Monday, 29 February 2016

Flocksdale Files by Carissa Ann Lynch

Have You Seen This Girl?

By the time I'd read the prologue, I was gripped by this tense and dark read that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was a well written and suspenseful story, that moved along at a good pace.

It was a book of two halves. In the first half, we follow a naive and young girl as she makes bad choices and is led astray by a friend. The second part of the book, as Wendi goes looking for revenge, is a tense thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing,
I liked that it was written in the first person, as it allowed more insight into Wedi's thoughts and actions.

Have You Seen This Girl? is the first in a series of books, but with the story being rounded off nicely by the epilogue, it works very well as a stand-alone.


Wendi Wise is a troubled young woman who snorts her breakfast through a straw and spends more time in rehab than in the real world…
Her life is seemingly out of control.
But now she has a plan.
That plan involves a sharp set of butcher knives.
She's going back to where all of her troubles began…
Wendi was lured away from a local skating rink, at the age of thirteen, and held captive in a place she calls 'The House of Horrors.' Dumped off blindfolded on the side of a dirt road, Wendi soon discovered that she was addicted to the drugs they fed her while she was captive.
Too scared to go home, and having a new habit to deal with, she hopped on a bus, vanishing from the family she loved.
Vanishing from Flocksdale…
The town of Flocksdale is littered with fliers with a grainy image of young Wendi, and the words 'Have You Seen This Girl?' written below.
Now, eight years later, she's on a mission—a mission to find the mysterious house from her youth and the monsters who dwell inside it.
“This is the end, beautiful friend, the end…”

House of the Lost Girls

Having read book one of the series, I did wonder how the author could move the story forward, but as book 2 is set 20 years later that wasn't a problem. The book was full of suspense, action, and surprises, which kept me turning the pages.

I could easily visualise the streets and buildings of Flocksdale, the same gloomy town that featured in book one.

Once again it is written in the first person which allows you to see things from Marianna's point of view and feel what she's feeling. As Marianna and her family move into the old creepy house of horrors, the evil that surrounds the inhabitants of Flocksdale rears it's ugly head once again.

I liked that Wendi, (the missing girl in book one) was reintroduced in this one and was there to help, when everyone Marianne thought she knew turned against her.


Is evil ever truly defeated—or is it just waiting for another chance?
Seventeen year old Marianna Bertagnoli is miserable…
Not only did her father abandon her five years ago, now she’s being uprooted and forced to move with her mother and new stepdad to a creepy Victorian house they inherited in the even creepier town of Flocksdale.
Flocksdale has an evil, ugly past—and history has a way of repeating itself…
Marianna notices some strange qualities about her new home, and soon realizes she’s living in none other than the infamous House of Horrors. That’s right, the very house where the demented Garrett family ran a drug ring, leading to the kidnappings and murders of forty young girls.
The dark energy of the town begins to rise again…
Within a week of moving in, Marianna’s mother disappears, one of her small group of new friends is found murdered, and she’s attacked by a man wearing a hideous clown mask. As she searches for answers, Marianna wonders if the malevolence still lingers, somehow alive…and how her stepdad came to own the House of Horrors.
Unsure who to trust, Marianna turns to Wendi Wise, a survivor of the Garretts’ crimes…
Caught up in twisted family ties and surrounded by deceit, Marianna is targeted by a new generation of evil. Doubly imprisoned—in her own body and in the real house of the lost girls—Marianna needs Wendi’s help to unravel the bizarre history of Flocksdale.
But will Marianna survive long enough to bring the evil to light…or will she be trapped in the house of the lost girls forever?

Carnival of Dead Girls

Although the three books in this series work as standalone stories I would advise reading them in order to get the best out of them, as details and some characters from the previous books are carried forward.

This, the third and final book in the series is as chilling and atmospheric as the other two. I liked the creepy carnival setting of this novel, that and the haunted house, added to the darkness of this book. I also enjoyed the fact that Wendi (books 1&2) & Marianna (book 2) are back to save the day.

My favourite book of the three was House of the Lost Girls, but they were all well-written and had me hooked.


Nothing interesting happens in the podunk town of Lamison Point—until a freak show rolls through…

When a traveling carnival stops in the sleepy countryside, sixteen-year-old Josie Crowley is psyched to go with her new friend, Freya. But what started out as a fun-filled night of games, candied apples, and ferris wheel rides quickly spirals into a gut-wrenching encounter with one of the carnival attractions.

Once the excitement is over, Lamison is missing one of its residents…

When Freya is nowhere to be found, Josie suspects the carnival has something to do with her disappearance. Her goal to track down the elusive show leads to an alarming revelation—there is no record of it ever existing. And as she digs deeper, Josie is led to a mysterious town with a tainted past—Flocksdale.

Buried in Flocksdale’s sick, twisted history is where Josie may find the truth…

Creepy clowns, disfigured freaks, and a terrifying haunted house are the least of Josie’s problems…now she has to deal with a group of real-life monsters, otherwise known as the evil Garrett family and new, rising generation of hell-bound freaks.

If Josie is pulled into their world, she may become another member of a carnival of dead girls, where she goes in, and never comes out…

The Author:

Besides my family, my greatest love in life is books. Reading them, writing them, holding them, smelling them…well, you get the idea. I’ve always loved to read, and some of my earliest childhood memories are me, tucked away in my room, lost in a good book. I received a five dollar allowance each week, and I always — always — spent it on books. My love affair with writing started early, but it mostly involved journaling and writing silly poems. Several years ago, I didn’t have a book to read so I decided on a whim to write my own story, something I’d like to read. It turned out to be harder than I thought, but from that point on I was hooked. My first and second books were This Is Not About Love and Grayson’s Ridge. I’m a total genre-hopper. Basically, I like to write what I like to read: a little bit of everything! I reside in Floyds Knobs, Indiana with my husband, three children, and massive collection of books. I have a degree in psychology and worked as a counselor.

**I won eCopies of House of the Lost Girls & Carnival of Dead Girls in giveaways.**

Beyond Redemption by Lady J

Released Today - 29 February 2016
Beyond Redemption is the second book in the Marked Series

What happens when malicious acts change your path in destiny?

Giddeon Cane has become blinded by his obsessive need to find the twisted monsters who've destroyed his life, and exact his wrath.
An unexpected and devastating revelation throws him back into his painful past.
Tormented by sins that can never be forgiven, he breaks down and comes face to face with an Angel.
Determined to pull Giddeon out of the darkness where he dwells, Eva fights to give him back his future, a future she desperately needs to be a part of.

Will Giddeon choose the revenge he's fought so long for?
Or will he choose the Angel who seeks to redeem him?

I grew up in Upstate NY, but my heart belongs in Arizona. If given the chance, I'd gladly trade in frost burn, for sun burn! I speak in movie quotes ALL the time. Seriously, it might be considered a sickness by now ;) I absolutely love the sound of others laughing. So I'll try to get you to do just that!
I love coffee, peanut butter cups, and OF COURSE reading!
I grew up causing all kinds of trouble with my twin sister/partner in crime.
My wild over-exaggerated story telling grew, along with my love for reading. With the support of my hubby and the encouragement of my womb mate, I put pen to paper, and let my imagination take over.
I am an author currently working on the release of my debut novel. Forever Marked is a romantic suspense, and the first book in a series. I enjoy reading all genres. Paranormal, thriller, romantic suspense, dystopian.... You name it!

~Lady J

Spotlight on Illusional Reality by Karina Kantas

Illusional Reality is a new adult romantic fantasy bought to you by Karina Kantas author of the popular MC thriller series, OUTLAWS


Nobody expects to stare death in the face only to find out your entire life is a lie. 

Rescued by Salco, marketing executive Becky finds herself in an unknown magical world filled with happy people that try to forget their land is on the brink of destruction.

Pre-order Illusional Reality on Amazon now.

Order now and you could win this super gift pack.
Open internationally.

Enter your order number in the comments of the pinned post on
Karina's Facebook Fan Page

A quick Q & A with Karina

Which, if any, of your personality traits did you write into your characters?

Well Thya is stubborn like me. Alkazar is loyal and I like to think of myself that way. The Tsinians are a peaceful race. They don't get into fights or arguments and they would never think to kill another. I don't like conflict and although I know I should stand up for myself sometimes, I don't bother. I'm one of those that walks away. Thya definitely wouldn't.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Thya of course. I love that she stands up for herself and won't allow the elders to bully her. But again, once she understands their plight, she doesn't hesitate to help them. She behaves and acts like I would if I was in her situation.

Karina Kantas is the author of the popular OUTLAW series.
Thrillers involving outlaw motorcycle clubs.

She also writes short stories and when her imagination is working over time, she writes thought provoking dark flash fiction.
There are many layers to Karina's writing style and talent. As you will see in her flash fiction collections. And in UNDRESSED she opens up more to her fans. Giving them another glimpse of her warped mind.
When Karina isn't busy working on her next best seller, she's designing teasers, book trailers, recording audio or videoing small readings and then working on Twitter and FB posts.

Karina writes in the genres of fantasy, romance, sci-fi, horror, thrillers and comedy.

Her inspirations are the author S.E.Hinton and the rock band Iron Maiden.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, where she loves hanging out with her readers.

You can also check out her YouTube channel and Amazon page.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Witches: Tea Party by Mark Taylor

Although this first book of a new series is only short, Mark Taylor packs an awful lot of story into it.

This dark and suspenseful story had me on tenterhooks, wondering whether Mary and the witches coven she joined, could achieve their goals.

Despite the darkness of the story, there were moments of lightness and humour.

The characters were well-developed, and I became quite attached to the witches. I hope it won't be too long before the next book is ready and I can catch up them again.

I was gifted an Ecopy of Witches: Tea Party from the publisher - no review required.


In Salem, 1692, Marie-Anne witnessed the death of her friend and confidant, Sarah Good. Charged with being a witch, Sarah goes to the gallows to protect Marie-Anne, a true witch.

Three hundred years later, Marie-Anne, under the name Mary Anson, vows to put things right.

With a new coven - Dina, Excalibur, and Lady - Mary puts in motion the steps to right what went wrong...and what followers is a chase across the country, a chase against time, pursued by monsters and darkness...

...will Mary put things right?

...or will she die trying?

The Author

Mark Taylor's debut novel crash landed on planet earth in 2013. Its dark brooding style benchmarked his writing and has led to further releases of novel and short story collection alike.

While most of Mark's work is macabre, occasion has it that he will write about kittens and daisies. Just not very often.

Some say he is a product of his environment, others, a product of his own imagination.

Spotlight on A Cry From The Deep by Diana Stevan


Catherine Fitzgerald, divorced and mother of one, thought she put her diving career behind her. Especially after a near death accident nine years before. But when an old friend calls and asks her to photograph the hunt for one of the lost ships of the Spanish Armada, she’s tempted to dive again. She would do anything to protect cultural artifacts and at the same time, expose Hennesey, a notorious salvager known for his dirty tricks.

What she doesn’t consider is that the deep off the coast of Ireland holds other mysteries—ones having to do with an antique Claddagh ring and a woman from another century who haunts her dreams. Mysteries that might have a connection to Catherine.

In trying to figure it all out, Catherine’s reason is tested, as is her ability to find love again. Will it be her ex, a psychiatrist in New York who still loves her or the appealing but unavailable marine archaeologist on the dive team? Or is she destined to be alone?

Set in Provence, Manhattan, and Ireland, this time-slip romantic adventure not only exposes two women's longings, but also the beauty of the deep, where buried treasures entice salvagers to break the law.

The Author:

Diana has had an eclectic work history, She’s worked as a family therapist, clinical social worker, teacher, professional model, actress and a sports writer-broadcaster for CBC television. Writing has been her passion, even though it was relegated to the back seat while her children were young. She’s published fitness and travel articles for newspapers, poetry in the U.K. journal, DREAMCATCHER and a short story in ESCAPE, an anthology published by Peregrin. A CRY FROM THE DEEP is her debut novel. Her second novel, THE RUBBER FENCE will be available on March 3rd, 2016. She now lives with her husband on Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Artemis Ravenwing Series by Melanie Rodriguez

Child of Blackwen

An amazing and intriguing start to a new series.

Melanie's descriptive writing pulled me into the wonderful world of Arrygn and dropped me in amongst the action. Arrygn is a fascinating place, with elves, vampires, witches, mages and much more.

The characters are dimensional and likeable, and I felt like I had made some new friends in Artemis, Jack and Shadow, to name just a few.

The book was well-written, kept up a good pace throughout and the ending had me heading straight into book two.


The epic fantasy novel Child of Blackwen is a coming-of-age adventure story about the young dhampir Artemis in the mystical world of Arrygn.

Born of a human and a vampire, Artemis was raised among the elves of Ellewynth by her mother’s friends Shadow, an elven soldier, and Talisa, a witch. An outcast in elven society, Artemis is protected by the Elders of the Woodland Realm because her mother, the vampire Tamina Ravenwing, once served them. As Artemis struggles to overcome prejudice, she must also learn to control her innate thirst for blood. Her efforts are made all the more difficult when Shadow and Talisa are called to serve in the eight-year-long war against the dragons.

Just after they return, Artemis begins dreaming her mother’s memories, only to discover that her guardians are plagued with the same dreams. This, along with the mysterious murders in the Woodland Realm, leads Artemis to learn the shocking truth about her mother’s death: the unsavory woman in the dreams is none other than Tamina’s younger sister, Arlina.

Artemis poses a threat to the madwoman Arlina, usurper of the throne of Blackwen City—and the vampire will stop at nothing to eliminate the threat.

Mistress of Blackwen

The second book in the Artemis Ravenwing series picks up where the first book finished and I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first.

All my friends from part one of the story were back and their characters continued to develop as we resumed the adventurous journey to Blackwen City, begun in the previous book, and struggled against the threats posed by enemies old and new.

I am looking forward to, and will definitely be reading, the next installment of this series.


Artemis Ravenwing, a dhampir and rightful heir to the throne of Blackwen City, struggles to accept her dark heritage as she plots to confront Arlina—a blood relative who murdered Artemis' mother to usurp the title of Mistress of Blackwen.

Along with friends like Shadow, an elf and former soldier of Ellewynth, and Talisa, a witch and longtime vassal of the water goddess of Arrygn, Artemis heads to Westyron—a human-run city with a deep hatred of those outside their own race. But lying in wait for Artemis’ arrival is Arlina herself…as well as Gavin, the former human who fathered Artemis.

Lurking in the shadows behind it all is the specter of Tamina, Artemis’ full-blood mother. Keenly aware of the connection she has to her old pair of dragon-jeweled sai, she has a revenge-fueled agenda of her own for the power struggle taking place. But who will prevail?

A rich coming-of-age tale, the second installment of the Artemis Ravenwing series beautifully explores the strength of friendship and the dangers of revenge.

The Author:

Melanie Rodriguez holds a BA in creative writing from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont. She says she's been compelled to write stories dictated by the voices she's heard inside her head since she was a child, citing the story line of her debut book Child of Blackwen: An Artemis Ravenwing Novel as one of the main reasons she majored in creative writing. It's an epic work of high fantasy narrating the coming-of-age story of a young half-vampire, half-human creature known as a dhampir. A former New Yorker, Rodriguez is an avid reader and sports fan who now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her overly excitable shepsky (a shepherd-husky mix), Shadow.

Five High School Dialogues by Ian Thomas Malone

The Book

Title: Five High School Dialogues
Available: February 26th, 2016
Author: Ian Thomas Malone
Genre: Philosophical Fiction


High School, a rite of passage for all American teenagers, can be a daunting experience. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little help along the way? George Tecce, known as The Chief, takes a hiatus from his collegiate adventures to help students navigate through the often daunting labyrinth with his signature oft-kilter enlightening comedy. No topic is off limits as The Chief breaks down high school for students and parents discussing such topics as bullying, prom, and the dreaded group project. Refreshingly unique and accessible, Five High School Dialogues is the perfect all-inclusive guide to high school.


Amber, a sophomore from George’s English class, comes to the Chief to ask for an extension on her essay. George notices her reserved demeanor and asks why she needs an extension. After a brief explanation, George deduces that Amber was unable to do her work over the weekend because she was hungover. The two have a conversation on the risks associated with underage drinking and its effect on one’s work.

Chief: Why don’t you tell me why you need this extension and then I can maybe turn that maybe into the answer you desire?

Amber: Well, it’s due on Wednesday so I figured I’d ask today since I didn’t think you would be too forgiving if I asked you the day before.

Chief: A smart assumption. Why don’t you tell me why you need this extension?

Amber: Well, I have basketball practice for two hours tonight and there’s a game tomorrow. It’s an away game so I won’t get back until pretty late. Plus I have a math test tomorrow that I’m behind on. I guess I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Chief: Naturally. That sounds quite overwhelming.

Amber: It is. I usually manage. I’m not that great at basketball, but it’s fun and I really like the team.

Chief: I just have one question. Today is Monday, which means you had the whole weekend to prepare for this stuff. I assume the away game wasn’t a spur of the moment type of event?

Amber: Nope. It’s been on the schedule all season.

Chief: A test and essay is rough, especially when you’ve probably got other homework to take care of as well.

Amber: Yeah, there’s also science and history. I wasn’t expecting those to be much of a burden, but we got assigned a lot of work today. I’ve moved a little bit of it around, but there’s just so much of it that I wanted to see if I could have an extra day or two to get it all under control.

Chief: It’s good of you to come and ask for help when you need it. Plenty of other people would have just done a poor job and not gone through the effort to talk to the teacher.

Amber: My grades are important to me. I know I’m only a sophomore, but I’ve heard that colleges like to see consistency and I want them to see that I’ve been a good student all four years.

Chief: Very true. You seem to have a good attitude. Can I ask what you were up to yesterday?

Amber: Yesterday?

Chief: Yes, also known as Sunday. Did you have practice?

Amber: No, we usually have Sundays off.

Chief: Did you do any work yesterday?

Amber: I tried to.

Chief: Did Netflix get in the way?

Amber: Not quite. I wasn’t really feeling well at all. My head was killing me.

Chief: Were you sick on Saturday?

Amber: No.

Chief: You don’t seem sick today either.

Amber: No, I feel better. Must have been one of those twenty-four hour bugs or something like that.

Chief: Headaches aren’t usually the primary symptom of twenty-four hour bugs. Unless this was caused by something else.

Amber: Something else?

Chief: When I was in college, I knew quite a few people who had these mysterious illnesses on Sundays. You know what tended to cause it?

Amber: Partying?

Chief: More specifically?

Amber: Alcohol?

Chief: Right.

The Author

Ian Thomas Malone is an author and a yogi from Greenwich, CT. He is a graduate of Boston College, where he founded The Rock at Boston College. He is the grandson of noted Sherlockian scholar Colonel John Linsenmeyer. Ian has published thousands of articles on diverse subjects such as popular culture, baseball, and social commentary. His favorite things to post on social media are pictures of his golden retriever Georgie and his collection of stuffed animals.

Ian believes firmly that “there’s more to life than books you know, but not much more,” a quote from his hero Morrissey. When he’s not reading, writing, or teaching yoga, he can probably be found in a pool playing water polo. He aspires to move to the Hundred Acre Wood someday, though he hopes it has wi-fi by then.

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Call to Search Everywhen by Chess Desalls

The Call to Search Everywhen blog tour and launch party!

We're celebrating the release of Time for the Lost and the box set of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen, with a blog tour and a Facebook party!
Join the party for bookish games and giveaways. Keep reading for an excerpt from the latest book in the series, Time for the Lost.

Read Calla and Valcas' full story in this collection of the first three books in The Call to Search Everywhen! More than 600 pages of YA time travel adventure inside the following full-length novels:

In TRAVEL GLASSES, Calla Winston falls into a world of worlds after meeting Valcas, a time traveler who traverses time and space with a pair of altered sunglasses. He offers his further protection in exchange for a promise. After learning that his search for her was no mere coincidence, she tracks down the inventor of the Travel Glasses in hopes of discovering more about Valcas' past and motivations. With Valcas hot on her trail, Calla hopes to find what she's looking for before he catches up.

In INSIGHT KINDLING, Calla faces charges against her for changing the past. Despite the risk of becoming lost, she accepts a dangerous travel mission that may help her find her father. She teams up with a group of talented travelers and discovers that she has a special travel talent of her own. But will that be enough to protect her and her teammates before they complete their mission?

TIME FOR THE LOST completes the story line of the first three books in the series. The travel team reunites for a mission they never saw coming: a journey to a world caught between life and death, and hidden within the deepest recesses of time. Ivory rediscovers a friend and Ray learns the meaning behind his tattoo. But the connections they make between travelers and the lost may twist the core of the Time and Space Travel Agency inside out.

Get the series for KindleNook, and iBooks.

Excerpt from Time for the Lost

Carefully, I climbed the clock, placing my feet on the times of other worlds, in order to see more along the top. Fragile materials supported my weight as if I weighed nothing—were nothing—but a breath of air in time and space. I climbed on, grabbing timepieces with my hands and pulling myself upward along the tower.

The skin on the back of my neck prickled when I reached the topmost third of the tower. An hourglass sat perched on the tower’s tapered tip, like a golden star crowning one of Earth’s Christmas trees. The top half of the glass was mostly full. Both halves rested on a crescent moon-shaped base. The hourglass hung balanced, lightly swinging back and forth, ready to flip over when empty.

I made my way back down the tower, wondering whether time ever ends, whether it could be eternal—how a system of worlds with World Builders could possibly have an end. My brain ached as I tried to make sense of it all, wondering where to begin searching for Calla.

My attention turned to something bright and painful: a miniature White Tower, representing the world my parents created, the timeline of which reset when I was born.

The White Tower replica had no clock hands. There were no digital measures of time, no sand trickling from the top of a glass. But I knew how the time was recorded and what time it was at the tower, based on the brightness of its glow. Like the sky which backlit the clock tower, the White Tower was a dazzling white. From what I’d learned as a child, the more brightly it glowed, the later its time and the closer to its end.

I tightened my grip and groaned. “Why does every search lead back to the White Tower? Have I traveled here to the Clock Tower only to be faced with it again?” I descended a few more steps toward the base of the tower. “Is there no way to escape the past—to leave it behind me?”

“You don’t appear to be biding time, friend.”

I nearly fell from the tower. I glanced beneath me to see who’d spoken.

The man who looked up at me was thin, with a nose as straight and long as his gangly limbs. He regarded me with eyes of purple ice. His hair, white like snow, was bound in a loose tail. Friend indeed.

I exhaled, relieved. Everything about him radiated Aborealian descent.

I jumped the last few feet from the Clock Tower and signaled to him, the way I would have greeted anyone in my mother’s home country, Aboreal.

His amethyst eyes met mine as he drew his lip into a thin line. He signaled back, and then frowned. “I disclaimed Aboreal long ago, but I respect the gesture.”

“You’re from my mother’s homeland,” I said. “I just wanted to be sure.”

The former Aborealian nodded and held out his hand.

“Valcas Hall,” I said, clasping it.

He grinned. “You can call me Nick.”

I squinted. Aborealians had no last names, so I hadn’t expected one. Aborealian citizens were simply individuals of Aboreal. But the man’s first name didn’t fit the metric. Nick didn’t have the same significance to it as Ivory and Sable, shades of white and black. He should have had a name that reflected his wintry hair. Nick meant nothing in Aborealian.

I opened my mouth to say something.

“I’ve renamed,” he said. “When I denounced Aboreal, I changed my first name and adopted a surname of sorts.”

“Which is?”

“Time,” he said. “I’m now Nick, no longer of Aboreal, but of Time.”

Nick of Time. Was this guy serious? If he noticed my cringe at the horrible pun, he didn’t show it.

“What brings you to this part of the worlds, friend?”

“A search.” I looked around, disturbed. “How did you get here?”

“I’m the keeper of the Clock Tower. Welcome to my home.”


Chess Desalls is the author of the YA time travel series, The Call to Search Everywhen. She's a longtime reader of fantasy and sci-fi novels, particularly classics and young adult fiction. Her nonfiction writing has led to academic and industry publications. She’s also a contributing editor for her local writing club’s monthly newsletter. The California Writers Club, South Bay branch, has awarded two of Chess’ stories first place for best short fiction. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys traveling and trying to stay in tune on her flute.

Connect with Chess on: Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest


Sincere apologies to everyone who expected to find a post containing their books, here on my blog, over the past week.

I lost my internet last Friday and have just got back online.

The following books should have been featured!

On the plus side... I did read a few good books.
Watch this space for some new book reviews.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Forest Park by Valerie Davisson

The LOGAN series continues ...

Critical choices made in the drama and chaos of the last days of the Vietnam War reach across the Pacific to modern-day Portland, Oregon, threatening to destroy the lives of those who managed to cheat death in 1975. When a violent explosion takes a woman’s life just steps away from Logan McKenna’s downtown hotel, the police suspect all the wrong people, including a homeless vet and two of Logan’s new friends; but are any of them completely innocent?

While unraveling the tangle of half-truths and secrets to help her friends, Logan’s personal life suffers an explosion of its own. Each character must decide not only whom to trust, but at what cost.

In addition to writing a great story, in FOREST PARK: Logan Book 2, Davisson skillfully deals with tough questions about our attitude toward refugees, immigration, the homeless, and our military vets. Through the eyes of her original and complex characters, she invites us to explore the true nature of hope, redemption, family, character, and love.

... available as paperback and eBook Feb 18, 2016
For review copies, interviews, book giveaways etc... please email:

Excerpt #1
Friday, February 7, 2014
Valentine’s Day loomed.
It’s not that she wasn’t a romantic, but Logan hoped Ben
hadn’t planned anything. He’d been hinting, but she wasn’t
there yet. They weren’t there yet. Were they? It had only been a few
months. A great few months, but . . . she counted backward on her
fingers . . . six months. Was that a long time? She had no idea what
was considered long these days. Widowed for almost three years,
with a twenty-three-year old daughter, she’d been out of the dating
pool a long time.
Apparently, six months was a deadline of sorts.
“It’s time to seal the deal, girl,” Bonnie said.
— 2 —
Ben was great, a solid guy. And she really liked him. They’d
spent a lot of time together over the summer, and so far he passed
all the tests: played well with others, a hard worker, and he cooked,
a definite plus. In addition to all those virtues, he’d been patient in
the sex department, a rare attribute among Orange County males.
How well should she know him before she sealed the deal, as
Bonnie so bluntly put it?
Things were so different now. With Jack, she’d waited for the
ring. That’s what you did. She didn’t need a ring. She could take
care of herself. It wasn’t that.
She didn’t want to sleep with Ben until she was sure what
was developing between them was real. At times, Ben seemed
too good to be true. He’d given her no reason to doubt him, but
subconsciously she kept looking for flaws.
After all, she thought Jack was great when they married, and
he turned out to be not only unfaithful, but adept at lying about
it. Sure, she was older and wiser, but what if Ben showed his true
colors one day . . . she did not want to go through that pain again.

The Author

Born in the county hospital in French Camp, California, Valerie‘s childhood started out normally. Her father was becoming a CPA, her mother, a stay-at-home Mom. But within a few short years, the family, her mother 7-months pregnant, boarded a plane to Munich, Germany. They embarked on what was to become a life of travel, eventually living in Germany, Japan, Italy, and both coasts of America. It was the perfect childhood for an imaginative, curious, little girl.

Anticipating every new house, apartment and back yard, she always expected to find secret compartments or hidden passageways. The creek behind her home in Virginia led to many excursions rife with water moccasins and painted turtles, including one particularly dangerous encounter raiding the neighborhood boys’ tree house. The clearly marked “NO GIRLS ALLOWED!” seemed like an open invitation to her 12-year-old self.

A self-admitted book addict, Valerie was the kid with the flashlight under her pillow, reading in bed long after lights out. Her exposure to different cultures led to a pervasive interest in people, with degrees & teaching credentials in Cultural Anthropology & English.

Excerpt #2
Thursday, February 13, 2014
3:05 p.m.
Alaska Flight 421, nonstop, departing SNA at 8:34 a.m.,
arriving Portland at 10:49 a.m. . . . no bags . . . aisle
seat . . .”
Logan scanned the boarding pass she’d just printed,
making sure everything was correct. It was, so she detached the
advertisements, threw them away, and folded the pass into a flat
cross-body wallet on a thin strap made of some mystery material
that couldn’t be cut easily by slash-and-grab muggers. For easy
access at the security gate, it held her boarding pass and driver’s
license in the front pocket, money, lip gloss, credit card, and a small
folding brush in the larger space in back. Completely stuffed, the
whole thing didn’t weigh more than a few ounces. And she always
— 17 —
left room for a couple of caramels or dark-chocolate-covered
almonds, her snacks of choice.
Tucking it into a large messenger bag for now—she wasn’t
leaving until tomorrow morning—with the rest of the papers she
was taking and her new MacBook Air, she took one last glance
around the office. She wouldn’t be back for two weeks and realized
how much she’d grown to love her new digs.
The upstairs office space rose above the former garage, keeping
the same proportions—basically a taller rectangle. From the
outside, it wasn’t very impressive, but it met her needs. Stairs led
up from what was now the studio to the twelve-by-nineteenfoot
space. The wall you faced when you came up ran more or
less parallel to the hill at the back of her property. Since the view
in that direction was largely dirt and scrub brush and the large
window on the west-facing wall to the right brought in plenty of
light, there were no windows that looked out on that wall. Only
small ventilation windows ran across the top, near the ceiling. In
order to utilize every inch of space, Taylor and Ben put in a sturdy
floating wooden shelf desk about twenty inches deep that served as
a space to lay out works in progress. Ned and Sally commandeered
it as an ersatz desk and painted it bright red and mango yellow
with metallic gold triangles along the edge when they came in.
Somehow it worked.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Demon’s Grave by E.M. MacCallum

Title: The Demon’s Grave
Author: E.M. MacCallum
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy

When strange shadows and messages plague Nora's daily life she fears for her sanity. To escape questions from her family, Nora joins her friends on a weekend getaway. Despite not liking Aidan Birket, Nora finds his remote, Victorian house charming. Until they discover the marble doorway on the third floor and, against Nora's better judgment, they open it.

Trespassing into an unfamiliar world called the Demon's Grave, the group face a charismatic demon and six nightmarish Challenges as punishment. Those that make it to the end can go home, but those that don't will be his forever. Friendships are tested, secrets revealed and sacrifices will be made.

Nora battles zombies, doppelgängers, eyeless bikers, and the demon—whose interests are more than just a game of cat and mouse. If it's all in her head, then it should be easy. But, if not, it means the demon knows about her sticky past, and the death of her twin sister.

Excerpt #1 (Chapter One)

"Good idea," Phoebe said and changed the subject. "We should ask Aidan to come."

"Uh, no."

"He's cute."

"He's creepy."

Phoebe rolled her dark green eyes. "You're irrational."

"And you're pushy." I looked up at her and flashed teeth in a satisfied grin.

Phoebe sighed. "Touché. So, meet at lunch tomorrow and we'll figure it out? And, just so you know, Aidan's coming. Read's already asked him."

I faltered in my step. "Read is an asshole."

Phoebe grinned. "Told'ja. And we might not have to look for a place to camp."

Adjusting my backpack on my shoulder I started to slow as we reached my locker. I noticed Phoebe didn't carry anything with her. She rarely left the school with more than a few books at a time. "What do you mean? Did Robin get angry about Whitefish Lake again?"

Phoebe snorted. "Yes, but that's not it. Aidan says he has the perfect place."

Aidan Birket was coming. Something about that made my stomach drop. I never really liked Aidan and not knowing why was doubly frustrating. He wasn't mean, cruel, annoying, or any quality I can list that would stretch my dislike beyond instinct. There was something about him that was just off.

"What perfect place?" I asked, hearing the edge. I focused on the locker door instead of Phoebe.

"Wouldn't say. I guess we find out tomorrow." Phoebe leaned against the locker next to mine and stretched her arms over her head. Her olive tanned stomach was toned to perfection. I suppose wanting to get into physical education had benefits.

"You do that to make people jealous?" I asked and tugged down her white t-shirt. "You'll stop traffic."

Already there was an anonymous whistle from the crowd.

Grinning, Phoebe lowered her arms and jutted her chin at me. "What's that?"

To my horror, she was looking at my fist. A bit of paper poked out.

So much for a temporary distraction. "Nothing."

Dismal is the Demon's Grave. It didn't even make sense. Maybe it was someone with really similar handwriting and it somehow got stuck in my book.

Unless it wasn't my book. Students scattered their stuff across the library tables like they were prepping a picnic. Marly from my media class had been across from me this afternoon.

Dropping the backpack off my shoulder, it fell with a thud against the linoleum.

"You okay, Fuller?" Phoebe quirked a thin, yellow brow.

"Yeah, yeah," I muttered and pulled the Writing for the Media book free.

"Are you missing something?"

Flipping the book open I saw my name scrawled at the top.

My shoulders slumped and hope whistled by. It must have been a prank. There was no point wasting time thinking about a stupid note with finals in a few weeks.

"Hey look." Phoebe's swan-like neck stretched. "It's your book, imagine that," she said flatly.

Part of me wanted to tell her what I'd found but if she mentioned any of it to my family I'd be wheeled off to the sanitarium. I wish that were a joke.

Until I could explain the note, I'd have to hide it.

Slipping the note in my jeans pocket I started stuffing the locker with books I didn't need. Slamming it shut I met Phoebe's eyes. "It's nothing," I said, hearing the darkness in my own voice. "You should go save Robin instead."

Looking past Phoebe I could see the petite former cheerleader arguing with a handsome, blonde guy from the football team. Phoebe had pointed him out once or twice. If someone was into sports, leave it to Phoebe to know who they were.

"That's weird," Phoebe said slowly, eyes narrowing.

I took advantage of Phoebe's distraction and slammed my locker shut. "I'll see you tomorrow!" Before she could speak, I bolted into the streaming crowd.

As much as I adored Phoebe, she'd never understand the note or my family.

Author Bio

E.M. loves long walks through bookstores, Disney, horror movies/books, anything supernatural, and researching random facts. She lives by a lake out in the Canadian wilderness with internet access, her husband, and a rag-tag band of pets.
"The Demon's Grave" trilogy came out mid-2015
"Zombie-Killer Bill" novella will be re-released 2015
If you'd like to know more, please visit:

Excerpt #2 (CH 20) - Faceless

“Aidan,” I insisted in a whisper.

A few car lengths north of the Chevy a stereo crackled to life. An echoing voice sang followed by a choir of voices that doo de doo’ed in the background. The slow song sounded like something from the 1950's.

Read and I exchanged a curious glance as the echoing main voice mentioned a game. Read pulled his hand from mine and we both wiped our slick palms on our jeans.

“What is it?” I asked Aidan. “What should we be looking for?”

He didn’t answer, his eyes kept wandering to the cars then down the street and to the motorbikes.

Read’s shoulders sagged, exasperated. He looked ready to say something when the roar of an engine smothered the music as well as my yelp. It stopped Read cold.

Aidan jumped and grabbed my arm as if I were the one to save him.

Craning my neck to see if there was a single vehicle taking up the roadway, I saw none. It had been so loud I couldn’t pinpoint the direction it came from.

The music began to take over the street once more, a new song erupting from the crackling speakers.

Between shallow breaths, Aidan said, “come on.”

Before Read or I could question him, Aidan stood up and started in long, purposeful strides, the kind that was harder to stop.

Read nudged me to move, or rather shoved me. Panicked, we hurried to Aidan. Looking to him, our pace quickened to keep up. Aidan stared straight ahead. His lean figure was rigid, but he hadn’t slowed.

Keeping close to the buildings, we passed the occupied car playing music. I could see three teenage boys inside. The muffled vintage music carried through the window.

I felt the scream choke in my throat as we passed. The passengers didn’t have eyes.

Their shapeless pale faces lacked not only the eyes but also mouths. The skin where lips should be had stretched horizontally, sealing any opening. The only portion of their faces that was noticeable was the lump of their nose—without nostrils. Even their hair was all the same color, styled the same, with a part in the middle, and they wore the same collared shirt and slacks.

I thought to myself, It’s just a few of the faceless, nameless people of this city, like any other...right? Maybe the demon had a sense of sick, very sick, humor.

I could hear, the eerie chorus of voices within the car, making it all the more surreal.

The three boys in the car watched us pass, as is if they could see. They turned their heads as we hurried along and I found myself staring back for as long as I could.

Enter the giveaway to win an eBook copy and $10 Amazon gift card.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Deathly Magic by A.L. Kessler


Title- Deathly Magic

Author- A.L. Kessler

Release Date- 2-15-2016


0000Zombies... When Abigail Collins heard Nick’s theory on their current case, she knew he had to be crazy, but when a zombie shows up in her apartment she has no choice but to believe him. A renegade necromancer bent on manipulating witches and murdering innocent people runs amok in town and Abby and Nick have to stop them before more bodies pile up. Further complicating matters two PIB agents step onto the scene, claiming a link between their case and Abby’s. To top it all off, blood starved vampires are causing chaos in the city. It’s just another day for PIB Agent Abigail Collins, full of blood, monsters, and explosions.

A woman in a dress dress walks through the foggy forest.


I heard Nick's voice. I turned to find him standing behind me, also drenched from the rain. "Yeah, what are you doing here? I thought you lived on the other end of town?"
"I was out and realized I needed to grab something before heading home." He shrugged. "What about you?"
I took the hood of my jacket off. "Apparently I'm taking care of a lost cat until I can find the owner."
His eyes widened. "A cat?"
"Yes, a Sphinx. You know, a naked one."
His eyes got bigger and I laughed. "He was outside in the rain, I wasn't going to leave him there."
"Maybe he's your familiar." He said, "But just be cautious."
I raised a brow. "He's safe and means no harm."
"How do you know that?"
"Because I made sure to put up a protection spell on my house last year after the Cult waltzed right in, oh and after Michelle waltzed in too. I decided it was the best type of defense."
He pressed his lips together and gave me a disapproving gaze. "You never told me the Cult paid you a personal visit."
Aw crap, I'd screwed up. "It doesn't matter. It wasn't any of your business anyways. The point is that they backed off."
"You're just a magnet for trouble, Abigail."
We walked further into the store and I had no idea why he was staying next to me, but I let it go. "Don't I know it?" I laughed. "You've gotten the mild end of it. Just wait, if Boss Man makes you shadow me much longer you could start to see the really weird shit."
"For our sake, I hope we only have to partner until the end of this case. Because it's only a matter of time until your bad luck starts to rub off on me."
A shriek came through the nearly empty store. Nick and I both cursed and headed towards the sound. People were running the other direction, one screamed 'vampire' as they passed us.
Well, crap. Nick and I drew our guns and continued to where the people were running from. Sure enough, a vampire stood there with his lips sealed to the woman's neck. His red gaze flickered to me.
"He's blood starved." I told Nick and we both moved closer. We took aim. "Let the woman go." I didn't have to technically warn the vampire, but I wanted to give him a chance. Reasoning with a blood starved vampire was kind of like reasoning with a toddler, they may not realize what they are doing is wrong and need to be told to stop.
He ignored me and went back to the woman. His blond hair fell in front of his eyes and he started to turn. I didn't hesitate. I shot his leg. I couldn't shoot him in the head without risking the woman, so the leg was going to have to do.
He snarled and threw the lady away. Nick went to her without me having to prompt him. The vampire turned his gaze to me and rushed me. The problem with vampires was that they moved fast. Inhumanly so. I took two more shots in hopes of slowing him down, but I ended up pinned to the floor.
He bared his fangs at me. I didn't have any desire to be a meal. I brought my hand up and slammed the butt of my gun into his temple. He reared back and I scurried away and shot the moment I could. Blood and vampire brains exploded all over the floor and me. The body fell and I wiped the blood off my face and stood. "What the fuck."
"Don't put your gun away Abby." Nick called. "Two more!"
Seriously, two more? What the hell was going on tonight? Buy two get one free on blood-starved vampires?



A.L. Kessler is the author of Dark War Chronicles and Here Witchy Witchy Series. She dabbles in paranormal romance, steampunk and urban fantasy. Since she was a teenager she's loved weaving stories and spinning tales. When she's not at the beck-and-call of the Lord and Lady of the House, three black cats by the names of Jynx, Jiji and Sophie, training a playful puppy named Zelda, playing with her daughter, or killing creepers and mining all the things with her husband, she's either reading, participating in NaNoWriMo, or writing in her Blog Writing Rambles. For those who like things on the more spicy side, she leads a double life as Alexandra Webb.


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Monday, 15 February 2016

An Interview with Phillip T. Stephens

Today, I'd like to welcome Phillip T. Stephens to Just Books. Phillip has taken some time out of his busy schedule to join me for an interview.

Phillip, would you like to start by telling us when and how your journey as a writer began?
I experimented with writing Laugh In scripts and a cassette tape recorder in elementary school, but I couldn’t get any of my friends to record the other parts. My only writing that received any validation was a three page parody of Miles Standish for a middle school project. My teacher laughed so hard I finished the entire story but I couldn’t sustain the magic.
My freshman year in high school my English teacher couldn’t explain why she wasn’t arbitrarily assigning meaning to the symbols in our symbols lesson. With no knowledge of Gertrude Stein, I asked why a rose simply couldn’t be a rose, to which she assured me I simply was wrong. I wrote my oral book report on the symbolism in The Cat in the Hat. The class was in stitches, but she gave me an F which I wore like hooker wears her Scarlett A. She was also the creative writing teacher and determined to prove I would never be a good writer.
In spite of her, I wrote an 80 page “novel” in high school, a real novel in college and my second novel in grad school (neither on the schedule for publication). Then, for reasons I won’t get into, my life went to shit, I became a community activist and supported myself by teaching, editing and proofreading jobs instead of writing. I wrote three of four more novels in my spare time (which are lying around somewhere).
While I was an adjunct at Austin Community College, I was offered the best job in the world. I continued to teach college writing at night, but I taught writing and multimedia to at-risk kids for a Charter school during the day. The kids were fun and the programs we built together won awards and lots of grant money, but the management at the Charter school made waterboarding feel like wish fulfillment. Dealing with management inspired the novel Raising Hell.
Twelve years and ten drafts later, I published it.

That's quite a journey.
What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?
There’s nothing easy about being a writer. You have to make yourself sit at the keyboard and write even when your brain took a vacation and your body wants to play. You read constantly to master other writers’ techniques. The best writers listen to music, study art and watch film to learn how what makes this work successful where others fail. Yes, you can enjoy art but you enjoy it with a sense of professionalism. How can this make my art better? What can it teach me?
Writing involves developing an ear for nuance, dialog, rhythm. And a good story or poem involves multiple drafts, constant editing, throwing out lines you love because they interfere with the flow.
Then you have to market your work, which consumes far more time than writing (and which I have yet to figure out). You have to follow blogs, Twitter feeds, social media, keep on top of advice that may or may not pay off, and hope the iron strikes while it’s hot.

It does sound like a lot of hard work.
You said earlier that "Dealing with management inspired the novel Raising Hell", would you like to expand on that?
The worst bosses in the world. The catalyst was the charter school I worked for, but I’ve worked for a number of martinets who hired managers with terrible people skills. During an eight year period I gained a hundred pounds and went on anti-depressants even though the people I worked with were wonderful.

So did you start with an outline or just go with the flow, and see where the story took you?
Raising Hell developed organically. One scene grew out of another, and some scenes doubled back on another. I wrote Cigerets from an outline. I frequently work from outlines, although I don’t adhere to them.

Having read Raising Hell, I have to know how you came up with the names for all the different parts of hell?
I’ve always been a fan of improv comedy and poetry. As I needed a new punishment I would just riff the name until I had something I was happy with. The beauty of editing is that if it isn’t perfect, you can always go back and tweak it.

And which, if any, of your personality traits did you write into your characters?
Believe it or not, there is nothing autobiographical in Raising Hell. It would be nice to think of me as an extension of Lucifer or Pilgrim, but I’m neither of those guys. Once I sat down to write the novel I went for the comic book effect. If anyone, I’m Mephistopheles, the wise guy egging the players on. The most important thing to me was to make sure the book wasn’t a one-trick-pony repeating the Pilgrim-outwits-Lucifer motif in every scene like an endless Road Runner marathon.
So I had to craft characters for comic effect and to set up plots to accelerate a story line that would move the story forward.

What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?
It’s tough to decide, but I’ve always loved the Lenny Bruce stand-up routine. I had a lot of fun writing that. I modeled it on a film I saw of him in college, performing in the sixties just before his legal problems. But I have mp3s of a lot of his routines.

If Raising Hell was made into a movie, who would you cast as Lucifer? And The Pilgrim?
I think it would do better as an animation than a live action movie, but Russell Brand would make a good Lucifer or even Ricky Gervais. I can’t think any American comics with the range. Larry David might pull it off.
I pitched a script to Amazon and they passed, but I realized the only way to pull Pilgrim off was to reduce him to a Happy Face doll like the melting happy face on the cover. So a muppet or CGI Pilgrim with Amy Schumer or Matt Smith might work for Pilgrim.
Bottom line, they can cast who they want as long as Karen Gillan plays Mephistopheles.

An animation would be awesome, Phillip. I would love to see that!
Both Raising Hell and Cigerets, Guns & Beer are both darkly humorous, is this humour also present in your other books?
I can’t say that every book I ever write will be funny, but, yes, humor drives my narrative persona. Even my current novel, Seeing Jesus, is driven by humor.

How many books have you written?
I have four novels, with the extended edition for adults of the fourth coming out this spring, one volume of poetry and I collaborated with a group of poets to create a collective volume of another called Feeding the Crows.
The poetry publisher Susan Bright of the Plain View Press has since passed away, so the poetry is out of print, although I am working to bring my poetry book back out under my own imprint.

Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?
I published a young adult novel called Seeing Jesus just before Christmas, but I originally intended it as a novel for adults along the vein of Gaarder’s Sophie’s World. I was interested in the way people construct their belief systems and how they use them to justify selfish, bullying and abusive behavior.
Too many books that discuss spiritual and philosophical beliefs try to lead readers through the teachings of different thinkers and expose them to their ideas. I wanted to explore the kernels of thought, the metaphors, that drive the beliefs themselves. So I paired a young girl, Sara Love, who is forced by her parents to move from Austin to a small town where she meets a mysterious homeless man no one else seems to see.
He teaches her how to cope with bullying and social rejection as well as how to learn to think for herself about religion and other issues. Unfortunately, Sara misapplies the lessons and finds herself swimming in deeper water than she expected.
The beta readers all liked it, but had mixed feelings about how it would be received and should be marketed. So I created two versions—a YA version that ends with a happy Christmas story and plays down the philosophical exploration and the extended adult version which allows adults to explore further and even talk to their kids. By kids, I mean daughters, because most boys don’t read this kind of book.
I’m trying to line up some reading groups for their reaction before I release it in time for summer.

As a reader I find myself wanting to know more about the authors that write the amazing books we read, so the next few question are about you rather than your books. I hope that's ok!
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
First, that Carol put up with my shit for more than thirty years. Second, that my readers, however few they may be so far, connect with my books. Third, that we were able to retire with enough of an income to allow me to become an indie novelist.

If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
I would rewrite my life story from scratch, which is why, when you see my biographies, they tend to be wildly imaginative in spite of what the professional advisors say. I love my family, and I recognize I share the same genetic markers, I just think my chromosomes were remixed for a different sample tape and no one in my family could cope with that.
On the other hand, if I were raised by liberal academics who encouraged my flights of fancy I might have been a boring self-centered ass.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I’ve spent my entire life living with people telling me what I need to be better at, or what qualities or abilities I need to gain to become a better person in spite of the fact that I’ve spent my entire life polishing my skills and trying to mature. I look at myself every day and say, sure, I could do better at this or that, but the truth is, no matter where you improve there will always be some other area in your life where you disappoint the people you’re closest too. It’s a never ending struggle.
So, no, I think life dictates when and where you need to confront the moments to develop new strengths and trying to sculpt yourself into an image you have in your mind is ultimately self-defeating. I’m pretty happy where I am.
That and the ability to make rich people give me money with no strings attached.

I think we'd all like that ability.
Were you ever in a school play? What was your role? Did anything funny ever happen when you were on stage?
I played Wolf Beifeld in Liliom in high school, the original stage version from which Rogers and Hammerstein adapted Carousel. I only tried out for the play because I had a thing for a girl named Billie who played Mrs. Muskat. She, in turn, had a thing for Allan who got the lead role.
So I was hanging onto Billie’s every word and she was hanging onto Allan’s. In the meantime he was a senior doing folk music gigs with his girlfriend Patsy at coffee houses. But, in a cruel twist of fate, the Jewish girl Laurie who played the female lead Julie flipped for him too and flipped Allan so he dumped Patsy and started taking Hebrew classes.
I figured Billie would rebound to me, but she nailed a basketball player and I was left a virgin. Allan converted to Judaism before they graduated. I still talk to Allan and Billie on Facebook but he remarried to a reformed rabbi and she and her husband just moved to Canada.
That was my last play. But I did do a lot of performance art as an adult.

When, and where, was the last time you walked for more than an hour?
I am severely handicapped with back and knee problems so it’s been decades. I’m not bound to a wheelchair, but I can’t walk without a walker for further than twenty or thirty feet.
My three favorite places to walk when I could walk were Fenner Arboretum in East Lansing, Mi, Palmer Park along Woodward Avenue in Detroit and Town Lake in Austin.
Palmer Park was my favorite because I could walk from my apartment and walk as long as I felt like, even in winter. There was a great donut shop right off Woodward Avenue that I could afford when I was broke—which I was in those days. I worked for ACORN with a team of community activists and had to canvass for my income, which meant I often made less than a hundred dollars a week.
I ran across all types because it was a popular Gay pick-up spot, and it freaked friends out because they had visions of transvestites in make-up propositioning me. Nothing could be further from the truth. The closest I came to a pick up was a guy in a leather jacket smoking outside a copse who shook his head as I passed by. He said, “Business is slow.”
I still have a great water color of the projects I bought from an artist who managed to sell a few paintings by the Merill Fountain before the cops chased him off one Sunday evening.

If you had to move from Texas where would you go, and what would you miss the most about Texas?
I can’t imagine leaving because Carol is settled in. She bought our duplex with her parents before we married and made it clear she’s never leaving. Besides, we rescue cats for Austin Siamese Rescue and it would be tough to find someone to take care of them. However, were we to leave it would probably be to go to China to teach English. Carol has her Masters in Chinese and loves Chinese culture and I’m a huge fan of Hong Kong cinema.
My second choice would be to go back to Detroit. I loved every minute there, the cultural mix. Detroit features a huge mix of ethnic neighborhoods, Hungarian, Greek, Polish (which most Americans outside of Detroit know nothing about and many Detroit residents are unaware of too), not to mention the black and Latino arts and food. I’m just pissed that they abandoned the old Tigers stadium where I travelled by bus with my son whenever I could afford bleachers tickets.

What is the last concert you saw? How many of that band's albums do you own?
Our last opera was Gounod’s Faust.
As to pop concerts, it would be Laurie Anderson or Garrison Keillor. I have all of her albums and quite a few of his early Prairie Home Companion albums. Carol and I have been faithful fans of PHC since long before we met. I introduced her to Laurie Anderson.
If I could attend, I would go see St. Vincent. I have several of her albums and bootleg videos of her concerts in Austin.

And finally, what was the best gift you ever received and why?
I don’t get gooey over gifts. I have more shit than I care to admit to, but material stuff just doesn’t connect with me. If I have it great, if I don’t, oh well. Carol gets me the best gifts because she gets exactly what she knows I want. My family gets me nothing close to what I want even though Carol tells them exactly what she knows I will connect with. Or they get me something I was into five years ago and have no use for now.

Thank you very much for your time, Phillip. It's been great! Good luck with all your future projects.

Connect with Phillip on:

Purchase paperback books by Phillip T. Stephens on Creatspace:

And his eBooks on Amazon

See also:
Raising Hell by Phillip T. Stephens
#TheBookies: A Hashtag Game for Bookworms ~Guest post by Phillip T. Stephens
Books I Read in September