-art.deviantart.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Brumae

http://amzn.to/2zBIbP7

And here’s its excerpt–
In this excerpt, Pietas and the search party sent to find him have become lost and have walked for hours. When he realizes they’re near a summit that will allow him to see the valley they searched for, he heads for it. Joss, the telepath and warrior he loves tries to keep him from going, insisting she has a better vantage point. Pietas suspects a trick.

“Joss. The truth this time. What are you hiding?”
While she studied him, he remained motionless. The gentle prod of her mind against his shields reminded him she’d seen his thoughts despite his best efforts. Or perhaps she’d allowed him to be aware. In the past, he’d noticed such intrusion during training but never outside it.
“Pietas, if you want to see the caldera from this point, I can’t stop you, but once you see what’s out there, you can never unsee it. I’d like to spare you the devastation until you’ve had a chance to see the good side. If I take you in through the pass you can appreciate the true beauty of this place first. Maybe think of a way we can make it work here. Survive.”
Devastation.
According to Joss, half a million of his people lay in helpless cryosleep within lifepods on the other side of that hill. Over three thousand pods had been damaged beyond saving. The frozen immortals within them had shattered like spun glass.
A short hike above, the summit waited. In two short minutes he could see for himself. “How long would your route take us?”
“Less than a half hour.”
Once more, the short distance to the actual summit drew his attention. How many steps?
“Pi?” Six nudged him. “Is that even a blink in the life of an immortal?”
“No, ghost, it’s not.” How grateful he was for this man. “Besides, I’m patient.”
His sister scoffed. “You?” Turning to the twins, she pointed at Pietas. “That is not my brother.”
No, he was not. He was far better. His sister could see the change. Why would she not accept it? Resisting the urge to respond with cynicism, Pietas shut his mouth.
He gestured toward the route Joss wanted to take. “Let’s go your way.”
“Thank you for listening to me.” Joss took Pietas by the hand, reached up, and dragged a fingertip down the cleft in his chin. “This place is stunning. I hate that so much of it will be spoiled by our being here.”
“Why? Has Mother released environmental impact studies?”
“No, she–” More than anything, the look Joss sent his way resembled pity. “You’ll see. Not far now.”
“You’ve been saying ‘not far’ for hours. Did I not teach you to mark trails?”
“I’m sorry, Pietas. It won’t happen again.”
Oh, but it would. She wouldn’t meant to, but it would. He’d tried for centuries to teach her how to find her way, to no avail. He kissed her cheek and drew her into his arms, savoring her warmth against his body.
“Joss.” He placed his mouth near her ear. “You couldn’t find your way out of a round room with one door.”
She jerked up her head and looked at him, her eyes wide.
He drew a fingertip down her cheek and out across her full lower lip. “And I adore you for it.”

I was fortunate enough to get to talk with Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire’s author, Kayelle Allen. Here’s what she had to say.

How would you describe Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire in only three words?
Immortal, Angst, Heartbroken

Do you listen to music while you write? What are some tunes on your playlist?
I do. While writing this book I listened to numerous songs by the group Really Slow Motion. You’d be amazed how many major films they have done movie trailer music for. As an example, they did Beauty and the Beast, Justice League, Jurassic World, The Mountain Between Us, and Blade Runner 2045. Visit their website or YouTube channel to hear them. Website http://www.reallyslowmotion.com/ YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/reallyslowmotion Their epic music inspired most of the passages in Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire.

What scene from Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire was the most fun to write?
Any time I wrote Pietas and his not-quite-human friend, Six. These guys banter with one another constantly. But my favorite scene is where Pietas’s mother misinterprets their friendship and tries to play matchmaker. Awkward! I laughed out loud writing that.

How did the book come to be? What was your inspiration to write the book?
Bringer of Chaos: Forged in Fire is the sequel to Bringer of Chaos: the Origin of Pietas. The first book brought the immortal Pietas and Six together, first as enemies, then as grudging companions, and finally as friends. In this book, Pietas reunites with a former lover, the beautiful warrior and master telepath, Joss. Pietas has been in numerous other books, and I always wanted to know what made him tick. I’ve been finding out as I write this series.

What do you hope readers take away from your work?
Pietas has a blind spot when it comes to certain people. His trust in them is absolute. While the book reveals that trust is necessary, it also shows how violating it can break a heart and destroy a life. Anyone who’s ever had a broken heart will relate to this book.

What are you reading right now?
I usually read writing craft books and novels, picking up one or the other as I have time or need information / relaxation. I’m about to start a new Michael Connelly book. He’s a wonderful storyteller. I’m halfway through Creating Character Arcs by KM Weiland.

What writing advice would you give a fellow author?
Don’t give up. No one can take away your dream but you. Keep going and keep working. Learn the craft.

How long did it take you to write this book?
On one hand, years. I have thought about this character since I was 18. On the other hand, about 6 months once I sat down and wrote the words: chapter one.

Quick Draw:
Jeans or sweats? Sweats all the way
Coffee or Tea? Coffee hot, tea cold
Chocolate or Chips? Chocolate, darker the better
Boxers, briefs or commando? You mean on guys? Commando, baby. LOL
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate