Fresh Face Friday: The Antique Love by Helena Fairfax

Hi Everyone!  This Friday I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Helena Fairfax and her book The Antique Love.  This was a cute love story.  It was quick read with a very thorough storyline.  Be sure to check out the rest of my review after the book blurb.  I hope everyone is going to get the chance to enjoy this holiday weekend and be sure to check out my new segment on Monday.

18342845Book Blurb: (Courtesy of Goodreads)

One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King’s Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas.  Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book.   Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero…but he soon brings Penny’s dreams to earth with a thump.  His job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers.  Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be.  Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions.  Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into.  The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way…


In The Antique Love we first meet Penny.  She is the co-owner of an antique shop when she sees a man who appears to have stepped right out of a western novel.  As she continually spys his browsing in her shop she is distracted from her piles of bills.  All of a sudden the “cowboy” appears in front of her wanting to learn more about some of the antiques.  Penny shows how truly passionate she is about antiques and the stories behind them.  After selling the “cowboy” an antique set of earrings Penny goes back to her work.  Not long after she is interrupted by the “cowboy” who she finds out is not actually a cowboy but a very wealthy financer.  He solicits her work as an interior designer.  Kurt wants her to decorate his new home for a wife that he has yet to meet.  As Penny gets to know him she finds that he bases all of his decisions on logic and finds passion and dreams to be illogical.  But, as Penny and Kurt work more and more together they learn more about each other and Kurt begins to question what he believes.  As Kurt opens up he feels Penny’s natural passion weaving her way into his life and his heart, but will Kurt accept his new feelings before it’s too late?

This was a very cute story.  It was a romantic story that developed naturally.  I thought Penny and Kurt were wonderful characters and definitely seemed like people you would know.  The story is well-written and developed, but I would have liked to have seen more of it.  It seemed like it ended too soon.  It had a wonderful ending, but I think more could have expanded the story.  In the overall aspect of things the love story was wonderful and so were the characters.  I think we all want a bit of their love story but I did feel that the final culmination of their story seemed too quick.  Like I said, I would have liked to see more developed in the end.  This is definitely a story for romance lovers and if you’re a fan of England you’ll love the setting.


7082986Author Bio: (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child.  She’s grown used to the cold now and that’s just as well, because nowadays she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, right next door to windswept Brontë country.  She has an affectionate, if half-crazed, rescue dog and together they tramp the moors every day—one of them wishing she were Emily Brontë, the other vainly chasing pheasants.   When she’s not out on the moors you’ll find Helena either creating romantic heroes and heroines of her own or else with her nose firmly buried in a book, enjoying someone else’s stories.  Her patient husband and her brilliant children support her in her daydreams and are the loves of her life.

Review: The Star Catcher by Stephanie Keyes

I have had the awesome pleasure of getting a very advanced readers copy for the final book in The Star Child Trilogy. The Star Catcher is so new it isn’t even on Goodreads yet, but yours truly got her greedy little hands on a copy and I’m going to share what you can expect.  Stephanie Keyes has definitely become one of my favorite authors and she did wonders for summing up her trilogy.

First off if you are new to Stephanie Keyes’ work you may want to read my previous reviews of  The Star Child (Book One) and The Fallen Stars (Book Two) before reading any further.  I try not to give spoilers with my reviews but sometimes its unavoidable.

Ok, now onto The Star Catcher.  The Star Catcher picks up exactly where The Fallen Stars ends.  Cali and Kellen are separated and unsure how they will ever reunite if ever.  Along with Cali being missing a new aspect of Gabe, Kellen’s best friend, comes to light.  He is not only Kellen’s best friend anymore.  He is much more and has always been a part of Kellen’s life even if Kellen was unknowing.  It is up to Kellen and Gabe to figure out who has Cali and how to find her.  With a missive from above, guidance is provided.  Kellen and Gabe must find Cali’s now mortal sister, Rowan.  She has the answers that they seek.  When Kellen and Gabe find Rowan they also find Rowan’s daughter, Singer.  Instantly, Gabe knows and understands how Kellen feels about Cali when he meets Singer.

Once Kellan, Gabe, Rowan and Singer team up they each have a set of goals.  Gabe and Singer must find Cali and Rowan and Kellen must decide whether Kellen will continue on with his humanity or choose to become a God. When Cali is rescued Kellen and Cali finally seal the deal (get married) and enjoy one blissful night together.  Unfortunately due to an impending war started by The Star Catcher the five of them must continue into Fairy.  Kellen finds out that from the power of his amulet he can now do many things he once couldn’t.  In fact it is within him to find his father, lift the curse of the C.O.D (Children of Danu) and defeat the Star Catcher.  Though this is now within Kellan’s means it doesn’t mean he can do it alone.  He must rely on not only his powers but those of the people around him.  Kellen must also learn to utilize and control his new power and to think less logically and more with instinct. In the end,  sacrifices will be made and tears will be shed but in the end the ultimate question is will good triumph over evil or will both the human and fairy worlds be destroyed?

I loved this book.  It may even be my favorite in the trilogy, but then again I am very much like Kellen and like to know the answers to things.  Stephanie Keyes does a phenomenal job of developing her characters.  If you have read this series so far you will know that Kellen alone changes both physically and mentally in both books, but it is in this book that his greatest changes happen.  I loved seeing more of Gabe.  His role becomes very pivotal in this book and he falls into place seamlessly.  Cali, though originally a God, we see much of her new humanity and with that a depth to her character that you can relate to.  Rowan and Singer are the newbies in this book and extremely important to this book’s story.  Their addition is flawless and very natural.  The Star Catcher is everything you would want in a final book in a trilogy.  It isn’t rushed or forced.  The story ebbs and flows naturally and ties up all the loose ends.  Overall, this book is wonderfully written and is one of the best endings in a trilogy I have seen in a while.  Stephanie Keyes did justice to the story, the characters and the world she created.  Her fans will not be disappointed with how the story wraps up.  I think I speak for all the fans of this story that the characters will be missed, but I know Stephanie will come up with something even bigger and better.  In the immortal words of Gabe, Stephanie “you are a total rock star.”

Unfortunately at the time of this review I am unsure of the publication release date, but the Cover Reveal is in October.  Check back here for more details.


Review: Home to Whiskey Creek by Brenda Novak

Today I am happy to share with you a wonderful book I had the chance to review.  Home to Whiskey Creek is a wonderful love story that comes out of a horrific event.  It is a book you won’t want to put down until you have flipped the last page.  Be sure to read the rest of my review after the book blurb.  Have a great Saturday, Everyone!

Book Blurb:

17251443Sometimes home is the refuge you need-and sometimes it isn’t.  Adelaide Davies, who’s been living in Sacramento, returns to Whiskey Creek, the place she once called home. She’s there to take care of her aging grandmother and to help with Gran’s restaurant, Just Like Mom’s. But Adelaide isn’t happy to be back. There are too many people here she’d rather avoid, people who were involved in that terrible June night fifteen years ago.

Ever since the graduation party that changed her life, she’s wanted to go to the police and make sure the boys responsible-men now-are punished. But she can’t, not without revealing an even darker secret. So it’s better to pretend….

Noah Rackham, popular, attractive, successful, is shocked when Adelaide won’t have anything to do with him. He has no idea that his very presence reminds her of something she’d rather forget. He only knows that he’s finally met a woman he could love.


Home to Whiskey Creek starts with Adelaide Davies’ return to her home town after a 13 yr absence.  How does she get welcomed back?  She gets kidnapped, threatened, almost raped and thrown down a mine.  Thankfully a knight on shining bicycle comes along and hears her yelling for help.  Noah Rackman, finds Adelaide trapped in a mine he swore never to visit.  Ever since that mine was the scene of his twin brother’s death.  Once Noah saves Adelaide she recognizes him immediately and sets her sights on keeping him and the memory of the fateful night of his brother’s death as far away from her as possible.  Noah has other plans.  But, what Noah doesn’t know are the reasons for Adelaide’s walls and the continual threats she receives since having come back into town.  The biggest question is when all becomes clear who will be standing together and who will be standing apart?  And can love survive such loss and deep hurt or will it crumble under the weight of tragedy?

This was such a moving and emotional book in various parts.  The characters are phenomenally well-formed and support all aspects of the story.  Brenda Novak does a wonderful job tackling such strong subject matter and giving hope along with the grief that comes with the losses that both Adelaide and Noah have suffered.  I also enjoyed the supporting characters.  Her Gran and Mother were very memorable but for completely different reasons.  Overall, a story of such powerful magnitude will leave you emotionally drained with a pile of tissues.  However, the sadness also has a redemptive end with the love that Noah and Adelaide find.  This is Brenda Novak’s fourth book in this series, but I feel I need to now go back and read the others in her Whiskey Creek series.  I would recommend this book if you want a good cry but feel good in the end.

Review: Faster Than the Rest by Shirleen Davies

Today you guys are in luck. You are getting a bonus review on top of my normal Fresh Face Friday. The bonus is Faster than the Rest by Shirleen Davies. It’s a wonderfully quick read. It is a historical romance that will make you want to go back to the time of cowboys and saloons. Be sure to check out my full review after the book blurb. I hope you enjoy today’s bonus review! I know I enjoyed it.

Book Blurb:

FASTERU. S. Marshal Jamie MacLaren will do whatever he must to find people who have been abducted, then return them to their families. This includes the woman who betrayed him then disappeared from his life.

Victoria Wicklund has endured numerous obstacles since she left Fire Mountain. None as frightening as being the victim of a kidnapping. At least that is what she thought until Jamie MacLaren appeared to rescue her. He was older, just as handsome as she remembered, and as unforgiving as the Arizona sun in summer.

Neither expects the desire they shared many years before to still burn as strong as ever. Nor do they anticipate the accusations upon their return to Fire Mountain. Will Jamie seek revenge, turning his back on the only woman he ever loved? Can Victoria forgive herself enough to trust the one man who can help her?


Faster than the Rest is the second book in the MacLarens of Fire Mountain series.  Its is a wonderful historical romance.  We first meet Jamie MacLaren while he is searching for a kidnap victim.  But, this is no ordinary kidnap victim.  This is his ex-fiancee, Victoria,  that left him for another man seven years prior.  Once Jamie rescues Victoria he tries desperately to forget all the feelings she still created inside him.  Along with the love that he still carried for her there was anger and hurt from her choice so long ago.  Victoria faces the same but she is elated to see Jamie again and hopes to possibly reconcile what was once lost.  The biggest question is can Jamie forgive and forget Victoria’s choices and can Victoria move past her pains from her past to move onto to a future with Jamie?

I love a good cowboy romance.  This is definitely a great one.  I loved Jamie and Victoria’s story along with the side story of Sam and Gloria.  I thought the story was full of suspense at times and really helped to propel the characters is wonderful and entertaining ways.  The story and the characters were well-defined making it a wonderful read.  I can’t wait for Shirleen’s next book.  I definitely want a cowboy of my own after this story.  WhooWee!

I’d like to thank Reading Addiction book tours for giving me a stop on this tour.  If you’d like to learn more about Faster than the Rest you can go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any other book retailer.

Author Bio:

shirleenProfile1I have been writing most of my life, but only recently began the transition into fiction. Historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and short stories are what keep me reading, so that is the focus of my writing.

I was born in California, grew up between a growing beach town and a small town at the base of the San Bernardino mountains. My mother originally planned to name me Katherine, but she read an article in the paper about a woman named Shirleen shortly before my birth, so instead of having a cool nickname, like Kate, I am simply Shirleen. My mainstays growing up were all the Nancy Drew mystery books; I loved them. Eventually I moved on to mysteries, suspense stories, crime novels, and romance. Pride and Prejudice will always be one of my favorites.

Besides California, life changes have allowed me to live in Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona. Everywhere I have lived has been inspirational in one way or another, giving me the opportunity to meet remarkable people with their own stories to tell. I’ve sailed, skied, owned horses plus lots of other animals, and ridden various off-road vehicles. I enjoy dancing, fishing, hunting, being the back-seater on my husband’s Harley, traveling and, of course, reading and writing.

Prior to transitioning to writing fiction, I worked for Fortune 500 and many smaller, start-up companies. Fortunately, I regained my sanity long enough to start my own consulting firm, which I still maintain today.

My husband and I spend most of our time at our main home in the mountains of Arizona and our second home in Southern California. Between us we have five boys with growing careers and families of their own.

So, from my perspective, my life is a success and always an adventure. I wouldn’t change a thing; well, except finding more time to write.

I love hearing from readers, so please feel email me at


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Fresh Face Friday: Only Love Survives by Renee Charles

Well, it’s another Friday and it’s another great book and author.  Today I am spotlighting Renee Charles and her book Only Love Survives.  It’s a great paranormal love story set in a world where zombies are prominent.  Within this boy meets girl is a wonderful paranormal story.  Be sure to check out my full review after the book review.  So, as always everyone I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Book Blurb: (Courtesy of Goodreads)

17985530Amidst an epidemic ravaging the world, all Megan Fletcher’s hopes for the future lie in getting to Las Vegas where newscasts reported scientists were gathering to search for a cure for the modern plague. After rescuing her from a rooftop surrounded by Zombies, Sam Woods appoints himself her escort. While he knows she is determined to get to Vegas no matter the cost, he doesn’t know her secret. And with his hatred of all things Zombie, she doesn’t dare tell him the truth. The more he kisses her, the harder it is for Megan to hide her growing feelings…and the bite-shaped scar. But Vegas is not the haven it was promised to be, and when Megan’s immunity to the disease is discovered, she realizes her future and her heart belong to Sam, if he will trust her.

An idealistic school teacher and ex-corporate mogul manage to find love despite a looming worldwide catastrophe. Can their love survive while everything around them is dying? Will they learn that when facing the end of the world, Only Love Survives.


In Only Love Survives we first meet Megan while she is scavenging an abandoned home.  Searching cabinets for provisions that will help her get to Las Vegas.  While she is searching through the home she is distracted by a cat and lowers her guard.  This one slip up forces her to the roof clinging on for dear life while Zombies try to get to her.  Here appears her knight in shining SUV, Sam.  Sam who we soon find out was once a mogul is on his own journey looking for his sister.  Soon the circumstances push the two of them closer together. Between fighting off Zombies, fighting off scavengers of the human variety and searching for supplies, they soon discover that answers and possibly Sam’s sister will be found in Las Vegas.   Along this journey of survival the love between Megan and Sam blooms with first kisses and frantic love-making.  But,  in the end will Sam and Megan be able to part ways when the time comes and will Sam be able to accept Megan with her dangerous secret.

Only Love Survives is a wonderful zombie love story.  I loved the well-rounded characters and the story.  Once I started this book I didn’t want to stop.  The story though fiction was one that we could definitely see happening.  Renee Charles does a fantastic job of showing how when barriers of humanity and society break down it is who we are that drives us to survive.  For Megan and Sam it is their love that can either break them or join them together forever.  I truly hope Renee writes a sequel to this book because I can definitely see a lot of potential with this story.  If you love paranormal romances you will want to pick this one up.

Author Bio:  (Courtesy of Goodreads)

6584582Author, Renee Charles believes all love is legendary. Being the only female in a house full of giants (husband and two teenage boys) she tends to lean toward the macabre, but inevitably the softer side shines through.

Whether life leads her to a snow covered mountain top, sun dappled forest, or the bottom of a ravine (yes, ditches happen) she always has a pen and note pad ready so wherever the next adventure takes her, she can take notes.

Her own romance began in an insane asylum. Luckily, both she and her husband only worked there. But it makes sense her romance novels have strange beginnings that lead to passionate endings. Romance with a twist.

In the face of zombies, werewolves, and big foot she always seems to find a happily ever after to leave you with a sigh at the end

Guest Post: Beautiful Experiment by January Valentine

beau_experiments_Large_bannerToday, I get the pleasure of giving my blog over to January Valentine, author of Beautiful Experiment.  She is also offering a wonderful giveaway that you can enter here. I’d like to thank Paranormal Cravings Blog Tours for letting me host January today.  I’m going to make today’s bit from me short and sweet so I can hand everything over to January.  So, let’s give a wonderful welcome to January Valentine.

Thank you, Book Maven, for hosting me and Beautiful Experiment paranormal romance Giveaway!!

Greetings from New York!  It’s a beautiful day for a … Beautiful Experiment!

I’m Victoria (January) Valentine, and I’m thrilled to meet you.

Why don’t you want to hear about my book?

Communicate. Communicate. Why do you refuse to communicate with me!!!

These are questions I’m constantly asking my kids, because they can no longer handle my perpetual rants and ramblings. I’m a mom first, but since I’ve been a writer since birth … okay that’s stretching it; I’ve been a writer since I could speak. Forget about reading and writing; I concocted, memorized, and recited.

I scribbled when I was two, and I’m still scribbling to this day. When my digital recorder is full, and I haven’t had a chance to transcribe my verbal reminders, I keep a pad and pen at my bedside. Just in case. Who am I kidding? Yes, I’ll be writing while I sleep. I dream scenes and dialogue. Wake up with a start to scribble my ideas in the dark, without my reading glasses, most times half asleep. If I can get to sleep, because when I’m into a book, it’s a curse. I cannot rest. My mind never stops. Neither does my mouth.

Hence, “Why don’t you want to hear about my book? How about reading a chapter? No, you say?” So, as many authors do, I read aloud to myself. Talk to myself, daydream a lot, getting my best ideas when I’m on the treadmill, in the bathtub, and yes, while asleep. The end result? Try reading the scribble with a morning squint, especially when it’s more difficult to decipher than a two year old’s. Try listening to a recording when all you hear is heavy breathing because you were jogging while recording. I hate my voice.

I eat, sleep, and breathe plots, characters, scenes, dialogue, internalization, narrative. Horror, thrillers, romance, children’s books, poetry. Paperback and Kindle formatting. How to promote and market. Delicious cover design and what I hope in the end evolves as a page-turning bestseller. I do these things while publishing books for others, and planning and airing my weekly blogtalkradio show: Away With Words, where I interview and promote other authors.

My kids are sick and tired of hearing about authors and books and radio shows, so they ignore me.

So, I’ve begun to put the shoe on the other foot. When my kids try to talk to me, and I don’t reply because my mind is in high gear, stalking a victim, killing a villain, creating a nightmare scenario or romantic interlude while typing like a madwoman … Ha. I mean, “Huh?” is my signature reply. Is a grunt considered a reply? How about agreeing to a pricey purchase because you unintentionally utter, “Okay,” when your daughter asks to “borrow” your credit card. Doesn’t borrow mean repay somewhere down the line?

I released Beautiful Experiment, my first paranormal fantasy romance, in June, and was 20K into book two of the trilogy, and just not feeling it. While celebrating Fourth of July, my kids came out of hiding and commented on my quandary, took pity on me and suggested, why not write about your first love. Horror, my all-time favorite genre.

Werewolves are my favorite creatures of the night. I love a cozy cabin in the heart of a dark, creepy forest. What’s more exciting than cuddling inside four logged walls shadowed by a smoldering fire when there’s thunder, lightning, rain pounding on the roof, and the howling of wolves outside?  I’m getting excited just thinking about it. Some of this, and a whole lot more is going into the current book I’m working on, which I wrote in less than a month breaking my record of four months for Beautiful Experiment.

To touch upon Beautiful Experiment, it’s not about werewolves. It’s about kids. No, not my kids. Well-to-do parents who need a break are sending their entitled problem children to an upscale facility in Louisiana. On the way, they’re kidnapped!  Who in his or her right mind would want to kidnap a problematic teen? The shady characters who plot to send them to an uncharted island where the kids are about to learn something they’ve never been exposed to before: discipline, among other things. They argue. They fistfight. They ban together trying to find a way out of their predicament.

The moment Brook (hot island resident teen) sets eyes on Gabriella (gorgeous kidnapped-by-mistake sweetheart) sparks fly. Literally for Brook, who has begun to see flames in the sky. While shadows surround him, the air whispers warnings; sometimes it howls. He’s clueless about these occurrences, as well as his past, because he doesn’t remember having one.

You’ll be spending three-hundred and thirty pages with these often obnoxious teens. Be ready for disappearances, spider bites, sharks and demons. Book one is mostly about discovering the island, themselves, and each other.

Kids can be passionate, inventive, resourceful, and of course, entertaining.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, take my advice. Listen to your kids. They might be more perceptive than you give them credit for, and gift you with a great idea now and then. Another aspect is, paying attention before shopping trips you’re writing through may save you cash.

Now that I’ve shared a bit about my new book, and some of my quirks, what are some of yours? Don’t have any? Okay, how about rituals and pet peeves? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a message!

Thank you for listening to my rant 🙂

Beautiful Experiment is currently available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.  As soon as it’s out of the KDP program, BE will also be available on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and others.

Another gripe for another post. How difficult is it to write a synopsis?  Holy cow, shrinking 98K words into one page is nearly impossible for me.

Here is the synopsis I managed to come up with:

Six unruly teens are abducted on their way to a juvie home. Dumped onto an uncharted island. Could things get any worse? Hell, yeah. Hostility and envy run rampant. Throw in some alphas, divas and demons, and what do you have? Beautiful Experiment. Book One of the Island of Defiance Trilogy.

The teens are referred to as waywards, informed their parents have sent them to the island for rehabilitation. While they struggle with their predicament, and each other, they come to a shocking realization … for once in their lives, they have to follow rules.

Brook has lived on the Island of Defiance his entire life, with no choice but to believe everything he has been taught. As he approaches eighteen, the secret of who he is, and the ultimate fate he must face, begins to unfold. To complicate matters even more, Brook grows to experience something he has never known … love.

How do you convince a stranger a dreadful mistake has been made? Gabriella Winslow is an honors student who has always helped others, but now has to fight for herself. Something unimaginable wants her as much as the beautiful island boy with whom she is falling in love.

Beautiful Experiment is Book One of The Island Of Defiance Trilogy (paranormal – fantasy – romance – for teens and adults) Mature 17+ for adult language, drugs & alcohol, mild sexual situations & violence.

Thank you Book Maven, members, visitors, friends and fans. I hope you will check out my books, blogs, and websites.  I’ve had a lovely visit. I hope you have too:-)

DefianceCoverValentineBeautiful Experiment
Book One of Island of Defiance Trilogy

By January Valentine

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Pages: 330

Isbn: 978-0615828596


Six unruly teens are abducted on their way to a juvie home. Dumped onto an uncharted island. Could things get any worse? Hell, yeah. Hostility and envy run rampant. Throw in some alphas, divas and demons, and what do you have? Beautiful Experiment. Book One of the Island of Defiance Trilogy.

The teens are referred to as waywards, informed their parents have sent them to the island for rehabilitation. While they struggle with their predicament, and each other, they come to a shocking realization … for once in their lives, they have to follow rules.

Brook has lived on the Island of Defiance his entire life, with no choice but to believe everything he has been taught. As he approaches eighteen, the secret of who he is, and the ultimate fate he must face, begins to unfold. To complicate matters even more, Brook grows to experience something he has never known … love.

How do you convince a stranger a dreadful mistake has been made? Gabriella Winslow is an honors student who has always helped others, but now has to fight for herself. Something unimaginable wants her as much as the beautiful island boy with whom she is falling in love.

Beautiful Experiment is Book One of The Island Of Defiance Trilogy (paranormal – fantasy – romance – for teens and adults) Mature 17+ for adult language, drugs & alcohol, mild sexual situations & violence.


The surging tide is tempting. I’m concentrating on the foam that is quickly erasing my footsteps. It’s not the caw of gulls that alerts me, because the winged creatures have vanished. In their place, the air is filled with my name. I lift my face to something startling, and my heart begins to pound.

The sky has burst into flame. Red and gold, it’s raging. The sun is the sky. Scorching. Shooting stars, like flaming spears, are dropping all around me. If I don’t shut my eyes, I’ll be blinded. If I do, I’ll be nothing but a solid target. The wind wails like a mother who has lost her child. “When the third moon falls, the beast will devour the sky.”

As suddenly as it started, it ends. I’m standing beside Father, totally disoriented. Am I standing? I look down at my feet, because I feel legless. I’m floating. Struggling to regain control of my mind, my body, the shock.

I grip the clipboard and pen with my knees, so that I can draw my palms across my twitching eyelids, astonished that I’m actually still holding onto anything.

“Did you see that flash? Did you hear that creepy voice?” I’m breathless, massaging my pounding temples with burning fingertips. “My head feels like it’s about to split open.” I rattle each eardrum with a pinky, then plug my ears to listen intently. Was the urgent whisper that turned me to stone inside my head? Phantom sounds? I’ve never experienced this kind of phenomenon before. “My eyes pain.”

Father regards me with a mix of surprise and concern. “You have a migraine?”

“Migraine?” I scoff. What the fuck, loops through my head. I’m freaked out, left with a strange feeling this is not going to be like other days. I try to shake it off, like I shake him off.

The sky is now clear and so perfectly blue, it looks as though it’s been painted by deliberate strokes of an artist’s brush. It is a seamless dome of beauty. If we were not receiving today, I might be lying on the pristine beach, permitting my thoughts to wander far beyond my own boundaries. Maybe I’d be lounging on my bluff, or climb my watchtower tree, burrow into its welcoming arms where I collect my years, watch over all that is mine.

“Feeling better?” His voice is buffered, but coarse enough to jar me from thought.

Skimming Father, my gaze snaps back to the waves, the skiff that is almost upon us. “I’m fine.” I don’t mention how bad my body aches, and feels like it’s being torn apart. I stretch my arms, then my neck, trying to pin down what I did to cause these muscle spasms. The bomb that’s about to explode in my head.

When the ocean is calm it’s translucent, sparkling with sunlight as though it’s coated with billions of precious gemstones. Today it’s not much more than rolling waves and seaweed.

“I’ve never seen it this rough.” Between wind and thunderous surf, I have to face him or my voice will be useless.

“Storms.” His reply is blunt.

“You wouldn’t know it by the sky.” I bring my gaze to a more pleasant sight.

“There’s one brewing out there. You’d feel it if you had my knees.” Staring gravely at the ocean, his body is rigid.

“Are you in pain?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.”

“Let’s hope the weather holds off until we’ve settled them.”

“Rain or shine, we’ve got our work cut out for us, Brook.”

“As always.” My stomach rises to my throat as I watch their approach. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to this way of life. Do I want to? Of course not. There are so many other things I’d rather be doing right now, like hopping onto that boat, and for starters, checking out the other side of this island.

Beyond the boat, a floating veil of mist rolls in like billows of steam from a tremendous boiling kettle. I am no longer able to see the large vessel from which the skiff was launched.

The atmosphere of the island is as such, inviting one moment, rejecting the next. Father calls it a gentle beast, with characteristics and charm like the women he has known. My glance shifts, falling upon the shoreline curve where a jetty, composed of rocks chiseled and stacked by nature, projects like the nose of a dolphin and the forest begins. This is as far as my eyes pan.

“Thank you for cutting your hair.” For a moment his eyes wash over me, then his gaze refocuses on the others who are struggling against the relentless current. “I know it pains you.”

“Don’t you mean shearing?” I huff. “I don’t understand why I can’t grow it long. I have awesome hair, or so I’ve been told.” I smirk.

He shoots me a phony glare. “You’ve been told, huh?  No cozying up to any of these girls. I don’t want another batch begging to stay.”

“I’m not a womanizer. Just good company.” I shrug.

“No nighttime jaunts to the lagoon, either. And I mean it this time.” Now his glare is authentic.

“Yeah, yeah. I know. Stay out of the lagoon. Out of the forest. Out of the lockers. Pretend to like my boring life.”

He almost looks sympathetic. “One of these days you’ll understand.”

“What? Why I can’t swim at night?”

“You’re impossible sometimes, and the reason I ask you to cut your hair is to set a good example.”

I let out a tired sigh. My hand runs over my smooth scalp, the shadow of bristles so short and sun-bleached, my reflection in a mirror looks hairless. If not for my deeply tanned skin, I would look anemic.

“Seems a waste. Six or more inches of attractive dark hair again and again swept into the trash.” My jaw sets as our discussion continues. “I like my hair long. It makes me feel …”

“Like a rock star?” He chuckles, scrubbing my head playfully. “In so many ways you remain such a child, yet you desire to be worldly. Do you admire them?”

“Not as you might be thinking.” My eyes lower, landing upon my anxious toes digging through a mound of sand.

I swing my gaze across the vast horizon which is now shaded with purples and blues, fantasizing about the places beyond. The order of the world not contained within this globe of existence called Defiance Island. I know the temperament of the waywards, but wonder what others are like. Are they beautiful? Intelligent? Kindhearted? Do they possess the nature that can make a man want to tear another to shreds?

About the Author

VictoriaJanuaryValentineJanuary Valentine is the pen name of Victoria Valentine, New York writer and indie book publisher. See Victoria’s Author page:

I chose to use a pen name because Love Dreams was originally going to be a red hot erotic story, and I wanted to separate Victoria, who writes contemporary fiction and children’s storybooks. Since my birth month is January, January Valentine seemed an appropriate pseudonym.

I also host a blogtalkradio show: Away With Words, every Wednesday evening at 7 PM EST where my co host Jill and I interview other writers and poets and discuss writing in general:

I just released my first paranormal romance, Beautiful Experiment, book one of Island of Defiance Trilogy. I’m so not good about talking about myself, but I’ll give it a shot.

I publish books for other authors through Water Forest Press, which I founded some years ago. In the past, I have written poetry and song lyrics, but now I focus on fiction. I’ve created multiple websites and blogs that I don’t have time to manage very well.

My desire to be in a rock band brought me into a recording studio … where my lyrics sprang to life with the help of a local alternative rock band. Together, we produced a CD.

I enjoy designing book covers and youtube videos. In summer, I enjoy hiking and swimming. I love all kinds of music. Watching horror flicks and Tyler Perry movies are my escape from reality.

I have an addiction to engraved pens that I buy to accompany each of my books. My office is filled with paperbacks and swag.

My sites and pages.

A bit about my books:

Love Dreams (Romantic Drama) is a story about a handicapped young man who secretly falls hopelessly (and helplessly) in love with a young woman who hides herself, and her past, beneath a grim but beautiful exterior. This gentle romance builds into a powerful “reality”.

Sweet Dreams is a novel about a serial killer who is on the loose, working his way up the east coast. Readers get a glimpse into the killer’s mind, as well as the hero’s.

Head Over Wheels, (New Adult Romance/Drama) focuses on Jewelia, whose lifelong dream of becoming part of the NYPD is derailed by hot medical student, Indigo.

Beautiful Experiment details above.

All book covers, videos, information and buy links can be found on my website:

I also have an online store:

Fresh Face Friday: Hippie Drum by Jnana Hodson

WaHoo!!  Friday is finally here.  You know that with Friday comes my review of a spotlighted author and book.  This week I am featuring Jnana Hodson and his book Hippie Drum.  This is a fictional account of a man attempting to find himself in varying circles and find the love of his life.  Be sure to check out the rest of my review after the book blurb.  I hope all of you out there have a wonderful weekend and get a chance to enjoy it anyway possible.

Book Blurb: (Courtesy of Goodreads)

18114937Long hair, marijuana, and draft resistance aren’t the only ways to identify a hippie. As DL learns when he accepts Nita’s invitation to lodge in a ramshackle farm shared by a dozen other free spirits, the Revolution of Peace and Love is a testing ground for youthful dreaming and promise. It runs, especially, through ongoing introductions and friendships.

Book Review:

Jnana Hodson’s Hippie Drum is an eclectic view on the hippie culture of the sixties.  This journey into being a hippie is taken by D.L.  D.L begins his journey after taking a job as a newspaper photographer and soon things fall into place when he gets set up on a farm recommended by his ex-girlfriend’s ex-roommate.  He meets a varied assortment of people those who range like him who have a job but still straddle the line into being a hippie, there are also people who get by as barters and finally those who you just didn’t know how they were getting by.  These three categories of people tend to surface and re-surface throughout the book.  You even see these people in the women that D.L attempts to have relationships.  As D.L pursues finding a soul mate along with finding himself you continue to root for him to find what he needs to be happy whether that is just his photography, his chanting or the arms of a loving woman.

This was a difficult book for me.  I was intrigued when I agreed to review it.  I am a big history buff and have even been to Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, but this book had me thinking I had ADD.  It was really difficult to focus on the characters.  Some would pop in and out so infrequently you didn’t even know if you’d heard of them.  Also, the story line was difficult to follow.  It took almost three-quarters of the book for me to realize what D.L was really looking for.  This book is written very much like stream of consciousness.  There were times that the sentence before and the current sentence didn’t make any sense together.  I truly got the counter-culture vibe but I really didn’t get that D.L was a true hippie in the sense that most people understand.  Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, but it was difficult to read and had difficulty holding my attention with all the diversions.

Author Bio: (Courtesy of

october-2010-download-223I am a Quaker, poet, and novelist who lives in a former seaport in New England. These entries reflect the journey that led here and the news of what’s emerging from my workbench and loft.

Born and raised in the Midwest, my career as a daily newspaper editor based me in Ohio, Indiana, upstate New York, Washington state, Iowa, Maryland, and finally New England – all while writing poetry and fiction in my free hours.

The name Jnana – a Sanskrit term for the spiritual path of intellect or discernment – was bestowed in 1972 to affirm my unique inner nature during a year-and-a-half residency of intense yoga study and practice in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania. In America, it is typically pronounced jah-na, sliding over the first n. In its fullest form, the name expanded by increments to Jnana-Devanandashram.

Over the ensuing relocations, my religious practice led me ever more deeply into the Society of Friends (Quaker), which, to my surprise, was the faith of my Hodson/Hodgin/Hodgson ancestors. I am now an active member of Dover Monthly Meeting in New Hampshire.

My published novels include Hippie Drum, Ashram, and Subway Hitchhikers in addition to several poetry chapbooks. More than a thousand of my poems, stories, and essays have appeared in journals on five continents.


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