If you’re on the road, cleaning the house, or out in the garden you still need to read a book right? Well now you can download The Running Game as an Audio book. Check out the sample and listen to the wonderful Mil Nicholson as she narrates my paranormal thriller.
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I’ve been speaking to author Carmen Stevens who has been telling me about her historical drama Anne.
Fourteen-year old Anne Falkman had beheld this all through eyes that esteemed the dire need to be firm and strong, haughty and traitorous. She had always espied the world with beautiful eyes that betrayed their attractiveness but clung fast to life itself and the hope for joy that such a thing as fate could someday bring her.
Anne knew this hope by it growing within her like a tree, and the longer that she forgot about it, when she felt it prick her heart again it had grown taller. She had acquired the seed of this hope through the only years of her life that she had ever known, the most unbearable, heart-wrenching years that no one so young should ever have the curse to possess. They were years that had tested her natural endurance and inner strength, but with poor end results. The compassion and kindness born into her had come to terminate long ago as such characteristics had lost their true shine as the conditions of her tragic life had gripped a sick hold onto them. Never was the girl smiling kind thoughts and words to the passersby on the streets and contemplating compassion for the weeping, but why should she? No one had ever really smiled and sent kind, sympathetic thoughts and words her way through the crude journey that fate had propelled her into. No one had ever really stopped to direct their attention to the neglect that was hers every day of her life. Thus, Anne possessed the knowledge that there was no one in the world who she could trust. She had contracted a vulnerable heart that was, in addition to all of the other negative traits that her personality had taken, sensitive not to offensive words and actions but rather to the uncommon airs of ego and vanity. Daily she paid ignorance and rejection toward many and indifference toward all. She had learned to live in no other way than this, and to only keep watch on herself and the sacred will to live for a life that was to bring her happiness and reason.
Anne’s father had been named William Falkman. He had been a common man of low station when he had fallen in love with an Elizabeth McFarkley, a beautiful, loving young woman of first-class society. She had likewise fallen for William, but was constantly harped upon by her egotist, persistent parents, who always insisted that a daughter like theirs was not about to be united with such a “common boy”. William and Elizabeth, however, loved each other too much to know any kind of negativity, and when the verbal harassing of Elizabeth about her love affairs came to a sufficient point, the two lovers finally decided to escape from such pressure, and elope. Elizabeth especially had treasured such an idea, as the love that she had had for William was far greater than was the love that she had possessed for her parents and their constant injustices.
Eloping was a bad decision. The sweet and naive Elizabeth never imagined that her own family would break ties with her because of her personal wants and dreams, but that was exactly what had happened. Elizabeth McFarkley, the gorgeous daughter of a wealthy politician, had made the choice to marry a man of much inferiority, and the consequence was the cessation of any further communication between her family and herself. When the surrounding areas became informed of such a consequence, they were heartily surprised to learn of how indifferent Elizabeth continued to act, in spite of such shame. This was because she finally had what she had always ached and prayed for-the perfect man to be her husband, and there was absolutely nothing in the world that could bring her down. Others did not know this, though, and they talked about Elizabeth secretly amongst themselves, calling her a “thankless, shameful braggart”.
No matter the cold, vulgar thoughts and feelings of these members of society that Elizabeth had grown up with, she and William, after marrying, decided to purchase a large, luxurious house near London. The home was bought with the sale of a number of quaint items that Elizabeth had run away with. As inconvenient as it had been for Elizabeth to run off with such special belongings, she had loved them too much to leave them behind, and furthermore, her intelligence had prompted her to bring them along directly after she had made the decision to elope with William. She had had a certain instinct that had told her that the money produced from the selling of those objects would prove to add up to a sufficient amount of money. As companionable as this house had been for the star-crossed lovers back then, it was the same house that Anne violently abhorred with a fierce retribution that coursed wildly throughout her being, as it had been the nightmare of hell for her, hell produced by the purest paternal abuse of every kind.
According to Madame Button, Anne’s parents had had a flawless first year of marriage, but Anne had already guessed that. She was well aware of the ugly life that she lived and wondered how a person like she, with a pain-filled life, could otherwise have come into the world but with sufficient pain on the part of her parents.
Indeed, the story thus continued. William had not been able to find a doctor in the time before Elizabeth had gone into labor with Anne, even as he had run through the whole of London on the foaming back of a horse. His youthful heart had been filled with terror for his poor wife, who had been screaming and crying in utter anguish for hours from her labor pains. He feared that Elizabeth was too frail to give birth to a child, and those fears were only to be confirmed a couple of hours after William had returned from his harried journey with no success whatsoever.
When midnight struck on that chilly night of April 4, 1754 Elizabeth did, with tears and trembles harassing her delicate body, give birth to Anne. The child, if anything, had appeared to be even healthier than her mother. William had performed the whole delivery of the infant on his own, vacant of the availability of a doctor, or even a midwife. He had certainly performed his best, considering how difficult it had been for him to ignore his wife’s continuum of heart-breaking screams and sobs. They had shattered parts of his heart and perhaps his composition as well, had he not forced himself to concentrate on every particular event that was folding out before his eyes.
When William had returned to Elizabeth after cleansing the baby, he happily announced what gender it was. When she heard that she had given birth to a daughter, Elizabeth smiled laboriously, and then, extending a shaking hand to rest it lightly upon her girl’s head, she turned with tear-filled eyes to her husband, stretching another difficult smile upon her destroyed face. She then began to speak, so quietly at first that William could scarcely hear her.
“W…William, name her…Anne. Anne…Elizabeth. A lovely name…do not mourn for me, darling…Love…Anne. She will be all that you have now. I…I love…you…”
Her last words said, Elizabeth fell instantly against the pillows, throwing a wild look all around her, as if she knew that William would break after she was gone. Plump tears once again began to fall before she slowly sank down into the bed in death. With his great love gone, William screamed a terrible yell of complete agony.
I’ve got a spy thriller for you today. Introducing Charles Ameringer’s The Old Spook
The spy/thriller The Old Spook is a roman a clef story about a fictional CIA special operations officer (Tom Miller) that takes the reader on a journey of adventure and intrigue during the Cold War. The novel begins with Miller reflecting on his 26-year career of spookery (1951-1977), during which he collaborated with rebel chieftains in Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia; plotted the assassination of Fidel Castro with Mafia dons in Miami; and matched wits with KGB agents in Mexico and Chile. Forced to retire owing to the reduction in force (RIF) of the CIA’s clandestine services in the wake of revelations of CIA “dirty tricks” during the Nixon administration, Miller retreats to his hometown Milwaukee.
But wait! Not ready to call it quits, he draws on his spying skills to set up a one-man detective agency. In his sleuthing, he takes on a missing person case that unwittingly puts him on the trail of a Mafia hit man, which, in turn, threatens to reopen the can of worms about his previous dealings with the Mafia. To avert this problem, the CIA reinstates Miller and sends him packing to Central America to make war on the Sandinistas. There, he builds a secret airfield, clashes with drug lords, and is the victim of a bombing. The man just can’t stay out of trouble. And the reader will enjoy every minute of it.
* * * * *
Three of today’s top action novelists have high praise for The Old Spook. Nik Morton and Frank O’Neill rate it five stars; James Bruno rates it four.
Charles Ameringer is professor emeritus of Latin American history at Penn State University, a former captain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, and before beginning his teaching career served as an intelligence analyst for eight years with the U.S. Department of Defense.
You can download this story from Amazon
Today is the turn of Melissa Groeling who has taken time out to talk to us about her book Lights Out…
So where’s that manuscript you wrote but don’t want anyone to read? Is it back in the bottom drawer of your desk? Maybe in some hidden file on your computer that’s password-protected? Or maybe you haven’t even written it yet—it’s tumbling around and around in your head, banging on the walls of your cranium, trying to get out.
Lights Out was definitely that hidden manuscript for me. I’m not sure why I kept it locked up for so long. I kept trying out different excuses that sounded rational on the surface but deep down, only came across as scared and self-doubting. When certain family members got the word that I had a finished story in the bottom drawer of my desk, it’s perfectly appropriate to say that all hell broke loose.
“How can you have a finished story and not do anything with it?”
“What are you waiting for? Send it in!”
“Don’t make me do it because I will.”
(That last statement came from my mother.)
So in the end, I took out the manuscript, dusted it off, ran it through some serious slicing and dicing and sent it in. Even now that it’s published, it still makes me nervous. I don’t know why. I think all of us have a book we’ve written that completely wrings us out, leaving behind our limp, useless husks. We all have that book that makes us question why we write in the first place.
But we don’t quit, do we?
Because really, what would be the fun in that?
Lights Out Excerpt
This was the core of it. This was where it was laid bare to anyone with the gift of sight. This was where monsters were created, where they destroyed, where they broke the weak. There were no happy pictures here, no fantasies, no dress-up. This was for the ones who knew damn well what they were doing and didn’t care. They didn’t try to hide it with gifts and toys and ice cream. This was where the darkness was, omnipotent and cruel in its entirety and judging by the darker stains on the floor, irregular-shaped, dried, and brown, almost black, very few could harness it. Very few could survive it.
He took an unsteady step back. Teetering on a knife’s edge, he howled, “Ethan!”
Rage pulsed, abrupt and loud, inside of him. He turned in an endless, frenzied circle, the need so great now to find him, to get him away from all of this, to get himself away from all of this that Paul nearly missed the small voice from behind him.
He spun wildly, almost blind with anger. His finger tightened on the trigger of the gun in his hand and he almost squeezed off a wild shot. Through his reddened vision, he saw the door in front of him, saw that the eye-slot was still open. It was a room full of fairies, the walls painted like a meadow. Little twinkling lights hung from the ceiling and he’d been pretty damn sure that the room had been empty when he first looked inside.
He hit the door with a soft gasp and peered in.
A little girl, no older than nine, sat on the bed, facing the door. She smiled at him, open and trusting. Her big brown eyes sparkled with youth and humor. Her brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail; wispy bangs hung in front of her smooth white forehead. She was dressed like a fairy, complete with shimmery wings, tights, and a dress that shone with blues and violets. The sight of her made him want to fall to his knees, the anger that had nearly consumed him just seconds before, crumbling beneath the weight of this small, fragile creature locked inside of a nightmare. She seemed to ripple as he stared at her like he was looking at her through plastic film. Paul wiped at his eyes, squinting, wondering if perhaps she was nothing more than a hallucination. Maybe she was something that his overtaxed brain had conjured up to keep him from making the wrong move. Her small, slippered feet swung freely above the floor, lightly bumping the side of the bed. The twinkling lights from above illuminated her smooth white arms. Her skin seemed to sparkle.
Fairy dust, he thought numbly.
He started to think that there was something familiar about her but then she asked him in a voice high-pitched, innocent and so fucking young, “Would you like to come in and play with me?”
He had to try several times to find his voice. “Uh, no, no honey, that’s all right.”
“But isn’t that why you’re here?”
He took a painful breath. “No. I’m—I’m looking for someone.”
She gave him a curious look. “Are you playing hide-and-seek?”
Jesus, God. Paul felt like his heart was about to break.
“Kind of. Listen, sweetheart, could you—”
“That’s my name. Melinda. You can call me Melinda if you want to. What’s your name?”
He swallowed. “Paul.”
She giggled. “Your voice sounds funny. You’re not nervous, are you?”
She nodded. “Good.”
The look she gave him was heavy and expectant. “If you want to come in, you’ll have to find Uncle Jack so he can unlock the door.”
Paul’s fingers bit into the small mesh screen covering the eye slot. “Uncle Jack? Do you know where I can find him?”
“He’s probably at the silo.”
“Yup. He always goes there before it gets dark.”
“What’s in the silo, Melinda? Do you know?”
She shook her head. “Only the bad kids go there.”
His heart lurched. “The bad kids, huh?”
“Why only the bad kids?”
“Because, silly, they don’t follow the rules.”
“What kind of rules?”
She swung her feet harder now. “You have to eat your food, do your chores, smile for everyone, and never, ever run away.”
“Yup. ’Cuz then you go to the silo.”
Paul leaned back, biting his lip. Then he said, “Okay, look, Melinda, I’m going to go to silo, find Uncle Jack and then come right back here and get you out. Okay? How’s that sound?”
A small frown graced her features. “Why?”
“You don’t have to get me out. You come in here. I don’t come out there.”
“This is where I belong. You leave. I stay.”
He blinked. “But don’t—don’t you want to go home?”
She flinched as if he’d struck her. “Home is bad. I get hurt at home.”
“Don’t you get hurt here?”
She brightened. “Nope. I get lots of ice cream here. Chocolate chip, too. It’s my favorite. I get it all the time because I’m a good girl.”
Her eyes were almost fever-bright as they drilled into his and Paul found himself backing away under the force of it.
He half-stumbled, half-ran back the way he’d come.
“Hurry up so we can play,” followed him down the steps and out onto the porch.
Bile rose in the back of his throat. He leaned over the railing and vomited.
Here are the links were you can find out all about Melissa Groeling and her work:
17-year-old Prince Sylas of Killeagh wants what every one else wants: control over his own life. When he tries to run away from home and escape an arranged marriage, the last thing he expects is to fall in love with a robber in the woods. Hiding behind a mask, the robber girl seems to lead a life of freedom Sylas has only dreamed of. Their adventure comes to an end when the Castle Killeagh guards hunt Sylas down and he’s forced to return home. He convinces his parents to allow him to find the girl again and consider her as a candidate for marriage, but he only has until the next full moon to find her, or all bets are off.
Death has a name, and it is Crwys. As a ban sidhe, her job is to visit the great houses of The Summer Isle and keen out the living to prepare them for death. King Sionnach has far outlived his days and it is time he cross to the Unliving World. When she arrives, a young prince named Sylas intervenes and offers to go in his grandfather’s stead. This break with tradition, and selfless sacrifice, move Crwys into loving Sylas, who looks so much like a shadow from her past. But when he crosses her to be with his true love, he invokes the wrath of a woman scorned.Rós is just a little, aura-seeing, red hen whose master believes she is chosen by the gods. Her arrival at King Sionnach’s court is insignificant to Sylas at the time, but their destinies are interwoven. Can she help Sylas save himself from the curse Crwys has planned for him? Or will he become a fallen frog prince?A NOTE FROM OUR HERO:
“Once upon a time, I fell in love. Madly, deeply. With my whole being. I’d do anything for the girl who robbed me of my heart.
I tried to save her…
But Darkness came. The ban sidhe, Crwys, death herself, wants me for her own. She thinks I am someone from her past, and she will not rest until I submit.
I have secrets. Some I can barely live with myself for, and every night I dream of two women. One I cannot save, the other I cannot escape….”
—Prince Sylas of Killeagh
WHAT REVIEWERS ARE SAYING:
“You expect the author of paranormal books to have a good imagination, but as you will find when you read the story, Ann Hunter’s is exceptional…. All of the characters are larger than life…”
—Derek White, Nerd Girl Official Book Blog
“Hunter will have you believing in heroes, once upon a time kind of love, and fairy tales again.”
–P. Gerschler, Afterglow Productions (publisher)
Sylas stalked the driver of a hay wagon bound for the king’s castle through a tavern. The hay driver took up a seat in a corner with a friend, but the prince boldly sat at the center of the boisterous conversation. Small town gossip had become one of his favorite pastimes while indentured to the blacksmith in Coad. Gossip spread like wildfire. Here was no different.
He kept his covered head low, plunking down a gold coin in exchange for a flagon of mead. He was always sure to wear his gloves and coverings when in public, so as not to startle anyone. Hearing the townspeople prattle on about their daily lives reminded him of his days in the throne room. With a smirk, he leaned back in his chair and croaked softly, “Sylas Mortas.”
No one seemed to hear at first. He casually locked his hands behind his head and croaked again, “Sylas Mortas.”
He repeated it a few moments later. The conversation at a nearby table paused. Sylas listened carefully to the two men sitting there.
“Say, you remember that old legend about Sylas Mortas?” asked the one man to the other.
“What about it?”
“He was a terrible son of a sídhe,” he said with a shiver.
“How do you know? That was nigh eighty years ago.”
Sylas took a slug from his flagon. He spoke over his shoulder. “I heard he killed virgins for fun.”
One of the men at the other table pointed to him. “See? He knows.”
“What does he know?” the other man muttered.
Sylas drank again. “Met him once.”
The two men fell quiet.
“The Sylas Mortas,” Sylas croaked a little louder, garnering the attention of other patrons.
“How could you have met ‘im? He’s dead.”
“I know. Bumped into him on my way here. Got lost in the bogloch.”
More of the tavern dwellers turned in their seats. Sylas continued. “He’s not as handsome as the legend says. Then again, he’s been dead a long time. You knew that though. Did you know he escaped?” Sylas tipped his flagon and drained it. He held it upside down over the table and cocked his head as a single drop fell out. He shook the flagon, acting dismayed that it was empty. Someone tossed the barkeep a coin and demanded this poor traveler be offered another drink. When it arrived, Sylas continued.
He placed a hand on his heart, pretending to tremble. “It was awful. Terrifying. The stench of the bog. The hungry, buzzing gnats.” He nodded to one of the patrons. “You ever been there?”
The patron, a fat, squat, balding man, nodded frightfully.
“Well.” Sylas smacked his mouth. “You know how awful it is. That son of a sídhe rose from the water in a belch of green bubbles. He bore his fangs at me. Yes, fangs.”
Gasps rose from the crowd like the sound of waves rushing the beach.
“The legend said he was a handsome lad. Red of hair, face kissed by the sun god. But no longer. Oh, no! He’s green now. Like a frog, and yet… not. Tall as a man, horrific to look at. I saw my reflection in his eyes as he breathed over me with long, yellow nails, and just dripping with spittle from those saw-like teeth of his.” A woman in the background swooned and fainted. Sylas forged ahead, breathlessly. “I begged for my life.” He faked an upsetting sob. Another flagon was presented to him. He allowed his hands to shake. “Do you know what he said?”
Some of the patrons leaned in. Others shook their heads. The woman who fainted received a good fanning.
“He said he would grant me one wish.”
“Is that how you escaped with your life?”
Sylas drained his flagon greedily. “No.”
“What did you do?”
“Too afraid of the price, I asked him only the one thing that came to my mind. What was he was doing in the bogloch?” Sylas said with a tremble.
Sylas drummed his nails on the table. “Sick and twisted as he was, he will not show his face in the light. That is why he’s been hiding there for decades.” He emphasized the decades bit. “And he will grant a wish to any soul brave enough to seek him in the bogloch, for I did not use mine.”
The patrons hushed.
He had to bite his fist to keep from snorting in laughter. His shoulders convulsed. He hiccuped a breath. Though deliriously silly inside, he appeared to be openly shaken. He knew people appreciated a good story. They paid for the rest of his drinks, consoling him.
He kept an eye trained on the wagon driver who was just as shocked as everyone else. Sylas gripped his final flagon and announced, “The dark prince Sylas Mortas, killer of virgins, does not wish his name to be spoken.” He slammed the empty flagon down a moment later. “For the wishes he grants are closely guarded, stemming from magic deep and terrible. They are not without their price.”
He rose and left, looking for the hay cart outside. When he found it, he hid inside. The driver was not far behind. Sylas smirked as he listened to him speak to someone else. There was fear in his voice, and Sylas knew at once that the driver would run his mouth, eager to tell anyone who would listen of this terrible creature in the bogloch. A bit of theatrics, a portion of truth, and just a twist of the words, Sylas thought, works every time.
Today I have a book from author Sarah Stuart and what’s so special about this book – well people you can download it free today. The promotion is due to run out soon so grab your copy from Amazon now.
Dangerous Liaisons opens when Lizzie inherits a Book of Hours originally owned by Margaret Tudor, James IV of Scotland’s queen. She used it, as people often did in the sixteenth century, as a diary. The queen’s influence on her descendants, her own daughter and granddaughter, and in the twenty-first century, Lizzie, and her daughter Lisette, is the thread that ties the story together.
One reviewer went on:
A real eye-opener into the world of behind-the-scenes London theatre. Poor boy may meet rich girl, but this is no Cinderella story. The determination to succeed is what drives the plot, and the heartbreaking backlash of success is what makes the characters compellingly human. Temptation, loyalty and betrayal…
Another included this:
The truth of who they are and what they do relies on how the dark past kisses the bright future of the theater in Britain and American Broadway… liaisons through love can prove dangerous at any level.
An excerpt, with the kind permission of Amazon, follows:
Who was he to plead conscience, or take the moral high ground? He scarcely knew her he’d spent so much time away from her. He was making excuses for the inexcusable. ‘No.’
Lisette shook his hand from her hair. ‘Leave me scared… stay tired… let Clement down. Concert tours will keep you living in luxury, superstar.’
God, she knew how to hurt, but the tigress was a thousand times more attractive than the supplicant. He pulled her onto the bed and silenced her with kisses… mouth… eyes… ears… neck… When he reached her breasts he tasted blood. Lisette closed her eyes. Tyrone, or someone before him, had been rough, and she feared it now.
‘Lis, a man who loves you won’t hurt you. I was confused, and I behaved the way V… she liked.’ This time he wasn’t using an excuse: he was stating a fact. ‘I’m not confused now.’
Soft breath caressed his cheek but he almost missed the whisper. ‘Do you love me?’
Denying it would frighten her, achieve nothing, and be a lie. He’d loved her from the moment…
If you want to know more you can download Dangerous Liaisons for free now, or anytime before midnight PST on Sunday, 5th October from: