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Monday, July 25, 2011

FABULOUS CONTEST!!!

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the “Vampire Kisses - Foxworth Coven” necklace contest. You can find the full details on Wiccan Wear Jewelry’s WEBSITE.

"Vampire Kisses - Foxworth Coven" is composed of blue beach glass and black faceted hand-cut Czech crystal. It has Victorian styled filigree spacers and cross that have been artificially blackened with age. The lobster claw and chain are made to adjust in length. Burgundy freshwater pearl droplets on an aged chain complete the piece, a symbolic impression of a vampire’s kiss.

To enter the contest, answer the following to questions, by going to Wiccan Wear Jewelry and Kayden McLeod’s website to locate the answers. Once you’ve found them, E-mail HERE

In your entry, please include your full name and e-mail address, so we may inform the winner after the drawing, and obtain shipping information.

Contest Drawing Date: August 13th 2011

Question One

Answer found on Wiccan Wear Jewelry’s WEBSITE

On WWJ’s website find the piece named Necklace of the Dreamer, and tell us what the past wearers of this necklace series have commented on.

Question Two

Answer found on Kayden McLeod’s WEBSITE

How long has the Foxworth Coven resided in British Columbia, Canada?




Winner Take All!

Once in awhile you create a book that seems to resonate with people, and this is one of them. A historical Western that was born in my fascination for my childhood hero, Paladin. So, Dylan Coulter is a combination of Paladin's urbane charm and sophistication and his lethal side, of course. Maggie is a woman a little ahead of her time, strong, compassionate, and independent. I hope you'll like her. I hope you enjoy their story, it's exciting, and passionate, and has some surprises in store too!

Winner Take All
Genre: Historical/Western Erotica Novella
AVAILABLE NOW: from Moongypsy Press
BUY IT HERE


When Dylan Coulter rides into Sparkling Springs, he quickly discovers the woman who runs the local saloon is worth the risk of facing the hangman. Things get ugly fast when Dylan is accused of killing the only son of the richest rancher in the area. Unwilling to leave her behind, Dylan takes Maggie with him as he tries to dodge bounty hunters and a determined Pinkerton agent who just happens to be Maggie's old love...

Read a short excerpt...

At some point in the evening, Maggie had fallen asleep at her work. She was jarred from slumber by the familiar sound of gunshots, but instead of casual interest, this time the sound made her blood run cold. She rose and went to the door that led onto the balcony above the saloon. She opened it cautiously and looking out. Lights were beginning to spark to life in the buildings across the street from the Spur, and the sound of running feet grew louder. She peered at the shadowy alley across the street from Wilkins' Caf?, the alley that had drawn Dylan's attention so many times the previous night, a voice inside her head reminded her. There was someone there now. She caught the briefest glimpse of white, then it was gone.

Heart pounding in her chest, Maggie ran for the door that would take her down to the saloon. She'd just stepped off the flight when there was a low knock on the rear entrance door. Without thinking of consequences, she went and twisted the lock, then opened the heavy panel of wood. Dylan Coulter slipped past her and closed the door.

"What have you done, Dylan?" she asked before she could choose a more tactful way of making the query.

"Do you have any experience pulling bullets out of men, Miss Watson?"

Maggie's knees suddenly felt inadequate to the task of keeping her standing upright.

"Dylan?"

He stumbled, and she caught him awkwardly, offering what little support she could as he propelled her into the saloon and back to the stairs. Once they reached the short flight, the lamp on the wall halfway up gave her a clear look at him. He was dressed in dove gray tonight, and the pristine white of his shirt was marred by a horrible, expanding stain of crimson.

"You need a doctor, Dylan," she whispered, feeling the color drain from her face.

"They won't send a doctor, Maggie," he said through clenched teeth. "A lynch mob maybe, but not a doctor."

"Why?"

They'd made it to her rooms and he pushed the door open and went to the bed, where he promptly collapsed into unconsciousness. Before she could think more about what was happening, insistent pounding began on the main floor doors. Her gaze went back to Dylan and she obeyed instinct rather than reason...


Read what the reviewers are saying...

"5 Cups!...Keeps you glued to your seat, reading until all hours. You will discover what someone will do to protect someone they love. This book takes you to the days of the Wild West and gives a whole new meaning to 'Ride 'Em Cowboy.' If you are a Western Lover, this book is for you."—Sherry, Coffee Time Romance

"4 Angels!...An unvarnished look at the 'live by the gun, die by the gun' mentality of the Old West. Maggie is content in her career as a bartender, but when Dylan needs her, she gives up everything to help him out. She?s my favorite kind of heroine?spirited, sassy, and independent. Dylan is a guy in simply the wrong place at the wrong time, but comes to realize that he wants Maggie for more than the short term. A wonderful novella by Denyse Bridger."—Michelle, Fallen Angel Reviews

"5 Moons!...Outstanding! Even though the book begins in a rather typical fashion, it is always interesting. Ms. Bridger is a very good narrator, and she builds a sense of suspense and curiosity about the characters and plot throughout the book. She mixes in some interesting historical facts, and the underlying eroticism between Dylan and Maggie makes the book move quickly and evenly. Everyone who is interested in the post-Civil War era will enjoy this book. There are very well-developed supporting characters in this book as well."—Ruth Moderhak, Mystique Books


Winner Take All
AVAILABLE NOW
BUY IT HERE


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Blood Games


BLOOD GAMES


The hunt begins...

You are such a fool, Nicholas. You never saw that she belonged to me long before you tried to 'save her'. Your beautiful Amanda had sold her soul to me; the devil in your dreams, Nicholas. She's as wild and untamed as she is lovely, Nicholas. Did you know that, dear boy? Did you want to know that? Her passion is as savage as her hunger, now. She sleeps in my arms, Nicholas. Does that haunt you? Does it anger you to know that she willingly comes to my bed -- that she cries my name as I possess her. My blood flows through her veins, Nicholas. She loves me as you never did. As I will never love her.

Blood games...

They fall before her, Nicholas. Young fools clamour for her attention, and she laughs at their weakness. I've taught her well, Nicholas; she has a flair for the game. You found one of hers last night. Did you know that? The boy in the park was Amanda's destruction of you. Didn't you see the resemblance, Nicholas? She hates you as you once loved her. Do you understand why that is, my Nicholas? She despises you, because you hurt me. The irony is so sweet, is it not? She drank until the boy had nothing left to offer her, then she turned another, stronger hunger to me.

After the kill...

The nights are a madness all their own, Nicholas. She thrives on the terror we incite -- and the lust we share after the kill. You never knew that thrill, did you, Nicholas? She writhes in exquisite agony, consumed by a need she cannot control. I hold that key, Nicholas. She does my bidding, whatever it may be, and she begs for reward afterward. I bring her to her knees, Nicholas, and she thanks me for it. She loves me as you never did. As I will never love her.

She loves me as I once loved you, Nicholas.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest: CYNTHIA MacGREGOR

WHEN YOU SEE A NEED… FILL IT
by Cynthia MacGregor

I wasn’t always a book-writer.

I was always a writer. Even when I was doing other things—office work, in my very early adult years, and then sales work, and customer relations, and then, still later, co-publishing an all-advertising-format newspaper—I was still writing. But I wasn’t writing full-time. I wasn’t writing for a living.

And I wasn’t writing books.

I wrote my first book to fill a need. And filling a need is what I want to talk to you about today. But permit me to digress and fill you in on a little of my backstory. It’s relevant.

There were a variety of reasons why I didn’t essay book-writing for the longest time. Impatience for the length of time involved in working on the project was one. Impatience for the time till publishers responded, and till they finally published the book thereafter, was another. (This was long before the era of the e-book. Without knowing your age, I bet I’m older than you are. And print books take much longer to see the light of print than e-books do.) Fear of wasting my time on a time-consuming writing project that, after all, might never see the light of print was another reason. There were others, too. So I stuck to the short form. Articles. The occasional essay. Very rarely a short story—I’ve always been more of a nonfiction writer than a fictioneer.

But no books.

Eventually I did write two books. One was a picture book for little kids, which didn’t get published till many years after I wrote it. The other was a humorous nonfiction thing that I thought of as my answer to Erma Bombeck and Jean Kerr, which still hasn’t been published but at long last has at least been contracted and will finally soon see the light of print, as an e-book, several decades after I first wrote it.

Do you see why I didn’t, generally speaking, write books?

And then… And then…

It was November of 1991. My then-best-friend was working in my home office, computer typesetting the magazines I was editing for a publisher up in New York (we were, and I still am, in Florida), and as we worked, she was grousing to me about the upcoming Christmas vacation, and what she could do to keep her kids (then still a young school-age) occupied during the break.

A light bulb went off in my head. Surely she was not the only mother facing that dilemma! What if I were to edit a one-shot magazine (such as the company for which I was free-lance editing at the time had previously published—they had put out a one-shot mag on John Lennon and a couple of other one-shots as well) on the subject of keeping your kids occupied over the holiday vacation?

I recognized that it was too late to get anything on the newsstands in advance of the Christmas vacation…but what about Easter?

I approached the publisher whose magazines I was editing and suggested he do this one-shot…with me editing it, of course. Though intrigued, he ultimately turned thumbs down. I was devastated but not defeated.

There was a need.

If I couldn’t fill the need with a magazine, I began to realize, I might have the genesis of a book on my hands.

But I was not a book-writer. I was an articles writer. Nonetheless…. I had seen a need. How could I turn my back on it?

I wrote it. I called it, Mommy, There’s Nothing to Do. I sent it out to some five or so publishers. One of them, Berkley, a New York biggie, bit. When the editor called to offer me a contract, I literally jumped up and down in glee while still talking to her, and I tried to keep my voice calm and not betray my excitement.

Since then, I have tried to keep my eyes open for needs. Books that need to be written.

You can too.

One of my latest books falls into that category. The Writer’s Guide to Paying e-Markets grew out of the realization that, while there is Writer’s Market for print books, there is nothing comparable for e-books.


As a writer who has taken a bold step away from traditional publishing (with 54 conventionally published books to my credit) into the e-book field and, counting a failed publisher that brought out quite a few of my books before going under, I have well over 50 published e-books to my credit as well), I recognized the need for a book that would be a market list of e-book publishers.

My best friend was floundering for a project (he’s a writer too) (yes, my best friend is a guy—and a former lover, to boot!) as well as for some money. I suggested to him that he could do worse than to compile a market book of e-publishers. No, it wouldn’t be “writing” in the traditional sense, but it would be very much needed. Writers aspiring to the print markets can read the venerable granddaddy of market books, Writer’s Market, but I couldn’t find anything comparable for those of us who were convinced that e-publishing was the future. We needed this book.

I threw him the ball, but he didn’t pick it up and run with it.

But that book needed to be written. Just like Mommy, There’s Nothing to Do (Berkley Publishing, 1993, republished by Replica Books, and later re-re-published as a self-published e-book) needed to be written.

So I decided if my best friend wouldn’t write it, I would write it myself.

I enlisted the help of a writer friend, Lori Paige, and together we embarked upon finding out what e-publishers there are out there, what they want, what they’re paying, what their requirements are.

The result? The Writer’s Guide to Paying e-Markets. XoXoPublishing has seen fit to publish it. And many writers have already seen fit to download it. (Find it HERE)

I saw a need. And I filled it.

The lesson for you?

If you see a need, fill it! While this applies primarily to nonfiction writers, it can also apply to fiction writers as well. If you’re a fiction writer and you see a need for a certain type of fiction, be it a subgenre of romance, a new gimmick, or whatever, go for it. And if you’re a nonfiction writer and you see a need for information—on any topic, any subject, any genre—go fulfill that need.

If you plan to sell to the e-publishing market, you might want to download our e-book, The Writer’s Guide to Paying e-Markets. You’ll find it HERE

Good luck with your writing!


Visit Cynthia on the web HERE

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Welcome to the new Fantasy Pages

After a lot of agonizing, mostly because I am inept at these things, I decided it was time for a change in look - an overdue update, as it were. So, here we are with a new look... I'd love to know what you think of it, so please let me know if there's anything I should add, or get rid of, too! Thanks!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Meet my Dark Angel - FREE!

I thought I’d do something different in the way of a post today… I asked a couple of friends if they were going to ask three questions of me as an author – what would they want to know. Here’s the result:

Penny asked:

What gives you such passion?

I think the passion comes from the desire to communicate and tell people stories to entertain them and allow them an escape from day to day reality. It’s a chance to dream, and to see the possibilities… to view love with the magic that can really only come from fiction, where everything is a little bit easier, and little bit less fraught with the small stresses that make us all crazy every day of our lives.

Where do your story ideas come from?

The story ideas come from everywhere. A song lyric can inspire an entire story, or an image I see can start my mind creating. Even an overheard bit of conversation from strangers can become the basis of a new story. Every taste, every sound, every vision… each one has the potential to become something special for a new work.

If you could have a "do over" which story would you like to re-write and perhaps change the outcome?

I think the only book I’d “do over” is my fantasy novel, AS FATE DECREES – because I think now I could do the whole story more justice. Characters would be deeper and more driven, the story itself more detailed – because I’ve learned so much since I first wrote that book, and it’s still one of the accomplishments I am most proud of, really.

Lisa asked:

What's your favourite book, and how/why did you first choose it to read?

My favourite novel is GONE WITH THE WIND, and I read it first when I was 17. I chose to read it because I’d finally seen the movie for the first time, and I was in love with the film. I have lost track of the times I’ve read the novel, all 1036 pages of it – and watched the four hours of movie... It never loses it’s appeal. The history and drama of the Civil War, and the incredible strength and drive of Scarlett O’Hara, because you want to beat her senseless over her blindness, and yet you also want to cheer her on and believe she does win back the heart of her one and only, Rhett Butler!

What makes the perfect character/hero/heroine?

Strength, honesty, passion... Those are the key elements of both hero and heroine. The heroine has to believe in herself, but more than that, she has to believe in the hero and see the good in him that he perhaps doesn’t see in himself. For the perfect hero, he has to have the depth and drive to be whatever is needed. Each set of characters possess these innate strengths, then as you work within the context of each story, the individuality of the people you have brought to life emerges to enhance their experience and make them suited to each other and believable and accessible to the readers. You want your readers to fall in love, not just with a hero, but with his life and the life he’s building with the heroine.

The job of author is now banned. What do you choose to do instead and why?

I think I’d have to stay in some kind of creative art. I can’t sing, except to make dogs howl, and I am a crap artist, but I’d still be searching for some way to touch people’s heart and imaginations. Failing that, I’d bake! I’d be creative with food...

Very cool questions from two great friends – and I hope you’ve enjoyed this bit of fun! If anyone else has questions, feel free to ask, ok? To wrap up, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about the short story that is launching a new program with XoXo Publishing™, the FREE READS program. Here’s a quick look at that one:

A hot and deadly vampire tale that comes with a stunning Kayden McLeod cover, and though it's a short read, it packs a punch!


DARK ANGEL:

And death shall walk quietly in the shadows of night,
stealing dreams, betraying hope... leaving silence and dark truth...


She approached the darkened club with a feeling of excitement and abject terror, certain she was walking into a nightmare, but drawn as a moth to flame, unable to resist the inexorable pull of desire. How many times had she come to this place with the intention of talking to the owner? How many times had she fled before he found her waiting, and knew her secrets….

Tonight would be no different. The honest part of her soul recognized that as fact. Yet, she still sought the nightclub that had become an exclusive place filled with the most striking men she'd ever seen. Tall, powerful, deadly males who moved like the world was theirs and they were comfortable with the balance they held in their hands.

The owner of this dark and dangerous place was like them, but also different. He was, she suspected, even more lethal than the ones who drank and relaxed in the club, a place aptly named The Underground Cavern. He was tall, breathtakingly handsome, his brilliant jewelled eyes shrewd and sharp with intelligence. More than once, she'd felt him probing the shadows, seeking her enthralled presence...

So, dark, wild, and sexy as sin - meet my dark angel.... this one is dedicated to the fabulous character of Rehvenge Rempoon from JR Ward's "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series.... it's short, and powerful.... and it's FREE! Drop by and pick up your copy HERE!






Monday, July 04, 2011

Blood Wine and Pale Roses returns

BLOOD WINE AND PALE ROSES
(Nominated by LASR as Best Book of the Year 2008)
Genre: Vampire Erotica Novella
BUY IT HERE

Eden Colbourne has spent most of her life pursuing dreams that never quite came true. Running from yet another failed relationship, she seeks solace in the familiar surroundings of England's countryside, and her art. Drawn to the remnants of the abbey, she spends her days sketching the face of a man she believes is a ghost haunting both the abbey and her heart. The reality is even more disturbing...

When Sean Rourke finally reveals himself to her, Eden discovers the ghost is a creature of myth and dark dreams. Turned into a vampire by the man for whom his wife betrayed him, Sean is tormented and lonely, and more afraid of Eden's power to make him love than she is of his nocturnal curse. It isn't until the ancient vampire who made him returns to claim Eden that Sean is forced to decide once and for all if he can let go of the shade of his wife, and permit love to heal what remains of his humanity...

Read what the reviewers are saying...

"4 Hearts!...Dark this tale might be, but this reviewer enjoyed it. The characters were interesting and well drawn. Love and bitterness are shown as two sides of a coin. It made a compelling read as this reviewer wondered which side of the coin will succeed in coming out on top. The dialogue is skillfully woven into the story's fabric, making it easy to picture the speaker. The settings are vivid, bringing the places alive for the reader. The story line is sure to please those who like dark tales. Despite the dark side, it is still a heartwarming tale of love eternal." —Pam, Love Romances

"5 Cups!...Denyse Bridger has written a heartfelt story of love and emotional healing. Sean will tug at your heartstrings. His loneliness will creep into your heart the way the sun creeps up on a new day! This book is a definite keeper and I know I will be reading it and revisiting Sean and Eden over and over again. The characters are so true to life and fresh. Sean is a one hot vampire! The steamy love scenes will make you want a sexy vampire of your very own to bite you! I am anxiously looking forward to reading the many new books Denyse Bridger has published this year..."—Janean Sparks, Coffee Time Romance

"5 Angels!...Being a lover of paranormal romances, this story did not disappoint. Miss Bridger has woven a wonderful tale of love and suspense. The plot was well thought out and the story flowed beautifully. Her descriptions are very vivid and I felt like I was really in the story with Sean and Eden, experiencing their thoughts, feelings and actions. One part of the book in particular had me in tears due to the high emotions that were felt between the characters. She provided steamy sex scenes and I was able to really get a grasp on the love felt between both hero and heroine. She also did a very good job in creating the villain, Evander. I could feel the evil radiating off of this character and I loved to hate him. All in all, I don't have any complaints about this book. It had all the necessary elements to keep me transfixed until the very last word. If this is the type of story I can expect from Miss Bridger then I look forward to reading much more from her in the future. Blood Wine and Pale Roses comes with my highest recommendation to anyone who is a lover of paranormal romance or is looking for a new genre/author to try. Bravo, Denyse!"—Jennifer M., Fallen Angel Reviews

Read a short excerpt...

Eden dropped the overnight case and settled to the task of making a fire. A short while later, she was seated in front of the flames. Her gaze wandered over the room, darting into shadows and concentrating until she'd pierced the gloom and was able to discern shapes and identify them. Still, the sense of waiting nagged at the back of her consciousness and left her shivering. The foreboding was growing, and she admitted to herself that she might have been foolhardy in coming to this place alone, at night.

The sketchbook drew her eye, and she decided the best form of distraction would be work. She opened the book and stared at the face that smiled back at her from the top page. She'd never seen him before, yet she had filled several books with this man's image. She had, in fact, created an entire history for him. All that remained was a name, and that little detail always stayed just out of reach. Nothing she would settle on felt "right," so he continued to be a stranger-a stranger to whom she felt closer than she did most of the people who did populate her life.

"Who are you?" she murmured as her fingers brushed across the textured page and absently caressed the curving mouth.

"Who do you wish me to be?"

Eden very nearly dropped the book she held. The voice was low and compelling, rich with resonant power. She felt it touch her heart and demand a surrender she instinctively knew had been made long ago. Strangely reluctant, she allowed her gaze to shift from the face on the page and look upward. Her grip lost its strength and the sketchbook slipped to the floor as she stared at him?


Sunday, July 03, 2011

A Twisted Tale: CINDERELLA


GLASS SLIPPERS AND JEWELED MASQUES
Available from New Dawning International Book Fair
BUY it HERE
Our Price: $2.99

About the book:

Cindi Lancourte is the illegitimate daughter of a powerful businessman and a lovely woman who worked for him. Acknowledged when his wife died, she was quickly relegated to the role of servant by his new wife and step-daughters, but an invitation to a Masquerade gives this Cinderella a new shot at happiness with a handsome Prince Charming.

Story Excerpt:

"You can't be serious?"

"Amerasha needs stability," King Alenzo Coranthaos reminded his only son. "Our future lies with you!"

Michel Alexandros Coranthaos, heir to the island nation of Coranthis, turned from the castle window to look intently at his father. He tried to keep his voice even and free of the irritation that was coursing through his veins like a living thing. "Father, you are in the prime of your years, hardly on the verge of dying of old age. I fail to see why you think it so necessary for me to marry and produce offspring!"

His father's shoulders stiffened at the words and Michel sighed inwardly. He schooled his expression to careful neutrality and waited for the rebuke he sensed was coming to him.

"Why do you think it so necessary to remain unmarried, Michel?"

Startled by the calm question, he took a few moments to seriously consider the question. He could be flippant about it, or he could for a change be honest. The expectancy in his father's eyes decided him and he crossed the distance between them.

"I don't think it's unnecessary, father. I simply choose to wait for a woman I can love and respect, someone I can share my life with, as you did with mother."

Alenzo looked at his son, and nodded, expression grave.

"I wish to see you happy, Michel." He held up a hand to ward off the reply Michel was about to make and smiled, albeit with sadness. "You have played the carefree prince for many years, but there is an emptiness in your life that needs to be filled. Tell me this is not truth? If you can?"

Michel stared, genuinely surprised by the turn of the conversation. He'd answered his father's summons with the expectation of another of their increasingly frequent arguments. Instead, he was being accorded a direct honesty that had once been the core of their relationship, but had often been lacking in years. He sat down and for a few moments he remained silent, then he leaned back in the comfortable chair and nodded.

"There is no sense denying what you say, father. I am not a happy man," he admitted, then laughed with real bitterness. "I don't lack for attention, but it feels very hollow."

Alenzo nodded. "It's time to bring a bride to you, my son."

Michel frowned, and waited for the trap to spring. He should have recognized the change in tactics, his father was a supreme manipulator.

Adult Excerpt:

Michel felt an unwanted shiver of longing wake within him as she caressed his hand. His gaze dropped to the neckline of her dress, the soft fullness of her breasts tempting him. She pressed more intimately against his growing arousal; unaware of the effect she was having on him. The rolling motion of the subtle dance was an aphrodisiac to his roused lust, and he encircled her waist with both hands as he pushed his hips against the cushion of her body. Her soft gasping moan of pleasure created a shudder that ran the length of him and his hands moved of their own volition. The firm swells of her breasts filled his palms, and he kneaded the soft flesh gently as he pulled her into more solid contact with him. Her fingers curled around his wrists, but she made no attempt to pull his hands from their sensual task.

When his lips touched the curve of her shoulder, she cried out, a soft rumble of desire that he suspected she didn’t recognize as her own voice. She was creating madness inside him. The taste of her against his tongue when he touched her neck was heavenly and she trembled in his arms, imprisoned by his passion. His name was a gasp on her lips, and finally he turned her to face him. Her eyes blazed into his, and she wrapped her arms around his waist, lifted her mouth to his kiss.

Michel groaned softly as he stared into the smoldering green of her eyes, and his mouth descended swiftly to cover hers. Her lips parted to the thrust of his tongue and he plundered the moist warmth of her mouth. She was pliant and eager in his arms, her hands moved in exploring circles over the expanse of his back as she clung to him. His hands tangled in the heavy masses of her auburn hair, the tresses silken against his skin.

The night had grown still around them and still their fevered kisses and caresses held them entwined in a tempest of emotion neither of them fully understood. Michel drew away first, held her shaking hands in his as he tried to breathe through the near pain of his lust. She was dazed, her eyes dark with need she didn’t fully comprehend. She looked up at him, expectant, her breaths hoarse and erratic.

“Miss, your carriage has arrived, and the footman asked me to fetch you."

The spell shattered and she tore her gaze from Michel's.

"I have to go," she said.

Before he could stop her, she was working her way through the crowd, and he was chasing her. He was stopped by grasping arms and voices vying for his attention.

"What's wrong, Michel?"

He tore his masque off and looked at his father. "The woman you were with, the one in green, where is she, Father?"


Saturday, July 02, 2011

THE DEVANE FILES: Victorian Mystery with a touch of the erotic...


Many years ago when I was in school, a very smart English teacher noticed my boredom and decided to cure it with a book. I was handed a worn copy of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and a love affair was born. I’d long been fascinated by this particular era in North America, via television Westerns, etc., but I’d never given a lot of thought to the same era elsewhere. Reading about Holmes and Watson and their adventures in the atmospheric world of Victorian London was like a new world opening up, and I was well and truly hooked on the whole thing. I’ve since lost track of how often I have read all the Conan Doyle stories and novellas, as well as countless other authors’ take on this most erudite character.

So, along comes a film called “Murder By Decree” that marries Holmes to the Ripper murders – the other on-going intrigue of the era for me. Imagine my delight, and so well acted with Christopher Plummer as Holmes, too! The intrigue deepens.

By the time Johnny Depp emerged to play Inspector Frederick Abberline in FROM HELL, I was already well and truly taken with the concept of a story in which there were clairvoyant ties to someone connected to the case. London of this era was filled with opium dens, and the aristocracy of the time were among the frequent visitors, despite the areas that housed the worst of the dens.

So, where did I begin when I decided it was time for me to submerge myself in all of these wonderful aspects of a new set of stories? Well, the Ripper murders was the logical starting point, because if your main character is someone who’s worked that case, you’d better have your facts in hand, and not make errors than are spotted by the most casual observer. I began reading, and found an incredibly good resource in a book called “Jack the Ripper: A to Z” – which is simply a quick reference in alphabetical order, with a basic breakdown of facts surrounding the murders, the victims, the dates, and maps of where they were found. Watching documentaries, many from British television, helped get the sequence of events clearly mapped in my mind.

I watched a lot of Sherlock Holmes to absorb the atmosphere of the city at that time. PBS was doing the Jeremy Brett series at that time, and believe me, I was cataloguing every minute detail when I watched those shows, actions, attitudes, manners... all of it. This was also when I discovered author Anne Perry and her Inspector Monk series, which of course then led to Thomas and Charlotte Pitt Mysteries. Ms. Perry’s factual knowledge and attention to detail is amazing. So I made copious notes while I read, or while I watched. Small things like mourning rituals, etc., all things that enrich a story, even if the reader is only aware of it on a subtle level.

The internet resources are too numerous to catalogue. Wikipedia is an endless and wealthy resource for everything! Then I found the VICTORIAN LONDON site owned and operated by author and historian Lee Jackson. It’s like finding the treasure for a pirate! I don’t think there is anything this man hasn’t got an article for, or an answer for – either on his site, or in his head if you write to him with a specific question. He is gracious and helpful, and even if all you want to do is look around... you really should visit his amazing website! The link is: http://www.victorianlondon.org

Maps of the city in the year 1888 were easily found, tracing the steps of the Ripper also relatively easy. So, then came the research into prostitution of the era – that wasn’t pretty, let me tell you. Photos are great, but the best thing about writing this era was that it is so well filmed for all the movies and shows set in the late 19th Century. In the Devane Files, the atmosphere itself is like a character, so it had to be brought to life for the reader. I hope I have done it some justice.

Odd movies also added fragments of “feel” to the layers within these two stories for me. Van Helsing – believe it or not, because it has a timeless yet Gothic/Victorian feel to it in places. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen – Dorian Gray as played by Stuart Townsend almost made me faint, because I’d never seen Townsend before and there I was staring at “Inspector Michael Devane” whom I had created shortly before... So, lots of influences. Even the original black and white Dracula has enough spooky atmosphere to have played a role in shaping my descriptions of London.

The drug of choice for Devane is a mix of Opium and other toxic and potentially lethal things like Absinthe and Laudanum. The process I describe for Devane is very like the scene in FROM HELL when we see Johnny Depp’s Abberline inducing his visionary sight. Again, research unearthed that it was well-documented that this was the practise and procedure for it in some cases, so that’s the way it was written.

I consulted a lawyer for the legality of having a woman inherit at that juncture in history, and the boundaries I laid out in the books are within accepted legal structure for the era. Again, the small details come into play.

The police force of London was never in the public eye quite so glaringly as it was during the investigation of the notorious Jack The Ripper reign of terror. From that first accepted series of killings – serial murders – has emerged a timeless fascination with the people who investigated and failed to bring to justice the bloody killer. In the two books of my Devane Mysteries, I have once again used these gruesome killings as a kind of eternal haunting of my hero, Police Inspector Michael Devane. Devane is haunted, clairvoyant and an opium addict in a time when such things were common but rarely talked about openly. If you would like to read the books, please visit Liquid Silver Books for excerpts and purchase links:

Book One: OUT OF HELL

Book Two: AN UNSPOKEN BETRAYAL

For anyone who is now intrigued with the whole idea, I’ll give away a copy of the two books to one of the visitors today. Somewhere on my website is a gorgeous ad that features the first Devane mystery on it – tell me the name of the magazine that did that feature, and we’ll choose a winner from the correct comments.


Friday, July 01, 2011

Fate and the Gods of Olympus

In an ancient world, the Fates decree that a Champion will soon be brought forth. A being both mortal and eternal, destined to become as legendary as the Gods to whom she will be forever enslaved. Of the twelve who rule on Mount Olympus, it is Ares, son of Zeus and Hera, God of War, who recognizes both the truth of the divination, and the one who has been chosen.

One the eve of a new millennium, the Champion of Olympus is called forth by disciples of the Ancient Order of Zeus. Once again the Fates have patterned a complex image, one that traces its threads back to a mortal life so long gone it no longer seems real. Trapped in the modern world, the Champion sees the soul of her beloved in another man’s eyes, and the fulfillment of yet another prediction looms imminent. A prophetic foresight that may seal not only her Fate, but that of the Olympian Gods, and a madman determined to shape a new order of faith and vision that will dominate a planet and rewrite history…

Genre: Adventure Fantasy / Greek Mythology
ISBN: 978-1-894063-41-8
Cover by: Geoff Taylor
Published by: EDGE Science Fiction & Fantasy

View the Intro

The gods of ancient Greece must find a mortal champion to defend their fate.

“Go and seek the one I have told you about, she is frail and in need of help. Look not of upper blood, for I have seen her down in the dirt. She is held against her will. Find her and you shall find your savior.” — The Oracle of Delphi

In ancient Greece the young maiden, Amarantha, is captured and sold in the slave market of Athens.

"What fates await?" she wonders. "And what divine design will the Olympian gods have for me?"

As unexpectedly as she had found herself placed in chains, Amarantha finds herself purchased by a mysterious master who refuses to reveal his true identity.

But he is no ordinary man, nor she an ordinary slave.

Under her master's tutelage, Amarantha is trained as a fighter and challenged to prove herself in battle after battle until her skills are perfected and she is granted the right to know his true identity.

He is Ares, god of war and the son of Zeus. And she is to become Champion to the gods of Olympus; bound forever to serve and vanquish all foes until the gods themselves grant her peace.

But even gods are not immune to the fickle twists of fate, and Amarantha is soon ripped from her quiet resting place and cast through time itself to do battle with a modern day reincarnation of an old foe - a madman bent on rewriting history to suit his own twisted desire.

She must act quickly to win this battle, for the fate of all Olympian gods hangs in a delicate balance between immortality and the realization that even the gods themselves may be returned to the dust from which they arose.

For further information please see:

Catalog page

Chapter One

PDF Media Kit

Amazon.com (USA)

Amazon.ca (Canada)