Thursday, August 30, 2012

Titanic Deception by John & Toni Rakestraw

Titanic DeceptionI've read a lot of Titanic books, and frankly, I thought I'd read every twist there could possibly have been, excluding vampires, werecreatures, and ridiculous stuff like that. But the Rakestraws threw another possibility into the mix, and the tale is unlike any other Titanic book I've read.

Imagine...a company so greedy and deceitful that instead of folding and taking a loss, they decide to swindle their insurance company...resulting in 1,500 lives.

That's their idea, and it actually comes across as plausible. Switch some paint, change some windows, kill a few people... I believed it.

The story goes back and forth between modern day Michael and Titanic day Alice. The modern day hero, I have to say, I like the fact he isn't perfect. He has insecurities, doesn't make a ton of money, isn't ripped with muscle or super handsome or heroic. He's the kind of man you see every day in the grocery store. And to me, this made the book more realistic. I specially loved this part here:

"They were contemporaries, and while neither could win a modeling contract, neither had left themselves go completely."

I just liked that this book was about imperfect people. It's not something you see done much nowadays.

Moving on. Michael finds his life NOW affected by events that occurred 100 years ago all because he finds a journal and starts a blog and asks some questions... The Occupy protests are even wrapped up in the modern-day plot. There's kidnapping, bombs, threats... but in the end, the truth of the Titanic must come to the surface.

My only quibble is Alice's reaction after Thomas revealed a big secret. I found it really surprising that she wouldn't at least get angry. Nevertheless, it's such a small part.

Five bikes. I bought this on Amazon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Deleted Scenes... Dominique Goodall wants to know what you think....

Deleted scenes – that section you turn to whenever you turn on a DVD. How amusing they can be; occasionally pointless and often punctuated with mistakes and speeches which are said with a smile. No one ever thinks of the scenes in a book where the author has heartlessly slashed through a chapter and deleted it, denying it the beauty of ever being printed and seen by someone who may, or may not; find it important to the book.

Such decisions are just par to the course for every writer. The question always being what does this scene bring to my story? Does it develop a character or lead the story on to the final conclusion? What makes a scene stand out and what makes it unneeded? Authors have the hardest job for things like that but fortunately for me I have yet to ever write a story in which a scene has not been classed as necessary, as vital to the plot.

From characters learning more about themselves to the very feeling of wind in fur during a hunt; my scenes hurry the story along towards the final tumultuous finale; the big finish – the fireworks at the end of a party. I’ve often read a book or two where some scenes are unneeded – and yet others which haven’t been connected properly where a scene has been deleted. I love reading deleted scenes, or sections which the author has chosen to make the cut.

Often these are cut in editing, some people keeping them in hopes that they can improve those sections – the sections left so amazing that they make us laugh, make us cry – and even, on my part, made me scream at the book in frustration when a story ends too quickly or even when the wrong character dies. I love the thought of the cut – the image of a red pen slashing through words and slicing them away – like a knife, trimming off the edges of the stale bread – I know, weird analogy but that’s just me! :p

So now we’re onto you.
What do you think about deleted scenes?
Should humorous ones be included for your amusement?
Which books have you read where you’ve actually wanted to scene a pointless scene cut?

And if you disagree with someone’s book…let’s have a discussion – IF we know the book!

Dominique Goodall is the author of the soon to be released Echoes of Winter, book one in the Seasons of the Wolf series and a self-confessed wolf addict. She has currently been published in two anthologies by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and is currently working on getting herself better known by sending in manuscripts for as many different anthologies as she possibly can.

As much as she loves to admit it, she never will be able to count her wolf stuff- there's nothing left for her to be truly able to collect without her own home.

She can be friended on Facebook here:
Her twitter name is:!/DomGoodall
And her blog can be found here:
And the trailer for her book is here:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gilbert M. Stack's Panic Button: Lighthouse Island

Panic Button: Lighthouse IslandI'm pleased to welcome Gilbert M. Stack today. He's agreed to answer a few questions about his new book:  Panic Button: Lighthouse Island. I'm hoping this is the first of a series and I'm hoping I get asked to review those too, cause this absolutely rocked, and that is not something I say often!

I'm not a fan of reality TV, but looking at it from a woman's POV, following a character in a book, feeling what she feels...just wow. I was riveted. As to be expected, the contestants of this reality show fight and argue nonstop. There is 250,000 bucks at first. And amid the fighting, there's fear, craziness, and romance.

There is no sex. It's not even needed. It's just nonstop, heart-pounding action.

The deal: A snooty college professor, an elementary school teacher, a handsome Adonis, a mechanic, a model wannabe, an overweight man, a tough African American woman, and older lady are thrown together on Lighthouse Island with a crazy keeper who seems to get way into his role.

There's shackles, a flooding cellar, a dry well, infested food, ghost stories, and mind games. The heroine is constantly faced with: hit the panic button, save so-and-so, do this, save so-and-so, and in the end, she may win or lose because of love. Can a showmance become a romance?

I loved it, and though the bickering got on my nerves at times, I could see as totally plausible. In moments of extreme stress and with lots of money at stake, people behave in appalling ways. How would YOU behave?

I give this one five bikes.

Meanwhile, welcome Mr. Stack.

This book was incredible. I actually forgot to make questions and notes. LOL But here are a few:

Reality TV is hot so asking how the idea came to you seems silly, but I do wonder, is there any reality show in particular you like?

We watch a lot of Reality TV in my house. It’s mostly Big Brother this summer, but Survivor has always been one of my favorites. I really like the social game that has to be played to win these shows, but in Survivor you also have the difficulty of enduring physical challenges. These players are under a lot of stress and one poorly spoken word can cost them everything. I love them!

There’s one instance Boy Scouts is mentioned. Were you in the scouts and did you learn any cool survival techniques?

I loved my years in the boy scouts. We did a lot of backpacking and camping, and while we never actually needed these survival skills we talked about what to do in extreme circumstances a lot. I think this sort of challenge (i.e. How do you feed yourself on a deserted island?) shows up on television and in literature so often because people are fascinated by nature and want to know on some fundamental level if we’ve become too civilized to survive in the wild.

Is there a particular lighthouse that you visualized while writing about Lighthouse Island? Or perhaps one with a sordid history such as this one?

This is a tough question. I’ve always been fascinated by lighthouses and even used to fantasize about buying one and living in it. I don’t think that would be so bad today with cell phones and television, but back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it would have been a different story. The psychological stresses that lighthouse keepers lived under must have been incredible. Lives literally depended on them every single night. And yet it was intensely solitary work, often requiring the men and their families to live in isolation beyond the edge of civilization. So while the keeper in Panic Button is a complete fabrication, I think the idea of the keeper cracking under the pressure and going a bit crazy is completely credible.

The contestants have no water for two days, only rum rations. Could you survive like that? And if so, would you prefer Captain Morgan or Bacardi?

Research is always one of the most enjoyable parts of the writing process and Panic Button gave me the excuse to learn a lot more about rum. Both brands are really good, but I have to come down on the side of Captain Morgan. I don’t know if it’s the historian or the romantic in me, but there’s something appealing about drinking the namesake of one of the New World’s most successful pirates who managed to keep his wealth by going straight.

Rook nearly gets stuck in a well. Heather was afraid of the dark, Ronnie of chains. Shackles…infested food, what would have made YOU press your panic button?

This is another tough question. What do you fear so much that being subjected to it would make you give up your chance to win a quarter million dollars? While the infested food would certainly make me gag, I think that it’s Hank’s fear that would have succeeded in driving me out the game. But I can’t say any more about that now without spoiling the story.

Thanks so much for having me on your website today, Tara. I’ve really enjoyed your questions and I always love talking about books with other readers. I hope you’ll friend me on Facebook at and visit me on my site at

Monday, August 20, 2012

Out of the Blue by Victor Cruz & Peter Schrager

Victor Cruz did not just come from nowhere. He didn't just appear out of the blue. He came from what some would dub a broken home, streets rife with crime, and a little boy with big dreams became a legend. It wasn't an overnight thing. It came with struggles and stress attached. As Victor says at the end of this book, "You can't wait for your chance. You can't expect it. You have to earn it." Wise words. I think I'll post them somewhere I can see them and remind myself of this when I get frustrated over my writing career.

I learned a lot as I read this. Football players, the pros anyway, are not dumb jocks. They have to make good SAT scores to get into those colleges where recruiters find them. And after reading about the lockout, the financial stuff they go through, the injuries, the stress, the whole drafting process, I have a newfound respect for football players in general.
Cruz grew up in Paterson, NJ and turned to sports to stay off the streets and out of trouble. He was raised by a single mom and his abuela and papi. His dad was a firefighter who wasn't a part of his life till Cruz turned seven. He introduced his son to football. Cruz had a series of hard knocks: gangs beating on him and his friends, shootings, illness in the family, his father dying, bad grades, and just frustration when the NFL kept passing him by. Nothing was handed to this guy.

I absolutely loved how Cruz managed to talk about all his accomplishments without being arrogant. He even credits numerous other players for helping him, teaching him, praises Eli Manning. He talks about other football players' unique stories, not just himself. And when it got to the 2011 football season, I already knew the scores, had watched the games, but Cruz's POV showed me what was going on behind the scenes.

I appreciate Cruz writing this book, taking the time to tell his story. He gives the rest of us, whether you're from Paterson, NJ, or Tulsa, Oklahoma, a feeling of hope. Reading his story, reading about his persistence in the face of adversity, makes me want to overcome it in my own life. He did it. He made it. He dreamed big and accomplished it.

Five bikes. This book was a gift from my mother.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Wisest Maiden by Dahlia DeWinters

The Wisest MaidenImagine 1001 Nights, but instead of telling tales, the heroine has to use wits and the skills/assets she's been blessed with. This is a short novelette inspired by the original story. Issalia has been hidden away by her parents as the king of their kingdom has an extreme hatred against women. He takes one maiden as his wife every year, deflowers them, and kills them. So far, he has killed three. Will Issalia be his fourth? When Toridesh lays eyes on her one fateful day in the marketplace, he thinks yes.

She's taken to his palace and becomes his bride...only she doesn't die the next day. Why? She is wise. She uses her skills with herbs, womanly seduction, and just plain simple common sense as she tries to get through to the king. Can she show him that not all women are bad? Can she break this...curse?

In a time when books feel like the same story told over and over, I was very pleased to discover myself shocked at two different turns. DeWinters manages to give an old story many new twists. I'm not big on descriptions, but this author managed to describe things from the food to the decor to the characters in such eloquent prose, I felt I was there eating the fruit, riding the camel, touching the king.

And the best part was...this man will kill her once her deflowers her, yet her body yearns for him. Loved her inner turmoil. "More often than not, her mind and body urged her to simply give in, be taken and suffer the consequences." Imagine wanting a man that bad...I could feel it with the heroine.

There's also humor, most notably when Issalia finds out about her diet. I won't reveal more than that.

Five bikes. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dahlia DeWinters Talks About the Importance of Word Choice

I'm pleased to welcome Dahlia DeWinters today as she celebrates her latest release. I, of course, asked a ton of questions about her edits and how she felt about them and what she learned. Here's a great post from her about the the importance of word choice.

"There was a book out a time ago, called “Roman Soldiers Don’t Wear Watches” which  was about movie mistakes that you find in period films, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, where in one scene you can see a man in t-shirt and jeans in the crowd. Kinda weird seeing that with all the other people around him in proper desert-wear, right?

Writing a fantasy fairy tale was a challenge, not in the execution of the story itself, but the world-building and within that world-building, the creation of language.  I don’t mean I created my own language, although I slipped in a few made-up words here and there, but I mean how the cadence of the dialogue and word choice transports (I hope) the reader to the fantasy land of the story.

Going back to Raiders, seeing that guy in the t-shirt sauntering along may ruin the period feel of the film.  In the same way, the wrong word choice will jerk your readers out of the story.  In writing The Wisest Maiden, I made the conscious decision to have no contractions in the book.  Short of using “thee” and “thou” this was a way of making the speech of the characters formal and polite.  I also used no slang.   The king doesn’t tell his subjects to “Relax” or “Take a chill pill”.  Not that he would be so inclined to do so anyway!
The Wisest Maiden 
Word choice was another decision I made--with the help of my editor--during the editing process.  In order to lend a more archaic tone to the story, I replaced words such as “gorgeous” or “sexy” because they wouldn’t be appropriate for the “once upon a time” feel of the fairy tale.  Instead, I used words such as “ripe” and “luscious”, words that conveyed the king’s intense feeling for his soon-to-be-bride without using modern words that may yank the reader out of the spell that I’m trying to weave.  I opted to use more formal, and at times awkward, language to keep the readers in the “long ago and far away” mood.

Note the difference between the two phrases:

“Don’t touch me.  Save it for the wedding night, King.”


“Preserve your caresses for your wedding night, King.”

Both convey the same basic meaning, but the second sounds like it belongs in a fairy tale. The word choice puts you “there”.

Certainly, writing (and editing) a fantasy story was an experience!  While it was frustrating at times to find the right word to express the thought without sounding contemporary, it helped to stretch my vocabulary and learn how to make great use of the online dictionary sites.   All in all, it was a learning experience that has made me more cognizant of the difference that language makes."

Thank you, Dahlia. I look forward to reading this story. Readers, the book she's speaking of The Wisest Maiden...

Betrayed by his first wife, King Toridesh gives his new brides no chance to deceive him. After he marries a virgin of his choosing and consummates the marriage, he has them killed.

As an only child, Issalia has been sheltered by her parents in an attempt to shield her from their king’s murderous intent. When her mother falls ill, Issalia refuses to allow their market-stall to be closed for the day, knowing this one day of income stands between them and poverty.

While in disguise, the king spies the lovely Issalia in the marketplace and takes her as his next bride. Will Issalia succumb to the fate of the virgin brides before her, or will she be able to break the king’s curse?

It can be bought on Amazon and All Romance Ebooks.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Writer's Life, the Ups and Downs with Jennifer Don

The life of a writer is not as easy as some would have you think, but it is a worthy road to undertake and certainly well worth the time you put into it. Of course, I can only speak from my experiences when I say that. Such experiences are still very new in coming about but are more than enough to make the previous statement a valid one. Others may well tell you otherwise from their own journey through this rough road and that is fine. Life is all about balance and writing is of no exception.

It is full of highs and lows. Let us not forget those moments of trials and errors. Or those that keep us second guessing our work and those spent on our toes in anticipation of how something will be received by our steady growing audience of followers.  

To be a writer is to walk a treacherous path of pitfalls at every turn and rough ragged mountains to face upon every climb. It is a life made of sacrifices and hours spent alone deep in thought or rather in deep undulating mental conversations with your argumentative muse or bothersome characters. It is a life where you make friends and break friends, and a life where you must learn to endure the hard times and embrace all the good times. There will be many of those upon the writing road of life. There is certainly very few days when I’ve crossed through clear waters in this sailing trip of words and I know that I stand not alone on this matter.

One moment you could be on the top of the world and the next, you’ve hit the lowest of lows and want nothing more to do with the pen held in your hand. It is often upon this low moment that one deadly thought crosses the forefront of the writers mind. This very same thought is one that can be deemed as the eighth cardinal sin. That deadly thought is the one where all you want to do is abandon your hopes, dreams and all you’ve dared to build and replace it with something better. It’s that very moment where you question your ability in the passion to write that you’ve held for so long and so deep within your soul.

 God knows I’ve been on that verge a fair few times in my short writing journey. But you know what? I’ve never crossed that threshold into the abyss and do you know why? It is all down to the support that I have found from people in the same boat. If you head on over to on Facebook you’ll see exactly what I mean. These people spend their time working on their projects, whether they are writers, publishers, editors or whatever. It doesn’t matter; they will still be there for you. They will make time for you. If you give to them, they will give to you without any questions being asked. This very group has been a lifesaver on more than one occasion for me and I owe them the world of thanks. But none more so than Kim Mutch Emerson, who helped pull me up from the lowest point in writing that I have ever stooped upon. She, with her words of advice helped me to see the light on matters that I was facing.

But that still doesn’t make writing any easier to grasp. So why do we write when we know it’s not going to be easy?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I write because I am incomplete without it. I write because my soul demands the expression and there is no better way to freely express what you feel than with the power of words. It doesn’t matter how you put them down on paper, or how you chose to express it. The freedom to do just what you want with them is the very fuel that is ever lasting and remains to keep the fire burning.

When you tell someone that you are writer, you may be shot down by questionable glances and accolades of jeering moments as they try to remove you from your passionate perch. But don’t let get you down. If anything, use it to your advantage. Use it to prove them wrong. Allow it to become the very passion you love within your writing.

Writers all over the world will tell you that it can be so frustrating when nothing seems to be working for you. You can also go green with envy over your fellow writers success when you are left trailing in the mud but please don’t let this become a growing focus in your mind. Don’t allow the green eyed monster to take control and jeopardise everything that you have worked for. So what if it takes you longer to make ready your book or writing project. It does not matter about how quickly it appears in the public eye. You want to make it the best thing ever so take your time and enjoy the process. Be happy for those who have found success and keep working on your own. You never know, yours might just be the best seller and hitting the streets for millions to be reading and then who’s laughing?

Oh let’s not forget the stereotypes here. Writers… what do people see when you tell them you are a writer? Well, some see you as being a person who has relocated themselves to a lifetime of perpetual torture at the hands of devil’s tool – the mighty pen. Others may see you as being someone who sits behind a computer all day with a notepad to the side and balls of paper littering the floor – who hasn’t been there? Some will think that you do nothing but write and therefore live an isolated life with no time for socialisation. But we all know this couldn’t be further from the truth even if we tried. Many writers out there have a family to look after, and education to learn and a job to keep. We do not slave endlessly to the willpower of the written word, as much as we wish we could, an earning must be made.
But seriously, the journey of writing is different for everyone, but we will all share those high moments and those low moments. We may all lose the friends we have tried so hard to keep and often it will be down to a difference of opinion or no respecting support from them. These things happen. This is why many will say that to be a writer is to live a life of near isolation. The most enjoyment comes when you are engrossed in the lives of your characters or when you are reading the lives of others. Yes you need down time and friends are good for that, but the world is your oyster.

The dream you hold, is the dream worth living for. It is the dream worth fighting for. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You my friend are welcome in the arms of fellow writers to write until your heart is content. Forget all about what comes next when you’ve finished that first draft. Worry about that when it comes to it. Focus on what you are writing first and foremost and enjoy the ride.
To my fellow writers out there, what advice can you offer to those just starting out?
What handy tips are you willing to share to those ready to further their writing?
What do people look for when reading the works of others?
What pitfalls catch you upon every turn?
Do you have moments of the past where you have felt like throwing the towel in?
If so, would you share them with us?

About Jennifer Don
Jennifer spent many years without daring to lift a pen, without writing a word that wasn’t forced. But 2008 arrived and with it, her love of writing. She began with poetry which quenched her thirst to begin with but soon that wasn’t enough to satisfy her. 2011 arrived with a dream to write her first novel – Awakening, which is on-going. November saw her attempt her first NaNoWriMo, and so Timber Varden was born, with the bulk of it being written within that month. Now she finds herself aiming to re-write that draft and turn it into her first published novel.
While she aims to work through the edits needed, updates on her progress can be found on here -
To find out more with regards to her other projects, then check out her blog here -
And should you wish to follow her on Twitter, or ask her any questions please see here -!/Voice_Of_Spirit
You can also add and follow Jennifer over on Goodreads. You will find that link here –
Jennifer will be more than happy to answer any questions you have for her. You can contact her at any of the links posted above. Or email her at

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry

I was completely immersed in this novel. Is it a tad preposterous? Yes, but that's part of the fun.

The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Defiant DaughterWe have here a fictional account of what may have been, with the heroine being a rebellious princess of the great Queen Victoria. First of all, I love that this wasn't a worthless princess like so many others we read about. This woman went to suffragist parades, fought to be in class with the boys, to paint nudity in a time when women did not do that. She also started the Women's Work Society and provided a place where destitute girls and women may learn crafts and sell them. I was greatly impressed by this princess.

As with any novel revolving around the royal family, there's secrets and traitors. Louise has secrets in her I knew right away. I must say I wish the book had covered it better, not made it so obvious. I'd have preferred a surprise. Nevertheless, as Louise searches for an old love, a new one enters her life...but she's tied down to a man of her mother, the queen's choosing.

I loved reading about both the young girl and the young woman. The scandalous love stories are surrounded by intrigue as the angry Irish plot and set bombs and whatnot to try to harm the royal family. A traitor is in their midst. Two men from the American Civil War war are in the middle of it all. The princess's friend Amanda nearly stole the show at times with her own side story as well.

Truly, no end to the excitement in this one. I think there could have been more passion between the hero and heroine and I'd have liked some questions I had regarding Queen's Victoria's choices/meddling answered  more thoroughly, but I have to say this is a great read. I'll be watching for more by this author.

Four bikes. I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Love on the Rocks by Lorraine Nelson

Love on the RocksIf you had a crazed ex boyfriend after you whom charges just rolled right off of...and you couldn't provide for your baby or keep her safe, what would you do?

Sara gives her away... yet finds a way to stay in the baby's life thanks to a handsome and kind doctor that takes the child in... but he doesn't know she's really the mother. When he finds out, what will he think of her?

Romance, secrets, and lies that come back to haunt... This is sweet confection (no sex) guaranteed to warm the soul and have readers rooting for the hero and heroine.

Love on the Rocks is available on the Breathless Press site. This is not a review. I edited this book and I'm proud of my author. :)

Mage's Bane by Chacelyn Pierce

I've never read about Mage's before now and never realized the different levels of witches and demons. There's a lot to it and through Ari's eyes we can see the inner dealings.

Ari is known as a rogue Akasha Mage. She's run off to do her own thing, be it getting kicked out of apartments, digging though dumpsters, dating Faes, or calling her super hot Djinn, Riaz.

It's during one these Riaz summonings that she finds out she's got a demon on her tail. Someone wants her dead. This means spending more time with the hot Djinn as she needs him to keep her safe...right? (Hey, we'll take whatever excuse we can.)

Secrets unfold...about Riaz and his past, about Ari's beginnings and family. It's action packed and full of sexual tension. Paranormal romance lovers won't want to miss this one.

Buy here.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Morrigan by Laura DeLuca, Cover Art Reveal and Contest

Welcome to the Morrigan Cover Reveal Giveaway, sponsored by Author Laura DeLuca, Mom to Bed by 8, The Sisters Elemental, The Whimsical Pixie, Crones Magical Crafts / Moonwise Creationz, and New Age Mama! This is a giveaway filled with magic and we're sure you will enjoy walking through the land of Tír Na nÓg with our heroine and all her supporters.  To start off the fun, lets share a little about the YA novel, Morrigan, which is due to be released by Pagan Writers Press on October 31st, 2012!

Morrigan Blurb

Shuffled from place to place in the foster system, Morrigan
doesn't know the meaning of home. Plus, she is different. She has power over
fire, the ability to move objects with her mind, and glimpse into the future.
Just when she believes her life can’t get any stranger, she discovers her true

Filtiarn, a knight with a dark past and a surprising secret,
has been tasked with guiding the heir of Tír Na NÓg through countless perils to
be returned to her family. Once Morrigan has been reunited with her mother and
grandmother, their triad can save the forgotten land of magic from being
devoured by an ancient evil.

Morrigan Excerpt 
      Morrigan took out a white candle and a
stick of dragon blood incense, and set them up in the corner of the room. She
sat cross-legged, and leaned forward to light them. No matches were
necessary.  No lighter either. She simply
touched her finger to the end of the wick, and with an iridescent spark, the
candle flickered to life.  It shone at
first with a bright blue flame that gradually settled into a more normal
orange. It was the same with the incense—another reason why she preferred not
to have an audience.
She stared into the candle for a moment, and took a few deep breaths to
clear her mind of all thoughts but those of the magic she intended to perform.
Danu and Dagda sat on either side of her, instantly falling into silence, as
though they knew she needed her complete concentration. Their energy beside her
only seemed to add to the every growing sense of power that charged the room.
Morrigan closed her eyes and began to shuffle the cards. As she did, she
allowed her breathing to become more even. A silence filled the room as the
rest of the mortal world fell away. Soon the only sound she heard was the light
thump of her own heartbeat, echoed by the quicker, fast paced beat of the cats’
hearts. She wasn’t sure how much time passed as the cards slipped through her
fingers. It might have been minutes. It might have been hours. When she allowed
herself to fall into a trace, time became insubstantial, irrelevant. 
The tarot cards were so old; the designs on the back were almost
completely worn away. She had to shuffle gently to keep them from crumbling to
pieces in her hands. Yet they held a power that she knew no newer cards could
ever offer. As she shuffled them, she focused her energy into them,
silently requesting to be given the answers she was seeking.  She allowed the image of her mother to fill
her mind. When she finally felt the cards had fallen into the order they were
meant to be in, she placed the deck face down on the floor, and cut them with
her right hand. Then, taking one last, calming breath, she lifted the top card
from the pile. With a trembling hand, she laid it down and read it.
“Wheel of Fortune,” she said aloud.
      In the center of card was a wheel. As she
stared at the picture, that wheel seemed to start turning clockwise. The
movements made her feel slightly dizzy. The bedroom around her became more and
more surreal.  The scene on the card
became her reality. The figure of the sphinx that sat on top of the turning
wheel looked so very real. It might have turned its head to look at her. Its
lips may or may not have moved. But Morrigan swore she heard a deep, resonating
voice whispering the meaning of the card into her ear. Destiny approaching. An
unexpected and sudden change was coming—change that could lead to good
       It was the card of fate and karma
returned. It meant that she needed to be prepared—to expect the unexpected.
Morrigan knew the cards were telling her something was going to happen—and
soon. Her destiny, whatever it was, was about to be realized. Even if it did
bring with it fortune of some kind, it still scared her to death. So much so,
she considered packing up the cards right then and there. Her rational mind had
every intention of doing just that. The problem was, her hands didn’t get the
message her brain was sending them. Before she knew what she was doing, she had
already flipped over the second card.
“The Empress,” she whispered. She exhaled deeply. “My mother.”
       It was the only interpretation
imaginable. Even as she said it, the pregnant woman, crowned with stars and
adorned in a gown decorated with pomegranates, turned to her and smiled. No
longer the vague featureless stranger that was there just a moment ago, but the
same woman she had sketched earlier that day—a face that mirrored her own. It
was an older version of herself, which she saw in the reflection in the nearby
full length mirror, had turned chalk white.
The Empress was a symbol of maternal power—of a strong feminine
influence. But could it mean…did she even dare to hope that her mother was
returning? She had never allowed herself to consider such a possibility. To
dwell on something so unlikely would have been too painful.  But now, with just the flip of a card, she
found herself daring to dream it might be so. There was only one way to find
out for sure. She had to keep going with the reading.
“Six of Cups.”

      The third card in the spread
represented her past, and even her immediate present. The six of cups
specifically symbolized childhood, and she was, technically, still a child. But
she had a feeling that her childhood was about to end quite abruptly. The cups
in the picture were lined up across a high, stone wall, each cup holding the
memories of her past.
Her past. It was nothing but a childhood filled with longing—longings
which were perhaps about to be fulfilled.
She visualized herself taking each cup down from the wall, and pouring
the troubling memories away. It was time to start fresh. A new world was about
to open up for her. She had known it as soon as she had seen the image of her
mother’s face. But what would that world be like? What was waiting for her in
the future?

   Morrigan turned over the fourth
“The Knight of Wands.”
      The man on the horse carrying the staff
had her baffled. Not because she didn’t know its normal meaning, but because as
she stared at the card, it began to take on the physical attributes of the
knight in her drawings.  He had the same
long dreadlocks, the same bewitching stare, even the same cocky smile. It was
not at all the blank face that was nearly worn away from time that should been
staring back at her. Yet, the familiarity did not cancel out the meaning of the
card. The knight of wands was representative of a dark man filled with a kind
of honey-tongued charm. He was also fiery and arrogant, a man with a definite
possibility of a dark side. If the knight of wands was coming into her life,
she knew she needed to proceed with caution.
      She thought she was done with the fourth
card, and was preparing to move on to the next, when once again, she found she
had lost control of her own body. This time, her hands refused to move, while
her eyes forced their way back to the knight in the card. She watched as the
longhaired stranger began to move forward—wondering over various
landscapes—some high mountains, some meadows and fields ripe for the harvest.
He kept looking back over his shoulder, as though he were speaking to someone.
He was on a journey, and he wasn’t alone. Morrigan didn’t need to see his
companion to know who it must be.
So, her journey would soon begin, and she wouldn’t be traveling alone.
She would have a guide. Whether or not that would be a good thing was another
question best left to the cards to answer. However, the next card told her
nothing she didn’t already know.
      “The Moon,” she said. “Caution.”
      It was a scary card. It warned of tricks
and illusions. The two howling wolves that stood under the moon looked back at
her menacingly, growling, showing their pointed fangs in a snarl.  For the first time since she began the
reading, Danu and Dagda made their presence known by lifting their heads and hissing
threateningly in the direction of the beasts.
      Even the cats sensed it. The journey she
was about to embark on wouldn’t be all fun and family reunions. There would be
obstacles and deceit, most likely from people she though could be trusted. The
moon was a sign that danger was certainly awaiting her. In was an ominous omen.
She hushed the still hissing cats, and gave them each a gentle stroke to
try to settle them down, though she was far from settled herself. Again she felt
the urge to stop the spread. Her instincts were telling her that no good was
going to come out of this reading. That she was only going to scare herself.
She should never have done it in the first place. When would she learn that
sometimes it was best to just let life play out without interference or
prophetic warnings? Then again, she knew that to be forewarned might be her
only advantage. So with more bravery than she felt, Morrigan flipped over the
final card.
      “No…” she gasped when she looked down at
the terrible, skeletal face.  “Oh no…”
She should have known. She thought perhaps a part of her did know
even before she glanced down at the gruesome scene—a skeleton with a scythe in
a field of body parts. With the divination going in the direction it was, what
else could be the final outcome?
“Death,” she whispered. “Death.”
She knew that in most cases, the death card was more a symbol of
personal transformation than literal death. But a deeper sense of understanding
told her that this time the card was meant to be taken literally. She saw only
glimpses and shadows in her mind. Brief flashes of faces, some familiar, like
her mother and the knight—some still strangers, like a beautiful, almost
angelic blonde woman in a flowing white gown. But around them all, including
herself, she saw the shadows of death. Someone would die. That was
certain. Whether that person was Morrigan or someone else, neither the cards
nor her sixth sense was willing to reveal.
         Morrigan felt decidedly shaky as she
gathered up her tarot cards. She placed them securely in the bottom of her bag
just as she heard the door downstairs slam shut. The reading hadn’t made
everything as crystal clear as she had hoped, but one thing was certain. She
would soon be leaving on a journey—a journey that would undoubtedly end in

About the Author

“Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four
children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young
at heart.  In addition to writing
fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a  review blog called New Age
Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been
studying Wicca for close to eight years

Other Books By Laura DeLuca

Available  for $3.99 in e-book format or currently $15.73 for print copies on Amazon.

The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found
enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play
that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses
“Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the
middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker
who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.

lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her
character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and
basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely
appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured

Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to
happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered.
People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents
until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more
sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the
phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain
reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running
out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when
the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally
be revealed.


Available for only $.99 in e-book format or $14.95 for print version on Amazon.

Gabriella is a witch. The problem is, she doesn't remember. She
repressed the memories of her powers years ago when her mother was
murdered. Now, the warlock who was responsible for her mother's death
has set his sights on Gabriella. He is determined to use her fear to
turn her to the dark side of magick…even if it kills her. Her mother's
spirit is reaching out to warn her, but even that she pushes away.
Desperate to save her daughter, the spirit finds a male witch–one that
just happens to be in love with Gabriella. Darron is more than willing
to help but the two young witches will have way more to battle than just
an evil warlock. There are overbearing jocks and petty rich girls who
get tempers flaring and often set Gabrielle and Darron at odds.

is more to the story than Gabrielle and Darron could even imagine.
There are terrible secrets to be revealed, battles to be waged, and
lives will be lost. Only after Gabrielle and Darron both come to terms
with who they really are, and open themselves up to the true meaning of
magick, can they have any hope of fulfilling their destiny.

 Destiny Unveiled

Available for only $3.99 for e-book version or $14.89 for print version on Amazon.

Gabriella and Darron thought their magickal battle was over when they
defeated the evil warlock, Richard. When her Aunt Donna seeks
Gabriella's help in rescuing her catatonic daughter from the Dark Coven,
Gabriella discovers that her cousin holds a power within her that would
be catastrophic in the hands of the evil witches. Gabriella's coven
sets out on a journey that may be their last. Along the way, they meet
new allies, face devastating treachery, and battle not only the Dark
Coven, but the darkness within themselves. When Gabriella finally comes
face to face with the cousin she never knew existed, her true destiny is
unveiled, and the fate of the mortal world is in her hands.


And now for the exciting part! Three fabulous Etsy shops have created original works of art to go along with the Morrigan cover! Below you fill find the prizes they are sponsoring, as well as links to their shops in case you would like to order any of their wonderful products for yourselves.

The Whimsical Pixie offers an array of unique hand crafted items for the
altar, home and garden for practicing pagans and the whimsical at
heart. New for Spring, The Whimsical Pixie has Sabbat kits, ritual kits
and more to enhance your celebrations. 

Paula from the Whimsical Pixie has created a beautiful wood burned tarot card box emblazoned with the Celtic symbol featured in the title of Morrigan. The box has special significance to the story. If you read the excerpt above, you will see that Morrigan is quite gifted with Tarot cards.   The box measures 5.25"Lx3.25"Wx2"H; retail value $26.99; tarot cards not included. 

The Sisters Elemental offer natural luxury bath salts, cold process
soaps, hand and body lotions, and other spiritual & inspirational
tools to help you connect to the Universe. They hope you enjoy them as
much as they enjoy creating them! Much love and light to you and yours,
~*Earth*~, ~*Fire*~, and ~*Water*~ 

 Commissioned by Laura DeLuca to make something that will pull you in to
the world of Morrigan, the main character of her to-be-released book
Morrigan, we think that this combination will bring you to her world. A
mixture of Dragon's Blood, Cypress, and Sweet Orange essential oils with
an accent of Hibiscus petals will leave you feeling blessed by the
goddess and wrapped in magick. Created by ~*Fire*~ 

Using seashells from the beautiful beaches in Florida, I hand painted
the Elder Futhark rune symbols on each shell. Used like regular runes,
they give guidance for almost anything imaginable. The most amazing part
about these is the connection to the ocean. They are infused with the
sea, and loving thoughts of peace and love from me, as I painted them. I
believe you'll find these an amazing addition to your divination tools.
And maybe even feel a little more connected to the ocean and it's life!

 Mother Earth handmade cold process soap ~ very outdoors and earthy; made
with cypress, cedarwood, fir needle, wintergreen, and patchouli
essential oils and lightly colored with green zeolite clay. Get in
touch with Mother Nature herself! ~*Earth*~ Creation: All my
soaps are infused with positive energy, love, and made with 100% natural
vegan ingredients right in my own kitchen. Approximately 4.5 oz bar.
Moonwise Creationz / Crones Magical Crafts 

Moonwise Creationz/Crones Magical Crafts offers Jewelry Design and Fine Crafts ! Inspired
by Mother Moon and the divine feminine. Goddess Jewellery, priestess
crowns, ritual tools. altar sets, charm bracelets. Pentacles,and sacred
symbols, amulets and all things magical! 

Commissioned exculsivly for Author Laura Deluca in celebration of her latest novel Morrigan.

This one of a kind jewellry set features bold and striking colors of Baby and periwinkle blues accented with pastel greens. Made with gemstones of sodalite crystals,and Tiara crystal beads and
glass pearls accented with delicate silver filigree and celtic knot
beads.The focal Of the necklace is a striking sodalite cabochon
with a detailed silver celtic triquetra knot ,set on a filigree cameo

The set comes with a matching charm bracelet, and earrings.

Retail Value of 70.00$

Compliments Of Crones Magical Crafts & Moonwise Creationz

Denise Reid * Jewelry Artist

Author Laura DeLuca is also offering a signed copy of her debut novel, Destiny, a rose quartz pendant, three packs of incense, three crystal points, a clear crystal pendant, and a geode.  ARV: $50.

And finally, our two sponsoring mommy bloggers are each tossing in a $25 Gift Certificate to Amazon for a total of $50 . The total value of the complete prize package is well over $300! One lucky winner is going to walk away with all this fantastic swag!  To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to the US & Canada, but please note the prize in is US dollars. The giveaway will end at 12:01 est on 9/28/12.  Winner will be selected at random and will have 48 hours to reply to the winning notification before another winner is selected.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

A super huge thank you goes out to all the wonderful sponsors as well as the bloggers and authors who helped make this giveaway possible!  We would also like to thank Paragraphic Designs for designing the beautiful cover for Morrigan!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. YOUR BLOG NAME HERE is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.