Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Blast: Fathoms of Forgiveness

Please welcome author Nadia Scrieva, who is here to talk about here latest release, Fathoms of Forgiveness. Nadia will be awarding the box set of the Sacred Breath series or the box set to Thirty Minutes to Heartbreak (winner's choice) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops in her tour, go here.

Fathoms of Forgiveness
Nadia Scrieva


Meet the brave and fearless Visola, a woman unlike any you've ever encountered. Her wit and humor take her through the darkest of dangers with a smile always on her face--and her smile only grows larger as the odds become more impossible. With no concern for her own safety, Visola dives headfirst into the throes of battle to protect the people and country she loves, even if it means facing her worst enemy--the one man who can get inside her head and break her down like no other: her own husband...   


When Visola awoke, she realized with a start that she was not alone. The warmth of another body so close to hers had made her sticky and uncomfortable, and she was quite sure that it was not a puppy cuddled up against her back. No, as advertised, it was one of Aazuria’s half-naked, well-muscled, exotic men indigenous to the Southern Continent. She groaned, and slammed her elbow backwards into the man’s stomach, shoving him away from her with disgust. He hit the floor with a loud crash and an oof as the wind was knocked out of him. At least I have a story to tell Sionna when we get home, she thought to herself. She snuggled back down happily between the sheets. Then it occurred to her that she was no longer on the beach.

He hit the floor? Visola frowned and opened her eyes. She saw the wooden patterning of her bedroom wall on the ship. This confused her as she had not remembered returning to the boat. She had brought a Yawkyawk man back to the ship? What had she been thinking? What about Aazuria? Visola was reminded of the fact that she should never party, because she always partied too hard. Was it really worth ruining days or weeks of her life over one night of pleasure? Pleasure that she could not even remember, for that matter.

The man she had accidentally shoved off her bed made a grunting noise. She turned over to face him, and propped herself up on her elbow so that she could speak to him in sign language.

“Please leave my room immediately,” she told him. Even as she commanded this, she observed his features and physique. He was wearing trousers, but unclothed from the waist up; she was surprised by her evidently impressive subconscious taste. She kept her face stern, and did not betray that she found his appearance pleasing. “I was drugged last night, and I apologize for anything I said or did, but I do not remember any of it, and I did not mean any of it. You must leave immediately or I will employ force to remove you from my quarters.”

The man rubbed his head where he had hit it on the floor. “God almighty, are you always this grumpy in the morning?”

“I am not gru…” Visola froze. He had spoken in English. With a thick British accent. She noticed his fair skin and precisely groomed black hair which was swept back into a small curled tail. “You are not a Yawkyawk man,” she said slowly.

“No,” he said, yawning.

“You’re King Kyrosed’s new advisor.”

He nodded, closing his eyes and stretching sleepily. “I tried to explain that to you last night, but you were convinced that I was a bird.”

“You swine!” she yelled. She pounced on the man, and punched him in the face viciously. “You scoundrel!”

“Now hold on a moment,” he said, grabbing her wrists. He was surprised to find that he could not easily subdue her. “You’re being a tad judgmental.”

Visola straddled him and forced his hands above his head, pinning them there with one hand before punching him in the face again. “I was delirious! I was drugged! I expect you to know better—you are civilized!”



Nadia Scrieva lives in Toronto, Canada with no husband, no kids, and no pets. She does own a very attractive houseplant which she occasionally remembers to water between her all-consuming writing marathons.

Contact Information

Fathoms of Forgiveness

Purchase Links

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Six

Happy Wednesday and welcome! I hope you're ready for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers, 'cause we're sure ready to give it to you! Thanks for joining us every week. Hope you're having as much fun as we are!

Last week, as you'll recall, Dallas got a surprise phone call from an unexpected source - his ex, Quentin Mandrake. Even more surprising, he agreed to go to lunch with him. Hmm, wonder what's up? Find out in this week's episode. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Six

Dallas arrived at Chaucer’s early. Not that he was anxious to see his ex and certainly not for the questionable pleasure of his company. No, he had other motives for his actions, one being to make sure Quentin didn’t try to blindside him in some way, although he couldn’t have said exactly how he saw that happening. Secondly, he wanted to keep more control of the situation then he generally had in any of his dealings with that lying cheating bastard.

Most of the lunch crowd was gone or on their way out when Dallas arrived, although the bar still had its fair share of occupants. But it wasn’t the bar he wanted. No, he intended to keep his wits about him this day. He had no intention of letting Quentin rattle him or confuse him. And he certainly wasn’t going to accept his lies. Today he wanted only the truth.

A pink-haired waitress with a ring in her upper lip asked Dallas his seating preference. He was given a table by the window, along with two menus and a promise that she’d return when his party arrived to take their orders.

Dallas barely looked at the menu, drumming his fingers along the wooden surface of the table, his attention riveted on the sidewalk and the passersby that came within his view. Chaucer’s clientele was largely of the student variety. He didn’t see many of that type at the Rusty Heifer, which catered to an older, less exacting, and more drunken crowd. People whose taste buds were so damaged by alcohol and cigarettes that they basically ate anything and everything. His talent was certainly wasted there.

Speak of the devil...

Dallas glanced at a clock on the wall. And only ten minutes late, too. Quentin liked to refer to himself as fashionably late. It had been a bone of contention between them, back in the day. Seemed like forever. Dallas wished it was longer.

He came strutting down the street like he owned it. Like he was putting on a show for Dallas’ benefit. Who knows? Maybe he was. Ultimately, though, Quentin was his own biggest fan, and everything he did was for himself. A lesson Dallas had learned too late.

Dressed in a flashy red suit that simply screamed Quentin Mandrake. Certainly not off the rack. Probably a gift from an admirer. Quentin was too cheap to pony up for something like that himself. His dark curls framed his heart-shaped face in a carefully calculated disarray. Dallas knew only too well how much hair gel he used to arrive at that result. And if his pale blue eyes seemed very large, that was a cunning application of make-up.

How appropriate that Quentin had been a queen in Wonderland. That was Quentin all over. Drama queen, diva, and a can’t-keep-it-in-his-pants kinda guy.

Dallas watched Quentin enter Chaucer’s, watched as the waitress approached. He gave her a dazzling smile as he chucked her under the chin, a gesture Dallas was sure would have earned a slap from anyone else. From Quentin, it elicited a giggle as she showed him to the table where Dallas sat. Dallas half expected her to curtsey to his ex. Or kiss his feet.

Instead, she took their drink order. A Tequila Sunrise for Quentin, hot tea for Dallas. Dallas observed the water had yet to materialize.

“You look tired.” Quentin slid into his chair with a great deal of hip action and smirked at Dallas from across the table. “Too many hours at the Heifer?” He tsked his tongue against his teeth in faux sympathy and Dallas couldn’t help but notice he was wearing lipstick. Not gloss, but bright red roll-on color that shone and sparkled when he spoke.

“No, not really.” Dallas wished he had a wittier retort, but he didn’t. Truth was, working at the Heifer was taking a toll on him. But it was only one of many causes, the most prominent of his troubles being his relationship with Samuel.

And wasn’t that where his thoughts always returned, like the swallows of Capistrano? Dallas swallowed a sigh.

The waitress returned, with their drinks and more giggles, asking if they were ready to order. Quentin told her to give them a few more minutes. She batted her eyes, ignoring Dallas, and sashayed away. Dallas tried not to roll his eyes. Not like he hadn’t seen such performances before. Everywhere they fucking went.

Quentin gave an exaggerated sigh of his own. “Where’s a man in lingerie when you need him?”

Dallas gave him a sharp look. He returned it with a smile that would have made a nun burn. Dallas just found it annoying.

Quentin picked up his drink and made a production of sipping at it, letting the reddish liquid flow down his throat with exaggerated enjoyment. When he was half done, he replaced the glass on the table and shuddered in a delicate manner. Like a Southern belle with the shivers.

Dallas wanted to reach across the table and choke Quentin until he gave up the answers Dallas sought. But common sense restrained him. That and the knowledge that such an action would certainly fast track him to the loony bin. He was close enough as it was without adding insult to injury.

He could ask his ex how he was, who was he fucking now, was he still in school... any of the sundry queries one made of an acquaintance one hadn’t seen in a while. But to put a fine point on it, Dallas didn’t give a big fuck. If he did, he wouldn’t have left him to begin with, would he?

What he cared about was answers, and how to get them.

He had to be subtle, let Quentin think it was his own idea, in his own time.

And then he blurted out the words anyway.

“What about Wonderland?”

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Blast: Bob at the Lake

Please welcome author Roz Murphy, who is here to tell us about her newest release, Bob at the Lake. She will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. The more often you comment, the better your chances of winning are. To see where the other stops are, go here. Don't forget to look for the rafflecopter at the end of this post!

Bob at the Lake
By R. Murphy



Take a crabby woman of a certain age, move her to the wintry shores of a New York lake, and then throw in a martini-loving ghost from 1920s Manhattan. Last, stir in the good-looking grape grower who lives up the hill. Now there’s a recipe for a potent screwball cocktail!



“Trust me, it will hit you like a brick of gold.”

That’s Bob. He’s my ghost. Well, not my ghost since I’m sitting here writing, but the ghost who lives with me. Other women probably get muscleman ghosts who can fix plumbing and take out the garbage, or romantic ghosts who set their hearts a-flutter. Me, I get a ghost who’s middle-aged, plump, and who likes to lounge around the house in a silk smoking jacket from the nineteen-thirties. Not exactly the kind of ghost I’d ever imagined I’d get. I will admit, though, that Bob does make an amazing martini. A martini that, in fact, hits you like a brick of gold.

I found, unfortunately, the longer Bob lived at my place, the more I appreciated his skill with martinis. Which was probably not a great thing for my liver, or my relationships with my sisters, but what the heck.

Remember the Great Recession? According to the newspapers, some consumers seem to be wiping it from their memories, but it had a big impact on a lot of people, including me. That economy hurt. Lost jobs, lost houses, lost marriages, lost hopes—lives turned upside down in the flutter of a pink slip. People scrambling just to keep from drowning—couch surfing, penny pinching, living newly frugal lives.

Like millions of others, the economy sucked me into its undertow...


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Roz Murphy is the pseudonym of a shy, retiring writer who doesn’t want her neighbors to know how nutty she really is. Brooklyn-born and Jersey-bred, Roz now lives on the misty shore of one of New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes. Prior to that, her business writing career took her to many locations, including Manhattan, where she worked for a number of years. As a freelance and corporate writer, Roz won several national and international writing and communications awards.

Now Roz is pursuing her first love—fiction. She’s writing the ‘Bob’ books, the humorous chronicle of a crabby ‘woman of a certain age’ who moves to the wintry shores of a New York lake—and gets a ghost. And not just any ghost, mind you. Bob’s a plump, middle-aged ghost from 1920s Manhattan who swans around in a silk smoking jacket and drinks far too many martinis. Stir the good-looking grape grower who lives up the hill into this mix and you get a pretty potent screwball cocktail!

When she’s not reading, writing, hill-walking, staring mindlessly out the window at the lake or piling rocks onto her ever-diminishing lakefront, you can usually find Roz hanging out with her family, travelling, or exploring the amazing wines and wineries of the Finger Lakes.

‘Bob at the Lake’ is exclusively available as a Kindle download from Amazon. Please join Roz Murphy Author on FaceBook for updates on the many adventures of Roz, David—and Bob.

Amazon buy link:


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Monday, February 24, 2014

The Painted Veil (film) Review

The Painted Veil                        

Director/Studio/Author: John Curran/Warner Home Video/w. Somerset Maugham
Original release date: May 8, 2007
Format, Genre and length: DVD/Drama/125 minutes
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: PG-13
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

The time is 1925, the place China. Dr. and Mrs. Walter Fane, having lived in Shanghai for two years, are traveling to a remote area of the country because of a cholera epidemic, despite the fact that Walter Fane (Edward Norton) is a bacteriologist, not a physician. He and Kitty Fane (Naomi Watts) have lived in China since they were first married.

The trip to the cholera-infested village is a far cry from that of their arrival, as there is a palpable tension between them. It seems that Kitty was unfaithful to him with the Vice Consul of Shanghai, Charlie Townsend (Liev Schrieber). When Walter tells her of the epidemic he has volunteered to help with, she informs him that is no place for a woman, and refuses to go... until he tells her if she does not, he will file for divorce, which would be a heavy blow to her social position.

The Painted Veil, based on the novel by W. Somerset Maugham, explores the relationship between Walter and Kitty against the backdrop of the epidemic. I’ve covered the story in more depth in my review of the book. When I saw there was a film, I was curious to know how well it was adapted to the screen.

The story has been fleshed out somewhat, of necessity, as the novel is in Kitty’s POV, which does not tell us as much as we’d like of Walter and his mindset. I think the screenwriter bridged the gap rather well, and Edward Norton brings him to life, endearing him to me in a way the novel never did.

Naomi Watts plays Kitty well. She begins the film as a shallow, empty-headed woman whose sole goal in life is to be married, not for love but because it’s the thing to do. She justifies her affair to herself because she doesn’t love Walter, and she believes herself in love with Charlie. Well, Walter helps her to see Charlie for what he really is. Her journey is one of self-discovery. At the beginning, Walter loves her very much and she barely sees him, but over the course of the film, she comes to realize his true worth, as well as her own, as they find one another.

Can love make everything right? Unfortunately, some things are beyond its ability to heal, and the film has a bittersweet ending.

It is a well-done adaptation of the novel, and even though it romanticizes their relationship at the end, I think I prefer the changes, which make a potentially depressing film into a sad one. It may not be action-packed—Maugham’s stories seldom are—but it possesses a definite depth of character. Look for Toby Jones (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as Waddington, the Englishman that becomes Kitty’s confidante in a strange land.

The cinematography is beautiful, and so is the music that is used in the soundtrack.

I highly recommend this film if you enjoy such films as The English Patient.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Does wholesome have to be a dirty word?

As some of you may know, I write. Mostly fiction. Mostly, but not entirely, in the M/M genre. Often of the romantic variety.

I don't feel limited to that genre, though. Also, I don't feel obligated to include sex scenes in every story. Sure, a lot of my writing has explicit sex. But not all, because that's not all I can do. At least I hope I'm more than the sum of my heroes' body parts, if you know what I mean.

But this is more than just a discussion of how much sex is too much, how little is enough. No, this is about someone who recently died, someone who could be considered the epitome of wholesome. And is that such a bad thing?

That's a picture of Shirley Temple from 2013, looking pretty damn good. If you look, you can see the little girl she was, the one that stole the hearts of the world.

I've been a fan since I was a girl, so a long time. I've seen most of her films, many of them multiple times. She was just such an adorable little girl, how couldn't you love her? Here are some of my faves, in no particular order:

The Little Princess (1939)

Shirley plays Sara Crewe, whose father is a military officer who goes off to fight in the Boer War and leaves that Arthur Treacher who used to have fish & chip restaurants here) persuades her not to. But the mean woman makes Sarah into a servant, and the snobby girls treat her abysmally and life is hard. Still, she never gives up believing her daddy is alive and will come home to her. This makes me cry even now. Love this movie (look for the Mad Movie version which makes her doll evil and possessed lol). Also look for a small role played by a very handsome Cesar Romero, who was quite good looking back in the day and might be best remembered as the Joker, on the Batman TV show (hard to tell what he looks like beneath that garish makeup lol)

Sara in a girls' boarding school. Life is good, despite some of the snobby girls who look down on her, until word is received that her father has been killed in action. Sara has no place to go. The headmistress wants to throw her on the street, but her nice brother (played by Arthur Treacher, yes

Bright Eyes (1934)

Shirley plays a little girl named Shirley, whose mother works as a maid for a rich, snobbish family, the Smythes. They have a very spoiled brat child named Joy (played by Jane Withers, who is probably best known for her portrayal in later years as Josephine the Plumber) and a wealthy wheelchair bound uncle Ned, whom they bend over backward to please (can anyone say inheritance?) Shirley's late father was a pilot, and she is a favorite among his aviator friends, especially Loop. When Shirley's mother is killed in an accident, Loop wants to raise Shirley, but he's a single man. And Uncle Ned has taken a shine to her (unlike the horrible spoiled Joy) and wants her himself. The story is complicated by the appearance of Loop's ex, who is helping Ned gain custody of Shirley (despite the Smythe's wishing Shirley would just go away). One of the highlights of this film is Shirley on the plane, singing Good Ship Lollipop.

 Curly Top (1935)

Shirley plays Elizabeth Blair. She and her older sister Mary live in an orphanage. The head of the orphanage
is not very  nice to the little girls, and neither is one of the directors. Neither appreciates Elizabeth's high spirits and playfulness and try to quell them. Mary works at the orphanage, being over the legal age, and she does what she can, but she's afraid to be separated from her sister. A new benefactor arrives, is enchanged by Elizabeth and wants to adopt her, but he learns that there is an older sister, who won't let her go. And he is enchanted by the older sister. So he spins a tale about a rich man who wishes to remain anonymous who adopts the two and takes them to live with him. Look for Arthur Treacher as the butler, and listen  for Shirley to sing Animal Crackers. A delightful film!

The Littlest Rebel (1935)

Shirley plays Virgie Cary, and this time for once she isn't poor, but lives on a Southern plantation during the Civil War. Her daddy (John Boles, who was also in Curly Top) is a Confederate. Sneaking back to see his family, he gets caught and they plan to shoot him as a spy. Virgie has to save her daddy. Look for Bill "Bojangles" Robinson as Uncle Billy. Love their dance numbers! Look for the scene at the beginning where she's having a birthday party and they're having ice cream when the little fat boy wants more but there is no more, and Shirley gives up her own to him lol Also, look for the scene at the end with Abe Lincoln.

There are so many more. Heidi, the classic story of a girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, and wins his heart. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which has being used by her guardians because she is talented, but they don't really love her. The Little Colonel, another Civil War tale involving a hardhearted grandfather. The Stowaway, with costar Robert Young (best known for Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby, M.D.), which takes place in China. Susannah of the Mounties, which costars Randolph Scott as her guardian.

Shirley's popularity didn't survive her growing up, as is often the case with child stars. She married John Agar, who was in a few John Wayne films, as well as the Sci Fi "classic" Tarantula. Later on, she served as embassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia. What a full life!

Shirley Temple had a very sweet and charming nature. I'm not sure how well this generation has embraced her, but I hope they do. These are films for people of all ages, every generation.

Yes, I do enjoy writing and reading about sex. But it isn't everything, and it shouldn't be. There's room for stories that don't have it too. Diversity, after all. It's the spice of life.

If you don't know Shirley Temple, check her out. I can't say enough good things about her.

Rest in peace, Shirley.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Five

Once again it is Hump Day! And if it's Wednesday, it must be time for the Wednesday Briefers, as we bring to you our fun-filled pieces of flash fiction for your enjoyment!

Today, the saga continues. As you'll recall, last week Dallas was enjoying a quiet evening with his nephew, Oz, and his neighbor/friend Campbell, when suddenly the phone rang. Could it be... Well, keep reading to find out, in Chapter Five of Dallas in Wonderland II. Then don't forget to check out all the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!

Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Five

Dallas froze, his heart thumping incredibly loudly in his chest. Ever since Campbell had mentioned seeing a mysterious visitor outside of Dallas’ door, he’d been hoping against hope that something like this would happen. That Samuel would try to get in touch him. And not impersonally, like the professional façade he maintained during their sessions. Personably. Charmingly. As he’d been when they were... closer.

So why was he standing there, like a deer caught in the headlights, looking like an idiot while his phone continued to blare from his pocket?

“Uncle Dallas, your phone is ringing,” his observant nephew pointed out. From Campbell, he received a quirked brow and an expression that could be interpreted as “what the hell’s wrong with you?”

Dallas wondered that himself.

He dropped back onto the couch as if his legs suddenly gave out.

“You get that, I’ll get dinner,” Campbell mouthed on his way to the kitchen. Dallas drew out the ringing instrument, anticipating the name in the caller ID. Would it read Samuel Levi, M.D.? Or Dr. Samuel Levi?
Or maybe just Samuel? Sam? Although he hardly expected to see such a common sobriquet for such a complicated man.

None of the above. The name that displayed itself to Dallas’ irritated dismay was Quentin Mandrake.
Fuck. What could his ex possibly want of him now? How many times could one person break another’s heart?

His first inclination was to ignore the call. There was nothing he wanted or needed to hear from Quentin. Too late for apologies or explanations, and no real chance for forgiveness.

But then he realized that wasn’t quite true. There was something he wanted explained. He wanted to know why Quentin had been in Samuel’s office. And if the good doctor was not inclined to talk about it, perhaps Quentin might be more amenable to spilling the beans. Although Dallas was sure there’d be a price to pay for any information he received. If so, was it one he was willing to pay?

“Hello,” he finally answered in a flat tone. As if he didn’t know or care who was on the other end.

“Miss me, baby?” Quentin fairly purred in a voice that had once set Dallas’ senses aflame. Now he felt nothing but disgust for the man who’d betrayed him.

“I’m sorry, who is this?”

Quentin chuckled. Dallas hadn’t really expected him to fall for the subterfuge, but he’d tried. “I know you haven’t forgotten me so quickly, no matter what you try to tell yourself, Dallas. Admit it, you miss what we had, don’t you? Yearn for those exciting days of yesteryear. For the best sex of your life.”

Didn’t someone think he was all that and a bag of chips?

“Ho hum.” Dallas put as much indifference into his tone as he could, refusing to be drawn into a discussion of what was. And by what was he meant their now long gone sex life. “Is there a point to this call, Quentin? Seems like you’ve got it backward. You must be the one that’s missing what you used to have. You called me. Not the other way around.”

Another throaty chuckle. Dallas wished he could wrap his fingers around Quentin’s neck and throttle him until that annoying sound ceased forever. But that would solve nothing, would it, and only land him in hotter water than he was already in. With the court. And with Samuel, as well.  Mostly his concern was what it would do to him and Samuel.

Yeah, right.

“Is that nurse an adequate substitute for me?” Quentin continued.

Dallas’ blood turned cold. What did he know of Campbell? Seemed like way too much for his taste. Samuel knew about Campbell, of course. Knew about everything in Dallas’ dull, dreary life. Was it possible... did this prove that he was in communications with Quentin? If so, why?

No, this proved nothing substantial, but it certainly gave Dallas food for thought.

“Does he fill the empty spaces? Hold you in the middle of the night when you come down with the frights?”
Dallas stiffened. Why did Quentin have to know all his weak spots, and be uncouth enough to use them against him? Having night terrors at his age wasn’t funny. That was a child’s malady, not a grown man’s. He’d never mentioned them to Campbell, didn’t see himself doing so.

Bad enough Samuel knew. At least he was nonjudgmental.

“What do you want?” Dallas skirted the question, shifting the phone from one hand to the other. He glanced at Oz, whose attention was focused on his figurines. Campbell was still in the kitchen, probably to afford Dallas more privacy. But this apartment was just so big, and Dallas knew he could hear everything on this end of the line. Couldn’t be helped.

“I thought we could do lunch together tomorrow. I have some free time, and since you’re not in school any more, I know you do too. How about I meet you at Chaucer’s? Say one o’clock? No, make that two. Let the lunch crowd die down. What do you say?”

What did he say?

His first thoughts began and ended with the phrase “Fuck you”. Followed by a ten minute tirade—no, make that thirty—on what a fucked-up person Quentin Mandrake was. What nerve he had, calling Dallas and expecting him to fall all over himself for the opportunity to see his lying cheating ass again?

Do lunch? Seriously?

Did he really think after what he’d done to Dallas that he merited such consideration?

But then Quentin’s next words caught and held his attention, and for a moment Dallas forgot to breathe.

You stole my tart, you stole my heart.”

And Dallas was back in the courtroom again, amidst the clamor and confusion, the shouting and screaming, desperately trying to hold on... to Samuel.

Quentin knew. He knew about Wonderland. It was not a figment of his imagination. Maybe Quentin had answers he would share.

“I’ll be there.”

to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Virtual Book Tour: Shooting Picasso

Please welcome author Vanna Tessier, who is going to talk about her newest release, Shooting Picasso.  Vanna will be awarding a $15 Amazon GC and a soft cover, autographed copy of Shooting Picasso (US only) to one random commenter during her tour, as well as an ecopy of the book to three randomly drawn commenters.  The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. To find the other stops on her tour, go here. Look for the rafflecopter at the end of this blog post!

Shooting Picasso
by Vanna Tessier



The 9/11 surprise attack on the World Trade Center creates unimaginable chaos and grief in New York City. Ruthless opportunists try to take advantage of the ensuing panic, but a promising young reporter known for her no-holds-barred story-chasing hunts them down and soon finds herself at the heart of a criminal underworld.

How deep into that underworld, and her own past, is she willing to go? And more importantly, will she have the strength to face a drastic life change?



As Riviera waves him in, she points to the narrow door leading to the back of the art shop. I notice the man’s birthmark when he turns. It resembles a wine-colored skull with teeth. I have to stop him. However, I can’t go past Riviera who allows him to open the door at the rear. He enters and quickly shuts the door behind him. She walks around the counter and halts in front of me.

“Have to see what you have for sale again,” I say.

The barrel body of the stout woman rolls on her short legs as she returns to the counter and wipes the glassy top with a wrinkled towel.

She hisses. “Stubborn, huh!” Her bracelets clink as she blinks at me. “You thought things over and decided to buy the choker. You love it. Right?”

I don’t want to back away. I have to let her know I’d never buy a choker. “I’m thinking about it.”

“You’d like that cameo. It’s lovely. Looks like you.”

“No. It doesn’t.” I can’t stop myself from adding, “I can’t buy that choker.” I stare at the works of art on display. The drawing of the little girl with her puppy is not hanging on the wall now. Only a pale blue stain is left at the place where the drawing used to be.

“Where is the neat sketch showing the little girl and her puppy on the pier over a lake?”

“How dare you ask me a question in that tone of voice?” Riviera shakes her finger at me. “You’re nosy and I don’t have to answer. Why should I? You’re too cheap to buy anything. You belong to the bunch of young people who are jobless and do nothing except cause problems.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Vanna Tessier writes about the world we live in today. She believes reason and modern technology can enrich the quality of life allowing us to face changes affecting modern society.

Her fiction is at times broadcast on CBC Radio and her book reviews appear in The Edmonton Journal and The Edmonton Sun.

Gypsy Drums, her collection of short stories, was a finalist for the Howard O'Hagan Award. Another collection of short fiction, Thistle Creek, appeared before her book Sandweaver. She translated from Italian, The Last Waltz of Chopin, a novel by Gilberto Finzi.

In 2002, Peppermint Night won The Poets' Corner Award.

She examines the challenge of survival within a forever mutating environment influenced by the onerous demands of our civilization coping with the threat of terrorism.

The author agrees we could find a refuge within the realm of our imagination leading us to discover a balance between reality as is and as we would like it to be.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Announcing the winners....

MA and I want to thank everyone who participated in our first blog hop! It was a lot of fun, and we plan to have more in the future!

Now for the winners from my blog!

First winner is Sherry, and second winner is Shorty!  You each win one of our Be My Alien pillows, plus some V Day candy that says Be My Alien!

And the winner of an ebook copy of Be My Alien is Laurie!

I'll be contacting the winners tomorrow!

Thanks again for being a part of our first blog!

Edit: I've redrawn a winner for one of the prizes, and now a pillow goes to Dreamseeker!  Congrats!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Painted Veil Review

 The Painted Veil       

Author: W. Somerset Maugham
Publisher: Penguin
American release date: 1963
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Drama/238 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: not rated
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

Kitty Fane and her husband of two years, bacteriologist Walter Fane, live in Hong Kong, where he works. Kitty basically married Walter not for love, because she doesn’t love him, but because being unmarried at the age of twenty-five had become unbearable, and her eighteen-year-old sister is about to get married before her. Plus Walter wants to get married as soon as possible because he has accepted a position in Hong Kong, which means Kitty can escape her family. So Kitty accepts Walter’s proposal and they go to Hong Kong, even if she doesn’t love him. He obviously dotes on her, that should be enough, right?

Except it isn’t, and she’s having an affair with Charlie Townsend, Assistant Colonial Secretary.

Charlie’s older than her, forty to her twenty-seven, and he’s youthful, charismatic and very handsome. However, when Kitty hears the handle to her bedroom being turned, she thinks that her husband has come home early, and he knows. What is she to do?

The Painted Veil is one woman’s journey into self-realization. Kitty begins as a very shallow woman who thinks nothing of cuckolding her husband. She justifies her actions to herself because she enjoys what she’s doing, and believes herself to be in love with Charlie, who is also married.

The discovery of the affair brings ugly truths to light and takes both Kitty and Walter far away. Can what is broken be fixed? Or is this a deliberate ploy on Walter’s part to bring about Kitty’s death?

Kitty comes face to face with harsh realities and how she responds to them is the heart of the book, with her soul-searching and her insights into the person she is. This novel is very character-driven in that the action isn’t fast-paced, and it isn’t highly emotionally charged. But it is deep, as you delve into Kitty’s psyche and follow her journey to awareness.

It gave me a lot to think about. I can’t say I necessarily liked Kitty, and everything we learn is from her point of view, so we never get a good glimpse into Walter’s head, or the other characters, such as Waddington, or the Mother Superior. But every person Kitty meets has their part to play in her development.

If you like Maugham, you’ll certainly like this. Perhaps his novels don’t move like freight trains, but they are very deep and intense in their own way. I do recommend this one. I’m going to check out the movie too, and see what they did with the novel.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Guest Blogger Rob Colton

Please welcome fellow Briefer, author Rob Colton. He's going to tell us about his hot new release, An
American Lamb in Europe! Woot!  Sit back and relax, Rob. I made us something hot to drink. You go ahead and start, why don't you?

Thanks for having me today, Julie. I appreciate your support.

I’m Rob Colton and I’m here to talk about my brand new paranormal novella, An American Lamb in Europe. The book was released Wednesday, February 12th , and is available from Dreamspinner Press and all your favorite online book stores.

Since “Europe” is part of the title, I want to talk a little bit about location. An American Lamb in Europe is set in the Czech Republic, in a small city near the German border.

When I first envisioned the character of Tomas Bernhardt, I immediately thought of him as a sexy, mysterious man from Bavaria. The largest and oldest state in Germany, Bavaria is located in the southeast corner of the country. Its capital city is Munich. What drew me to Bavaria was the backdrop of the gorgeous Bavarian Alps, along with its many breathtaking castles.

But I didn’t want to set the story in Tomas’s home town, so we only get a fleeting glimpse of Tomas’s home in this book. I plan to revisit these characters in a future book—and Castle Bernhardt will play a bigger role.
With Tomas’s background set, I knew that I wanted the book to be set nearby, in the Czech Republic.

Because Jamie is searching for his missing brother, he unfortunately doesn’t get much time for sightseeing. Much of the novella takes place in a vampire nightclub, as well as an underground bunker left over from the cold war. Churches also play a big role in the book.

While Jamie isn’t particularly religious, he finds a moment of peace in the town’s small church. Churches also are used in other key points of the story. His search for Rudy leads him to an old church where he meets a French princess, and the climax of the story takes place in the catacombs located underneath the ruins of an abandoned church.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from my novella. And thank you again to Julie for letting me borrow a bit of space!

Jamie Anderson knows you need to look before you leap, but he forgets it often enough to land in trouble. When his brother and only remaining family member disappears, he doesn’t think twice about quitting his job as a dental hygienist to travel to the Czech Republic to search for him.

Rescued by the sexy, mysterious Tomas in a small city near the German border, Jamie enlists his help in locating Rudy. Soon Jamie realizes the man knows more than he’s sharing. When Jamie demands Tomas tell him the truth, Tomas reveals he’s a vampire. Horrified the man he’s fantasized about is a monster, Jamie struggles with the fact he still needs Tomas's help to find Rudy.

Jamie never expects their search will land him in the middle of a vampire turf war.

Unable to sleep, I shoved the covers aside and got dressed. Hoping it would help me blend into the night, I dressed in black jeans and a black shirt.

Overwhelming paranoia swamped me as I walked down the street, so I stepped briskly. Every noise made me jump. I repeatedly looked over my shoulders, convinced I was being followed. Whenever I looked, there was no one there.

When I finally reached the club, it appeared to be closed. I pulled out my phone and checked the time. Apparently, I was a little too early for the undead nightlife.

I hid across the street behind the corner of a deserted building, watching.

The idle time gave my mind space to think, and I was having second thoughts. Maybe this was a bad idea. I didn’t even know if Tomas would be here. The excuses kept coming, and I was about ready to turn and go back.

Two very large men entered the nightclub together, followed a few moments later by a dozen or so stragglers, both male and female. I assumed them to be lambs. As for the two big guys…. I don’t know what they were. They didn’t look like the kind of guys who would let vampires feed off them, but what the hell did I know.

Within minutes, the club came alive. The music kicked on, and more and more people began to arrive and disappear inside. Some loitered outside for a while, smoking under the streetlamps, but the chilly weather drove them back inside quickly.

I didn’t have to wait long to see Jiri arrive, surrounded by a small group. Before going into the club, he stopped and turned around, and I swear he looked right at me. I quickly ducked around the corner.

My heart pounded in my chest. If he caught me, he would drain me. I just knew it. Did he really see me, or was I imagining it? Should I wait? Should I run? Should I peek to see if he’s still there?

“What are you doing, lämmchen?”

I bit back a scream and spun around to find Tomas standing next to me, so close I could feel his breath on my skin. His two friends stood a few yards away, watching. Where the hell did they come from, and how did they do it so quietly?

“Don’t sneak up on me like that,” I huffed in annoyance while moving a step away from Tomas.
“It looks like you are the one doing the sneaking.”

Author Bio:
Rob Colton is a software developer by day, and avid reader of romance novels at night. A romantic at heart, he loves stories that feature big, burly men who find true love and happy endings.
Rob grew up in northern Michigan and currently lives in the Atlanta area with his very supportive husband and their very spoiled miniature schnauzer.
Visit Rob online:

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