Tag Archive | ghost story

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

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This winter I’ve had one of the worst colds in years. I’ve spent almost ten days in bed now, and am barely starting to feel like a human being instead of a snot-filled zombie.
As most of you know, I’m a total book addict, but as an editor, I unfortunately seem to spend more time editing than reading for fun. So while I’ve been recuperating, I’ve also been reading some of the books stored on my kindle.

I couldn’t decide what to start with, so went to the bottom of the pile on my iPad and found this little number.

I’ve never read anything by Patricia Simpson before, but I must say I’ll certainly be checking out more of her work. I understand this is a self-published book. That always makes me nervous, especially in this day of indie publishing where everybody and his brother thinks they are a great writer and editing often means just checking for spelling and punctuation. But apparently, Ms. Simpson knows the meaning of the word and takes it seriously.

This was an extremely well-written piece. I caught only one typo near the end of the novel, and from what I can remember, only one misuse of a word. (It’s bollocks, not bullocks. That shows the American in the author.) It was darn near to perfection as far as the proofing was concerned.

The content was well done and the story-line was pretty plausible. Yes, there were a few vague moments of mystery and unexplained paranormal events, but the excitement level made up for it. And even though the ending seemed rushed—I’d have liked it dragged out and given a bit more explanation of what seemed like a pretty miraculous event to satisfy my inner Sherlock—it at least made the romantic aspect of the story come to a happy end.

I’m giving it a four-star rating **** just because as an editor I would have had Ms. Simpson fill in the paranormal blanks for those who need the facts sorted out. Like myself.

It’s five star ***** for excitement and very hot love scenes which had no porn in them—yay! I hate porn in the middle of a good love scene—but were written beautifully and made for a few fast page turns. There were the appropriate villains, more than one so we had to really think, and the hero was wonderful. I loved Tara the heroine’s thoughts and how she responded to the otherworldly events she was being drawn into. I probably would have reacted the same way.

There were only a couple of uncomfortable dialogue lines which seemed trite and not well thought out, but most of it was well done. I didn’t like the cover of the kindle edition. The fellow on the cover certainly held no resemblance to our hero, Hugh. I love the hard copy cover. That was great!

So, if you want a fast and interesting read with a lot of action, some romance and some otherworldly adventure, this is the one I’d choose.
Nice job.

Lynne

From Amazon.com:

“From award-winning author Patricia Simpson comes a haunting time-travel. A week before her wedding in Scotland, Tara Lewis stumbles upon a hidden tomb and accidentally awakens a spellbound knight. But Tara refuses to acknowledge the chivalrous shade. She doesn’t believe in the spirit world-or true love for that matter-until the touch of the handsome knight awakens her troubled heart. To gain his freedom, the knight must recover a valuable Psalter and deliver it to its rightful owner. But completing his quest proves difficult. Hugh finds himself hopelessly attracted to the woman who freed him and duty bound to protect her-from an ancient enemy, a modern threat, but most of all from a forbidden love that could ruin both their futures. As Tara’s wedding day dawns, she and Hugh must make a fateful choice. Will they keep their promises or follow their hearts? Or will the ancient spell that binds them destroy their one chance at happiness?”

Product Details
• Paperback: 264 pages
• Publisher: Patricia Simpson (February 14, 2009)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0982344244
• ISBN-13: 978-0982344248

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Biography:
Patricia Simpson grew up in the wilderness of Western Montana, where it meant a 3-1/2 hour drive just to buy shoes. When she was young, the iPod hadn’t yet been invented, and there were no radio stations in the area, so on the many long drives for shoes, Patricia amused herself by reading novels or creating her own stories in her head. She was encouraged to write by her sister, who always asked to be read what she had written so far that day, her Egyptian-born English teacher in junior high, and then again by a creative writing professor at the University of Washington. Instead of seeking a writing degree, Patricia chose to pursue a BA in Art and has worked as a graphic artist/web developer at the University of Washington since 1982. Patricia still enjoys painting almost as much as she loves to write.

Ms Simpson has won numerous awards for her fiction, including Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, Career Achievement Award, and has been a finalist in the RITA awards and for Best Indie Paranormal of the Year.

Her Scottish husband encourages her to accompany him on his frequent business trips around the world, and whenever possible Patricia goes with him to scope out spooky historical places to use as the settings of her books.

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-Patricia-Simpson/dp/0982344244

Announcing the release of my book trailer for A Hallowe’en Tale

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I just spent the last week working on a book trailer for my e short story A Hallowe’en Tale which was released in October of 2012. It was a fun experience. I used the moviemaker app on my iPad.
Here’s the youtube link to the little film. I hope you enjoy it!

Lynne

The latest from Author Donna Jean McDunn

Donna Jean McDunn

Donna Jean McDunn is a writer of fiction for young adults, women’s romance and short stories for children and women. At the tender age of twelve, she dreamed of writing, but she had no way of knowing the many journeys she would take before reaching her dream. She married at nineteen, had three daughters by the age of twenty-seven and graduated from college at forty-two. The first of eight grandchildren was born by age forty-five. She earned a 3rd degree black belt in Songahm Taekwondo at age fifty-eight. And so today she writes and her dream is no longer just a dream. She has had three children’s stories and one adult story published. She was also one of nine winners in The Mystery Times Nine 2012 Young Adult Short Story Mystery Contest sponsored by Buddhapuss Ink Publishing.

Author’s Other Works:

Mystery Times Nine – An Anthology of nine short stories to be published Sept./Oct. 2012 by Buddhapuss Ink LLC

EMAIL    WEBSITE     BLOG


 The Nightmare Series

Young Adult Paranormal

Book One


 

Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

Book Two


 

Emily must help a murdered child find closure and stop a vengeful ghost from possessing and destroying innocent lives.

Book Review: Return of the Grudstone Ghosts by Arthur Slade

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            I don’t know about the rest of you but I am one of those people who can’t walk by a library book sale without cringing because I know I could possibly be bankrupt by the time I leave the building or at least down a mortgage payment or two.

            Last year we hit one of those horrible ones where there are like seven thousand million books and everyone is a keeper. You know the kind.

            So I grabbed this sweet little book because it was for middle grade teens and I have never really grown up, so am always re-reading my Nancy Drews and always watch for anything that will keep me happily believing I am still 14.

            Imagine my surprise to discover this really was a Canadian book with Canadian terms and cities and lots of stuff that made me feel I was entrenched in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, a place most have never seen or at least can’t pronounce if they live south of our border.  

            This book keeps your attention from the get-go and is full of nice little twists and turns, a bit of historical fiction and some historical non-fiction (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG9cdpMdow4 ) which is great. I did not know Al Capone hung out in Moose Jaw during prohibition and it was known as Little Chicago and filled with bootleggers. Did you?

            There are ghosts and scary bits here and there, teachers who don’t take any guff from the kids, polite Canadian children who are clever and witty without being obnoxious and rude. It was a a joy to dig into!

            I was pleased to see Arthur has lots of books available because I know I will be wanting more of his work.

            Great read! 5***** Five Stars all the way! Wonderful for your pre-teen and middle teen friends and family, and of course those who are like me, young at heart. :o)

 slade

Canadian Author: Arthur Slade

Here’s his long bio from his website:

Well, it all started in a small hospital in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. It was July the 9th, 1967, a day that will live in infamy. I arrived a month early, and ever since I have been early for appointments.

I was raised by my parents (Anne & Robert) on a ranch in the Cypress Hills—a peculiar geographical upthrust that exists on the edge of the prairie. My parents also raised about 500 Herefords, countless gophers (Richardson’s Ground Squirrel), several dogs, 3 other sons and a variety of horses. Yes, I did learn how to ride a horse. Yep, I drove a tractor and threw bales. Yep, I hate that itchy chaff that sticks to your skin. No, I didn’t wear a cowboy hat.

As a kid, I’d spend my spare time at the library in the small town of Tompkins (Population 219) reading anything I could get my hands on (first the bottom three shelves, then as I grew I could reach the top three shelves). My favorites were the Old Norse, Greek and Celtic Myths, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Robert Heinlein, and lots more.

I went to high school in the metropolis of Gull Lake (Population 1500). There I started writing my first novel and was finished it by the time I graduated. None of the eight publishers I sent it to wanted it. So I wrote another. And another. Meanwhile I attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Then I wrote another book. And another. Did I mention that none of them have been published?

I received an English Honours degree and then disappeared into the flashy world of radio advertising copy. I had a dental plan! A regular pay cheque! Then after five years, I was officially jingled out.

I jumped ship without a paddle (read: quit my job). I sent my seventh novel, Draugr, to Orca Books who were kind enough to pick it up. They also were kind enough to contract my next two novels The Haunting of Drang Island and The Loki Wolf. Then suddenly I was writing a biography of John Diefenbaker for young adults, a frightening ode to W.O. Mitchell, called Dust, an anthropology thriller called Tribes and…well, I shouldn’t tell you any more….

Oh wait, did I mention I got married in 1997? (I was early for the ceremony). Tune in maybe my biggest dream yet will come true: getting my own dental plan!

Return of the Grudstone Ghosts

A chilling tale of ghosts and villains. As soon as Daphne sees her teacher plummet from the belfry at the top of her school, she’s plunged into a spine-tingling mystery. Soon she and her friends Nick and Peach are all that stand in the way of a truly horrible criminal.

Published by Coteau Books

Winner of the 2003 Diamond Willow Award

Also in the Canadian Chills series:

Ghost Hotel
Invasion of the IQ Snatchers


 Return of the Grudstone Ghosts is available on

Amazon.ca at: http://tinyurl.com/mjvfrca

And from Amazon.com at: ht http://tinyurl.com/jw5g2l9tp://tinyurl.com/jw5g2l9    

 

Check out Arthur’s author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Arthur-Slade/e/B001H6EMG4/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Contact link: http://www.arthurslade.com     http://arthurslade.com/frontpage/index.html

 

Announcing the Release of: A Resting Place by J.T. Seate

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A New Release from MuseItUP Publishing

Genre:  Supernatural Dark Fiction/Horror

Tags:  Supernatural, horror, suspense, thriller, ghosts, revenants, spirits, wraiths, historical, Civil War, Indian Wars, American History, Tennessee, The Confederacy, cemeteries, graveyards, zombies, undead, folklore

Release: July 5, 2013

Editor:  V.L. Murray

Line Editor:  Greta Gunselman

ISBN:  978-1-77127-353-4

Back Cover

On a sloping hill overlooking the poetically named little town of Sugar Creek, Tennessee, rests an old cemetery where, in the 19th century, the people in the village buried their dead. Some of the stones date back to before the Civil War. Those who once tended the one hundred or so graves have long since departed this world. Only random aluminum cans and scraps of windblown paper and plastic keep them company now. The old timers call the strip of land The Resting Place, but local legend suggests it is anything but restful.

Maybe everyone sees that which they believe in. This is a statement that resonates with many Sugar Creek residents for good reason. Whether the members of the McCullough, the Langford, or the Finch families ever found rest was a dubious question considering how their lives and deaths spun out in curious directions.

For some, a century and a half might not be long enough to find eternal rest. It is for a newcomer to try and answer the question, for he is destined to stir echoes from the past as the tales of Sugar Creek, the resting place, and its most memorable ghost again become more than the murmurings of ancient history.

Excerpt

At her bedroom window, Polly’s current thoughts moved from Gladys’s sing-song voice, and the off-tune old ladies at Emily’s graveside, to the shapes that steadfastly resided beyond her house. The light breeze ceased; the owl quieted. All was as still as death along the road that passed by her gate. The stillness was eerie rather than peaceful. Everything slept, almost everything, for the next sound was something that bore the quality of her frightening stories—the squeak of a door opening.

She walked from the window to her own bedroom door. The boards again protested under her weight. She eased the chair from beneath the doorknob—a precaution she had taken ever since Emily’s murder. Incongruously, she thought of Priscilla. She had never seen the image locals swore to having witnessed, but it was not a haunting she was worried about. A perpetrator was still on the loose and she had no confidence in local law enforcement. Sheriff Spalding was good at cards, but little else.

What makes a human want to hurt another human? Honor? Loyalty to country? Those seemed humble and misleading excuses for delivering carnage. Polly did not understand the impulse, but people did it all the time. The war and its aftermath was a testament to that.

Another question overrode both of these. Why had Edwin wound up bedridden? Why did he have a stroke in the fields and turn into an invalid and leave her with all the work? If he were well, he could go plodding through the house with his pistol. What defense did she have, an older woman in a house too big to tend properly? But Edwin would not have done that. “Foolish old woman,” he would have said to her.

As Polly’s mind returned to the present, she felt compelled to check the house. She slowly opened her bedroom door and peered into the hallway. Edwin had his own room down the hall. No reason to change accommodations after all these years. Although he’d had the stroke and could not manage getting to the privy, “to tap a kidney” as he used to say, he remained somewhat mobile, usually when Polly did not want him to be. He had crawled from his bed a couple of times while she was in the throes of a story and scratched at her bedroom door, scaring the living daylights out of her. He couldn’t speak; only move his jaws pathetically in that helpless way of stroke patients. She took in meals and helped him with the eating process ever since he knocked over a glass and spread a lake of milk over the floor. She cut her finger picking up the pieces. She briefly considered a convalescence hospital, filled with veterans never to recover from their wounds, but it was too many towns away and beyond their financial means. An occasional visit from the horse-and-buggy doctor they had for the whole county would have to do.

Polly ventured into Edwin’s room several times a day, but not normally at night. She padded barefoot down to his door and turned the knob. There he lay, the jaw working up and down, trying to utter something, or just dreaming the dreams of those lost in some world between this one and the next. She barely looked at his paleness, or the cracked and dry lips. The air was thick with the atmosphere of a sickroom. She walked to his window and peered out into the moonlit night. It reminded her of how isolated she was. On the outer windowsill, a fallen leaf was snagged. It was brown and gnarled, curled upon itself like a crunchy, dead creature. It gave her a start, a reminder that death was all around.

Edwin’s breathing was too shallow to make noise. It was only the thumping in Polly’s chest that did so. She reentered the hallway and quietly walked into the main room. Again, everything was bone chillingly quiet, but the air was cooler than in the rest of the house. Only one reason—something was open. Yes. She and Edwin were not alone in the house.

“Who’s there?” she called, but all she heard was her own voice echoing back like the lonely cry of a ghost. She felt her pulse quicken and wondered if someone or something could be hiding along a wall just out of sight; some giggling thing which would reach out and grab hold of her ankle when the time was right.

Another creak. Nothing could be as nerve-wracking as when an old house seemed to become organic. She had a sense of foreboding like when entering an unfamiliar place as a child, and when she saw her front door was ajar, she felt a cold spot where her heart was supposed to be. All around, dark secrets clung to every corner. She sought the courage to reach for an oil lamp. It did not come. She was too afraid that something cold and slimy would reach back.

Whatever is lurking, it has trapped us in here, Polly decided. Me, with a husband who is already at death’s doorstep. Something dreadful was about to happen. She was at the final stage of desolation. She headed for the door to shut it soundly when she noticed what was different. Something blocked the outline of a coat tree next to the open door. A dark shape stood there accompanied by the sound of steady, labored breathing.

Polly gasped. Bile rose in her throat as she put one hand to her mouth to halt a scream. The shape lit an oil lamp and turned the flickering wick higher until features became recognizable.

About the Author

J. T. has written everything from humor to the erotic to the macabre, and is especially keen on stories that transcend genre pigeonholing. “Although I enjoy writing in all genres, as well as non-fiction, it’s the mysterious and the macabre that seem to influence the funny monkey in my brain the most. In addition to his novels and novellas, his short stories and memoirs appear in numerous magazines, newspapers, anthologies and webzines. Recent publications can be found at http://www.melange-books.com, http://www.whispershome.com, and http://www.museituppublishing.com for those who like their tales intertwined with the paranormal. See more on http://www.troyseateauthor.webs.com/ and on amazon.com. Blog: http://supernaturalsnackbar.wordpress.com/ Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/JTSeate

A Resting Place is available on MuseItUp Publishing at http://tinyurl.com/msv3c6a

Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/mqubdph

Announcement: Release Day for Nightmares by author Donna Jean McDunn

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Friday May 10, 2013 is release day for the book Nightmares by author Donna Jean McDunn and so…

Today, Natter and Review would like to welcome back author Donna Jean McDunn. Here is a short biography of our visitor.

Donna Jean McDunn lives in Iowa with her husband, four cats and two dogs. She is the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of eight. Donna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, fishing, bicycle riding, listening to music and dancing. She is a third degree black belt in Songham Taekwondo and loves working out. Donna writes fiction for young adults and women in her off hours, but spends most of her days as an administrative assistant. She hopes someday to retire and write full time.

N&R: Hi Donna, you’re back. Welcome to Natter and Review once again. Donna is one of my new authors with MuseItUp Publishing and tomorrow, May 10, 2013 is a very special day for Donna, as her first book, the young adult paranormal romance, Nightmares, is being released from MuseItUp Publishing. I bet you are excited!

DJM: Thank you, Lynne. Yes, I have to keep reminding myself, all of this is real!

N&R:  How about sharing a little of the story, Nightmares.

DJM: Eighteen-year old Emily Preston has it all. She’s beautiful, strong and confident.  But just weeks before graduating from high school, the nightmares she’d experienced as a child, begin to plague her once more. When a mysterious voice warns that she must remember her past and accept her gift of seeing into the future in order to save her boyfriend’s life, she believes she’s losing her mind. The nightmares escalate into visions of long ago and memories begin to return. Will Emily allow herself to accept the gift or will she lose everything, including her life.

DJM: Tagline for Nightmares: Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

Here is a short excerpt from the book.

“She knew it was too soon to expect Tony’s return, but peered into the darkness anyway. She saw her own distorted reflection in the glass. The images shifted and changed as she watched. She felt herself being drawn into the shadows until they completely dissolved. She saw the child from her nightmares lying in a bed asleep, while a terrible thunderstorm raged outside.

Lightning flashed around the room and a crack of thunder rattled the windows. The child sat up and for the first time Emily could see her face and blond hair. A dog howled and the girl’s eyes widened with fear as she scooted off the bed.

            Her heart hammered inside her own chest to the same rhythm as the child’s. Emily wanted to warn the little girl to lie down and stay where she’d be safe. She wanted to tell her it was too late, she’d already run out of time.

“No!” Emily screamed when the child ran toward the window. “Don’t look.”’

N&R: Well thanks Donna. I won’t keep you because I know you are busy promoting your book. Please support this talented new author and buy Nightmares at the link below. Donna is planning on a sequel to the novel, so there will be more from these characters and this author coming up on the horizon.

You can find Donna at the following links:

Her blog: http://www.donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com

Her Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/DonnaJeanMcDunn   

Twitter: @02DMcDunn

To purchase the book: MuseItUp Link to Nightmares: http://tinyurl.com/c747opc

 

Congratulations Donna! We wish you much success!

 

 

 

Interview with Author Donna Jean McDunn

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Today, Natter and Review would like to welcome author Donna Jean McDunn. Here is a short biography of our visitor.

Donna Jean McDunn lives in Iowa with her husband, four cats and two dogs. She is the mother of three daughters and the grandmother of eight. Donna enjoys spending time with her family and friends, camping, fishing, bicycle riding, listening to music and dancing. She is a third degree black belt in Songham Taekwondo and loves working out. Donna writes fiction for young adults and women in her off hours, but spends most of her days as an administrative assistant. She hopes someday to retire and write full time.

N&R: Hi Donna. Welcome to Natter and Review.  Donna is one of my new authors with MuseItUp Publishing. Today I would like to get to learn more about her world, not just as an author.

I see you have been married to the same man since you were nineteen, over forty years. That is quite the accomplishment in this day and age. To what would you attribute the success of your relationship?

DJM: We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but through it all we have always supported one another. I think that’s what has kept us together all these years. When both parties show love and put the other person’s feelings ahead of their own, it can only bring them closer.

N&R: Sounds like a good recipe for marriage.  Has the farm always been part of your married life?

DJM: We moved to the farm in 1972, when our oldest daughter was one. So, yes, I guess it has been.

N&R:  Has it been a catalyst of any stories for you?

DJM: I started writing children’s stories when my grandchildren were born, and many of the animal characters I wrote about were based on a lot of the animals we had over the years.

N&R: Looks like you’ve pursued a rather diverse number of interests in your life. What led you to study martial arts?

DJM: I had been fascinated with martial arts since I saw the Green Hornet in 1966 when I was fifteen years old. One day I saw a sign for martial arts and decided it was time to get back into some type of exercise. I gave it a try and loved it.

N&R: That’s really neat. Are you still active in that field?

DJM: Unfortunately, no. I had some medical issues and three surgeries and I just couldn’t keep up. I still pay my dues to the American Taekwondo Association (ATA), so I am a member and I work out with my weapons and practice forms at home, but I no longer teach or attend classes at the dojo. I miss working with the kids, but have kept in contact with some of them on Facebook.

N&R: That is very inspiring. Maybe some day you can get back to the classes.  I see you received a college degree at the age of 42. What did you study and what inspired you to return to school and further your education?

DJM: Until I attended college, my only jobs had been working in the restaurant business as a cook or waitress. When the place I was working at closed their doors for good, I decided to change my career and study business and computers. Computers were just becoming available for almost everyone and most businesses wanted people who could use them. The Internet was in its infancy and I was very curious about it. I am not, and never will be, a computer wiz, but I do love it. I was lucky enough to find a job, after graduating as an Administrative Assistant, with a small business that has been wonderful and taught me even more about business and computers.

N&R: Congratulations on your success. I am sure our readers would like to know all about your work. Let’s begin with your short stories. Can you tell us about them and perhaps include some excerpts?

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DJM:  Trapped is a short story about Stacie, a clairvoyant. When her sister goes missing after a tornado destroys the family business where her twin, Julie was working, everyone except Stacie thinks the tornado killed her. Stacie ‘saw’ her sister being kidnapped before the tornado ripped through the diner and has ‘seen’ where she is being held, but needs to convince her older brother—who thinks she is crazy—and his friend, to help her find where her sister is trapped before the kidnapper returns.

Here is an excerpt from Trapped which was chosen from over 100 other YA mysteries and included in an anthology Mystery Times Nine 2012, published by … http://www.buddhapussink.com/  and now available at Amazon    http://tinyurl.com/cxom7wq

“She wanted to scream at him, “Julie’s not dead! Not yet!” But he already thought she was losing it and that would only add fuel to the fire. She took a deep breath and repeated, in a calm voice, what she’d told him that morning. “Julie was not in the diner when the tornado struck.  She was taken before it happened. I saw her…”

“Here we go again with ‘seeing’ things,” Jeff interrupted. “You can’t be serious?”

“She’s my twin sister. I would know if she were dead. She needs my help.”

“Julie’s alive?” Kyle interrupted.

Startled, because she’d forgotten he was there, her stomach flipped. Well, that probably fixed any hope she’d ever had of Kyle liking her. Now he’ll think she’s nuts too.

Jeff was quick to answer him. “Stacie thinks Julie is alive.”

She stomped her foot. “I know she is. I’ve seen her.”

Jeff sighed and rubbed his forehead and then rolled his eyes. “Stacie thinks she’s psychic.”

“How do you know she isn’t?” Kyle asked.

Her mouth dropped open.

Jeff was the first to recover. “You believe in that stuff?”

Kyle shrugged. “I like to keep an open mind. I’ve never known anyone who was psychic, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’ve never met any astronauts either.”

The Golden Stallion is a story about Shawn. He loves living in the city, but when his family moves to a ranch, he has a hard time adjusting. Out of boredom and frustration, he begins exploring the surrounding area and discovers a herd of wild horses. A Palomino stallion is their leader and Shawn feels a deep connection to him. He keeps the discovery a secret from his family because he’s a little jealous of his little sister and believes she would destroy the magic he feels when he is with the stallion. A neighbor wants to round up the herd to find them new homes, but Shawn misunderstands and thinks they want to destroy all the horses. He soon learns that if he is going to protect the stallion and make sure the herd survives the winter, he will have to help the ranchers find the horses or risk letting them starve.

Here is an excerpt from The Golden Stallion. It can be found online at Stories That Lift… http://tinyurl.com/bt9gtn6  

“Shawn slammed the door and flopped onto his bed. He had hated the ranch from the minute his dad said they were moving. He had begged his dad to let him stay in the city with his friends Zach and Justin, but Dad said he had to live on the ranch for three months.

“You’ll love it; give it the summer,” he had said. Shawn had been certain he would prove his dad wrong.

Then early one morning, when he climbed onto a boulder to get a better look at the river below, he discovered the wild horses. The Palomino stallion stomped and reared as the mares and foals thundered past and in a magical golden swirl of dust the stallion spun around, showing off, as if he knew Shawn watched. Then he disappeared into the valley.

Shawn kept the horses and his special place a secret—especially from his little sister—Katie the Pest. A spoiled baby like Katie would ruin the magic.

And now—just when he decided he never wanted to leave—old man Harrison and Dad were trying to take it all away.

The knock on the door startled him. His dad opened it. “Shawn, I need to talk to you?”

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained is a story about Emma, who has been a widow for seven years and wants to start dating again, but doesn’t know how to find a date. She decides that instead of an online dating service, she could find her own date by putting an ad online and in this way, no one would ever know how she found her man. The problem begins when the ad is misunderstood by some undercover police officers and they believe she’s part of a prostitution ring. Matt Harris answers the ad. Matt and Emma are drawn to one another and he soon realizes the police have made a mistake, but it’s too late and his partner insists she be arrested. Emma is badly traumatized; she rejects Matt because she believes he betrayed her, even though her erotic dreams of him are telling her differently.

Here is an excerpt. It can be found online at Page and Spine: Fiction Showcase – The Front Page… http://tinyurl.com/cynx8ye

“He put the money on the fireplace mantle.

I didn’t know what to say. I looked from the money to him and back to the money. “Matt, I don’t think you understand.” I picked up the money and held it out to him. “I don’t…”

“That’s not enough? You’re an expensive one.”

“No,” I said, very close to tears. “I mean yes. Oh, I don’t know what I mean. Why are you acting this way?”

His eyes widened and then it was as if understanding suddenly dawned on him. He opened his mouth to speak.

Someone pounded on the door. “Police! Open up!”

It was my turn to be surprised. “You’re wanted by the police?”

He reached for the door. “No.” He pulled out a badge and flashed it at me before opening the door. “I am the police.”

I think I stopped breathing.

The officer who had beaten on the door, looked like he should have retired years ago. He crossed the room with a few quick strides. “You are under arrest, Emma Smith,” he said. “If that’s your real name.”

I glared at him. How dare he burst into my home and accuse me of…what was he accusing me of? “Of course that’s my real name. Why are you arresting me?

“For prostitution,” the older cop said.”

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N&R: Wow, they look very interesting. I definitely want to find out what happens next. This brings us to your longer work. Was Nightmares your first novel?

DJM: Yes.

N&R:  Did anything specific inspire this story?

DJM: To be completely honest, I have to admit the work began as a short story when I was in high school. It was based on an urban legend about a young couple who parked in a dark secluded area where a crazy man with a hooked hand roamed. The legend is told in two separate versions. In the first, the crazy man comes to their car and scares them; they take off and when they return home, they find his hook on the door handle of the car, And in the other version, the couple run out of gas and the boy leaves to get help, but never returns. During the night, the girl hears a scratching sound on the roof of the car. When morning arrives, the police are there and the girl gets out of the car and turns to look back at the vehicle and sees her boyfriend hanging from the tree above the car; his throat is cut and his hands are scratching the roof. In the original short story I wrote I kind of combined them, but in 2008 I took the story out and began rewriting. The result is the version you see today, which has very little resemblance to the old legends.

N&R: Very interesting. I like what you have changed it into for your novel. This has quite a paranormal flavour to it. Have you had any experiences with what could be called the ‘paranormal world’?

DJM: No, not really, but I have always loved stories about ghosts and psychics. One of the first sitcoms on television, that I remember watching, was Topper, 1953-1955. It was about a young couple and a Saint Bernard, who died in an avalanche, and came back to haunt their house where the new owner was the only one who could see and hear them. It was hilarious—or at least I thought so—but what did I know? I would have been about five or six.

N&R: I agree it was hilarious. I remember it well. Are there any challenges that need to be overcome when writing for the Young Adult?

DJM: I think there are challenges for every genre and age group, but for the Young Adult, making my characters sound like teenagers who are almost adults was a challenge. I was constantly asking myself, would an eighteen year old say that?

N&R: This story is definitely a Romance as well. When writing in the Young Adult Romance genre, what kinds of guidelines—if any—do you set for yourself?

DJM: I wanted them to come across as real teenagers with all the angst and emotions that teenagers have to deal with, but without compromising themselves in the process.

N&R: I think that is where a beta group of grandkids comes in handy. LOL. This book has all the characteristics of a paranormal “Nancy Drew” mystery. Have you thought about a series based on the characters?

DJM: I have and I’ve been working on that project for a few months now. I really love the characters I created in Nightmares and in the next book I want to share more of their lives with the reader so they get to know them like I do.

N&R:  How about sharing a little of the story, Nightmares.

DJM: Eighteen-year old Emily Preston has it all. She’s beautiful, strong and confident.  But just weeks before graduating from high school, the nightmares she’d experienced as a child, begin to plague her once more. When a mysterious voice warns that she must remember her past and accept her gift of seeing into the future in order to save her boyfriend’s life, she believes she’s losing her mind. The nightmares escalate into visions of long ago and memories begin to return. Will Emily allow herself to accept the gift or will she lose everything, including her life.

DJM: Tagline for Nightmares: Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

Here is a short excerpt from the book.

“She knew it was too soon to expect Tony’s return, but peered into the darkness anyway. She saw her own distorted reflection in the glass. The images shifted and changed as she watched. She felt herself being drawn into the shadows until they completely dissolved. She saw the child from her nightmares lying in a bed asleep, while a terrible thunderstorm raged outside.

Lightning flashed around the room and a crack of thunder rattled the windows. The child sat up and for the first time Emily could see her face and blond hair. A dog howled and the girl’s eyes widened with fear as she scooted off the bed.

Her heart hammered inside her own chest to the same rhythm as the child’s. Emily wanted to warn the little girl to lie down and stay where she’d be safe. She wanted to tell her it was too late, she’d already run out of time.

“No!” Emily screamed when the child ran toward the window. “Don’t look.”’

N&R: Is there anything you would like to share about the world of storytelling with other up-and-coming writers?

DJM: You are never too young or too old to begin writing and I’m sure they have heard this a million times already, but it is so true…never give up.

N&R: Thank you so much for visiting today. I have enjoyed our time together and look forward to reading more of your work.

DJM: I’ve enjoyed working with you, too, and I have learned a lot from you about not only writing, but the promotional side of things too. It’s been a scary and a fun journey.

N&R: Thanks, Donna. I look forward to us working together in the future sometime soon. In the meantime, here are some links to Donna and her world:

Her blog: http://www.donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com

Her Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/DonnaJeanMcDunn   

Twitter: @02DMcDunn

MuseItUp Link to Nightmares: http://tinyurl.com/c747opc