Monday, April 29, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: The Difference A Day Makes: Barbara Longley

Good morning and Happy Monday! Please welcome author Barbara Longley today, who is going to tell us about her new release, The Difference a Day Makes. This is just one stop on her tour, so please don't forget to check out the other stops here. Two randomly drawn commenters will each win a $10 Amazon GC. The more you comment, the better your chances!

Author Name


Ryan Malloy has lost it all. After his fiancĂ©e dies in a tragic accident, he enlists in the army, only to lose his best friend in a roadside bombing. Wracked with guilt and grief, Ryan finds life unbearable—until a job offer from his former commander gives him a glimmer of hope. And in the tiny town of Perfect, Indiana, the man who thought he had nothing left to live for meets the only woman who can tempt him into risking his battered heart one last time...

Paige Langford has it all: wealth, beauty, and ambition. But when her boyfriend’s betrayal leads to the loss of her job and her reputation, she retreats to her brother’s rural Indiana home to regroup. There she meets Ryan Malloy, a gruff, hard-drinking loner whose surly temper can’t hide the haunted misery in his eyes. He is everything Paige never wanted, yet he may be exactly what she needs—if only they can overcome their personal demons to forge a love strong enough to save them both.


“Hi, honey. I’m home.” Ryan’s voice reverberated through the stillness, bounced off the bare walls, and came back to mock him. He set his lunchbox on the kitchen counter and leaned over to retrieve his supper from under the sink—a brand-new bottle of Johnnie Walker Red.

Gripping the bottle by the neck, he moved to the living room and set it on the coffee table next to his vintage .357 revolver, the letter he’d written to his folks, and the picture of his platoon, Task Force Iron, First Armored Division, Fourth Brigade. One more item, and he could begin his nightly ritual. He retrieved the snapshot of Theresa from his billfold, laid it down, and took his place on the couch.

Letter. Pictures. Gun. Bottle.

Theresa. Reaching out, he traced the laminated photo with his finger. His throat tightened. God, he missed her. How different his life would be if he hadn’t insisted they go riding that morning five years ago. He’d be coming home every evening from some swank advertising agency job. They’d have a couple of kids by now. A family. His family. He’d be surrounded by love instead of this soul-sucking loneliness.

Ah, but he wasn’t entirely alone, not if the hollow-eyed ghosts plaguing him counted. He closed his eyes, and images from the suicide bombing near Mosul played across his shattered mind.


As a child, Barbara Longley moved frequently, learning early on how to entertain herself with stories. Adulthood didn’t tame her peripatetic ways: she has lived on an Appalachian commune, taught on an Indian reservation, and traveled the country from coast to coast. After having children of her own, she decided to try staying put, choosing Minnesota as her home. By day, she puts her master’s degree in special education to use teaching elementary school. By night, she explores all things mythical, paranormal, and newsworthy, channeling what she learns into her writing.



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sexy Snippets #2: Revelations

Today I'm going to post my Sexy Snippets from Revelations. If you want to see what the other authors have done, go here. Sexy Snippets is a sneak peek into what authors are either working on or have completed and/or published.

In this scene,  Judas is agitated, and Jesus is trying to calm him, although he himself is disturbed by feelings he doesn't understand.  Enjoy!

Revelations, available at MuseitUp Publishing and Amazon and ARe

But before I do…I move toward my irritable Judas without pausing to think about what I’m doing, impelled by something I don’t truly understand. Something inside of me is urging me, and I find I cannot do other than obey… I put my hands on either side of his lovely face, pull him toward me and…

…and I lock our lips together in a kiss. Not just any kiss, but the kiss to end all kisses. Not that I’ve not kissed Judas before, I have, and others as well. But this is different and I very well know it. My lips are afire from this kiss, and I suspect his are as well. 

Also, I'm visiting my friend Marian Lanouette's blog, talking about Be My Aliens. In fact, the guys themselves stopped by too. Come on by and say hello!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: Drama Queens With Love Scenes: Kevin Klehr

Please welcome author Kevin Klehr, stopping by on his virtual book tour for his newest release, Drama Queens With Love Scenes. Kevin will be giving away a price of a $30 Amazon GC to a random commenter during his tour. To see where else he'll be, go here. The more you comment, the greater your chances of winning.

Kevin Klehr


Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They're not crazy about the idea, so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blonde bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel. 
They are soon drawn into the world of theatre—Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing, and ego usually associated with the mortal world. 
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro. 
Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.


The thought of my demise was hard enough to face, but this version of the Afterlife with no link back to concepts favored in religious texts, made it harder to accept. There was not an omnipotent being in sight. We had one angel surrounded by a cast from different eras of earth-bound time, going about their business with no qualms. And still, no one wanted to elaborate.

“Heaven or Hell?” Warwick asked.

“Perhaps Limbo, or maybe we’re just having a weird dream?”

“Of course, Allan, at exactly the same time.” My friend winked at me.

“Yeah maybe. Your wet-dream with Pedro and my, my...”

“Your buddy-genre dream with an angel.”

He made me smile. As he looked out at the garden again, a more believable explanation came to me.

“Warwick, maybe I’m just in a coma, and somewhere near my hospital bed you’re talking to me, trying to wake me up.”

“Allan, if I am talking to you from your hospital bed, how will I know you can hear me?”

“Look, Warwick, I’m wiggling my toes.”

My friend turned to see me lift my legs and shake both feet.

“Allan, what if you’re covered by a blanket, and I can’t notice your toes?”

“Don’t be silly, you’d notice my toes wiggling under the covers.”

“Maybe there’s a serving tray or a hospital chart on the sheets?”

I thrashed my legs more violently, just in case there was some truth in my theory.

“Allan, you’re not in a coma.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Because from my point of view, I might be the one in a coma.”

My legs stopped kicking.


Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.
From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.
His longest running passion is a weekly radio program he produces with Warren for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander station, Koori Radio. Since 2004 they have been discovering music, both new and old, and interviewing local artists and community leaders. Every Friday night, The Rhythm Divine is heard across Sydney and via the world wide web.
Kevin is currently at work on the sequel to Drama Queens with Love Scenes.


Author Page –

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: No Way Out #1

Welcome to Wednesday - the work week is half through! And it's time for your weekly dose of flash fiction. This week, the prompts were: "Dream a little dream of me" or use: molasses, wine, mist or try a trope you've never used before or "Don't stop until I tell you to..." or use: roof, adjust, philanthropist or "Tie me up, big boy..." or write about book burning.

As you'll recall, last week was the final episode of Stan and Ollie - for now - and I promised I'd start something new. Well, I did, and it's actually something rather different for me. I hope you enjoy it. I've given it a working title of No Way Out, which is subject to change, of course. Let me know what you think! And don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to, whose links follow my tale.  Enjoy!

No Way Out #1

The silver rims gleamed pristinely. The afternoon sun bounced off the highly polished surface, directly into Shylor’s eyes. But he never flinched, never showed his discomfort in any way. The muscles in his arms ached, and his shoulders threatened to spasm if they didn’t receive a little relief from the relentless effort he’d been expending all morning.

But Shylor refused to give up. Failure was not an option. Failure came with its own consequences, and not of the pleasant variety. Was there a pleasant variety anymore? If so, that was so long ago he’d forgotten how good it might have felt. Right now, all he could focus on was the potential for pain. The possibility of being reprimanded. And damned if he was going to let that happen. Especially over something as trivial as how he washed Randy’s expensive set of wheels.

He wasn’t aware he’d stopped moving until a cold voice behind him prompted him. “Don’t stop until I tell you to...” Icy fingers traveled down Shylor’s spine—or what passed for one. He would have been hard put to find that anymore. Zoologically speaking, he could probably be classified as an invertebrate, something belonging to the order of cowards. Was there a special species known as weaklings? If so, he ranked somewhere pretty high among them, he figured.

He never turned, never acknowledged the rebuke. He knew it wasn’t expected of him. He also knew what he would see, should he do so. Randy Grant. Six foot, silver hair that matched his expensive luxury sedan. Eyes of a changeable grey that reflected his mood and his pleasure. Sometimes they were tranquil seas that seemed almost an icy blue, and at those times Shylor could almost...but not quite... believe that Randy cared about him.

It was the other times, when the grey turned dark and turbulent, that Shylor knew he was in for a world of pain, and at those times there was nothing he could do to ameliorate the situation. All he could do was grit his teeth and bear it, wait for the storm to pass.

Randy was forty years old, twice Shylor’s age. To the business world, he presented the image of a successful entrepreneur as the driving force behind one of the city’s most creative marketing agencies: Granting Your Wishes. They called him the Silver Fox, because of his prematurely grey hair, but on Randy it looked good. He had a smile that charmed the pants off everyone he met—figuratively and literally. And he had a body to die for. Well, he should, he worked very hard at maintaining it. Having the money for an expensive personal gym couldn’t hurt anyone, and neither did having a personal trainer who supervised his exercise regime, and a dietician/cook who made sure he ate very well and very healthy. Shylor wasn’t fooled, though. Randy controlled every move; he knew exactly what he was doing every step of the way, and he reveled in his control.

Inside the bedroom and out.

Shylor’s labors were exacerbated in no small way by the presence of a foreign object nestled inside of him. He felt it whenever he moved, pressed against his channel, a constant reminder of Randy’s dominance. Purple and ridged, the butt plug was designed to remind Shylor just who he belonged to, and what purpose he served in the scheme of things, even as it prepared him to be plowed later, at Randy’s whim.

He supposed it could have been worse. At least Randy hadn’t demanded he wear the one with the wolf tail. That one was a specialty item, particularly popular with fetishists and furries. Randy was among the latter. He’d had costumes specially made for both of them, and had devised elaborate scenarios for their use. Cosplay at its kinkiest.

Shylor had never met anyone like Randy. He had mesmerized him from the beginning, drawn Shy into his world, and into his bed. And now he was locked there, for all eternity.

After the things he’d done, who else could possibly want Shylor? Randy had made him untouchable, as far as other men were concerned. Shy no longer had a choice in the matter.

If Randy was pleased with the way Shylor washed his car, then later he would reap a reward. Namely, by being fucked with some modicum of consideration for his own pleasure. But if not, then it would be the kowtow-to-Randy show all the way, with no regard to Shylor’s well-being or safety.

Although Shylor had a safe word, there were times when it was simply disregarded. And sometime he forgot to use it, thinking why bother? There was no safety, there was only Randy and what he wanted. Nothing else mattered.

The sound of an engine drew his inadvertent attention to the street. Without thinking, Shy turned his head. They lived on a high-end cul-de-sac, and passing traffic was rare. A police car? Shy’s heart began to beat faster. For just a moment, he felt his liberation was at hand. Perhaps someone had noticed... someone had made a call... someone cared...

He searched for a sign that the officer behind the wheel was seeking him, Shylor. The policeman never turned his head, remaining in profile as he passed. Was he going to stop, pull into the driveway, Shy wondered.

But no, the car reached the end of the street, traversed the circular turnaround, and headed back in the other direction, quickly disappearing from view.

Only then did Shy realize what he’d done. He stiffened, bracing himself for the inevitable. He didn’t know what form it would take—retribution came in many forms, and Shy knew them all.

His heart pounded, his breath coming in short gasps in anticipation.

Just do it. Get it over with. Please...

He felt Randy move closer to him, waited for the pain.

An unexpected shadow fell across the sedan, from the wrong direction. From the street, not behind him.

Shy looked up in confusion.

“Is something wrong?”

To be continued

Now go see what the rest of the Briefers are doing:

 Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

As the World Ends Review

 As the World Ends  

Author: Marian Lanouette
Publisher: CreateSpace
American release date: January 18, 2013
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/ Drama Romance/115pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

The date of the end of the world, as predicted by the Mayan calendar, has come and gone, and everyone’s moved on, right? No harm, nothing lost. Or were the Mayans maybe just off a year in their calculations? Mysterious explosions with no apparent cause have everyone spooked, and one couple decides it’s time to get out of Dodge. The end of the world just might be here, and they intend to survive it.

Rob and Lauren are the perfect couple, very much in sync and in love. When Rob instructs Lauren to pack, they need to go, she listens. Both are outdoors types that enjoy camping, but this is serious, this is a matter of survival. Luckily, Rob’s got a cave in the mountains that’s going to be perfect for them to hide away until they figure out what’s going on.

The trouble is, their sanctuary is known to someone else, a wild card named Roan, a survivalist who’s been planning for the end of the world for some time. He knew Rob and Lauren came up to the cave—he’d caught them on video, unbeknownst to them. And he liked what he saw of Lauren, and lusted after her.

So when the explosions began, he hightails it to the cave, and hopes she’ll show up too... determined to have her, no matter what it takes to get her.

It’s come down to basic issues of survival: kill or be killed. And the question of what will you do to ensure the one you love remains safe?

Marian Lanouette explores basic human nature once the veneer of society is ripped away, when the name of the game is survival. Are we as civilized as we think, or do baser instincts take over? From the first moment that Rob sees Roan, he knows what he wants—Lauren—and he’s damned if he’s going to let him get her.

This is a fast-paced tale that will keep you wondering until the end, and make you question in a world gone crazy, are there still good guy and bad guys? Or just winners and losers?

Rob and Lauren present a united front, alike in mind and spirit. But circumstances have changed—will it alter how they perceive each other?

Suppose you thought the rest of the world was gone, perhaps forever? Does that change the rules of how the game is played? And are the laws of man tossed aside to make way for the survival of the fittest?

As the World Ends is a page-turner that will keep you in suspense until the very end. Is the end of the world the end of humanity, or the next step in evolution?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Guest Blogger Kay LaLone

Please welcome author Kay LaLone today. She was brave enough to answer my infamous questions, plus
she's going to talk about her newest release!  Kay, make yourself at home, while I make us something to drink. Why don't you go ahead and start?

The Questions
1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

Umm… do I have to have another person on the island with me? If I was marooned on an island, I’d rather be alone with my computer so that I could just write and write and write without any interruptions.

   2)    Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

I’m not really into musicals, but my favorite is
Grease. When I’m in the writing zone, I’m dealing with a bunch of teenagers who tend to get into trouble. What is a story without conflict? The character in that musical that I would be is Sandy. A good girl who falls in love with a bad boy.  

3)      Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  profile, blasting, congratulation

His profile looked sinister at the end of the dark alley. She knew she should run, but the blasting of the car horn made her step further into the alley. She peeked around the corner and watched as her friends hurried into the waiting taxi. The taxi pulled away. She breathed a sigh of relief. She wouldn’t have to listen to their congratulations.

This was written off the top of my head. Sometimes I like to do this especially when I am suffering from writers block. It gets my imagination flowing and could lead into a story.

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?

Sorry, I don’t kiss and tell.

5)      What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

Strolling on the beach, letting the waves tickle our feet.

   6)    When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

I begin a new story with a character and then the plot. I like to get to know my characters before I get them into trouble.  Or like question 3, I’ll use a writing exercise to get my imagination flowing and then a character’s voice will pop into my head. Before I know it, I have a rough first draft of a story.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
Tough questions because I don’t think they would make my life into a movie. I’d rather see them make one of my characters’ lives into a movie. Now my characters get into a lot of trouble. Sarah Kay in Ghostly Clues is faced with the lost of her grandma, little jealousy of her best friend because she has a father and Sarah Kay doesn’t, and then figuring out Grandma’s ghostly clues (which gets her in trouble with her mom.).

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

I’m not really into the slashing horror type stories. My favorite type of villain is the evil spirit type because the hero or good character has to search inside themselves for the answers to fight this evil spirit. I think the good character has to get more creative to fight this spirit than they would with the normal bad guy villain.

9)      Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

Not really. I was never into history. So now if I put anything historical in my stories, I do a lot of research.

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

Honestly, I don’t think there is any story out there that the world isn’t ready to receive. I think a writer can write just about anything that their wild imagination can think of, and if it is well written and believable, the world will accept it or reject it.

Thank you, Julie, for hosting me on your blog. You have asked such fun questions that made me think.

Media Kit for Ghostly Clues


The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom. 
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul. 
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead.  The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.

The house was blanketed in a quiet slumber. I snuggled under the sleeping bag with Allison, trying not to think about ghosts, as I drifted to sleep.
Random pictures floated in my mind like ghostly images.
I tiptoed among tombstones and my heart ached as if I had lost something or someone. He had to be here, somewhere. The gravestones rose like stone walls. No names engraved on them. No dates. No R.I.P. Nothing. Just smooth, flat stones. Ghosts—grayish, smoky forms with black eyes—floated over the tombstones.  I shivered, suddenly cold, freezing. My breath visible like a little ghost. I didn’t want to look at the ghost anymore so I looked down at my feet. A tombstone with Grandma’s name appeared out of nowhere. The earth moved. The dirt around the headstone broke away and gnarled fingers clawed their way into the air, searching, grasping. Shriveled fingers clutched my leg.  
Something grabbed at my leg—the hand, I screamed and frantically wiggled out of my sleeping bag, bumping MJ as I tried to get away from the hand I thought I felt grab at my leg.

I’m Kay LaLone. Ghostly Clues is my first middle grade novel published by MuseItUp. I live in Michigan with my husband and teenage son (two older sons and a daughter-in-law live near by) and two dogs and a cat. I love to get up every morning and write about ghosts, the paranormal, and anything that goes bump in the night. Or anything that interest my characters. Making my characters come to life for readers is important to a good story. I’m an avid reader of just about any type of book. I do reviews on the books I read and post them on my website and blog.

My website
Barnes & Noble


Thanks for stopping by, Kay!
Until next time, take care!
♥ Julie

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Paradise Lost Review

Paradise Lost  

Author: John Milton
Publisher: Penguin Classics
American release date: (reissue) April 29, 2003
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/ Poetry/453 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

A terrible battle has been waged, two great forces arrayed against one another, both composed of angelic beings. But the outcome is ordained, even before the first blow is struck. And the vanquished are cast from Heaven—despite the fact that their number includes a third of the heavenly host—to a new place, newly created by He who banished them from His sight. A little place known as Hell.

The Fallen Angels lie dormant for seven days, atop a burning lake, before they finally begin to come around. First to recover is their leader, Lucifer himself. And from the moment he regains consciousness, he is nothing but optimistic and determined.

The first order of business is... what now? So Lucifer calls a counsel of those who were cast out with him and presents what he sees as their options. One, they can stay where they are, and accept Hell as their new home. “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

Secondly, they can crawl before God, ask to be taken back into Heaven... and then what? Sing his hosannas for all of eternity? And just exactly what will have changed? And why should they possibly want to do that?

Or door number three... Lucifer’s intelligence tells him that God has decided to replace those whom he has cast aside, unhappy with what has occurred, and so he has decided to make a new creature, one he can lord over and accept this new being’s songs and praises and whatnots. And this creature will be known as man. And what God has wrought, Lucifer can turn against him...

Paradise Lost is the story of the fall of Lucifer and his followers, and what came after. Lucifer persuades his followers that the third choice is the best, but of course, he cannot work his wiles upon Adam and Eve from a distance, and they are locked in Hell. Being Lucifer, he finds a way to flee his captivity. It doesn’t hurt that standing guard at the gates of Hell are Sin (his daughter) and Death (his son/grandson).

From the moment he takes the stage, Lucifer is the dominant character in this book, without a doubt. With his take-charge, overcome everything attitude, he is the hero, despite any evidence to the contrary. He persuades his followers to agree to his course of action, and volunteers to be the one to go to Paradise and do what must be done, as no one else seems to be too eager to accept the task. Lucifer, alone among them, knows no fear, despite the fact that his path will be most perilous, even after he manages to exit Hell.

Why did Lucifer choose to defy God? Overweening pride? Hubris? Was it because he believed himself to be God’s equal? Or was it a case of “sibling rivalry”, when God placed his son, Jesus, at His side, as His right hand man, and instructed that everyone was to obey Jesus as they would Him, paving the way for him to inherit everything?

Lucifer had to know, going in, that everything was stacked against him, and yet he stood firm and he did it. That shows a great deal of faith in himself, a strong will, and a fierce determination. On the other hand, God knew everything beforehand, including the outcome. And He allowed it to happen. What sort of Supreme Being does that? Certainly not a loving one.

As Lucifer makes his way to Paradise, we join Adam and Eve. Their story is, to me, less interesting, because they are depicted as less interesting people. Adam is downright boring and Eve is too caught up in being in his shadow and can’t seem to think for herself. The couple receives visits from God and from some of the angels. They tend their fruit. And they have sex. And Adam names animals. When Raphael visits Adam with news of the Rebellion, he describes it to him, at Adam’s behest, in agonizingly longwinded detail. Some of the details he relates should not even be known to him, but even so, it is excruciatingly long and I felt like he’d never stop talking. And then, just as he winds up his tale, Adam hasto go and ask for more! I wanted to slap him! Then follows Adam’s own boring story.  All told, this part of the book was of less interest to me, despite being as well written as the other. But compared to Lucifer’s story, all else pales in comparison.

And then, of course, comes the temptation, as Lucifer enters into the serpent and beguiles Eve into eating the tree of forbidden fruit. So, what was the point of putting that tree there to begin with? If it was off limits, why place is there? To test them? He had to know they were going to fail. And yet He permitted it.  So it can be argued that God is as much the architect of Man’s fate as Man is.

I loved this book from the beginning, loved the language that Milton used. And I loved this Penguin edition for being annotated, the notes serving to enhance the reading. It is beautifully written, and I’m the first to admit that I’m not big on reading poetry, but I loved it. There is strength and beauty in Milton’s words, and he brings the story alive. My only complaint, other than being bored by Adam and Raphael, is that Lucifer’s end in the story is almost an afterthought, and weakly written.

From the get-go, Lucifer makes no apology for being the way he is, and shows no intention of changing. “...but of this be sure, To do aught good will never be our task, But ever to do ill our sole delight, as being the contrary to his high will, Whom we resist.”

He has a silver tongue and after allowing the others to have their say, he uses his words to convince them that his way is the best. Is there any doubt he would? That he would not suffer the judgment of fools to hold sway?

I had so many questions while I read this book, concerning God and Lucifer, and why each did what he did. Lucifer’s motives are usually clearer than God’s. It often felt like a huge set-up, a trap that mankind could not avoid, no matter what he did. There are those who argued that Eve’s eating the apple was indicative of Free Will, that she and then Adam, made their choices? But did they really? If God knew all along that it would happen? Food for thought. You could debate the questions that arise from this book for a long time to come.

I never studied this book in school, so this was my first exposure to it, and I wasn’t forced to read it. I loved it, thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and loved the insight it gave into familiar Bible tales. Next stop—Paradise Regained!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Stan and Ollie #24

Happy Hump Day everyone! Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Briefs, flash fiction brought to you by the authors who call themselves the Wednesday Briefers! This week, the prompts were: "How can you look me in the eye and say...?" or use silk in an original way or use: candy, blossom, serenity or "I knew you were the one when..." or "Hold on there, I'm no..." or "When we were young..." or use a peacock in your tale.

This week marks the end of Stan and Ollie... for now. The mystery is solved, and it's time for me to set them aside and resume them at a later point. But don't worry, I'm working on the first book in the series, and hope to get these two back out as soon as possible. So next week, I'll be starting something new!

Don't forget to see what the other Briefers did this week. Their links follow my tale! And guess what? We have a flash virgin!  Enjoy!

Stan and Ollie #24

We leave Xylina hovering over the bent and trembling form of the pastor. A little water won’t  hurt him; maybe it’ll give him time to reflect on his sins. Before we turn him in to the local authorities. For right now, though, we have other fish to fry.
I give my partner an inquiring glance and he knows what I’m asking without my having to vocalize the question. He nods. We gather Egbert between us, and make our way along the grassy creek bank. This part will be painful but it must be done.

The minister really didn’t make an attempt to hide her body. I have to believe the only reason she’s not been found before is that no one was actually looking for her, assuming her to be a runaway bride. No one except Egbert, who just didn’t know where to look.

It’s not a pretty sight. Her body lies wedged between some rocks and a fallen tree, as if caught there, unable to move. Otherwise, I fear she’d have drifted downstream and far away. Perhaps that was the original plan. Pastor Robinson’s bad that he didn’t follow through to see what became of his poor unfortunate victim.

“Consuelo!” Egbert cries out and takes a step toward her, but we hold him fast between us. No need for a closer look. We can spare him that much, at least. Besides, what is there is merely the shell of what was, while the essence is waiting for one final moment with her beloved.

We’ve done this before but, even so, it doesn’t get easier with repetition.

“Eggy...” comes a voice from behind us, and we turn toward the sound

He still wears my glasses, so we turn him in the proper direction and he gasps at what he sees.

Consuelo, although no longer a pale shale of her former self. She is radiant, as she was before death, just more translucent.

“I knew it wasn’t true,” he cries, breaking away from us and running toward her, arms outstretched, but he runs right through her, and stumbles in his confusion. He rises to his knees and turns back toward us; I can see tears of frustration welling in his glistening eyes.

“She is no longer corporeal,” Ollie explains. “You cannot touch, simply talk.”

I’m worried that he’s going to fall apart and not get the chance to say good-bye, but he’s made of sterner stuff than I gave him credit for. He takes a deep breath and regains his feet, brushing off the knees of his trousers.

“Oh, my poor Eggy,” Consuelo coos. “I’m so sorry...”

“Oh Consuelo,” he moans. “My beloved...”

Ollie nudges me, and I know at once what he’s saying. I’d been caught up in the drama of the moment. We need to give them their privacy for this last encounter. At least it’s the last one on this side of wherever.

We walk back in the direction of Pastor Robinson and Xylina, who hovers above him, emitting intermittent screeches.

“Think we should let him out?” Ollie asks.

I consider the question for all of two seconds. “Not a chance. Let the police drag his sorry ass out if they want him.”

That reminds me. I pull out my cell phone, find the number, and call the Cortez sheriff’s department, giving them the barest details. They should be here soon. Or what passes as soon in small towns like this one.

I reach for Ollie’s hand, look into his face. I’m not surprised to find tears rolling down his cheeks. Damn compassionate alien. Without a word, I draw him into the warmth of my arms, never mind that we’re both wet up to the knees. This is just as hard on him as it is on them. Sometimes I wonder if his gift is really a curse. It’s something that didn’t even exist until he came here to Earth.

“It’ll be okay,” I soothe him, but I know that mere words are not enough.

"How can you look me in the eye and say that—” I cut off whatever else he intended to say with my lips.
I kiss him until I feel him capitulate. He knows I’m right, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

“We should call Gwin and let her know we won’t be much longer,” he says once he’s free to breathe once more.

“We will.”

“After we make sure Egbert will be all right. And after we’re free to go.”

There will be questions, of course. There always is. But it’s a pretty open-and-shut case. I’m sure they’ll contact us when it’s time for the trial.

A throat clears behind us, and we turn. There stand Egbert and Consuelo.

“Guys,” he begins. “Consuelo explained everything, and I... I want to... to thank you. For... for helping her. For helping us,” he gulps out.

“Our pleasure,” Ollie solemnly replies.

“Thank you so much,” Consuelo echoes. Her form is thinning, and the edges seem to be alive with cool blue flames. “Good-bye to you both,” she says and turns to her former fiancĂ©. “Good-bye, Eggy, and remember I love you. And be happy.” She leans toward him, ghosting over and through him in a shimmering haze, before her image simply ceases to be.

Nobody speaks to break the moment. Nobody except the miscreant, who is unaware of what has happened, and is still moaning in the middle of the creek.

I hear the distant sound of sirens, growing closer, and then there’s the usual confusion as we explain what we know, although not necessarily how we know it. Egbert confirms our story, accuses the pastor of trying to kill him, and of having killed Consuelo. We offer to show the sheriff where her poor body lies, but Egbert insists.

“We meet again,” a snarky voice comments. Why am I not surprised? Does she monitor the police band?

“Be decent, for once, and let the poor man grieve,” I suggest.

She smirks.

the end... for now...

Now, check out the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell    
Michael Mandrake     
J.A. Harmon      *****FLASH VIRGIN******

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie