Book Review: Every Frenchman Has One by Olivia de Havilland

Monday, September 26, 2016

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Sometimes the nicest things come in little packages. In honor of Olivia de Havilland’s 100th birthday, the publisher re-released a book she wrote in the 1960’s called Every Frenchman Has One. In the early fifties, after a failed marriage and a child, de Havilland visited France where she met a man, fell in love and married, and subsequently moved to Paris. The book is a collection of short sweet articles about adjusting to life in a new country and culture. Not an easy thing to do, even if you’re a famous movie star.

The pages are filled with de Havilland’s delightfully self-deprecating wit. She navigates the choppy waters of learning a new language by throwing herself headfirst into lessons often with less than stellar results. “Then there was the day I shook my professor. I’d been on a household shopping excursion and had been rather dismayed by the high cost of things. Well I don’t know if you see much difference between matelot and matelas, and I don’t know how you’d complain of the price of a mattress. But anyway I rushed in to my professor at lesson time in a state of outrage and indignantly proclaimed that I had discovered that French sailors were very expensive.”

The book is a quick breezy read, each short chapter describing an obstacle to overcome; shopping, health care system, buying a house, etc. Miss de Havilland would have made a darn good blogger. Her husband was connected to the magazine, Paris Match, and the book reads like a series of articles, so perhaps, they were. Each one whimsically relates the frustration of a stranger in a strange land, but also the charm of discovery, and the warmth of the French who were willing to embrace a newcomer. Lately, the French have gotten bad press as far as immigration is concerned, but by the last chapter, you’ll be ready to book the next flight to Paris.

I don’t know whether any of the France of the 1950’s exists today. Undoubtedly, much has changed as it has here in the States, but that didn’t decrease enjoyment of this book. I like to think the most important aspects in French life are constant; time spent with family, good friends, and a relaxed meal at the end of the day with the freshest possible ingredients. To this poor harried reader, it’s all trés charmant.

By the way, you pervert, what every Frenchman has is a liver (fois). If you want to know why it’s not only important but funny, read the book.


I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

Book Spotlight: A Ghostly Anthology

Thursday, September 15, 2016

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 What do you get when you combine cowboys and ghosts? A collection of eight amazing stories from the Old West with haunts of every variety.Get your love of alpha cowboys on and feed your addiction for the bizarre (and sometimes spooky) world when you purchase The Good, The Bad and The GhostlyBestselling and Award-winning authors are pleased to save you more than 75% on this fantastic boxed set! (Price if books sold separately). Scroll down for a special excerpt from The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patti Sherry-Crews.

Wild, Wild Ghost by Margo Bond Collins
When Ruby Silver traded in her demon-hunting rifle for a badge at the Tremayne Psychic Specters Investigations, she didn't want another partner—losing the last one was too traumatic. But when a new case in the Texas Hill Country pairs her up with the slow-talking, fast-drawing Trip Austin, it will take all their combined skills to combat a plague of poltergeists in this German-settled town.

Comes An Outlaw by Keta Diablo
When a tragic accident claims her husband's life, Jesse Santos must find a way to keep the ranch, the only home her 12-year-old son has ever known.  The ranch hands have abandoned her, a gang of cutthroat ranchers want her land and an ancient Yaqui Indian insists a spirit has taken up residence in the house.

After a fifteen year absence, her husband's brother, Coy, returns to his childhood home. He doesn't plan on staying, and he certainly doesn't intend to settle down with a widow and her son…no matter how pretty she is. He's an outlaw, after all, and made a decision to put an end to his gun-slinging days long ago. Will his conscience let him walk away from family, or will his heart overrule his head?


Long A Ghost and Far Away by Andrea Downing
When Lizzie Adams returns as a ghost to a life she led in the 1800s, she is surprised to find herself on a ranch in Wyoming, but delighted to learn she was married to a handsome and loving man.  The reasons for her return become clear when she discovers how she died, yet the unresolved issues surrounding her death leave her unable to either live in the 1800s or return to her present life.
Colby Gates misses the wife he loved, yet a ghost is a poor substitute. Re-married to a woman he doesn’t care for, and with outlaws searching for buried gold on his ranch, the spirit of his wife is a further complication.
Perhaps if the questions surrounding Lizzie’s death can be answered, the two can be together.
For all time.

A Ghostly Wager by Blaire Edens
Even a skeptical detective needs a little otherworldly help.Nineteen-year old Annabelle Lawson hops a train to Reno to escape a marriage to a man twice her age. Alone and nearly destitute, she spots an employment advertisement that might change her life. If she can use the dreams that have haunted her for the last four years to land a job with the mysterious Treymane PSI Agency, she might be able to buy a train ticket home to Kentucky.

Agent Cole Swansby is an up and coming detective for Tremayne PSI. There’s only thing that can sink his career: if the boss realizes he’s a skeptic. He’s solved dozens of cases using old-fashioned logic, but he doesn't believe in the paranormal. Now he’s under tremendous pressure to solve a new case before the president of Midas Mining shows for a week of R&R at The Blade Saloon.Cole can’t solve this case without some otherworldly help, though, and Annabelle is just the woman for the job. As the two of them are drawn deeper into the mystery of the woman in green, they may not be able to banish the ghost without losing their hearts.To each other.


How the Ghost Was Won by Erin Hayes
From orphan to saloon girl to ghost whisperer, Hattie Hart has been and seen a lot of things in her time. Her new job as a detective with the Tremayne PSI Agency takes her out to the remote town of Carolina City, Nevada on a vague assignment to investigate the disappearance of a US marshal.

Except, when she arrives, she meets the devilishly handsome Grant Madsden, a US marshal who is alive and well. Certainly not missing, but certainly the man of her dreams. So why did her boss send her out to this small boomtown when there’s nothing for her to investigate?

She soon discovers that in Carolina City, there are strange happenings from the afterlife that threaten to kill her or worse. She’ll have to race against time to save her life, the town, and the US marshal she was sent to find—and maybe, if she's lucky, her heart.

McKee's Ghost by Anita Philmar
His fiancée called off their engagement after being accosted by a ghost in his house. Now, a beautiful ghost detective has shown up at his ranch, saying his brother has hired her to take care of the unwanted spirit.Konnor McKee is more than happy with P.S.I Agent Ruth Oliva Wilson. One look and he's hooked. Now, if he can only get some help from a ghost, he might be able to secure himself a bride after all.With the return of his ex- fiancé, his life is turned upside down by an angry ghost, a vindictive woman, and a sexy medium. Konnor doesn’t know which way to turn.Can he get everyone out of this alive and marry the P.S.I Agent? Or has he lost all hope of a happy future because of the ruthless ghost of one of his ancestors?

A Ride Through Time by Charlene Raddon
Ghosts. Murder. Love.  P.S.I. Agent Burke Jameson travels to Eagle Gulch, Colorado to investigate a report of ghost activity at a house where a murder took place in 1881. When his vehicle carrying his P.S.I. equipment dies, and a riderless mare appears, he mounts up, hoping the horse will lead him to her fallen rider. What he finds is a whole new life beyond his imagination.

Clorinda Halstead believes she’s a widow. After all, she was the one who shot her husband, Horace, on a violent night in 1881. He deserved it, the jury concluded. Living with the town marshal and his wife, all Clori wants is to be left alone. Then a stranger, Burke James, joins the household and nothing is ever the same again.How did Burke find his way through time to the year 1881, and who is haunting the lovely but distant Widow Halstead? Can Burke find the ghost of Eagle Gulch without his P.S.I. equipment? And how will he ever choose between going home to his own time and a life of love and happiness with Clorinda?


Sneak peak at The Ghost and The Bridegroom
Patti Sherry-Crews

Life is looking rosy for Abbott Foster when he brings his new bride to his ranch in Arizona. But when he is unable to consummate his marriage due to a malevolent spirit in the bedroom, he is forced to call in Psychic Specters Investigations.
Agent Healy Harrison doesn’t want to accept this case. She has her own demons and likes her quiet life, lived in the anonymity of St. Louis. But Tucson is where she finds herself—with instructions to “Have an adventure! Have a romance!” Things get interesting when she meets handsome Pinkerton detective, Aaron Turrell. Is this the romance she’s meant to have, or when their two cases intersect, will it drive him away?
Excerpt
The air burned as hot as a fever out here on the porch. The windmill in the yard creaked and creaked. Tumbleweed rolled past, carried on the same breeze turning the windmill. The porch smelled like hot, old wood.
Healy pinched the bridge of her nose, dislodging her glasses. Over the layer of perspiration covering her face, a fine coating of gritty dust stuck to her skin. She’d gone so parched; she had to work her lips off her teeth—where they were stuck—to utter a word.
“Yes, we’ve already established that fact, and as I’ve already had this conversation with the ranch hand you sent to fetch me, I’m finding this conversation about my gender rather tedious.”
He studied her with his gray eyes. “You’re a woman.”
“Oh, my…now that we’ve ascertained I’m not a man are we going to have to now go through this whole process again, establishing I’m a woman. I suggest we move on from this topic and talk about your problem, Mr. Foster.”
He ran a hand through his sandy brown hair. “I can’t talk to you about this. I thought you’d be a man. This is a delicate matter.”
“Mr. Foster, I assure you I’ve seen everything. There isn’t anything you can tell me I haven’t heard before. What is happening to you has happened to many before you.”
“That’s just it. I’ve heard about it happening to other men, but it’s never happened to me before.”
“Ah, I see. Well, this too is a common reaction. Many don’t believe in ghosts until they experience the phenomenon themselves. You’re not alone.”
He looked down. “I’m not talking about ghosts.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I can’t talk to a young lady about this.”
“You can! Nothing you say will shock me.”
“Are you a…spinster?”
Healy huffed. “I don’t see how my marital status is relevant, but yes, I am not a married woman.”
“So you don’t have experience….”
“Please, I have traveled a long way under the most trying circumstances to help you. You’ve already paid the agency, and here I am!  Let’s just start at the place where you encountered the haunting?”
Abbott sighed. “In the bedroom.”
“You’re lucky in that sense. Some ghosts follow people around and make all kinds of mischief.”
“Naw, you ain’t catching my meaning.”
“Enlighten me.”
“Aw, all right.” He took a long pause, studying his boots before he looked up again. “I’m a newlywed….”
“Congratulations.”
“Yes, but here’s the crux of the matter. The ghost will not allow me to…consummate my marriage.”
Healy felt her face burn red. “Oh, I see. Well, that is a new one on me. Never heard of that one before. How is it that the ghost has power to stop…the act?”
“Ever since I brought Erline—that’s my bride—home, things don’t work right.”
She put a hand on his arm. “Are you sure you’re consulting the right expert? Have you talked to your doctor?”
His face went beet red with frustration. “It’s having a ghost in my bedroom gumming up the works.”
“You have to be more specific. I need details.”
He shuffled his feet in the dust on the boards of the porch. “I think about Erline all day. She’s so pretty. I can’t wait to go to bed. I get in next to her all cocked and ready to fire—and she’s eager too--I can tell, but then when I put….”
Healy put up her hand. “I don’t mean those kinds of details. Tell me about the ghost.”
“Oh, well, it always starts the same way. First there is this god-awful odor like rotten flowers.”
“Olfactory manifestations. Very rare. Interesting. Go on.”
He looked proud of himself for a minute for having a rare haunting. “After I smell the odor a shape appears in the corner. A big, black shadow.”
“Oh, this is bad. Very bad. Black shadows are extremely malevolent.”
“It gets worse.”
“Worse than a black shadow? You’re wise to call in a professional.”
“The shadow moves. It walks, or floats--or whatever those things do--and comes and stands right next to the bed, and the creature points at me! Things shrink up down south at that point, if you know what I mean.”
“And your wife, does she see the ghost?”
“No, she don’t! I’d think I was going loco but the dog knows the ghost is there too. It ran away and won’t come home. Stays with the neighbor.”
“Interesting. Animals are sensitive. Does your wife believe you?”
“She does not entirely believe me. At first she did, but now she thinks it’s her. She is beginning to think I don’t desire her.”
“Don’t worry, we’ll sort this out. I have a high success rate. May I come in?”
“Yes, pardon my bad manners.”
He stepped aside and opened the door for her. The minute she walked through the threshold, Healy felt cooler—and not just because she was out of the sun.
“You, Mr. Foster, have a ghost in your house all right.” She ripped off her glasses. “Let’s get to work.”
The rancher’s boots clacked on the hardwood floors behind her as he followed her into the interior of the house.
“But, it ain’t in here. We have to go to the bedroom.”
Healy held up her hand to silence him, her heart humming like it did in the presence of spirits. “Its presence is all over. May I sit down? I have a few questions for you.”
He indicated a small cane-bottomed maple chair set at a side table. She sat down and he took a seat across from her, wincing with pain as he did so.
“Are you all right, Mr. Foster?”
“Got a little indigestion.” His eyes opened wide. “You look different without your glasses.”
She waved him off. “I need to ask you some questions. How long have you lived here?”
“Ten years.”
“And no hauntings up until this time?”
“Not a thing.”
“Has anything changed recently—aside from bringing home a wife? Like have you been…?” She tried to remember what Cato said. “Have you been doing any digging? Possibly in an Indian burial ground? Or mining?”
He looked at her with a puzzled expression on his face. “I’m a rancher. I’m not digging mineshafts or anything like that. Just move cattle around. That’s all I do.”
“Bear with me; I’m trying to eliminate the obvious. Any recent deaths here?”
“Not recently, but….” He stood up. “Miss Harrison, my wife, Erline.”
Healy turned in her seat to see a pretty blond in a bright blue satin dress, Healy thought too fancy for daywear on a ranch.
Erline tilted her head back and looked down her nose at Healy. To put things on a different level, Healy stood up. She had a head over the rancher’s wife, so now Erline had to look up at her. Healy extended her hand and the other woman gave her the briefest touch. Healy almost recoiled from the chill coming off her fingers. “I understand congratulations are in order. Congratulations on your recent nuptials.”
Erline spoke without a hint of warmth. “You’re welcome. I’m a lucky woman.”
“It sounds like you’re not from around here.”
“No, I’m from Ohio.”
“Really? Your accent sounds more southern.”
Erline narrowed her eyes.  “I’m from southern Ohio.”
“Of course, that explains it. You do understand why I’m here, don’t you?”
“I’m not sure I believe in all this, but if Abbott thinks it’s necessary….”
“It is necessary. Even in this room, I can feel a presence in the house. And now that you’ve joined us, perhaps I can see the bedroom.”
Erline and Abbott exchanged looks before the woman spoke. “If you think that’s necessary.”
“I do think it’s necessary.” This woman sure doesn’t want to do anything unnecessarily.
Healy followed the couple down a long hall. The plaster walls stretched out devoid of decoration, so when Abbott flung open the door to the bedroom, it surprised Healy to find a room looking like a lady’s boudoir. “Nice room,” she commented.
“I made a few changes,” said Erline.
Before even stepping into the room, Healy felt a cold, invisible fog surround her. She shivered. A foul scent filled the room. She and Abbott looked at one another other. He raised his eyebrows.
“Yes, I smell it too,” she said.
“I never smelled it during the day before.”
“Perhaps the ghost doesn’t like you,” Erline said looking at Healy.
“You don’t smell that?” she said to Erline.
Erline threw her a contemptuous look. “I do not.”
Abbott looked at her with concern. Healy realized she was shaking harder. Hostility poured off the walls in this room, and despite the chill in the air, sweat bathed her body.
“There is a mean-spirited presence in this room. I may need to….”
Healy’s knees buckled and her eyes rolled back into her head. The last thing she was aware of was Abbott Foster grabbing her around the waist before she hit the floor.

About the Author:
Patti Sherry-Crews lives in Evanston, IL with her husband and two children. She writes both contemporary and historic romance. Under the name Cherie Grinnell she has written a series of steamy romances set in Dublin and Wales. She likes to include armchair travel with her books.Patti studied anthropology and archeology at Grinnell College and the University of North Wales, UK. After college she opened an Irish and British import store, which gave her an excuse to travel to the British Isles for the next fifteen years. Now she works from home and devotes much of her time to writing.
Find Patti on the Net:



Book Spotlight: 99 Cent Sale for Awaiting Fate

Monday, August 29, 2016

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Awaiting Fate
By J.L. Sheppard

On sale for $.99

Cain Thaler’s lived more than four hundred years fighting rogue immortals, avenging the family he’d lost. It’s all he’s needed, all he’s wanted. That changes the fateful day he lays eyes on his fated mate. Olivia Waden, a werewolf princess, is nothing like him. Unwilling to give her up, he sets a plan into motion: ignoring his need to claim her, he befriends her.


Despite Cain's best efforts at friendship, Olivia has fallen hard for him. It is him she dreams of, him she wants as her fated mate. But she is sure he doesn't feel the same way. In way over her head, she has no option but to run away from the only man she's ever loved.

Will Cain find Olivia before it's too late or will their differences tear them apart?


Excerpt 1
“What?” She managed the strength to mumble.
He drew closer, pressing his chest against hers. The heat of his body caressing hers, she grew warm with craving. Helplessly, her gaze drifted to his thick full lips. Her mind wandered. What she’d give for a kiss, a single mind-blowing kiss?

Cheeks flushing, her gaze darted toward his again. “Why are you…” Her body’s desires overwhelming her, she gasped for breath.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?”
He wasn’t just angry. He was livid, and he was livid with her because she’d left.
She didn’t know what to say, had no excuse, not one she could tell him anyway.
Shutting his eyes firmly, his anger intensified, coiling rapidly against her until she not only felt it but tasted it. Still, she wasn’t afraid. With each passing moment, all she felt was heat, his and hers, and how badly she wanted him.

“Answer me,” he demanded harshly. “Tell me why you left without telling me!”

His tone startling her, she jolted against him, her body rubbing his. A desire so powerful rippled through her and spiraled inside her, pooling liquid between her legs. It clouded her every thought and every action, so as she stared straight into his eyes, she couldn’t remember what he’d said.
Clenching his jaw, he ground his teeth in anger, so close to losing it. “Olivia, tell me!”



Excerpt 2
“What do you want most in the world?”
You, he thought but left the truth unsaid.
What could he say? He wanted to seek shelter in her arms and comfort in her touch. He wanted to come home to her face, her smile—her. He wanted her barefoot and pregnant with life they created growing inside her. He wanted her to love him so much she couldn’t fathom living and breathing without him. He was already there.
“I want a lot of things, too many,” he finally said.
A cop-out, so the moment he’d spoken the words, he regretted them. He needed her to trust him, but his situation made it difficult. He couldn’t tell her the truth, only a version of it without revealing too many details.
“I want my fated to love me,” he said it so simply.
He hoped she would respond. More than anything he wanted her to ask him if he’d found his. Because he knew if she did, he’d never be able to lie and, finally, she’d know. He waited for her to say something, but she never did, so he found himself gazing at the stars praying he could magically cure her sadness.
He didn’t get his wish, but he did sit with her for hours. He didn’t speak, only listened to the sounds of their breaths, wishing for more.
It was inevitable to want more, more of her, all of her, but for now, sitting in the dark, gazing at the stars was enough.

Buy Links:







Fate Forgotten, Fated Immortals II
Release date August 26

Valerie Matlock’s life revolves around her coven. Young and naïve, she knows little about the immortal war brewing until the night her coven is attacked. In the blink of an eye, the family she loves is gone. Devastated, she lays eyes on the angry demon warrior, Jacob Rhodes. A Guardian, he means her no harm, but she fears him as deeply as she craves him. She has to stay away. She just doesn’t know if she can.

The pain of Jacob’s losses have hardened him. He lives for revenge and uses anger like a shield, keeping everyone at arm’s length. He can’t risk losing more. Tragedy strikes, again, and he’s left caring for his four-year-old niece, Annie. The bright girl deserves better than him. But he can’t give her up, not ever. When he sets his eyes on his fated mate, the powerful witch, Valerie, his life gets twice as complicated. Will she accept him, a demon she fears and his adopted child?

Excerpt:
A beautiful stranger sleeping on his couch.
His heart pounded faster. His chest heaved. Rubbing his sweaty palms against his jeans, a growl escaped his lips. A sense of possessiveness overwhelmed him.
Taking a step closer, he pulled in a breath. Shivers ran through his body. Holding back a groan, his jaw clenched. 
Breathtaking.
Fascinating.
Marvelous.
And it was no longer a mystery. The haunting scent was hers.
And it wasn’t just her scent, it was her. Striking, everything about her drew him in. His body pulsed, desire to hold her, comfort her, protect her welled inside him. Powerful, confounding, and indescribable. Even now, staring at her he was drawn inexplicably. He couldn’t put it into words, but he couldn’t ignore it. He knew what it was and why he couldn’t control it.
She was his fated mate, the woman granted to him above all others, his other half. There was no question.
He couldn’t help what he did next. Ever so slowly, he drew closer. A mere few feet away, he held his hand over her face, craving with every fiber in his being to feel the softness of her skin against his.
Before he could, her eyes snapped open. Painful jolts shot through him. The pain so unbearable it brought him, a demon, to his knees. The current gone a moment later, but the pain hadn’t faded. Every joint, every muscle ached.
And still, all he could think: her eyes were the perfect shade—honey.

Buy Links:


AUTHOR BIO
J.L. Sheppard was born and raised in Miami, Florida where she still lives with her husband and son.
As a child, her greatest aspiration was to become a writer. She read often, kept a journal and wrote countless poems. She attended Florida International University and graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Communications. During her senior year, she interned at NBC Miami, WTVJ. Following the internship, she was hired and worked in the News Department for three years.
It wasn’t until 2011 that she set her heart and mind into writing her first completed novel, Demon King’s Desire, which was published in January of 2013.
Besides reading and writing, she enjoys traveling and spending quality time with family and friends.

Other Books by J.L. Sheppard:
Demon King’s Desire, Elemental Sisters I: January 2013
Burdened by Desire, Elemental Sisters II: January 2014
Heavenly Desire, Elemental Sisters III: September 2014
Running Wild, Hell Ryders I: June 2016

Contact:
https://www.tsu.co/JLSheppard



L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com




Follow Your Passion No Matter How Weird

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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Check out my newest fan.

The man behind the mask is Steve Vaughn, aka, the Dark Stilter. He was getting into his gear next to my table where I sold books at a comic con this past weekend.


As you can see, he doesn't use a ladder,but simply balances one leg at a time to put on the stilts. He has about 60 different silicone heads and an assortment of costumes that he changes several times a day.


Steve has a remarkable ability to scare and charm people at the same time. He'll goof on adults, but is very gentle with children.


Those who are leery at first are soon shaking his hand and posing for pictures. Out of costume he's not scary at all, but a perfectly nice guy. Steve practices his monster trade and is in great demand at conventions, haunted houses, festivals, and wherever else 8 foot tall freaks are in demand.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY
Find your passion, no matter how weird, and run with it. You may be able to make a living like Steve someday.

L. A. Kelley is on a first name basis with many different monsters. They visit her at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

In Honor of Bad Poetry Day

Thursday, August 18, 2016

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A Haiku in Honor of Bad Poetry Day

Title: Dawn of the Evil Dead Shoes

Aglets are angry
A tongue speaks, but no one hears
The sole lost its soul



L. A. Kelley writes  bad haiku and fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can connect at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Sunday, August 14, 2016

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Jason Dessen is an ordinary college physics professor and happily married family man until one very bad day. He’s kidnapped and then rendered unconscious by a mysterious hooded attacker who seems to know the most intimate details of his life. Then Jason wakes up, surrounded by strangers who claim to know him, but his life has been mysteriously altered and his wife and son are gone.

Crouch has written an imaginative novel encompassing quantum physics and how it affects the choices a person makes in life. At times sweetly romantic for a science fiction story, Dark Matter explores how even minor decisions serve to eventually define the person we become. Jason is literally offered an infinite number of escape paths, but only a finite number of choices. One wrong decision can separate him from his family forever.   

The novel is written in Jason’s first person perspective. I don’t have a problem with first person, but the author uses a flat writing technique with short choppy paragraphs that are oddly jarring.
“I watch my blood pressure rise on the monitor.
I don’t want to set off the alarm again.
Closing my eyes, I breathe in.
Let it out.
Take another shot of oxygen.
My levels recede.”
The style permeates the book and doesn’t sound like a real person speaking or any kind of plausible internal dialog. People. Don’t. Think. That. Way.

While Jason is likeable, the weakest parts in Dark Matter concern secondary characters. The villain in the alternate world attempts to keep Jason from returning to his ‘real’ life, but his motivation is irrational. Other than the fact that the story needs a protagonist, I didn’t see a logical reason for him to be so determined to separate Jason from his family. He’s rotten, but pointless.  So is the woman who plays an important role in Jason’s escape attempt. She disappears halfway through the story. You learn little about her, her character is barely developed.  Considering her pivotal role, nothing about her stands out. She’s more like a tool for Jason to use rather than a real person.

All told, Dark Matter is an interesting read that goes quickly, and explores questions about reality and choice not usual in science fiction.  I’ve read that Crouch is writing the screenplay and actually think a movie will minimize the flaws and improve on the book.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can connect at http://lakelleythenaughtylist.blogspot.com


What is an Author Service?

Monday, August 8, 2016

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Abigail Owen, co-owner of Authors on a Dime, talks about the benefits of using an author service.

What is an author service?
An author is really the owner of a small business with an employee of one. A lot drudge work is involved in producing and marketing a book, but an author service can eliminate some of that so a client has more time to write. A variety of functions are available such as brainstorming, editing, self-publishing assistance, development of social media platforms, and publication graphics. A good service can also be tailored to any level of writing from novice to published author.

What should a writer look for when deciding on an author service?
You want to find the best service for you, so it’s important to set a budget and priorities. Authors on a Dime is an all-purpose agency, with a broad spectrum of services in areas such as proofreading, webdesign, graphics, and social media, but other companies may have a narrow platform. To choose a cover designer, for example, examine the artist’s portfolio (examples of that designer's work). Choosing an editing service is more difficult. How can you determine the quality of work? A good method is to see if they offer a free sample. We edit for free the first chapter (or 10 pages, whichever is longer) giving an author a good feel for the level of expertise.

Last but not least, compare prices. Does the agency have an all-in-one package or can you pick and choose what works for you? Our services have a tiered level, giving authors a variety of options.

So it’s not just editing?
No, an author service can encompass many different aspects of publication.  For example:

Beta Reading - Instead of editing, this is reading for content with focus on plot, conflict, character development, etc. Sentence structure and grammar are addressed in so far as they affect the story’s flow.

Copy Editing / Proofreading - The editor tightens up the mechanics, with attention paid to wrong words, misused punctuation, and grammar to eliminate errors and make the manuscript shine.

Blurb - A blurb is the description on the book jacket or Amazon page used to attract a reader’s attention. Many writers find them difficult, and a second set of eyes is often helpful.

Synopsis - Torture to many authors, the synopsis is a short (1-3 pages) description of all the major plot points and characters in the book. Most editors and agents require them with manuscript submissions. Marketing departments often use them to determine book cover designs.

Graphics - It’s not just book covers, but banners or social media posts to incorporate cover elements and build an author platform.

Brainstorming or Consulting - Sometimes you just need to ping an idea off someone.


Developing a Social Media Presence - A lot of sites are out there. Which ones will work the best for you? An author service can present options.

Self-Publishing - Agencies like ours can walk a client through the process, including editing, book cover, blurb, formatting for ebook and/or print, and even publish the book via Amazon, Smashwords, and/or Create Space.

How should an author select an agency?
Ask around for references. Check out services online. Visit our website at Authors on a Dime and compare our services to others. Try our10 page free editing sample. Can’t even get started on that novel? We also offer a free online workshop for NaNoWriMo participants. We naturally hope authors will choose us for publication needs, but the most important point is to find a comfortable fit with an agency who matches your style, needs, and budget.

Abigail Owen is the co-owner of Authors on a Dime, a boutique author services agency. Employees’ credentials include MBAs, Masters in English, and 20+ years in web design, project management, business analysis, and editing.

                                                                                                                                     

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