Katie O'Boyle - Coming Home to Love

This was a fast fun read. If you take out the recovery aspect in the story line it is the average romance book. With the recovery and problems each person faces it turns into an interesting, page turning read. I personally think this book would of been better if I read the first in the series. I felt like I missed something between a few characters. For readers the first book is not a required read for following the story line in this book. The author provides just enough information to keep the story from going flat while allowing readers to see a little more into secondary characters.

I give this book 4 stars.

Coming Home to Love
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: September 24, 2014

With his health deteriorating and his spirit dying, Justin Cushman has come home to Tompkins Falls in the Finger Lakes to assist his injured nephew Joel. Sick of accumulating wealth for its own sake, Justin knows that his life is meaningless without a loving relationship and a purpose for his billions. On a whim, he visits Joel’s spa, looking for a massage to relieve his pain. Gianessa Dupioni is a gifted masseuse who knows what ails Justin, and she starts him on a journey of health and happiness. Too bad for Justin that Gianessa is devastated by personal losses and strictly focused on rebuilding her career. Justin may be a master strategist in the financial world, but can he persuade Gianessa to let love in?

Excerpt:

“You know,” Gianessa said, as she stroked his palm with her thumb, “I was prepared not to like you. Look how that turned out.”
He blustered. “Not like me?” He winked.
“The first time I saw you, you were badgering Grace.” She leaned forward, leading with her breasts. “That ticked me off.”
“And you wore your hair in that French braid, which ticked me off.”
She gathered her long, toffee tresses behind her shoulders. “You never said you didn’t like my braid.”
“I wanted from that first moment to get my hands in your hair. I plotted six ways to Sunday to get rid of the braid.”
“My braid is perfect for work. It feels elegant and simple, and it makes me feel put together and focused.”
He caressed her cheek and jaw and neck with eager fingers. “But you’re elegant and complex, and I prefer you undone.”


About the author:

Born in the upstate-New York village known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights, Katie O’Boyle loves the Finger Lakes in every season. She enjoys lunch with friends at charming inns, and she cherishes the lakeside porch as a place for intimate sharing, laughter, and inspiration. To the outside world, she is a tech-savvy college professor. In her soul, she is a passionate author of warm-hearted romance. She is hard at work on book four of the Lakeside Porches romance books and novellas.

Website: http://www.katieoboyle.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katie.oboyle.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TompkinsFalls

Blog: recent post on SMP Authors Blog: http://tinyurl.com/p5dntj8


Wolf Haven by Lindsey McKenna

This book is so emotional on so many different levels. A female suffering from PTSD after being tortured then having a father tell her that the suffering was all in her head. Oh wow that is just horrible. The author gives non-military a glimpse of what the brave men and women go thru after leaving the service. To know I have someone like these to characters protecting me is humbling.  I wanted to cry along with Sky when she fell and cheer when she improved. This was a great book.

A true 5 star read to share with a friend.


Wolf Haven 2Title: Wolf Haven
Author: Lindsay McKenna
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Pages: 378
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON
New York Times bestselling author Lindsay McKenna brings readers back to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for another gripping, edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense!
U.S. Navy nurse Skylar Pascal is struggling to regain control of her life after a traumatic crash in Afghanistan that nearly destroyed her. After losing so much, an ideal job at the Elk Horn Ranch in Wyoming offers Sky something she thought she'd never find again—hope.
Former SEAL Grayson McCoy has his own demons. But something about Elk Horn's lovely-yet-damaged new nurse Sky breaks something loose. Compassion—and passion. And even as Gray works with Sky to piece her confidence back together, something deeper and more tender begins to unfurl between them. Something that could bring her back to life.
But not even the haven of Elk Horn Ranch is safe from dangers. And all of Sky's healing could be undone by the acts of one malicious man.

Book Excerpt:Sky Pascal moaned, tossing in her sleep on the hotel bed. Her stomach was in knots, with the pain radiating outward. She flinched and drew her legs up toward her body. The vibration of the Black Hawk helicopter sur¬rounded her. She could smell the sweat from the bodies of the air crewmen on this flight to Forward Operating Base, or FOB, Charlie. The odor of the kerosene avia-tion fuel was always present.
She’d been asked to fly along with Dr. Aaron Zim¬merman to take a look at an Army soldier who was thought to have appendicitis. They had been over at a different FOB when the call came in. The FOBs were only forty miles from one another, and they were the closest medical team that could respond.
Now the vibration of the Hawk skittered through her. Sky was on the metal deck of the medevac helicopter as it raced through the darkness to reach the soldier.
She was an emergency-room trained R.N. and Zim¬merman, who sat near the door, was a surgeon, spe¬cializing in internal medicine. Two other combat medic crewmen, whom she could not see, were nearby. The two pilots to her left were wearing night-vision goggles.
The tension was so thick it felt like a wet blanket around her hunched shoulders. Her mind raced.
She was assigned to the Army hospital at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghanistan. A first lieutenant, she had three years under her belt in the U.S. Navy. It wasn’t un¬usual for different military services to have personnel assigned to the huge, busy hospital. She loved her job in the E.R. Sky was good in a crisis—cool and calm. That was why Zimmerman had asked her to go with him as he visited the outlying FOBs. If he had to perform sur¬gery on the spot at the FOB, he wanted someone like her with him.
But now her mouth was dry, and her heart was skip¬ping beats in her chest. She was dressed in Navy fa¬tigues, the “blueberries” coloring standing out starkly against others who wore desert-hued uniforms. Glad to have the forty-pound Kevlar vest on, Sky lived for mis¬sions like this. They were exciting and scary as hell.
She knew there was danger with any helo flight. The Black Hawk Army pilots, who were from the black-ops Night Stalker squadron, were flying high enough so the Taliban couldn’t send grenade launchers up at them. However, the Stinger missiles were always a threat. One could blow them out of the sky regardless of their alti¬tude. Sky was a knot of excitement and fear, adrenaline leaking through her bloodstream.
She couldn’t see through the darkness because she wasn’t wearing night-vision goggles. Only the four crew members were wearing NVGs. The flight wasn’t long to FOB Charlie, located three miles from the Pakistan border. There were only two platoons at the Army base.
Sky was told this particular FOB was an essential stopgap measure to halt or slow down the Taliban and al Qaeda soldiers trying to sneak into Afghanistan. FOB Charlie was an important deterrent.
Zimmerman had warned her beforehand that this would be a dangerous mission because of the FOB’s location. Sky had leaped at the chance. Maybe she was bored. But that couldn’t possibly be. She lived on the same dicey border of stress and pressure in the E.R. Night and day, men and women were brought in chewed up by the weapons of war. She felt no small amount of pride in being part of the E.R. team who helped save those lives. Now she was going to help a young soldier with appendicitis.
The sound of the engines changed on the Black Hawk. Sky felt a sudden lurch, the nose suddenly dropping. She inhaled sharply, throwing out her hand on one of the lit¬ters against the wall. Wearing a helmet, she heard the tense, short exchanges between the two pilots.
Something was wrong.
She caught a whiff of what smelled like burning oil entering the cabin. Her pulse ratcheted up.
A sudden shrieking, screaming noise blasted through the cabin of the Black Hawk. The bird banked sharply right and plunged downward. It happened so fast. The thumping of the blades. Being thrown up against the skin, striking her head hard on the bulkhead, nearly los¬ing consciousness. Suddenly, they were upside down. She hadn’t been able to wear the seat belt. The other crewmen were thrown around, as well. Yelling and sharp orders from the pilot filled the ears of her helmet.
They were falling out of the sky. The screeching of metal upon metal continued to shriek through the cabin.
Her mouth went dry. Sky bit back a scream. Oh, God, they were going to crash! It was some sort of mechani¬cal malfunction. Her mind swam with terror. Where were they? She couldn’t see out the window! Gravity was shoving her hard against the aluminum skin of the Black Hawk. She was scared. She was going to die!


About the Author

Lindsay McKennaLindsay McKenna is proud to have served her country in the U.S. Navy as an aerographer’s mate third class—also known as a weather forecaster. She is one of the original founders of the military romance subgenre and loves to combine heart-pounding action with soulful and poignant romance.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, Wolf Haven.







For More Information

Daughter of the Fallen by Madeline Wynn

Daughter of the Fallen banner 
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Daughter of the Fallen 2Title: Daughter of the Fallen
Author: Madeline Wynn
Publisher: Book Baby
Pages: 250
Genre: YA paranormal
Format: Paperback
Buy At:  Amazon
Most sixteen-year olds aren’t worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.
Typically, honor student May’s biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.
And it follows her home.
It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can’t tell if it’s trying to possess her… or protect her.
May’s thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced.  She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can’t stop.
As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth– and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

For More Information

  • Daughter of the Fallen is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads
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First Chapter: This is New England. And in New England, a town without a good witch hanging or ghost story just, well, isn’t considered to be a real town. So when I walk past the iron gate of the cemetery and feel the urge to bolt riding up my legs like a herd of football players bum-rushing the food counter on taco day, I set my shoulders and do my best to cowboy up. Set between imposing stone walls and punctured by large granite fists, Hillside Cemetery definitely looks like it deserves its sinister reputation, making my attempt at bravery rather brief. “This place sucks. Maybe we should just go.” “Here, watch your step,” Cay says and holds out his hand to help me over the uneven cobbles just on the other side of the entry. Once we make it over the stones, he drops my hand and pulls the recording equipment out of the duffle. We’ve been friends ever since kindergarten, when some boy taunted me for living in a “little troll house.” Cay, the kickball king, told him that it was actually a gingerbread house, and everybody knows that only fairy princesses live in gingerbread houses. He was wrong, of course; it was witches who lived in the gingerbread houses, a fact I pointed out to him later, but I gave him props for the effort. We’ve been “Cay and May” ever since, but the whole dating thing still feels… awkward. “Is this all from school or is Jack bringing some of his dad’s?” I swipe an errant curl of hair out of my face and cringe at my surroundings as I reach for the big videocamera. Why does it have to be so dark? Why can’t people ghost hunt in the daylight? You can still supposed get sound bites and whatever in the daytime, right? It’s not like ghosts go anywhere or sleep or, you know, whatever. “Well, the big stuff is the professional gear with night vision from school. And then we have my stuff.” Cay stops in front of a wide tomb, laying his multiple cameras and his mini video recorder along the top like they are the most precious things in the world. “Weird that Mr. Dowd put both you and Jack on my team.” “Yeah, weird.” And a nightmare. If it wasn’t for Jack, I’d be ranked first in our year, and, unlike Jack, if I don’t earn a ton of scholarship money for college, then I can’t go. Cay fumbles with the equipment, his breath rising in great grey puffs of frost, lingering in his dark bob of curls. I shiver. A BMW pulls up in front of the entry gate, looking sleek and new and out of place. I run an unsteady hand through my untamable hair…right…Jack. He gets out of the car and strides towards us, stepping out into the camera’s lights: short blond hair, high cheekbones, and a long neck leading to strong shoulders. Everyone at school, except for me, that is, adores him because he’s rich, intelligent and supposedly lost his virginity to a Victoria’s Secret model. Watching the god-like way he strides across the cemetery, you can almost believe the hype. He lifts his eyes to meet mine as he nods a greeting. My heart flips. Of course, it would be easier to dislike him if he wasn’t so damn… hot. I shake my head. I hate that about him, too. “You’re late.” I grab the sound gear from Cay and hand it to him, eyeing the orange-clad harpy of a girl trailing after him. “I had to pick up Alicia.” He indicates the thing as he straps on the professional sound gear. “And respond to your post on the AP History board about gun control.” I huff. “You think we should arm everyone with a credit card?” “What I think is irrelevant, Mason.” Jack’s the only one in the universe who calls me by my full name. “It’s what the Founding Fathers wanted that matters.” He holds out his hand to help me navigate my way over a broken tomb. I ignore it. He smirks, “Or do you not support the Bill Of Rights?” God, please keep me from throttling him tonight. Cay clears his throat. “WTF, losers? A graveyard?” Alicia Impestio. Wearing her designer hoodie unzipped so that she reveals way more skin than she has to, her straight brown hair is bleached at the tips and held off of her over-tanned face by some rhinestone-studded catastrophe. I grit my teeth. “Hey Alicia, glad you could make it.” Cay holds the minicam out towards her and helps her onto the cobbled path of the graveyard. “Whatever.” Alicia grabs the mini and swats at Cay’s hand as she struggles to gain a foothold. A challenging endeavor, I’m sure, for someone wearing flip-flops in November. She gives me the once-over, lips curling. “You really wore that?” She asks, mouth open with disdain. “Alicia…” Jack’s voice is low, menacing. “I mean” –she gives me the once-over and sneers- “Aren’t the Kardashians some of you people? They at least know how to dress. But, then again, they also know who their daddy is.” That’s Alicia: hitting where it hurts. I blink through the stinging at my eyes as my mind races to find something snarky to say...something to… “Alicia,” Jack snaps. “Stop.” “Fine, but tell Clay Aiken over there to hurry it. I’m cold.” Jack makes a motion with his head to indicate that Cay should ignore her as he adjusts the weight of the portable boom on his back. “Okay, I’m filming.” I say and catch the low-hanging harvest moon before panning down to Cay. “In three, two, one…” “This is Cayden Robison of Chase Hills High Broadcasting reporting on site at Hillside Cemetery. In 1734, three witches were reportedly hung just up the road, on the town green and buried, here, in this cemetery, in unmarked graves.” “Then, in 1864, three men were arrested for grave digging, and ever since, people have reported strange things not only here, but especially out behind the burial grounds, in the woods.” Cay runs his hand along the top of a worn tombstone. “Reports of paranormal activity really began to pick up in the past thirty years.” He pauses, and I pan the camera over to the creepy oak and the broken bench beneath it, hands a little unsteady. “Some people claim to hear voices, others see full-body apparitions, but most convincingly, in the 1980s, some kids back here partying say that they found satanists performing rituals in the woods. They watched as the group made a make-shift temple of one of the half-buried barite mines in the woods, and claim that the men actually raised a demon.” He stops, looking intently into the lens of my camera. I flex my fingers, my breath rushed, like I’ve been running. “Tonight, we’re going to dig for the truth and see if Hillside Cemetery is actually haunted.” Cays smiles. Deep breath, May. It’s just a story. Fairytales. There’s no such thing as demons, or ghosts. Cay motions with his hand to indicate that the “official” filming has ended and that now the “ghosthunting” part of the project begins. Why couldn’t we report on the old tavern, or maybe on one of the farms like everyone else? I blow onto my fingers to keep them warm before turning off the main light of the camera and switching to night vision. A dog barks. I jump. Looking at the shadows clinging to the crooked, thin stones more cautiously, my heartbeat ticks up. Stupid dog. Jack, eyeing me with something like concern, takes a step in my direction. “So, what exactly are we looking for? Has anybody actually taped any evidence here?” I ask, trying to put some steel in my voice. Don’t look stupid in front of Jack, May. He’s not freaked out and you shouldn’t be either. “Lots of people have caught pictures and stuff… a few good EVPs.” Cay stops and explains as he snaps a bunch of still shots. “Electronic Voice Phenomena. Voices of ghosts are usually at such a low frequency that human ears can’t pick them up, but you can catch them on tape.” Cay walks, holding out both a still camera and a wand-like mini-recorder in front of him. I follow, looking over my shoulder. “Sounds like a bad recording…or interference.” Jack laughs soundlessly as we slowly follow Cay’s movements. Is it wrong to say that I’m happy Jack’s here? I mean, it would be better if it was someone else, of course…. Cay storms around the tomb and wags his finger at me, dry leaves crunching beneath his feet. “It’s not interference, jeez May, didn’t you read those links I sent you?” No. The whole ghost thing is ridiculous. The trees at the edge of the cemetery, though, are freakish. Black and dripping with shadows… I absolutely would have read a link about a barite mine lurking somewhere beneath those trees. “This is creepy.” Alicia says, “Jack, we’re going to Eric’s party later, right?” Jack glares at her. “Whatever.” She purses her lips and tosses the minicam on the ground, “I’m going back to the car.” Thank you, God. Cay’s sweet, boyish features twist at Alicia’s defection. “We’ll do some EVP work, first, OK?” He messes with his digital voice recorder for a minute before holding the wand-like thing before him. He presses record. “Testing.” We wait. The frost from our breath hovers around us, filling the darkness with fog, hiding us from the trees. Cay looks to me. Then he pushes stop. He plays back the recording and we hear him say, “Testing.” Jack shuffles his feet, trying to lower the boom over where Cay is standing in the least conspicuous manner possible. A strange, cool feeling falls over me. My teeth clench against it. “Shhhh, May. Do you feel that?” Cay holds out his arm, listening. My body tenses. “Feel what?” I ask, angry at myself for my quickening heartbeat. “It just dropped like ten degrees. Ghosts need energy to manifest, and when they’re about to appear, you find a cold spot. Just like this.” He grins. Swallowing my galloping heartbeat, I refrain from mentioning that it is always cold in November in Connecticut. But a wall of cold that hits suddenly, in a graveyard, while trying to talk to the dead… “Is anybody here with us tonight?” Cay asks, holding the recorder out before him. “Is there anything you would like to say to us?” We wait in the silence of the night, Cay with the tiny, handheld voice recorder and Jack with the pro gear and mic, both recording, both waiting… The cold sits at the bottom of my stomach like a virus, lying, waiting to rear up and make me ill. I keep the camera on Cay with shaking hands, black hair falling in front of my eyes, but I don’t dare swat at them, in case I miss the shot. Cay plays the tape back. He waits, holding his breath as we hear his voice asking the first question, and thankfully only a blank pause before we hear him ask the second and I relax, shoulders softening, but just then, just as he moves to turn off the playback, a sound, a groaning, emanates from the small machine he holds in his hand. “Go.” “What the hell was that?” I shriek, jumping in time with Cay and reaching out to grab at Jack’s shirt. “It sounds like it’s saying ‘go’, hot damn!” Cay shouts triumphantly. “We like totally made contact!” Jack looks at my hand on his shirt and smiles. I let go. Crap! “Mason, this ghost hunting stuff is all bull, you know that, right?” Heart slamming, I hold my feet steady beneath my pounding heart. Bull, yeah, bull, right, I do know that. I nod at him, breath heavy. “Here, I’ll show you.” Jack lowers the long wand microphone to his feet. Arm muscles tensing as he pulls the battery pack off of his back, he plays back the feedback on the main sound recorder. He fast forwards then hits play. We hear Cay ask his questions and…I hold my breath…and…and…nothing. Jack’s right. Nothing groaned. Nothing said “go”. Thank God. “The EVP recorder’s more sensitive.” Cay says incredulously as he points the EVP recorder at Jack’s set lips. “It’s specially set up to pick up more sound waves than standard equipment.” “More sensitive than professional sound gear?” Jack raises his eyebrow and looks me in the eye. “He pre-recorded it, Mason. He’s faking.” “Cay?” “I’m not lying, May, I swear!” He hops around a cracked tombstone and grabs my hand in his, “Promise.” “Right.” Jack shrugs off the rest of the soundgear. “Using an assignment on local history as an excuse to play ghost hunter was a bad idea, Cay. Faking a ghost sighting or hearing or whatever to impress your girlfriend is just wrong.” “We’ve just experienced something supernatural here!” Cay turns to face Jack, looking wiry standing against Jack’s athletic physique. “No, we haven’t.” Jack’s eyes meet mine and my heart flounders… not sure as to what the hell it should be doing. “He’s lying to you, Mason.” My heart tightens, falls. “I am not, you dick!” Cay shoves Jack in the chest. Jack doesn’t push back, he just straightens out and looks to me again, “Maybe you should ask him what else he’s lying to you about, Mason?” “May, you’ve known me like your whole life, you know I wouldn’t fake this.” I look into Cay’s eyes, searching for the truth. He wouldn’t. For one, he’s not that smart. And he wouldn’t fake something like this. Not on purpose. Not if it would mean tricking me. Maybe Alicia tampered with this stuff somehow… And what the hell is Jack implying? “He wouldn’t lie, Jack.” I look across the field to the blackened woods. “Not to me. It must be the equipment.” Jack’s face closes...he’s pissed. “For your sake, I hope that’s true.” He hands me the sound equipment. “I can wait by the car if you want me to, but I won’t be part of this.” “Just go.” Cay demands, getting in Jack’s face. Jack raises his eyes to mine. My heart amps up. I force my eyes to the ground. I don’t want him to go. Safety in numbers and all that. Wait, Jack’s walking away…. I turn to Cay. “Why is he so sure you’re making this up?” Cay looks at his feet. “Probably just pissed he’s not in charge of something for once.” “Maybe.” I watch Jack’s form seem to disappear into the trees and tombs beneath the light of the moon. “Come on.” He looks over at Jack’s retreating form and says at full volume, “I’m your boyfriend and I won’t let anything bad happen to you.” Jack stops, back tight, and Cay sports a defiant grin as he ushers me closer to the tree line. After a long moment, Cay clears his throat and talks into the wand-like EVP machine. “We’re here to talk to you.” Leaves crunch beneath his feet as he picks his way through the tall blades of yellowed grass and creeps down towards the woods. I ask, “Wait, Cay, where are you going?” He hits ‘record’, ignoring me. “We want to talk to you.” Cay calls, talking to the dead as he motions for me to follow him, trampling twisted fronds of dead milkweed as he crosses the field of graves and approaches the trees. My heartbeat ticks up even further by the sudden stillness of the trees. No owls, no wind, even the yippy dogs from the condos have stopped. My feet stay planted, rooted… I really don’t want to go near those trees. Much less walk around in them. “Would you like to say something to us?” He waits for what seems like a year, then stops recording. He meets my eyes over the top of the view screen. He pushes ‘play’. We wait. I feel a trickle of sweat down my chest, sliding over my racing heart…I swallow the lump in my throat…waiting… Merciful silence. I let out a breath of relief. Thank God. That first voice was probably just the wind, or Cay doing something beneath his…. “Go away.” The voice is loud enough to hear, coming from the woods, and my heart takes a great leap, stomach trembling. Cay’s eyes widen, and just before I drop the camera and run back to the car, he grabs my arm, and holds me steady, fear like a giant nail in my chest…. and we hear it again, the voice, low, dark, barely above a whisper. “Demons.” Cay shivers with excitement. “Did you hear that? Were you recording? Did you catch what it was saying? This is like totally amazing!” “It was crystal clear what it was saying, Cay! And it means we need to get the hell out of here right now!” My breath leaves short, angry clouds of frost in the air around me, and I struggle to keep a good shot on anything as I look into his delighted face. No way. No way. This is bull. I’m being punked or something, right? He has to have paid someone to hide in the trees. He didn’t tell me because he wanted me to look scared on film. He’ll tell me later, we’ll laugh about it later… “No way, it means we’re going into the woods! How many times do you get a chance to possibly catch an inhuman haunting on film! This is like wicked hot.” Cay hops a thin sapling and walks into the forest. “Cay, please, let’s just go back to the car. We’ve got more than enough for our three minute assignment.” I say, voice thin. Please don’t make me go in there. Breathe, May, breathe. It’s just trees, dammit. You like trees. I look up to try and find Cay. But he’s gone, walking into the misshapen wood, trees bending, scooping at the ground instead of the sky. I peer into the shadowed forest, and then back to the graveyard. Dampening my pounding heart, I square my shoulders and try and think strong, think tough. I can’t let Cay go in there alone. He’ll trip on a rock or something and get himself killed. I take a deep breath, hope to God this isn’t a mistake, and take a step into the trees. The woods are definitely worse than the graveyard. The graveyard has some sense of form, some light. The woods here are a mess of fallen vines, thorn bushes and half-broken, half-dead trees and their sickly, barren limbs above. Holding onto the peeling bark of an old birch tree, I allow my eyes to adjust to the new degree of darkness. Having better vision through the lens of the camera than I do with my own eyes, I raise the camera and slowly make my way through the chaos. I follow Cay’s movements with the camera, watching his lanky form appear and reappear onscreen ahead of me, asking more questions of the voice. There are things here. I feel them, watching, waiting, my skin tingles at the sensation, as if it has sprouted thousands of tiny, needle-like thorns. The only sounds in here come from us, which is…well… wrong. “Ugh! That totally sucks! May, go around, I got caught in this nasty puddle here. Oh, wow that’s cold.” Cay says, shaking his foot and hopping around some saplings. “We should go.” I say. “It’s hard to shoot in here.” My path around the freezing mud leads me either through a patch of thorny undergrowth or over a massive downed tree. Right, over the tree it is then. I lower the camera and let it dangle around my neck and use both hands to grab the log and climb up and over. Landing on the other side, I pull a leaf out of my hair. Wait…why does it feel like the ground here isn’t frozen? My feet sink…what’s going on? Did I step into a pile of decaying leaves? The ground gives beneath my feet and the forest floor rushes up to my eyes. A moment of dark free fall and confusion ends with the clarity of impact. Pain bursts my body. Burning up through my legs, through my lungs, through thoughts of anything. Anything but the pain…erasing everything. I can’t breathe. Like a fish on a dock, I fumble as my lungs torturously pull in raw, slicing clouds of oxygen. Short, excruciating breaths, but I have to…. “Cay” I call for my friend, somewhere above me, but the sound that leaves my throat is too low, too guttural to carry. I’m wallowing, covered in something. Oh crap. Am I in a grave? I can’t tell; I can’t see anything. My heart is on overdrive. The smell is noxious. I wipe some of the sludge off my face, only to smear more of it near my eyes. It clings to my sweater, wet, cold, beneath my filthy coat. The stench, oh God I can’t see. What is this? The only light filters in from a small hole somewhere maybe eight feet over my head. Are there bones? What is that smell? Decaying leaves? No, too deep, and the smell is rancid, like something is dying, or has died, leaving me lying in a pool of decomposing flesh. Oh please God, tell me I am not in a puddle of rotting bodily fluids. The noxious fluid clings to me, burning my nostrils as I try and stop the heaving of my chest and I gag. “May! May can you hear me? Are you OK? Oh crap, I like can’t like believe this, if you can hear me, I am like calling 911, ok? Are you bleeding?” “Cay.” I try again, a low moan as my body’s initial numbness turns to tiny pricks, like millions of biting ants running up and down the length of my body as my nerves surge back up. I lay on my side, curled up in the mire. Fighting pain, fighting panic, I look around me. And see nothing. The dark is absolute. I move my head to look at my quivering, bleeding hands. They don’t seem to be broken. Okay, this is good. Well, maybe not good, but I’m not dead, and that’s at least something. Just calm down and think your way out of this. Check your legs. My right leg is sore, throbbing, but okay. I move my left foot and waves of agony reverberate up my leg. I exhale forcefully, trying to exorcise some of the throbbing so I can focus. “Cay!” My voice is a low, whiny croak…not enough…not enough… My eyes adjust, slowly, so slowly. I lean on my aching left hip. My phone. Open the phone. I pull my cell out of my pocket. Hands trembling, I flip the phone open. The ambient light I’m counting on fades to black, as if snuffed. Damn! I just charged the stupid thing this afternoon. It’s so cold, so dark… Breathe, just breathe. “Cayden Robinson. I’m at Hillside. No. My friend, she fell into like a hole...I don’t know, yes, a hole…no…look, you like have to get her out like now….” His voice fades. Breathe in…His voice echoes down to where I lay in a pool of grayish light. Breathe out….I look around at the walls, and see nothing. Nothing but darkness. Focus, May! Breathe in….Cay is up there, not too far above you, and you will be able to call to him in a minute, once your breathing steadies. Breath out… “Cay!” I call, voice finally unlocking. “Oh my God!” He fumbles, kicking debris down into the hole, “May!” “Just stay calm, OK?” He calls, “The EMTs told me to tell you not to move because you might have a neck injury or something.” Not move? Stay calm? Seriously? I feel my cheeks moisten and I stifle a yowl. Breathe in…. I wish I could see into the dark around me. Then at least I would be able to know where I am. Sitting in the only light makes me feel like I’m onstage. Remembering the light on the camera, I fumble around my surrounding area, only to finding more mud. Hot dammit! “I’m going to look around and see if I can find something to help you out with, OK? Like a stick or something.” Cay calls. I sit, cold, trying to stay calm. But I feel…something…. I feel it. I am not alone. The tips of my fingers go numb. Something is here…around…watching…. Cay returns to the edge of the hole and he leans his head over. “I don’t want you to like, freak out or anything, but I think you’re in the shaft.” The temperature plummets and my stomach lurches, “What shaft?” I ask, voice hoarse. “Like, the shaft, May. I think I just found the entrance over there, it look like it’s sealed and all.” My heart flutters. “Cay, are you talking about the mine shaft? The one the …..” “Yeah.” Cay murmers. “But don’t panic. Help is totally on its way.” Asshole! Don’t panic? Is he for real? I’m in the satanist’s shaft and he tells me not to panic!?!? Something shuffles in the dark not three feet from where I’m laying. My heart shifts, “Something just moved, Cay.” Cay’s head is back in the light. “It’s probably just a mouse, May, relax.” His voice is tight. Right, a mouse. But it sounds bigger… I hear a low-level snarling. Bile dribbles down my throat, burning as it goes. “Cay, there is something down here.” The color slowly drains from my cheeks and all feeling rushes to my core. Growling. Something is here. Growling. Oh God help me. Growling. My mind frantically searches, wishing I could see anything in the darkness. My throat tightens and I am barely able to whisper. “Help me.” “May, here.” Cay drops a glowstick down the opening, and I watch with horror as it illuminates a large, growing mass of shadow against the rock of the wall. No. The shadow is vaguely human in form, and can’t be cast by me. No. I’m on the wrong side of the light. My blood ices. Please somebody help me. Move! May, move! I tug at my legs desperately and back away from the sounds, but it feels like I am surrounded. I have nowhere to go. I have no escape. The light of the glowstick fades before it hits the floor, swallowed by the darkness, as if absorbed by this thing, and I hear the sound of the video camera’s plastic casing being ripped, shredded. “Cay!” Shrieking, I clamor at the wall behind me, looking for some sort of grip to try and pull myself out of the mineshaft, hands only finding slick stone. Then I feel it, hot breath on the back of my neck. “Get me the hell out of here now! There is something down here and it’s huge!” “May! Hold on! Help! I’m gonna, I just, like…” The black is absolute, but I feel it, breath tickling at my skin, everywhere, nowhere, my fingers scraping at the rock wall, trying to find a hold, a way out. “Get me out of here! Please! I feel it, it’s everywhere!” “May! What’s going on? Are you OK? Help! Somebody!” Cay’s screams are desperate above me as I fall to my knees, the air taking on life a life of its own as my fingers bleed, clawing against the rock. Can’t think. I hear another sharp, angry voice somewhere above me. Can’t breathe. I lunge right to try and avoid touching the mass of darkness to my left, but my head bangs hard against the rock wall and I can’t keep my eyes open. It all goes black.

*****************************

About the author



Madeline WynnMadeline Wynn holds a master’s degree in procrastination.  When she’s not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.
Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.
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Madeline Wynn is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
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  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends January 31.
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Author Interview – Sebastiana Randone @sebasti29567440

Image of Sebastiana Randone
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Discipline, tenacity and creative
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
Idealistic, gullible, impulsive and insecure.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
The trouble with the world is that the intelligent are full of doubt, and the stupid are cocksure. Bertrand Russell.
When I stumbled across this, I let out a sigh of agreement. In my life I have often encountered this, whether at social events, politicians bleating out stupidities or in the arts, where performers with questionable talents, network and blow their own trumpet incessantly, instead of actually producing quality work. I witness this regularly in mainstream media, where celebrities brimming in confidence, make meaningless statements and appear bereft of intelligence.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
Spain, and the Coast in Victoria, Australia (along great ocean road)
When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing this book approx. 3 years ago. I had written before this period. Poetry, essays and various journal entries.




House
The House is an adult fairy tale rich in mystery and intrigue.
Here is a tale of a woman so absorbed with historical novels that her own reality ceases to offer any hope of romance and beauty.
Until one day this dreamy idealist finds herself in a mysterious forest. How she arrived there is unknown. Soon she encounters a dilapidated house, within whose ancient walls magical rooms that transport to parallel worlds lie in wait.  There she is transmigrated to 18th century England, where our heroine interacts with an odd mix of characters whose dysfunctional lives become immediately apparent.
Her first tribulation involves a nefarious lord, an archetype of the monstrous characters one encounters in fairy tales. The ramification from this confrontation sets the tone for the narrative.
A magic portal finally enables escape from the austere Georgian dwelling. She is then spirited back to the enigmatic house, and a journey to Regency London follows, where a large cast of eccentric identities present themselves.
Late one night, following a long stay in Florence, a young, heart-broken poet arrives. His introduction to the beautiful time traveller offers promise of restoration and love. But there are several more obstacles ahead before her destiny in this curious adventure is made apparent.
In the end an unexpected twist is revealed. But like all good fairy tales, this surprising conclusion is pleasing, even though the means of getting there are dark, and at times sinister.
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Genre - Historical, Fantasy, Romance
Rating - PG-16
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The Man Who Lived at the End of the World by Robert Davies @ahundredstories

The Man Who Lived at the End of the World

September, 2013: When the summer ended, so did the world.

Staggering under a volley of meteorite hits, cities the world over are evacuated by the military as violent earthquakes, floods, storms and fires rage across the planet.

The journey unfolds through the jaded yet childlike eyes of Silas Stanley, a recently escaped psychiatric patient who must travel hundreds of miles across a devastated Britain to find his dying daughter before the world ends. Through ruined and deserted cities, flooded countryside and burning fields, Silas makes his way from an evacuated London all the way to his old home town in the Lake District, all the while startled and amazed by the world around him. En route he must avoid the strict martial law that is in force, and steer clear of the huge nuclear explosions being set off by the military in a last-ditch attempt to correct the earth’s faltering orbit.

On a world knocked off course and brought to its knees, love for his family finally forces Silas to face the enormity of his own past with just as much bravery as his uncertain future.

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Genre - Apocalyptic fiction

Rating – PG

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Website http://robertdavies.co

Author Interview – Ian Truman @iantruman

Image of Ian Truman

Who designed the cover?

I did. I actually did four covers. I designed apparel that went with the kind of music that the four lead characters would be listening to in real life. So Angela was inspired by The Weakerthans, Jake by Neurosis, Conor by traditional hardcore (Terror, Strife, etc…) and Sally had Anti-Flag.

I hired this girl who does band merch to print them and then I had friends of friends or people on facebook to act as models and I took most of the photos myself (except one where my wife took the picture) and I photoshoped the whole thing together.

Angela’s cover went to Kobo, Jake’s to Kindle, Sally went to Apple and Conor’s to a punk label, Sabotage, from Montreal. I kept the “hardcore” shirt for the punk community, I don’t think that many people will get it outside of that sub-culture.

Who is your publisher?

I’m independent but there is this punk label, Sabotage, that agreed to carry it on their webstore so that allows me to reach a bunch of punk kids and hardcore kids that don’t really go into bookstore of have goodreads.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

It was a story that I felt I just had to write for myself and for my friends. When I wrote Low Down I just wanted a gritty noir that really had little to do with how I was raised or how I lived, but I felt that I needed to write A Teenage Suicide so I’d force myself to dig deeper.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

Keeping it relevant while keeping it entertaining I guess. It’s not that I hope to entertain anyone with A Teenage Suicide, but I want people to start reading it and, well, keep reading it. It’s difficult to keep the flow going, keep the tone down to earth and still manage to portray this time and place and those kids that are going through these struggles.

Surprisingly enough, I think I had to make sure that young readers could relate to it. I mean, I’m 31 years old and so there’s no way I still have the same questions today that these kids have at 16 or 17. I had to make sure I was speaking from their point of view and not mine. And at 16 or 17, you’re clumsy, you don’t know everything but you think you think you do and you’re fed up with 31 years old writers who tell you “you don’t know everything…”

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

I have learned that you really need to listen to certain people when they give you feedback and then completely ignore others. I understand why certain authors only want to work with certain editors. If you find someone that actually gets you and your work (and that you can get along with them), then you’re a lucky bastard. I found one guy I can work with, but I’d like to have a second editor I could work with. I think that two decent editors (one for story, one for proof) would really improve my work. I only found one so far but one’s already a good deal.

How do you promote this book?

I’m trying to do a bunch of literary events in or around Montreal. I’m doing a blog tour, updated my website and I’m trying to upkeep my social media sites when necessary but I’m not a huge fan of it. It’s a necessary part of being a writer now but I’d rather write new pages than blog posts.

Will you write others in this same genre?

I don’t think so. This one was something I had in my guts and now it’s out there. I think it fits with what I usually write because it dark and has that dry, dark humour/satire edge to it, but as far as writing “Young adult” stuff, I don’t think that’s my goal as a writer.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

It’s a complex novel that addresses a lot of issues. Something you’ll often head me say about it is that I wanted it to be about kids making decisions and kids making mistakes. I think I just show paths rather than make a point but I guess I’d like kids to be more driven, more ambitious and not let the adult world lie to them or drag them down.

How much of the book is realistic?

Everything in there is realistic. I use real places, real names, real streets. I use Montreal a lot as a character too and I like to get into details a lot about these places. As far as the actions or plot twists, they are realistic but it’s not like I’m telling my story. This is still a work of fiction and not a memoir.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?

A lot of people I know have their moments in there. Sometimes I use their real names if they are a side character but the leads have been modified enough so that I can’t really say he/she’s this friend or that friends.

As far as life experiences, a lot of the novel is set around the punk/hardcore scene and that’s where I grew up so I know quite a lot about it, the details, the bands, the attitudes and why we get into the music to start with. I think that aspect worked out really well.

A Teenage Suicide

“All they really wanted to do was fuck around, be creative, listen to music, skateboard or go to shows. People kept telling them growing up was supposed to be tough but it’s not like they didn’t know that already. Timmy had listened. Timmy had finished school and got himself a job. That didn’t stop him from running his van into a pillar one night so what was the fucking use? Nobody seemed to have an answer.“

Conor and his friends are growing up in a one factory town where the most likely employment prospect is the assembly line or the farmer’s coop. Aiming higher than the local college, Conor finds himself spending more and more time in downtown Montreal, discovering himself through punk and hardcore music. But as his girlfriend wants nothing to do with the city and his friend Jake loses his brother when the factory closes, Conor’s ambitions could require him to burn bridges he might not be ready to burn.

With A Teenage Suicide, Ian wanted to write a story about kids making decisions and kids making mistakes. Stylistically, it is fair to mention influences of Truman Capote and Mordecai Richler. Imagine of the “cold-hard-fact” descriptions of In Cold Blood mixed with the realistic and witty dialogue of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

Ian Truman is a hardcore kid turned writer. He proudly claims to be from a working class family and has been straight edge and vegetarian for at least a decade now. He hopes to bring the passion, verve and dedication of hardcore into the art form of the novel. Born and raised in Montreal, he is a graduate of Concordia University’s creative writing program. A Teenage Suicide is his third novel.

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Genre - Literary, Coming of Age

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.iantruman.com

Order of Earth (Elements of Ink) by Jennifer Cornet @J_Cornet

Book Excerpt: (Chapter 2)

The brass doors opened behind her bringing with it an unexpected guest.

“I knew you’d come home.”

Onyx’ heart sank hearing him speak in that gentle voice. He always used that voice when he knew he was wrong; when he was trying to make her forgive him. It felt repulsively sweet now.

“She was just leaving,” Jade said in a firm tone as she turned to face him.

“Nicky, you brought a bodyguard with you? That hurts,” he sounded genuinely insulted.

“Goodbye, Philip.” Onyx said softly, suddenly lacking the confidence she just had.

Philip reached out for her arm, but Jade intercepted the action, grabbing him by the wrist and twisting it until he let out an almost inaudible yelp.

“You will not lay a hand on her. Not now, not ever again. If you so much as brush against her in a way I don’t like, I will break every bone in your body, starting with your pinky toe and ending with your skull.” She twisted just a little further.

But he didn’t lose his composure. He looked Onyx dead in the eye, “Quite a lot of bark for your little Chihuahua of a friend here, huh? Nicky, we don’t need all of this. This running away, the muscle, the hiding out, we are better than this. You know I love you more than anything in the world. Just come home, baby. I need you. It’ll be different, I promise. I’ll start going to therapy like you always wanted. You can even hang out with that crayon haired one. No questions asked. Just come home. What do you say? Come on, I need you.”

“Onyx, don’t you listen to him. Put the bags in the elevator, we’re leaving.”

Onyx hesitated, switching her gaze back and forth between the two. He looked so hurt, so broken up, she just wanted to leap into his arms and console him. For a moment, she could feel her heart ripping in her chest; she believed him. She believed he meant he would change and things would be different. She believed it and she hated herself for it.

Onyx rolled her bags into the elevator before she lost her nerve.

“Goodbye, Philip.” She said again.

“If you love her even half as much as you say, you’ll let us leave here. You’ll leave her alone and move on with your life. But keep the therapy bit, you need it.” Jade winked at him before joining Onyx.

As Jade released his wrist, he noticed a small green marking on her arm; a very familiar mark that he knew all too well.

The girls disappeared down to the ground floor, leaving Philip alone in his flower filled living room. He pulled out his phone and hit speed dial.

“She’s with the Order of Earth. Find out what family, find out who their Protector is, and find out now.”

OrderOfEarth

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Genre - Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG – 13

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Website http://www.jennifercornet.com/