EMBER’S KISS by Deborah Cooke
TITLE: Ember’s Kiss
AUTHOR: Deborah Cooke
RELEASE DATE: October 2, 2012
NOTE: Brandon’s book (thanks Marcie)
Direct from J.R. Ward’s Facebook page, she reveals who the next Black Dagger Brotherhood book will be about.
THEIR TIME HAS COME. 2013- NEXT BDB HARDCOVER…..BLAY & QHUINN!!!!
The Reading Cafe would like to introduce INDIE author Jim Bronyaur.
Name: Jim Bronyaur
Residence : Pennsylvania
Marital Status: Married
Number of Children: 2
Education/Degree: Bachelor’s Degree
TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Jim: My name is Jim. Need more? I live in Pennsylvania where I do most of my writing in the corner of our basement. It’s my dream writing place right now and I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I write in different kinds of genres including horror, thriller, mystery… and I even have a paranormal romance series coming out soon.
TRC: When and how did you first become interested in writing?
Jim: Two important events.
First… when I was about eight, I read Pet Sematary by Stephen King. That is by far my favorite book and movie. It really changed my life. My parents weren’t thrilled when I started asking to sleep in their bed, but it was all part of the grand scheme to become a writer myself.
Second… when I was in fifth grade, a guest poet came to my school every Friday for a couple months. He was the most eccentric man I had ever met, and because of him, I had my first published piece of writing. It was a poem about a pig with a wig. Don’t ask, it’s not available to be read.
TRC: As a young man, did you parents or teachers support your choice to write ?
Jim: Yes. My parents always pushed me towards the arts stuff. I also play guitar and several other instruments. They had to endure the days and nights of loud guitar playing and drums. Never once did they ask me to turn it down or off and never once did they tell me to stop writing and do something else. In school, I had a guest teacher in tenth grade for a creative writing class. She was honest and open and embraced anything I offered. She allowed me to write what I wanted to and encouraged me to be honest.
TRC:You have self-published several ebooks and novellas including The Nothing Man, The Devil’s Weekend and No Laughing Matter. Which book was your first published novel? Will you tell us something about your first published work?
Jim: My first published work was my three short story collection titled In the Corner. It came out April 2011. The stories are a mix of horror and thriller. The name of the book came because they were stories that were started and never finished but always sat in the back of my mind, waiting. When the chance came to grab them, finish them, and publish them, I went for it. The best part about the book is that everyone chooses a different story as their favorite… I love reading the reviews and hearing the mixed thoughts on the stories.
TRC: You have published several of your novels using Smashwords, as an Indie writer. What is the process to publish as an Indie writer?
Jim: It’s a long process, one you have to learn to love over time. I do EVERYTHING. I do the covers, the formatting, the creation of all the different files (with the exception of Smashwords since their MeatGrinder does it for me!), the uploading, and everything else that comes along with it. One of the keys behind it all is that you have to take your time in the beginning to learn as much as you can.
TRC: What was your decision behind self-publishing?
Jim: I wanted to do it! My dream has always been to own my own business and I love to write, so why not mix the two? I have nothing against traditional publishing and never would, this is just my path right now.
TRC: Which genre do you most identify with your writing style and why?
Jim: A healthy mix between horror, thriller, and mystery. Those are the genres I grew up reading and watching movies. As a kid, I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
TRC: Several writers and artists have friends or family that help bounce ideas back and forth. Who do you go to when you want to jam about ideas etc?
Jim: I have a few select writer friends that I’ll chat with. In the end, we usually end up coming with new projects! I also like sites like Kindleboards where a lot of authors will go and connect not just to talk about writing, but to talk about the business of writing. It’s pretty nice – almost like a break room for authors!
TRC: Is you wife involved with your writing process?
Jim: On certain projects, yes. She was the driving force behind Eve Bailey in the Minivan Mom Mystery Series. I had the idea for a mystery series with a woman as the main character and I thought it would be fun and different to have that woman be stay-at-home mom who drives a green minivan. I imagined her handling things the way my wife does and then have this added bonus of her getting involved with murder investigations. That’s where my wife stepped in to help create Eve and all the small things that happen around her.
Jim: It follows Eve Bailey as she tries to find out who killed a local resident, Janet. Eve sees Janet leave the bank and open her gas tank, then speed away. Eve follows, curious, and then witnesses Janet’s murder. The cops quickly say it’s a drug deal gone wrong when they find drugs in Janet’s car, but something in Eve just doesn’t believe it. She tries to question and when it appears there’s perhaps no hope, a change of events has Eve starting to wonder if she’s next to be murdered… which drags her right back into the middle of things.
The fun part of the book is that while there’s murder go on around Eve, she still has to find a daily balance with her family. Her husband, Ben, has to get to work, and she has three kids who have to get to school, get home, do homework, eat dinner, and all the normal events of a family. This is what makes Eve so strong and it’s what makes the book and series addicting.
TRC: Eve is the heroine in the novella-If Errands Could Kill, and you are considering writing a series of storylines entitled-“Minivan Mom Mystery Series”. Will Eve and her family, be the main protagonists throughout this series?
Jim: As of right now, YES. My wife and I have four books planned. If Errands Could Kill is obviously available. Next up (due out by Mother’s Day) is called A Mess to Die For.
I want to keep Eve and her family in all the books because I’ve created Eve to be a real woman in real situations. I’ve done my best to try and avoid mystery book clichés and hope that each book is presented and received by readers as a unique story.
What will happen after that fourth book? I’m not sure yet. My wife and I have talked about maybe introducing new characters, changing the setting, but as of now, we are focused on the first four books which feature Eve and her family.
TRC: Have you started writing a second novel in the series, and if so, would you be able to give us the premise for the next storyline?
Jim: The second book is titled A Mess to Die For.
In this book, it’s a normal Friday night for Eve and her family. A woman of habit, Eve goes to the front door to look outside and make sure things are normal. In the distance she sees a car swerving back and forth. Eve waits and watches as the car goes through a stop sign without stopping. Eve thinks it’s a drunk driver and tells Ben to call police. The car then hits the next stop sign and comes to a stop. Eve can’t control herself as she hurries to car to confront the driver. When she opens the car door… the man in the driver’s seat is dead from a stab wound. The man turns out to be the land developer for a casino that just opened in the next town over. Eve isn’t sure what to believe when the news reports that the man was part of the mob… but that’s just the beginning because soon after, another person is attacked. Now Eve can’t help but wonder if it’s someone in the small town of Marysville doing this, but the question is – who?
TRC: What sort of research was involved in writing If Errands Could Kill?
Jim: I had the storyline from day one. All I needed was help filling in the blanks, mostly involving Eve as a wife and mother. There’s a lot of interaction between women in the book and gossip and whatnot… my best research was my wife! I would listen to her and my kids play, get in trouble, and watch how they interacted. She helped me when it came time to read the book and make the scenes stronger.
TRC: The storyline involves a stay-at-home mom, who is witness to a murder and proceeds to do some of her own investigation work, but her family life is your stereo-typical ‘soccer mom’. Do you write from experience about family life at home?
Jim: Well, my wife is basically a stay-at-home mom. I get to spend a lot of time home too so I get to witness what it’s like and have my own hands experience too. We have two boys (ages 4 and 2), so our house is always active, loud, and messy. Except for bedtime… the greatest time of the day!
TRC: Who designed the cover for IF ERRANDS COULD KILL?
Jim: I did! I’ve always wanted to learn EVERYTHING about publishing, including covers. I love creating books, covers, formatting, and publishing. It’s what I do. I had a simple idea for the cover too… a to-do list that included solving Janet’s murder. It’s simple but yet catchy.
TRC: What are you working on today?
Jim: Besides this interview… we are finishing up A Mess to Die For. We also have our proof copy of the first book of our paranormal romance series coming so we can finalize that and get it to publication. I also had a meeting this morning with another writer to work on the details of a new horror series we’re going to write together. I love to stay busy!
TRC: If someone would like to order an ecopy of one of your novels, where would they find your books?
Jim: As of right now, If Errands Could Kill is exclusive with Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats
At Amazon: If Errands Could Kill
Most of my other books are available on other retailers. The best bet is to head to my site at Jim Bronyaur and check out the books section.
Favorite Food: Tacos!
Favorite Dessert: Cookies n’ milk
Favorite TV Show: The Walking Dead
Favorite Movie: Goodfellas
Last Movie You saw: The Woman in Black
We would like to thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you the best of luck with all of your future books. Let us know when A Mess To Die For will be released. We look forward to writing the review.
IF ERRANDS COULD KILL is an indie publication from author Jim Bronyaur. If Errands Could Kill is the first book in Jim’s new “Minivan Mom Mystery” series. Jim has previously self-published many short stories and novellas, but this is the first instalment in his new series.
Eve Baily is a stay-at–home wife and mother, raising 3 children in a typical suburban neighborhood. Like most families, her children are involved with soccer, class projects and trips, as well as the occasional playground fight. Her husband Ben is a lawyer, handling contracts and business accounts, but the family is well respected in the small community of Marysville Pennsylvania. With her only son Cody’s class trip days away, the science teacher informs Eve, that the cheque has bounced, and Cody will not be allowed to attend, without payment. Hoping to straighten out the issue at the bank, Eve doesn’t realize that the world she once knew is about to change.
Witnessing what she believes to be a potential case of fraud, Eve follows bank employee Janet Vanden out to her vehicle, but notices that Janet has opened her gas tank before she drives away. But a simple case of fraud, has suddenly turned into something bigger when Eve witnesses Janet’s murder. When a large black Lincoln quickly leaves the area, Eve knows of only one potential person in town, with enough money to afford the luxury automobile. But when the police interview Eve, they reveal more information about the murder than first believed. Perhaps someone was being set-up?
Eve, hoping to gather her own information about the murder, sets out to investigate, but soon realizes that she has crossed the line with both the police and the potential suspects. When she follows the black Lincoln around town, she is quickly swept into melee of rumor, innuendo and threats against her life. But when her husband learns that his wife has continued to involve herself with the murder case, she is asked to step back before she gets hurt, but not before the victims husband, wants to meet with Eve. Hoping to learn more about his wife’s murder, Ted Vanden becomes distraught and defensive when he is suddenly pushed deeper into the rumor mill, with stories surrounding a possible affair and drugs.
Throughout the storyline, the Bailey family and their issues with time management, school activities and sports teams, play a secondary but important role within the novel. As part of the Minivan Mom Mystery series, Jim has woven real –life activities into a mystery, letting the reader know-that family is important and will not step aside. Life continues, even when you should NOT be investigating a murder.
Eve’s investigation soon threatens the stability of her family and the town. The police believe the murder is drug related, but Eve suspects that the police have been set up, as well as the victim. When Eve reveals what she knows and suspects, she is suddenly thrown into a scenario, where life or death, are her only options.
Jim Bronyaur writes an interesting mystery without the use of sex, foul language or graphic violence. The premise and scenario could be taken from any news headline, but Jim wraps the package with a nice secondary storyline involving the heroine’s family and home life. The one drawback-the suspect, perhaps, was a little too obvious. I wanted to smack Eve a couple of times, for her involvement with the investigation, especially when she was risking her life as well as her family, but shouldn’t all good storylines emotionally involve the reader? A good writer will always pull the reader into the story. I have no problem recommending IF ERRANDS COULD KILL and I look forward to A MESS TO DIE FOR.
Reviewed by Sandy
As of right now, If Errands Could Kill is exclusive with Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats
At Amazon: If Errands Could Kill
BARED TO YOU is the premiere novel and new release (April 3, 2012) for Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series. Sylvia introduces Gideon Cross a billionaire with multi-corporations and financial investments, and Eva Tramell, a 24 year old woman with a new job and a new outlook on life.
Eva Tramell was hoping to make an impression on her first day at Crossfire Industries, but landing hard on her ass in the foyer wasn’t how she had hoped to impress. And worse, the beautiful sexy, dark and dangerous man who rescued her pride was none other than Gideon Cross, owner and financier. Eva’s position to a junior ad exec was just what she was hoping for to allow her to break free of her mother and step-father’s need to control. But Eva was hiding a painful past, one that her mother was unable to forget and her step-father had paid to hide.
Gideon Cross is a man of power and wealth. Along with the money came responsibilities to him employees, his corporations and to the many charities he had chosen to support and back, including one specifically for abused and battered children. But the sight of that beautiful blonde woman landing on the floor was something he would not forget. She stirred something inside, he had long forgotten. Along with his power and money, came the people, especially the women who wanted to know Gideon Cross, but Gideon was one to hold back secrets. And like Eva, Gideon too, hid a horrible past that would haunt him night after night.
Eva and her boss Mark worked well together. They became quick friends and along with his boyfriend Steve, Mark tried to ensure that Eva was accepted. The many layouts and presentations together were successful and caught the eye of Gideon Cross. And there was a sexual tension growing between Eva and Gideon that was palpable by the many employees at Cross Industries. Mark took it upon himself to not only chastise Eva but to warn her about the repercussions of becoming involved with an office romance. Although Eva was quick to turn aside all of Gideon’s advances, the couple were heading into a relationship built on sexual attraction and need. On the night of the dinner for the Battered Children’s charity, Eva could no longer resist the desire and need growing between she and Gideon. But Gideon’s quick exit and disappearance from the function left Eva feeling cold and used. She did not want to be his latest conquest.
But not all was what it seems. Gideon’s need for Eva grows to an obsession. He is unable to describe his desire and need, but only that he is growing jealous of her friendships with others including Mark and her roommate Cary. Cary is a bisexual man and a model, with a dark history of drugs and abuse. When Cary thinks he has finally found love with Trey, he goes about sabotaging his relationship with one-night stands and sexual games. And only Eva is willing to help Cary back from the brink. But she may not be strong enough to save Cary from the disaster he is fast approaching.
Gideon and Eva’s relationship is filled with sexual encounters and daily affirmations. And the lover’s are fragile. There is a hunger for each other that is not easily quenched, but trust is hard to gain. Both have been hurt, literally, and their trust in one another is slow to develop. Gideon admits his need to control, but when he suggests that Eva willingly submit to his demands, she must admit something about her past that could end their relationship. Surprised by his reaction, Eva was hoping Gideon was able to confide his secrets to her. But the nightly terrors that ride Gideon in his sleep only grow until their relationship is threatened. Hoping to ease some of Gideon’s pain, Eva suggests couples therapy and is pleased when Gideon is willing to try. But Gideon still is unable to talk about the many demons that ride him hard. There is a family history of pain and suicide, depression and neglect, and Eva is only now discovering that the man she has fallen in love (with); the billionaire corporate CEO; the man desired by every woman; the man who looks more put together than anyone she has ever seen is so fragile and in so much pain.
Eva’s past is hard for Gideon, and perhaps that is one reason he is unwilling to talk about his own. But when Eva is finally introduced to a woman who was once a significant part of Gideon’s life, she is unable to control the hurt, anger and jealousy that engulf. Eva feels betrayed with the knowledge that Gideon is keeping secret much of his past. And it will take a much longer time to learn to forgive and forget, when everyone is ignoring the giant elephant standing in the room.
Bared to You is an erotic story that centers on the relationship between two dysfunctional people, who are both trying to swim in a sea of pain and sorrow. Eva’s past is revealed but Gideon’s history is one that we have yet to learn. There are many skeletons in the proverbial family closet and hopefully Sylvia will reveal more in her next Crossfire novel-Deeper In You. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes the first novel in any new series if filled with too much background information, but Bared to You had just enough and left me wanting more. I am looking forward to Deeper In You.
Reviewed by Sandy
Bared to You was supplied by Netgalley.
INTERVIEW WITH RANDY MIXTER-The author of Sarah of the Moon (see review below)
From time to time The Reading Cafe will introduce an upcoming or Indie author. Today we would like to introduce-Randy Mixter
TRC: Hi Randy and welcome to The Reading Café. We would like to start with a little background information.
Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Randy: My name is Randy Mixter. I live in Glen Burnie, Maryland with my wife of 43 years and our five cats. I spend my days writing and working on projects for my video transfer company, Annapolis Digital. I am currently busy writing my next fictional novel, which I hope to have published this summer.
TRC: We have read that you have always been interested in writing poetry and short stories since you were a teenager. Where your parents and teachers supportive?
Randy: Very much so. My mother, in particular, loved the fact that I enjoyed writing and encouraged me to work at it as often as I could. In those days, I wrote mostly poetry and short stories. I still have those writings. Perhaps one day I’ll gather them together and put them in book form.
TRC: What was the first piece of writing you ever published?
Randy: In the 1980s I wrote movie reviews and short stories for a local newspaper. I also won a creative writing award when I worked for the Erols Video stores in 1989. They sponsored a contest to write the lyrics to a rap song based on the movie Colors. My entry won and was played on many radio stations in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
TRC: Would you please tell us about the MILITARY WRITERS SOCIETY OF AMERICA?
Randy: The MWSA is an organization of writers who are also active service members and veterans. They actively promote authors and their books as well as other causes of importance to veterans and their families. I am proud to be a member.
TRC: The Vietnam War, was and is, a contemptuous issue with many people. Thinking back or to today, what do you say to those people who question America’s involvement in Vietnam?
Randy: I would say that many of the young men who served in Vietnam had no choice in the matter due to the draft. I will also add that from the minute they stepped off the plane in that foreign land, they served honorably and, in some cases, gave their lives for their country. Unfortunately, little or no recognition was given to them upon their return home unlike the servicemen of today, who are treated (rightly so) with respect and honor. As I said in Sarah Of The Moon, question wars like Vietnam if you must, but have no doubts in the honor and courage of those who fight them.
TRC: Have you ever visited the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial? Any comments?
Randy: I visited the Vietnam War Memorial on Memorial Day 2010 and was humbled by the experience. Many brave souls are honored on that wall. Their courage and sacrifice inspires me.
TRC: Letters From Long Binh, is a story based on a collection of letters that you had written to your wife (then girlfriend) while you were stationed in Vietnam. Would you tell us about your decision to publish this novel based on something so personal?
Randy: I was pleasantly surprised when after my girlfriend Roni and I married I found she had kept every letter I had written her from Vietnam. They filled up two shoeboxes. Every few years I would return to those letters to bring back memories of my time in that war torn country. Not long after finishing my book of short stories concerning growing up in Baltimore in the 1960s, The Boys Of Northwood, I realized I could use a similar format for reliving some of my adventures in Vietnam. I went through the many letters and pulled out those that told of particular incidents. After I wrote Sarah Of The Moon, I started work on Letters From Long Binh. It was strange reliving those memories, both good and bad, but I’m glad I did. I have absolutely no regrets publishing memoirs of such a personal nature. I wanted to honor my fellow military policeman in a poignant and sometimes humorous manner. I feel I accomplished that.
TRC: Many authors and artists bounce ideas and information with their spouses. Is your wife a part of your writing process. Was it a mutual decision to publish a novel based on your private letters to your wife?
Randy: My wife is very much a part of my writing process. I constantly pick her brain for ideas and suggestions. I might also add that she is my harshest critic, and so I try that much harder to do work that pleases her. She had the final say in Letters From Long Binh. Thankfully, she enjoyed the finished book and found it respectful of our relationship and of the soldiers with whom I served.
Randy: I had written the prologue and epilogue to Sarah Of The Moon a few years ago. Using those pages as a reference I began to write the body of the story. I had always been fascinated by the music of that era, and by the hippie culture. I thought of sending a young man, the reporter Alex, into the strange and mysterious place that was the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco during the summer of love. Of course I had to have him fall madly in love with the beautiful flower child Sarah.
I have told many that the characters started writing themselves after a while. I had no outline for the novel save the beginning and end. Sarah’s parents, Matt the soldier, the housemates, and, of course, Oswald the chicken, were all born as I wrote. I started the book without even knowing why Sarah danced on a hill. Fortunately she told me her secrets.
TRC: Many authors will write from experience. Is there anything about the storyline that comes from your experience during this time? Where you ever part of the ‘hippie-movement’?
Randy: I was in Vietnam during the summer of love. I based my hippies on how I hoped they would be. I tried to not focus on the drugs but rather how most of the free spirits of the summer of love wanted to make the world a better place. Matt, the former soldier in my story comes to Haight – Ashbury because he finds it a kind place to visit. I’m grateful to have served my country in Vietnam, but a part of me holds a fascination for those carefree yet dedicated souls and for the culture of those times.
TRC: Do you believe the ‘movement’ affected any changes?
Randy: I would like to think the peace protests of the 1970’s, which in some ways helped to end the war in Vietnam, and the protests of today can be traced back to the hippies of the ’60s, and, of course, the summer of love. I also believe the movement was instrumental in passing anti-racism laws in the late 1960s and 1970s and undoubtedly was responsible for generating an interest in environmental concerns such as clean air and water, organic farming, and recycling.
TRC: Many of the characters in Sarah of the Moon are quite flamboyant. Are any of these characters based on real people or compilations? (I pictured Chick as a young Tommy Cheong)
Randy: The character of Chick was based on a friend I had in the 1980s of the same name. My friend was a hippie 20 years too late but proved an excellent source of material for my book. The soldier Matt was a composite of several friends I had during my time in the army.
TRC: The character of Sarah believes her deceased parents speak to her in dreams foreshadowing events. Her premonitions are very real. Do you believe in the power of premonitions or psychic communication with the dead?
Randy: I try to keep an open mind when it comes to premonitions or other psychic phenomena. In Sarah’s case, the power of love brought her parents back to her. For now, that is good enough for me.
TRC: There was no happily-ever-after in Sarah of the Moon. Many fictional romance novels end with the couple living happily-ever-after. Why not Sarah and Alex?
Randy: Without giving too much away, I tried different endings for Sarah and Alex. I finally realized that the greatest romances are the ones that last forever. I believe that the romance between Alex and Sarah did just that.
TRC: What was behind your decision to self-publish many of your stories and writings?
Randy: I wanted to get my books in my hands and in the hands of my readers without waiting years for an agent to pick it up. Although I still have open queries to agents on Sarah Of The Moon, I am now unsure as to whether I even want to go in that direction. There is no longer a stigma to self-publishing. Many established authors are now self-publishing with successful results. When you self-publish you have control of the book’s cover, its content, and its pricing. The advent of e-books also favors the self-published. I truly believe self-publishing is the wave of the future, and, for now, I’m perfectly content riding that wave.
TRC: What are you currently working on?
Randy: Again, I’ve gone back to working on a fictional novel. As in Sarah of the Moon, my next novel, tentatively titled Swan Loch, will involve two people very much in love. Unlike Sarah, it takes place in today’s world. Swan Loch is about love found, lost, then found again. There will be mystery, adventure, tragedy, romance, and a bit of science fiction. I hope to have it published by summer.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Randy: For those who like romance, my short story, Eternal, will be published this spring by Sleeping Cat Books in their anthology The Storm Is Coming. I appreciate The Reading Cafe for allowing me to take the time to talk about myself and my books. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
FAVORITE MOVIE: Ghost
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Parks And Recreation
LAST MOVIE YOU SAW: Hugo
FAVORITE FOOD: Steak
FAVORITE TYPE OF CAR: BMW Sports Coup
DARK OR MILK CHOCOLATE: Milk Chocolate, if I must.
TRC: Thank you Randy for taking the time to talk with The Reading Café. We wish you the best of luck with all of your future novels and writing. Keep us informed.
SARAH OF THE MOON by Randy Mixter
When Randy approached The Reading Café about reviewing his latest novel, Barb and I were backlogged with books, novellas and interviews, that I thought this would be one story for a rainy afternoon. After writing another review, I came back to Randy’s email and thought I would take a quick look at Sarah of the Moon. Well, that quick look turned into an hour and before I realized it, I had finished the book.
Sarah of the Moon is a sweet, gentle story. Set against the backdrop of 1967 Haight-Ashbury Hippie era, Randy takes us on one young man’s journey of discovery-hippies, drugs, freedom, war, peace and love. Alex Conley is our ‘hero’. As the son of a retired colonel, Alex respects his father’s choices and life as a military man, but Alex strives for something different. The Vietnam War is in full swing, and like most young men of his age, the draft would soon be calling.
It was the summer of his 18th year, and Alex was working for the local newspaper when his editor Max Bestwick, sends him to San Francisco for a couple of months. His assignment-to write about the hippies in the Haight-Ashbury district. Seeing this as an opportunity of a lifetime, Alex jumps at the chance and is soon ensconced in the lifestyle of the time. We meet the residents of the house-Chick (Max’s wayward nephew), the self- proclaimed leader of the group, as well as Belladonna (Chick’s girlfriend), the Hope sisters (resident cooks) Cowboy, Sandman, Celeste and Matt, Skip, Benny, Oswald and Jezebel. A house open to anyone needing a home. A place to rest or simply someone with whom to talk. But it is Sarah, who catches Alex’s eye. Sarah is as mysterious as she is beautiful. And Sarah has a few secrets of her own.
Sarah is an enigma. She is a free spirit who dances every evening on Hippie Hill, to a tune only she can hear, but a tune Alex once heard in a dream. For it is Sarah of the Moon, who once entered into Alex’s dreams and told him of things to come. And along with Chick, it is Sarah who will introduce Alex to the many facets of life as a hippie. Alex meets an assortment of wandering souls and people hoping to make a difference. But it was the death of her parents that led Sarah to Haight-Ashbury. And it is their spirit that continues to nurture the child within.
Alex’s summer of ‘love’ ends as the people he has grown to love, come to the realization that life goes on, whether you are standing still or running wild. Each must make a decision and take the next step towards their future. But Alex’s decision has been made for him-he must report for basic training in 3 weeks.
Sarah of the Moon is a love story without a HEA. Sarah and Alex promise to meet again, but promises are sometimes like the grains of sand-many are grabbed but most will fall away. Alex returns from Vietnam hoping to find Sarah, but years of searching are fruitless, and the little reminders of the past, will continue to haunt him for many years to come.
Randy writes a beautiful story, without the use of foul language, graphic violence or sex. His characters are real, their emotions are tactile and his use of descriptive narration brings the Haight –Ashbury hippies to life-once again. As a reader, I put myself into the storylines, to get a sense of action and drama and with Sarah of the Moon it was no different. I lived the life of a hippie, for a few weeks in the summer of 1967.
Reviewed by Sandy
NATURAL EVIL by Thea Harrison
NATURAL EVIL is the latest ebook release in Thea Harrison’s Elder Race series. Like True Colors, Natural Evil departs from Thea’s Elder Race- Wyr storylines to focus on Luis, a 27 year old shapeshifter and Claudia a 40 year old woman with some telekinetic powers. Although Thea never does reveal the source of the heroine’s powers, it appears that she may have some psychic ability as well.
Claudia is a retired major in the Specials Forces, on her way to Vegas. Although she really had no destination in mind, driving along she finds a rather larger animal wounded and dying along the highway. With her telekinetic powers, Claudia lifts the injured animal into her car and drives forward, in search of help. But the help that is offered is not what she had expected. It becomes rather obvious, that more than one person is looking for the ‘wounded animal’ and the local law enforcement is more than willing to euthanize the animal ASAP. Claudia is soon suspicious about the real intent of the Nevada sheriff. And there are others who are not willing to relinquish the controls on the investigation surrounding the tortured animal. There are secrets among some of the more prestigious families, and the ‘dog’ is somehow connected.
Luis is a shapeshifter, who was sent by the Wyr to investigate the rumors of missing people and the Power of the silver being mined. But a miscalculation by Luis results in his capture, drugging and inability to shift back to human. Tortured and left for dead, Luis is rescued by Claudia and nursed by to health by a friendly retired veterinarian. Seeing intelligence in the animal’s eyes, Claudia and the Doc soon recognize the animal as a member of the ‘Wyr’ species and Claudia attempts to communicate telepathically. But it is with the information obtained from the doc that drives Claudia forward in an effort to save Luis life. Hoping to trap those responsible, Luis and Claudia eventually return to the silver mine, in an effort to destroy the people involved in the discovery of the mine and its portal to the other side.
Once again, the Tarot Cards make an appearance, as they did in True Colors. When Luis questions the origins and the Power of the deck, Claudia remembers that a woman gave her the cards saying the ‘cards’ communicate and choose their owner. They have a Power of their own. And at the end of the storyline, the Tarot Cards will once again find themselves with a new owner.
The relationship between Luis and Claudia is slow to build. Luis remains in his shifted form throughout the first ½ of the storyline, therefore the romance is negligent, but there is a connection between the couple. Claudia is concerned, as their sexual relationship develops because of the age difference between she and Luis, and she will make an attempt to dissuade any physical contact, although both are highly aware of the attraction.
Natural Evil is not one of Thea’s best storylines. It was a quick read, like all novellas. The story was interesting until Luis and Claudia went to investigate the mine and its’ missing people. Here is where the writing changes. It becomes jumpy and the flow is not smooth. I found myself going back-wondering if I had missed some information. If Thea is to continue her ebook format with the Tarot Card adventures, I think a change in venue and perhaps a shift back to the true Elder Races may be advisable.
Reviewed by Sandy