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You have made it all the way here, so you may as well sit down, take a minute to look around, and enjoy. What you will find, depends on the day and my mood. You just never can tell.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Black Coach, by Nickie Fleming





Title: The Black Coach
ISBN: 978-1-62420-311-4
Author: Nickie Fleming

Genre: Gothic Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3

Buy at: Rogue Phoenix Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble
NICKIE WILL GIVE AN EBOOK COPY OF ONE OF HER BOOKS TO A RANDOMLY DRAWN COMMENTER.
REVIEW:

The Black Coach
Nickie Fleming

Reviewed by Tamara White
5 Stars of 5

Abuse, Murder, Love, and the Black Coach

Nickie Fleming’s crisp and colorful words thrust the reader back into a time where horse drawn coaches were the mode of transportation and women’s dresses dragged on the ground. The author’s words give you a real sense of being there. I enjoyed the pace of the book. The book moves effortlessly through the well-defined plot. The book creates an immediate interest in the main character. From the first page the author quickly draws you into the tumultuous life of the young blonde hair woman Maggie. Maggie is a woman who possesses a quiet determination that gives her the strength she needs to defy her beginnings. From the moment you meet Maggie you want to see her make it. Neil Pickering, the man whose life becomes unexpectedly intertwined with Maggie’s, is a unique character. He is as intellectually strong and determined as he is handsome. Whenever Pickering is present his personality commands the scene. His need to understand medicine matches her need to survive. I enjoyed the gritty murders that take place in the book. The murders have a dark undertone, which left me eager to finish each page and discover who has such a thirst for death. The Black Coach plot offers its readers mystery, hope, intrigue, and a quiet love story. It is an immediate for anyone passionate about reading.


TAGLINE

The Devil is riding his black coach across the moors of Yorkshire and hunts virgins. Or is this so?

BLURB

Strange things are happening in the village of Pickering, Yorkshire. Two girls are found murdered, and there is talk about strange going-ons at night. Caught in the middle of this turmoil is Maggie Thompson, an orphan, who needs to fend for herself. Running away from an employer who maltreated her, she nearly dies during a winter storm. She is rescued by a man who lives in a nearly abandoned house. Neil Harrington has his own secrets however. Maggie will have to trust on her feelings to know what is right or wrong. And she can’t forget there is a killer on the rampage…

EXCERPT

It didn't take long before Maggie was fast asleep once again. When Martha noted her drooping head, she put a cushion behind it, to make the girl more comfortable and lastly spread a plaid over her, lest she should catch a cold.
She studied the girl for a while. Cleaned up, she already looked a lot better than the previous day. She had better talk to the master. The girl's speech was remarkable fine for a working-class child. She felt sure there was something of a mystery involved here. Perhaps thinking about this would lighten Neil's mood. He'd been mourning Lady Suzanne long enough to her liking.
Around noon her son walked into the kitchen for his lunch. He looked up when he saw the sleeping girl.
"Is she fit to come down already?" he wanted to know.
"She's not completely better," Martha told him, "but she ate all of her breakfast, and as you can see she's sleeping again. No better healer then rest, I say."
"The master asked me how she was," Amos said. "I'm glad I can tell him she's doing fine."
"Did he need you to fetch something?" Martha wanted to know. They both knew to what she was referring.
"I brought in the usual. I don't mind, though," her son acknowledged.
She nodded. "We have a good master in his lordship. No matter what other people may think, he's a decent human and I'm proud to be serving him."
"So am I," Amos agreed.
He sat down at the kitchen table and immediately began to eat when his mother put a full plate before him.
"I thought you'd like some stew," Martha said. "There is enough meat in it to give you stamina for the next trip."
No need for more words. Mother and son understood each other perfectly.

~ * ~

Later that afternoon, in Pickering village, the men of the region gathered in the local pub after ending their work on the fields and farms. The talk was lively and the beer flowed freely.
John Barry put down his pint, wiped his mouth with his sleeve and remarked to his mate Ben, "Saw that black coach again yesterday, when I went to check on the sheep."
Ben hardly looked up. "Aye, I'm listening."
"Wonder whose property it is and what its business is. Always appears when darkness falls."
Ben took another gulp of his pint. Then he acknowledged what John mentioned. "My brother's son, Tim, saw it too. He said it rode so fast, as if chased by the devil."
"Yeah, it was speeding for sure. Could not see who or what was in it."
"Not the first time it's been seen on our road. Something strange going on, I think."
Joshua Thistlewaite, the landlord, heard the comments but didn't comment on them. He just poured the drinks like a good landlord. Besides, he couldn't well afford to spend time talking to his customers. The pub was full, as always around this time. His sharp eyes surveyed everything to be sure he could intervene at a timely fashion.
All the men and lads he knew from around, except for the one stranger. He'd never seen the man before. The man entered about half an hour ago and ordered a light ale in a polite way. Now he was seated in the farthest corner of the pub, sipping his pint.
While enjoying a calmer moment behind the tap, Joshua studied the stranger more closely. He looked to be in his forties, had a stern face and lips which seldom laughed. A lawyer or a banker in all probability, he thought.
What bothered him a little was that the man appeared to be listening in on the conversation of Ben and John, although he couldn't fathom why such ordinary talk would interest a man of his quality.
Disturbing his thoughts, the stranger beckoned him.
"What can I do for you, sir?" he asked, hurrying over to his table and trying not to show he had been studying him.
"First, fetch me another pint of this excellent lager and then, if you can spare the time, I'd like to talk to you for a while."
It was said in a cultivated tongue, and Joshua could immediately tell the stranger didn't originate from this part of the country. London or some other southern town, he guessed.
He hurried to carry out the order, while asking Ben to step behind the bar for the time he was occupied elsewhere. He returned to the table.
"I am now at your disposal, sir."
He saw how the stranger glanced shortly at Ben, who was already tapping another pint for John.
"Do you get a lot of people in here?" he then wanted to know.
"It depends," Joshua replied. "On weekdays it can get busy when all the men need to water their throats."
"You must know quite well what goes on in the village," the stranger continued.
Joshua shrugged. He carefully weighed his words, not wanting to reveal too much. His instinct told him something was not right here.
"Not much goes on in Pickering I don't know about."
The gent nodded. "I thought so. Well, I am trying to locate a young woman by the name of Margaret Thompson. She would be eighteen years of age and has blonde hair. Do you know if any such girl lives in or passed by your village?"
Joshua was silent for a moment. The request confirmed his ill feelings. He understood he would have to be very sparse in answering, to make sure he didn't cause harm to anyone or anything.
"Why do you need to know?" he asked, but in such a way the other would not be insulted.
The man smiled. To all appearances, he looked innocent and seemed trustworthy. Joshua knew better. He felt an underlying coldness and sensed some feeling of threat.
"She's come into an inheritance and the trustees have asked me to find out her whereabouts," the man answered, while smiling again, and producing a gold coin out of one of his pockets.
Joshua eyed the coin and reconsidered. It could be true. He knew there existed men who were employed to search for people who were lost or had disappeared. After all, the stranger had done nothing wrong yet.
"Farmer Aldleigh has a blonde girl working for him," he offered, feeling at last he could trust the man enough. "She came asking for work not so long ago. Perhaps she's the one you are looking for?"
"It might be," the other agreed, while putting the gold coin into his hand. "Can you be so kind as to give me directions to this farm?"
"It'll be my pleasure, sir," Joshua beamed. "When you follow the road leading out of the village, you go until the crossroads and then turn left. Aldleigh's farm is a mile or so from there. If you don't wait too long, you can be there before darkness falls."
"Thank you. I'll go and have a talk with the farmer."
"Glad to be of service."
"No, it is I who must thank you," the stranger said while putting a second gold coin on the table. He then got to his feet and grabbed his overcoat.
Joshua returned to his work. His eyes followed the gentleman as he made his way through the throngs of farmers and finally left the pub.




Author Bio

Nickie Fleming was born and raised in the historical town of Dendermonde, Belgium, home of the legendary Horse Bayard. Nickie read English and Dutch Literature and Linguistics at the University of Ghent, where she took her master's degree in 1978. She began work as a teacher of languages to 16-18 year-olds and has done so during her long career. She has been writing since she could hold a pen in her hand, but only came to publication when she was well over 50—mainly because she was not actively seeking it. Besides writing, Nickie spends her time with the things she loves—and those she doesn't like so much: housekeeping, reading (favorites are thrillers and good romances), listening to good music, going to see shows and concerts, travelling, food and wine... Nickie is single and shares her house with her only sister, who is equally single. The two ladies get along just fine and do most things together.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dragons Of The Ice, by C. L. Kraemer

As I am busy creating for my readers, I have decided that the next few weeks I will be featuring a few new release novels.  I hope you will check them out and let me know what you think.

This weeks feature will be:


Title: Dragons of the Ice
Author: C. L. Kraemer
ISBN: 978-1-62420-333-6

Unexpected dragon shiftings have increased since the conference in China. More deaths being covered up inexplicably sends Lee Svensson to Japan to investigate from the Swedish Embassy. Why is it World Watch, Inc., a marketing company, is always on site when a shifter dies? Lee is charged to find out. When the husband of his wife’s best friend discovers an account he is managing, World Watch, Inc., is manipulating oil companies by buying up all available stocks, the two realize their paths are the same. Now that their wives have announced the impending births of dragonlings, it is imperative the men solve this riddle. An American dragoness shifter and former full blood warrior dragon will prove courage comes in all sizes.

~*~

A Current REVIEW for this novel by Jeffrey Ross:

Genre: Fantasy
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
Rating:  5 Stars of 5

An intriguing shape shifter novel! 5 Stars!

Dragons on Ice is epic in scope-- and its global vision and cinematic presentation will remind readers of a James Bond film. The author works on numerous current modern themes, including the influence of big oil, political manipulation, and the intricacies of marital relationships. Readers will learn a great deal about the classes of shapeshifter dragons which robustly populate the earth, including their history, mating rituals, and birthing practices. Yes, there are many wing-flapping flying scenes and numerous spouts of flame images. The bad guy is a most-villainous creature who pits himself against the decent shape shifters just trying to get along with the "two-leggeds." A fun read combining fantasy and political intrigue!

~*~

An short EXCERPT:

Japan

The flight to Tokyo was tedious and Lee Svensson was not a good traveler. Airplanes exacerbated his claustrophobia, and the air turbulence upset his stomach. He disembarked with the passengers heading into the terminal. It never ceased to amaze him how polite Japanese travelers were. The walkways, while crowded, found the citizens accommodating to one another and foreigners. Lee located his luggage at the baggage retrieval. A close by kiosk offered instructions for the second leg of his journey. He purchased a rail ticket to Sapporo and flagged a vacant taxi willing to take him to the station. After settling in his window seat, Lee opted to close his eyes and allow the gentle movement of the bullet train lull him to sleep. There were two changes to make before he reached his destination far to the north of Tokyo in the Hokkaido prefecture.

This was his first trip away from Olga since they'd wed before the spring conference. If there hadn't been so much evidence against the target, he would've passed off this assignment to another. The nature of the investigation, however, required his presence at the offices in Sapporo.

"Sir? Excuse me, sir. We're at your stop."

The uniformed train attendant woke him, opting to gently rouse the stranger. "Domo arigato."

She smiled, a shy affair showing a small dimple in her right cheek. "You're welcome, sir."

Lee rose from the seat and stretched his muscles. He was facing one more transfer then eight hours of sleep. His meeting wasn't for two more days, but he felt the need to be rested. He'd be glad when he could stop moving and call Olga. She'd been acting very odd before he left yesterday. Was it just yesterday? He shook his head realizing his sense of timing had flown out the window after several time zone changes.

The second transfer was quickly accomplished as Lee settled his briefcase next to him. Safely ensconced in his seat on the final leg of his journey, his eyelids began to drift toward his cheeks.

The ring of his cell phone startled him awake.

"Hello? Olga! Good heavens, what time is it there?"

He listened to the voice of his lifemate, feeling tightness in his shoulders disappear. His lips slid into a smile and he stretched his legs before him.

"I know, my love, but just put up with her while I'm gone. She is, after all, the one who promoted you to the council and encouraged them to use your work."

The countryside was giving way to homes. Lee straightened and started checking around his seat for anything he may have left.

"What? Olga? What did you just say?"

The sound must've been distorted by such a long distance.

"Olga? Let me call you back. We're at the final station, and I need to get to my hotel room. I'll be able to hear you better from a landline. Okay?"

He sensed she wasn't thrilled but clicked off his phone knowing she would wait for his call. Lee made his way to the hotel and his room.

Showering away two days of travel, he reveled in the hot water sluicing down his body chasing away the aches and pains of sitting for so long. Over-sized, terrycloth towels specifically set out for him as per his reservation request, warmed and relaxed the remaining weariness from his bones. The urgency to sleep was exerting power over his need to speak to his wife. He shook off the need to sleep. He'd better call Olga or she'd worry unnecessarily.

Once he'd gone through the hotel's phone exchange, he waited on the bed as the phone rang at the other end.
"Hello?"

Finally. "Hi, sweetheart. I couldn't quite hear everything you were saying while I was on the train. Now, what did you want me to know?"

He sat listening to his wife relay the news to him. This changes everything.

"I think we best talk seriously about this when I get home. I'll be here for at least a week following up on a… situation. The outcome here will determine my next assignment. I miss you, Olga."

"I miss you, too, Lee. Be safe. If this has anything to do with the events at the spring meeting, I want you to promise me you'll be especially vigilante."

"I promise, love. I'll call you every day."

Stunned, he crawled beneath the covers depositing the damp towel on the chair next to the bed. Before he thought to turn out the light, his eyes betrayed him and closed.

Lee Svensson was sound asleep, the worries of the coming day temporarily forgotten.

~*~

AUTHOR BIO:


Christie L. Kraemer Bio

A traveler for most of her life, C. L. Kraemer has settled in the Northwest with her husband and two cats. When not creating a new world or entity, she likes riding next to her husband on their Harleys.

~*~

If you would like to check out other books by this author, you can find a listing here: C. L. Kraemer Author Page on Amazon

Quick Links to Amazon for all the books in this series (so far):











Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 - Here We Come

Welcome to the new year – 2017.  In the past I have set up a few resolutions for the new years, but let’s face it, by June we are different people with different priorities and any resolutions we may have made are long forgotten.  So instead, I have set up a few goals for the year.  Ones that I think I will stick with and actually strive for. I have set down 3.  Three is a good number.  Not to many and not to few.  3 is something to work towards.

1.  I am on Goodreads (in case you want to hunt me down to see what I am reading) and each year I have set up a goal to read so many books.  This year my goal is 52.  That’s one book a week.  I can do that.  Esp. as on a good week I read 2 or 3 books.  Like last week, I read 3.  This goal works for me, because there are some weeks I don’t read at all.  Such as when I am hard-core writing.  Then you have 4-6 weeks where I am not reading a thing. 

2.  I have 3 fully drafted books sitting in my office at home.  Why have I not sent them out and done something with them?  I don’t know.  There is one that I know my publisher would love, as it’s paranormal fantasy.  It’s so my thing.  Then there is a horror story that is pretty much ready to go out, but for one more read through.  The problem with it is that it is not as long as I wanted it to be and I’m not sure a publisher would want a full length novel that comes in at 47,000.  I can add filler to it, or I could toss in one more scene, but that seems like wasted words and space.  The third book, sitting gathering dust, is one that I think is my best work ever.  Most of my books, I think are good.  The stories are sound.  The characters fleshed out.  Not too bad at all.  This new one, that I am sitting on, is really, really good.  It’s different and it’s controversial, and it’s got some hard moments.  It’s almost like I’m afraid of putting it out there because I think it is so good, what if it’s not?  Regardless of any of the reasons I am holding these three books, it’s all in my head and that needs to stop.  So, goal number 2 is to deal with all these books.  NOW.  Stop staring at them. Stop having them take up useless space on my flat surfaces.  These books need to find a home. 

3.  Enjoy the days.  I am a future planner.  I look forward way to much and forget to see what is right before my eyes.  I want to take more time in the present.  That sounds easy right?  I have been doing that for about a week now and it’s really hard.  I find myself still planning and seeing things way down the road.  Not just days but weeks, and months and even years.  I’m so busy planning for a future that I am not living the days. 


That’s it.  Three goals for 2017.  Let’s see how I do.  Did you set up any resolutions?  Or goals?  How is that working out?


Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas and Kindles

As the electronic book craze continues through another year, more and more people are getting e-readers such as the nook or kindles, and some are simply reading books on their phones.  

For anyone buying kindles or other ereaders for their loved ones and friends, or even for themselves this holiday, I thought I'd share a few ideas for books to load for my zombie/horror readers.  AND best of all, they are FREE books, which make them even better.  Please make note that these titles are only free on December 25th and 26th so you need to be on top of it, however, it's would be quite the haul of free'ness if you do.  Also, as an added bonus, there is a short story from yours truly, in the Zombies Inside book.  




Merry Christmas everyone.  Be safe for the New Year, and I will see you in 2017.  

Friday, October 28, 2016

Submissions - How to


If you are a writer, you have to learn all about submissions.  Whether you are submitting to a magazine or a publisher or an agent, there is a process you have to learn and accept.

1.  The research.  I don’t mind this part of the process.  I use market books, and google and site searches.  I like looking up agents and publishers and magazines.  I like to see what people are reading and what is coming out and new book recommendations.  Plus I like lists.  It’s a nice way to feel like you are making headway as you make your way down a list and mark things off as done.  The research, yeah, this part is fun.  Yes, really. 

Once you have done your research and made your lists, you move on to crafting:

2.  The Query.  We all hate this little guy.  I hate it, as I think I am good at telling stories, but I suck at being a salesman.  I don’t want to be a salesman.  Well too bad!  You have to learn and learn it as well as you can.  I am still learning.  I personalize each and every query letter.  There is not one query letter that goes out that is exactly the same as another even if I am sending multiple queries out on the same project.  Try to make your book or story or article interesting.  Try to brag about your self.  I am really bad at this.  I don’t want to be noticed.  I want my book to be the star, not me.  I like the shadows and watching the world.  The query is not easy to do.  Don’t just wing it.  Take time and think and try to be exciting and excited about your project. 

After you are done tearing your hair out over the query, then you get to pull out the rest of it drafting:

3.  The Synopsis.  I have shed tears over writing a synopsis before.  Frustrated tears, the I suck at writing tears, this project is awful tears.  Again, I will say I am not a salesman.  I sound stiff and boring a lot during this process.  I don’t know how to sell a book.  I know how to write it.  My solution is to write one, send it to other authors for feedback.  Rip up the one I wrote and try again with the feedback.  Again, find new authors to look it over and again, add in their feedback, until I feel like it’s as good as I can make it.  I never feel it’s perfect, but I always feel that it is good by the time I send it out.

4.  The package.  Now that you have a basic package of documents, next you have to put it all together. Each market and person and whoever you are sending to will want something different.  Give them exactly what they want.  Don’t deviate.  Don’t think you know what they want better than they do.  So I again will stress, give them EXACTLY what they ask for. If they want something different, they will tell you or ask for it. 

Once you do all this and hit send, you will inevitable come to:

5.  The regret and the mistakes.  I do each submission one at a time.  I will usually only do one or two a day if I have a big list, because I don’t want to overwhelm myself.  I like to recheck all the information and all the materials everyone wants.  But there are days that no matter how hard I try I find mistakes in my submissions.  I agonize over the query.  I agonize over the format.  I agonize about the spelling of names.  But I still find wrong things.  A missed name change.  A format letter that I didn’t update the date on because I was too busy freaking out over the content.  Or, my favorite: when I don’t put the correct name in the email, because I’m looking at the wrong list.  Oh yes, I did that once, recently, and beat myself up over it all day.  Knowing that my hard work and agonizing was a complete waste, as I insulted them by not having the right name.  I love that…let me tell ya.  We all have to remember that we are human and not perfect.  Do your very best and the hard work will payoff in the end. 

Don’t give up.  You can do this.  If you have any questions, I may not have a perfect answer, but I will always try to give you the information I know.  So, ask away.  Good luck out there everyone.  This market is hard.  I got your back.

One last thing before I go:  I will be working on a Nanowritmo Book again this year.  Therefore, I will be swamped for November.  I will do my best to stay in touch by social media, and I will of course return emails.  Otherwise, you may not see much of me until December and let’s face it by December we are all a little crazy so maybe not even then. 



Monday, October 17, 2016

Indian Summer

What is Indian Summer?  I heard about it all the time growing up and in my head I thought it had something to do with when the Native American’s had their summer.  The minds of children…what can I really say?  Ask me sometime what I thought the saying "making ends meet" really meant.  Hint:  I thought the word was MEAT not MEET.  Ha!

What the actual meaning of Indian Summer is: A period of unusually dry and warm weather in the autumn.  But it also can mean a period of happiness and success occurring late in life.  For me, I’ll take the warm weather.  In Ohio, I swear that every year, the first day of fall hits and it goes from 90 degrees to 50 degrees overnight and from dry and hot to cold and damp.  I am not a fan of this time of year, as most of my regulars will know. 

How am I staving off the effects of the coming winter?  Well, this lovely Indian Summer is doing wonders without much effort from me. I also got a few bright purple mums to bring life to a dying garden.  I hope they last a good long while.  They make me smile every time I walk passed them.  I am adding more festive scents to my warmers so that the house smells of apples and cinnamon and pumpkins and spice.  That at least gets me thinking along the lines of coming events that make me happy.  That helps a lot.  Other than that, not much I can do about the changing seasons. 

I know so many people, including the tiny dancer (the traitor) that love this time of year.  It’s the hoodies and the bonfires and the falling leaves and the cooler more enjoyable weather for some, and the lack of bugs.  I get it.  I really do.  But for me?  I’ll take the bugs, if I can get the heat.  At least the horror movies are still on. 


Happy Autumn Everyone

Monday, October 3, 2016

Welcome to October

It’s October.  I guess if I have to survive the coming winter, there should be at least something I enjoy about this time of year.  Well, I am happy to announce that there is.  It’s called SCARY MOVIE SEASON! 

I happen to love the horror movies/series/books genre.  I don’t only deal in the genre in October but, this is the time of year that I can find a horror movie on tv any day of the week at any time of the day.  It’s exciting.  Some movies are really bad, but that is part of the greatness of the season.  I can watch all kinds of movies that never made it to the theaters and enjoy them all the same.  I can honestly say that of the horror flicks out there; I have probably watched 90% of them.  The top movies, the B movies, the made for TV movies, all of them.  Some are so silly they are funny.  Some are so scary I have to watch something easy afterward before I can go to bed (those are my favorite).  Some are gross and bloody and some are boring as all get out.  All in all, I can usually find something redeeming in any movie in this genre. 

Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order:

1.  The Exorcist.  The original.  To this day, this movie still creeps me out.  I have it on VHS and on DVD.  I have seen it so many times, but it still is one of the best.  

2.  Salem’s Lot.  Both the book and the movie are entertaining as all get out.  Not so much goose bump inducing scary, but very good story and characters. 

3.  Nightmare on Elm Street.  This is a gory bloody mix movie.  It’s great. Plus this is the first movie of that Johnny Depp was in.  The series continued on for many movies but this is by far the best one for me.

4.  Halloween and Friday the 13th.  These weren’t so much scary to me, but I liked the ideas behind them.  There are many sequels to each of them, which will keep you entertained for a long time. Granted these movies are part of the T&A time period and if you don’t know what I mean by that, then you are not an 80’s horror movie girl.  No pre-teen/teenage girl want to spend a night watching a horror flick with her boyfriend or parents when it’s all boobs and butts.  Can you say awkward? 

5.  Phantom of the Opera.  This isn’t really scary at all to me, but I love this movie.  It’s one of the few that I feel sorry for the bad guy.  It breaks my heart every time. 

There are so many more that I could make this list go on and on.  These are just a few movies off the top of my head that bring good memories along with them. Things like: how I felt while watching, who I was with, was it in the theater or at home, all kinds of reasons.  What movies in this genre are your favorites?  Do you have any?  Maybe you aren’t a horror movie fanatic like me.  That’s okay.  What is your favorite genre then?