Monthly Archives: October 2015

Convalescence by Maynard Sims

Welcome to a special Halloween edition of Saturday Shorts, where we feature short stories and novellas. Woo Hoo! Halloween! I LOVE Halloween!  And for Halloween, we need a good ghost story!

ConvalescenceTitle:  Convalescence
Author:  Maynard Sims
Publish Date:  November 3, 2015
Genre:  Horror
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionWho will protect the children?

Fourteen-year-old James has seen his family wiped out by tuberculosis in the England of the 1960s. When he is sent to the country to convalesce with his Uncle Thomas it seems a welcome respite. But his uncle is strange, and clearly has a dark secret. The huge house is secretive too, with whispers and cries in the night. Gradually James meets other children, some real, some apparently ghosts, but all of whom have been hurt by the uncle. Will James be next?

In an eerie novella of repressed depravity, Maynard Sims conjures nightmares from the fears of childhood.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

One of my favorite childhood books is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Convalescence starts out similar to that story — a young child survives a severe illness that kills his parents.  He’s sent to live with a distant relative in a huge manor in the English countryside.

That is about where the similarity in the stories end.  In Convalescence, James isn’t sure who to trust in this strange house, especially after meeting the ghost of a young boy who appears to be asking him for help.

badge4v4Though there are sick and sad things hinted at in this novella, James and his friend, Amy, get to fight evil and win.  That has to be self-esteem building for two young orphans alone in the world.  Justice always feels good, I think, particularly justice for the dead.  If you like traditional ghost stories and want to see the good guys win, you’ll be pleased with Convalescence.

Ruby_Lee_100Ruby Lee says…

I absolutely love this time of the year, and Halloween is definitely my favorite. I like horror stories anytime of the year but this season makes me crave them. I was excited to begin Convalescence by Maynard Sims. What could be scarier than a huge old mansion where you never can tell what will go bump in the night?

I loved the characters. They were well written and jumped off the page at you. I could feel James’s grief and worry. I loved how Amy presented sweet yet strong, and I knew that Mrs. Rogers was evil from the moment she stepped into the story. I loved the buildup of the story and the fun, scary shivers I would get down my back when I found out another creepy secret.

My disappointment can in the last quarter of the story. The author had did such a marvelous job creating the characters and the story that the quick rushed ending left me in a little bit of shock. I wish the author had taken more time to tie up all theIMG_0945 loose end. I felt like we were slowly going up the hill to the climax of the story and once we reach the top, it dropped off like a cliff and the story ended. I felt the characters deserved more than that.

Overall, I would recommend Convalescence. It is a deliciously scary short story that makes Halloween extra fun. Just be prepared that while the ending does effectively answer many questions, it may leave you wanting more.

Though this book comes out just shortly after Halloween, it’s still worth picking up if you like ghost stories.  Have a wonderful and safe Halloween!

dancing pumpkin man

Mirror On The Soul Giveaway

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∼Giveaway∼

The author, Andrew Langley, is giving away one signed paperback copy of Mirror On The Soul via One Book Two.  Enter via the Rafflecopter link or from our Facebook Giveaway Page.  The winner will be announced on November 13!

Check out our review of Mirror On The Soul here!

∼About the Author∼

Andrew Langley

Andrew Langley started writing professionally over thirty years ago to accompany his work as a photojournalist. In a wide-ranging career that has seen him travel the world, his work has featured in national newspapers/magazines and on television. With the onset of multiple sclerosis, Andrew now lives a more sedentary lifestyle, creating his new adventures on paper. Mirror on the Soul is his first Nathen Turner novel. The second novel featuring Nathen Turner, Dark Nights of the Soul, is due for release in 2016.

Mirror on the Soul by Andrew Langley

A “fake” psychic helps a real ghost get justice.

Mirror_on_the_Soul_smallTitleMirror on the Soul
AuthorAndrew Langley
Series: Nathan Turner Book 01
Publish Date:  October 31, 2015
Genre:  Supernatural Thriller
Source: Provided by the author

Publisher’s Description: A fake psychic medium’s world is torn apart when he unwittingly opens a very real door into the supernatural.

Supernatural swindler, Nathen Turner, cons believers out of thousands by pretending to have psychic powers. From the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, to the Gothic town of Whitby, Turner claims he can talk to the dead and predict the future.

But when the ghostly voice of a young girl calls out to him during a sham séance, Turner is afraid. Something, or someone, is trying to make contact. Unwittingly the fake psychic medium has opened a very real door into the supernatural.

Now the dead are talking back and the only thing on their mind is revenge…

Set in Las Vegas, Whitby and Japan, Mirror on the Soul is an entertaining supernatural thriller that peeps behind the veil of fraudulent psychic mediums.


∼Giveaway∼

The author, Andrew Langley, is giving away one signed paperback copy of Mirror On The Soul via One Book Two.  Enter via the Rafflecopter link or from our Facebook Giveaway Page.  The winner will be announced on November 13!

OneBookTwo Giveaway Banner

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie says…

I failed miserably.  Yep, you heard me.  Blew it.  Bombed. Had my schedule blow up in my face.  I want to send out a huge apology to author Andrew Langley because I did not get his book read in time to publish a review.  I’m about 19% done.  This is a book that I had been really interested in reading, but things didn’t go my way.  With the knowledge of how far I read, I want to tell you what I thought about the little I did read.

It is well written.  I enjoyed the characters and the development of the protagonist was very good.   I especially enjoyed getting the inside scoop on how fake psychics can pull a person in and hold them captive with a few well placed words that the person who is being read would want to hear.  The tricks are very easy to interpret once I knew what to look for.  I am not saying I could be a fake psychic – no – I would have to practice for years in order to get as good as Nathen.  I can tell you that 19% is about the spot that the plot really starts taking itself seriously.  Just as I was about to embark on the journey, my time ran out.

I cannot, in good conscience, even give you a rating.  I apologize for my lack of time management.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

I kinda like stories about “fake” psychics and the “real” supernatural.  Jamie Vegas is one of my favorite characters in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, and I always wanted a sequel to the movie Ghost about Whoopie Goldberg’s character dealing with her newfound ability to talk to the dead (I loved Mentalist, too, but no supernatural there).

whoopigoldberg-o

So Mirror on the Soul, by Andrew Langley, seemed right up my alley!  Mirror starts out in Las Vegas where Nathan Turner is attending a psychic convention.  He does a few readings while he’s there, so the reader gets to learn about the tricks Nathan uses to “read” his customers.  This is the part about fake psychics I like; I want to know how they can dupe people so well–partly because the psychology is so interesting and partly to better educate myself on how not to be duped.  Not that I see psychics a lot, but still.  Forewarned is forearmed, right?

After leaving Las Vegas, with its bright lights and blatant commercialism, Nathan returns home to Whitby in England, a beautiful gothic town on the coast – the town where Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, actually.  A town in which it would be very easy to believe in the supernatural.  Easier than in Vegas, anyway.  Any supernatural activity in Vegas is focused solely on parting you from your money, I’m sure.

Scenic fishing Port and abbey ruins in Whitby, North Yorkshire

Scenic fishing Port and abbey ruins in Whitby, North Yorkshire

In Whitby, the “real” supernatural comes calling for Nathan, and from this point on, it’s a classic vengeance ghost story with a slight Japanese twist.  Yay for vengeance!

badge3v4Mirror on the Soul is available tomorrow–Halloween!–on Amazon, Amazon UK, and Barnes & Noble, and it will be available from other retailers soon.  It’s a perfect Halloween pick for fans of ghost stories, so don’t miss it!

Andrew LangleyAbout the Author

Andrew Langley started writing professionally over thirty years ago to accompany his work as a photojournalist. In a wide-ranging career that has seen him travel the world, his work has featured in national newspapers/magazines and on television. With the onset of multiple sclerosis, Andrew now lives a more sedentary lifestyle, creating his new adventures on paper. Mirror on the Soul is his first Nathen Turner novel. The second novel featuring Nathen Turner, Dark Nights of the Soul, is due for release in 2016.

If you like this book…

…you might like Kelley Armstrong’s No Humans Involved and the short story, Amityville Horrible. Though these are part of the Women of the Otherworld series, they can be read alone.  For tales of a not-so-fake psychic, try Charlaine Harris’s Harper Connelly series or maybe Amanda Stevens’s Graveyard Queen series.

Troll by Ashley C. Harris

Trolls, hidden desires, and the beginning of a wild adventure, oh my! A great start to a new young adult series.

troll smallTitle: Troll
Author:  Ashley C. Harris
Series: Troll Series Book One
Publish Date: October 6, 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Source: Provided by publicist

Publisher’s Description:  At the age of sixteen, Abby is undergoing major household changes. Her mom is getting ready to remarry and her new step-brother is driving her insane. She is just trying to keep herself busy with school and her part-time job when a most deliciously handsome stranger moves to her little seaside town and won’t leave her alone.

New arrival Wilhelm is unlike any other student at Abby’s school. His emerald eyes and tattooed body don’t truly reveal what he really is: a creature emerged from thousands of miles underground, seeking revenge, treasure, and a key that once belonged to an old enemy – a key Abby wears suspended from a chain around her neck. Why she has it is a mystery that Wilhelm will need to solve, and fast, in order to defeat a powerful mortal adversary.

As an attraction between Abby and Wilhelm develops, more creatures like Wilhelm are drawn from beneath the ground to Abby’s town; wreaking havoc as they offer Abby’s classmates the fulfillment of their deepest desires. Will Abby and her new family survive as a game of magical warfare is unleashed? Her ability to reverse Wilhelm’s bargain depends on it.

Possible spoilers beyond this point!


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

I want to get my little dislikes out of the way before we get to the good stuff.  First of all there were some parts that left me a little bewildered; there is a chapter where Abby is magically transported from an art show back to her hometown school by a magical dimension-traveling lion. I am hoping this lion will be made clear in the following books because at this point he seems like a random character. The only other thing I really didn’t like (but some readers may) was the major cliff hanger ending! Normally these types of endings don’t bother me, but I felt with Troll that I was left with far more questions than answers. This being Book One in a series I am sure these will be answered by the end of the series.

badge4v4That being said Harris does a wonderful job of making her characters come to life. There is the barest hint of setting but it works for this story because you are so wrapped up in the adventures of Abby, the Trolls and the Knights.  Abby and Wilhelm play off each other and awaken each other’s potential to become heroes while at the same time trying to avoid each other. This is another high point because Wilhelm can’t quite figure out why he feels this growing attraction to Abby, especially after he just lost his mate. We get the hint that the villains known as the Knights were once a good entity but have since become corrupted, killing even innocent children that fall for the Trolls bargains. While this is normally a bad thing it sets the stage for Abby to discover who she really is and possibly bring the Knights back to their good standing with the help of Wilhelm, who is both Troll and Knight. If you like fantasy elements, female leads, and potential love plots then this book is a good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and give it a four.

If you like this book…

…you should also check out Ashley Harris’s other series Shock Me. You should also check out the Troll Trilogy by Katherine Langrish. If you like stand alone books try Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo.

Don’t forget to check out today’s earlier post for information on the giveaway!

Troll_BlitzBadge

Blog Tour for TROLL by Ashley Harris

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Stay Tuned For A Review of Troll Later This Morning

Seductive teens & trolls meet #Gameofthrones!

 Get ready for a rollicking action and adventure story set in a magical world where a creature emerges from thousands of miles underground, seeking revenge, treasure, and a key that once belonged to an old enemy. Fans of the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and The Vampire Diaries  by J. L. Smith will be enchanted by this new YA novel selected by Kindle Scout readers for publication! 


Giveaway

 Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card from author, Ashley Harris.  Enter via Rafflecopter.


troll smallTitle: Troll
Author: Ashley C. Harris
Author Location: FL, United States
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Words: 319 pages
Publisher: Kindle Press
Format: Digital eBook
AISN: B013VAU5KA

Synopsis:  At the age of sixteen, Abby is undergoing major household changes. Her mom is getting ready to remarry and her new step-brother is driving her insane. She is just trying to keep herself busy with school and her part-time job when a most deliciously handsome stranger moves to her little seaside town and won’t leave her alone.

New arrival Wilhelm is unlike any other student at Abby’s school. His emerald eyes and tattooed body don’t truly reveal what he really is: a creature emerged from thousands of miles underground, seeking revenge, treasure, and a key that once belonged to an old enemy – a key Abby wears suspended from a chain around her neck. Why she has it is a mystery that Wilhelm will need to solve, and fast, in order to defeat a powerful mortal adversary.

As an attraction between Abby and Wilhelm develops, more creatures like Wilhelm are drawn from beneath the ground to Abby’s town; wreaking havoc as they offer Abby’s classmates the fulfillment of their deepest desires. Will Abby and her new family survive as a game of magical warfare is unleashed? Her ability to reverse Wilhelm’s bargain depends on it.

Available at Amazon


Excerpt from Troll:

Seconds went by and he found nothing, except a distraction. It wasn’t the human’s heartbeat drumming steadily on the second floor that he found unnerving, most likely it was the fact that she was reading a rhyme aloud – that wasn’t a human thing as much as it was a trolls’: “A kiss was made,” he heard her voice whisper, trying to ignore it. “A rose was dropped.” He looked up when she said the word rose. “A heart was snapped in half. The love of your life has left you in a world that’s dark and black.”

He moved toward the sound. Perhaps she was really one of his kind in disguise, here to spy on him.

“Thunder sounds, the sky turns gray, there is nothing recognizable at all. The love of your life has left you in a world that’s sad and small.” The words made him think about Helena, his Helena, kissing Klaus, while he had her fully under his control. It was sickened him and pissed him off.

He crept down the bookcase where a girl was reading from a book out loud, unaware of his presence. She was definitely not a troll, he concluded when he got a good look at her, growing bored. “But then the sun comes out. A rainbow appears. An angel has come to tell you, your hope is stronger than fear.”

“Are you sure that’s what an angel would say?” he asked.

Her blue, puppy-like eyes shot up, her body nearly jumping out of its skin from being startled. “Where did you come from?” she squeaked as she looked around, her heartbeat doubling.

“About five shelves over,” he answered as he looked her up and down. She was a tiny, petite thing compared to himself, with light brown hair and blushed fair skin that made her blue eyes pop. She also had four freckles on one cheek and three on the other. This human was both plain looking but also strangely captivating compared to others in the building.

“Oh, I see, and were you standing there the entire time?” she asked, her free hand going to her hip, as she tried to stand up straighter, trying to seem tall and authoritative. He could see she was irritated at being disturbed, and that was the most entertaining thing of all.

“Yes, is that a problem?” he asked with a smile.

“Yes!”

“I’m sorry … I thought you worked here. I was just looking for some help,” he lied. Did she think he wouldn’t notice the fact that she was standing next to a filing cart and wearing a library badge that read: Abigail? That, and the feelings of servitude and obligation that he could smell all over her.

“Oh, I – I do,” she said, as if this had just occurred to her. She was unable to wipe the annoyance and unease off her face, as she looked down his arm, judging him because of his numerous tattoos. Humans…so sadly sheltered. “How can I help you?”

He didn’t answer. This irritated her more.

“The college used book section is downstairs, and so is the art and tattoo section,” she suggested, trying to guess his reason for pestering her.

“Do I really look old enough to be in college to you?” he asked, half insulted because college years for humans were death years for his kind.

“Yes,” she said honestly as she took in his tall, six-foot-five frame. “You look at least twenty.”

“Nope, time to get your eye’s checked maybe?” he asked, stepping closer, letting her guess his age; this seemed like a game she didn’t want to play.

“Well you’re definitely a least eighteen,” she replied as she turned part of her body away from him, her eyes back to her books; as if being eighteen put him in a different category than her. “You’d have to be to get a tattoo, now is—”

“Or maybe I had really cool parents,” he cut her off. “And I’m seventeen. That was an enchanting poem you read by the way. Who was it by?”

He took another step closer as she took a step back, nearly colliding into a bookshelf. “Amber Paris.” She handed him the book she’d read from and appeared much more comfortable when he was looking at it and not her. He examined it with only partial interest. “She got it published when she was fifteen.” she seemed to know all about the subject.

“Well, that explains why it’s so good, then. People always come up with their best work when they’re young. I bet at twelve her poems were even better.”

Each word he spoke was like a hook, spinning magic to pull her in to him even as she wanted to get away. “Where are you from, exactly?” she asked as she noticed what he was wearing; heavy jeans instead of the more typically Floridian surfer shorts, and a thick dark green shirt that went down to his elbows, only showing off half of his tattoos. Probably weird attire for the hottest months of Florida, but as a troll he craved warmth and hated the cold. “Are you from up north?”

“No, not at all,” he said, offering no other explanation. “So, why read a poem aloud? What about you does it relates to?” he asked with a grin, it was a pretty personal question and yet she’d have to tell him. Soon his powers if he kept talking to her would be able to push Abby to do all sorts of things… for a short time anyway, until a price was paid.

He read over the beginning lines of the poem again. “A kiss was made, a rose was dropped.” The words tripped him up, making him think about Rosabel’s last feelings before she died. Feelings that held a deep meaning for him, letting him know that even though she had never been able to claim him as an inheritor, she still had cared about him more than any other treasure.

His eyes could have almost teared up just thinking about his murdered mother. Trolls could be insanely emotional – good thing for him he was better at shielding how he felt than most. He turned his face away, getting a hold of himself, as the little human rambled, her voice a comforting distraction.

“I don’t think it relates to me. I just write poetry so my teacher asked me to look over another writer’s work.”

“Because maybe you want to be like this writer, famous and well liked?” he stated to test if her interest in the author was shallow, sensing what she didn’t even know was one of her most hidden desires. Humans could be so naive about their own ambitions, but these were easily recognized by trolls. This one clearly had no idea what her body and mind were capable of yearning for.

“No,” she lied, as if insulted. “That’s crazy. I’ve never wanted that; it’s just an assignment.”

“Are you sure?” he asked, as her hidden wants started calling to him – they tasted satisfying too. Her craving for freedom, he could use that to trap her, and then trap all the humans here. He’d have some real fun after a day of anger and sorrow as he played with these fools until they broke.

Leave her alone! a small boy’s voice suddenly screamed into his ear. He turned around, startled, only to find no one behind him.

“Are you okay?” he heard Abby ask him. His face must have looked haunted. That’s when he sensed where the book that he had been searching for was.

“Yes.” Finding the book and his key were far more important than this girl or having a little fun. He looked back in Abby’s direction, now needing to get rid of her. She looked nervous and still confused by his presence, still not knowing why she was continuing to talk to him. He decided in that moment to show her the kind of mercy and kindness his mother Rosabel should have received. Besides, he really didn’t feel like killing anyone innocent so the knights couldn’t find them later.

Before she could move, he reached out and gripped her shoulder, sending heat through her body, making her look deep into his eyes. “If you ever see me or anything like me again, anyone that has markings like this…,” he lifted his sleeve so she could take in his entire arm. His tattoos on it came to life and moved hypnotically, numbing her senses and making her go into a trance. “… you probably shouldn’t trust us. You should be smart and stay away from anyone like myself that you ever come in contact with.”

And with those words, he had given her a precious gift he hadn’t given any other human in a very long time. If any more trolls came along she’d stay out of their way now, wanting nothing to do with them. He watched her walk off in a beautiful daze. She’d certainly stay away from him if he changed his mind in the next few moments and decided to pursue her after all. Trolls often did change their minds about most things. He imagined her lips would have tasted pretty good, for a human anyway. Her body would have most likely felt nice …

Please leave her alone! he heard the boy scream again, the voice coming from his head. He was hearing a past memory, one that was too dangerous for him to think about. He ran his fingers along the book spines one more time. They led him right to the familiar texture he had been looking for. To the very storybook a young knight had checked out and carried in his backpack years before Wilhelm had found him. 


About Ashley C. Harris

Ashley C. Harris Summer 2015 New Author PicAuthor and film director Ashley C. Harris resides in Florida. Ashley was first recognized for her edgy writing and unique film work when she wrote and directed the teenage film “Lines”. Lines was the first feature film in the world captured using only Mac Laptops.

In 2013 she teamed up with Barclay Publicity to release the first in a new young adult novel series, “Shock Me”. Ashley then went on to author eight other titles, in multiple genres, as she also worked behind-the-scenes on a morning news show that aired on ABC. In 2014, four of Ashley’s books landed on the Amazon’s Best Selling Top-Ten-List. In 2015, she received her first publishing deal for “Troll”, a KindleScout novel winner.

When Ashley is not dreaming up new manuscripts and working on film sets, she loves spending time with her family, obsessing about biblical mysteries, and watching lots of Doctor Who. Keep an eye out for her newest releases!

Connect with Ashley at: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Tumblr | Instagram