Spotlight: Venice in the Moonlight

Today is all about Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight. It has a striking cover, which caught my eye in combination with the title. Find out more about Elizabeth and her new novel!

Venice in the MoonlightTitle: Venice in the Moonlight
Author: Elizabeth McKenna
Release Date: October 2013
Length: 194 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Romance
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Take a vacation from the London ton and visit Venice in the Moonlight!

A Story of Vengeance, Forgiveness, and Love 

After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti is banished from the family’s villa by her spiteful mother-in-law. She returns to her hometown of Venice and her only kin—a father she hasn’t spoken to since her forced marriage. Her hope of making amends is crushed when she learns she is too late, for he recently has died under suspicious circumstances. Grief-stricken, Marietta retraces her father’s last night only to discover someone may have wanted him dead—and she may be next. When the prime suspect turns out to be the father of the man she is falling in love with, Marietta risks her future happiness and her life to avenge the death of a man she once hated.

Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.

About the Author

Elizabeth McKennaElizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her websitehttp://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Guest Post: Elizabeth McKenna

Today is all about Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight. It has a striking cover, which caught my eye in combination with the title. She’s here today to chat – so grab your most sinfully delicious treat and enjoy!

Lusting After Your Hero

My first novel, Cera’s Place, is set in post-Civil War San Francisco. It features a feisty saloon owner named Cera and a war-weary soldier named Jake. When I created my first hero for what I hoped would be a long fiction writing career, I went with my ideal man – the rugged cowboy type. I pictured Aragorn, Viggo Mortensen’s character in Lord of the Rings, in all his sweaty, tangled hair glory.

Untitled

(Why not Viggo as Frank Hopkins in Hidalgo, you ask? I don’t know. He was sexier in Lord of the Rings.)

I enjoyed the FOUR years I spent writing about Jake and didn’t want to see him go, but I had to move on. So, I said goodbye to post-Civil War San Francisco and hello to eighteenth century Venice for my second novel, Venice in the Moonlight.

With crumbling Venice as the backdrop and the beautiful women’s fashions of the eighteenth century, I thought I had the perfect setting for romance, but I soon discovered I didn’t like the men’s fashions of this era. How can a man be sexy in stockings? I could get behind my hero Nico Foscari’s personality – who doesn’t love a charming rake – but every time I pictured him, my libido said, yeah, ok, whatever.

I needed inspiration, and a Google search for Italian men did the trick.

Untitled3

I don’t know his real name, but to me, he is my Venetian hero. Finally, I was in lust. Of course, I only imagine him from the thighs up, preferably in a white open-faced shirt. But at least now when I think of Nico and my heart races and my skin flushes, I know it’s not just another menopausal hot flash!

I hope you enjoy reading my historical romances and that my heroes make you snap open your fan and say, “Ooh-la-la!”

Take care,

Elizabeth McKenna

Venice in the MoonlightTitle: Venice in the Moonlight
Author: Elizabeth McKenna
Release Date: October 2013
Length: 194 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Romance
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Elizabeth McKennaElizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene). She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write her debut novel Cera’s Place. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her website http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her latest novel, Venice in the Moonlight, as much as others have enjoyed her previous works.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

2014 Summer Reading Program!

summer-reading-logo-clear-backgroundSummer is on the horizon – or, if you live in Texas like I do, it’s already here!

Katie is hosting the 2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Program for all book bloggers. All you have to do is set a goal for the summer, read those books in your TBR pile. If you meet your goal, you can enter the the grand prize giveaway at the end of summer.

Go to Katie’s Book Blog to sign up and get started!

My goal for summer is 50 books. I’m hoping to clear out my Kindle, and I know this will barely make a dent, but that’s what I’m shooting for for the summer.

Release Day Book Blast: Prejudice Meets Pride

 

Prejudice Meets Pride

 Prejudice Meets Pride is available today! 

Synopsis

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome new neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Fun, compelling, and romantic, Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn’t afraid to show him that he doesn’t. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.

Find the book: Website | Goodreads 

About the Author

RachaelUSA Today bestselling author Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Sunday Post (April 27)

Sunday PostThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday funday, see the rules here: Sunday Post Meme.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This week was a stressful one! The 130 students I teach took the math and language arts STAAR tests. With any standardized tests comes pressure, but these kids feel the pressure to do well much more. I was asked more than once “If I fail the STAAR test, do I stay in 6th grade?” Since 6th grade in Texas is not an SSI year, students will move on to 7th grade, but in 8th grade they will have to pass all of their tests (math, language arts, science, social studies). I will say it is extremely hard to be locked in a room for four hours in absolute silence and not able to read a book in the quiet and calm!

Last Week on G1000W

Review: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer by Andrew Joyce

Author Interview: Nancy Pennick

Review: Shackled by Angela Carling

Spotlight & Excerpt: Stealing Time by Nancy Pennick

Spotlight & Excerpt: Patriarch Run by Benjamin Dancer

Guest Post: Benjamin Dancer

Author Interview: Benjamin Dancer

This Week on G1000W

Release Day Blast: Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson

Spotlight: Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

Review: Venice in the Moonlight by Elizabeth McKenna

Author Interview: Elizabeth McKenna

May Monthly Chit Chat

Around Town in the Spotlight

An amazing giveaway over at Meredith & Jennifer’s Musings.

An LGBT read, One Man Guy, over at Candace’s Book Blog.

Lisa at Turning Pages shares her fear of reading scary books at night.

Tara at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say SHHH! shares her Top Ten Characters who deserve their own book.

Marni at Word to Dreams review of a new time-travel novel, Essence.

Author AJ Joseph dishes about those toxic people in our lives on Mysti’s Unwritten.

Kathy’s review of Don’t Call Me Baby – Imogene has grown up her entire life being in her mother’s blog spotlight. Talk about embarrassing!

Kindle giveaway on Feed Your Reader.

Word to Dreams has an awesome folklore anthology blitz and giveaway going on.

Also on Word to Dreams, an Agatha Christie-like book, John Dreamer, and the review!

Heather’s excerpt post of Runaway, the story of a young girl lighting out.

Julie Valerie’s eight reasons she loved Elizabeth Maxwell’s book Happily Ever After.

And last but not least, a little something for my Southern roots: the Williamsburg Regional Library’s review of Mama Makes Up Her Mind: And Other Dangers of Southern Living by Bailey White.

New Arrivals to Land of 1000 Wonders

19069285 19547332 21894607  17851035 7324329  13767804  21854529 The Strange Death Of A Romantic Kidnapped (Edgars Family, #1) Nine Lives (Sam Archer #1) Murder on the Mind (Jeff Resnick Mystery, #1)  Atlantis Riptide Sandcastle Kisses: A Billionaire Love Story (The Kisses Series, #5)  Awakening (The Lewis Legacy Series, #1) Sweet Water Now or Never Where Wildflowers Bloom (Sisters at Heart #1) A Bargain Struck The Illegal Gardener Above Rubies The Outcast: a modern retelling of The Scarlet Letter  Stone Cold (Music City Moguls, #1) Artful Dodger (Maggie Kean Misadventures, #1) Run (The Hunted, #1) A Place Beyond The Map Shaking out the Dead   Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War  Year of the Chick The Curtain - A Novel Tourist Trap (Rebecca Schwartz, #3) Once Upon a Lifetime Cayman Summer (Taken by Storm, #3) Not His Type (Opposites Attract, #1)

Author Interview: Benjamin Dancer

Displaying paper front4.pngIn the spotlight today is educator Benjamin Dancer. For the month of April, proceeds from his book will go to a local program, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings local writers into the classrooms.

Thank you for your interview. Can you tell readers a little about yourself?

I’m an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where I’ve made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. I’ve been writing my whole adult life, and I am am the author of the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. I have have three kids, and in addition to the fiction, I also write about parenting and education.

April is a month-long fundraiser for a local writing program, the Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings authors into the classroom. What do folks have to do to contribute to this great cause?

To contribute you can purchase PATRIARCH RUN in print or ebook on Amazon or in ebook on Smashwords. Word of mouth is very effective. So you could let other people know about the book, too. The best way to help connect PATRIARCH RUN to its audience would be to write an honest review on Amazon. All April proceeds go to the fundraiser!

 What does a typical day for you look like?

I get up around 4am to write every morning. These days, it’s to market the novel. I take my kids to school with me where I teach. And at about 5pm, we all get home. There’s dinner. Correspondence to catch up on. And by then I’m pretty spent. I tuck in the kids and hit the pillow myself.

Where do you like to write?

I write about fathers. Identity. Those are the themes that interest me.

What inspired you to write Patriarch Run?

I wanted to address themes mentioned above in a format men and boys would read. So I chose the thriller genres to carry the meaning I had hoped to convey.

How did you come to choose the title?

The story is about fathers. PATRIARCH. It’s a thriller, in which the rule is that the protagonist is always under threat, always moving. RUN.

How did you come up with and develop the idea behind Patriarch Run?

More than I am a teacher, I mentor young people as they come of age. I took the universal themes I witness in the lives of my students. Themes about the longing for a father. Themes about identity. And I made them literally happen in the story. Billy is on a quest to find his dad. Rachel, his mother, literally has to save herself. No one is going to save us in life. My students, you and I, we have to save ourselves. Learn to love ourselves. Be gentle with ourselves. This is Rachel’s quest.

Do you have any books in the works?

Once PATRIARCH RUN find its audience, I’ll bring out IN SIGHT OF THE SUN, a story about a White Mountain Apache boy going on his first raid into Mexico with his grandfather. Then FIDELITY, a story about a father who lost his son and became obsessed with his own grief. Followed by the sequel to PATRIARCH RUN.

What are your future goals as a writer?

I’d like to start by connecting with an audience. Then I’d like to contribute something meaningful to the lives of my readers.

What do you want readers to take away from Patriarch Run?

My hope is that you will be entertained. That you will carry the characters and themes. That they might provoke you. Maybe even help you.

Displaying paper front4.pngTitle: Patriarch Run
Author: Benjamin Dancer
Release Date: April 2014
Length: 312 pages
Series?: The Father Trilogy
Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Benjamin DancerAbout the Author

Benjamin is an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. 

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Guest Post: Benjamin Dancer

In the spotlight today is educator Benjamin Dancer’s recent novel, Patriarch Run. For the month of April, proceeds from his book will go to a local program, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings local writers into the classrooms.

Bringing Authors into the Classroom

I teach writing to high school students. But I don’t see myself as a high school teacher. My job, as I see it, is to mentor young people as they come of age.

I’m an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School in Lakewood, Colorado. I’m the English teacher. But the kids in my classroom are looking for more than English. They’re looking for meaning. They’re looking for something real.

Right now I’m teaching The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I use the text to teach the kids to read. I use the ideas in the book to teach them to think. And the story Pollan tells about food…I use that as a guide for our own educational adventures in the food chain. Like Pollan does in the book, we visit farms. Food markets. I bought the kids McDonalds then drove them to a feedlot with a 100,000 head of cattle that filled our nostrils with the stench of feces and urine. The poop was piled twenty feet high by tractors. The cows were covered in it up to their spines. Our lungs were singed from the ammonia.

I had the kids eat the burgers and take it all in.

Later in the semester I had the students interview their oldest living relatives. Out of that interview, the students brought traditional recipes to class, and we prepared meals together.

This week we’re discussing the ethics of eating. I have them justify it: their choice to eat, which is to say their choice to kill. I do this because I want them to be on solid moral ground. I do this because I want their bodies to be well.

Why? Because I’m their English teacher. It’s my job.

I also facilitate a writers’ group. Because I believe kids need mentors (more than just me), I partner with Lighthouse Writers Workshop, a Denver based community, to bring local authors into my classroom.

We meet at lunch every Wednesday, the writers’ group. This is a very committed group of writers (some students have graduated and still participate in the group via email from college). They take their writing seriously and provide one another with thoughtful, constructive feedback.

Once a month, we have a guest author. The guest author actually reads the week’s submission and critiques it, along with the rest of us. Imagine being seventeen years old and having your story critiqued by a published author.

After the critique session, we invite any interested student in the school to a craft talk with the author. After which, the kids get an opportunity to interact more openly. They get to ask questions about the writing process. About inspiration. About how to get published.

What’s really happening is that relationships are being developed. This is the secret to education. They can pass any law they want at the state or at the federal level. They can mandate testing. Or they can sell our schools to corporate enterprises. None of that will fix the problem we have with education in America.

Because the answer is this: teaching is about relationships. Kids need mentors. It’s that simple. They learn from the people they trust.

What happens in this guest author program is magical. Kids begin to see themselves as writers. They develop authentic relationships with authors in the community. They have consultants.

At my school, every student completes a Career Exploration Passage. It’s one of six rites of passages each student undertakes to graduate from high school. In the Career Exploration Passage, as the title indicates, students explore a career. The project involves an internship, research, consultants, a series of interviews, a resume. And eventually the student maps out a path to his or her chosen field.

The beauty of the curriculum at the Open School is that the students I work with get to consult with actual professionals. They get to interview our guest authors and develop relationships that will last long after high school is over.

To make all this work I went to our school’s Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) and asked for $50 a month to bring local authors into the classroom. The parents on PTSO generously supported the program, and they also asked me to consider ways to raise money to pay for it.

It was a reasonable request on their part, responsible even, but I had to think about it. What could I do to help support my own program?

Meanwhile, I went to Lighthouse Writers Workshop and told them what our PTSO was willing to do. Lighthouse generously matched my school’s contribution.

So we had $100 a month to bring local authors into the school. Not much. But money communicates value. By paying authors what we can, we let them know that we value their profession. Their work. Moreover, writers are hungry, and, so far, the guest authors have been grateful for the gig.

This week we’re hosting Caleb Seeling, the publisher at Conundrum Press. Caleb also writes graphic novels.

Then it finally came to me a few weeks ago: how to raise money for the program. I had a book release pending for my literary thriller Patriarch Run. It occurred to me that I could donate the April proceeds to PTSO and, in that way, raise money to support the guest author program at the Open School.

Which is what we’re doing. It’s a good book. It’s a good cause. And we’d welcome your support.

If you’d like to know more about our amazing school (there have been many books written about it), let me know. And if you’d like to learn more about me or my stories, you could drop me a line about that, too.

Displaying paper front4.pngThank you for finding me,

Benjamin Dancer

Title: Patriarch Run
Author: Benjamin Dancer
Release Date: April 2014
Length: 312 pages
Series?: The Father Trilogy
Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Benjamin DancerAbout the Author

Benjamin is an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. 

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Spotlight + Excerpt: Stealing Time

Today is all about Nancy Pennick’s new novel, Stealing Time.

st book cover largeTitle: Stealing Time
Author: Nancy Pennick
Release Date: February 2014
Length: 225 pages
Series?: Waiting for Dusk #3
Genre: YA
Source: Back Cover Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

As senior year comes to a close, a promise of new beginnings is on the horizon. Kate longs to head to Arizona and college until her former friend, Tyson, does the unimaginable forcing her to stay in Ohio. Her family has to pull together to keep their secrets safe. Anna wishes to return to the canyon in 1927 once more and Kate’s determined to make that a reality. Summer’s filled with wonderful memories and little warning of things to come. Kate’s world grows darker and she must be the one to conquer the demons and save the world that is most precious to her.

Excerpt

“Oh my gosh, Drew. Tyson’s got the book!” Kate began to cry hysterically. What she feared most just transpired. The book got into the wrong hands.

Drew sat her down on the bed, putting his arm around her to calm her. “No one can see you like this. Try and pull yourself together. We have to let your dad know right away. We’ll figure out a way to get it back.”

“I’ll tell Carl. He’s good at figuring out what to do.” Kate got up and wiped her eyes with a tissue. “How do I look?” She turned to Drew.

“Like you’ve been crying.”

“Not good.”

“Take a minute and compose yourself. I’m going to find Jack and bring him up.” Drew disappeared and within a minute was back with Kate’s dad.

“Are you two sure you checked everywhere?” Her father glanced around the room. “I don’t know what to say.” He hit himself lightly in the head. “Think! I want to be an investigative reporter, and I’ve got nothing.”

“Investigative reporter?” Her father’s comment distracted Kate for a moment. “Where did that come from?”

“Always wanted to be one. Maybe write a crime novel or two.”

“But your books are about travel and…”

“Just fluff pieces, practice.” Her father abruptly cut her off. He rubbed his face. “Sorry to be so gruff.”

“We’re all upset. Can’t think straight right now.” Drew laid his hand on Jackson’s shoulder. “We’ve got this. Go back to the party.”

“Do a thorough search and then come down. Act like nothing’s happened.” Kate’s dad turned and left the room.

They stayed a few minutes longer, feeling under the bed, crawling on the floor, searching corners of the room.

“Drew, it’s pointless. He has the book. I know he does. I’ll just wait till he leaves tomorrow and run over to his house. I’ll make some excuse to his mom and find the book.”

“I’ll feel better when I see the book for myself.” Drew stood up. “Let’s get back.”

Time seemed to drag. Kate felt like the party she looked forward to would now never end. Tyson returned with Erin, and it was hard to be civil. Kate knew she needed to be nicer than ever and managed to get him alone in the house before he left. He was more than happy to come with her, telling Erin he’d meet her at the car.

“Ty, I’m working on Drew. I think he’s close to making his decision.”

Tyson grabbed Kate and swung her in the air, lightly kissing her. In the past, she would have protested, but now she had to go along with it. She cringed when she saw the look of surprise on his face. He saw it as a sign to come in for another, longer kiss.

“Don’t push it.” Kate put her hands up and gave him a slight shove. Tyson laughed like he did in her dream.

“You’re still a challenge. There’s nobody like you.” Tyson threw his head back and let out a loud whoop that no one seemed to hear. “One day…one day…” He nodded his head. “We’ll be together. Have a good trip…Arizona, right? See…I pay attention. I won’t be here to say good-bye or hello when you get back, but I’ll see you in my dreams.”

Tyson tried to get one more kiss, but Kate was able to dodge him. He headed for the front door, turned and saluted her before finally leaving.

Oh, you’ll be seeing me alright but not in your dreams and not in 1927 if I can help it. Kate slammed the door behind him.

unnamedAbout the Author

After a great career in teaching, Nancy found a second calling as a writer. Ohio is her home but she loves to travel the U.S. Her debut young adult novel, Waiting for Dusk, was a surprise to her as much as it was to her family. Watching a PBS series on National Parks, her mind wandered to another place and that is where the characters of Katie and Andrew were born. Call of the Canyon and Stealing Time continue their story. The Swedish influences found in the books came from her mother, whose parents emigrated from Sweden.

Nancy currently resides in Mentor, Ohio with her husband and their college-age son.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Spotlight + Excerpt: Patriarch Run

In the spotlight today is educator Benjamin Dancer’s recent novel, Patriarch Run. For the month of April, proceeds from his book will go to a local program, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, that brings local writers into the classrooms.

Displaying paper front4.pngTitle: Patriarch Run
Author: Benjamin Dancer
Release Date: April 2014
Length: 312 pages
Series?: The Father Trilogy
Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon 

Synopsis

Billy discovers that his father might be a traitor, that he was deployed to safeguard the United States from a cyberattack on its military networks. After that mission, his father disappeared along with the Chinese technology he was ordered to steal–a weapon powerful enough to sabotage the digital infrastructure of the modern age and force the human population into collapse. 

Against a backdrop of suspense, the story explores the archetypal themes of fatherhood, coming of age and self-acceptance through a set of characters that will leave you changed.

Excerpt

Rachel never rode over the summit of the mountain because of the treacherous nature of that trail. It was against all rational judgement that she found herself on it now. At tree line the horse climbed over the ridge, stepped out of the spruce forest and onto the packed scree that made up the trail from there to the tundra. The mountainside below them gave way completely to granite cliffs.
The trail snaked along the top.
At the highest point among the cliffs, with nearly a thousand feet of empty space beneath the hooves of Old Sam, Rachel spotted two figures several hundred yards in the distance. She talked to the horse. Said she couldn’t be sure, but it looked to be a man and a bristlecone pine.
The horse walked on.
“Watch your step, Old Sam.”
As they closed the distance, Rachel recognized him and saw that he was untying a rope from the gnarled tree.
“You couldn’t have picked a better view.”
Regan had looked at her once when he first heard the hooves on the scree, then he went back to his rope. Now he looked up at her face. Looked the horse over. Then he studied her eyes. She had divined his purpose.
He looked away. “Yeah, it’ll do.”
The two knew each other, but had rarely had cause to speak.
“I don’t mean to meddle, but it seems to me that the rope is ill conceived.”
Regan finished retying the rope to the tree, tested the knot and asked, “How so?”
“Too much length, and the wind, along with your own momentum, will lacerate your flesh against the rock.”
He looked over the edge. “That occurred to me as you were coming up. I shortened the rope.”
“Not enough length, and it’ll be slow and painful.”
He studied the coil of parachute cord on the ground and said with very little inflection. “It looks about right to me.” Then he walked over to a granite boulder.
“Seems you’ve thought it through.”
He sat down and pulled off his right boot. “We’ll see.”
Rachel reached behind her and took out a water bottle. Drank. She offered the bottle to Regan with a gesture.
He put out his lower lip and shook his head almost imperceptibly.
She capped it and put it back.
“Mind if I ask you a question?”
“Go ahead.” He pulled off the other boot.
“Why the rope and the cliff?”
“Coyotes.”
“I don’t follow.”
“When I was a kid, coyotes killed my dog. I heard the fight, but by the time I found her in the dark, they were already feeding on her guts.” He took off both socks and stood up. “They pulled her insides out through her anus.” He stepped over to the precipice and surveyed the valley.
“How old were you?”
“Six.”
Rachel nodded her head, which he didn’t see.
“With only the rope or only the cliff, I’d be left for the coyotes.”
“But this way it’s only insects and birds.”
He spun to face her, his widened eyes betraying surprise–or maybe alarm.
“Birds always eat the eyeballs first,” she continued. “Must be a delicacy to them. The insects just want a womb for their maggots. A nutrient-rich source to give their young a good start.”
Regan fidgeted with the socks in his hands.
“You could’ve picked a high branch.”
He looked distracted, as if he was still digesting the other image. “I thought of that.” He walked over to his boots, unbuttoning his silk shirt.
“Yeah.”
“A bear could cut the rope.”
“It seems you’ve thought it through.”
He took off his shirt, folded it and set it on a rock. “We’ll see.”
Rachel looked back over the trail. “Well, I best be goin’.”
“OK.”
She turned the horse, “Those are some fancy clothes.”
“Yeah.” He took off his belt. “The boots alone cost me eleven hundred dollars, and that was before tax.”
“I suppose it’s fitting.”
“It seemed that way to me, too, down at the house. But after being up here, I don’t think so.”
“How so?”
He wasn’t looking at her anymore. “I think I’ll be more comfortable without them.”
“What are you going to do with those eleven hundred dollar boots?”
He carried the clothes over to the bristlecone tree, put the boots on top of the folded shirt, the socks inside the boots and the belt around the boots. “Come back and get ’em if you like.”
“Well, I best be gettin’ along.”
“Ok.”
“You know my place?”
“I know it.”
“We’ll be sittin’ down for supper around six. Sirloin and potatoes. If you have a mind to, you’re welcome to stop by.”
He picked up the loose end of the parachute cord and started tying a hangman’s noose. “I appreciate that.”

Benjamin DancerAbout the Author

Benjamin is an Advisor at Jefferson County Open School where he has made a career out of mentoring young people as they come of age. He wrote the novels PATRIARCH RUN, IN SIGHT OF THE SUN and FIDELITY. He also writes about parenting and education. 

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Book Review: Shackled

Shackled

Title: Shackled
Author: Angela Carling
Release Date: June 2012
Length: 204 pages
Series?: no
Genre: thriller
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

 

Synopsis

After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school, asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her naive and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be-true suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Review

If you know a young lady, please buy this book and give it to her – no matter if she’s 14 or 34. This is a story she needs to hear…maybe a story she’s finding herself living in, or suspect’s a friend is living in.

Carling writes a crystal clear picture of a controlling, abusive relationship when young Lucy and her family move to Washington. Ryan is a pretty, rich boy who takes an instant liking to Lucy, but things soon start becoming too much. Ryan cuts Lucy off from his friends, isolates her and performs damage control when he’s on the verge. When her parents announce they are going to Mexico for spring break, Lucy’s wolf in sheep’s clothing starts shedding his wool, and she realizes she’s living in a private hell.

This novel is very well-written, told in first-person by Lucy. There are alternating chapters between Lucy, Ryan and Mason (for the most part). Lucy’s character development is very real – scarily real. This topic hit close to home for Carling, with a loved one experiencing this kind of relationship for years. Carling admits in a note following the last chapter that she felt she had to write Lucy’s story, and at times she was so sickened she had to walk away from her writing. Carling has superbly written a story about abusive, controlling relationships that rings with a sad truth: women, beautiful, successful women of all ages all over are living through their own personal hells – maybe sometimes through self-creation – and they are too fearful and intimidated to follow the steps that will lead to their freedom.

 

I cannot express enough how much Carling’s story of Lucy and Ryan resonated with me, and how much I want to share this novel. Maybe it’s because I was Lucy a few years ago. I had a friend who was Lucy at the same time. It was scary to see my thoughts from a short time ago reflected back at me in these pages, the thoughts I had as a friend of Lucy about my friend’s suddenly possessive and obsessive relationship.

I have shared a few of Lucy’s thoughts below. If any of the bolded terms strike you about a friend, please reach out to them, proper groups that can provided help and support, or local law enforcement. There is a way out, a light at the end of the tunnel.

No one is coming for me. He made sure of that. The worst part is that I let him. I even defended him when my friends warned me and then eventually left me, growing tired of my excuses.

I first let myself be caught up in the deep pool of his addictive pale blue eyes. They captured me, holding me suspended in what could be, and then reflected back my vulnerabilities with stunning accuracy.

For me, so much had changed. Being miles from him had helped me really see the flaws in our relationship for the first time. The fairy tale was tainted, yet I still wasn’t willing to walk away. I could not deny that I loved him and that love was a powerful motivator that kept bringing me back to him, far more powerful than anything he gave me to wear.

Maybe I was scared of the direction my relationship with Ryan was heading. Either way, I found myself longing to dive into the cool blue water.

Fear was trying to claw its way to the top, but I subdued it, telling myself that it would be alright, that Ryan loved me.

Romanticism won out, and I chose to believe that his physical aggression was an anomaly, a onetime mishap that he was driven to by my own stupidity.

Bound to him through love or guilt, and he knew from being raised by his father that those were two of the most powerful emotions on the earth.

For some reason, I knew this was a critical moment that I had to rise to the challenge. If I didn’t, if I let him shove me down one more time, especially without a fight, I was afraid that I would disintegrate into nothingness, becoming permanently small and insignificant. Then he would own me and I would disappear altogether.

TitlePic2About the Author

I was born and raised in Palm Springs, California and after living in several different states ended up back in yet another desert in Arizona, where I reside with my husband, three kids and five cats.  We’ve now lived here for ten years and haven’t melted yet, although we have fried eggs on the sidewalk. We love to escape to our cabin in the mountains or to my favorite place, the beach. I have several obsessions, including my passion for all kinds of music and my inability to stop buying cheap jewelry. I am often caught singing in public bathrooms, just for the acoustics, or rollerblading through my neighborhood while singing loudly to whatever is playing on my iPod. I love to have lots of flowers in my garden and shiny things in my house.  My favorite holiday of all (going along with the shiny things theme) is Christmas. All in all, I consider myself the luckiest, most blessed person alive and am so happy to have this opportunity to write and also to share my writing with other people!

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