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Review: Dark Paradise by Angie Sandro – Available July 1!!!

dark
Mystery, suspense and a good dose of ghost story set in the backwoods of Louisiana. What could be more delicious?

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. – William Butler Yeats

There are souls which fall from heaven like flowers, but ere they bloom are crushed under the foul tread of some brutal hoof. – Jean Paul

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

The nature of evil. Dissected, pulled apart, studied, and still, no one really knows, do we? Evil is the pedophile and the serial killer. The crazed and the cruel. The dark shadows that walk the night. We might agree on that. But what of those dark, quiet evils that live next door? The ones who smile to your face and wish you good morning, while horrors live in their basements – and the basements of their souls?

Malaise LaCroix never really had a chance, even before she was born. The daughter of the local whore and ‘hoodoo woman’ in backwoods Louisiana, Malaise, or Mala for short, ekes out a living in the swamps, fishing and watching for the ubiquitous gators that can pull her under and kill her in a heartbeat. But it is the darkness and shadows, the crazed and the cruel, who may take her life in the long run. For Mala has found a body, floating in the swamp. A body that some very rich, and very powerful – and very mad – people do not want found.

Lainey Prince is the daughter of the Reverend Prince, he of righteousness and purity, the king of the pulpit and voice of god. Finding her floating in the swamp, Mala pulls her out and calls the police, thereby dropping herself into a whirlwind of terror. For the townsfolk are all determined to blame her for Lainey’s death. She is, after all, the daughter of a black hoodoo witch, right? So the righteous and the pure of heart (can we all hear a halleluiah, amen?) determine to punish Mala and her mother, Jasmine. And purity of heart has nothing to do with these people who hide behind their “faith” in order to commit the most horrendous of evils. Funny how religion works that way. . . Things become even more interesting when Landry, Lainey’s younger brother and rising football star, comes to Mala, determined to learn the truth no matter what it may be. Did Mala really kill Lainey in some sort of black rite? Or is the woman he has loved from afar for so very long truly innocent? What Landry learns is more than he ever could have expected. For Lainey might be dead. But she is far from gone. And she is one very unhappy spirit.

Dark Paradise grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let me go. Of course, I am a sucker for a mystery/suspense/thriller novel set in Louisiana. Curled up in my chair, the lights out except for the glow from my reader, soft southern Blues playing, I immersed myself in the story, walking with Mala through the swamps, smelling the scents and hearing the cry of the insects, the grunts and roars from the gators and razorbacks, feeling the heat against my skin, even as the temperature of the night drops lower and the crickets begin to sing outside my window. The faces of the characters, their wrinkles from the harsh weather and the harsh life, the cold eyes and superstitious hatreds all come clear in my mind, rising up like mist in my memory.

Visits to Angie Sandro’s father’s family in Louisiana inspired Dark Paradise, and those visits flow through in her writing. There are no missed notes, no cliché to her story. Instead, there is a touch of realism to the story which sooths and comforts the knowledgeable when it comes to the quirks and fallacies, the kindness and the cruelty of the Southern mind.

There is only one thing that really itched my “What the Huh?” spot. As LaCroixs, Jasmine and Mala descend from a long line of “witchy women” which reaches back to the shores of Africa. Tied to the Loa Baron LaCroix, the women take his name, and supposedly, his spirit as well. Much like the Loa Baron Samedi, Baron LaCroix, also one of the five Ghede, are often rude, crude and oversexed, but they are not by nature evil. LaCroix is rather more fun-loving with a deep sense of play. Something that isn’t depicted in his interactions in this novel. Be that as it may, a person who shares no knowledge of Voudon, of the cultures and rituals of this ancient religion, should not be bothered by this not-quite-realistic portrayal. Artistic license forgives much, and in this case it pushes forward the story in a way both interesting and frightening by turns. And yes, Ms. Sandro, I do get your twisted sense of humour! Overall? I completely enjoyed the book and am looking forward to Dark Sacrifice. Bring on the hoodoo, women, I am ready!

—————————-

I received this book from Grand Central Publishing in return for an honest review. Honestly? I loved it. If you love what I like to call Southern Suspense, you will undoubtedly like this book. It publishes JULY 1, 2014 so be sure to pick it up!

Review: The Terminals: Spark – Michael F. Stewart – STUNNING!

The question of afterlife disappears, when we start to recognize the fact that we did not existed before our birth and the same will happen after death. ― Sipendr

terminal
An incredible book of horror, psychology, and intrigue that I HIGHLY recommend! Not for the under 18 crowd – this is intense stuff!

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.― Mark Twain

Joshua Bruns said that the trouble with quotes about death is that 99.999 perent of them are made by people who are still alive. So, I’m part of the 0.001 percent. – Captain Kade “Morph” Harmina, US Army Terminal

If you knew that you were going to die soon, that your death would have no meaning other than pain – your own and that of your loved ones – would you be willing to sacrifice what little comfortable time you might have remaining in order to save the lives of others? Causa moriendi est causa vivendi. Dying for a reason is a good reason to keep living.

But what happens after death occurs? Does religion really have the answers? Or is it both more and less than what the human mind may conceive? If the afterlife is real, does our energy simply sustain what our mind conceives, fading into oblivion as the currants of life expire?

Questions upon questions, with no answers in sight. Well, until you are dead, and then will those questions actually be answered? Or is the concept of an afterlife merely a conceit, a naïve attempt to ease the terrors of the unknown?

Michael F. Stewart has written a horrifying book in The Terminals Episode 1: Spark. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I mean horrifying in the best possible definition of literary excellence. This is a spine-chilling novel, full of disturbing layers of both the physical and metaphysical. The story reached down inside my mind and jerked at the lids of all the mentally hardened boxes it contains, the memories inherent in a mind tormented by PTSD. the dark terrors at the edges of death, only to return, kicking and screaming, into the agony of life once more.

When Lieutenant Colonel Christine Kurzow awakens in a hot, dusty field hospital in the burning desert of Iraq, the first words she hears are those of General F. Aaron: Dying for a reason is a good reason to live, Colonel. A strange comment, and one that opens the door to a perverted, powerful, and deeply disturbing book that reaches into the mind, distorting science, religion, belief, and the basic tenants of the human concept of the afterlife.

Kurzow is crippled by guilt after the loss of eleven of those under her command – a loss that could have been prevented if she had taken one shot – a shot which would have killed a child, but saved her team. A rising star in the Army hierarchy, Kurzow’s misjudgment, and subsequent suicide attempt, is a public relations nightmare for the Army, one that is quickly swept under the rug. No punishment attached, rather a Medal of Honor awarded by the military machine. No punishment from her peers, but a deadly degree of self-punishment in the form of a sharp blade, and a massive number of pills. Now, she is pulled back from the brink and pushed into a secret military unit. A unit that accomplishes the impossible – communication with the dead. The only problem? One must die that many may live.

What is most terrifying about Stewart’s tale is just how clearly I could see in my mind’s eye everything that was happening, in grotesque detail. And how horrific the religious visions of the afterlife really are. For, the method the group uses to track down the killers and terrorists in the afterlife is based on religious beliefs – the sharing of the Terminal’s beliefs with those of the person they seek in the afterlife.

Can Christine gain her redemption by her own death? She will be given the chance – but before she can reach for salvation, she must handle the euthanizing of the Gnostic monk, Charlie. For Charlie is an expert on Hillar the Killer, a psychopathic mass murderer with a minimum of eighty kills under his belt. Charlie not only shares Hillar’s religion, but also understands the depths of Hillar’s psychopathy. Charlie must find Hillar in the afterlife – the lives of eleven kidnapped children depend upon him. And when an incompetent, glory hound cop blunders what should have been a simple shot, killing the killer, Charlie the monk must die in order to save them.

Can Christine convince the monk that he must die in order to save the children? And can Charlie track Hillar through the brutalities of the Gnostic deep – and then pull the needed information from a creature of pure evil? Finally, can Christine, an Atheist, truly work through a system that relies upon meshing the religious beliefs of the Terminal and their prey?

Though one believes in nothing, there are moments in life when one accepts the religion of the temple nearest at hand.  ― Victor Hugo

More questions – of religion and faith, of the good of the many over the good of the one. Of honor and pride, patriotism and heroism. And even greater questions of morality and ethics and an even simpler question – are the Terminals really terminal, or is there something truly evil in the works – an evil promulgated upon the innocent by a selfish, sociopathic coward with a god complex?

Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanor. ― Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (The Standard Edition)

Morph says it best. Listen, don’t fixate so much on death. It doesn’t matter. When we are alive, we are not dead, and when we are dead, we are no longer alive. There is no in-between. No dying. It is the dying that most people fear. Of course, when she made that statement, she was already dead.

I received The Terminals Episode 1: Spark from Netgalley.com in return for a realistic review. If I could give the book ten stars, I certainly would. It has nothing to do with whether or not I received the book for free and everything to do with the fact that this one of the best books I have read in recent memory. I can hardly wait for the next Episode and will drop everything to read it to see if it lives up to its stunning début.

terminal
An amazing story of horror, psychology, and the depths of belief. HIGHLY recommended. Not for the under 18 crowd.

Yippee! Beta Reading Book Three – The Pierced Series by J. C. Mells

Perfect Cover 2
The cover for “Perfect” – Book three of the J. C. Mells “Pierced” series!

Just finished the Beta and, OMFG!!! J. C. does it again – another brilliant story full of pain and hate, love and understanding and a tremendous cast of characters. Watch here – I will let you know as soon as I know when it is coming out – and you have to read this book! Of course, if you haven’t read the first ones, you have to read those too- – – these are too good to miss!

Thanks, J. C. Mells!!!

 

“Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.”

Never have these words seemed more true to Pierce as she deals with the aftermath of Salt Lake City. She and Lucas can’t seem to stay apart from each other for very long without the night panics happening again – but being together is almost as torturous. Will her past ever allow her to be intimate with him? Can she afford to let her guard down and allow herself to be happy? She’s still suffering from the post-traumatic stress of what happened to her the last time she did that.

But on the plus side, their little town of Nowhere is coming along in leaps and bounds. So much so, that it has appeared on the radar of the wolf community. Or at least Pierce’s presence has.

Suddenly it seems like Nowhere is THE place to be these days..

pierce
Who is Pierce?

______________________________

Keep your eyes open – I will post when the book is published!

TWO Happy Dances!!

wicked
Click the cover to purchase!

The amazing Jillian Klein Der Lowe just shot me an e-mail letting me know that her book, Wicked, just hit the #3 spot in her genre on Amazon!!

applause
Icon courtesy of
http://unf.edu
Thank you!

Click the cover to grab the book from Amazon FOR FREE!!!! Then, of course, after you have read it, I am sure Jillian would love a review. (Wink Wink, Nudge Nudge!)  My review is here in case you want to refresh or haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet.

Congratulations, Jillian!!

Now, for even MORE good news, we turn to another wonderful author, J. C. Mells, author of the Pierced series.

J. C. is happy to announce that her next book in the series, Pinked is nearing the end of editing, and will be out soon! Pinked continues the adventures of Pierce and Mia, a fascinating pair, with a story that is one of the most interesting I have read in recent memory.  Watch for the review here, and for publication at Amazon soon. Until then, you really MUST pick up your own copy of Pierced! Click on the book cover to order. My review is hereIt is only 99c right now, and J. C. is sure to be a wonderful addition to your ‘must-buy-as-soon-as-published’  author list!

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Escaped, volume 1.5 of the Pierced series! It is also only 99c for a short time at Amazon.

Congratulations, J. C.!

Shrieking and Jumping up and down! J. C. just sent along the cover for PINKED!!!

Drool worthy, huh?  Click on the cover to see the video trailer!PINKED BC3

J. C. just sent me the cover!
Click on it for the YouTube Video
for the upcoming book!
Squeeee!!!!
pierced
For now, Pierced is only 99c at Amazon.
Click cover to order!
escaped
Click to purchase from Amazon!
Only 99c for a short time.
You KNOW you won’t be able to live without it
after reading Pierced!

Review: Wicked by Jillian Kleine Der Löwe (A Seven Deadly Sins Novel, Book 1)

wicked
Click the cover to purchase the book.
Come on, Live a little! Do it!
You KNOW you want to!!!

When was there placed before your eyes the idea of most fervent love, the male and female embracing each other so closely that they could no more be torn asunder, but through unsearchable love became one?  – Arthur Edward Waite The Golden Tract

After a few weeks of tweaking and tightening with Jillian, as her proofreader and editor, Jillian proudly placed Wicked on Amazon.com for sale. She should be proud! This is a wonderful, wildly creative novel. Jillian has a very distinctive voice in this novel. Her turn of phrase is enhanced by a ‘wicked’ sense of humour as she carries you back through billions of years of creation – then turns creation on it’s head.

In Wicked angels and demons and creation (oh, my!) have been around since the Big Bang (yes, there really was one of those, you mean you really doubted it?). How boring is that, the same old same old, eon after eon? One must what one must, and if you are a Half-Angel, Half-Demon, Half-Elf and Half-Goddess (hum? Yes, yes, that is quarters, but then, you weren’t there when it happened, were you?) and have lived as long as Sev has (well, that isn’t really her name, but hey, if you, well, wouldn’t you get bored and want to change your name too?) and you are stuck on Earth for no reason you can remember, it sucks to be tasked by grandpa Yahweh to kill off your husband, Lucifer. Yes, that Lucifer. Hum? Didn’t know Lucifer was married? Oh, yea, baby! The love of the millenniums, don’t ya’ know.

What follows is by turns funny, sad, exciting and ultimately awe-inspiring. Angels and demons are, after all, just human in their own way, right? That whole ‘created by the same creator’ clause in the contract. With all the shortcomings, pain, longing and heartache any self-respecting celestial being should suffer. The metaphysical equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, Sev suffers as she pines for her great love, Luc, while Luc himself suffers the slings and arrows of self-flagellation, longing for things that were and were not, and should never have come to pass, if it ever really did and it wasn’t just a figment of his imagination. Or Sev’s. Or maybe Yahweh’s.

Overall, this is a metaphysical romp of the ‘well, yes, that’s what was said, but realllllly’ sort that was both exciting and frustrating to edit. Well, what can I say? No contractions?! I guess being a celestial being trying to speak English without an accent is sort of irritating, huh?

If you have a wicked sense of humour, this is definitely the book for you. If you don’t have a wicked sense of humour? Grow one. You really don’t want to miss this tour-d-force of laughs, snide commentary, misunderstandings on a universal scale and moments of great and abiding love. Throw all your expectations out the window of the Enterprise NCC-1701A (Hey, I like originals) at warp eleven, settle in, and enjoy. You won’t regret it!

Highly recommended.

Review: Saxon’s Bane by Geoffrey Gudgion – Not Recommended

saxon's baneSaxon’s Bane starts out well. The anthropology is done well, and the Saxon history is spot on. Some of the history of the Old Ways is well done: The Old Way teaches us that all living things are sacred, that there is a life force in everything and connecting everything. Gudgion speaks of the Christian church, and how they took over, folding the myths and religion into the church to pull the locals into changing to the new religion of Christianity. How so many of the Christian tenants, such as Easter, as timed and based upon the Old Ways in order to fold what they called “pagans” into the New Religion.

I was well pleased to read the first part of what the book covered, and settled in, thinking I would enjoy the book. Then, Gudgion got completely off track, and totally ruined the book for me. From being solid and well versed in both the Old Ways and the New, he suddenly turned to stealing the sacred from the Old Ways, turning to the old saw of Wicca being “evil” and “devil worshiping.” This based upon the Horned God of the Old Way being turned into the “Devil” by the New Religion. Since the church said that the Horned God was the Devil, well then, it must be so, right? OH, how ignorant and how very nauseating.

Gudgion uses superstition and hated to turn the story into simply another ignorant rant against the Old Ways, having a sweet and caring follower of the Old Way say of Esbat: It’s used for a ritual curse”  and going downhill from there. His knowledge of the Old Ways is patently ignorant and false, especially as even the most careless of searches clearly delineate the definition of Esbat as being 180 degrees from what the author tries to make it out to be. The word Esbat is of French origin, from s’esbattre, which loosely translates to “frolic joyfully.” In addition to frolicking, this is a time to commune with the gods, give thanks, and enjoy the Cake and Ale Ceremony. In no way is it designed to “devil worship” or perform “ritual curses.” Wiccan is not about that.

Christianity defined Wicca and witchcraft as “evil devil worshiping” as a way to override the Old Ways and place Christianity in it’s stead. Those burned at the stake and otherwise murdered were mostly healers, herbalists and other practitioners of the Old Way, caring for their families, villages and animals.  Real Wicca was, and is, all about celebration, healing, honouring the seasons and positive influences. Only those who wish to defy and insult Christianity conduct Black ritual, and those people are NOT true Wiccan – they are basing their whole ritual in the Catholic church and it’s teachings, not in Wicca. Were there ritual sacrifices in the old days? Most assuredly. They were carried out by every religion, from Mayans to Egyptians, Saxons to Christians. What else is the hanging of Jesus on the cross if not a sacrifice?

I can’t decide whether Gudgion had a split in his psychology halfway through the novel, or if he intended to draw in the reader and then pounce with his superstitious nonsense. Or if someone else picked up the book half-way through and finished it themselves – someone with no knowledge and less intellect. Gudgion is “superstitious” in that he indulges in a total lack of research and/or knowledge in his statements, pushing belief of an unfounded psudoreligious doctrine as truth. One character, a sick and twisted individual, turns what should be a time of beauty and thanksgiving into something deviant. That is a sick human, not a sick religion. Any religion may be twisted – see The Spanish Inquisition for example, or the Mayan cutting out of the hearts of slaves.

Overall, I was deeply, deeply disappointed. I truly wanted the book to continue to be wonderful. Instead, I was left with a foul taste in my mouth and a heavy heart.

NOT RECOMMENDED.

Goddess of the moon, queen of the night,
keeper of women’s mysteries, mistress of the tides,
you who are ever changing and yet always constant,
I ask that you guide me with your wisdom,
help me grow with your knowledge,
and hold me in your arms.

The moon is the symbol of the mother,
and she watches over us day and night.
She brings the changing tide, the shifting night,
the flow that changes women’s bodies,
and the passion of lovers to their beloved.
Her wisdom is great and all-knowing,
and we honor her tonight.
Keep your watchful eyes upon us, great mother,
until the cycle returns once more,
and bring us to the next full moon,
in your love and light.
–  Drawing Down The Moon

Interview with a Gargoyle – Jennifer Colgan

interview gargoyle
Click to purchase the book. Go ahead. Do It! You Know you want to!

Interview with a Gargoyle – Jennifer Colgan – Loved It!

I have loved Gargoyles since childhood. Some are funny, some are grotesque, but to me, all were fascinating. I would stare into their faces, searching for the soul within, often driving myself to tears as I peered into what I thought were tortured souls, reaching out for some touch of kindness, some brush of understanding. I felt, in all my own pain, a deep and abiding kinship with them that I feel even to this day.

It is rare to find a book about a gargoyle. There are a couple I can think of, and whenever I find them I snap them up and immerse myself. Interview with a Gargoyle caught my eye on a cruise through GoodReads and I snatched it up. I am very glad I did.

Gargoyle
Gargoyle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jennifer has written a wonderful book about the cost of brutality and superstition, punishment and revenge, and the slow awakening of forgiveness. Filled with witches and demons, as well as a very well written gargoyle character, Jennifer captured my attention from the first and never let it go. The only thing that really upset me about the book? It ended!  The end seemed to promise a second book, which I truly hope will happen. This one just came out at the end of 2012, so I have hope that a new one will be forthcoming.

As this was my first book by Ms. Colgan, I was interested to see what else she has written. I was surprised to find that she writes in a wide variety of genres, from paranormal to historical romance. I have already purchased Married to the MIB. Who can resist? The Men in Black have always tickled my interest, and this one looks like a great little short (125 page) story.

\I was surprised to find that Jennifer has very few reviews on Amazon. I am going to have to do what I can to fix that – starting by telling you all that you really should check out Interview with a Gargoyle. It was a very, very pleasant way to spend a few hours of my insomniac life!

Highly recommended.

Monsters – Peter Cawdron (Edited Review)

monsters
Click to purchase

The fallout from a passing comet contains a biological pathogen, not a virus or a living organism, just a collection of amino acids, but these cause animals to revert to the age of the mega-fauna, when monsters roamed Earth. Part of the blurb from Monsters by Peter Cawdron

And so, when the fall of man came, the Luddites rejoiced. For them, man’s demise was a vindication of their ideals, a moment full of spite and bitter rejoicing. Peter Cawdron-Monsters

Reading is far more than picking words off a page. It is to breathe in another soul, to walk in their shoes. When you read, you lose yourself and inhabit anothers life, the life of one that went before you on this Earth Peter Cawdron-Monsters

NOTE: This is an edited review:
After speaking with Peter, I do feel that my take on the second half of the book may have been too harsh. He does make a good point that it was important to learn about how humanity begins to change, how they begin to find their way. I did some rereading and decided that I have a better grasp of where he is going and what he was doing with his characterizations. I am leaving my previous review in place – others may find that the information is useful, but I do want to note that I have raised the book’s review status by a point based on our discussion and a rereading of the second half of the book. Either way, I don’t regret reading the book, and his world development was spectacular, something that is always important to me. Read it. You will draw your own conclusions.

I was originally drawn to the book by its cover. A simple pen-and-ink sketch of the skull of a Smilodon, a Pleistocene epoch saber-tooth cat, it caught my attention as the description of the book drew me in. For the first third of the book, I was not disappointed.

In many ways, Monsters starts off in an unusual but very interesting manner, as apparently ancient newsprint becomes the introductory vehicle for the history of the collapse of man. This is not your typical dystopian novel, where zombies rule the earth. Instead, the story starts out innocuously, as a passing comet, Comet Holt, appears in the night sky. Fragile bits of newsprint recount how Holt grows in the sky, and lit up the sky, its twin tails “breathtaking to behold”. The subsequent breakup and dispersal of over half of the comet into the Sun came with volatile disintegration across space, and the subsequent showering of the Earth with tiny, breathtakingly beautiful showers of dust lighting up the stratosphere.

Cawdron’s description of these events is beautifully done, and pulled me deeper and deeper into the tale, as the biological pathogens in the cometary dust, “The Sparkles,” for all their breathtaking beauty, begin an insidious correction to life on Earth. The subsequent changes to the world economy are only the beginning, as dust in the upper atmosphere wreaks havoc with the weather, bringing on a new ‘mini ice age’, dropping humanity further and further back into a new stone age. The outcome of this is as could be expected, as man desperately scrambles to survive, falling back into a medieval superstitions and religious zealotry. Books and science are outlawed, and environmental changes run rampant.

Excellent. The story arc for this part of the book was exceptional, and kept me totally engrossed. There were, of course, problems with the timeline of the fall of civilization and the rapid evolutionary changes, but this is fiction, and these sorts of things are to be expected though not embraced. The rapid disintegration of humans, from sophisticated, thinking beings to savages was much more believable in its rapidity given the very nature of the human animal and it’s natural savagery. As Nazi Germany, the Catholic Inquisition and the reign of Pol Pot attest, man is easily lead and easily drawn into barbaric mob mentality, lacking anything approaching “humanity”. In Cawdron’s book, as in reality, MAN is the true monster. . .

Review: Legend of an Iron Tower and Other Fables . . . by Natalia Dobzhanska

The road of life can only reveal itself as it is traveled; each turn in the road reveals a surprise. Man’s future is hidden.” Anonymous

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

legends dobzhanska
Click cover to order!

I don’t often wander the halls of poetry, tracing my fingers along the walls, breathing the scented air. And perhaps this is not poetry, not in the strictest sense. But to me, these words are poetry, touching my heart, my mind, my soul. A beautiful weaving of words, reaching inside you, touching those hidden places where love and grief and longing reside.

The nature of evil, of grief and loss, of exhaustion and despair. And yet, through all, a deep vein of goodness and light, of Heaven and Earth and all things between.

Natalia Dobzhanskas words speak to these times, to times of pain and times of love, an an overweening hope for redemption. Her words, filled with the horror and beauty and loss of her Ukranian homeland….. a land which, in 1657–1686 suffered “The Ruin” a devastating 30-year war amongst Russia, Poland, Turks and Cossacks for control of Ukraine. Where once again, as always, the people suffer the pain and death while those in power drink the blood and hopes and lives of the poor.

There are touchstones amongst these stories, words which caress the soul of each fable. For each, a line which touched me . . .

The Carrier
Oh, when will I be a carrier of Joy?”

Legend Of A Sea And A Cliff
To join her and fly to the heavens where the flaming star is twinkling to us, calling us. . .”

Together
And it bloomed so beautifully, though it was a guest from the south, and it did not fear the frosts…”

A Wrapper
And, seeing that, the wrapper went drunk with still more pride . . .”
And she was grateful to the wind . . .”

Boots For The Refuse Collector
“. . . can trolls, someone may ask, can trolls really do good deeds?”

Lilac
. . . that its dust flew to all ends of the Universe, together with the light stolen from Niall . . .”

A Hunchback
Oh, I am foolish, so foolish!” he reviled himself. “For the sake of illusory dream, I have wasted my life!”

The Gift
Can anybody fail to notice how special she is?”

Re-Lig… (Angel Incarnate)
The moment of the fall was long – but still, it was only an instant . . .”

Story Of A Little Girl And A Fairy-Tale Castle
. . . then it turned and dragged its way back pensively – to where a fairy tale lives and ends . . .”

The Man In Whom A Dragon Lived
The dragon entered his heart along with an evil intention.”

Legend Of A River And Desert Wind
The Wind whirled and gusted, spilling out all his bitterness against the ungrateful, ungracious humans . . .”

The Man Who Had No Face Of His Own
And he decided to go to a sage and ask him for advice about who he must look like now.”

Ballad Of A Sad Princess
And the sunrays broke her still wet tears into a rainbow, and the rainbow struck her in the eyes. . . “

 Poem Of A Cloud And The Sun
And the Cloud wept for the sprouts, and the sun let her go – “

 Legend Of An Iron Tower
Grief is always grief. Sorrow is not joy . . .”

Doors
. . . the course of time will never cease, there will be no turning back to the past, will never be . . .”

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