Tag Archives: paranormal

A Shadow of Love by Amy S. Cutler Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman fleeing her abusive husband moves into a 19th-century farmhouse, where she meets and soon falls in love with a poet who died in 1917, but as the curse that has kept him bound to the land is running out, they must discover how far they are willing to go for their love in author Amy S. Cutler’s “A Shadow of Love”.

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The Synopsis

When Annabelle flees her abusive husband and moves into an 1860’s farmhouse, she soon learns that she is not alone; she shares her home with Christian, the ghost of a poet who killed himself in 1917. Christian, wanting nothing but solitude, tries to scare Annabelle away, but once they come together while she is dreaming, they fall in love. The clock is ticking for Christian, for moments after his hanging his fiance magically cursed his spirit to be stuck on earth for one hundred years, and his time is almost up.

With Annabelle’s ex threatening her and the spirit she has fallen in love with on the verge of disappearing, Annabelle becomes obsessed with staying with Christian, and will do anything to be with him.

Being in love with a ghost is bad enough, but for Annabelle, discovering that her true love will be crossing over at any moment pushes her over the edge of reckless behavior.

The Review

What a truly brilliant paranormal romance read. The author did an incredible job of finding just the right balance between supernatural elements and the passionate romance that develops within this narrative. Despite the modern era, this book is written in, the tone and style of writing the author utilize almost conjures up in the reader’s mind a gothic romance of sorts as if this story could easily be played out in a Victorian England manor. 

Yet it was the author’s blend of atmosphere and character development that really sold this story. The complex backstories of both the protagonists really showcased the trauma and experiences that each of them bonded over. The cast of characters surrounding them helped flesh out this world and kept Annabelle tied to the physical world as her heart drifted to the supernatural romance beckoning her. The setting itself felt very atmospheric, capturing the tone and genre perfectly and keeping me invested in these characters’ stories. 

The Verdict

Haunting, emotionally driven, and thoughtful, author Amy S. Cutler’s “A Shadow of Love” is a must-read paranormal romance novel that fits perfectly into the fall season. The rich dynamics between these characters and the twists and turns their journey takes will have readers on the edge of their seats, while the final pages will hit readers right in the heart. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Purchase a copy of Shadow of Love on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.  

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About the Author

Amy S Cutler, author of A Shadow of Love earned her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Most recently she was published in Slut Vomit: An Anthology of Sex Work and featured in the Tales to Terrify Podcast, among others. Her writing focus is suspense, horror, science fiction, and ghost stories. She can be contacted through AmysHippieHut.com. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Blog Tour Calendar

October 3rd @ WOW! Women on Writing

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

October 5th @ Sadie’s Spotlight

Sadie spotlights A Shadow of Love and features an excerpt from the book.

http://sadiesspotlight.com/

October 6th @ Create Write Now

Mari L. McCarthy shares a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about the importance of learning how to self-market. A must-read post for authors!

https://createwritenow.com

October 8th @ Life According to Jamie

Jamie reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. Don’t miss this exciting book!

https://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com

October 10th @ Amy’s Booket List

Join Amy as she reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

October 12th @ Word Magic

Join Fiona as she shares a guest post by Amy S. Butler about the importance of finding a writing community.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ What is That Book About?

Find out more about A Shadow of Love by Amy S. Cutler in this book spotlight.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com

October 16th @ Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Read a review of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

October 17th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Join Jill as she interviews author Amy S. Cutler about her book A Shadow of Love.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

October 18th @ A Storybook World

Deirdra features Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

October 19th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Bev reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

October 20th @ Knotty Needle

Join Judy Hudgins for her review of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

October 21st @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she shares a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about the story behind the haunted house in the novel.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 22nd @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews & Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Amy S. Culter about her book A Shadow of Love.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

October 24th @ Girl Zombie Authors

Read a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about why ghost stories are so popular.

https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/

October 25th @ Four Moon Reviews

Join Samantha as she reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. You can also win a copy of the book too!

https://fourmoonreviews.blogspot.com/

October 27th @ Girl Zombie Authors

Come by Chris’ blog again and read a review of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!

https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/

October 29th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Visit Linda’s blog for an in-depth interview with author Amy S. Cutler about her book A Shadow of Love.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com

October 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog for Amy S. Cutler’s guest post about finding a publisher.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

November 1st @ Choices

Join Madeline as she features a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about the first draft process.

http://www.madelinesharples.com/

November 2nd @ Jessica Belmont’s Blog

Jessica reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

https://jessicabelmont.com

November 3rd @ Write Advice

Read Amy’s guest post about how she found the idea for Shadow of Love and turned it into a story.

https://writeradvice.com/

November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Read Anthony’s review of A Shadow of Love by Amy S. Cutler. A paranormal book you don’t want to miss!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

Interview with Author William Hart

Tell us a little about yourself.

     I wanted to be a writer from childhood, but didn’t think of myself that way until after college, when I decided to become one. Tired of school and knowing poets don’t earn much, I began supporting myself, my wife and our daughter as a commercial sheet metal worker on grain elevators in Wichita, Kansas, my hometown. In my thirties I did grad school in English, finishing at the University of Southern California, where I met my current wife, a filmmaker from Calcutta, India.

     My wife and I taught college writing for twenty years, then retired early to pursue our creative careers. I write novels, memoirs, stories, and poetry collections. I also help Jayasri make her documentary films, two of which have played nationally on PBS. My writing has appeared in several hundred literary journals, commercial magazines, newspapers and anthologies, and fifteen books.

What was your first experience with the paranormal

     I had one ESP experience over fifty years ago, which I discuss under question 8. The book I just published, My Friend Richard, is a narrative memoir describing in detail my second experience with the paranormal, which has been transpiring off-and-on for over a decade now, ever since a close high school buddy came in his spirit form to live with my wife and me. When Richard arrived, I had an open mind on the subject of ghosts, partly because my wife tells a vivid story about her grandfather, who in the days after his death came to see both her and her cousin, his favorites among his female grandchildren. My wife is an unusually rational person, truthful to a fault. If she says her grandfather’s presence came to say good-bye accompanied by the heavy rose scent of his funeral ceremony, then it happened. 

What is one misconception people have about the paranormal that you want readers to know?

     Most of us watch Hollywood movies, and the most powerful of them help shape our thinking. One problem with that is we can end up with many unfounded notions about, for instance, the paranormal. I believe films vastly exaggerate the drama of paranormal, usually to scare us out of our pants. The truth is calmer and more mundane. To me the paranormal is as normal as regular existence. Richard, once my living friend, and now my spirit friend, I’m convinced is as real as me. He’s just in a different state. I’m a living being, composed of both body and spirit. He’s a spirit without a body, having lost it to death. Both of us are natural, and real, and neither of us is more real or more natural than the other. In other words, the “paranormal” is a generally unacknowledged part of the normal.

     Richard has shown me that our laws of physics are woefully inadequate, because they omit entirely the spiritual components of our universe, which are as genuine as the material components, though less substantial. There is a whole other world of spirit alongside (or within) our world of the living. It was my luck to be contacted by a being from that other place, who had a favor to ask. He has become my guide in the zone where his world and mine intersect. Our continuing friendship has made me an explorer of the other side.

Are there any haunted locations that have fueled your interest in the paranormal field?

     Definitely. In 2013, my wife and I visited the good ship Queen Mary, permanently docked in Long Beach Harbor and functioning as a hotel. We attended a ghost presentation by one of the ship’s officers, a true believer in the ghosts aboard his vessel. His lecture on those ghosts, which he and other ship employees have witnessed, along with film and stills taken of them, convinced my wife and me that the Mary is haunted by a number of spirits—men, women, and some children. I suspect not all ghost houses are real. But I think a ghost house running overnight on the Queen Mary would give you a decent shot at experiencing the real thing. And, if ghosts congregate on the Mary, they likely gather in other similar places.

What is the biggest takeaway you have from your experiences with the paranormal as expressed in your book? 

     My friend has proved to me I will have an afterlife, as we all will. There can be no doubt in my mind, because I’ve seen and interacted with someone whose afterlife is now over fifty years old. I doubt all ghosts continue in their spirit state as long as Richard has. Most of us I think, after a time in our ghost manifestation, move on, though I don’t know to where or to what. Perhaps our spirit moves into the body of another being, like many Hindus believe. All I know for sure is that we all have afterlives, whether brief or long or forever. Richard leads me to believe we may to some degree get to choose for ourselves what that afterlife will be.

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If you could travel to one haunted location and investigate it, where would it be and why?

     I don’t have to travel. The ghost I know best has lived with us for twelve or thirteen years at least, and apparently has no intention of changing residence. He seems to have settled into our master bedroom closet. However, he hasn’t been active since the first of this year, when he threw a temper tantrum, breaking a ceiling panel in our kitchen and stealing our new 2022 kitchen calendar. We haven’t found the calendar. 

How much influence and power do you think people give to spirits or ghosts?

     Hollywood gives ghosts a lot more power than I believe they actually have, simply to up their terror factor. Lacking a body limits an actual ghost in what it can do physically. I also believe ghosts are bound by rules, imposed by whom or what I don’t know. For example, I think spirits aren’t allowed to harm humans to any significant degree. When I asked Richard not to bother me for a while, he obeyed. He obeyed so well I thought he’d left us. Then I offended him with something I wrote (and he read) and he retaliated on New Year’s Day in our kitchen.  

Besides ghosts, what other paranormal fields interest you?

     I’ve experienced ESP and am curious about it. My daughter was 150 miles away when she was seriously assaulted. I was busy at work when it happened, but I felt the attack powerfully in my gut and knew it was my kid afraid and hurting. I didn’t learn what happened until later. This experience convinced me humans have psychic powers. I’ve seen that Richard has psychic powers too. It’s made me want to find out more about ESP. How many psychic powers are there and how can they be explained? I’d like to know more. 

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About the Author

William Hart is a novelist and poet living in Los Angeles. After earning a doctorate in English from the University of Southern California, he taught college writing courses in LA and wrote. Now he writes–fiction mostly–while helping produce the documentaries of filmmaker Jayasri Majumdar, his wife. Hart’s work has appeared in several hundred literary journals, commercial magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, and fourteen books. A pair of one-hour documentaries from Hartfilms aired nationally on PBS, the latest receiving Emmy nominations. 

Plague Unleashed (The Intern Diaries Book Two) by D.C. Gomez Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Death’s intern must save a small town in Texas as a mysterious plague turns its citizens into the beginning stages of the walking dead in author D.C. Gomez’s “Plague Unleashed”, the second book in The Intern Diaries series! 

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The Synopsis

After eight months as Death’s North America Intern, Isis Black is comfortable seeing dead people.

She is used to talking to the souls of the departed and helping Death carry the souls to the afterlife, too. But unfortunately, her intense training is not enough to prepare her for her new challenge: the walking dead.

Zombie-like people, whom have lost all higher-level consciousness, are walking the streets in the small Texas city of Texarkana, where Isis lives and works. Isis, and her teammates, a talking cat and a genius boy, must find the person responsible for this destruction, stop the infestation, and find a cure before every living person turns into a zombie or dies without a soul.

Not only must Isis find a cure for the plague, she must find it in five days—before twenty-thousand people arrive to watch and compete in the math and robotic Bowl Games.

If Isis doesn’t stop the plague in time, everyone who attends the games will contract the virus and spread it across the country.

Can Isis find the culprit, the cure, and save Texarkana and the country from a zombie apocalypse?

In this second book of the captivating series, The Intern Diaries, author D.C. Gomez takes the reader on a fast-paced, exciting journey through the real-life streets of Texarkana

The Review

This novel’s unique blend of humor and supernatural mythos was on point. The author did an incredible job of world-building in this narrative, with the small town of Texarkana not only bringing a more intimate setting to the larger-than-life narrative but also becoming quite vast in nature when the grand scale of this storyline comes to fruition. 

Yet for me personally, it was the combination of rich character dynamics and deep-rooted mythos that the author crafted that made this story so brilliant. The inclusion of other powerful entities besides Death being expanded upon in this narrative and the inclusion and teases of other supernatural creatures and mythologies made the cohesive nature of the story feel pretty epic. All the while, the author brought some heart and humor to the situation with the cast of characters, for whom they found love and friendship amongst one another that kept them together and fueled their mission to help those affected by these supernatural threats.

The Verdict

Action-packed, captivating, and entertaining, author D.C. Gomez’s “Plague Unleashed” is a must-read paranormal and humorous fantasy novel and a great second novel in The Intern Diaries series! The breathtaking imagery and tension the author layers into the narrative enshrines the mind-blowing mythology the author builds upon from the first book and leaves readers eager for the third book in the series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

D. C. Gomez is a USA Today Bestselling Author, born in the Dominican Republic and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. She study film and television at New York University. After college she joined the US Army, and proudly served for four years.

Those experiences shaped her quirky sense of humor. D.C. has a love for those who served and the families that support them. She currently lives in the quaint city of Wake Village, Texas, with her furry roommate, Chincha.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CXPGMP5/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F61260153-plague-unleashed%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DeJXHQo6gvl%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Interview with Author Yasmine Maher 

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I think I’ve always been a storyteller, even before I learned how to write. My parents used to keep cassette tapes of the six-year-old me narrating stories I made up with imaginary characters and colorful worlds. During middle school, I started experimenting with writing, video creation, and drawing anime mainly because I had so many stories to tell. Though I didn’t create anything serious until much later in life, it all put me on the right track.

Growing up with social anxiety, I had a lot of trouble expressing myself. I have never really been an eloquent speaker, but writing gave me an opportunity to put my thoughts and feelings into words and helped me become more confident.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Honestly, I wrote the first draft of Echo so long ago that I can’t remember how it all started. But I do know that I’ve always been passionate about magic and superheroes. At that time, most female superheroes I knew were “too cool,” if I may. I couldn’t relate to them, and I wanted to write about a hero that was just…ordinary. A clumsy, sometimes naive character who’s always trying to do her best despite her own insecurities. That was how Echo was born. 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Everyone has a choice. In the battle against evil, the hardest part is to fight the demons inside. Whether it was Echo, Doyle, Ebba, or any of the characters, it was always up to them to choose redemption, even when it wasn’t the obvious choice and when it wasn’t easy.

There’s evil and good in all of us, and we get to choose which side will win. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve been a fan of witches and witchcraft since I was a child watching Sabrina The Teenage Witch on the Disney channel. So, my first serious book had to be a fantasy. 

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

If I could, I’d sit down with Vanna, drink tea, and ask her about life in general. What she has learned in her long life and what she has read in her books. Vanna has always been the one who didn’t say much, yet she thought a lot and had surprising opinions about everything.  

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6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

It’s a bit too early to judge that since I’m still starting, and my book isn’t even out yet. Like many authors, social media is a great challenge for me; however, I’m more comfortable using Twitter than FB or Instagram, and many people know me from there.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Keep writing. It’s the only way to get better. Ask for professional feedback if you can (and as soon as you can). And stay strong. Writing is not for the faint of heart, and the path to authorship is full of rewrites, rejections, and redirections. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Yes, I’m very excited about moving on to my new books. I’ve already plotted the planned the first two. They’re going to be different from Echo, and I hope they’ll live up to my readers’ expectations.

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About the Author

Yasmine Maher is the author of Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches and Director of Fables and Facts Publishing. As a passionate wordsmith and an active member of the Twitter writing community, Yasmine loves to weave captivating tales that inspire her readers with whimsical adventures, magic, and larger-than-life characters.

https://yasminemaher.com/

To Charm A Killer (A Hollystone Mystery Book One) by W.L. Hawkin Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

The High Priest of a powerful coven must search for a killer who is targeting witches as Hecate issues a dreadful prophecy he must race to prevent in author W.L. Hawkin’s “To Charm a Killer”, the first book in the Hollystone Mystery Series! 

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The Synopsis

When a third witch vanishes from Vancouver, the witches of Hollystone Coven spin a charm to catch the killer. But spells ripple with repercussions, and in the ensuing chaos, an innocent seventeen-year-old girl gets caught up in the charm. As obsessed with the killer as the killer is with him, High Priest Estrada vows to find the man and stop him. Then, at their Samhain ritual, Hecate speaks through their high priestess and shocks everyone with her prophecy:

As one of you has spun the charm, now none of you are safe from harm.

One who all felt they could trust, breeds deception cloaked in lust.

One will gain their heart’s desire, while yet another pays with fire.

Before the dark of winter night, four souls pass over into light.

Once begun it cannot end, but circles round as circles bend.

To save the girl and catch the killer, Estrada journeys from the West Coast of Canada to Ireland and Beyond. Abduction, death, fire, and faeries. Who is the killer? Why is he killing witches? And how can he be stopped before Hecate’s prophecy comes true?

WL Hawkin weaves threads of Macbeth and ancient Irish myth with edgy romance in this mysterious urban fantasy. To Charm a Killer is the first in the Hollystone Mysteries series.

The Review

I have had the pleasure of reviewing quite a few books this past year from W.L. Hawkins. Her work always entertains and inspires me both as a reader and a writer, and the interesting thing about this series, in particular, is that I came into it starting with book 2 and then jumping around a bit. I’ve become quite invested in Estrada’s journey throughout this series, and getting to see the genesis of this character and the supporting cast was such a pleasure to read about.

The balance of action and mythos was so strong in this first novel. The way the author is able to integrate the supernatural and paranormal elements into the world so naturally was amazing to read. As someone who is fascinated with the real-world applications of magick, the paranormal, and the supernatural as a whole, it was great to see just how close the author was able to go through real-world practices and mythologies before integrating the more fantastic elements of the narrative.

Yet it was the mystery and suspense of the narrative that was truly great to read about. The shocking murders and the cat and mouse element of the plot between Estrada and the killer kept me hooked on the author’s narrative. Being able to keep the reader guessing the killer’s identity as the clues begin to unravel before them was such a fun aspect of the plot, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thought-provoking, author W.L. Hawkin’s “To Charm a Killer” is a must-read novel and a great first book in the Hollystone Mystery series! The twists and turns in the narrative and globe-spanning mystery blended well into the mythology and supernatural deep dive into witchcraft, magick, and the paranormal as a whole, making this a thrilling story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

W. L. Hawkin writes myth, magic, and mayhem designed to inspire and entertain. Described as “intoxicating, lush, magically-edgy, page-turners,” her Hollystone Mysteries series features a coven of witches who solve murders using their wits and ritual magic with a little help from the gods. Wendy is also a published blogger, book reviewer, Indie publisher, and poet, with a background in Indigenous Studies and English literature. She loves myth and magic, so when she’s not writing, she’s studying Druidry, shamanism, and mediumship. Although she is an introvert, in each book, her characters go on a journey where she has traveled herself.

She defies genre by writing character-driven fast-paced mysteries and thrillers that involve fantastical characters. See her four book series: To Charm a Killer, To Sleep with Stones, To Render a Raven, and To Kill a King.

Her latest book, Lure, is set on a Chippewa Reservation in the American Midwest and tells the story of Jesse & Hawk.

Song To The Siren by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two documentary filmmakers go on an intense journey to discover the truth behind the untimely death of an indie rockstar who may or may not have been struggling with some very real ghosts in authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “Song To The Siren”.

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The Synopsis

When two young documentary filmmakers start investigating the enigmatic death of the infamous Reed Sinclair, founder of the never-quite-made-it indie rock group The Big Carnival, by interviewing Reed’s former girlfriend, photographer Samantha (“Sam”) MacNamara, she tells them the story of a seeming love triangle between herself, Reed, and a frightening entity named Belle. Belle may have simply been how Reed’s troubled mental state interpreted multiple tragedies and coincidences in his life… or she may have been a supernatural being…

The Review

This was such an engaging and mesmerizing read. The story does an incredible job of delving into a multitude of genres that keep the reader guessing, from paranormal and mythology-driven fantasy to dramatic mental health and romantic suspense novels. The themes of mental health, fame and its impact on those who achieve it, and the hidden mysteries of life itself, all played such a pivotal role in the narrative, and how these characters connected to one another. 

I loved the pacing and the formatting of this novel. The use of Sam as the narrator of sorts as the filmmakers interview her throughout the book really gave a unique 3rd person perspective to the story, and allowed for some distance between the reader and the characters in question, aka Reed and “Belle”, so that the question of Belle’s existence continuously played a role in the narrative as the story progressed. It was such an engaging story.

The Verdict

Captivating, entertaining, and thoughtful, author Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “Song To The Siren” is a must-read paranormal and mythological story. The utilization of the indie-rock scene as a setting for emotional character growth and the mystery of “Belle” overall made this one novel reader won’t want to miss. Be on the lookout for this book starting this fall! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Barb is originally from Minnesota. She was a radio DJ for a while in college, and then she grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter and got an album put out on the Imp label. However, she also had health issues: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia and extreme environmental sensitivities and allergies. (She also has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to issues involving her family of origin.)

For a while, brain fog from the CFS and the fibro made it harder for her to read long and involved works of fiction… So (since she’d always loved them in her childhood) she got into reading comics and graphic novels, particularly the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics.

Now we pop over to Park, in central Texas. Like Barb, Park also read comics (and a LOT of books) in his youth as well (a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books than Barb, and a lot more Marvel comics than Barb). Then he started college and said “I need an extra hobby or something. Maybe I’ll get back into comics again.” He started doing so, including reading the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics…

Then someone in the letter columns of the comic Sandman announced that they were doing a fanzine for readers of that comic. Barb and Park both wrote in.

Barb and Park became aware of one another… Park liked the writing Barb submitted to the fanzine, and he wrote to Barb, and they began writing to each other. Then they started talking on the phone… they fell in love… they started visiting one another…

Reader, they got married (to each other).

Barb wrote for the award-winning website Sequential Tart, made by women about comics and other popular culture things, and Barb wrote a lot of reviews and articles (especially articles)

Park and Barb had a column online for a now-defunct website entitled The Park and Barb show (about the same sorts of things) for 12 years…

A little after they started those things, Barb started writing her comic Gun Street Girl…

A little after that, they started adapting and editing manga for major American publishers importing manga (and sometimes their South Korean and Chinese counterparts) from the far side of the Pacific. Honestly, there were too many to keep track of… lots and lots of titles. Near the end of this, Barb and Park wrote the manga pitch The Hidden for TokyoPop, perfectly timed to appear the week that that company fell apart.

Then Barb and Park wrote the sci-fi vampire graphic novel Half Dead.

Somewhere around this time, Park successfully completed his Ph.D. in literature, and then Barb and Park wrote the vampire prose novel Something More Than Blood.

Eventually Park started writing his cyberpunk comic Swipe for Angry Viking Press.

(You can read more about all of the above projects elsewhere on this website!)

There were also other various short stories (and a novel, in one case) and non-manga-related editing jobs, too many to bother counting here…

These days, Barb and Park live happily together in Austin, Texas.

https://parkgsg.wixsite.com/wickermanstudios/home

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057705847859

The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry by Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A therapist finds herself drawn into a world of the strange and bizarre as a mystery client walks into her office with stories of the supernatural in authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic & Psychiatry”.

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The Synopsis 

Zach Cutter claims he’s not really an antiques dealer as such, but that he’s really a supernatural investigator.

–Zach claims he’s got repressed memories, missing at least a year of his life, probably more.

–Zach claims he can do magic. Not stage magician magic– REAL magic.

–Zach claims he’s got FEELINGS for his new psychiatrist, Dr. Cynthia Mann.

–Zach claims a LOT of problematic things.

But they’re ALL TRUE.

After a disturbing case in New York made Dr. Cynthia Mann wonder if the supernatural might actually be real, she’s started her life and her practice all over again in Cleveland, where she meets a new patient, stranger than any she’s ever met before—and far more charming than anyone she’s ever met, too. 

During the progress Zach makes as Cynthia’s patient, he tells her stories about his past, and their relationship slowly edges from a doctor-patient one to a friendship—and Zach clearly wouldn’t mind if it became more. 

Together, Cynthia and Zach will eventually have to find a way for him to get out of the trouble he stumbled into long ago…

The Review

This was such an engaging and exhilarating paranormal read. The authors did such a great job of world-building and infusing humor and wit into the dialogue between the characters. The vivid imagery that was used in the author’s writing was perfect to help build a visual in my mind of these stories that Zach begins to relay to Cynthia. I could easily picture that first story in particular, with Zach helping a ghost locate the map to some lost loot that he had left with his partner in crime years earlier. The more intimate approach that the authors took to this style of storytelling will draw readers in immediately.

One thing of note that all readers should know is that some of the characters and stories involve instances of self-harm, suicide, and more, so reader discretion is advised. With that in mind, the emotional and psychological nature of the narrative and the way the author balanced this out with the witty dialogue between the two main protagonists was so great to see, as it added a grounded and depth of humanity to the story that featured so many supernatural and mythological stories of magick and creatures abound.

The Verdict

Captivating, heartfelt, and entertaining, authors Barbara Lien-Cooper and Park Cooper’s “The Talking Cure: A Novel of Magic and Psychiatry” is a must-read paranormal thriller of 2022! The imagery and atmospheric build-up of these supernatural cases from Zach and the growing relationship between him and Cynthia will have readers hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to go and follow the author’s socials and website for updates to their publishing schedule, as the preorder link should go live next month. 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Authors

Barb is originally from Minnesota. She was a radio DJ for a while in college, and then she grew up to become a guitarist/singer-songwriter and got an album put out on the Imp label. However, she also had health issues: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia and extreme environmental sensitivities and allergies. (She also has Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to issues involving her family of origin.)

For a while, brain fog from the CFS and the fibro made it harder for her to read long and involved works of fiction… So (since she’d always loved them in her childhood) she got into reading comics and graphic novels, particularly the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics.

Now we pop over to Park, in central Texas. Like Barb, Park also read comics (and a LOT of books) in his youth as well (a lot more sci-fi and fantasy books than Barb, and a lot more Marvel comics than Barb). Then he started college and said “I need an extra hobby or something. Maybe I’ll get back into comics again.” He started doing so, including reading the comparatively avant-garde work coming out at that time from DC Comics…

Then someone in the letter columns of the comic Sandman announced that they were doing a fanzine for readers of that comic. Barb and Park both wrote in.

Barb and Park became aware of one another… Park liked the writing Barb submitted to the fanzine, and he wrote to Barb, and they began writing to each other. Then they started talking on the phone… they fell in love… they started visiting one another…

Reader, they got married (to each other).

Barb wrote for the award-winning website Sequential Tart, made by women about comics and other popular culture things, and Barb wrote a lot of reviews and articles (especially articles)

Park and Barb had a column online for a now-defunct website entitled The Park and Barb show (about the same sorts of things) for 12 years…

A little after they started those things, Barb started writing her comic Gun Street Girl…

A little after that, they started adapting and editing manga for major American publishers importing manga (and sometimes their South Korean and Chinese counterparts) from the far side of the Pacific. Honestly, there were too many to keep track of… lots and lots of titles. Near the end of this, Barb and Park wrote the manga pitch The Hidden for TokyoPop, perfectly timed to appear the week that that company fell apart.

Then Barb and Park wrote the sci-fi vampire graphic novel Half Dead.

Somewhere around this time, Park successfully completed his Ph.D. in literature, and then Barb and Park wrote the vampire prose novel Something More Than Blood.

Eventually Park started writing his cyberpunk comic Swipe for Angry Viking Press.

(You can read more about all of the above projects elsewhere on this website!)

There were also other various short stories (and a novel, in one case) and non-manga-related editing jobs, too many to bother counting here…

These days, Barb and Park live happily together in Austin, Texas.

https://parkgsg.wixsite.com/wickermanstudios/home

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057705847859

Interview with Author David A. Neuman 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?


I’m not sure when it began – perhaps in another lifetime – but one significant event sticks in mind: when in year six or seven, the teacher asked the class to write an essay on a topic of their choice, much to the student’s mortal objections, except for goody-two-shoes. I wrote about a tree in a field and described it to the inch degree. And – ta-da! – received top marks. Whether it be a tree or shadows lurking within other dimensions, the urge to present folks with a doorway in which to escape remains my driving force. KALEIDOSCOPIC SHADES, however, remained mothballed for a decade until a lovely ex-hippy, ex-school principal, and all-around good guy – Hi there, Brian Harris! – suggested that I get off my butt and do something about it.

What inspired you to write your book?


Part of my childhood was spent in a house where unseen guests strutted about, opening and closing all amount of the doors and windows and even went as far as rescuing me, if not the entire family, from potential disaster. Awakening one morning, freezing cold – as my folks had made the mind-numbing decision of us moving us into the Adelaide hills where night temperatures kept one in cryogenic status year-round – I was greeted by several oddities 1.) My electric blanket had caught alight during the night and had burned a patch in the bedsheets and mattress and 2.) The electrical cords feeding the blanket had been unplugged and pulled from the socket. The rest of the family were still sleeping blissfully unaware when this discovery was made. Oh – and by the way, it’s not true, you know? The dead… they can hurt you just as easily. And badly.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?


Ah – you know, that is both an interesting question as well as one which draws out a simple answer: we are all in this together, and when we all start learning that – if mankind as a whole ever will – we’ll discover regardless of sexual orientation, of gender and desires, of likes and dislikes, of the color of our skin or the gods we genuflect to, each and every one of us experiences pain, love, happiness, and sadness and by turning one’s back on someone in need only cheapens humanity.

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What drew you into this particular genre?


The undying intrigue in what lies beyond. I believe I just about absorb every ghost-hunting doco, paranormal doco, and everything in between which can’t be explained. Yep – it’s pretty much part of my DNA and scares the pants off my lovely GP whenever I ask for a blood test and he gets the results! There is so much anecdotal evidence out there that screams at us to take notice – or suffer the consequences of ignorance.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?


Huh – I’ve never given that a thought. The characters were such an integral part of my life for as long as I was with them through their journey. I guess I would ask both Joshua and Leon why the hell they just don’t open up about their feelings for each other. I could also ask Bob and Sue if there were any substantial differences between Adelaide and California. And, by the end of the ordeal, I’d ask each and every one of them how they were going to approach the rest of their lives having survived the ravenous horrors of another reality.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?


Ha-ha-ha! I’m on LinkedIn which automatically hooks up to Twitter, but I don’t seem to be very good at socials. I feel very clumsy as if I’m soliciting people in some weird way. There’s a giveaway I’m involved in at the moment on Crave Books in both sci-fi and horror genres and it took me an age to post the link on LinkedIn. Therefore, I’m pretty much talking to myself… seriously, I have a number of followers, and if we all got together we could have a quaint dinner party. But – boy howdy – I’d love these special people to purchase Kaleidoscopic Shades and then post a review. Who knows, that might even kick-start things.

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What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Find your style, and avoid following a fad. Be yourself and express yourself in your own unique way. And don’t be fooled by marketers once you’ve finished. Check. Double-check and then triple-check. Never pay a cent until you know what that marketer can truly do for you besides a bunch of meaningless promises.

What does the future hold in store for you? Are any new books/projects on the horizon?

A second novel is now complete in manuscript form after some 14 months and 70 hours a week. It’s loosely a sequel to KALEIDOSCOPIC SHADES and, hopefully, breaks the stereotypical rules of sequels in that it explores far greater avenues without becoming lost in its own importance or merely running over trodden grounds. THE PENNY ARCADE is, once again, a thriller/horror that carries a hint of a psychological thriller. It’s primarily set in rural surroundings and focuses on the unworldly happenings taking place on Solemn Street. Situated on the very outskirts of a little township, it has a playground – with one helluva nasty reputation. The only visitors that roam it now are bloodless and don’t particularly care for the slippery dips and swings, leaving them as sad, abandoned relics, in preference for exacting revenge. Whilst a hitch-hiker from Earth’s beginning once again rises to the surface to satisfy its dark needs.

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About the Author

Born in Adelaide, Australia, David A. Neuman was gifted a vivid imagination that continues to this day to distort memories of childhood. In the late-seventies, he left Norwood High School as an underachiever after his parents had moved from the burbs into the hills. Too easily distracted. Too ready to dream beyond the windows of the classroom, and journeyed from one college to another, graduating from Flinders University with a graduate certificate in behavioral science. Though his visible passion lay in lending a hand to others overcoming their physical and mental obstacles, he remained a dreamer.

Turning to write early in life to express himself and give his imagination a playground upon which to run, odd scraps became serious tomes about 30 years ago and would have remained mothballed when the suggestion was raised that he should do something about it, debuting Kaleidoscopic Shades – within Black Eternity two years afterward.

David continues to live in Adelaide, South Australia, where he remains a child at heart, accepting everyone regardless of their sexual orientations and their take on this big, fantastical universe – understanding that each and every one of us is in this together.

The Archivist by V.S. Nelson Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The last Archivist who sells his services as a soul harvester to others in order to preserve their dying loved ones finds himself embroiled in a deadly plot after a teenage boy tricks him into murder, and as a suicidal cult dies at his feet, an ancient power begins to hunt him down in author V.S. Nelson’s “The Archivist”.

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The Synopsis

Death is not the end.

There is no God waiting for you in paradise. No afterlife where friendships severed by death are reformed and families reunited. There is only the Aether, a dimension of insatiable hunger that will possess you no matter the life you led.

Yet there is hope for a lucky few. Archivists, existing between the world of the living and the world of the dead, can offer salvation… for a price. Taking your essence in the final moments before death, they become your afterlife, allowing you to speak with those who remain.

When the last archivist is tricked into murder by troubled teenager, Sun-young Kang, he finds himself the centre of a suicidal cult that die at his feet. But there is more to these deaths than the Archivist realises. Someone is coming for him.

The Archivist may be the closest thing to a god that walks the Earth, but is that enough to keep those he cares about safe?

The Archivist is an incredibly rich novel with a truly original concept. It is cinematic in its scope and details the haunting, but also beautiful, gift an archivist could offer a person in their final moments.

The Review

This was such a brilliant and unique read. The author did an incredible job of crafting a mythos and world that felt both alive and new in its identity. The emotional depth of the narrative was greatly felt, as readers felt the character’s struggles with loss and the concept of death and the afterlife as a whole. The heavy atmosphere and tension that came with that reality were both relatable and original in their delivery. 

The character arcs of this narrative and how they played into the evolving mythos surrounding the Aether and the Archivists were incredible to watch. The complexity of the Archivist itself and how it holds so many other essences within itself while maintaining some sort of autonomy was so thought-provoking and unique. Yet it was the emotional toll of the families and those living within the Archivist in death that really drove the heart of this narrative home.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and thoughtful, author V.S. Nelson’s “The Archivist” is a must-read novel o 2022. The growing mythology of the Aether and the Archivists was so creative and unique in its development, and the imagery the author used in their writing was both beautiful and chilling, depending on the moment in the book the reader was reading. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today. 

Rating: 10/10 

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About the Author

V S Nelson writes unconventional middle grade and young adult fantasy, science fiction and supernatural stories for readers who enjoy something a little strange.

Their first story was The Keeper of Portals, a middle grade fantasy/sci-fi with plenty of portal jumping and time slipping. Their second story, The Archivist, is a young adult dark fantasy all about death and what happens after.

V S Nelson loves big ideas, fantastical concepts and stories that unsettle the reader and set them thinking about something new.

V S Nelson lives in Winchester with their other half, two children and three cats. When not writing, they’re either working as a theoretical physicist or building Lego.

https://vsnelson.com/