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Shadowed Flame by RJ Blain

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“Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.” –  Junichiro Tanizaki

Matia Evans knows the strength of silence. A sword and a cudgel, silence is the friend that never leaves her side. And in her world of shades of black, white, and gray, silence is the truth that delves past the face of glamour. She has never seen blue, yellow, or green. But when terrorists blow up La Guardia Airport while she and her father are waiting for their plane to Boston, that particular shade of charcoal announcing the color others call ‘red’, the supposedly vibrant crimson of blood, splashes, drips and pools. And Matia Evans will never be the same. For, after hours of pushing and bullying the other survivors into searching the ruins for survivors alongside her, in a devastated and blocked off Terminal B, Matia is dying. Funny. After hours on end of brutal, bloody labors, finding endless corpses, but at times the joy of the forms of the living, Matia is dying in the lap of a stranger, of smoke inhalation and the chemical funk which permeates the air. And she’s OK with that. Lives were saved, her life ends on a positive note, and at least if her father really is dead, he will have gone before her. He won’t have to mourn her loss.

But sometimes, unlike taxes, the shadow of Death may be turned away. And when Matia wakes up in hospital, her life is about to change in ways she would have, could have, never expected.

I first read and reviewed Ms. Blain with “Beneath the Blood Moon” and though I really did enjoy it, I was disappointed that her work could have benefited from a content editor to make sure she tied up all her loose ends and kept her story focused. That isn’t the case with “Shadowed Flame.” This is, by far, one of the better written stories in the YA/Paranormal genre. And while there is a romance, it is so well written I hate to call it “Paranormal Romance.” Yes, it is there, but it is only a portion of a rich tapestry of story, character and world.  (Oh, and it is ‘clean’ too. We don’t have to know exactly ‘how’ the bedroom calisthenics are carried out – only that they occur – and they are only a small part of the overarching story line.) I was surprised, and incredibly pleased, to follow the story of Matia, her struggles, losses and pain, but also her deep conviction and drive to do the right thing, no matter the pain it caused her. Ms. Blain has written a story with solid character development and world building, two of the most important things I look for in books. Her writing is focused and crisp, and her development of Matia, especially, is probably the best representation of a driven, dedicated, loving young woman of character and strength. Only eighteen, she has taken the gifts she was given and blossomed into a woman who others respect. And when she actually opens her mouth and speaks, well, people do tend to listen.

This isn’t a silly book by any means. A good portion of the story comes before the La Guardia explosion, and builds your understanding and care for Matia and her father, as well as the more minor players in her life. Her father is a hoot, I truly enjoyed his character as well. To be honest, at first I wasn’t sure I was going to like Matia.

“For the third time since arriving at work two hours ago, Dad tripped over his own feet and smacked face first into the carpet. The thump of him hitting the floor drowned out my sigh. I debated whether to get up and help him or stay at my desk and observe his efforts to restore his dignity.”

Of course, by the second page I had grasped their relationship, sighing and rolling my own eyes over the incident. Between Ralph’s apparent ‘Clumsy Curse’ and Matias parsimonious use of words, their relationship has a comedic balance that is apparent throughout the book, always showing up at unexpected times. There is a deep love and understanding between the two that made the whole book worthwhile on its own.

Once Ms. Blain begins the ‘paranormal’ portion of the book, there is a maturity and dignity to the characters that I much admired. There isn’t the ‘wham-bam’ sort of presentation of other, less developed books in the genre. ‘See woman. Take woman. HEA. The End.’ Instead, Ms. Blain turns the paranormal romance portion of the book on its head, in a most interesting way. I would have read the book just for that fact, but it is so much more that I simply couldn’t put it down.

I am impressed, and very pleased, that I picked up Shadowed Flame, and am anxious to learn how you like it as well. Though I wasn’t able to give Beneath the Blood Moon a more than moderate rating, I am very happy to say I give this one full marks! You can pick up Shadowed Flame here. It is on Kindle Unlimited, so you can read for free, or purchase the book for your library.

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#FREE Today: #Harbinger – Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

If you haven’t tried the series before, you should. Excellent writing!

The Write Stuff

HarbingerFREE TODAY AND TOMORROW ONLY!
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

Just a quick reminder, the 3rd book in the Wake-Robin Ridge series is FREE today and tomorrow only.

The story of one man slowly being driven mad by guilt, while another grows closer to his very gifted son every day, Harbinger is full of love, laughter, and oh, yeah–shivers galore. Through it all, MacKenzie Cole  and that little boy named Rabbit form an unbreakable bond, as they work together to right a terrible wrong.

And remember, in the mountains, you can run, but you can’t hide! Not forever, and certainly not from the Black Dog!

Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1
A Boy Named  Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

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Writer’s Publishing Workbook Release!

Because we all need a bit of help every once and a while! 😉 Thanks, Jo!

Jo Robinson

I’ve been a very crazy busy bunny these last few months. I still have absolutely no clue what’s happening with my life as a whole, so all I can do really is do what I do best and try and enjoy the ride. I’ve made some fabulous new author friends who have signed on as clients for my proofreading, formatting or cover design services just lately, a couple of whom made such an impact on me, I’ll be introducing them here at some point along the way. In the meantime I want to share one of my own projects for all you scribblers out there.

It’s no secret that I love helping Indies. Back in the mists of time I shared every mind-blowing “secret” that I discovered along my own publishing journey, often inciting the wrath of those who thought that those secrets should only be shared for lots of…

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Adjustability – the secret to overcoming frustration #amwriting #authors

What a great post from Deb!

deborahjay

'The Unusual Buddha'

Adjustability – the secret to overcoming frustration.

Once again drawing on sports psychology, this is a major concept that any sports person, and particularly riders like me, have to grasp, accept and enact.

We all suffer setbacks. For athletes, it’s often injury (it certainly is with horses!), or it may be fitness or skill development issues – anything that means we are not going to achieve the goals we set ourselves (you do set goals, don’t you?).

Being able to accept that there are some things in life you can’t change is hugely important to being able to repurpose and move ahead, albeit by adjusting your immediate goals. If you can’t do this, you will likely give up as a result of frustration, or inability to see a way forward.

Do you see where this might also apply to writers?

Life has a tendency to get in the way of our plans – for…

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Does Anyone Recognize This Vintage Pressure Cooker Pot?

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He was really handsome, wasn’t he!
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Poppa later in life with his best friend, Rochelle. The photo is blurry, it didn’t scan well in the frame, but the frame back is fragile and I didn’t want to try to remove the photo-and break something else!

My housemate, Linda, took care of her father, Charles “Chuck” (better known around the house as Poppa) for many years. He was in WWII, Korea, then Vietnam. Like many Vietnam Vets, he was sprayed with Agent Orange, and though

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Poppa and his big sister. Weren’t they cute?!

the government and military tried to deny it for decades, that caused a severe spinal degeneration disorder which left him wheelchair bound for the last 30-odd years of his life. He was a darling, darling man. Kind, considerate, loving. I was there for the last several years of his life, and he was the loving father to me I had never known.

 

Now, for my odd request. As I said, Linda took care of him for years, including doing all of his cooking, something she still loves to do. Last night, the handle broke off of her old pressure cooker pot that she has cooked in for years. The lid is long gone in the dust of time, but she uses 20160730_140632[1] 20160730_140749[1] 20160730_140632[1]20160730_140654[1]the pot for everything from chili, to spaghetti sauce, to stew. Oh, and she is a whiz at popcorn in that old pot as well! 😉  It is very heavy, steel maybe?, and very old. Yes, it looks ratty as all get-out, but it is well loved. The bottom is so worn I can’t read the brand, but if you do recognize it, let me know please? I would really appreciate it. If I can narrow it down to a maker I will have better luck finding a replacement handle. Thanks for reading this post, and I would be eternally grateful if you can help me track this down!

Hugs,

Leiah

#writephoto Flash fiction: The crypt

My friend Sue Vincent reblogged this, and I can’t help but do the same. This is beautiful….

Jane Dougherty Writes

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.

scotland-trip-jan-15-1731

Late night. Moonlight streams through the tall, slender lancet windows and silvers the cold stone of the nave floor. No light falls in the crypt below, but the air moves nonetheless, restless and cold. Tombs fill the vaults, row upon row of silent clerics and seigneurs, their palms together in prayer, stone eyes fixed on eternal light. For centuries the church has stood on the hill, upon ground once pagan and impure. Centuries ago the first monks led soldiers against the heathens and cleansed the impurity from the earth in a torrent of blood. The earth soaked up the blood, fire cleaned the heathen bones, and prayers chased the old pagan magic from the air.
Centuries ago, monks and warlords watched over the building of the church on the hill that they had taken from the pagans. They dug deep foundations, disturbing the…

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A few thoughts from a grumpy old writer…

Matthew always hits the nail on the head when it comes to writing, writers, and the best way to educate yourself on writing!

Matthew Wright

I sometimes get the impression that the e-publishing revolution has led to people with a bit of knowledge (enough to be dangerous) offering guidance to people with none.

Wright_Hobbiton4The thing is that writing, like any profession, is a practised skill that is also as difficult and time-consuming to obtain as becoming a concert pianist. There are no short-cuts. And like all such skills, there are points where people on the learning curve get the illusion that they know how to do it.

The fact is that we are all apprentices, but experience does count – and despite the apparent ground-shift in the field of late, the principles that always applied in the days of print journalism and of agents and publisher-gatekeepers still apply.

That experience, and the skills therein, hold authors in good stead. Having total control of your own words – which comes with about 10,000 hours of practise…

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Sizzling Summer Reads Party

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imageFree ebook downloads from today’s top authors!*

*Sign-Up to receive your list of FREE eBook download links! Must be 18 yrs and older! No tech support provided. After signing up for the free books, check your email for a download link. By signing up you agree to receive email promotions (newsletters and mailing lists) from participating authors.

North Carolina’s General Assembly fumbled yet again

It just never stops, does it? So much hate, so much political ignorance. If the people who spend all their time and money on trying to crush anyone who is not a WASP, the world would be such a better place.

How about spending political capital and funding on REAL issues, like child hunger, poverty, substandard shelter for the poor, homelessness, and diseases in desperate need of funding?

You aren’t crazy – I decided long ago that YOU should be President and Congress rolled into one! 😉

musingsofanoldfart

Our North Carolina (NC) General Assembly gained global attention by introducing a law called HB2 in reaction to a law passed in its biggest city, Charlotte, to better accommodate transgender people in bathroom choice. The state-wide HB2 law passed earlier this year, in essence, does the following:

  • Overturns the Charlotte law and makes it state-wide that transgender people can only use the bathroom of their birth gender or if they have had an operation to officially change their gender.
  • Strikes the words referenced by LGBT from protection of discrimination. not just transgender folks.
  • Eliminates the ability for anyone to bring suit in state court should they feel discriminated against (the only recourse is in more expensive and elongated federal court).
  • Eliminates the ability of a city to have a minimum wage higher than the minimum wage of the state, in this case the federal minimum.

The push back has been significant and…

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