Saturday, 22 April 2017

Reviewers Roundup Week 2 - The Face in the Window


Join the Reviewer Roundup
Discover new books from your favourite authors
Discover new authors: new favourites

And all for the price of a review.

For more information


Reviewer Roundup is basically an open call for readers to pick up books from favourite and new authors, all donated for free with the only expectation being an honest review. The event runs over two weeks. The first week is for novellas (up to 50,000 words) and the second for novels. I have two books entered, one in each week.

In the second week I have, for your critical investigation





Blurb

There are those who can’t see and those who don’t want to, but we’re all blind sometimes.

Ace is blind and Haze is damaged. They live in different worlds and not everyone is happy when they become boyfriends. Haze is struggling with the after effects of a traumatic event in his past that has left him at the mercy of an uncontrollable rage. When Ace’s brother steps up his campaign of torment against Ace, they’re all in danger from Haze’s outbursts, though it isn’t until things get completely out of control that the healing can really begin. But with Ace unseeing and Haze perched on the edge of a cliff, will either of them survive long enough to benefit?


Excerpt

The call from the patio startled me. I had almost forgotten that the adults were even there. Particularly, I had forgotten that Uncle Colin was there.
Almost as soon as we turned the corner Uncle Colin was on us. “There you are. I thought you had kidnapped our special guest.” He grabbed Ace’s arm in what for him passed as a fatherly manner and towed him across the patio. “Come and try a burger. Fennell’s a genius with the barbecue. No hard feelings, eh?”
“Hard feelings? What the fuck…?” I could feel the anger rise again.
“It’s all right, Haze.” Ace turned his head to ‘look’ at me over his shoulder. He was grinning. “I’m gay. I’m used to fucking arseholes.”
There was absolute silence, a ‘did I really hear what I thought I heard?’ moment, and then Uncle Colin exploded. It broke the shocked silence and everyone dissolved.
“Boy,” Uncle Colin spluttered slapping Ace on the back so hard he almost sent him sprawling flat on his face, “for a blind, gay freak you’re one hell of a man.” He turned Ace towards him, holding him firmly by the shoulders. His face was very serious, and that was worrying on Uncle Colin.
“I like you, Ace. I like you a lot. I know I can be a complete arsehole; it’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but neither is it something I apologise for. I rarely get it pointed out to me, and when I do, I find it refreshing because it’s honesty. Yes, I like you. You and Haze make a great couple. I think you could be good for each other. Welcome to the family.” Then he hugged Ace tightly and let him go, turning to grab a plate and started helping himself to the barbecue.
I hurried to Ace’s side and slid my arm around his waist. “You’re fucking insane, do you know that?”
“It’s been mentioned.”
“I can’t believe you said that.”
“I can’t believe your uncle groped my arse when he hugged me.”

I stifled an explosive laugh. “You really are part of the family.”

Check out my other blog and website for more exclusive excerpts

http://cherylheadford.blogspot.co.uk/
http://cherylheadford.com/

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Reviewer Roundup Week 1 Memories of Forgotten Love


Join the Reviewer Roundup
Discover new books from your favourite authors
Discover new authors: new favourites

And all for the price of a review.

For more information


Reviewer Roundup is basically an open call for readers to pick up books from favourite and new authors, all donated for free with the only expectation being an honest review. The event runs over two weeks. The first week is for novellas (up to 50,000 words) and the second for novels. I have two books entered, one in each week.

In the first week I have, for your critical investigation


Memories of Forgotten Love is a Young Adult book about Noah, a boy who wakes from a coma after three months, to a mystery.

I wrote this novella to explore something I had been reading quite a bit about. That is, the way coma was depicted in popular culture - movies, television shows, novels etc. Basically, what the articles and reports were saying was that coma, and in particular the process of waking from one, is very rarely depicted in anything like an accurate way. People simply don't just open their eyes and get on with it. I set myself a challenge to write something more realistic, and this is it.

A note of caution. This book was published at the very beginning of my career as a published author and I have learned a lot since then. Please also bear in mind that the book is meant for 14 - 20 year olds and the characters are meant to be immature.

Blurb

Noah wakes from a coma with no memory of who he is. As his memories return they become stranger and more sinister at every turn. He begins to suspect the accident in which he was injured wasn't an accident at all, and refuses to accept what everyone is saying that he threw himself off his balcony in a suicide attempt. It just doesn't feel like something he would do. Struggling to come to terms with the shocking story he gradually uncovers, he's helped by his friends. Yet, his best friend, Luke is acting strangely, leaving Noah to wonder just what exactly he isn't telling him.

Excerpt

Gradually, as the days and then weeks passed, I began to make more sense of the world.  I learned that I had been in an accident, suffered an injury to my brain and been in a coma for three months.  For much of that time, at least in the early days I had hovered on the point of death, tipping over more than once.  No one had expected me to wake up.   But I had, and more than that I was beginning to recover.  My brain was slowly coming back to life but there were parts of it that were damaged beyond repair.  I was going to have to re learn a lot of things that previously I had taken for granted, things like speaking, walking, reading, writing.
                The injury had been mainly to the right side of my brain which had resulted, strangely, in a considerable amount of weakness in my left side.  My arm and leg were useless for weeks and, in the beginning, it had seemed that I might have been permanently paralysed.  Apparently though, I was too stubborn, too much of a fighter to let that happen and very, very gradually it all started coming to life again.  In those early weeks I didn’t really understand what was happening, which was a blessing. 
                Looking back now it is like I was still asleep.  I didn’t wake up until a long time later.... in some ways I still haven’t.  But then it was all very present, very intense.  After the first couple of days when I seemed to forget things even as they happened, every day I learned something more, every day I pushed the limits a little further.  It seemed that, although many of my abilities had waned, my capacity to learn had, if anything increased exponentially.   I only had to be told something once, shown something once and it was there forever.  Of course the physical matters, learning to walk and talk took time but I picked up reading in no time and writing was a doddle.
                People came to see me.  They came all the time, every day, and I remember thinking that it was very nice of them to spend all that time with me, a stranger.  It didn’t occur to me to ask why they came.  A lot of things didn’t occur to me at the time.  And then someone mentioned that I was lucky to have such a devoted family.  Family?  I had a family?  I could recall what a family was but I didn’t remember having one.  It took another day or so to make the connection between the idea of having a family and realising that the people who came to see me were my family - my mother, my father, my sister.
                I had already worked out that Noah was me. That had taken a while, but the sudden realisation that these kind people were actually connected to me, that the woman who stroked my hair and cried all the time was the one who had given birth to me... wow that was a shocker.  It says a lot for my state of mind at the time that the thing that shocked me was finding out that these people were my family and not that I had not known that.
                After the first few weeks, when my condition was deemed to be stable and I was off most of the drugs, apart from the painkillers. Oh my god I would never have gone anywhere without those. When I was eating and actually able to pee for myself, although unfortunately not in a toilet, I was transferred to a rehabilitation centre and handed over to experts in the art of torture, who surely would have felt at home amongst the inquisitors in Spain during the inquisition.
                Every day my body was pummelled and pounded, twisted and bent, straightened and tortured in every possible way.  I was also bombarded with stimulation of all kinds intended to seek out and wake up whatever parts of my brain still survived in suspended animation somewhere.
                For the first couple of weeks I was there my ‘family’ did not come and, to be honest, I found that a relief.  Most nights I cried myself to sleep from exhaustion and pain and my days passed in a blur of physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, massage, swimming, anything and everything to stretch my body and mind and build up what had been torn down.


                By the time I was allowed visitors I could sit up in a chair and even manage a few simple sentences, more if I was writing.  I was so proud of myself, my achievements, my pathetic stammering and feeble attempts to gain back control over my own body.  My mother cried even more, my father looked grim and somehow angry and my sister couldn’t look at me.  After that they didn’t come every day and I was glad.

Check out my other blog and website for more exclusive excerpts

Rainbow Warriors
Angel Feathers

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wednesday Briefs Demon Chapter 46


Good day everyone. It's been a while. It was strange picking up the boys again after so long but thankfully they've forgiven me and are not only speaking to me but speaking so fast I'm struggling to keep things under 1000 words. Exciting things to come.

The woods are as familiar to me as my garden. Indeed, the woods are my garden. When I was younger, I would play here, with my nurse, then my governess, then my guard. Friends too, of course, although I have always tended to count more animals among them than people. I have somehow built up a reputation as an indulged little prince, and that might be true. However, I believe the reason most children either did not wish to be my friend, or didn’t last very long in the position, was my curious impetuousness – or impetuous curiosity – that led as often to trouble as it did anything else.
I leave behind a string of friends who were irreparably changed – some physically; some mentally – and in the end it was a relief that no one was ever free to play. It pleased me, but not so much my parents as, without someone to check my fearless nature I got into even more trouble – like being snared by or enemy and falling in love with their prince. Despite the whole misery and torture part at the very beginning, this has been one adventure-gone-wrong I would never have missed, and it’s not over yet.
I know that Malik is speaking to Castien inside his head. I also know I could “tune in” if I wished, however, I feel it important that Castien have something to himself, something to be his anchor in all the crazy that is to come. The change was the easy part; now comes changing everyone else. For all that Castien is a prince, he is more sheltered and indulged than anyone every whispered I was.
He seems relaxed and happy, even though he must be unnerved by the woods – if he notices. Our forests are much as those he is used to, but they are more alive. Small faces peep out from everywhere. Some would love to scurry out and say hello. Other’s would be more inclined to sink their teeth in and say “Goodbye.”
Today, everyone is on their best behaviour. I wonder why. It could be that I am here. I am more than familiar with every creature who lives in the forest. Most I could best with my bare hands. I think, though, that the main reason they keep their distances is because of he presence of magic so old and powerful they can’t understand it any more than we can. To be truthful, if I had the choice I would avoid it myself.
I don’t understand this change. In some ways it is subtle and in others as blunt and basic as can be. We are physically different, in subtle ways, mentally too. I think the mental changes are far deeper and more profound. Castien may have lost his freckles to unblemished skin, but he has gained so much confidence and is so full of magic I can see it leaking out of his fingertips and the top of his head. Do I look like that too? I raise my hand but I can’t see anything. That doesn’t mean anything. We are often unable to see our own power.
We are deep in the woods before Castien looks around and draws close to me. Until now, he walked slightly ahead with his hand on Malik’s haunches.
“Do you know where we are?”
I put my arm around his shouders and he melts into my side.
“You are shivering. Are you cold?”
“No, just….” He pushes away slightly and straightens his spine. “I know I have nothing to be frightened of, but it’s getting dark, and I don’t know my way home.”
“Do you think I would abandon you alone in the woods?”
“No.” He swirls to face me. “Don’t ever believe I have no faith in you. It’s just…I’d never been among trees like this until I came here.”
“You’re right about that,” I said, smiling as a nearby oak winks at me. “Don’t worry, we’re almost there. There is a shrine to the Great Mother just ahead. I believe that is where we are going.”
Castien nods and me, but he still appears nervous. I lace our fingers tightly and I notice Malik walks very close to his other side.
“He has a long way to go.” Malik’s voice falls over my mind like refreshing rain. His touch is warm and familiar, although I have not felt it before.
“I will be at his side at every step.”
“As will I. We must be prepared though for there are those who would destroy him if they could. Inside and out. They would do the same to you, but know you have the power to defeat them without a thought. They will exploit his innocence. You must make him see this.”
I am taken back, although a moment’s thought convinces me he is right. There are many who would corrupt Castien if they could; who would hurt him, and as powerful as he is, his mind is still his own, still innocent, confused and uncertain. His body might be stronger, but words could shatter him as well as arrows.
“I’ll be careful. I’ll try to talk to him, but he is na├»ve and trusting. We must both be watchful.”
“Agreed.”
It was strange coming to an agreement with an enormous, predatory animal who speaks like a scholar direct into my mind. It is my turn to wonder at my naivety. I had always been sure animal were more intelligent that we ever give them credit for. Now I am surprised I was right? Although, I have a feeling Malik is a very singular cat.
  

We're a little thin on the ground this week, guys, but still stories well worth reading. If any of my lovely readers feel a tug toward trying their hand flashing then please give any of us a shout and we'll we happy to welcome you on board. Enthusiastic amateurs welcome.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Serpent's Kiss by Layla Dorine


Serpent’s Kiss Blurb

While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister come across the last pure blooded seer of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in helping.

A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, he’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any use to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home compound, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.

With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.

Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to possess him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles. 

Book Trailer

Buy Links
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Excerpt

He caught sight of his mismatched eyes in the mirror as he headed to the living room, desperate to put the day behind him. As always, seeing those eyes reminded him of how defective he really was, and not just on the outside, but the inside too. His green eye was blind, save for those moments when it decided to peer into the soul of another and bring their future or past roaring like a waterfall of images through his mind.

The twisted part of him, the cold, sick, sadistic nature that set him apart as much as his stare, loved when those images spelled out pain, misfortune, and death, death was a high that left him without the need for drugs or the bottle gods. What kind of monster fed off the hurt of others the way vampires fed off blood, hell, he was worse than any bloodsucker, at least they spared their victims pain when they could, left them with pleasant, sometimes even erotic memories and licked the wound closed to hide where it had been. Him, he just busted lives open wide, sucking in all that delicious fear, doubt, paranoia, oh god but he loved when he got the paranoid ones, he’d fuck with them for days before allowing the visions to play out the way they were supposed to. Drop them a little hint here, a little clue there, let them know disaster was breathing down their necks and watch as they scrambled to do everything in their power to avoid it. Only there was never anything that they could do.

He was caught between self-loathing and longing for just the right kind of paranoid son of a bitch that might help him forget this day when his eyes landed on his couch. Sitting where he’d planned to drop his ass and rest was a woman with blood diamond scales running down her arms and the brightest ruby eyes he’d ever seen. Crimson lips parted to reveal a pair of brilliant white fangs and her hair was the color of sunsets, all red and orange hues spilling down her back. A pattern of scales ran up her forehead like a widow’s peak, and covered her cheekbones. Her ears were mere slits set against the silver and red prismatic colors and when she turned, he was sure he heard rattling and looked down to see a snake’s tail coiled on his plush leather cushions.

“What. The. Fuck,” he stammered, wishing he hadn’t taken off his gun.

She hissed, like lips peeled back, forked tongue darting out and flickering in his direction kind of hiss and he shrank back, ‘cause however messed up he was, she was way on the other side of normal.

“Your crass words are offensive to my ears,” she seethed, coils uncoiling and snaking toward him.

He took another step back, ‘til the backs of his legs hit the front of a chair and he dropped his ass in the lumpy thing.

“Apologize,” she ordered.

He opened his mouth to tell her to go to hell, but all that came out was a choked wheeze as something squeezed his throat so hard he was seeing red spots and haze.

“You were told to apologize,” a deeper, harsher voice ordered, and Darrell forced himself to focus, to grasp the coils around his neck and pull at the thick weight of them enough to catch a gasp of air.

“Fuck. You!” he gasped, then wished like hell he hadn’t said that because the crushing weight constricted more and no amount of clawing at it could buy him a single gulp of air. The haze grew, his vision beginning to go dark when at last the coils let up and he slumped backwards without them to hold him up. At least the chair caught him; he gave thanks for it while he sucked in as much air as he could, despite the soreness of his throat and the throbbing pain in his head.

“I would not suggest taking that tone with me again, or using that kind of language,” the female…thing said, and Darrell tried to focus on her again, while keeping his eye on the big piebald colored snakeman coiled inches to his left.

“I have a name, and it is not ‘thing’,” she informed him sternly.

“You…you’re reading my mind,” he choked out.

“Not that it is very difficult, but yes,” she informed him.





LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Cover Reveal: Serpent's Kiss by Layla Dorine


Serpent’s Kiss Blurb

While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister come across the last pure blooded seer of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in helping.

A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, he’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any use to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home compound, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.

With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.

Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to possess him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles. 


LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.


Serpent's Kiss will be released on 7th April. Watch this space for purchase links and further information.