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I found this story to be an enjoyable, cute (to my twisted mentality) short story that does a commendable job at trying to get inside the head of a young child that has just lost a parent.

One of the things I liked about this story is how you can see her actions from an adult's perspective at the same time it's told from that of a child.  I remember the squirming and fidgeting, the questions and acting up, of kids at the wake I last attended.  

I felt sorry for the young girl, not able to accept or understand death.  And I found it strange that the girl knew her mother had been undergoing chemotherapy treatments.  That took me out of the story a bit.  After all, she seems young enough that her family would simply call it medicine or treatments to make mommy better or something of the sort.

The music lyrics were a great touch - very creepy.  I loved how the lyrics of the song and the words of the preacher took on whole new meanings to the ears of a small child.  What was meant to be reassuring, became ominous, even hauntingly disturbing.

I find myself finding the story more creepy, disturbing, and intriguing than a horror story as categorized.  But, then again, I haven't had a good scare since I watched Nightmare on Elm Street and couldn't sleep that night (even though I watched it in the morning).  The story was cool, but I wouldn't call it scary. 



Description:

“Mom died in her sleep last night.” Those are terrifying words for a child to wake up to. The beetle that falls off the stretcher and stares at her is only the beginning one of the strangest and most frightening times in Lori’s life. Death is not a pretty thing, especially not when the funeral is to be at the Lights Out Chapel and Crematorium.

Once she walks into the funeral parlor, she experiences things that no little girl should ever have to experience. No one is acting normal. No one can see what is going on. Is Lori the only one who sees the blood oozing from the pictures of Jesus on the cross? Doesn’t anyone else see the beetles? Is Lori hallucinating when she sees her mom sit up and hears her speak? There is absolutely nothing soft and tender about what happens to Lori.

From her overly morbid piano teacher to the creepy preacher and a father that just isn’t acting like himself, Lori is surrounded by people and things that hint of something bizarre. Once she leaves the Lights Out Chapel and Crematorium, things will go back to normal. Or will they?


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About the Author:

Lisa Binion is a writer, editor, and wife. She makes her home in the beautiful state of Kentucky. Her two children are now grown, but she has been blessed with two beautiful grandchildren, Tyler and Zoey. Her family also includes four dogs, four cats, and two goats.

As the Fiction Writing Editor for BellaOnline, she writes articles, reviews fiction books, and interviews fiction authors. She is also an editor for Silver Tongue Press and Edit 1st. In her spare time, she attempts to clean house and relax.

You can find her at: 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/BellaOnline-Fiction-Writing/125143070846792.
http://www.silvertonguepress.com/
http://edit1st.com/.

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excerpt

Mari didn’t know who was in more of a hurry to get to the suite, Graham or herself. She'd never walked so fast in her life and by the time he pulled the key card out of his wallet, she was out of breath. Graham on the other hand wasn’t even breathing hard.

“Why aren’t you out of breath too? We practically ran all the way here.” she asked between deep breaths.

“I have to keep in shape for my job, you know that sweetheart.”

A sinful smile spread across her face and she laughed. She was about to find out exactly what shape he was in. Had she ever seen him naked before? Only once in the pool house when they were teens, and he'd been perfect then. She couldn’t even fathom what he would look like now with all of the Coast Guard, Firefighter and Search and Rescue training. And of course, his daily workouts at the gym. The visions of Graham naked did nothing to help regulate her breathing or calm her down.

“Hey are you okay? The trek up the stairs wasn’t that bad was it?” he had the slightest look of amusement on his face.

“I’m not so sure it was coming up the stairs that’s driving me wild Graham.” she smiled shyly. “I think it has more to do with the fact that I was imagining you naked,” she whispered.

“Damn! What the hell are we still doing standing around out here for?” he ground out as he slid the key card in the door. He picked her up and carried her into the room. “Time to get naked, you know, so eventually you can breathe again.”

Book synopsis

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"I've waited a lifetime to touch you like this"


Mari Mannon and Graham Blake always loved each other, but life kept getting in the way. An Alaskan cruise vacation might be just the place to overcome their demons and rebuild the love they once had--to discover a passion they've never known. But first, Mari must cast aside her inhibitions to become the independent, carefree woman she once was. And Graham must learn to believe in love again. Can they find their way, or will everything fall apart for good.

An Adult Romance with family, drama, comedy, sex, tragedy and most of all love. (May not be suitable for all readers - adult content)



about the author

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JJ Ellis is first and foremost a mom to five kids, four girls and one boy, ranging in age from 2-17. After that, she is a physically limited wife, blogger and now an author. She holds a degree in Communication Studies (Public Relations) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas but never thought she would chose writing as a career, especially at the age of 42. She once wanted to be a publicist in the entertainment industry, but never a writer. Then one day when she was in her mid thirties she was going through what can only be described as an early 'midlife crisis' and ideas just started to come to her and she felt compelled to write them down. She finished her first book relatively quickly, but life got in the way and it took her eight years to revisit it and then publish her first novel. She can honestly say that now she is finally right where she wants to be. 

JJ has been married to her college sweetheart (and romance novel hero) for eighteen and a half years and they reside in Casper, WY with their kids and one crazy mutt named Kreuger. She enjoys reading, writing, blogging, computing, and graphic design. She will try anything that will allow her creativity to be released.

Like her on Facebook.
Follow her on Twitter.

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This snippet is only 6 sentences long.  I couldn't find a way of making it have eight sentences and be neat.

A continuation from last week, they had traveled into a city, traffic had slowed, and Justine just jumped out of the car and disappeared into the night.

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I stared at the open door as it smacked forward and bounced back, not quite closing. I had to remind myself to close my gaping maw, catching flies and all that. I looked around but I was stuck in heavy traffic, cars on all sides and no parking in sight. I looked back at the sidewalk but she was already gone, her dark clothing allowing her to disappear. Shit. This was bad, very bad.


Read the serialized version of Forever After from the beginning: Chapter 1.


Photo credit: tbone_sandwich / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 
This one's long (I'm guessing about 4k words), but it gave me a giggle.  Beware the punch.
Read on ReadWave.com
 
Read on ReadWave.com
 
This one struck me as appropriate given I just finished one novel set in a Steampunk era and another involving space travel.  Enjoy.
Read on ReadWave.com
 
WRITING TO THE BEAT

I’ve been asked many times if there is anything that helps or inspires me to write. That answer is easy. Music. I love all types of music and learned in the early stages of my writing that melodies put me in the mood to write.  They also allow me to draw into what a character may be feeling during a particular scene. As I listen to the strums of a guitar or the fingers glide across the ivory keys of a piano, I begin to see, touch, and feel my characters emotions from a deeper, richer viewpoint.

It didn’t take long for me establish a playlist for each of my stories. I found myself listening to the same tunes over and over again while on the treadmill every morning (part of my routine before I start my day off). I got tired of scrolling around on my iPod to the last played Iist, so I decided to create my soundtrack for each scene/chapter so I could access them easily for daily inspiration.

The downside to this is every time I hear a song from my playlist on the radio, I can’t stop thinking about that scene or chapter from one of my stories. On a positive note, a conversation or thought from one of my characters has hit me from time to time when one of these songs popped up on the radio. I can’t complain about that if it makes the scene better. So for now, I’ll keep writing to the beat of the music and looking for that next song to help inspire that breath-taking, burst out in laughter, tear jerking, or adrenaline rushing scene.

Here’s my playlist for Element, Part 1:

Chapter 1:

“We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

“Wide Away” by Katy Perry

Chapter 2:

“Need In Me” by Danny Dove and Steve Smart featuring Amanda Wilson

“Hot Summer Night” by Dave Tavarè

Chapter 3:

“Call Me Maybe” by Here’s My Number

“Every Word” by Ercola featuring Daniella

“What A Feeling” by Alex Gaudino

Chapter 4:

“I’m In” by Keith Urban

“She’s Everything” by Brad Paisley

Chapter 5:

“When Love Takes Over” by David Guetta featuring Kelly Rowland

“Free” by Zac Brown Band

Chapter 6:

“Love You Like A Love Song” by Selena Gomez and The Scene

“Getting’ You Home” by Chris Young

“I Can’t Help Myself” by Bellatrax featuring Sophia May

Chapter 7:

“Where Have You Been” by Rihanna

“Evacuate The Dancefloor” by Cascada

“Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” by Ricky Martin

“Elements of Life” by Tiesto

Chapter 8:

“Restlessness” by Bastien Laval featuring Layla

“Everytime We Touch” by David Guetta & Chris Willis with Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso

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Book Review:


I had mixed feelings about this novella.  First, the book is first and foremost a Young Adult Romance and SciFi is a far second.  Most of the story revolves around the budding relationship of Natalie and Ryan.  While I was definitely engaged in their romance and I was enthralled by their plight, I think I was expecting a little more freaky stuff.

That being said, I suspect the next part in the series will have a great deal more freaky stuff.  Sadly, like many of the novellas I've read, especially ones broadcasting they'll part of a series like this one, I felt a lack of closure.

I loved the dream sequences most of all.  But I guess I have a thing for dream sequences because you can stretch the limits of reality even beyond the limits of your story.  I also loved the part where they're dancing and he's singing "Getting you home" by Chris Young (which is a song, by the way, I really like).  All I was thinking was that it was probably not the most apropos song when they intend to wait till marriage.

I was a little frustrated with Natalie and her whole I don't want to get hurt again thing.  I get being hurt and being afraid of getting hurt again.  I don't get taking a single experience and extrapolating it consciously to the entire male population.  This bugged me throughout the story and made me want to yell at her to get over herself.

I really enjoyed the last ¼ of the book and the ending was great.  It took a while for the story to really build.  The author gives you bits and pieces and clues, but unfortunately it has more than one part and you only get the first part with this book.  

Now, onto a few of my pet peeves.  I'm not overly fond of reviewing ARC copies, as this one was.  I'm never certain what will be removed from the finalized printing and what was, in fact, a mistake.  Why doesn't she put up a fuss when he suggests adding a class in May when they had their schedules finalized in April?  And, I don't know about you, but when I hit someone really skinny, I go down.  No muscle and no fat means you contact directly with bone... which is very painful.  Last time I did it, I was on the floor for ten minutes trying to regain the ability to walk.

All in all, if you enjoy a good YA Romance with just a dash of weird, I think you'll enjoy the book.  It's sweet and angsty.  There's danger and suspense and shady dealings.  It really picks up around 3/4 the way through the book.  I found myself really wanting the two to get together and really frustrated as their pasts and presents kept clashing and keeping them apart.  Looking forward to Part II.

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About the Author:

CM Doporto lives in the great state of Texas with her husband and son enjoying life with their extensive family along with their Chihuahua, Mexican Redhead Parrot and several fish.

She writes Young Adult and New Adult Sci-Fi/Urban Fantasy stories about ordinary women who do extraordinary things, become a heroine, and find love along the way.

Web/blog: http://cmdoporto.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/cmdoportowriter

Twitter: @cm_doporto

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/cmdoporto

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/cmdoporto


Buy the Book:
Amazon | Smashwords
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Resurrecting Harry, An Ode to New Beginnings

Do you know of someone who lost their spouse at a young-than-expected age?  After a period of mourning, did they go on to find love once again, or were they only lucky in love once?

Or was it maybe more than that? I know someone that even though they married again, considers that first spouse their one-and-only.

These were some of the questions that ran through my mind when I was working on my new release from Crescent Moon Press, Resurrecting Harry.

The side of me that writes romance novels finds the notion of being so connected to a spouse that no one else would ever fill that void endearing. There is something about the idea of fated love – one single soul that is meant to spend and eternity with the other – that makes our heart melt into a big puddle. Isn’t there?

The other side of my brain, the much more rational side, imagines a life pining for a lost love to be lonely. I truly believe we weren’t meant to live our lives alone.

In Resurrecting Harry, I wanted to honor both sides of the proverbial coin. Honoring the love and dedication that Bess had for her cherished husband was just as important to me as giving her that happily-ever-after that is expected in romance.

One of the stipulations of Jaden’s wager with Harry is that Erich cannot tell Bess that its Harry’s soul entrapped within the new body. He must guide her through her mourning process and help her find the way to a new beginning in life. Yet, the homage to Bess’s life-long commitment is still honored.

What do you think about the idea of two souls being destined? Do you believe that we each have only one soul mate? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below? 

With a pop, this faded to white too.

Always trapped. Never escaping. No reward.

The spinning continued, like a phonograph record.

Shivers raked his body. In the distance, he could hear a doctor offering comfort and explaining to a sobbing Bess that hope was lost. 
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Review:

This story was a breath of fresh air, a refreshing twist on a well known tale.  The book started out drawing the reader in.   The otherworldly scenes with Jaden were really cool.  I liked how the world just sort of shifted without warning.  The author really made the most of the limitless creative space available.

Though I probably shouldn't have, I liked Jaden too.  There was just something about his devil may care attitude and allusiveness that intrigued me and made me smile.  

And I couldn't help but be drawn into Harry (or should I say Erich) and Bess's ups and downs.  To me, this story is an ultimate example of star-crossed lovers.  Harry loves her and, to a certain extent, she feels the pull as well but won't admit it to him or even herself.  The reader is pulled through highs where he does good and she lets him into her life just a little, and lows where she shuts down and shuts him out, breaking his heart.

I spent most of the book, equally hoping that she would see him for who he truly is, but at the same time, I think what I was really hoping for was that she would see him as her true soul mate, which, as Harry or Erich, he most certainly would always be.

Great story, new idea.  All in all.  Worth a read.

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About the Author:

Constance Phillips lives in Ohio with her husband, two ready-to-leave-the-nest children, and four canine kids. Her perfect fantasy vacation would involve hunting Dracula across Europe with her daughter, who also digs that kind of stuff. When she's not writing about fairies, shifters, vamps, and guardian angels, she's working side-by-side with her husband in their hardwood flooring business.

Constance is actively involved in her local Romance Writers of America chapter (MVRWA) and the Southeast Michigan chapter of the United States Pony Club. When not writing or enjoying the outdoors, she loves reality television or can be found at a Rick Springfield concert (just look for the pink Converse high tops).

Be a fan on Goodreads.
Follow her on Twitter.
Follow her on Facebook.

Author's Website:
http://bravetank.wordpress.com   

Add Resurrecting Harry to Goodreads.

Buy the Book:
Amazon Kindle |  Amazon Print

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Since I'm all giddy today, here's a bit of what I wrote today for Forever Knight...
Maryanne laughed at her friends.  The movie had been silly and she’d hated it, but it was better than the alternative.  Asheboro was not a big town and, even with relaxed alcohol laws opening up bars and clubs in town, there wasn’t much for a teenager to do on a Friday night.  And she was not doing homework on a Friday night.  That would be social suicide.

She waved at her friends as she reached her car.  They dispersed in all directions, having all come in separate vehicles.  No self-respecting teenager would ride share.  A car was a status symbol, a rite of passage, and you couldn’t get far in a town with no public transportation without it.

She pulled her keys out of her purse, flipping them around until she grasped the thick, black key in her fist.  Her car was an older model and didn’t have a key fob, much to her chagrin, but it was cute and girly.  At least it wasn’t a rusted out minivan.

“Boo,” a male voice said from behind her.

“Gah!” she said as she jumped, gripping her keys in a painful, iron clasp.  “Jesus H. Christ.  You scared the daylights out of me, sugar,” she said to the stranger, laughing off the fright with a toss of her hair, her southern drawl thickening from the fear clogging her throat.

“My apologies, sugar,” he said, emphasizing the last word as he bowed deep in front of her.  The gesture seemed sarcastic and she gripped her keys to her chest, wondering how she could get in the car before he got to her.  Just calm down, Maryanne.  Breathe.  She took a deep breath and tried to see his intentions in his eyes, but the parking lot was too dark, his face backlit, obscuring his features.

Time passed in a painful crawl, her heart hammering in her chest.  She studied him like a wary animal, waiting for him to strike.  After a moment that stretched into eternity, he sat against the hood of the next car and said, “Finally.  All to ourselves.”  The look that crossed his face sent chills down her spine.  She quickly looked around, realizing with a start that everyone had already left.  There were no dawdlers, no groups hanging around chatting.  They were all alone in the dark empty parking lot.  “Now, what’s your name, lovely?”

She bit her lip.  Dozens of horror scenarios screamed through her head, filling the silence he left.  Her jaw quivers as the word leaked from her lips in a barely audible whisper, “Maryanne.”

He leaned in close, still sitting precariously against the other car, “Well, Maryanne, I’m going to make you scream.”

 
Hello, my freaky Darlings.  So this is my second try at WeWriWa/Snippet Sundays.  Hope you enjoy this snippet from Forever After as much as you did last week's.

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The ride was uncomfortable, painfully so.  Half a dozen times along the way, Justine imagined herself flinging the car door open at sixty miles an hour and jumping out, rolling along the side of the road until she finally came to a stop. In her head, the door resisted almost beyond her ability to hold it open. It nearly took off a limb when she leapt out. When she hit the ground, she imagined the impact on her body. Something would probably break so pain would slice through her like a knife. She would, of course, get right back up and take off at a dead run but, even in her imaginings, she was trapped because every time it ended with the BS catching her.

She glared at her captor once more but the monster was oblivious.


Read the serialized version of Forever After from the beginning: Chapter 1.

Photo credit: Nathan E Photography / Foter.com / CC BY