“Crimson Curse”, released Feb 7

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The Crimson Curse
A Romance / Fantasy by Melissa J. Crispin

 

Cursed and disfigured, Calliope must find true love before the final leaf falls from the Enchanted Tree. Being bound to her mansion on the outskirts of town leaves her with little hope.

 

Abandoned by his wife for a wealthy man, Bastian only needs one female in his life, his five-year-old daughter, Yareena.
When she goes missing during a raging fire, fate brings him to a strange place where he encounters a woman wearing a golden mask. An attack by rogues puts Bastian in Calliope’s care. As he struggles against pride and prejudice, Bastian can’t ignore his growing attraction to the kind soul behind the mask.

 

Yareena and the mansion staff do their best at matchmaking, but Calliope can’t reveal her darkest secret. Will Bastian discover her true beauty before it’s too late?

 

~~~oOo~~~

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melissa J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.
From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths. But, no matter the story, it’s almost always about the romance.

 

LINKS:
Ms Crispin’s site
~~~oOo~~~

 

EXCERPT:

Calliope returned her attention to Bastian, grasping his shoulder with a gentle hand and giving him a small shake. When he didn’t stir, she considered how she could clean the wound without undressing him as he slept. She had never taken off a man’s clothing before, and she hardly wanted her first time to be when he wasn’t even aware of her actions. But, no other options seemed available. She started at the bottom button of his shirt, working her way up with trembling fingers, and spreading the fabric apart when the last of the buttons slipped free.

 

Her eyes roamed his upper body. While she was supposed to be assessing the extent of his injuries, she couldn’t deny the flash of heat that blasted through her at the sight of his bare skin.

 

She dipped a washcloth in the basin that Mrs. Widdleworth left on the night table, wringing out the excess water. As she dabbed at the gash near his naval, his vulnerability in that moment struck her in a way she had not expected. After their first encounter, she would have predicted his ego to get in the way, choosing to bleed to death in the cold rather than accept anything from her.

 

Although he suffered a serious injury, his daughter seemed to remain his utmost concern. Could his earlier ill-temper have been an unusual display? A behavior born out of fear for his daughter’s safety?

 

Maybe she had been wrong about him.

 

She pressed her lips together, allowing the notion to sink in as she dropped the bloody fabric off to the side, and proceeded to stitch the wound with shaky fingers. When the task was complete, she picked up a fresh cloth to use as a dressing. Relief washed over her as she inspected the area before covering it up. The slice in his flesh went deep, but not nearly as deep as she initially feared. She positioned the bandage and fixed it in place, her gaze catching a thin trail of hair that started under the center of his chest, following the way it continued lower down his body, and even further yet where it dipped beneath his trousers.

 

“It’s been a long time since a woman has laid her hands on me,” Bastian said, his voice rough.

 

Calliope jumped, heat infusing her cheeks. “My apologies if this offends. Marcus doesn’t fare well with blood. I had to care for your injury myself.” Her eyes met his, and to her surprise, no anger seemed to stir there.

 

“I was only teasing.” He swallowed hard, appearing to bite back the immense discomfort he had to be feeling. “Thank you.”

 

She inclined her head. “You’re welcome.”

 

I shouldn’t have been so terse with you earlier. Yareena is my life, and when I couldn’t find her, well…” He reached for his face, pressing the heel of his hand against his jaw. “I lost my sense for a short while. I apologize.”

 

“Poisonous Whispers”, by Jana Begovich

“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”

 

 

Released on December 5th, this is Ms. Begovic’s 2016-12-5-to-8_poisonous-whispers
début novel – a romance, but much more.
Written in a literary style, it is a saga of discovery
of true love.

In brief:
       “Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly.

The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

With its seamlessly interwoven sub-plots, “Poisonous Whispers” lures the reader from one continent to another, from past to present. The affair at the center of the story is an anatomy of the heart in which the heroine’s sorrow-laced journey reflects the universal themes of love and loss.

The author:
jana-portrait       As far back as Jana can remember, she has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning stories, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. As a teenager, she wrote maudlin love poetry; and as a young mother, a collection of fables. Her love of reading and writing drove her to study languages and literature, resulting in B.A. degrees in English and German Languages and Literature, an M.A. Degree in Literary Studies, as well as a B.Ed. Degree in English and Dramatic Arts.
She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training and testing and her work, as a subject matter expert, has taken her all over the world. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina but has lived in Canada since 1991, currently
in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband.
As of the time of this posting, she is working on her second novel, as well as a collection of short stories.

An excerpt:
       A tiny streak of pale light is cascading softly down the cell window and making a shy sliver in the veil of darkness. I open my eyes, disoriented. I do not move; I do not even dare blink until I get my bearings. Then I remember and freeze in horror. I sit up, an aching all over my body and cold dread in my heart. Instinctively, I try to disentangle my matted hair with my fingers, but it is hopeless. All around me, I smell mold, decay and death. How can I survive another day in this hole? The sound of the door opening with a screech makes me jump in terror.

The gaoler walks in; a heavy set of keys dangling and jingling in his hand.

“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”

I speak not but follow him. We climb a steep staircase. Below us, I hear moans and yells and what sounds like the death throes of those hopelessly lost to the world and forgotten by justice, compassion and mercy. Again, I am feeling dissociated from the event of my calamity; I see my body walking, but my soul is not in it and indifference over what might happen floods me. Death is not the end. Death offers me salvation from pain, from the torment of living a human life.

We leave the jailhouse and enter the house across the street to the village inn. The inn owner, James Bourke, looks at me with hatred and disdain. He also always hated my husband because his wife had hoped my husband would marry her. She was in love with him, and when he married me she tried to kill herself. James married her later, but has always known that she never stopped loving my husband.

The gaoler takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms and locks the door behind me. The room is wide and clean even though sparsely furnished. The bed is large and looks inviting and I realize how exhausted I am. On the bed is a white, thin chemise and I immediately understand this is what I will wear tonight when I am pushed off the bridge into the water that is cool even on the hottest of summer days. Will I have the strength or the will to swim and save myself? What surprises and almost delights me under such grave circumstances is a bathtub in the corner of the room. There is steam rising from it and I immediately undress and slip into it, relieved to be able to wash off the dirt, the grime, and above all the horrible stench on my body. I rub myself raw trying to clean my skin. Washing my hair is more difficult because at home I have servants who help me with bathing, dressing and undressing. I have been spoilt by marrying a man of wealth and power. Where is my husband now? I crave his protection. If he saved me now, would I give up Kieran, would I give up love in order to live? I surmise I would.

Available at:
Roane Black on White

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Cover Reveal: “Umbra’s Shadow”

“…the job … will plunge her into the political wasp nest of the Dreaming World and its fey courts.”

umbras-shadow-coverGot a problem that needs a kick-ass mercenary to fix it? Merc’s your shapeshifter.
It’s been open season on changelings—human/faery hybrids—until word gets around: someone’s got their backs.
Merc relies on her unique shapeshifting talents to defend the poor and disenfranchised hybrids living on the fringes of a modern-day Hudson valley city. Perhaps her past spurs her to help—orphaned, unable to remember her parents or her original form, forced to survive alone until a kindly Changeling couple takes her in.
But Merc also dreams of escaping the poverty and rescuing her boyfriend from the environment that feeds his addictions.

Dúl, a mysterious and seductive full-blooded  fey, seems to offer Merc the way out. But the job he proposes will plunge her into the political wasp nest of the Dreaming World and its fey courts. Dúl hires her to rescue the female lieutenant of the Shadow Court’s king.
But Morgan isn’t the only full-blood that’s disappeared. Nothing is what it seems. A hidden player is capitalizing on the animosities within the four courts, and Merc must solve the puzzle before anyone else falls victim. Her investigation exposes the web of betrayals and lies ambushing the courts from without, or maybe from within.

No one could defeat this conspiracy alone. Merc must suppress her solitary nature and learn to work with a team, while Dúl enters into a bitter alliance with his most hated enemy. Amid this treachery, the magnetic attraction between Merc and Dúl deepens into a forbidden bond they are powerless to deny.

Even if she unravels the chaos plaguing the Dreaming, can she handle the truth about the full-blood she’s fallen for?


Umbra’s Shadow,
a Contemporary Fantasy by Andrea Stanet
Roane Black on White

Release Date: March 13, 2017

Keywords: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, Shapeshifter, Mercenary

Harvest Moon Authors Tell…

… About Their Enthusiasm for Writing, after harvest-moon-cover-reveal
contributing to Love Under the Harvest Moon.


Tom Hodden:
Defining enthusiasm is never easy. It is elusive and changes for each project. Sometimes it is as simple as not finding the book you want to read and realising you will have to create it yourself. Other times it is a way of weaving a picture, a piece of art that would not work on any other medium. Most often for me, writing is giving voice to the swirling maelstrom of ideas and images that are burbling away in my head, looking for a form to be given. Yes, I know how pompous and grand that sounds for somebody who writes little love stories. But it is how it feels at times. When you have the idea for characters, and story, for the piece you are writing you are fitting the splinters of a puzzle together, or layering textures and colours upon each other until, if you are lucky, it all sort of fits together. Of course we should also remember it is also fun. Very few writers would ever consider themselves the prose equivalent of a great composer, writing symphonies or concertos. They are garage bands, experimenting with guitars and drums, building up their songs, but looking to relax, express themselves and jam with others. We might all dream of a hit, but the driving force of our enthusiasm will often be those we bounce ideas of, and joke around with.


Nemma Woolenfang:
In the last few years, writing has become something of an addiction. Like many before, I caught ‘the bug’. It’s simply too hard not to write when ideas keep popping into your head!

Clockwork Evangeline was my first publication success, a steampunk short which won a competition. Now, several years on, my work has appeared in several venues, including: Flame Tree (Science Fiction Short Stories and Murder Mayhem), RIP (A Bleak New World), Corazon Books (Come Into the House), Mantid Magazine (Summer 2016 Issue), Romance Magazine (Vol. 04 No. 02), and Roane Publishing (Masked Hearts as well as Under the Harvest Moon). It’s been a delight not only to work with such great publishers but to get to know other talented writers on the ToCs and connect with the larger writing community. Since meeting new authors and reading their work, my tastes have broadened significantly. Now, I’ve become quite a fan of short fiction.

The genres I write in are rather broad… speculative fiction pretty much covers it. Fantasy, historical, and science-fiction mostly… Always, though, I like that romantic element. And sometimes, these genres crossover quite naturally, for example, I’m currently working on a historical science-fiction novel set in an alternative version of Victorian-era London, which recently won a competition.
For anyone who’s interested, you can find my work on Amazon and Goodreads.

Patricia Crisafulli
I have written stories all my life.  As a young child, I told myself stories for entertainment, to pass the time, and for comfort. Over the years, my love of writing has taken me in many different directions—as a news reporter and feature writer, and then publication of my first book, Remembering Mother, Finding Myself (published under the name Patricia Commins), written for adult daughters whose mothers have died, helping them to understand their mothers as the women who came before them.  I’ve also written books on business, economics, and leadership—as well as in the creative vein, with the founding of http://www.FaithHopeandFiction.com, an e-literary magazine, and a volume of short stories and short essays entitled Inspired Every Day, published by Hallmark.

What all these diverse experiences have in common is using the written word to explore the world around me. A story is the best way I know to interpret and understand, discovering deeper meaning and lessons hidden in even the most ordinary circumstances and relationships.

Claire Devon:
When I was younger I would write my version of fan fic. One of my fondest memories is when a friend and I took up the pen to write our fan fic version of General Hospital. Unfortunately, those notebooks were lost in one of our family moves, but the passion lives on. That’s the fun of writing. At any time, I can grab a story left untold and recast it and plot it as I would like to have seen it done.

I enjoy writing because even when things are the darkest, when my characters are being put through the mill I know how it’s going to turn out. I know that there will be a way out of the situation, whatever they are in, and that they will find their way back to each other. So I get to cast these situations with glee, knowing that they will be okay. It isn’t so easy with life, but with art I can always be sure of a happy ending. What is better than that?

Laura Lamoreaux / T.L. French:
As a working partnership, writing strikes both of us very differently.  For Laura, it’s all about the craft.  Finding the perfect words to convey the idea on the page.  The process of making something beautiful, brilliant and new is what she loves. Just the act of getting the words down on the page is a reward in and of itself for her.

As the other half of this crazy ride, my (T.L. French) passion is for telling the stories that are constantly swimming around in my head. It’s the process of discovering who the characters are and what makes them tick that drives me to discover the next story. I find the motivations of characters endlessly fascinating.

What really makes our partnership work however, is the opportunities to collaborate.  There is something magical about being able to bounce these ideas off of each other.  The joy of asking “what if…”  We could literally sit and talk for hours about these people that exist only in our heads–but for us, their stories are waiting to be told.

Love Under the Harvest Moon,
released 18th November 2016 by
Roane Black on White
is available at Roane’s site (click logo)
which lists other outlets.

 

 

 

 

Reviewing Love Under the Harvest Moon

harvest-moon-cover-revealThis anthology of five stories has something for any romance reader. The six authors have each “met the brief”, so to speak, in their own unique way, and have brought to the collection tales reflecting the season and the age.

As a former teacher (but not in the US) two stories felt nicely familiar: Claire Davon’s Opposite Directions, and Laura Lamoreaux’s & T.L. French’s A Harvest Homecoming. Nice, moving to teach at a new school and finding oh, so much more!

Nemma Wollenfang’s Amidst the Strawberry Fields (a Young Adult Romance) I thoroughly enjoyed – its nod to gypsy heritage and old harvest customs are comfortable and easily slot into my own personal interest.

T.E. Hodden’s Autumn Leaves is an incredibly credible tale of acceptance and that facet of love we call kindness, towards a transgender young woman.

Patricia Crisafulli’s Moon Dance tells of a woman, struggling as a solo parent and daughter of her ill mother, who finds herself drawn to dance in the street with the man who comes to fix the roof, then fixes more.

The collection has something for everyone, and this would make a wonderful gift

Available from Roane Publishing, and other outlets listed

Roane Black on White

Reviewing “Night School” by Lee Child

Jack is made invisible by sending him to training school – where he finds two other ‘students’, invisible to personnel in the Military Police, the FBI and the CIA.

child_lee-jack-reacher-21

“In the morning they gave him a medal, and in the afternoon they sent him back to school”

 

Night school, set in 1999, is Lee Child’s twenty-first novel in the Jack Reacher collection. (It’s debatable about referring to the Reacher books as a series, as they’re not serial in Jack’s timeline..)

If Lee Child wanted to keep Jack Reacher fans happy, then this has certainly achieved its purpose.

In Night School Jack is made invisible by sending him to training school – where he finds two other ‘students’. All are invisible to personnel in the Military Police, the FBI and the CIA.

The three agents are to work a clandestine investigation into all possible threats, reporting only to the National Security Advisor to the President, through his senior deputy Dr. Marian Sinclair who briefs them: An Iranian (a double agent) living with three Saudis in a safe house in Hamburg, has reported a message carried by a courier “The American wants one hundred million dollars”. Their job—to learn what is being offered, worth that price. There are two rules: Rule Number Two: talk to no one – except Sinclair. Rule number one: do not burn the Iranian asset. Reacher brings in Sergeant Frances Neagley, and heads to Hamburg to find out what they can.

Soon after arriving, they are called back to McLean, where they are briefed on a possible product – a Trojan virus has just appeared on the black market: it can override the patch coding for ensuring computer systems correctly handle the millennium clock change – the Y2K threat – and stop computer clocks at any moment. The team’s focus now is to track down who could be arranging that Trojan’s sale. Who more likely than a geek? And a convention of coders was held in Hamburg at the time of the message being reported.

The team sift through records of americans attending the convention, turning up one ex-Pat American living in Hamburg. News comes in of a Hamburg police report from a witness to an agitated meeting between an American and a “middle-eastern” man. Tracking movements of American military moves, Reacher & Neagley discover three serving in Germany have gone AWOL – one for four months. Reacher & Neagley are ordered back to Hamburg, with pics of all american geeks for that witness to id.

The investigation continues, with Child giving snippets of the actions of other parties in the plot, building up the complexity of the case, and allowing readers to visualise locations and character, and foresee possible events – yet there are surprises, still. Action scenes are defined crisply, with realistically timed reading pace matched with movement. Threats on the side build tension, and the engrossed reader will surmise the worst scenario possible; resist the urge.

All in all, a satisfying read, from the opening to the resolution. Reacher fans and new readers alike will become engrossed in this book, being released globally on November 7.
Night School by Lee CHILD
388 pages, in forty-five chapters
Published by Bantam Press, of Transworld Publishers, 2016
Released through Penguin Random-House. 7th November

ISBN: 9780593073902

Availability:

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PS: Further information, from Lee Child’s website, the FAQs page [ http://www.leechild.com/faqmedia.php ], question 4…
“If you’re a diehard must-be-read-in-chronological-order person: The Enemy (prequel set 8 years before Killing Floor); The Affair (prequel set shortly before Killing Floor); Killing Floor; Die Trying; Tripwire; Running Blind (US title)/The Visitor (UK title); Echo Burning; Without Fail; Persuader; One Shot; The Hard Way; Bad Luck and Trouble; Nothing to Lose; Gone Tomorrow; 61 Hours; Worth Dying For; A Wanted Man, Never Go Back.” (Not yet updated to show where Night School fits.)