Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Book Review for: Hidden Truths by Angela Britnell

Book Review for: Hidden Truths
Written by Angela Britnell
Desert Breeze Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-61252-266-1
Avail as an ebook

4 Stars

Britnell pens a suspenseful contemporary romance with "Hidden Truths." When British author Fiona Marshall meets country singer, Blake Mayer, the sparks fly, but both have complicated issues to face if they're going to move forward with their lives.

As the story opens, Fiona seeks a place to get in touch with her roots and joins her brother and his family in Cornwall, England. The subject of her book, Nathan Rylant, sends his enforcer threatening her so she will pull her book. Fiona meets Blake when he steps into her brother's vicarage trying to escape a rainstorm. The pair hit it off, but Fiona is reluctant to discuss her problems with Blake. He's also reluctant to talk about himself. He's seeking to "discover" his music again after a rough year and divorce. As the threats increase. Fiona and Blake realize they have to face hidden truths in order to move forward with their lives, but will they come together as a couple or be forced to part?

Britnell's writing style is easy to read. Her international settings will take you on a great adventure along with the characters. The plot flows well. Blake is a true hero, noble, honest, and willing to take action. Fiona's not lacking in determination or inner strength, but her doubts about "the system" fuel some of her more questionable decisions. The supporting cast comes across as 'real' and 'honest' and will warm the reader's heart.

The novel is sophisticated for romance readers and the love scenes are mainstream and capture the sensuality of the couple. Overall, "Hidden Truths" will take you on a journey full of intrigue, suspense and love.  I highly recommend this book.

Buy Link: http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/hidden-truths-epub/

Monday, April 29, 2013

National Poetry Month - meet poet Barbara Edwards

Barbara Edwards

I’m Barbara Edwards and I’m so happy to celebrate National Poetry Month with you.  In fifth grade, Mrs. Robinson assigned a poem a week to memorize and I began my love-affair with the beauty of the written word. If you gave me time, I could still recite many of those poems and tell you what they mean to me. It was a wonderful gift from a wonderful teacher. 

STEPH: How long have you been writing poetry?

BARBARA: Since I was a young girl, so it’s been a life-long love.
My poems are about me, my feelings, my emotions, so I never tried to have any of them published.

STEPH:What type of poetry do you like to write? free form? villianelles? Quatrains, Sonnets, hiakus, etc...

BARBARA: Oh my, what a selection of types. Since I wrote for my pleasure, I never settled on a specific format. I did what sounded best to me. Probably free form fist my best.

STEPH: Who is your favorite poet?

BARBARA: I love Robert Frost, another New England native.

STEPH: What is your favorite poem and why?

BARBARA: Frost’s “The Road Less Traveled” is one of my favorites.
STEPH: Can you share a poem of yours or two with us? 

**copyright notice** 
The poems on the blog are copyrighted to the author. Do not use without permission from the author

BARBARA So many poems, so little space. How about these? 
The damned cat died.
Old age, I suppose,
That mangy hair-ball.

Remember her silly kitten act?
Chasing dust balls from under the bed
To scatter tatters across the rug
And sneeze pieces clinging to her whiskers.

How many times did she drop an offering
At my feet or on the back step?
Mighty hunter of baby birds and mice
And once a two foot long snake.

Grooming in a ray of sunlight,
She’d stare contemptuously at my entrance
When I opened the door
Her tongue a tiny pink raspberry.

A purring lump against the small of my back
On cold,  lonely nights.
Her raspy tongue would lick my chin
And tickle before I pushed her away.

So the damned cat died.
And I’m putting her ragged toys,
Bowl and collar into a brown bag.
To dispose of. Maybe.

I’ll miss the damned cat.
Much more than I ever miss you.
So tomorrow I’ll get another kitten,
Although I can’t think why.

Tonight there is an empty doorstep,
And a cold hollow at the small of my back.
And I’ll cry again, for both of you.
But mostly because the damned cat died. 

Or for a change


Join me on my journey
Share a way with me

A mile, a league, a pace or two
Time matters not, I am with you.

At a twist in the path
Where a fork split the way
Hushed by the silence
My soul heard yours say
Don’t hurt me, Don’t love me,
Don’t leave me alone...
The words didn’t match
Your expression of stone.

With laughter, caresses, I gave gentle care
Fearful myself, I gave what I dare.

Confused by my feelings,
Lacking a map, sign or guide,
I need to move onward,
Come, walk at my side.

Thanks for hosting me Stephanie. I enjoyed it. Barbara

Please visit me at www.barbaraedwards.net for excerpts from my books,
Buy links and free reads.
If you like my poems, I’ll post a few more on my site.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Snippet Sunday - Feast of Candles

Hi all, I'm participating in the Weekend Warriors Snippet Sunday again, but this month, I'll be taking snippets from my 99 cent "spicy" contemporary romance, "Feast of Candles."

Feast of Candles
Contemporary Romance
99 cents

BLURB: Drake is going to take the biggest risk of his life all on a bottle of wine. Can he break the barriers around Lily's heart? 

This snippet: Drake & Lily meet in person.


Why did it bother Lily so much to see him talking to Alexis? 

Wanting to stake her claim, she walked toward him, holding out her hand.

"Hello, I'm Lily Marquand."

A satisfied light came into his eyes. He took her hand and brushed his lips against her knuckles. Reckless warmth traveled up her arm.

"Enchante. Drake de Brettville." 



"This is a delightful short story." - Billie Houston, Amazon Reader

"Drake's romantic gesture at the end will have you swoon!" Angela Britnell, Amazon Reader
AMAZON: http://amzn.com/B008NXELPG

Jimmy Thomas is the cover model. Sigh... I just adore Jimmy! 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's National Poetry Month - welcome poet David Russell

David Russell

STEPH: How long have you been writing poetry? 

DAVID: Since the late 60s

STEPH: What style of poetry do you like to write? 

DAVID: Free form

3. What are the themes of your poetry? 

DAVID: sensuality, politics, geology

STEPH: Who is your favorite poet? 

STEPH: Ben Okri

STEPH: What is your favorite poem.

DAVID: Coleridge's Christabel

STEPH: Share you share a poem or two of yours with us.


He, muscles taut, off springboard thrust
Resilient in buoyancy,

Slow sweep to surface, breathe.

She, lithe, with back-stroke rippling, Firm breasts cresting mild waves,
Thighs, ankles, near-straight, undulating,
Her back held spirit level,
Plane ideal Eyes closed and face serene in sensual thrall.

All there was foretaste, nuance,
All chaste - the changing rooms demure.

Warm evening's loose allure drew both
To unintended rendezvous,
A mutual friend's, both wished to stay away.

The place had room enough; their glances met -
Under two spells, all garments turned diaphanous;
Morning's disrobing kindled thoughts,
Fed impulses, hands touched.

One soft-shut door the cue;
Now lips met eyelids, cheeks, each other, clinched.

Her hand pressed on his crown, massaged
Through long-held breath; Tongues, lips were coiled, half-melted;
Squeeze of waist, they sank To tender press of thigh, of hips,
Drew back face to face, eyes' pools immersed:

"You're fleshed just right; a young girl's form;
Would you undress?"

"I saw you in your trunks; you're lovely; stay with me."


Brief promenade, waists linked again,
Fast heartbeats deepened footsteps with suspense;

A whispered, tiptoed entry.

Pause for bathroom, care assuaged;
Last clothed embrace.

Heady the quivering ritual!
Each other answering,
Matching that morning's
graceful bathing strokes
Each touch of shedding nurturing the fires,
Each pull of buckle, lace, so lissom
In counterpoint iwith one soft lamp.

Aglow, with ardent youth restored,
Deep torso, shapely limbs
Emerge as sunrise, sunbathed, fresh;
Full muscles toned by swomming's lathe,
Crescendo's throbbing, Two beauties, one revealing,
Beholder and Beheld!

She, supple, haunches swung, Tights loosened, Down wardrobe obstacles!

He seized waistband elastic, swept
To open freedom, took the hand
That edged towards her bosom, up her arms
To ratify surrender, clip; asunder,
The final black cascade.

Flesh, bone and muscle interlocked
Shoulder to shoulder raised, clutched,
Borne to couch;
Breasts, armpits, cupped caress
Of tender skin over those thrusting orbs.

Now passion's tide makes each wave overlap;
Slow motion's generation;
Two sighs, one lunge, a soft rotation;
Slowing, near-stop; resume, deepening breath
Floating four full diminuendos.

A moment of near sleep; Sure premonition of fulfilment;

Now second wind's tornado
Sweeps through exhaustion's trough
With power of ether's depth beyond their bodies;
The sluicegates yield; one mighty flood In fusion melts volcanoes!

Brief satiation's lull, unveiling heavens;
With dawn's beams, morning replay,
Enhanced in fulness;
Two strengths, by first flames tempered,
With delicacy pure plumbed ocean's beds.

On dressing gowns, warm-robed, unrobed again
To plunge into the other end
Of water's hot communion, splashing laughter.

A placid walk through petalled glades,
More smiles, more kisses;
Then wistful looks, and hints of jealousies,
And thoughts, as if to say
"Let's not detract from this perfection".

At length, fond waves and distances

David Russell


The First Adventure

That shadowy entrance, subdued glint, spark of eyes!
You trod all cultures with your classic grace
Of posture, figure, profile

The breathy touch, so tentative,
The answering squeeze

All beams and tiptoes as we trod
Unspoken message:
“The dream’s come true”

The curtain nearly volunteered
To close itself.

I was poised to give the word;
Fired by our kisses, you took it from my mouth

Each garment spoke surrender as it fell
A flower-show of fabrics
Adoring those limbs which they had covered;
Warm air on new divested skin
Near liquid in its heady density

Our bodies new-revealed, dreamed up
A gallery of art-figures,
Our mounting breath
Kindled their animation in our honour

Those facing entities suffused with mutual nourishment

The rising sun the backcloth of our dual climax
The bathing epilogue
The farewell walk
A froth of blossom round our tender steps

That fleeting perfection was the purest art
Framed in an idyllic memory.

David Russell

Friday, April 26, 2013

Welcome Guest Author - Poet Barri Bryan

Barri Bryan 

      STEPH:    How long have you been writing poetry?

BARRI: I began putting rhymes together when I was in the second grade. I have always loved poetry. When I was not yet three-years-old, my little brother had a baby powder can with nursery rhymes on it. My mother read them to me over and over again. I never tired of hearing them. 

STEPH: Are there any distinct themes to your poetry?

BARRI: Most of the time yes, occasionally, no. The theme of Chapter and Verse is love. Brush Country was inspired by the sights and scenes of the Brush Country of South Central Texas. Four Part Harmony has four separate and distinct themes within one book. What Will Suffice is an eclectic collection of many themes.

STEPH:     What forms/types of poetry do you prefer to write?

My style of writing does not lends itself to free verse. I write mostly in couplets or quatrains.  I write poetry as some individuals play the piano, by ear. The contents of the poem dictates the form, or forms. I often mix forms in a poem.  Occasionally I attempt an English sonnet. I love haikus, but I seldom attempt writing one. On the surface they seem simple, but they are extremely difficult. I have never attempted the villianelle form, but I love its strength and intensity. I think Sylvia Plath uses this form superbly. So does Elizabeth Bishop.

STEPH:    Who is your favorite poet?

BARRI: That's like asking who my favorite child is. I love Christina Rossetti's poetry. I delight in reading John Donne. I like Wallace Stevens and Algernon Charles Swinburne. I enjoy Emily Dickenson, Coventry Patmore, and Ted Hughes…

STEPH: What is your favorite poem?

BARRI: That, once more, is a difficult question to answer. If I absolutely had to select one poem, I would choose John Wilmot's Love and Life. He captures in three short verses the inability to change the past, the brevity of the moment, and the uncertainty of all tomorrows.

STEPH: Barri, can you share one of your poems with us?

BARRI: This poem is from my latest poetry book titled Four Part Harmony. It's from section two titled, Highway 35 South.


Between McHarvey’s Auction Barn
And the cut-off to New Algiers
Lies a stretch of fallow farmland
That hasn’t been planted in years.

 In summer a blazing, blistering sun
Turns its crop of weeds to brown.
Once a strike of August lightening
Set a fire that burned to the edge of town.

In autumn it’s a tangled maze
Of undergrowth and stubble.
As now-and-then a brave green sprout
Rises from the decaying rubble.

In winter frost cuts to the ground
Every green and growing thing,
Leaving death and desolation,
Until one day in early spring

New life nudges through the sod
And changes the dismal scene
From gray and bleak and dreary
To a hopeful new-born green.

Oh the wonder, oh, the magic
As slowly from death and confusion
Wild flowers bloom and blossom
In grand and glorious profusion.

Oh beauty, for all your brevity
I see in your short-lived perfection
How brief is life, how sure is death
How splendid the hope of resurrection.

This poem is from Brush Country.


In the east a blazing ball of fire
Climbs ever steadily higher and higher.
Overhead, a jet plane soaring high
Cuts a vapor incision across the sky.

Up and down the awakening street
Dance limpid waves of shimmering heat.
Stench of garbage, smell of gas    
Mix with the scent of fresh-cut grass. 

The humid air is sweltering.
Catholic Church bells begin to ring
Above the din of an auto horn;
Small Town Texas Sunday morn.

Love and Life

By John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

All my past life is mine no more,
The flying hours are gone,
Like transitory dreams giv'n o'er,
Whose images are kept in store
By memory alone.

The time that is to come is not;
How can it then be mine?
The present moment's all my lot;
And that, as fast as it is got,
Phyllis, is only thine.

Then talk not of inconstancy,
False hearts, and broken vows;
If I, by miracle, can be
This live-long minute true to thee,
'Tis all that Heav'n allows.


You can find a link to buy Four Part Harmony at my website

You can find a link to buy Brush Country at my website

Or go to




Thursday, April 25, 2013

National Poetry Month - welcome poet Debra Parmley

STEPH: Welcome, Debra! How long have you been writing poetry?

DEBRA: My grandmother taught me to read before I was in school and she read poetry to me. I would make up silly little sing-song rhymes as a child. But writing poems with pen and paper didn't happen until I was a teenager.

STEPH: Are there any distinct themes to your poetry?

DEBRA: Oh yes. I've written hundreds of poems. There were a few years I wrote a poem a day.
I've organized some of my early poems into a book, my first poetry collection. The collection, Twilight Dips, has a theme which begins with the individual and stretches to the world. It contains all my poems which were published in literary magazines while I was in college. I've dedicated this book to my grandmother.

STEPH: What forms/types of poetry do you prefer to write? (free form, hiakus, villianelles, quartrains, etc)

DEBRA: I prefer free form, free verse styles, though I have written in many other forms. There is a place for each. The freer forms allow me to flow into the poem, in a way the others don't.

STEPH: Who is your favorite poet?

DEBRA: Oh goodnesss it is hard to choose. Emily Dickinson was when I was in college. Today I'm not sure I could narrow it down to just one. 

5. What is your favorite poem?

If I thought the question before was hard, wow. This can change according to which day you ask me. That's the beauty of poetry. You can come to the page each day and find something different, something which speaks to you. Today I would choose 

            How do I love thee?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

STEPH: Share one of your poems with us.

Here is the poem my new poetry collection is named for.

Twilight Dips

Twilight dips
elegant fingers
over tree tops
into shimmering lakes
deepest blue
ripples spread
fingers twirling
swirling symmetry
calling out to fish
from deepest depths

fish rise
fish dive
fish mate
fish spawn
fish die
fishly life.

More of my poems can be found on my website

My poetry collection will be available through Amazon

and you can find me on Facebook

and on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DebraParmley

Steph, thank you so much for inviting me to visit your blog in celebration of national poetry month. It's been a joy to share my poetry with you. 

You're welcome.  Thanks for joining us, today! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Welcome Guest Author - Susan Mac Nicol

Susan Mac Nicol 

STEPH: I don't know much about your novels, the Starlight series. What are they about?

SUSAN: My Starlight series - Cassandra by Starlight, Together in Starlight and Starlight and Promises - is the story of Cassie Wallace, an independent and older woman, meeting an up and coming actor, Bennett Saville, who happens to be ten years younger than she is. They meet through tragedy, and the attraction between them develops into a relationship that spans just over three years.

Cassie is drawn into Bennett's world of wealth, youth and show business. He is on his way to the big time and is very much in demand by both the film world and, unfortunately for Cassie,  other women.

Cassie adores Bennett and can't imagine a world without him. He's mercurial, emotional, strong and very sexy and her whole world changes just being in his world and in his life.

Bennett finds a soul mate in Cassie, someone he can depend upon when his show business world gets too much.

Together through the series, they face a host of things sent to try them. Bennett's schizophrenic mother who causes harm to Cassie, Bennett's terrifying stalker who knows his every move, leading to an extremely traumatic experience for him, ghosts of the past coming back to haunt them both, as well as supernatural events in the theatre they own in London. Gang warfare, cults and the growing popularity of Bennett as his career takes off, all cause their own brand of challenge that the two have to face together.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

SUSAN: Hmm. My publisher calls me one of the most prolific writers they've ever known. It actually took me only eight weeks to write the full Starlight trilogy. Since February 2012, I've written eight full length novels, two short stories and a screen play.

I think I was so entranced with writing the story of Bennett and Cassie that I was like a demon possessed and had to get the words out there while I was 'in the zone'. It's the only explanation I have for being able to churn out over 300 thousand words in that space of time. Their story just needed to be told.

STEPH: Did you have to do a lot of research for it?

SUSAN: Yes, I did a lot of research. This is a romance suspense series and a love story but there are some serious topics featured in all my books.

Cassandra by Starlight deals with the film and theatre industry, suicide, child abuse, schizophrenia, (as Bennett's mother suffers from this illness), female on male rape, (a controversial topic that needed some delicate handling,) and celebrity stalking and the psychology around both stalker and stalkee.

Together in Starlight has supernatural elements, a spousal abuse theme in a variety of different ways, both physical and psychological, the vagaries of fame and having a devoted fandom and the premise of blackmail and money laundering.

Starlight and Promises - this one tackles cancer, the London gang situation, the ever growing demands of stardom and what that brings, and the philosophy and aftermath of being in a cult. I always thought the lady on the front over looked older than Bennett, so hopefully this is conveyed too.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

SUSAN: The cover for Cassandra by Starlight hopefully gets across the fact that the story is set in London, that it involves glamour and the acting world and that it has a really sexy leading man.

Together in Starlight was simply an indulgent excuse to have a gorgeous Bennett Saville staring into every woman's (and man's) eyes, giving them that 'come hither' effect and the mountains in the background reflect the Tibetan angle in the second book.

STEPH: What's the theme of the novel?

SUSAN: The theme is an older woman meeting a younger man, and being drawn into a world so unlike her own that it is literally worlds apart. It's about two people so unlikely to have met in the normal course of events yet finding each other. And managing to stay together against many things thrown their way.

STEPH: Cassandra Wallace -Cassie -is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weaknesses?

SUSAN: Cassie is independent, strong and outspoken. She's mature and feisty. She has a lot of love to give for the right man. But she's a little emotionally challenged. She had a bad experience when she was younger that made her keep things inside and manage them herself.

STEPH: What does the hero, Bennett Saville, find appealing about her?

SUSAN: Apart from the fact she's beautiful and sexy, he likes her steadfastness, her love and her complete down to earth approach. Cassie grounds him like no one else has ever been able to do. Bennett has a need for security in his life, for a place to come home too that is safe and reliable, when the demands of show business get too much. Cassie is his rock, the one he leans on when things get too much.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one.

SUSAN: I have a Kindle, as well as having the app on my smart phone, and a Kobo reader on my tablet.

STEPH: Who are some of your favorite authors?

SUSAN: I love Stephen King as a great horror writer, and Joe Donnelly. I also find Josh Lanyon and Tom Ward incredible writers, along with Harper Fox, and J L Merrow. Deborah Harkness is an inspiration to me as is Phil Rickman. And anything Jonathan Kellerman writes I will read. I have a very eclectic reading taste.

10. Fun Question: What is your favorite place to visit on vacation?

I have to say we love the Eastern European states. We've been to Croatia and Romania, which were both incredibly rich and historial places. Transylvania was awe inspiring and we actually went to Dracula's Castle. Next stop will probably be Bulgaria or Slovenia. Having said that the one place I really want to visit is Russia.

Susan Mac Nicol -  My Links and contact details
Personal website - www.susanmacnicol.com 
Twitter - @SusanMacnicol7
Cassandra by Starlight Facebook page  http://on.fb.me/RQYv3Z
Amazon links

Blurb for both books

Book title - Cassandra by Starlight- Starlight Series Book 1/3 (full length novel)
Genre - Contemporary Romance Suspense
Amazon links -  US  http://amzn.to/RQYa1d UK http://amzn.to/T1lGJQ
Release Date: 13 August 2012
 Blurb: A London woman is swept off her feet into the glamorous yet surprisingly dangerous world of an up-and-coming star of stage and screen.
 Unconventional though she may be, Cassandra Wallace leads the life of an average Londoner, from blind dates to rush hour traffic. Then, along comes Bennett Saville. Sensitive, charming, erudite, the up-and-coming actor is like the hero of a romantic movie. He counteracts the tragedy that brought them together, and from the tips of his Armani loafers to that scorching hot kiss he seems absolutely perfect. Only, he’s ten years younger and from the upper class, and those emerald eyes beget dangerous secrets. The world is a stage, full of hungry leading ladies, and how long can any fairy tale last before a villain appears? Yet, on Bennett’s arm each new day is an adventure, and a true romance will always find its happy ending.

Book title – Together in Starlight- Starlight Series Book 2/3 (full length novel)
Genre - Contemporary Romance Suspense
Amazon links -  US  http://amzn.to/RQYa1d UK http://amzn.to/T1lGJQ
Release Date: Feb 20th 2013
 BlurbFor superstar actor Bennett Saville and his fiancée Cassandra Wallace, returning to “The Val” theatre in London means greed, lust, and ghosts from the past—and that’s off stage.
Bennett Saville is sexy. At the height of his career, the English star of stage and screen is everything a woman might desire, as fiancée Cassandra Wallace well knows. They’ve seen the world together, from L.A. to Shangri La. Yet shadows persist, even in the spotlight. At home they face lust, greed, and ghosts from their pasts—and that’s offstage. There is also “The Val”. Bennett’s aged London theatre holds a mystery four centuries old, cast in starlight, waiting to be shown. Intensely personal, impossibly passionate, that play must go on…and Cassie and Bennett must see it through together.