Saturday, September 29, 2012

Guest Author: Jason Parent

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated by spiders. Where others see hateful, blood-sucking monsters, ugly and disturbing vermin, or fearful and threatening beings, I see wondrous, almost mythical creatures. Their ornate webs rival the artwork of the masters.

With that said, like most people, I don’t exactly want them crawling all over me. Most spiders are harmless despite the silly myths surrounding them. Even most varieties of widow spiders are no threat to humans, though the easily recognizable black widow can certainly kill the elderly or infirm.

But yet, many shriek at the site of a common house spider. Some have phobias that go well beyond irrational fear. Certainly, I had no qualms exploring and exploiting this fear. And maybe, just maybe, people have more reason to fear spiders than they could ever know.

On August 9, 2012, two weeks after What Hides Within was published, the Huffington Post reported the very real-life scenario that my work of “fiction” chronicles. A woman sought treatment at a Chinese hospital for an itchy and irritated ear. The cause of her irritation was enough to make a stalwart man squeamish--a spider had made her ear canal its home.

Disgusting? Yep. Disturbing? Undoubtedly, the stuff good, dark, twisted fiction is made of, albeit all too real. It’s scary enough that this unwanted hitchhiker could make a nest in a most intimate cavern (though we all have others, each of which may be equally as disturbing). But what if the spider had a more malevolent reason for being there? What if it were truly a creature worthy of our contempt? Our fear?

Like I said, maybe they are. We all get that sensation from time-to-time, the feeling of multiple legs working their way up our leg or down our neck. When we look for its source, we find nothing and chalk it up to imagination or the wind. But the next time you get goose bumps thinking some creepy crawler had trespassed upon your body, consider this: perhaps it did, and perhaps you no longer see it because it’s already made its way into your ear. Then again, maybe it was just the wind . . .

What Hides Within 

Paperback: 308 pages
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing; Large type edition edition (July 30, 2012)
Amazon Link

Kindle Edition
Size: 391 KB
Print Length: 328 pages
Publisher: Double Dragon eBooks (July 25, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

About the book:

Inside all of us, there is darkness. Inside Clive, it's tangible, and it's aching to get out.

What Hides Within tells the story of a man held captive by an unknown evil. Clive Menard is a spineless slacker leading an ordinary existence. But when Chester enters his life, it becomes far from ordinary. 

A disheveled Clive stands alone in a hospital waiting room. A series of incidences have led him to undergo unnecessary neurosurgery. A voice inside Clive's head nags him to kill the doctor. 

Weeks prior, a murder investigation and an unrelated kayaking excursion set the story's interlocking events in motion. When a remorseful killer, a bomb-happy psychopath and a mysterious widow spider converge upon Clive, they bring with them destruction and death. Clive must discover who or what is steering his very existence before he, too, is consumed by the carnage around him. 

With a driven detective following his every step and a vicious killer hiding within his circle of friends, Clive must walk a narrow and dangerous path, teetering between salvation and damnation. He must confront Chester and his own demons. But is he powerless to overcome them?

About the author:

Jason spends his days writing, but it's mostly drafting legal memoranda as a civil litigator in New Bedford, MA--not exactly a venue conducive to creativity. But during his lunch breaks and after hours, you can often find him at one of the area's charming coffee shops, huddled over an unadulterated iced coffee with a pen and paper in hand (somewhat old-school in his methods). Hopefully, when you see him, the pen's moving, and he hasn't dozed off.

Either way, be sure to say, "hello." If he's asleep just poke him with a stick. Jason always welcomes the chance to meet readers and to field their questions and comments.

Please visit the author's website for information regarding upcoming events or releases, or if you have any questions or comments for him,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: The Lure of Shapinsay by Krista Holle

The Lure of Shapinsay

Author: Krista Holle
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Sweet River Romance (June 6, 2012)
Amazon Link

File Size: 466 KB
Print Length: 272 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Sweet River Romance; 1 edition (December 19, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Amazon Link

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Krista Holle. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

The Lure of Shapinsay is my first selkie book. When I accepted the request to read and review this,  I thought the story is interesting but I honestly didn't know what selkies are. I was imagining they're like mermaids/mermen, you know those fish-like creatures. So this is actually a shocking read for me. Selkies are not fish-like creatures. Imagine, seal in water, human on land. Wait - did you know that seal and sea lion are two different sea creatures? They look the same to me so again, I didn't know they're different until I read this book! Back to the Scottish folklore, selkies wear their skin when in water but if they want to be human, they have to shed their skin. This is all new to me so I checked other reviews for this book, seems like the other reviewers also didn't have a clue about this folklore.  

Anyway, the book focuses on the forbidden romance of a selkie, Eamon and human girl Kait. The first pages were kind of a slow read. The strange dialogue did turn me off a little so I stopped reading but when I picked it up again, I didn't stop until I'm done reading it. Kait and Eamon (selkie) completely rocked my world! Oh I loved it and I'm adding this to my "all-time favorite" books. The different setting of the story is awesome! It's easy to love the main characters and even the secondary characters, Blair, Kait's twin brother and the old Tipper, the female selkie. I love the writing style, the book is told in alternating pov's of Eamon and Kait. I know I said some alternating pov's can hurt the story but this time, it flows just right. Knowing what they both feel is like connecting to them.   

This is highly recommended for people who are looking for something fresh to read. It's an interesting myth and I thank the author, Krista Holle, for introducing selkies to me. 

About the book:

Ever since Kait Swanney could remember, the old crones of the village have been warning her to stay away from the selkies. They claim that like sirens of old, the seal men creep from the inky waters, shed their skins, and entice women to their deaths beneath the North Sea. But avoiding an encounter becomes impossible when Kait is spotted at the water’s edge, moments after the murder of a half-selkie infant. 

Unexpectedly, Kait is awoken by a beautiful, selkie man seeking revenge. After she declares her innocence, the intruder darts into the night, but not before inadvertently bewitching her with an overpowering lure. 

Kait obsesses over a reunion deep beneath the bay and risks her own life to be reunited with her selkie. But when she lands the dangerous lover, the chaos that follows leaves Kait little time to wonder—is it love setting her on fire or has she simply been lured?

About the author:

Krista has been writing since she was nine-years-old when she scribbled out her first adolescent work entitled Merish, the completely illogical but heartfelt story of a girl who was part mermaid, part fish. As a young mother, Krista added to her repertoire some middle grade readers and picture books she’s wary of mentioning. In 2004, Krista began an intensive four year period working part-time as a critical care nurse while homeschooling her four children. During this hectic time, courses of writing were taught and learned, and rules of syntax were scolded to memory. Ironically this period of study equipped Krista with the tools she needed to enter the next phase of her writing experience. Now equipped with the mysteries of the comma, Krista was ready to tackle a much bigger project—a full-fledged novel. After the kids were enrolled in public school in 2009, it occurred to Krista that there is an insatiable audience of women and girls who want to read books filled with stories about true love, not just vampires. Convinced that there was an unfulfilled audience waiting for what she love to write—romance, she sat down in the family’s dungeon, a.k.a. the basement, and began to furiously type. In no time, her first novel was drying on crisp white paper. Krista currently resides in Midlothian, Virginia with her husband, four daughters, and an eccentric cat with a weird attachment to the family’s socks. She continues to write obsessively every chance she can get.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review: Crime Fiction for the Beginners by Gervase Shorter

Crime Fiction For The Beginners

Author: Gervase Shorter
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2012)
Amazon Link

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Gervase Shorter. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

This review is not for the entire book as I have only read the first 100+ pages. I tried reading this a number of times but I really could not get into the story. I thought the investigation to Larry Barlow's murder is too complex so the title is not right for me. I mean, if it is a crime fiction for the beginners, the story should be simple right? The story has too many characters and a lot of different situations are presented. I know they wouldn't be in the book for nothing but frankly, it was kind of a turn-off for me to read further. I had a hard time understanding how all the stories of the side characters and events are related in the murder. 

The book didn't work for me. To read positive reviews for this book, click here.

About the book:

The story revolves around the investigation by attractive, blonde Detective Inspector Harriet Ware of the Met into the murder of Larry Barlow, a publisher found strangled in a Whitechapel alleyway but as the investigation proceeds the plot opens out to include the would-be authors whose work he arrogantly refused to publish and the books they are currently writing. The would be authors include Maud Jackson, who is writing romantic Regency fiction about how the aristocratic Lady Cynthia Cavendish-Harcourt foils the matrimonial intrigues of Jocelyne Bracegirdle, a nouveau riche rival, Hector Treadgold who is writing a science fiction epic in which the last survivors from Earth are making their way through space to the planet they mean to colonise, fighting off reptilian robots from the Ozkon empire en route and Juliet Transom who writes about her heroine Lohana's adventures and mystical experiences in former and future lives. A fourth author, Gregory Scofield, is rewriting a cold war thriller he wrote in the 80s.

As the murder investigation proceeds, Harriet interviews Larry's partners, wife, lawyer, mistress and wife's uncle and tries to guess what crucial information they are hiding. She reviews the autopsy and scene of the crime reports but they provide few clues. Then there is Larry's file of threats and hate letters. Were some of them written by disgruntled would-be authors or by someone else? Meanwhile, her assistant Jim Rose searches for the Chinese restaurant where Larry had dinner shortly before he was murdered. But, in this world of would-be writers, all is very far from being what it seems …

About the author:

Born in England, Gervase spent his military service hunting terrorists through the forests of Mount Kenya. After studying medieval history at Oxford he caught the Transiberian train to Vladivostok on his way to Japan, where he lived for four years. He travelled back to Europe overland and then spent three years in Lisbon, moving in 1973 to Rio de Janeiro where he now divides his time between an apartment overlooking the lagoon and a farm 3,000 feet up in the mountains where he grows bananas, avocados, persimmon and pecan nuts. He is married with four adult children.

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. This is where we share the books we have read the past weeks and our reading plans for this week.

Read and Reviewed

Book/s For Posting Review/s

Currently Reading

After being rushed to the hospital, Alice Goodenough finds herself trapped in the worst dream imaginable: a horrible monster is stalking her in the darkness, making its way to the hospital. It will stop at nothing to kill her.

And that’s not the worst of it. All across the city, people are growing more addicted to Castle Cats, a smartphone game created by Grayle Incorporated. And it’s not just a game. The more you play, the more it controls you. Soon, Alice learns that the dwarfs who run Grayle Incorporated are watching her everywhere she goes, using human beings to spy on her.

There must be a confrontation. Sam Grayle and his brothers have to be stopped. And Alice is going to need help.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Giveaway Winner: Secret of the Songshell by Brian Tashima



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Book Review: Out of Shadow by J.S. Winn

Out of Shadow

Kindle Edition
Author: J.S. Winn
File Size: 354 KB
Print Length: 238 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, J.S. Winn. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

Becca was raped and her husband was murdered. When the police conducted the investigation, somehow she became the suspect because in the police report, there was no forced entry in any of the doors and windows of the house. And as for the rape, the hospital ran a DNA test and turned out the samples only matched to his husband's DNA. Now, after the investigation, even Becca doubts herself as she once had developed some kind of a mental illness years ago.

Becca is having nightmares almost on a daily basis so she hires a psychologist, Sara, to help her recover. The story is told in alternating POV's, Becca and Sara. 

It's hard to tell if I enjoyed reading this book. Okay - this is a good suspense book. It was a very fast read, the story is gripping, something that you won't stop reading until you read the last pages of the book. The problem lies in me. I easily guessed the bad guy here, like I over-analyzed things. Bad, bad idea! I knew it was him right after he said something to Becca. I also knew about the thing with Adrian and Sara. So it didn't surprise me at all. I can't tell much as I think anything I say could be a spoiler and it's really not good to have an idea about the story. 

I've read other online reviews and I agree with them that this is a must read book. Even if I knew what was gonna happen just by reading more than a quarter of the story, I'm still giving this book a 4-star rating for the writing style and the connection of the twists in the story.

About the book:

Out of the Shadow tells the story of two women drawn together in the present to uncover a crime from the past

Having survived a rape and her husband's murder, all Becca Rosen wants to do is move on with her life, but how can she when she's being stalked by a psychopath with an attitude---and an agenda. The police are no help because they're convinced, with her history of mental illness, Becca has faked the rape to get away with murder. On top of that, Becca has begun to have flashbacks and nightmares of childhood abuse, possibly at the hands of the rapist. Not knowing where to turn, and feeling like she might go crazy again, Becca hires Psychologist, Sarah Abrams, to help her unearth who's behind the crimes of the past...and the present.

Three men come into Becca's life around the same time. While each of these men has his charms, Becca can't be certain whether any one of them is the real killer. Or could it be someone else? Together Becca and Sarah start on a course of hypnotherapy to discover the abuser's identity. Will their work reveal the real killer before it's too late, or will Becca once again fall prey to this demented criminal?

About the author:

J S Winn earned a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD from the University of Metaphysical Sciences. For over 25 years she practiced psychotherapy. Her previous mystery novel set in the American Southwest, Kiva Fire, garnered much critical praise. She has had a play produced by the Actor’s Alliance Festival in San Diego, and her poetry has been anthologized by the San Diego Writer’s Workshop in For the Love of Writing. Her play “Gotcha!” was selected for a reading at the Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad, California in May 2012.

She presently lives by the beach in San Diego County, California.

For more information about Out of the Shadow, please visit or contact the author at

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday Trailer: Mekong River by Elaine Russel

by Elaine Russel

Paperback: 262 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 6, 2012)
Amazon Link

About the book:

Across The Mekong River tells the adventurous and gripping story of a Hmong family forced to flee Laos after the communist takeover to pursue a dangerous journey across the Mekong River, leading them from Thailand to the United States. Through the eyes of each family member, Elaine Russell spins a moving, deeply personal, and yet universal portrait of the immigrant experience of leaving one's homeland to begin anew in a strange and foreign culture.

Across The Mekong River was praised by Kirkus Reviews as "a multifaceted tale of complex characters finding new lives in their new world," that explores the resilience of the human spirit to overcome tragic circumstances and make impossible choices."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review: Challenging Andie by Sally Clements

Challenging Andie

Author: Sally Clements
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent
Publishing Platform (June 23, 2012)
Amazon Link

Kindle Edition
File Size: 274 KB
Print Length: 191 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477691359
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Amazon Link

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Sally Clements. The review posted below is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

It's been a while since the last time I've read  a pure romance book. For the past months, it's always been paranormal-ish romance books and reading this makes me want to buy more "normal romance" books.  Challenging Andie is a story of two people, Andie and Ryan, who don't believe in love. 

Andie grew up with her grandmother. She never had the chance to bond with Emily, her mother, as she is always away working as a war correspondent in Bekostan. As for Andie's father, he left them even before she was born and her mother never told her his identity. With no parents to care for her, she swore not to fall in love. Especially not with Ryan, who, like her mom, works as a war correspondent in Bekostan.  

Ryan also doesn't believe in love. When his father left them for another woman, he saw how it crushed his mother's world. Depression claimed his mother's life. Because of this, he avoids getting into a serious relationship until he meets Andie. He wants Andie but he can't do it since he doesn't want to go through the pain of losing someone close to him - ever again.

I think the author wove a very realistic love story of two people who don't believe in love. I can relate with the main character's dilemma. Falling in love isn't easy when you've been hurt before. I can feel their pain, though if I have to choose who gets hurt the most, it'd be Andie. You know that feeling when someone tells you straight in the face that what you have is just a "fling"? Ouch!

It was such a heart breaking story, one that I can't easily forget. I only have one comment on this book. The story is told in third person POV.  Knowing what they both feel somehow spoiled the story for me. It would have been better if this was written in first person, preferably Ryan's POV as he has so much issues going on. . .

I loved the story. I'll look forward to reading more from the author, Sally Clements.

About the book:

Is loving Ryan a challenge too far?

Jaded war correspondent Ryan Armstrong reports terrible events without letting them pierce the armor covering his heart. When his colleague Emily Harte is murdered, he feels responsible for her death, and travels to England to return Emily’s effects to her daughter.
Bereaved, primary school teacher, Andie Harte has set herself a list of challenges to prove she can be as brave as her recently murdered mother, but when she’s hounded by the press the need to escape means she must accept help from Ryan. During their time in seclusion, attraction blossoms into an affair. Their relationship was only supposed to be a fling. When the time comes for Ryan to return to Bekostan, can she risk loving a thrillseeker, or is that a challenge too far?

Ryan avoids love, knowing the pain losing it can bring. A life without Andie is sensible, but is it possible.

About the author:

Sally Clements lives and writes in the Irish countryside near Dublin. Always a voracious reader (and with a healthy book buying habit) she found the jump into writing a natural one, as it is the thing she likes to do more than anything else! 

She writes romance and crime. The romance grows from her love of characters, and their journey to their happy ever after, with lots of conflict and adventures along the way. And her crime satisfies her love of complex characters and compelling plots, with more often than not a twist in the tail.

And she's a twitter addict who loves meeting new people, @sallywriter

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Spotlight: Lisa Renee Jones' IF I WERE YOU

by Lisa Renee Jones

File Size: 871 KB
Print Length: 332 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0985817003
Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (September 13, 2012)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Language: English

Barnes & Noble

About the book

The steamy first installment in the Inside Out erotic romance trilogy by Lisa Renee Jones, in the bestselling tradition of Fifty Shades of Grey. When Sara McMillan finds a stack of journals in a storage unit, she’s shocked and enthralled by the erotic life the writer led. Unable to stop reading, she vicariously lives out dark fantasies through Rebecca, the writer—until the terrifying final entry. Certain something sinister has happened, Sara sets out to discover the facts, immersing herself in Rebecca’s life. Soon she’s working at the art gallery Rebecca worked at and meeting Rebecca’s friends. Finding herself drawn to two dangerously sexy men, the manager of the gallery and a famed artist, Sara realizes she’s going down the same path Rebecca took. But with the promise of her dark needs being met by a man with confident good looks and a desire for control, she’s not sure anything else matters. Just the burn for more.


We stare at each other and our lighthearted mood shifts, the air thickening with the mutual attraction our hot window encounter has done nothing to sate and everything to expand. Sitting here, studying him, I’ve officially confirmed in my mind what I’d thought earlier. While I don’t doubt Chris really is lighthearted and fun, it’s not effortless either. He buries whatever he doesn’t want me to know about. This man is far more than he appears to be on the surface and the glimpses beneath intrigue me. 

My gaze drops to his arm, to the red, blue, and yellow of the dragon tattoo. I scoot closer to him, and my leg presses to his, sending an instant charge over my skin. 

I swallow hard, and I reach out, letting my fingers caress the dragon design. His muscles flex under my touch and it is incredibly powerful to think I might be affecting him.

Slowly, my gaze lifts to his, and his is hot coals with simmering embers. “It’s very…sexy.” I’m surprised at how easily I say the words. I suck at flirting but there is something different about me with this man.

“I’m glad you think so.”

My palm glides down his forearm and he catches my hand in his, as if he doesn’t want to break the connection. “Why a dragon?” 

“It represents power and wealth, two things as a very young man I knew I wanted.”

“And you wanted money and power at such a young age?” 


I want to ask why, but it feels too probing. “And now?”

“I have those things and with them comes security.”

I think of how he’d used that power with Mark, about the darker side I’ve seen of him tonight. He does like power, not in the abstract way Mark does, but he owns it in his own right.  

“My first paintings were dragons. They’re in my personal collection. I never sold any of them, or even tried.”

“Here?” I ask eagerly. “I’d love to see them.”


“Oh.” Of course. Paris is his true home. I glance at his arm again. “The artist is quite talented.”

“She is.” 

My chest tightens. A woman who he let create art on his body, who seems to have inspired him to create some of his own.  

Gently, he brushes hair behind my ear, and I barely contain a shiver. “What do you want to know?” he asks.

About her. I want to know about her. “You’ll tell me what you want me to know.”

Surprise flickers in his eyes. “You are never quite what I expect, Sara McMillan.”

“Neither are you.”

His voice softens. “The tattoo artist was someone who got me through a hard time.”

I’m holding my breath, and I don’t know why.

“She’s the past,” he adds. “You’re right now.”

Air trickles slowly from my lips. I think he means this as a good thing but the words ‘right now’ don’t sit well. I have no clue why they bother me or why my stomach has knotted up. Right now is all that matters. I’m thinking too much. I don’t want to think. I climb onto his lap and he shifts to sit with his back against the couch. Boldly, I straddle him, my hands on his shoulders.

“I’m here now. What are you going to do with me?”

For several seconds he sits there. He doesn’t touch me. Tension radiates off of him, seeps into me. He doesn’t react and I begin to feel self-conscious for the first time all night. Suddenly, the fingers of one of his hands curl around my neck and he pulls my mouth near his. “Do you know what happens when you push a Dragon? They burn you alive, baby. You’re playing with fire.”

My fingers curl on his cheek and all self-consciousness is gone, forgotten. “I’m not afraid of whatever you’re talking about. I think you keep warning me away because you’re the one who’s afraid.”

His fingers knot in my hair and I gasp at the unexpected bite of his grip, holding me steady. “Is that all you got?” I demand, shocked at how much I want more. How much I want whatever is beneath his surface. I’m not scared. I’m aroused. I’m ready.

His eyes probe mine, his expression hard, intense. “I thought you were a good little school teacher.”

“You’re corrupting me,” I declare, “and I seem to like it.” I barely issue the challenge before he’s pulling my mouth to his, and he is kissing me with unrestrained, burning passion. I taste the part of him I want to know, the part he’s afraid of, and I burn to know more. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am playing with fire, but I cannot stop myself. Beyond reason, I will push him until he reveals everything.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Guest Author: Stephen J. Matlock

“The car ran past the STOP sign like it wasn’t there, a streak of red dust in the morning sun.” This is the opening line to my book, Stars in the Texas Sky, and this is the sentence which started everything else, an unexpected flash of insight that became a life-altering event.

In late 2009 I hooked up with a few local writers. We’d meet, talk, discuss Important Issues, share our work—and every week we’d have a moment of flash fiction. There’d be a prompt—and off we’d go. When the bell rang after 15 minutes, we’d read our work, usually laugh, and then file it away in the “Something I Wrote” drawer. 

But in early 2010 a writing buddy brought this sentence. As soon as she finished speaking the entire novel laid itself out before me. I saw the puzzled eyes of the protagonist, young Henry Valentine, his small town, the wide gently rolling hills of East Texas, his friends, his school, his love for baseball—and the encounter with someone who’d change his life.

I wrote a thousand words that writing session, typing as fast as I could. In the following months I worked on the story, thinking about what might happen, sketching out ideas, and trying to balance writing with a full life with my own job, my family, and my other interests, including supporting two children in college.

Then, during NaNoWriMo of 2010, I completed the book—all 85,000 words. It was a first draft, and it needed tweaking, but the story simply poured out. People walked into the story, introduced themselves, and started talking and interacting. I just listened and wrote.
Sure I’d completed several novels—like the old joke about the lady who loved waffles so much she had a trunk full, I had 6 or 7 completed novels in my archives, but destined never to be read by anyone else but me, proof  that I had the goal of being a writer but perhaps not the skill. 

This one was different. I didn’t wrestle with the story. I wrestled with details and story-balance. But it didn’t seem I was creating as much as writing a vivid longform article for a news magazine. 

Over the next 18 months I edited, removing characters and scenes, researching endless niggling things, building a world for Henry with maps and calendars, making sure that the story felt as if it belonged entirely in 1952 rather than a pleasant retrospective from 2012. And finally in June of 2012 I announced I Was Done.

So there it is, the novel, complete, proofed, printed, and ready for shipment. I’ve been pleased with the responses, both in sales and review, and am overall quite happy with it. It is the novel I wanted to write.

The life-altering part? Well, writing is hard, and I think marketing is harder. But I’m hooked. Sure I have to keep my day job, to which I’m fully committed. But in my spare time I’m writing and thinking about what happens next. I’ve got three more novels sketched out, each with a significant theme or idea, and there is a host of people waiting to walk on the stage, ready to introduce themselves to Henry Valentine.

Oh, by now he’s not holding the STOP sign. He’s gone on to other exploits. In fact, in one of them he has an encounter with—no, wait. You’ll just have to read the sequel.

Stars in the Texas Sky


Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (July 1, 2012)


File Size: 395 KB
Print Length: 304 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1477458786
Publisher: Lillies of the Field LLC (July 1, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Author page at Amazon

Stephen J. Matlock was born and raised in the 50s in Southern California where he experienced warm beaches and sunny skies. He has tried his hand at many occupations, including running a restaurant, working in construction and demolition, standing in front of people telling them how to do things, and writing technical documentation for people who want their computers to obey them. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, and has seen his children fly away to build their own lives, although they do return regularly for food and advice. He is working on his next novel, set in contemporary Seattle.

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