Rasputin and Lee Jackson team up to create a Legacy.

I stroll into the shed on the wharf after a long day of fishing, longing for an ice cold beer. I enter and see the gang, shocked that my normally rowdy bunch of cohorts are, indeed, quiet. They are huddled together, riveted to a pre-release copy of Lee Jackson’s stunning historical thriller, Rasputin’s Legacy.
A miracle.
Tina and The Back of the Shed Gang’s Review of Rasputin’s Legacy:
 Lee Jackson is indeed a miracle worker. No one in our years of being avid readers of many genres, have we come across a book that combines history with intrigue with finesse like Mr. Lee Jackson. Taking past world events, mixing it with a secret spy organization, and espionage, to create a heart-stopping thrill ride, is a gift of brilliance! There are so many good things about this novel, that it would take us pages to list them all. However, since this is an honest review, we, The Back of the Shed Gang and our leader, Tina, would be remiss if we didn’t include the one not so good thing.
It should come with a warning.
Warning:
Rasputin’s Legacy will cause loss of sleep for those who dare to dive between the pages because it is so enthralling it will be difficult to put down!
There, you have been warned.
Now, go do yourself a favour and pick yourself up a copy!
(Rasputin’s Legacy has earned top place on our esteemed Beer Bottle Shelf.)
We are so excited to bring you a preview of Rasputin’s Legacy set to be released on the 28th of July!
But don’t wait for the release? Pre-order and get FOUR Bonus Prizes!

 

When Ronald Reagan sends West Point graduate and covert operator Atcho to execute a deadly mission, he finds himself deep in Siberia with no support. His foe is a Soviet general bent on a coup and gaining control of the USSR’s nuclear weaponry. At the back of Atcho’s mind is that the country he is sent to save is the same Superpower that helped enslave Cuba, his beloved birthplace.

Out of the gloom surrounding the murders of the brooding mystic Rasputin and the Russian royal family, emerges the evil that survived World War II. It fomented the Cold War and propelled their effects into the modern age. Atcho must avert their horrors, yet to be imagined on a global scale.


In a style reflective of Vince Flynn, Robert Ludlum, and Tom Clancy, Book 2 of this Cold War series is sure to thrill, and if you have not read Curse The Moon, check out the back of this book for a sneak-peek of the story of how Atcho became Atcho.
BOOKS ON FIRE TOURS REVIEW:
They don’t write books like this anymore, and though it took an agonizing wait of 3 years for me, it all paid off! I savored every word, as Lee Jackson’s meticulous research, well developed plot, realistic characters, exact locations and plausible events took hold of me. Though this work of art is pure Historical fiction, Lee Jackson executed his story so well, it was hard to distinguish fiction from fact. Far from being just Histfic, the plot lines flowed effortlessly from one action packed scene into another, with ample twists, nerve wrecking suspense, intrigue and rich dialogue. One of the few books in my opinion that not only served as entertainment, but it was thought provoking and educational too. When the last page is turned you are left with a jaw-dropping ending and yet Lee Jackson left room for book three in the series too. The best part is that you don’t have to read Book 1 in the Cold War Series to enjoy this book, but you wouldn’t want to miss out on a beautiful father/ daughter story, now would you?
<span style=”font-size: 12pt;”So go on and splurge on an electrifying action packed emotional journey about a man who has to save the very country that betrayed him, all whilst staying one step ahead of his stubborn girlfriend and a relentless reporter.
WHAT SOME LEGENDS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THE BOOK:

 

Carmine Zozzora, Producer of Die Hard with a Vengeance and Color of Night. “Pure Gold! Atcho grabs you at the beginning, and won’t let go.”

 

Bill Thompson, Editor of Stephen King’s Carrie and John Grisham’s The Firm. “With this page-turning thriller, Lee connects the brooding mystic Rasputin to the Cold War, traces his dark influence into the present, and makes it relevant to today’s churning world events. Stunning!”

 

Lieutenant-General Rick Lynch (Retired), former Commanding General, 3rd Infantry Division during the Surge in Iraq.“Clearly one of the best books of historical fiction I have ever read. Extremely entertaining and educational at the same time.”

 

Joe Galloway, NYT Bestselling Author of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young (adapted to a Mel Gibson movie) and We Are Soldiers Still“Wow! The story is gripping and plausible, the warning real. A must read.”

 

Kris “Tanto” Paronto, Hero of Benghazi, Bestselling Author of The Ranger Way.“Riveting! Lee Jackson takes you on a thrilling ride through the intrigue of the Soviet Union as it races toward its final days. Feel the fight of those reaching for freedom against the chaos brought on by Rasputin. Couldn’t put it down.”

 

D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review.“It takes a deft hand and clear mind to weave past and present events together in such a manner that several possible future paths become crystal clear, but the main strength of Rasputin’s Legacy lies in its ability to introduce a cast of characters that swirl around Presidential politics and dangers without becoming confusing or overly complicated. Thriller readers who enjoy stories of espionage, subterfuge … will find high-octane action throughout Rasputin’s Legacy, with the special note that its exceptionally swift pace does not translate to an iota of confusion, and its conclusion is absolutely stunning…. (It) will keep readers guessing and on edge … from start to finish.”
EXCERPT
Burly thrust his hands deep into his pockets. “That’s right. You never spoke to either of them. They will both disavow you.” He studied Atcho’s face as if to discern whether he fully understood.
Atcho’s eyes narrowed.
“Got it. Has Yermolov made contactinside the Soviet Union?”
“Don’t know. A good bet is that he has. He’ll move cautiously. The CIA guy in Paris was monitoring a group with a lot of money. They might provide Yermolov safe haven until he’s built a base of
support inside the Soviet Union, and then finance his return.”
“What’s their skin in the game?”
Burly seemed reluctant to go into depth. “C’mon,” Atcho urged.
“I need to know this stuff.”
The big man spoke deliberately. “Elections are coming up in the Soviet Union in four months. They’re the first that resemble free elections since the Russian Revolution. Any disruption of voting
could set up a return to a Stalin-like dictatorship, and you know what that could mean for US-Soviet relations.”
“None of that explains why a group in Paris would help Yermolov.”
Burly arched his eyebrows. He sat back as if reluctant to proceed.
“We’ve known each other a long time, buddy. Stay with me. What I’m going to tell you is way out there.”
“Get on with it.”
Burly leaned toward Atcho. “Do you know anything about the fall of the tsar, or a Russian mystic called Rasputin?”
“I’ve heard of that Rasputin guy; and I know that the tsar’s family was executed. What does that have to do with now?”
Burly told him, in detail. Atcho listened, stunned. “Yermolov,” he whispered. “I suppose they want me to make sure he stays dead.”
As he spoke, visions swirled in his head, of unspeakably small torture boxes in dank, dark dungeons; of an impossible escape attempt under the unforgiving glare of an accursed full moon; of coerced training in a non-existent camp outside of Moscow; of years lost while separated from his beloved daughter. Would I risk that again?
Burly exhaled slowly. “I’m your friend. Believe that, even if I’m the guy sending you into harm’s way.” His reluctance to say more was palpable. “Reagan wants him alive.”
Atcho’s disbelief showed. “You can’t be serious. Reagan wants me to bring Yermolov back to Washington?”
Burly shrugged. “We need to know the damage he’s done, and we can’t allow him to pass more military secrets to the Soviets. But if you can’t catch him, kill him. Your call.”
Atcho closed his eyes and leaned his head back. “Does Gorbachev know about that part of the mission?”
“No.”
Atcho sat back in his chair, deep in thought. After some moments, he lifted his head and looked at Burly. “Anything on the burglary at my house?”
“Yeah.” Burly was somber. He reached into his pocket, pulled out several small objects, and held them in his open palm. “The cops think it was a burglary, but my guys did a sweep of your apartment.
Whoever it was planted these bugs there.”
Atcho stared at the listening devices. “So, someone is already on to this mission,” he said slowly.
“Maybe. The cops don’t know about the bugs. I’ll get them to downplay the burglary. Maybe that’ll keep Collins from going down that rabbit hole.”
Atcho stood. He felt fatigue seeping into his bones. “We can talk about this again tomorrow. I’ll give you my answer then.”
THAT”S RIGHT!!! Pre-Order purchasers will receive these 4 BONUSES FREE!
  • Bonus 1: The True
    Story Behind Atcho
  • Bonus 2: SMACKDOWN
    An Excerpt From a Work in Progress
  • Bonus 3: Aleksey’s
    Account of Rasputin’s Murder
  • Bonus 4: A
    Complimentary eBook of CURSE THE MOON*
* To receive your CURSE THE MOON eBook, email a copy of your
purchase receipt to GetDigitalCurseTheMoon@gmail.com.
For those who purchase Paperbacks during the Pre-Order period,
email a copy of your purchase receipt to GetDigitalCurseTheMoon@gmail.com.
You’ll receive back all the bonuses in eBook form.
If you would like your book autographed, tell us that in your email. We’ll provide back an address to which to send your copy. When sending, be sure to include pre-paid shipment materials to send the autographed book back to you.




Lee Jackson is a bestselling, award-winning thriller author. He was an Infantry officer with a front row seat on world affairs, and spent 38 months in Iraq and Afghanistan. Book 1 of his Cold War Series, Curse The Moon was published in 5 countries. Book 2, Rasputin’s Legacy, is due to go on pre-order on June 28, and will be fully released by July 28. Curse The Moon follows Atcho, a counter-revolutionary leader in Cuba turned unwilling spy in the U.S. The odds he faces seem overwhelming as he must choose between saving the world from nuclear holocaust – or his daughter. In Rasputin’s Legacy, he faces a surreal challenge: he must save the country that enslaved his own, or deliver control his personal desire for revenge? Lee Jackson lives and works with his wife in Texas.

 

Connect with him on the following sites:

 

The Cold War. A backdrop to betrayal. A playground to power. When his daughter is kidnapped, Cuban-born, West Point Graduate Atcho must be a sleeper agent to men he’d rather kill. Atcho’s rise opens doors into US National Defense even as a seemingly omniscient KGB officer holds unflinching sway over his actions. His public life clashes with secrets that only he and his tormentor share, isolating him in a world of intrigue among people whom he is determined not to betray. His choice: save his daughter, or save he world from nuclear holocaust.When the darkness of night is your only camouflage, you learn to Curse the Moon. Get your copy here now. Curse The Moon is the first book in Lee Jackson’s Cold War Series. The sequel, Rasputin’s Legacy, will be released in late-April 2017.In the tradition of Robert Ludlum’s page-turner, The Bourne Identity, Atcho fights against overwhelming odds, bleeds when hurt, and won’t back down. Think: Jason Bourne meets Dr. Zhivago.

To experience the violent intrigue of Cold War Cuba and Russia vs. the United States, get Curse The Moon today.

 

 

Book & Press Guild Reviewer: Natasha Johnstone

Curse The Moon: Cold War Rising

ISBN: 978-0-9898025-0-5

Author: Lee Jackson

Stonewall Publishers, LLC
RATED 4 GUILD STARS
Atcho is known by many names but his only goal is to find his daughter who was kidnapped by a Russian General called Govorov. All he wants to do is find her and flee to the US where he was a former student at West Point when he was younger. His friend Juan convinces him to go to a secret meeting with members of the CIA who wanted their help to rise up against Castro and might help him find her.
In a cruel twist of fate, just as he hears of her release, he is thrown into the middle of the Cuban Revolution where actual events are true and based on fact. He leads the revolutionaries through the battle of the Bay of Pigs, but things don’t go as planned and he gets caught where he spends fourteen years in the Boniato prison. He is sent to the Isle of Pines prison for another five years. He goes from planning and training men for revolution to planning and training men to escape out of prison. Though, he did not escape it was not in vain as years later one of the prisoners he helped escape is responsible for his release. Just when he reunites with his daughter, who’s own story is gripping, he finds himself working for the very same General Govorov and the Soviet Union to once again keep his daughter save.

Curse The Moon is an action packed, deeply moving story about a man’s desperate struggle to reunite with his daughter amid political, social and personal change. It grips the reader from the starts as depicted in this excerpt from the first paragraph: ‘Atcho slouched against a wall, alone in a small plaza illuminated by the dim yellow light of a single streetlamp. His eyes probed the surrounding darkness. His fine, aristocratic features were hidden behind a week’s growth of unkempt beard, while his normally well-groomed hair fell in shaggy brown locks below his ears. Since state Security Police, commonly referred to as G-2, had never seen Atcho, at least not as himself, they knew him only by reputation. Tonight, they would be looking for his messenger. Atcho’s ears strained for the sounds of approach. His powerful frame ached to be released from its tense stance. “For Isabel,” he muttered.
“From there, the mystery and intrigue incorporated into this action packed book by the ever present General Govorov in Atcho’s life ensures that the pages turn themselves!

But, there is more to this book than a thrilling personal story with a political backdrop. This remarkable book with very deep rooted plot lines portrays a very emotional story, which had a huge impact on me. The book integrates both the history of a country and a man, in an intelligent and gripping manner as well. In this beautifully written book, and in the ever changing landscape that is Atcho’s life, the only constant remains the moon as taken from this excerpt, “You’re always there,” Atcho murmured to the moon. “It seems you are the only benign constant in my life.” His mind drifted. (sic) The book is available at the following online stores:

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Get your bad boy on with the Motorcycle Master and Maggie Carpenter!

It is winter outside the shed on the wharf and Maggie Carpenter’s latest has melted the snow surrounding our little haven. The back of the shed gang couldn’t handle this much sizzle, afraid that the words would melt the rubber off their rubber boots, so they are ice fishing somewhere in the harbor, leaving me alone with my new book boyfriend.
I pick up Motorcycle Master with a pair of insulated gloves, settle in my favorite lawn chair, and make sure there is plenty of water before I turn the first page.
Join me.
Just make sure you bring a fan.

The explosive passion and action inside this book will leave a lasting memory! Join us as we bring you the latest Maggie Carpenter book, Motorcycle Master!

  • Publisher: Dark Secrets Press (March 21, 2017)
  • Publication Date: March 21, 2017
  • Cover Model: Angel Macho

 





Marco D’Angelo is living a lie.Tall, powerful,brooding,and intimidating, he is the muscle for a nefarious motorcycle gang, but he has been working undercover for the D.E.A., chasing a shadowy drug lord.

For two long years Marco has been forced to remain a loner, his life in constant danger, but when Kat Baldwin joins the club, he suddenly finds himself in a quandary.
Rebellious, raven-haired and green-eyed, wearing leathers that cling to her voluptuous curves, she takes his breath away.Though his keen instinct tells him there’s more to Kat than meets the eye, and she is trouble with a capital T, he can’t ignore the intense chemistry blazing between them.
But questions linger. Is she connected to the ruthless drug lord? Marco senses an agenda, but what is it, and how can he resist the intense desire surging through him?
Maggie Carpenter has created a fast-paced, action-packed, suspenseful story that streaks though the pages. Lose yourself in this sizzling romance. Climb on a Harley and escape the mundane. Click for your copy today.

Publisher’s Note:

 

MOTORCYCLE MASTER: Bad Boy Angel

includes sexual scenes, spankings and violence. If such matter offends you, please do not buy this book. Though this is the first of the series Bad Boy Angel, it is HEA!

 

 

AMAZON
Get her other books here!

 

 

Award-winning and best-selling author Maggie Carpenter has published over fifty romance novels, and is the recipient of a number Spanking Romance Reviews awards spanning a variety of genres. Her readers describe her work as, romantic, funny, suspenseful, beyond a five-star read, exciting romance with a ton of surprises.

Her work includes a best-selling twelve-book contemporary cowboy series, Cowboys After Dark, (http://amzn.to/2ihCNtp), a warrior fantasy trilogy, Warriors After Dark, (http://amzn.to/2iE0cDa) contemporary love stories, and several Victorian romances. His Willful Bride was a #1 best-seller for several weeks and a
BookBub Feature Deal. She is best known for her smart, witty, strong-willed women who bring unexpected challenge, mystery and humor into the lives of passionate, dominant men.
Maggie has a history in show-business both in front of and behind the camera, but moved from Los Angeles to live in the Pacific Northwest to pursue her writing. She is an equine enthusiast who rides every day, and writes until the wee hours of the morning when her eyes close only because they must.
This author loves to hear from readers. You can contact her through her website: www.MaggieCarpenter.com. To sample her work for free, go to, www.3FreeBooks.com. http://www.maggiecarpenter.com/gift/

 

 

 

 

Leaning forward she gripped the arms of the solid wooden chair, but as her fingers curled around them she lifted her eyes and locked his. It was unnerving, but all he could do was continue, and raising his hand he began slapping her bright red cheeks. Moving his flattened palm from side to side, he carried it from the center of her backside down to her sit spot and back up again. Her utterances did nothing to lessen the action of his spanking hand, and for a moment he wondered if there were sounds of pleasure, not pain. A loud groan caught his attention, and looking up he saw Kratos breathing heavily, his eyes half-closed.
Pull up your pants and sit down,Marco muttered, quickly moving behind her so she couldn’t spy the bulge in his jeans.
You get the message?Kratos growled. Marco here is in charge. The rules are simple; dont mess with the boys who are taken, dont taunt anyone, and I mean, anyone, dont girly gossip, and if youve got a beef, you take it to him. Questions?
No.
He narrowed his eyes.
Start any trouble and youre ass will be a roasted tomato before its kicked outta here, got it?
Yep.
Take her into the bar, buy her a drink, let everyone know shes okay, then come back here.

Marco nodded, and grateful his erection was subsiding, he followed her as she headed to the door, but her luscious behind was seductively swinging from side to side, and he couldnt seem to rip his eyes from the salacious sight.

Why do you talk so much?she quipped as they made their way down the hallway towards the bar. A girl cant get a word in edgewise.
You want another visit from my hand?
Name the place, give me a time, and Ill make sure Im five minutes late,she retorted, her husky voice making him want to shove her against the wall and crush her lips with his.
Better be careful what you wish for.
Why was she still being defiant? Had he been right? Had she enjoyed getting her butt smacked?
Wheres the fun in that?
Who said anything about fun?
He had stopped walking and was scowling down at her. Women in the club didnt dare talk back to him, but it was turning him on.
Are you always such a grouch, or is my sparkling personality bringing out the best in you?
Keep it up and youll bring out the beast in me.
Thats clever,she exclaimed, her eyes widening. I like that. Can I steal it?
Gripping her arm, he hustled her across to the bar, and as though she weighed an ounce, he picked her up by the waist and plonked her on a barstool.
Everyone,he declared, turning to face the crowded tavern, this is Kat,then shifting his attention to the bartender he leaned across the counter. Jim, one of whatever she wants.
Sure, Marco,the bartender replied. Nice to meet you, Kat. Whats it gonna be?
Marco was already walking away when he heard her answer.
Marco, straight up, with a twist of lemon wrapped around his you-know-what.

 

 

Books In Fire Tours ~ Expect the unexpected. Maggie Carpenter does it again in this Biker book! Marco, also known as Brooder, is not just a Dom, but an undercover DEA agent who has spent two years working his way up the ladder. Third from the throne, the last thing he can afford is to have his cover blown.
He is so close to being able to return to his normal life, when Kat walks in and turns his world upside down. But Kat is not what she seems, and things get worse when bodies start piling up!
This absorbing read will not only have you transfixed on their relationship, but also the action packed events that unfold. In my opinion, it is fascinating, spellbinding and worth every single 5 star!

Julie and Roman: Episode Interactive instructions.

It has come to my attention that there may be some confusion over recent posts with the title Episode Interactive, Julie and Roman or Mysterious: Cold Vengeance. Some of my family and friends may have mistaken this post is advertising my new novel, it’s not.

Julie and Roman and Mysterious: Cold Vengeance are stories on the widely popular game app, Episode Interactive, that features animated like stories that allow the reader to make choices throughout the story, making it interactive. For example, Julie and Roman are filled with choices to make you, the reader a part of my story! Like customizing characters, what they wear and whether or not they want to share that dirty little secret!

In order for Julie and Roman and other future stories of mine to become a success (and with enough views, I can get paid for my work!) I need readers! For each chapter you complete, my story climbs in the ranks. The higher the rank, the more visibility I receive, earning more readers.

I’m also currently entered an Episode Interactive contest as another attempt to make myself more visible to the millions of users of the app. Your support there is appreciated as well. I will let you know when my story is entered.

To help those who aren’t familiar with this game, I have given detailed instructions below.

Thank you for your help!

STEP 1: Go to app store for iPhone or Google Play for android and download the Episode interactive app:

 

STEP 2: OPEN APP.  CLICK ON HAVE AN ACCOUNT LOG ON. (CLICK ON THIS EVEN IF YOU DON’T)

STEP 3: CLICK ON HOW YOU WANT TO SIGN IN. GOOGLE ACCOUNT OR THROUGH FACEBOOK.

 

STEP 4:  LET THE APP LOAD

STEP 5:  THE APP WILL TAKE YOU TO THIS SCREEN. UP IN THE UPPER RIGHT-HAND CORNER TAP ON THE MAGNIFYING GLASS:

STEP 6: AT THE NEXT SCREEN TYPE IN TINA TRAVERSE IN THE SEARCH BOX

 

STEP 7: THE NEXT SCREEN WILL GIVE YOU A LIST OF MY STORIES. CLICK ON THE ONE YOU WANT TO READ. (JULIE AND ROMAN, MYSTERIOUS: Cold Vengeance (not pictured)

STEP 8: CLICK THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE MIDDLE.

ONCE YOU START THERE WILL BE CHOICES GIVEN TO YOU BY ME AS YOU READ. THEY COULD BE CUSTOMIZING YOUR CHARACTER(S), DECIDING WHAT TO WEAR OR EAT, OR EVEN WHETHER OR NOT TO TELL THAT SECRET. SOME CHOICES MAY EVEN AFFECT THE WAY THE STORY GOES.

IT IS UP TO YOU! HAVE FUN WITH IT!

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR ME OR LIKE TO MAKE A COMMENT ABOUT MY STORY THERE IS AN AUTHOR Q & A. PRESS ON THE THREE DOTS ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT SCREEN.

TAP ON AUTHOR Q&A

TYPE IN YOUR QUESTION:

PRESS CONTINUE AND SUBMIT. I WILL ANSWER ASAP.

I HOPE THIS IS CLEAR. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!

ENJOY!!

Sorrow’s Edge book tour

WRITERS ON THE WHARF REVIEW OF SORROW’S EDGE:

Clutching the latest release by celebrated author, Danielle DeVor, I settle in my favorite easy chair in my shed on the wharf and open the first page of Sorrow’s Edge, book Two of the Marker Chronicles.

I had only planned to read a couple of pages before retiring to my chambers but ended up reading the entire tale in one sitting, it was that hard to put down!

Since I didn’t read book one, Sorrow’s Point, I expected to be lost and not know what in the hell was going on, but I was delightfully proven wrong.

I will not go into great detail and tell you what the novel is about because all you have to do is press that little down arrow on your keyboard….

What I will tell you for this review is this, if you have been looking for a well written, spine-tingling horror tale that is different that the same old cookie cutter story of the genre, Sorrow’s Edge has arrived to save you from the doldrum of the worn out predictable horror story!

A defrocked priest, his girlfriend and the spirit of the six-year-old girl he had performed an exorcism on, are your guide into the strange and unknown. Sorrow’s Edge holds one attention with ease with the perfect balance of mystery, horror, and humor that is guaranteed to keep you at the edge of your seat and turning the pages.

I have a numb butt and cold fingers from sitting up in my shed all night, but Danielle DeVor made every shiver and me being sleep deprived worth it!

Book 2 in the fascinating series The Marker Chronicles!

sor-edge-digital

 

touraoutthebooka

Sorrow’s Edge (The Marker Chronicles,†Book 2)

Uncovering the truth will take an exorcist.
Jimmy Holiday, defrocked priest turned exorcist, is trying to get his life in order. With his on-again off-again witchy girlfriend moving in, the spirit of the little girl from his last exorcism hanging around, and a secret organization of exorcists hounding him, Jimmy equals stressed.

When a stranger calls in the middle of the night asking for help with a possession, Jimmy is about to land in a mess of trouble. Especially since the man on the phone claims to have gotten his number from Jimmyís old mentor. Too bad his mentor has been dead for years.

After a mysterious silver flask arrives at his doorstep, Jimmy is left with two options: either ignore the newest enigma the universe has tossed him, or listen to Lucy and travel to Arizona to solve the mystery before all hell breaks looseÖagain.

 

You can buy SORROW’S EDGE at these retailers:

Amazon † † | † † Barnes & Noble

tourabouttheauthora

Danielle DeVor

DanielleDeVorAuthorPhotoNamed one of the Examiner’s 2014 Women in Horror: 93 Horror Authors you Need to Read Right Now, Danielle DeVor has been spinning the spider webs, or rather, the keyboard for more frights and oddities. She spent her early years fantasizing about vampires and watching “Salem’s Lot” way too many times. When not writing and reading about weird things, you will find her hanging out at the nearest coffee shop, enjoying a mocha frappuccino.

 

You can follow Danielle at these links:

Blog † | ††Twitter† †| ††Facebook† †| ††Instagram

 

Excerpt

I got the phone call at three. Just as Lucy said I would. I was really starting to hate the true ìwitching hour.î I needed sleep, dammit.
I let the phone ring a few times, hoping that whoever was on the other end would just hang up. I wasnít that lucky. I dragged my tired-ass body up, grabbed my phone off the nightstand, and swiped the screen.
ìMr. Holiday?î the man asked when I grunted into the phone.
ìYou realize itís 3:00 AM, right?î My head hit the pillow. I did not want to be doing this right now.
The man sighed. ìIt couldnít be helped. We need you.î
I twitched. Who the hell was this guy anyway? Kind of presumptuous to call somebody at random this late at night when youíd never met the person on the other end. Apparently, manners werenít his strong point.
I glanced around the room. The lamp in the corner was on. The light glowed just enough to keep my mind at ease. Iíd gotten into the habit of sleeping with a light on ever since Sorrowís Point. Yeah, it was irrational, but hey, I was trying to keep the beasties at bay. From the dim light, I could see Lucy sitting on the floor in front of the TV. I, just barely, made out the program through her. Her hair was as pale as usual and so blond it seemed almost white. She wore the same white nightgown she always did.
ìHow did you get my number?î I had to know. I mean, I doubted Will would suggest me to someone else. Things hadnít exactly ended on a positive note.
ìYou came highly recommended.î
That was news to me. A very small group of people even knew I did something besides graphic design. ìBy who?î
ìThatís not important right now. Youíre needed. Thatís what should matter.î
I sat up. Not important to him, maybe, but it sure as shit was important to me. I squeezed the phone so hard my knuckles began to ache. If I broke it, this asshole was going to owe me another phone. ìListen. Iím not about to traipse around and do whatever the hell it is you want me to when you wonít tell me who you are or who told you about me.î
ìOíMalley said youíd be difficult.î
I froze. Father OíMalley had been the one who allowed me to see the church as a vocation when I was a kid. But there was one problem. Heíd been dead since before I left the church. I didnít care where he got the information. That was a low blow. I clenched my teeth.
ìIím going to hang up now. Iíd appreciate it if you didnít call here againóî
ìNo, wait!î
The desperation in his voice was the only thing that kept me from hanging up the phone. ìAll right. Iím listening.î
ìOíMalley told me about you in a dream. When I woke up, your phone number was scrawled on my hand.î
Yeah, I knew that kind of weird. I had firsthand experience with it. Having a dead person talk to him in a dream wasnít that different from a disembodied soul speaking to me in a nightmare. Yeah, my life was really interesting. Though Iíd never drawn on myself in my sleep. That was a new one. ìWho is it who needs an exorcism?î
The guy hung up. I literally heard the phone hitting the cradle. Who used an old phone like that anymore? I almost threw my cell phone against the wall. I mean, what the hell? Wake me up in the middle of the night for what?
I scratched the sleep out of my eyes and glanced over at Lucy. ìDonít you ever sleep?î
She stared at me and grinned. Her blue eyes almost sparkled. ìI donít have to.î
I shook my head. Of course a kid would think it great to not sleep. I, on the other hand needed my restóstrange phone calls or not. And if someone else called, Iíd probably be facing a murder charge.
ìDo you think Tabby will like me?î Lucy asked. She stayed dressed in this little white frilly nightgown. I wasnít sure if it was her favorite or if there was something else at work keeping her dressed that way. When Iíd done her exorcism, she sure wasnít in frills.
Now that was the question, wasnít it? Iíd been toying with the idea of not telling Tabby about my ghostly child, but it appeared that was no longer an option. And with my luck, Tabby would eventually see her, freak out, and the whole thing would be blown out of proportion.
ìIím sure she willÖî I hoped that was true. ìAfter she gets used to the idea.î
Lucy stared at me for a bit. I could tell she wasnít buying it. Best I start remembering there was more to her than to a regular six-year-old.
ìIt will all work out,î I told her. ìEventually.î Part of that was me trying to convince myself. There was only so much oddness a normal person could take, and I figured I was probably getting close to the threshold.
ìUh-huh,î Lucy said, back to watching the TV. How she could just sit in front of the TV for hours on end, I didnít know. It was almost like she became somehow hypnotized by it.
I laid my head back on the pillow. Hopefully, I could go back to sleep. Hopefully, I could stop worrying about that odd phone call. HopefullyÖwho was I kidding? I was seriously screwed. Again.

 

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11/6/16 Natalia Brothers mycookbookofwriting.blogspot.com
11/6/16 Cheshire Cat cheshirecatlookingglass.com
11/6/16 Jennifer Theriot http://jennifertheriot.blogspot.com/
11/6/16 Em shotwell EmShotwell.com/blog
11/6/16 Leigh Anderson www.leighandersonromance.com
11/7/16 Steven Ramirez http://stevenramirez.com/
11/7/16 Randi Perrin www.randiperrin.com
11/7/16 Mindy Wall http://dream-reader-dreamer2229.blogspot.com/
11/8/16 Maer Wilson http://maerwilson.com/
11/10/16 Maryanne Fantalis mfantaliswrites.wordpress.com
11/10/16 E. J. Wenstrom www.ejwenstrom.com/blog
11/10/16 Ashley Pomykala parsimoniouspash.com
11/10/16 Kathleen Kelly http://www.celticladysreviews.blogspot.com
11/10/16 Miriam Greystone www.miriamgreystone.com
11/10/16 Craig Comer http://craigcomer.com
11/12/16 Christina Mandara http://christinamandara.com
11/12/16 Ronelle Antoinette http://www.redhotbooks.com
11/12/16 Tina Traverse https://writersonthewharf.wordpress.com

The Scorpion’s Empress Blog tour and it’s Epic!

When The Scorpion’s Empress first made its appearance on the wharf a couple of weeks ago, it nearly burnt it down, it was so hot. The back of the shed gang yelled at me for the mishap, and after repairing the damage, made me swore a blood oath never to let the Empress enter again.
Well, I kinda didn’t keep my painful promise because I let her join me in the shed on the wharf and now I’m standing in the ashes of what used to be my shed and wharf. While I’m standing here knee deep in the ocean, trying to think of a good story to explain this disaster, read on and find out how a story can do this to a structure.

 

Title: The Scorpion’s Empress
Author: Yoshiyuki Ly
Cover Art: Michele Crocker
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled empress of the city’s oppressed lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city. The Scorpion’s Empress is intimately written through the eyes of both twenty-seven year old women.
Videl’s loving devotion is just what Raj craves, but Raj is wary of letting her guard down while protecting her throne. Determined to prove her worth, Videl chases after Raj and works to unravel the mystery of the plots against the empress. Raj wants Videl to serve her emotional and sexual needs,
and the two explore a meaningful relationship of dominance and submission that delves fully into their deepest wants. When the conspiracy against Raj comes to a head, Videl’s loyalties are tested when she is forced to choose between her past and her empress.


Excerpt

“God, you’ve sent me to a soul who is lost,” said Ser Videl. “I worry for her. She seems lonely on her throne, as if her reign is incomplete. Her passions well within without a way to let them out. I’ve allowed her to watch me while I hold back. I want to protect her, to thank her some way, but she won’t let me. I did a terrible thing to Kurtz, and now he suffers for me. I have to learn the power of forgiveness…”
I didn’t mean to say the words out loud: “You have a beautiful soul, Videl.”
“Empress!” she said, bolting to her feet. She bowed to me. “I didn’t know you were here…”
“Take it easy,” I replied, smiling. “I had a terrible night up until I found you. You’ve got this habit of makin’ my days brighter. I’ve gotta wonder…have you really been holdin’ back?”
Videl stared at me with that controlled, focused want. “There is so much I’d like to do for you,” she answered.
“But I feel like I can’t. The voices in the shadows taunt you. They have your attention most of the time. I can’t compete with them. I’m trying to be patient about this.”
“Voices in the shadows… That got somethin’ to do with me bein’ lost?”
“I think you’re haunted by your enemies,” she said, moving closer to me.
“You don’t want me to know this much about your affairs. Anyone else would be oblivious to them. But I know, Empress.” Heat rushed to my face and neck; my head pounded in-time with my stresses, my wants. I knew she’d find some way to make me let go, whether I was ready for it or not. Videl held my hands in hers—gentle touch and gentler intentions. “You won’t let me find out more about your rival, will you? I feel like you made that decision days ago.”
Was I that easy to read? “I don’t want you gettin’ hurt on account of me,” I admitted.
“You know how to look out for yourself. I get that. She likes her mind games, Videl. This ain’t somethin’ your sword can keep you safe from. You’ve gotta trust me on this.”
Videl didn’t hide her disappointment. “I understand,” she replied. “I just wish I could help you…”
“I’ve got it covered, Videl. You don’t need to worry about me. I’ll handle it.”
“And I believe you, Empress. There is still a part of me that longs to know you more. I feel like I’m not welcome in your world yet—only at this distance. It isn’t like me to rush in where I’m not invited. I’ll…keep being patient if that’s what you prefer.”
“Oh, this is so good!” exclaimed Satya. “It sounds like such a classic story—the Holy Knight from Eden finding the Queen of Beggars from Elysium, bringing the two parts together as a whole Tynan. But your idea seems unfinished… Do they work together to unify the city? Or do they run off into the sunset together and leave it behind?”

Escape today!

Amazon

IHeartReading.net – “The romance between both women has a BDSM aspect – dominant/submissive, which adds another interesting touch to the book. I also liked how the conspiracy/politics played an important part too. It wasn’t just romance, a lot was going on. The protagonists were interesting, and I must say, I liked Videl the most. An intriguing, sizzling erotic romance. I look forward to reading more books by this author.”
Books On Fire Tours –Never in my life have I been so in love with characters and their names! This book has the best names for characters I have read in at least 10 years, lending even more to its originality and it’s uniqueness.

In a world of make believe, two forces of nature collide. Each have her own strength. Each have an agenda. Each have multiple enemies. This book has it all! Paladins and Knights. An Empress fighting to save a destitute nation. A warrior out to seek revenge and protect her baby sister. The suspense just about killed me, as I couldn’t decide who was hunting who. I couldn’t wait for the “Scorpion” warrior to catch up with the Empress!!! But through it all, gripping sub plots and fascinating back stories filled each page, demanding my undivided attention and getting it.
There were some scenes that weren’t very realistic, but this is in a world of make believe, remember? Apart from that I found it to be tasteful, not over the top compared to other Sub/Dom, Lesbian Erotica I have read. This is a love story, filled with passion long since forgotten by most authors. This is true gay fiction. This is your next read if you don’t want to miss out on really good writing, perfect timing and a world so rich, your imagination is tested to it’s limits!”

Writers on the Wharf: Comparing this novel by the gifted Yoshiyuki Ly to a well-known book, movie or t.v. show is difficult to do because nothing compares to the magical wonderment of The Scorpion’s Empress. Set in the world of fantasy, The Scorpion’s Empress immerses the reader in the dual city of Elysium and Eden. Elysium, the low city is inhabited by people of limited means who are provided generously by their Empress who does everything she can to make sure her subjects don’t go without. The Empress, Raj, a strong, courageous ruler seems to have everything, beauty, intelligence, wit, and compassion, but underneath her confidence, there resides a lonely soul. Enter Ser Videl, a paladin from the upper city of Eden, comes to Elysium to save her captured sister but ends up involved in a passionate affair with the alluring Empress. What follows are pages of fiery passion and intrigue that will keep you, the reader up all night.

 

 

Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. She lived there until moving away to college. In high school, she began writing fanfiction as a serious hobby. Her pen name is representative of her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that is reflective in her work. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in philosophy, she spent her free time reading the works of Virginia Woolf, Soren Kierkegaard and Simone de Beauvoir. She then spent the next years honing her craft to become a published author.

Alternate Endings for The Scorpion’s Empress

I’m Yoshiyuki Ly and for today’s guest post, I decided to write about alternate endings for The Scorpion’s Empress. I’ll avoid spoilers.
My ideas kept changing as I wrote the book. I started with high, emotional concepts for key scenes, most of which I ended up not writing. The core idea was always for Raj and Videl to eventually come up with a solution to the political crisis in their city.
The first idea I had was a more personal ending for Videl and Raj. There were other plot ideas I threw out.
Toward the last few chapters, the main characters were supposed to get in a terrible argument. I wanted to have Videl return to Eden with her sister, and for Raj to chase after her. The ending from there would have been Raj and Videl resolving the situation and coming back together. This was also the backbone of my original ideas for the whole story.
The second idea I had for the ending was predictable—a typical happy ending for Eden and Elysium. This didn’t feel satisfying. Thinking about it made me anxious. I couldn’t build up to this ending. I stepped away from the manuscript for two months while I let better ideas come to me organically.
In the end, the last chapter wrote itself. Once I stopped worrying over the details, everything settled down. If you’d like to see if the actual ending paid off, be on the lookout for my book here.

 

 

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Blog graphics designed &copyrighted by Books On Fire Tours

 

Warning: Don’t get stung by The Scorpion’s Empress

The water lapping at my feet looks really good right now and I want to dive in, despite the near frigid temperature because this book by  Yoshiyuki Ly, The Scorpion’s Empress is sizzling hot. One look at the cover is enough to send one aflame but just wait until you dive into the pages….

 

 Title: The Scorpion’s Empress
Author: Yoshiyuki Ly
Cover Art: Michele Crocker
Publisher: Solstice Publishing 

 

 

 After years of serving a corrupt government, Ser Videl, an idealistic
paladin, learns that her younger sister is tangled in a dark scheme against Raj
Mangala, the compassionate yet troubled empress of the city’s oppressed
lowtown; the two women meet and are deeply drawn to one another, finding a
shared sanctuary in their violently-divided city. The Scorpion’s
Empress 
is intimately written through the eyes of both twenty-seven
year old women.

 

Videl’s loving devotion is just what Raj craves, but Raj is wary of
letting her guard down while protecting her throne. Determined to prove her
worth, Videl chases after Raj and works to unravel the mystery of the plots
against the empress. Raj wants Videl to serve her emotional and sexual needs,
and the two explore a meaningful relationship of dominance and submission that
delves fully into their deepest wants. When the conspiracy against Raj comes to
a head, Videl’s loyalties are tested when she is forced to choose between her
past and her empress.
Buy Now
Amazon

 

Yoshiyuki Ly was born in San Diego, CA. She lived there until moving away to college. In high school, she began writing fanfiction as a serious hobby. Her pen name is representative of her multiracial heritage and a unique, diverse outlook that is reflective in her work. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in philosophy, she spent her free time reading the works of Virginia Woolf, Soren Kierkegaard and Simone de Beauvoir. She then spent the next years honing her craft to become a published author.
 

Website  Fanfiction Page

Blog graphics designed &copyrighted by Books On Fire Tours

 

Mother’s Day Magic with all the love a mother can give.

Mothers are magic. With a simple hug, she can make a nightmare go away. A boo boo is made better with a kiss and she supports your dreams(want to be a flying unicorn rock star? You can do it, honey!) That’s why this collection of authors have combined their talents to produce an amazing story collection, all for the giveaway price of 99 cents!
Get your copy today and prepare yourselves for a roller coaster ride of emotion!

 

 Buy Mother's Day Magic …With Love. Support M.S Research at the same time.

 

 

AMAZON: US UK CAN AUS
ITUNES: US UK CAN AUS NZL
BARNES & NOBLE: NOOK
KOBO

– Pamela Richardson: “There I sat … sad that I had read the last word of this anthology because my journey with the authors had ended. And what a journey it was! As I write this review I’m still thinking about that journey and the collective writings of each author’s words that left me with a renewed sense of warmth for the experience.”
– Al-Khemet Book Club: This is a beautiful collection perfect for mothers everywhere. These stories evoke intense emotions as we’re led to explore a variety of relationships and dilemmas faced by characters. The authors involved deserved to be praised for their great work.”

– Jersey Girl Book: “Mother’s Day Magic … With Love is a wonderful collection of twelve stories that honors a very special person in everyone’s life, Mom! The thirteen authors weave unique stories that range from lighthearted romances, to poignant memories, first love and second chances, friends to lovers, to dealing with real life issues … but there is one heartwarming theme that runs through each story, a mother’s unconditional love..


 

 

 

 

Blog graphics designed &copyrighted by Books On Fire Tours

Unpaid and under appreciated, the true cost of creativity.

 

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I have the upmost respect for the good teachers in our education system. The souls who work a ton of overtime and don’t get paid for it, just so our children can have the best education and school experience possible. Every teacher that my oldest child had, with the exception of two, were a marvel. I adored them all. In fact, if it wasn’t for Christian’s first grade teacher, I strongly believe that he would have never been diagnosed with autism and got the help he needed. My youngest started school this year and also has autism. He too, has been blessed with beautiful, wonderful teachers. I tip my hat to them because they are the best and go above and beyond the call of duty when they don’t have to.

With this being said, I recently read an article that states that teachers have the highest record of unpaid hours of any profession. I don’t disagree, but you are overlooking a whole industry of people who have higher hours of unpaid work. Those who work in the creative field. Us authors(especially independent), editors, graphic designers, artists, dancers and musicians(and a host of others I can’t list here)

I’m an indie author. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, this means that I’m soley responsible for writing, editing, cover design, publishing and marketing my own work. All of this costs money that I can scarcely afford. I have to pay an editor, a cover designer and when I have a little extra left over(which is rare) I pay someone, like a blog tour company, to help me market my book. An average book that cost you anywhere from free-3.99 for an ebook or 15 dollars or less for a paperback, costs me no less than 600 dollars or more to produce for one novel. This doesn’t not include the marketing. Do you want to know the total amount of royalties that I made off ebook sales since I started as a self published author, four years ago? A grand total of $10.14.  My paperbacks which I sold myself to those lovely souls who know me and are kind enough to support little ol’ me is higher. Roughly 600.00 in four years.

Let’s go on vacation shall we! I’m rich! 🙂

Money isn’t the only thing that my life’s passion costs me. Time. It takes me a year to a year and half to publish a book. This includes untold hours of staying up way past my bed time writing, editing and writing numerous drafts until I feel it is fit to send to my editor. Then, once the manuscript is back, still more rewrites.

Writing is a lonely, solo profession. I don’t socialize and the hours spent writing takes me away from the other things I love, like my family. The only interaction I have with my colleagues is through social media an a variety of author groups I joined. They are my lifeline.

Like a teacher, no one forced me into writing. I do it because I love it, just like teachers do. We dedicate our lives to a profession that pays us little because it’s our passion and that’s what keeps us going.

I’m speaking for myself as an author but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention other artists such as dancers, actors, designers , musicians, painters, sculptors, etc. And those who help authors make their stories a  published reality like editors who spend countless unpaid hours creating so the rest of society can have a little joy.

MS Research fundraiser + Mother’s Day Magic authors=Hope

A day without the b’y’s of the back of the shed gang gives me permission to sit in the shed on the wharf, watch the sun melt into the ocean and reflect. Today’s promotion is for a good cause, it’s a fundraiser for MS research. It’s takes money to find a cure, lots and lots of it and these mother authors pooled their talents together to assist in that effort. Help them make a difference by purchasing this box set. MS Research gets a boost and you’ll get a box full of amazing stories written with love. 
 
Buy Mother’s Day Magic …with Love. 
Read some delightful stories & Support MS Research at the same time.

 

 

Feel the Magic

 

FELT BY THE HEART BY ANGELA FORD

 

 Brooke then introduced herself with a hug.
    “My mom mentioned you were alone for Christmas. I’m happy you joined us.”
The warm welcomes from Rachel’s kids touched her heart. Brooke and Tyler introduced their friends, and when Rachel offered Derek a drink, the group began to ramble again. Derek followed Rachel into the kitchen. She poured him a glass of wine and made a toast for a very Merry Christmas.
    “Thank you, Rachel. Your home is filled with love. You’ve made my Christmas very merry.”
Christmas had come and gone so quickly, it felt like a blur by the time the twenty-seventh arrived. Tyler had to leave for Toronto before Rachel opened the deli so a friend of his had agreed to take him to the airport. Brooke surprised her mom when she appeared in the kitchen wide-awake and dressed. She blurted out, in the midst of her usual speed rambling, that she was going to help her mom. Wow, Rachel thought to herself. Brooke had matured and their relationship had grown into the one she had always dreamed it would. Tyler smiled at his mom confidently. She knew his smile told her that he was happy for her.

 

 

I LOVE YOU MORE BY CORNELIA AMIRI

 

She had to do this. She waked toward her briskly with Judson in her arms. “Hello. We haven’t met, I live in apartment 40. I have to ask you something. You can say no if you want but I have to ask.”
  “I don’t think so,” she said as she continued up the stairs. She wore a blue print blouse and white jeans, her afro was short but her earrings were long.
Judson waved his tiny chubby hand at the retreating woman.
Garland walked up to the staircase. “I’m leaving my husband, he’s been hitting me. He said I could go but I can’t take the baby. He’s getting a newspaper. He’ll be back any moment.”
The lady’s expression was indifferent, even bothered, until the last sentence then it changed to one of concern. She headed back down the stairs. “Do you want me to call the police?”
  “No, I don’t think that will help. We’re married, so in Texas Judson is a hundred percent my son and a hundred percent my husband’s son. I have to get away and file for divorce to have a chance of stopping him from taking my baby away.”

 

 

TWO HEARTS UNSPOKEN BY TAMARA FERGUSON

 

All of sudden, someone grunted out loudly, and soon, the next moan that Beth heard was accompanied by a long, soulful howl. Opening her eyes, she spun around and searched the vast expanse of beach. Finally, she spotted him. “Kyle—what’ve you done?” Covering her mouth with her hand in horror, Beth began running across the sand, rushing over as quickly as she could to Kyle.
Apparently, he’d tackled someone—Kyle sat up, giggling, on top of a flat, prone body. A stranger was lying beneath him, leveled on the sand.
Her voice was so soft and sexy, was the first thing Zach thought. He’d been jogging along the beach, trying to decide whether to steer clear of her, or stop by and say hi. And then he’d been ambushed by, what’d felt like, a tank.
Zach opened his eyes and looked up to try to see the woman that belonged to that voice. But his eyes were blinded by the sun, and he was seeing double. His eyesight seemed to be adjusting a little by the time he got a hold of himself.
And then his eyes focused in on her face. Damn—I think I’m in love, was the second thing he thought. He hadn’t had a real good look at her through the windshield of the van—although it’d been long enough to notice that she seemed to be pretty damned hot. And, whoa, he admitted to himself dazedly, hot didn’t even begin to describe how lovely she actually was!
Zach started, turning his attention to the kid who was using Zach’s body like a beanbag chair. He was giggling like crazy.
But he really wasn’t a kid—was he? He looked to be a little bit bigger than Zach had thought when he’d noticed him. This woman was his mom? Must be, he supposed, because she grabbed him by the hand and yanked him off from Zach’s chest. She just didn’t look old enough to have a kid who was probably in his late teens or early twenties!.

 

DECEMBER ROSES BY DAISY BANKS

 

    “Here’s your tea, Mom,” Maddy said and set a cup on the small table. “Mom, are you awake?”
    “Yes, dear. I was just dreaming.”
    “You’ve done a lot of nodding off today.”
    “Have I?”
    “Yes. Do you think you can stay awake long enough to tell me about the roses?”
Mom chuckled so her shoulders jiggled up and down. “Ah, yes. The day after your father proposed. We spent the last of my birthday money on a big bunch of pink roses.”
   “Who were they for?”
   “Your Gran, of course. Not that they made much difference in my opinion.”
   “They must have made her smile.”
Mom shook her head. “They didn’t when we took them to her. She only smiled once that day as I recall and it wasn’t because of the roses.”
   “Was it because you were engaged?”
   “Oh no, not at all. She smiled because she thought she’d got time to make me change my mind.”
Maddy bent to straighten the blanket over her mother’s knees. “But you didn’t change your mind.”
    “No, I didn’t. Your dad and I got married the first weekend after my twentieth birthday, just like we said we would.”
    “Do you want to look at the photo album?”
    “No, dear, not now. I don’t need the photos I remember it all so well.”

 

 

MADDIE’S PROJECT BY ANNA CELESTE BURKE 

 

That day, I felt lost—a feeling that’s still palpable after all these years. Kids go home to empty houses every day. Why did I feel rudderless and adrift? Besides, I wasn’t alone. Sara was there, although that didn’t count for much. Nearing the end of 10th grade, Sara was fixated on the prospect that, in the fall, she would be picking out a college and preparing for entrance exams. An empty house must have meant much less to her since she already had one foot out the door.
We had only taken a few sips of the icy soda when I heard the sound of the garage door opening. I wanted to dash into the kitchen but forced myself to wait. When I heard door leading into the kitchen from the garage open and shut again, my heart sank into the silence that followed. That silence even reached through Sara’s self-absorption. Her thumbs stopped flying over the keypad of her cell phone, engaged in a flurry of texting. She didn’t hesitate to follow when I left the bedroom.
Mom and Dad stopped in their tracks when we met them in the great room off the kitchen. Andy wasn’t with them. That explained some of the silence. Andy would have been chattering or asking one of his endless questions. More was written on their faces. My heart thumped. Mom had been crying. Dad, too, I just knew it!

 

 

VISION OF THE HEART BY MARY CRAWFORD

 

As I listen to my mom explain all of the changes in our lives, it occurs to me I haven’t told her how grateful I am for the person she is today. I want to be the kind of mom she’s always been. I even carry around a picture in my wallet of me when I was little. It’s my mom cuddling with me on her old couch. In that picture, the love in her eyes is palpable. I know it’s naïve, but I’m surprised to hear mom feels diminished as a mother. It’s not how I see her at all.
I’ll admit at first, I remember being frustrated she couldn’t do little things like braid my hair straight or help me paint my fingernails. We used to have a ritual on Friday nights. If I didn’t have a date, we’d have a girl’s night in and do little makeovers on each other. When she lost her vision, it was nearly impossible for her to continue our tradition. After her diagnosis, it was hard for me to understand why things between us had changed. 
It was a slow process— let’s face it—I was a bit shallow like every other teenage girl I knew. It took me a while to realize life wasn’t all about me. I don’t think I fully understood the concept until after Wyatt was born. It was then I began to understand the amount of energy it takes to be a Supermom. I’m ashamed when I think about how long it took me to figure things out. So, it’s surreal to hear her describe herself as if she’s somehow lacking. To me, she’s everything I aspire to be.

 

 

 

AN ENGLISH ROSE BY ALLYSON R. ABBOTT 

 

    “I don’t know what’s up with you today, Mum. You’re not yourself.” 
    “Sorry, just thinking about things love. You know, getting old is not much fun.” 
    “I know, but you’re doing really well for eighty six — “
    “Eighty five actually, there’s no need to age me.”  Apart from your eyesight, of course. You’re a spring chicken compared to Steve’s mum, who is much younger than you. She can hardly walk and looks gaunt. At least you have flesh bones and look after yourself.”
I didn’t like to mention my hearing issues and all the aches, pains, creaks and groans from my joints, I’m sure my chest puffed out at the compliment.
   “Debbie mentioned you are thinking of buying a scooter.” 
   “Didn’t take her long to spread the gossip, did it?” 
   “It’s not gossip, Mum. She was just a bit concerned, but I think it’s a great idea.” 
   “Do you think I’ll be able to manage one then?” 
   “Of course you can. You just need to be a bit careful when crossing the roads, but it will be fun. You’ll be able to get out and about more. I bet you could even reach my house. They can cover quite distance, you know.” 
   “Will you come with me then, to have a look? I don’t know if I can afford one.” 
   “Grab your coat Mum. We’ll go now; you can  make this pie later.” 

 

 

THE ART OF FORGIVENESS BY TAMARA PHILIP

 

If love is like music then forgiveness is an art.
In art even if it’s ugly or seems pointless it doesn’t change the fact that someone put thought and time into it. However, like apologies and subsequent forgiveness, it is without exception, how one interprets it, reacts to it and applies it to oneself that truly gives it meaning. It is how art becomes Art, once it connects to a soul.
However, forgiveness, true forgiveness, does not come easily. It is sometimes painstakingly slow or overwhelming in its dramatics but once you begin it, if you don’t see it through, it will hurt. Like a heated brand on your heart, you will forever bear it. In the end if you let it win, you can heal, you can let go and hopefully, move on.

 

 

THE ILLUSION OF HAPPINESS BY NEVA SQUIRES-RODRIGUEZ

 

I shook my head as I stared at the flowers and took a card in a red envelope out of the center of the bouquet. My fingers worked nervously as I opened the envelope, realizing that I had become the center of attention from my children as they sat across the hall in the living room. I didn’t have the slightest idea who could have sent these and was scared to find out.
The only person that I could think of the flowers being from was my other sister in Maine, but I doubted that she had remembered my birthday. She was too wrapped up in her own life to bother calling to check on me after my divorce was finalized and the fact that she wasn’t here said something. Finally the envelope was open and the design on the card told me the roses were from a man. My hand shook as I opened it, Chastity intensely watching my expression as I read the card.

 

 

THE DAY BEFORE ECLOSION BY ADRIENNE RUVALCABA

 

Sharon stared after her and considered her options. She could go after her like she always did, or she could give her a minute to cool down before attempting to talk to her. Each time she was faced with this choice, the decision never got any easier. Four years had passed since the adoption had been finalized, and in that time, a world of strife had opened up in her life.
Special needs.
It was a familiar set of syllables, but the meaning had shifted the very foundation of her life since becoming Gracie’s adoptive mother. All children had needs, but her daughter had special needs.

 

 

THE LIGHT WE FOUND BY Q.D PURDU

 

Morning. Ugh. For a moment the only things I think about are my queasy stomach and throbbing head. One glass of wine is my typical limit; two glasses are my rare exception, and the almost-full bottle of the night before hasn’t happened since college. 
As I run to the bathroom, the nightmare comes rushing back: Alex and Ben and my life savings.
The nausea and memories keep me busy for at least an hour, heaving and crying. 
After I’m able to keep down some kombucha, I drag myself to the computer to suffer through it all again. My Facebook news feed has a wedding picture tagged with Shannon’s name. Alex, Regina, Shannon, and Oscar are all joyfully beaming.
I’m drawn to Sarah’s page again, still amazed that this young woman is Ben’s wife and not his daughter.
And I read articles about my defunct investment company. I should have been watching more closely. I should have diversified. Alex advised me when we divorced, “Buy a house. Invest your money in something you’ll always have. Don’t waste money on rent.”
Now that I’m a pauper and finished with men forever, I do online cancellations of four memberships and appointments: gym, dance studio, monthly massage, and biweekly manicures and pedicures. That will save almost $400 a month. I Google for cheaper apartments; I’ll move when the lease is up in seven months. Until now I’ve been using all my monthly teacher retirement checks just to live on.

 

 

FOREVER SUNSHINE BY CARY ALLEN STONE & TYLER HOSEA

 

Mother’s Day, May 2007
To Charley and Janey,
All of my dreams came true. I was able to fly and have three angels to fly with me! I promised myself for years I would not open this letter, but selfish me, I had to add something.
Today is my birthday and my last flight. The Federal Aviation Administration has a rule that requires I stop doing what I love so much. They’ve taken away one of my most precious possessions.
I was sad for a while, but then I thought not flying meant I could have
more time with you two and my best friend Edward! It took me a long time to realize you were the best part of my two worlds. The three of you sacrificed so much for me. Now it’s time to pay you back.
As far as my first letter, I wouldn’t change a word in it! I have my Charley, and my Janey––everything I need in the world. And for all of u, I wish––forever sunshine!
All my love still,
Mom, and once a pilot
 

 

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