Friday, June 28, 2013

They killed for Che Guevara; Now Somebody Was Killing Them! What a Lallapaloosa By Rags Daniels!

Ernesto Guevara en Santa Clara. Diciembre 1958
Ernesto Guevara en Santa Clara. Diciembre 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


By Rags Daniels

True, all men have tendencies, inclinations, talents, penchants. Parcelled up, they are proclivities. Proclivities— that’s a nice word, got twelve letters too. Place a parcel of proclivity in shadow; drain it of contrition, of compassion and remorse. Direct the remains at your enemy. Then, when no more than a bead of perspiration away, stop. Your eyes turn in on your brain. Your brain fails to register the conquest. Sanity abounds, remains intact. You have accomplished what you set out to do. You have become accomplished. You are the accomplished. Skillful, talented, masterly, an expert. In truth a Lallapaloosa; the best. Twelve letters, eleven spaces, one word, Lallapaloosa. Spoken, it melts into nothingness like spun sugar. Whispered, it melts nothingness. And thirty years ago there was plenty of that.

Early 60s I was finishing high school and starting to work immediately after, so I didn't pay too much attention to what was going on in the world--I'm a self-learner, so I've always both studied and worked at the same time in order to do the job...Did I ever become a Lallapaloosa, yeah, I like to think so, but after meeting Richard Strang, I'm not so sure.

Especially on the day he accepted and called himself a Lallapaloosa!

Richard Strang was a mercenary.. This is the story of his march toward becoming that lallapaloosa...and what that really meant...

Why was I thinking about dying? I was alive
that’s why ... though thirty years ago I wasn’t.
 I rekindled the stub end of my rainy-day
 Cuban and strangled a cough. Idiot: the Cuban
 was death. Death warmed up, but it was death
 all the same. Another cane approached, one
 with rhythm. Tap-tap. Tappity-tap. With
 metronome exactitude, it tapped in time to Louis
 Prima, who was now in the company of 
‘Angelina’, stuffing himself full of antipasto, 
pizza and pastrami. Tap-tap. Tappity-tap. 
The blind man ignored the whiff of decaying 
cockles and whelks; it was the oldest joke in
 the world anyway. He went two taps past me,
 stopped, turned and addressed the wall
 beyond my left shoulder. “Cuban leaf, 
second burning.” I ignored him. I wasn’t in
 the mood for chat. “Last time I nosed that
 particular leaf,” he went on, “was in
 Cuba, ‘62. Havana actually, purely in an
 advisory capacity, you understand.” 
Interesting— I too had had meetings in
 Castro’s Cuba, though none of them coffee
 morning category. My mind was split on
 whether to take a couple of crab shuffles
 and let him continue chatting brick, or to
 politely tell him to tap off. Then he said
 something that rain-checked both. “Tell me,
 Mister Strang, how did Ernesto die?” He 
knew my name! I stepped back to avoid an
 oncoming twin buggy filled with screaming
 tartan-clad kids squabbling over the
 emaciated remnants of a candy floss. How
 did the bastard know my name?

They had fought with  'Che' Ernesto Guevara in both the Congo and in Bolivia. Based upon historical fact, Rags Daniels gives readers an exciting action adventure of alternative history. Did Guevara really die in 1967 as announced to the world? 

Does it really matter? Yes to some, but for those who are reading this novel, feel free to compare it to historical fact as you can verify... Me, I enjoyed it as an engaging "what if" that took me deep into the lives of a group of mercenaries who were led by Richard Strang. 

It's 30 years later when we meet Strang...some of his men are already dead--murdered.

Somebody wants all of them dead... Or, they want something that they think one of them has... Either way, dead is going to be dead whether the reason why is discovered, right?

In order to stay alive, they've got to review what was happening in Bolivia and what could still be important 30 years later!

The novel opens in a London Inn with Strange musing about life--just the fact that he was alive rather than dead as he was
30 years ago...

Neither of us, at that time, knew who the blind man was who came asking about Che in Bolivia...Of course, I do now, but it's important that Strang didn't know...

Strang's next visitor said he was from Sam Garrow, who had been part of his group in Bolivia... Of course Sam was dead, so Strang blasted the stranger's eye with the cuban cigar he was usually smoking...asking again who had sent him...

When he learned that the man he had just been talking to was Sam Garrow (using the name Sam Kyle), Strang immediately went after him, only to find that the woman with whom he'd left the Inn was now dead...

Strang went looking for Leo Delaney, a Liverpool-Irish who had been and always would be a con man...but he'd been with Strang's group...and Strang needed information! He learned that Delaney had been almost sure that Garrow was alive, telling about the occasions when he'd thought he'd seen him...

Putting together what they knew brought them to the reality that Garrow, or somebody, was moving through the group...several were already gone and then Kinsella was killed! 

“The very same. Kinsella sends his love by the way, and Laban. The rest of them were too busy munching pussy to talk.” “Robillard?” 
“Dead. Car bomb. Marseilles.”
 “Pezzani?” “Same. Amalfi coast road. Out of the twelve, there are only seven of us left. Kinsella, Laban, Philbin, Nash, the old Greek Tsigaredes and us two.”
 “And Garrow.”
 “I’m talking ’65. He wasn’t part of the Congo group.”
 “You still got the notebook Ché gave you?”
“Lost it years ago, along with the Croix-de-Guerre Dupoix asked me to look after before he led that raid in Katanga province ...” Leo stumbled into silence. His jaw muscles bunched as he gazed out beyond the windscreen. It was a gaze focused on nothing in particular. “Shit fight. Shit country. Shit army.” His voice was low. Anger strained beneath his words. “Ché knew Tshombe’s men were unsophisticated tacticians, barefoot serial killers, fucking Neanderthals. That’s why he employed us. Funny when you think about it. Ché went to the Congo to fight us white mercenaries, and ended up giving us a job.”
“Now, Les’ (that’s the feller who owns the villa next door) is away. He’s away for another three weeks on business and the place is all locked up. I put the glasses on and take a gander. ‘If this was Cochabamba, that could be you up there, Kinsella’, I said. 
All of a sudden, up went the friggin’ table and the lads dived for cover behind the patio wall. The table, one of them plastic ones, ends up like the top of a pepper pot, a grand’s worth of sliding patio doors turn into a glass jigsaw, and I end up copping one in the leg.”
 I smiled. I couldn’t help it. “You always were unlucky, Leo.” 
“Kinsella went ape-shit. For a sixty two year old, he can’t half move. He ran inside, grabbed my old hunting rifle, went upstairs, and let fly at the shutters below the decoy. Half a minute later a car comes tearing down the road, past the end of my drive, and disappears down the hill.” 
I glanced at my watch. “I could sit and listen to you reminisce all day Leo, but I’ve things to do.”
 “You going after this wacko Garrow, then?”
 “Nights of sleeping with one eye open and the other half closed are long gone. Sure I’m going after him. If I don’t, he’ll only keep coming after us.” 
“Why? What do you reckon his game is?”
 “Just that, a game,” I lied. He wants to end up the only dead man living.”

I enjoyed moving back and forth from the present to the past, especially learning about when they had died... Believe me, they had been sent to blow up a munitions dump...and they didn't make it...

There was a pause while we looked at each other, then Jake eased himself back into his seat. “You know what I’m talking about then,” he said, speaking quietly. “Only don’t try telling me thirty years of insanity stems from blowing up an old sugar mill full of ammo.”
“I can still hear the explosion,” Tsigi butted in. “And the blast! Pezzani and Robillard must’ve cocked the timers up, because the whole dump went up before any of us reached cover. Jesus, it was some blast. You couldn’t see further than your nose for clouds of thick white dust and rocks raining down from a quarter of a mile up. I’m telling you, we all died out there, Richie.” “Blasted to kingdom-come,” Jake interrupted. “Somehow survived it, and came out the other side licking the taste of hell from our lips.”. 
“He’s right, Richie,” Tsigi added. “I saw it too, we all did, and you were with us. You and that Indian.” Jake smiled sarcastically, poured himself another Scotch, and leaned back in his chair. “Okay. You say it never happened ...
“I never said that.” 
“Then explain why we were never caught. Because within one hour of the blast half the garrison based at Santa Cruz, along with a handful of American advisors, scoured the whole area and found nothing. Even Garrow hung on for two days, just in case we turned up.” 
“Believe that and you’ll believe anything,” I said. “Forget Garrow then,” Jake said testily. “Nine of us spent two days of our lives on a magical mystery tour of God knows where, led by that Indian mate of yours, before ending up near that rail head south of Cochabamba.”
 “Tarata,” Tsigi recollected. 
Jake’s eyes were still on me. “Look it up in an atlas, Richie. Tarata is a hundred and fifty mile crow flight from La Esperanza, then explain how nine of us, not counting the Indian, covered the distance in two days without food or water and surfaced daisy friggin’ fresh, slap bang in the middle of a coffee plantation.”
 “I can’t. I can’t explain it. It just happened.” Jake scratched the side of his neck with a carefully manicured fingernail. “But you admit you saw the things I mentioned earlier? The burning ice, the mountains of bones, heard the piercing screams, felt the blood pouring from your ears?”

A little bit of mysticism added to this action adventure was just what threw Daniel's novel into a great book that I highly recommend! In fact, I'd like to have had a little more narrative during that period...but once we got back into what's happening in the present, and finish the book, you realize--Whew! what did indeed happen there?! There is a little more explanation of who was involved, but I'm leaving that for you readers to discover on your own...Great history review, fun alternative history viewpoint and lots of actions and adventure with a touch of paranormal...Cool Story!


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hamlet - {Sigh} My New Hero!!! Stars in Black Cat Bookshop Mystery Series by Ali Brandon!

Come Visit My Site!

A Novel Way to Die:
A Black Cat Bookshop

By Ali Brandon

My Cat Ricci Checking Out Hamlet! And Other Hunks!
I didn't have a choice with this one, readers. Ricki was still swooning over how Hamlet acted in the climax of this story, that she refused to let me invite him to at a distance, and all that, I guess...

But that was alright with me, because this was the first time I'd read Ali Brandon's new series, although I immediately went out to throw the first book in the series in my shopping cart! So I really wanted to spend some time telling about this book.

First of all, this was a fantastic mystery! I love cozy mysteries, but, in my opinion, this novel could easily move into the full-fledged mystery genre. It doesn't follow the normal pattern for several reasons...

For one, you rarely get thrills in cozies...but you do in this novel! You get action that is exciting, dangerous, and a confusing possibility of whodunit that keeps you guessing all the way until the end--and even then there were surprises, nice ones...which was cool!

"Let's get this over with," Darla told the girl.
"Go ahead and bring your things:--she'd learned
not to let a potential hiree leave behind anything
they'd have to come back for later--"and we'll go
down to the main store to find him...
"That's the nickel tour," Darla ended with a
smile. "Now, about Hamlet--"
"There he is." Madison cut her short, smiling
and pointing to the nearest bookshelf. There,
...the cat was stretched at full length, snoozing.
But Hamlet was not the stereotypical scrawny
Halloween scaredy-cat.
"Cliche as the notion was, Darla had always
thought of Hamlet as a scaled-down panther...
"Before Darla could warn her, the girl hurried
over to the cat. She put out one French-
manicured hand in his direction, as if to pet
him. Barely was Madison out of claws' reach
than Hamlet sprang to his feet and swiped..."
Darla Pettistone also does not intentionally become the only investigator on the case. She has a PI who lives in her newly inherited building and is not afraid to call on her at any time. She also has a bookstore manager and has just hired a part-time helper in this book, as well as a police officer who is willing to share info as appropriate... That allows readers to hear, digest, consider, and reconsider who is guilty...

Of murder, of course!

Hamlet on the other hand is unique. He's not a friendly cat. Even Darla and he are still quite formal with each other.

You see, Darla doesn't even like cats, and certainly would have never planned on having one live (and work) with her! But Hamlet came with the building! So did James, the Manager and a former English professor, and Jake, the PI, was already living in one apartment. Darla's apartment is above the shop and has an indoor entrance to the bookstore... Why am I telling you so many details? Well, I just know cat mystery followers are going to follow and we need to get to know the basic characters as quickly as possible, right?!
"Yo, fist bump, little guy," he said,
still grinning [next applicant, Robert!]
"Darla held her breath and winced. To
her astonishment, however, no claws
ensued. Instead, Hamlet gave a quick
meormph and, to her even greater
amazement, appeared to return the
Darla is interviewing people for her part-time job as the novel opens. So far, none have been acceptable to Hamlet! That's right, Darla has to give him final authority; otherwise, that individual will undoubtedly not stay because of what Hamlet is bound to do to them...Ha! Have you ever had to try to persuade a cat to accept you? I have, and it's not easy and there's no fast way to get it done! But  my Tracey became one of my very favorite companions, so it is well worth it! Check out her eyes! You definitely know when this cat doesn't like you!

Hamlet, on the other hand, turns his back on you, flips up one of this legs and starts showing his opinion of you, while cleaning himself, or worse! Ahhh, I didn't dare add this pic or Ricci would have been horrified....

Anyway, the murder! Well, there were two men in town who were restoring the brownstones...and they had become customers at the Bookstore, sending special orders in for books related to restorations. Curt was not a guy that Darla could easily deal with, while she had eyed up his partner Barry as...potential. That day, however, Curt had come in to check on a special order and at the same time, Robert's ex-boss, who was called "not-so-great ape" had come in, giving them both a hard time! It was clear that Robert was somewhat afraid of this dude, so Darla had taken over and was settling things...Then the two men got into it, until Darla threatened to call the police...

But before that happened, Curt had warned Darla that there was somebody stealing scrap from the older houses and had even broken into some of the ones being used... He cautioned her to be more vigilant and Darla planned on doing just that, as well as alerting Jake!

Robert became a useful new employee and things were getting back to normal when Barry stopped in to pick up the order, which was there and then invited Darla to walk with him back to their site and see the "before" picture of their building. So it was actually Darla who saw the body first...Barry's long-time partner Curt was clearly dead...

And as the investigation started, and Darla and local shop owners were gossiping, it was discovered that Curt's girlfriend, and the daughter of one of the shop owners, had disappeared! Surprisingly, Jake had already started an investigation about Curt for that same shop owner! Who exactly was this guy?!

But Darla is in a panic, because she saw paw prints around that body! And she discovered that, somehow, Hamlet, supposedly an inside cat, was routinely getting out! All she could think about was how Hamlet would take off running, through her legs, often causing her to almost fall! Maybe Hamlet had caused this!

Hamlet's Clues
"Hamlet flipped over onto his side and gave her a cool green look as if to say,  I've done my part, clueless human. Now go prove why you're supposedly the dominant species. Which wasn't much help at all.

This is a clue in the book that I threw in...cause I love the song!

I am so excited to find this new series...the last cat cozy I read really was a downer and, of course, I was disappointed. I haven't decided whether to write a review--I do so hate saying a book wasn't good, don't you? Especially, my favorite kind! For those fanatics like me, YES, Get it! For those who like a good mystery but don't like the cute won't get it in this one--pure mystery, legitimate clues (see below) and a climatic ending that will set your heart pounding! Highly recommended...Easy a 5+ novel...

OK, review readers, Here's a quiz from BRH! Who was another cat who did this type of clue demonstration and/or the author of the cozy series...


ALI BRANDON is the national bestselling author of DOUBLE BOOKED FOR DEATH, the first in her new Black Cat Bookshop mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Writing as DIANE A.S. STUCKART, she's also the author of the popular Leonardo da Vinci mysteries, which have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, as well as a Florida Book Award Silver medal. Under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard, she published several critically-acclaimed historical romances from Pinnacle Books. A native Texan with a degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, Diane now lives in South Florida. Visit her at or for more info, or see her other Amazon author page at
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sylvia Dickey Smith Writes About Strong Women--Sid Smart Didn't Even Know She Was One of Them!

"He shoved the girls out the door, anticipation running a foot-race in his chest. The other men were such pussies. Not him. He liked the doing. He wondered if God got turned on when He killed people. The Stud sure had. He boosted the girls into the pickup, and then checked the faded green carpet he and his buddies had rolled up and stashed in the truck bed the night before. Satisfied, he secured the can of gasoline and slid behind the wheel. The beat-up Ford truck rumbled down the dusty road jarring his insides like a damn cement mixer. Just watch, one of these days he was gonna be county commissioner and get these shit-ass roads fixed...

"Reaching behind the seat, he pulled out a burlap bag and threw it at the girls. “Here,” he yelled. “Get down under this and stay down!” Then, bounding out, he pulled and tugged on the carpet until, finally, he got it on his shoulder. Staggering under the weight, now carried by one instead of three, he grabbed the side of the truck and held on until he got his balance. Slowly, carefully, he freed one hand, collected the gas can...


"Emma stood beside the empty gas can, eyes locked on him, red hair sticking out. “Dammit to hell,” he bellowed, “where’s the other one?” There she was, head poked out the passenger window, staring at him, pigtails waving in the breeze. “Damn kids. I told you to stay down. If you don’t, I’m gonna burn you up, just like I did her!”


Dance on His Grave
By Sylvia Dickey Smith

Here's another author I had not previously read, with a new character and series you're going to love! Sid Smart...I like the name...Her name fits it didn't during the years she was a dominating man who was "head of the house" in all ways...  She finally got Smart and began proceedings for a divorce... And became the gossip of the town...

That wasn't bad enough, though, she had recently lost her brother in a car accident. He had left her his business  which she planned on selling. There was no way she could picture herself as a Private Investigator! Her previous experience as a subordinate preacher's wife sure wouldn't help, she knew that!

But she surprised herself after a young girl, who had recently become a client of her brother, came to see her and wanted "her" to continue the case! She even tried to give the case to another PI in town, who immediately talked her into keeping it and coming to work for him, so that she could ultimately get her license...

Get the idea why we might call her a wimp at that point???

I became a Christian in my teens after having been attending church from birth--my mother had 4 kids and they were all there every time the door opened...Church was a wonderful family place when we were growing up...not so much these days...

So I had to laugh when Sid started talking about her husband and how he treated her. In my teens, I had always thought it would be great to marry a preacher--I'd never have to confront the outside world, which, even then, I wasn't too sure about due to familial child abuse... It was only later that I realized that those who had inappropriately touched me were church members...

When Sid finally woke up, I thought, "I know that I'd have never lasted that long!" She had been married for 30? years

Now here she was talking with a young girl who was remembering from her childhood and was fairly certain that her father had murdered a woman and then burned her in a fire!

Sid had no idea how to even begin to look at something like could turn out to be a huge case!

One thing for sure, she certainly wasn’t going back to Kansas. Some Baptist preachers' wives might spend their whole lives totally happy, following along in the tight, narrow shadow of their husbands, but she wasn’t one of them. She’d spent thirty years in the deep, deadening rut of being the perfect, submissive, unambiguous preacher’s wife. Thirty years being pulled, stretched, molded like Play-Dough. Just thinking about it made her ill, literally nauseous. She slumped onto the hearth of a small fireplace and waited for the queasiness to pass, forcing herself to think of something different.
But, dear sweet brother, I don’t want to go there, she thought. She’d wither and die in a town like Orange, Texas. Besides, private detective wasn’t a suitable job for an ex-preacher’s wife, at least not one her age. Okay, what should she do? Sell the business? Burn the building to the ground? Or busy your butt learning the detective business! She had no idea where those words came from, but she quickly shoved them out of her brain. That was not an option! 
Immobilized, she watched the fire scorch the gilded edges of parchment and dance across the black leather binding. Within seconds, the gold-engraved Mrs. Samuel T. Smart melted into oblivion. Then she laughed. The perfect preacher’s wife who had never made enemies had suddenly joined the ranks of the imperfect, of the wicked. Someone was horribly angry with her. Whoever did this had also destroyed her kitchen, had made the threatening phone call. She headed back inside, collected a pitcher of water and doused the tiny fire.

I had noticed during my professional career that women have a hard time giving themselves credit...They say they've never had a job, or that they were only a wife... Yet, there are sooooo many skills that women in these roles have! So after Sid Smart accepted she was going to have to work at some thing as a newly divorced woman, she decided that, with the mentoring she had been promised, she'd try to help the two little girls who had seen their father murder a woman. But, she just applied her own logic, her own planning skills from her church activities and immediately began to get results. She was even willing to fly to Trinidad to make sure she interviewed the sister who had also been there that night...

It was funny that the younger girl could remember much more than her older sister. She had been three while her older sister was five when they had ridden with their Dad to burn up a house with a body in it... 

It's really understandable though, at least to me, since the 5-year-old was apparently old enough for her father to start abusing her...and worse... and she had much more trauma to try to live with... Jewell had been the one starting to remember, wanting to learn the truth. Emma had married and fled to Trinidad, afraid to stay in the U.S., where her father was now a town commissioner!

Fortunately the Police Chief and DA were good men and were willing to work with Sid, taking out old files and making contacts when necessary... They were both anxious to solve a cold case, especially when they learned who the girls' father was. They both agreed that they believed he was capable of murder...

But this case got bigger and bigger, and even overlapped into Sid taking on the possible murder of her brother! And she didn't back down with any of them!

Since the name of the book gives away what happens at the end, I hope you don't mind my celebrating with Jewell, Emma, Sid and the others who worked on the case! Too bad he lasted as long as he did!
"If someone today asked Sid what she thought of Roy Manly, she’d have an answer, but until a few months ago she’d never even heard his name. Neither did she know what he’d been doing in the early seventies while she made babies and baked casseroles for potluck dinners at the church. Now, she stood beside his casket. His daughters— Jewell and Emma— stood on either side of her. Rahim and Andrine stood behind them...
"There had been no wake. There had been no viewing. No minister held a Bible or said a prayer or sang a hymn. Sad, Sid thought, then decided the only song appropriate would have been Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls.” [at least the title!] Jewell snatched a clump of the thick wet dirt with one hand, and brushed a tear off her face with the other. Then she stepped forward. Her shoulders shook. The humidity frizzed her naturally curly hair. Her hazel eyes stared straight ahead. Slowly, almost zombie-like, Jewell’s arm rose out over the casket. She held the pose, palm down, for at least thirty seconds. Sid counted. No one moved or said a word. Finally, her fingers opened as if in slow motion, and the clod of dirt plopped heavily on the wooden box. It sounded hollow as it hit. As she stepped back to reform the threesome, Jewell glanced at Sid, then at Emma. Jewell’s lips, turned up at the corners, did not match her empty eyes...
"Sid held her breath. It seemed that the earth waited too. Her eyes burned from too many tears shed in the last few days: tears not for Roy, but for Jewell and Emma, for Nancy and Ethel Elaine, for herself, and for women everywhere who suffered abuse from men. Never again will I be silent. Emma slipped out of her shoes and with Jose Cuervo in hand, crawled and slid her way up to the top of the mounded dirt on the grave. The mud clumped on her feet and squished between her toes. It splashed on her bare legs and the hem of her skirt, but she paid it no mind. Her arms rose out to her sides and her head fell back, skyward. A rhythm must have played deep in her soul because a movement started at her feet. They squished in the mud, faster and faster. Sid saw the clench of her jaw and the tension in her shoulders. For an instant, Sid shut her eyes, and tried to shut out the pain. She felt like an intruder, watching Emma. But not watching made her feel complicit with the demons, so she forced her chin off her chest and dragged her eyelids open. When she did, she saw Emma’s jaw relax as she swayed to music that only Emma could hear. The energy in the air around them shifted. Exhausted, but safe for the first time in her life, Emma tipped the bottle up to her lips and swigged the tequila to the last drop...

You're going to enjoy this suspense thriller! The bad guy is super bad so it's easy to hate him... The two girls are so sympathetic, but brave as they struggle to bring truth into their lives... And I love Sid Smart who woke up after 30 years and became my kind of female hero! You go girl!

And here's to you as well Sylvia Dickey Smith! Thanks for this wonderful creation of yours! Some of you may think this is a must-read if you care about child sexual abuse. Support this type of writer whenever you can--it's the thing to do to fight the violence in this world...Just my personal opinion, of course!

She's right you know, Sylvia Smith's first novel in this series if fun, sassy, and "damn" good reads...


My name is Sylvia Dickey Smith. I was born in Orange, Texas, and grew up in a colorful Scots-Irish family living in the midst of a Cajun culture. When 34, my curiosity about the world took on a whole new dimension when I moved to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. Awed by the differences in customs and cultures, particularly as they related to West Indian women, set me on a journey of study and self-discovery.
Back in the U.S. at 40, I started college and didn't stop until I achieved a B.A. in sociology with a concentration in women's studies and a master's in counseling.
An advocate for women, my writing features those who recreate themselves into the people they want to be, strong women who take charge of their lives and get things done. (If you've met Sidra Smart or Bea Meade, you know what I mean.)
The stories dwell on the wondrous twists and turns of human behavior rooted in my background as a counselor before I became a novelist. The tales are fun, sassy, and (according to my fans) darn good reads. I hope you like these kind of books, too! I look forward to adding you as a fan.

Personal Note to "WorsePreacher'sWifeEver...I just had to use your pic for our new Sid...I tried to open/read your blog but couldn't seem to get it cleared to open...But reading the titles, I just knew your wouldn't mind...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sandy Wolters' Justice for Emily Fantastic Paranormal Romantic Thriller!
Patrick watched as the townsfolk moved forward, said their goodbyes and left. When everyone was gone, he moved forward. He looked at the deep, cold hole in the ground with what was left of Emily. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I promise you, Emily, that I will not let him get away with this. Thank you for everything you did for me and the people around you.” He tossed a rose into the hole and walked away...~“Rachael, please help me.” Rachael went rigid and continued to stare at the vision. This ghost knew her name. It was quite unnerving when a ghost called you by name. The ghost gradually began to disappear. She was nearly gone when Rachel shouted, “Wait! Who are you? What do you need help with?” Just before the ghost disappeared, Rachael heard in her head, “I’m Emily.”

Justice for Emily

By Sandy Wolters

I loved this first novel that I've read by Sandy Wolters...Romance, ghosts, psychic revelations, for me, adds up to a book I would pick up to consider. When the writer has created characters with whom I immediately get involved, especially a sassy heroine, all the better! So then when the mother of a potential love interest comes to bless the union and suggest they get "acquainted..." Even moving her suitcases into the master suite! I am thoroughly hooked! Big Time!

Even if the man's mother has been dead for quite some time...

But his mother had always known that Patrick's wife would have special abilities and they both realized that his mother had probably led Rachel to this little town...and to her son...

"Emily grew up here in Brownwood, Texas, and always extended a helping hand to those around her. Although she was only thirty-three years old at the time of her death, over the years she had sculpted herself into the matriarch of the inhabitants of this small town. 
"She genuinely loved the town and the people in it. Outside of her children, it seemed her only interests were helping those around her. Joe Clapton and his wife, Cheryl, were here with their children. Several years ago, Joe lost his job, and they were finding it difficult to keep food on the table. When Emily heard of their circumstances, she started a food sharing program by visiting the local restaurants and convincing them to donate all cooked food that was earmarked to be thrown away so it could be distributed to those families who needed it instead. 
"Walt Sheridan was standing off to the side looking bereft. He had been a friend of Emily’s since grade school. When he was arrested for burglary, Emily went to visit him in jail to find out why he had chosen this path. She found out that he was unable to find work and felt he had no other options. Against her husband’s objections, Emily helped Walt start a successful lawn service. 
"Katie Spencer was also here with her boy, Joshua. Katie had been a sixteen-year-old girl who found herself pregnant. Once again, thought Patrick, enter Emily. Emily had provided Katie with emotional support as well as advice on her options. Emily’s influence resulted in her keeping her baby and finishing high school. There were hundreds of people here for this woman who had made a difference in their lives in small ways and in large ways. 
"Patrick’s attention turned to Boyd Campbell, Emily’s husband and his boss. A rage so deep that Patrick felt it ripple through his entire being gripped at his soul, making him edgy. It was apparent Boyd felt Emily did not deserve a funeral. He probably wouldn’t have had the graveside service except there were so many people in town who loved Emily that he felt he had to do something to keep up appearances. Noticeable to all, Boyd failed to bring the three most important people in Emily’s life to say goodbye: her children. 

Rachel was a homicide detective in Phoenix. She had resigned but her boss, instead, put her on leave, knowing that her last case had been extremely difficult and wanted her to have a chance to think about what she wanted to do. She had got in her car and just took off. Though she was directionally challenged, and had stopped to look at a map, she had a feeling to go one way rather than the other and had wound up in Brownwood, Texas...

Where it didn't take long for Patrick to find her, immediately...knowing...

But what he was mentally thinking about at the time was that she might be able to help him in the murder investigation. After all, it was his boss, the Chief of Police, who he knew had killed Emily...

Emily was his wife...

And nobody knew what it had been liked behind the closed doors of the Campbell's House...

Even Patrick was surprised though when Rachel started talking about the second ghost in the house! She explained that she was not like his mother had appeared, because Rachel could see through her. Rachel had told him she'd ask for help and Rachel had told her to try to find Paddy's Mom... But then the ghost had told her  name...


Rachel knew that she was going to help! She interrogated Patrick as the officer on the scene and discovered that his boss had forced him to forget about protocol, to rewrite his statement and later the gun was gone from the evidence room, even though it showed Patrick had turned it in.

One little twist was that when Rachel and Patrick were ready to present to the DA, he immediately asked if she was "the" Rachel that his friend had talked so much about. Rachel was thrown by the name of her ex-fiancee and, even more, when he came into town to work the case at the DA's request! A love triangle it was not and Patrick, especially, had real problems dealing with it! LOL But, fortunately, they played by the rules for this important case and gathered the evidence even though Emily's husband had her cremated and had worked it so that no autopsy had been done!

But it wasn't enough for a trial and he walked...

NOT! Lots more and a reallllllly cool ending! That just had to happen! Can't guess? No problems! You've got to read this one anyway! Enjoy! Justice at its finest...


Sandy Wolters


I’ve been an avid reader for years. To my husband’s dismay, I have bookshelves full of books, rooms full of books, boxes full of books. My cars have books in them. I just can’t seem to get rid of them after I read them. You just never know when you will want to read it again, right?

About two years ago, my husband gave me the dream gift, a Kindle. It was love at first sight and my first foray into the world of ebooks. To say the least, I am a technologically challenged person but when a reader, such as I, is told that you can have the book you want to read in seconds, I’m going to do whatever it takes to learn how to use it as quickly as possible.

While I still have books everywhere, I no longer take ten or twelve books with me when I go on vacation. The only thing I need is my Kindle. It never leaves my purse.

My genre of choice is romance with a paranormal twist. My authors of choice are Diana Palmer, Iris Johansen, Catherine Coulter, Jill Gregory and of course, the queen, Nora Roberts. I am also very partial to Michael Connelly, who is not a romance author but damn that man can write!

In my life prior to becoming an author, I was Legal Assistant/Office Manager for a wonderful local estate planning attorney (no criminals that I know of). Prior to that, I also worked my way up the ladder in a large corporation, from payroll clerk to supervising nine employees in operational accounting.

When my children, Shandelle and Pilar, were small, I took a few years off to be a full-time mom and help my husband with his accounting work for his auto repair shop.

After, Michael, my husband, sold his business, he changed professions and started working for a national construction company.

Michael and I raised two beautiful, strong women so that’s who I write about. The women in my books are strong individuals that have moments of weakness and frailty to work through.

For more information see website at

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Monday, June 24, 2013

C. S. Lakin Takes Us Into Reality Rather Than Fantasy in Innocent Little Crimes!

“Hi Dad,” she said, plunging into the abyss. “Hey, you look great. How ’bout I come in for a few minutes? I brought you some mementos from Hollywood. Mom, I know how much you love ‘Days of our Lives.’ ”
"Her father shoved his hand out, inches from her face. “You know you are not welcome in this home.” He cast an angry look around at the small clusters of his whispering neighbors who had suddenly appeared on the sidewalk in front of their homes. “I don’t want a spectacle here, so leave!”
 “Oh, come now, Dad. Aren’t you going to invite your own daughter in?” A stickiness spread in her armpits and sweat dripped down her sides. She shifted the bulky bouquet to her other arm.
“Young lady, I will remind you what Saint Paul said to the Romans: ‘And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness—’ ”
"Lila joined in sing-song with her father, “ ‘— malice. Full of envy, murder, strife . . .’ ”
"The Reverend waited for Lila to stop talking. Then he bellowed. “ ‘Disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless. They know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die.’ ” He shoved the words into Lila’s face. “We all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, young lady, ‘so that each one may receive good or evil according to what he has done in the body.’ I’m through listening to your blasphemy.” George Carmichael’s face and neck flushed red. His nostrils flared like an impatient horse. By this time, the crowd lining the sidewalk began to resemble a minor congregation, gathered around the small wooden podium of her father’s doorstep. Someone waved a sheet of paper in the air.
 “Hey, Lila, how about an autograph?”
Lila tried to focus. “Fine, Dad. I was only paying a friendly visit. But remember, your beloved apostle Paul in Hebrews said not to neglect showing hospitality, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
“How dare you quote Scripture to me, young lady. You use Scripture to fit your whim, like Satan when he tested our Lord Jesus . . .”
Innocent Little Crimes

By C. S. Lakin

After reading Lakin's fantasy series, this novel was quite a surprise--in a good way. There is one word driving the drama--revenge... It plays through the entire book to a somewhat climatic ending--somewhat, because the only difference for me was that I thought everybody was going to be killed! LOL

I'm not a fan of "fat jokes" as you might guess, but the sensitivity of one individual to being ridiculed for her weight may affect their entire life. That's what happened to Lila Carmichael...

She turned that ridicule into a comedy act that led to stardom for her--sorta like the Kathy Griffin type I gather from what was said... but looking more like Roseann Barr at various weights...Me? I sometimes enjoy Roseann's humor:

Roseanne Barr Quotes
“Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the only time of the month when I can be myself.”
“Women should try to increase their size rather than decrease it, because I believe the bigger we are, the more space we'll take up, and the more we'll have to be reckoned with.”

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.”

Main things about Lila was that she was intelligent, had a long memory, and was a great performer who made big bucks!
And she kept track of the people who "done her wrong... which included her father..."
The days passed endlessly. She stared at a picture of Jesus on her wall and asked him why it was taking so long to die. When her parents weren’t home, the only sound she heard was the clock ticking. Like waiting in limbo, or Purgatory. 
"One afternoon, her father lost his temper. “Get down on your knees, you Jezebel!” Shut up! she screamed inside her head. Standing at the window, her back to her ranting father, she made a fist. As her father raved in mid-sentence, she pummeled that fist through the glass, shattering the air with a loud crack and sending shards flying. Her father fell silent as he watched the rivulets of blood pour down Lila’s arm. That evening he put her in a straight jacket and fastened her to the bed. 
"Her mother wouldn’t even come into the room. George Carmichael left the gaping hole in the window uncovered, and the rain and wind blew in, soaking Lila’s curtains and floor. He turned off the heat in the house and left her in bed in the cold. He would force the devil out of her. Each night, in the dark, he sat at the foot of her bed and mumbled fervent prayers, working himself into a sweat. By then, Lila was so weak and malnourished that she lay without expression, staring into the blackness. How long this went on, she had no idea. 
"Only, one day she found her bindings loosened and the house empty. Dying was taking forever and this religious torment was a punishment in hell. Slowly she sat up, the first time in days. Kicking the bed pan off the night stand, she wobbled over to the broken window and looked out. Every muscle in her body ached from confinement. The glare from the bright sunlight hurt her eyes and the smell of cut grass filled her nostrils. Somehow, summer had arrived. 
"After removing the loosened straight jacket, she leaned her weight against the window sash and pushed. The window lifted easily. She found some old clothes in one of her dresser drawers and, in slow motion, put them on. They hung from her limbs. As she hobbled down the street, the world tilted around her. She knew if she just kept walking, she’d get somewhere. Hours later, the smell of pizza assaulted her nose. How long had it been since she tasted food? Suddenly, there she was, in front of Jo Mama’s. She hesitated a moment. What if she ran into someone she knew? But it was summer. Most students were home for the break. All her “friends” had graduated or left for the summer and had surely long forgotten the pathetic Lila Carmichael.
Needless to say, Lila's (actually Delilah, as named by her mother even at her father's anger...)  father was a hell's fire type of minister. For one, he had wanted a boy to carry on his ministry. When that didn't happen, he started a regiment for Lila to memorize the Bible. When she failed, he withheld food...

At 18 she left, leaving a note, that was all...

She had tried for and got a scholarship and went on to college, mainly just to get away from home. Fortunately, she was placed in a room with Millie and they became friends. Both were overweight and could support each other...
“You know, I bet you’re wondering what
 happened that night. Why I blew my
big chance at stardom on the college
stage. Well, I’ll let you in on a little
 secret.” Lila leaned close in conspiracy.
 “I brought you all here this weekend to
 tell you the whole story. Not everyone
 from Thespians, but just this
 cozy group. Because each of you played
 your own important little part.”

Millie got involved with the Thespians, mainly to maybe meet a guy who would date her. When she found out how involved Lila was with movies, acting, she coaxed her to become involved. And she had the chance when the administrators decided to ensure students outside of the Thespians group could try out for lead roles.  She got the part to be the lead female, which Della would normally have played, with Davis playing the lead male

They were just about ready and having their last rehearsal. Lila was in seventh heaven. She had fallen in love with Davis during their many rehearsals which required kissing...and Davis seemed to love her too. But something happened that night as everybody was leaving.

They planned this to make sure
Della would play the lead—
the lead she wanted from
 the beginning. Lila’s eyelids grew
 heavy and her thoughts crumbled
 into pieces. She tried to imagine
 Della playing her part,
Davis holding Della in his arms.
Lila never showed up for the performance! And she was never seen by any of the Group after that, although they all knew she had become a success!

Fifteen years pass and readers learn about the present lives of each of the small group of friends within the Thespian group. At a crucial point in each of their lives, they get an invitation for a Reunion of the Thespians to be hosted by Lila...

It was Payback Time...

By now, readers of Lakin probably realize that there is a moral to most of her books...  She knows that all of us perform Innocent Little Crimes... Oh, ours might not be so visible, or we might not have them seen by others... But we open our mouths and say something we really don't mean by accident... Some say things by design, wanting to hurt or humiliate, while others say things as a joke or to win a bet. Davis, for instance, had won the bet... But the results were not what any expected...

When I had to take a medical leave from work due to job burnout, a woman said to me, "Come with me to church--you need to get right with the Lord..." Hey, it had not been me that had caused my burnout! I was OK with my Lord! Yet, some Christians say things that just don't make sense and come across as a voice of condemnation rather than of love and kindness. Fortunately, my pastor and his wife had already given loving guidance for me, but, still, that woman's comment remained with me...

Would Delilah have been different if she'd had a loving, kind, father that shared the grace of Jesus with her and his wife rather than a man who, for instance, forced his daughter to commit the Bible to memory or not get something to eat? Oh yes, I do think so. When she arrived at college, she was not prepared to understand that all may perform innocent little crimes, and deal with them as best as she could.  Instead, the crimes changed Lila...and the world paid her lots of money to they could laugh at her...

Ok, OK, I probably shouldn't have said this in advance of your reading this... But, I do highly recommend it...Tell me you disagree! I'd love to argue about it with you... LOL


About the Author   
C. S. Lakin writes novels in numerous genres, focusing mostly on contemporary psychological mysteries and allegorical fantasy. Her novel Someone to Blame (contemporary fiction) won the 2009 Zondervan First Novel competition 2009 (published October 2010). Lakin’s Gates of Heaven fantasy series for adults (AMG-Living Ink Publishers) features original full-length fairy tales in traditional style. Already in print are the first books in the series, The Wolf of Tebron, The Map across Time, and The Land of Darkness, with four more to follow. Her contemporary mystery Innocent Little Crimes made the top one hundred finalists in the 2009 Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest, earning her a Publisher’s Weekly review stated her book was “a page-turning thrill-ride that will have readers holding their breaths the whole way through.”   
Lakin grew up collating television scripts for her screenwriter mother. As an adult, Susanne assisted in developing series for television, and while raising two daughters and running a bed and breakfast inn in northern California wrote her first three novels and a cookbook. 
She currently works as a freelance copy editor and writing mentor, specializing in helping authors prepare their books for publication. She is a member of The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network), CEN (Christian Editor Network), CAN (Christian Authors Network— regular blogger), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and two regional writers’ groups. She edits for individuals, small publishing companies, and literary agents.   
In addition to her mysteries and fantasy series, she has also written the first book in a Young Adult sci-fi adventure series: Time Sniffers. She recently completed Intended for Harm, a contemporary take-off on the biblical story of Jacob and Joseph and is developing a swashbuckling dog memoir in the style of Moby Dick entitled A Dog after God’s Own Heart. She lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband Lee, a gigantic lab named Coaltrane, and three persnickety cats.
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