Saturday, 5 September 2015

Guest blog: Kimbra Kasch - 'Demon's Ink'

There are lots of dangerous things around Portland lately but, when a Demonic tattoo artist comes to town, everything goes to Hell, in DEMON’S INK.

This young adult novel is set in Portland, Oregon and with Halloween coming, you'll want to have a scary story to share...

That’s where DEMON'S INK comes in: It's about art, that's more than anyone bargained for.

Drake and Bartos come to the Pacific Northwest, where they open yet another tattoo shop but Bartos has no trouble dealing with the competition because there’s nothing normal about his art. And he’s stealing more than clients from the local skin artists. He's stealing their souls.

Customers fall in love with Bartos Slinderman’s tats but end up paying the ultimate price for their purchase because unlike Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, they can’t walk away from this art and it’s beautiful until the artwork takes on a life of its own...



Expectations can ruin everything. Like thinking my senior year was going to be something special. What a set up that was.

I should have known better than to get my hopes up.


I’d never been lucky. No one in my family was. I was probably only six when I’d heard grandpa say, “We come from a long line of losers.” He was talking to my Dad. I don’t even know about what. But, now, I know I should have listened to him.

Dad had already gone to prison, leaving Mom and me worse off than ever. And we were never good but, at least while he’d hung around, she managed to act like things were okay. Now she wasn’t even trying to pretend. Really it was way worse than that; she wasn’t even getting up off the couch any more.

I’d come home from school to find her passed out. The first couple times it freaked me out. Seeing her face-planted in the front room and not knowing whether she was alive or dead, I didn’t want to be the one to find her like that, to turn her over, to have to check to see if she was still breathing but I did. . . and I had no idea if she was high or drunk. I didn’t even care because what difference did it make? She was out of it. That was all that mattered.

So, after Dad went to jail, I was completely alone until Bartos made me a deal I couldn’t refuse but that was later.

For weeks, I’d come home after class and make a sandwich—if there was bread—otherwise it was a bowl of cereal for breakfast and dinner, sometimes I’d eat it dry because the milk had gone bad.

I knew I was going to have to get a job if I wanted to survive and I’d started looking around but that was right before everything changed.

It was late one Thursday evening. I still remember because I was thinking, “Only one more day…” I just didn’t know how right I was.

I don’t know what woke me up that night. Maybe it was the smell, the heat, the sound of my Mom screaming. I really don’t know. But I opened my eyes to the thick burning haze of a room filled with smoke.

I’d gone down into the basement that night and fallen asleep.

Looking around, I already knew there were no windows. I was trapped.


And join me on Twitter or stop by and see what I'm pinning on  Pinterest and, if you've read Demon's Ink and have a question or simply want to share a comment, please feel free to send me an email. I love connecting with readers.


I'm a writer who grew up in a family with 9 kids and only 1 t.v. so I spent my days reading and, later, writing. I love books. . .maybe because I never got to pick t.v. shows we watched. But I’d run home after school to catch the last fifteen minutes of Dark Shadows...
 I still love to run...or maybe I should say wogging (a cross between walking and jogging). Here in Portland, I love Halloween themed runs - where people don costumes and run. It's a lot of fun...and I know those two words don't always go together: But it is.
 And, with all those Halloween themed runs, I guess Dark Shadows had more of an influence than some people might think. Even today my favorite author is Stephen King. My all-time favorite book is Salem's Lot.
 Favorite romance novels are The Hunger Games...okay, I know, it's a survival book but it's really all about romance. Then there were the series: Twilight, True Blood, and more. I really love paranormal, Horror and sometimes even light books like Dewey the Small Town Library Cat... Mainly, I just love to read. . . and write.
 Sorry to be so long-winded but did I say I love to write? ...and talk and...knit, and sew, and bake... I could go on but I'll stop by saying, I hope you’ll stop in on my site and I can tell you I’m really excited to be sharing my young adult novel with you: Demon’s Ink.
Thanks for listening.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Guest blog: Mickie Sherwood - 'Templet's Tasty Tails'

Loss…life…love. What a difference a year makes!

Web Designer Erika Washington's contract with her childhood best friend covers all possibilities about her pregnancy. But, one unpredictable event redirects her future. As a donor-surrogate, what does one do when fate changes the plan and claims the lives of the intended parents? If you're selfless, strong-willed Erika Washington, you mount a defense to keep your baby.

Entrepreneur Booker Templet, owner of Templet's Tasty Tails, secretly agrees to help his first cousin. However, unfortunate circumstances change the course of his life. After he learns the identity of the other donor, Booker plans to be a part of his child's life. No matter what.

Will Erika and Booker battle over custody of the baby? Will their horrible loss help them find consolation in each other's arms? Or will fate intervene yet again?

Scene: After Booker becomes her client, Erika accepts his invitation to have a firsthand look at his business operations.

Enjoy an extended excerpt:
Erika stopped suddenly. "You've got to be kidding." She looked at the black rims with the silver, riveted studs.
"No. I mean every word."
"No," she contested. "Not that." Erika looked up at Booker, then at his truck. "That."
Laughing, Booker placed a hand on her shoulder. "See what I mean? A sense of humor on display."
"I can't climb up there." Although she adjusted the leg of her jeans, her protruding tummy hindered her knee lift.
"You don't have to." He uttered those words as he reached and cradled her in his arms.
"Put me down, Booker Templet."
"Erika." He looked her dead in her unbelieving eyes. "It's the only way to get you into the truck. Will you open the door for me, please?"
She did. "Now, put me down." Her tush met the leather seat.
Booker remained in the door as she buckled her seatbelt. Apparently satisfied with her handiwork, he rounded the front end. He slid one long leg in before settling into the driver's seat. After he cranked up, Booker hooked a right once he reached the road.
The serene countryside captured Erika's attention. She snapped shot after shot. When he reduced his speed, she realized they neared his business.
"That's the plant over there."
Erika traced his finger point to the aluminum-sided building and silos in the distance.
"Here's where most of my work is done." He drove off the road.
What Erika saw was green grass seeming to float in water. "Is that rice?"
"And she's smart, too." Booker laid a wrist over the steering wheel. "What's left of it. The crawfish pond is, also, where rice is grown. Flood. Drain. Harvest. Re-flood."
"Sounds like a vicious"—Erika watched him look over his field—"but profitable cycle."
While he sat in deep contemplation, she aimed her camera. The faint whir tempted him. Booker glanced her way, and Erika snapped again.
"Plus playful."
"You're such an easy target…I mean, an inviting subject."
"Ahh, Erika Washington. There's certainly more to you than meets the eye."
Erika pondered what Booker said, smiled at him, and then started taking shots of the area.
"Let me show you something." He left his seat. She saw him shed his cowboy boots for camouflage-green rubber boots from the truck bed. He came to her side. "May I?"
"At least you asked this time." Opening her door, she permitted him to pick her up.
Booker slushed through the bog to a patch of tall grass with her in his arms. "Get your camera ready."
Excited, Erika fumbled and almost dropped it. His quick recovery had her poised for the photo shoot. "A boat?"
"Yep. Specially designed for harvesting crawfish traps." Booker's diligence seated her carefully under the boat’s canvas tarp. "Would you like to go check a trap?" Hesitancy shone in his eyes. That was the first time he’d appeared unsure about anything.
"I don't run from new experiences. Let's do it," she said. Erika laughed, happy with the way the day progressed. He smiled.
They floated over to one of the markers that bobbed on the water. Booker elongated his body to grab the top. When he lifted his arm, up came a wire basket. Erika gripped it, too. Together they set it on the bottom of the boat.
"I can now add crawfish harvester to my list of accomplishments."
His eyes glinted.
"What's that look?"
"Pure admiration, Erika."
"Why, Booker Templet. I declare, sir," she did her Scarlett O'Hara impersonation, "I do believe you're being fresh."
Booker grinned then shook his head. As was his habit, he pulled at his ear.

Curious about what happens next?


Mickie Sherwood is an author and novice photographer who takes nature pictures right in her own backyard. She loves to engage in her favorite pastime which also incites her creativity. Combine that aspect of her life with the enjoyment of spending time with her family, and cruising vacations, and the development of interesting characters who encounter intriguing circumstances is not very far behind.

Check me out.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Guest Blog: Angela Britnell - 'The Reject Wedding Table'

Once on the reject table, always on the reject table? 

When Maggie Taylor, a cake decorator, and Chad Robertson, a lawyer from Nashville Tennessee, meet at a wedding in Cornwall it’s not under the best circumstances.

They have both been assigned to ‘the reject table’, alongside a toxic collection of grumpy great aunts, bitter divorcees and stuffy organists.

Maggie has grown used to being the reject, although when Chad helps her out of a wedding cake disaster she begins to wonder whether the future could hold more for her.

But will Chad be strong enough to deal with the other problems in Maggie’s life? Because a ruined cake isn’t the only issue she has – not by a long shot.

2nd novella in the Nashville Connections series.   First: What Happens in Nashville.

Buy here:


Maggie couldn’t hold back a heavy sigh as she stared at the wedding reception seating chart.
‘Have they stuck you on the RT as well, honey?’
She glanced back over her shoulder and froze. Smiling right at her was the handsome stranger she’d noticed across the aisle in the church. She’d always been a pushover for a man with intriguing eyes and these were tawny, fringed with lashes so long and dark they should have been illegal, and sparkling with good humour. Stop that right now. You don’t do pick-ups at weddings. It’s undignified and desperate.
‘What on earth are you talking about?’ Her tone of voice was sharper than she’d intended.
‘The Reject Table.’ His deep smooth voice was laced with a delicious warm drawl she could’ve listened to all night. ‘Of course they wouldn’t call it that, they might gloss it over by using the term “Independents”, but we know the truth, don’t we?’
‘Do we?’ Maggie bristled. She refused to admit she knew precisely what he was talking about. She’d endured enough of these ritual humiliations while seeming unable to sustain a relationship long enough to change her Facebook status.
‘Yeah, sure do. I’m guessin’ your English ones are the same as ours. We’ll have the elderly maiden aunt, the bitter newly divorced third cousin, the grumpy dishevelled organist,’ he reckoned them all up on his long, well-shaped fingers, ‘and of course the mandatory gaggle of single strays.’
‘And which category do you fall into?’ Maggie’s brazen question shocked her into blushing hotly.
‘Take a wild guess,’ he challenged, and stepped closer so his arm brushed against hers.
God, he smells delicious. The tempting combination of spicy cologne, soap and something indefinably male wafted in the air and would’ve made her swoon – if she was the swooning type. Maggie’s middle name should’ve been Sensible.
‘Well, you’re obviously no one’s maiden aunt. The organist was sixty if he was a day and no one could describe you as dishevelled. By the process of elimination I’d say you’re the rogue transatlantic cousin representing the groom’s American grandmother who’s too old to travel.’ As soon as he’d spoken it’d clicked in her filing cabinet of a brain. She hadn’t helped the bride with the seating plans without gathering some useful information.
‘Spot on.’ His eyes darkened with surprise. ‘How about you?’ Maggie winced at his direct question. ‘Sorry, sore point?’
She lifted her chin and contrived to look unconcerned. ‘Not at all.’
‘Forgive me. I’m forgettin’ my manners all around today. I can’t believe I said that to a beautiful lady.’ He thrust out his right hand. ‘I’m Chad Robertson from Nashville in the great state of Tennessee. By day I’m a music attorney, and by night I turn into the rogue you rightly determined me to be. A single one, if you’re at all interested.’ The almost-question hung in the air between them.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Guest blog - Hannah Fielding: 'Indiscretion'

 Indiscretion is the new novel from award-winning romance novelist Hannah Fielding. Written in Fielding’s signature style, infused with an old-school Hollywood glamour, Indiscretion evokes the drama and passion of 1950s post-war Spain.

1950’s London. Alexandra, a young writer is bored of her suffocating but privileged life amongst the gilded balls and parties of Chelsea. Keen for an adventure, Alexandra travels to Spain to be reunited with her estranged Spanish family on a huge estate in Andalucía.
Arriving in sun-drenched southern Spain for the first time, Alexandra is soon caught up in the wild customs of the region. From bull fighting matadors and the mysterious Gypsy encampments in the grounds of the family’s estate, to the passionate dances of the region and the incredible horsemanship of the local caballeros, Alexandra is instantly seduced by the drama and passion of her new home.
When Alexandra inevitably falls for Salvador, the mercurial heir to her family’s estate and the region’s most eligible man, she finds herself entangled in a web of secrets, lies and indiscretion. Alexandra soon falls prey to scheming members of her own family, the jealousy of a beautiful marquésa and the predatory charms of a toreador, all intent on keeping the two lovers apart.
But nothing can prepare Alexandra for Salvador’s own dangerous liaisons with a dark-eyed Gypsy.
Can Alexandra trust that love will triumph, or will Salvador’s indiscretion be their undoing?


For the week leading up to the masked ball, confusion had reigned on the ground floor at El Pavón. Servants had shifted out furniture, rolled up carpets, prepared tables for the buffet in the dining room, and chandeliers, wall sconces, columns and cornices had been decorated with garlands of bright roses interspersed with jasmine and orange blossom from the garden. As the evening began, and the sweeping strings of ballroom music filled the hacienda, El Pavón seemed transformed into a magical palace.
Although the ball was in full swing as dusk gave way to night, cars were still arriving. They stopped at the foot of the stairs with a rasp of gravel and young drivers in dark-grey suits and caps leapt out to open the doors.
In the garden, an array of colourful lanterns hung from arbours, dangled between fruit trees, encircling the fountains and pools, twinkling with light. While in the great ballroom, overlooking the east-facing gardens, Doña María Dolores’ guests, attired in all sorts of disguises, drank, joked and glided happily on the polished oak dancefloor.
The ballroom was long and rectangular, taking up the entire length of the house. At each end, French doors opened out on to terraces stocked with exotic plants. Down one side, more windows led to the wide green lawn at the side of the hacienda. High mirrors hung between the windows, framed with gilded beading. Supported on marble columns was a gallery with a wrought-iron balustrade where musicians in evening dress were playing romantic dance melodies from tangos to Viennese waltzes.
Alexandra paused on the threshold of the vast room, a trifle overwhelmed by the grand spectacle. All the guests wore masks of velvet, satin or lace, giving them a mysterious air. She watched for a moment as Ondine, Goddess of the Northern Seas, leant against a column, lost in a dream, her head slightly tilted to one side. In her long tunic of turquoise silk sprinkled with iridescent sequins, she appeared to have just risen from the depths of the ocean, her beautiful golden hair draped gracefully about her bare shoulders. A torero in black silk breeches, drawn in at the hips, with a waistcoat brocaded with silk, knee-length stockings and shiny flat shoes, gazed at her. Just as he had decided to approach, another gallant figure, Oreste, bearing his father’s sword in his belt, swooped in first and, bowing deeply before her, drew her on to the dancefloor. They passed a maharani wearing a magnificent sari of dark gold brocade, who was walking towards the veranda arm-in-arm with a American Indian in a headdress of multi-coloured feathers and a jacket of brown suede.
A hand tapped Alexandra’s shoulder. Startled, she turned, almost bumping into a couple of waiters carrying trays laden with appetizing tapas and small glasses of fino sherry. The intruder was a musketeer in a wide soft hat, loose breeches and a leather doublet. A black mask hid his twinkling eyes but she recognized the beaming smile.
‘Well, Cousin,’ he said cheerfully, ‘I didn’t have to search very long to find the most beautiful girl at the ball. I told you I could spot you under any disguise.’
She smiled at Ramón, happy to find a friend in this sea of masked strangers, but it was difficult to concentrate on what he was saying. Her eyes were scouring the dancefloor, eagerly scrutinizing the whirling couples from behind her velvet mask. What, or more precisely who, was she looking for, exactly? After all, she knew nothing of the mysterious Conde, except that he had a deep and seductive voice. Recalling it made her pulse run faster and her knees slightly weak. Could the peculiar episode at Mascaradas have been merely a foolish jest designed to mystify her? Surely Old Jaime would not have taken part in a practical joke? She started with indignation at the idea she might be the victim of some prank. Yet, the more she thought about it, the more that seemed improbable. It would be an expensive joke to play, after all. No, the sheer cost of her beautiful costume had to be proof of the generosity and admiration of her romantic stranger.
As the evening progressed and there was still no sign of the mysterious Conde, Alexandra was forced to admit that she must have been the victim of a practical joke. It was gone eleven o’clock, surely he would have shown up by now if he was going to? Putting aside her disappointment, she told herself it had all been merely a captivating puzzle, one that had fired her romantic imagination and aroused her yearning for adventure, nothing more. At least she had some ideas for her new hero, she reminded herself, and decided to enter fully into the festive spirit, now that she had given up on her elusive stranger.
She didn’t notice the oriental prince, wearing a costume similar in style and colour to her own, observing her quizzically from a far-off corner of the room.
A pierrot in a black-and-white silk suit with a collar of pleated tulle and a bonnet decorated with black pompons asked Alexandra for a dance. She allowed him to move her around the dancefloor, with only half an ear on the eager conversation he was making as she took in the sea of colourful guests. It was almost midnight. Don Felipe was paying court to a shepherdess in a crinoline gown. Further along the room Mercedes, disguised as a bluebell, wearing a crown of tiny blue flowers and a dress with a bodice of green velvet and an organdie skirt, with petals of periwinkle blue, was squabbling with Electra, who was sulking in a corner. Isis and Osiris were discussing something with a pretty redhead in Savoy costume.
Alexandra was once again aware of the pierrot, who drew her closer to him. ‘Soon it will be midnight,’ he whispered into her ear, ‘and the lights will go out—’
‘Excuse me señor, I’ve come to collect my wife,’ interrupted a deep, warm voice. Alexandra smothered a gasp. Her heart gave such a jolt she thought it might leap out of her mouth.
The first notes of a Strauss waltz began. Before she could recover, the stranger swung Alexandra into his arms, holding her so tightly to him she was unable to lift her head to see his face. The blood pounded in her veins. She was conscious of his strong, sinuous length against her and the turmoil of her own body as his warmth soaked into her, adding to the heat welling up inside her like a furnace. Her temple brushed against his jaw; his skin was smooth. He smelled of soap, mint and tobacco, indefinably masculine. As they twirled around the dancefloor, Alexandra was carried away by an overpowering tide that left her light-headed, almost breathless. It was as though she were under a spell, a bewitching charm of the mind and senses that had no place in the dictionary of her experience.
Eventually, the giddy whirlwind ended and they found themselves on the terrace. In contrast to the brightly lit ballroom they had left, it was bathed in an almost unreal, diaphanous light from the moon and the glowing lanterns in the trees. They waltzed in silence for a few more minutes, taking in the melancholy softness of the night.
‘I owe you an apology for stepping in just now but I could see no other way of tearing you away from the arms of your too-forward partner,’ he said, in those same ardent, deep tones that had so haunted Alexandra over the past few days.
She caught her breath, unable to reply immediately and all the while hoping he wasn’t aware of the urgent beating of her heart. He still held on to her firmly and she could only look up at him with a smile. The moon disappeared behind a cloud, shadowing his features.
The stranger was almost a head taller than Alexandra. Under his light cloak she could see that his costume was very much like hers. It was in a similar cloth of pure, ivory-coloured silk, yet less decorated. His head was clad in a plain turban, which entirely concealed his hair. In the wide faja, the silk band that clasped his waist, he had placed a navaja, much like the ones Alexandra had noticed at the station in Puerto de Santa María on the day of her arrival, the difference being his was set with genuine precious stones. His shoulders were broad; his embrace firm and close.
As a shaft of moonlight fell briefly on his face, Alexandra’s heart missed a beat. In spite of the half-shadow and the narrow mask shielding his tanned features, she recognized the stranger she had seen on the seafront and then in the Church of Santa María: the man on the prayer stool who had so deeply disturbed her. So it was the same man after all. One man who now made something inside her thrill deliciously at his nearness.
Somewhere far off, a clock struck midnight. An owl hooted, as if in response. The air was fragrant with the sweet smell of jasmine and orange blossom. Masks fell and shouts of joy burst from all sides under a shower of confetti.
The oriental prince leaned his head forward towards his sultana.
‘Will you allow me, señorita?’ he whispered, his lean fingers with infinite gentleness removing her velvet mask. His gaze delved deeply into her large, glowing green irises, reading the emotion in her upturned face as her body yielded helplessly to his touch. A rush of blood coursed wildly through Alexandra’s veins as his hand once more slipped about her waist, pausing before pulling her against him.

Hannah Fielding bio

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.
To date, Hannah has published three novels: Burning Embers, ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya, 1970; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’ set in turn-of-the-millennium Italy; and Indiscretion, her fieriest novel yet, set in 1950s Spain.

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

Guest blog - Sharon Black: 'Going Against Type'


Some would say Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Regan has it all. Beautiful, smart, athletic and a great job working as a journalist – in the almost exclusively male sports department. But Charlotte is not quite as sure as she seems. Recently split from her overbearing boyfriend, she escapes for weekends, surfing in the Atlantic, and spends her free nights watching sports, roaring at the TV.

Derry Cullinane is a fashion writer, gossip columnist and sophisticated man-about-town. The go-to guy for any woman seeking expert advice on what fabulous outfit to wear for any given occasion. He’s also tall, dark, good looking – and straight! So what’s the snag? He has a track record of dating glamorous, vain and shallow women.
Charlie gets an opportunity to write a new column under the pen name Side Swipe, but is soon drawn into a war of words and wit with a rival paper’s columnist The Squire – and their verbal fireworks get readers and editors talking. Yet neither Charlie nor Derry knows just whom the opponent is...

When Charlotte and Derry meet at the Races, the attraction is instant. As their relationship develops, so much more proves at stake, than protecting their alter egos. But a blunder puts Charlotte’s job in jeopardy just as Derry’s past makes front page, and Charlotte begins to doubt her feelings.

When Side Swipe and The Squire are finally forced to reveal themselves, will they revert to type – or confound everyone’s expectations?

Tirgearr Publishing:  


‘You look great,’ Helen said.
‘You sure? I was just going to wear those black jeans. Thing is, I distinctly gave Derry the impression that I enjoyed fashion.’
‘Well, maybe if he’d given you a little more notice!’
‘Oh Helen, don’t start. He explained he got the tickets late and wasn’t pressuring me...’
‘Hmm, well so long as he’s not playing games. Don’t let him away with that.’
Charlotte rolled her eyes.
‘I'm serious,’ Helen said, ‘there’s a reason he’s in his mid-thirties and not in a long term relationship. Don’t let him mess you about.’
‘Relax, there’s no danger of that,’ Charlotte laughed. ‘I need a bit of fun in my life at the moment. I've no intention of falling heavily for this guy.’
Helen winked.
‘So you’re just using him for sex!’
‘Helen!’ Charlotte started to laugh. They both jumped when the doorbell rang.
‘I’ll get it,’ Helen offered, ‘you don’t want to look too eager!’
Charlotte started to hiccup.
‘Oh my God, Helen! Have you been learning off The Rules?’
‘If I’d been doing that, I’d have sorted my own love life out by now! Helen left Charlotte’s bedroom door open and a few moments later, she heard Derry’s deep voice in the hall, and Helen laughing.
She came downstairs. Derry stood in the hall, casually elegant in a dark suit and tailored shirt. He smiled broadly.
‘You look beautiful.’
Charlotte hiccupped loudly. Derry raised an amused eyebrow.
‘Um, sorry, I’m sure they’ll stop in a minute.’ Charlotte flushed. Okay Charlotte, stay calm. It’s only a second date. Derry escorted her to his car and opened the passenger door.
‘Have you seen this play before?’ Derry asked as he slid in behind the wheel.
‘No. Actually, I haven’t been to the theatre in ages,’ Charlotte confessed. ‘Sports journalist, remember? A hooligan who can spell.’