Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Ending...Until Next Time... Review of Weird Tales Magazine...


In this place,
coyotes eat from garbage cans
and every rib is picked clean.
Things do not rot secretly
as in the deep wet woods--
bodies don't stay buried long.
It is an imperative:

nothing is to be wasted... 

When all have had their share
even the carcass of a great beast
Leaves only a sand-scoured skull,
Or an ant-picked femur
That the wind plays, like a flute.
--Arinn Dembo

One Final look at the overall magazine must spotlight the final two sections--Poetry and Interviews
Wow! This edition also includes 
Scotland in October (Blencoe) by Carole Bugge;Dangerous Dreams by Jill Bauman; and Merciless by Andrew J. Wilson...
I chose Waste by Arinn Dembo because it was the perfect leadin to the interview that I wanted to spotlight as well...

Excuse me for including her photo because it certainly wasn't to slight any of the other contributors. It was just that, given her specialty, I was floored to see such a young, lovely, dare I say innocent girl???

Even if her mind is...quite weird...even for an acclaimed sculptor???

In fact, she was weird enough to be a significant individual at the World Fantasy Convention 

Since there are many more to be seen of her creations, I'm only showing one complementary to the "Waste" theme...

Lots More Can be Found Starting Here...

In case, you don't realize what some of the above are, let me give you a closeup! Check out the 
"Little Savages" sitting on the tongue... and on the nose below...

"Do you see your fairies as defenders or aggressors?
"Where do these fairies come from? Have they always been or have they recently appeared, and are they a force we as humans should be concerned aboutr?
"I discovered them in the late 1990s but in terms of fairy history I think they've always been there, possibly underground, lurking like cicada nymphs for years and years (they're made from plant roots) before emerging to wreak havor.       They're hellbent on world domination. Despite their size, I think we do need to be worried...they're developing methods to attack larger mammals, such as parasitic behavior and the control of swarms of bees and ants. Probably heading towards the use of biological warfare on an even smaller scale--viruses, diseases, etc.

This edition also includes Interviews with Ramsel Campbell, Jessica Amanda Salmonson, Elizabeth Bear, Orrin Grey and J. David Spurlock...
Readers, this has been such a wonderful experience for me...Thank you to the team at Weird Tales for the opportunity to explore...imagine!...just one magazine! And there are lots more available, both past and future editions, the next one is on the Undead #362...Whew! I'm glad I got Fairy Tales for my enjoyment...

Sure, I've read short stories and novels in the fantasy, scifi, horror genre, but this has been a totally different experience, almost interactive... The themed concept definitely has made a fascinating change to content since readers are immersed into such a mixture of topic that you keep wondering, turning to the next story, what is "this" contributor thinking and bringing to you... Some were so weird that all of us might not grasp the meaning behind the writing. But even that's ok, because the beauty of the words and imagery has already brought a sense of wonder, sometimes amazement...

I'll be doing reviews on some of the other stories whenever you see one of these cute little figures, 
you'll know I'm having a weird day...

Genre writers...if you're not reading this magazine, well...I'm amazed...and surprised...
Ray Bradbury is probably once again saying, "Something Wicked This Way Comes..."
Congratulations on your 90th anniversary! Celebrate!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Continuing Review of Weird Tales Mag... Fae For a Day by Teet James Glenn

I think the most amazing thing for me was seeing the literary quality of this magazine. I don't have much experience with what's available in magazines now--my early years of checking out Cosmopolitan, the one slick mag I purchased on occasion, versus, older reading when romance story magazines were the rage, on newspaper-quality paper, remember? Well, you get the idea that I'm not a magazine reader to any great extent...

However, I found that not only the entire layout, editing, and art was being exceptionally done, but that the contributing writers were, apparently, well known as well as published in the genre. Not knowing a genre's writers and contributors does not stop me from knowing quality when I see it... And not knowing the genre as well as many of you, did not stop me from appreciating the stories...albeit some more than others. Those I'm going to give an overview review so you'll know more on some of the ones I really liked...

Take for instance, the 3rd Weird Story...

Fae For a Day
By Teet  James Glenn

Sure, everybody knows that the Irish are known for keeping the Fairy Folk (Fae), the little people happy... I guess they've learn they'd better??? For this author tells us that some of them, mostly living in the West Village have a bad rep with the cops. Robin Flannigan had been working that beat for 8 years when, on Halloween night, one of their precinct cars was stolen! Flannigan had been stupid brave by trying to stop them by standing in front of the car and shooting!

Now Flannigan was on disability with little likelihood that he'd ever be back... Well, there was always his favorite cop pub where the drinks ran continuously and the stories were shared, so he was always in the loop, at least. But he tried something different this night, Robin was there...and it was Halloween...again!

"So I drank. A lot.
"That was why I was in that weird bar on Halloween as a patron.
"The watering hole was called the "Phantom o the Opera Club" on Seventh Avenue sould of Christopher Street and Sheridan Square. It was a tourist trap. To me, booze is booze. They had beer from thirty countries so I could do a lot of world traveling in a night without leaving my barstool.
"The bouncer was a big black dude named Marvin who was the size of a house, gay as Tuesday and the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. Just don't cross him.
"I was almost to Fiji via Melbourne when there was a commotion at the door. Two bridge and tunnel jerks dressed as Jason and Freddy Krueger respectively with cheap store bought masks were arguing hotly with Marvin because he didn't want to admit anyone with "weapons." Jason's machete looked too real for the bouncer's taste and I'd swear Freddy in the movie didn't carry a baseball bat..."
"I was going to get up and offer at least moral support when this strangely dressed dude stepped right up between the three of them and everything stopped dead cold..."

Now any of us who have seen Freddy or Jason in action knows that a guy who looked like a Regency Dandy didn't have a chance, right?

"The golden giant moved like he had stepped out of an Errol Flynn film. He avoided the bat with a deft sidestep, spinning in the process to slice the blade upward along the underside of Freddy's left arm. A thin red line appeared along the entire arm, pit to wrist and Freddy let out a scream...
"Jason came in swinging his wooden sword with hard overhand. The dandy nimbly danced away, turned and yelled "Elah!" and did a perfect old movie lunge that put the sword point directly through Jason's left bicep and continued the thrust until the blade went through the right, connecting the two arms. Then the gold-haired gent stepped back leaving the sword piercing the touch guy's arms..."

But this wasn't just a man dressed up for Halloween in fancy clothes... Robin of course went over to introduce himself  and discovered who had really been fighting...
"My name is Oberon, "King of the Fairies, he said as I started to tilt over again. I managed to say, "Sure thing," before I pitched forward out cold... I came to, convinced I had been carried into a Halloween party. All around me were characters that looked like the cast party for Lord of the Rings except that the armor didn't look plastic and I had no way in hell to explain the guy with the goat legs and horns sticking out of his forehead. "Hey, hey," goat guy said to me, "I hear we have the same name. I'm Robin Goodfellow." He was clean-shaven and had almost a child's features though his body was definitely "fully developed" based on the size of his sch****. Yes, he was "naked" save for his fuzzy legs. "Hi," was all I could manage. I mimed a drinking motion and almost magically the satyr had a huge tankard in his hand. I managed to sit up enough to take a swig and wow! Grade A stuff..."Looking for Obi?" Robin horn-head asked. I looked at him with an expression that must have looked as puzzled as I felt. "I call him that because he hates it so much. I mean Oberon..."

About that time Robin remembered the golden guy Dandy and began to wonder exactly where he was and who was who...and, more importantly, what?! Suddenly he realized that OMG, he was in the land of the Fae and every story that his beloved grandmother had told him came back to him...

What was going to happen next?!!!

Now, here's where it really gets weird, and I'm going to close so you can prepare for Halloween, but I will give you one little tidbit of gossip...What happened to Jason and Freddie? Why, they were placed under a spell and now were madly in love with each other! LOL, but...true... and... Robin? Well, here's a hint... Ohhhhh, My!
But now, he's only Fae just every once in awhile...

Enjoy this weird adventure story, just as much as I did,  in Issue 361!

Have a Happy Halloween, and if you happen to heard the Overture to the Phantom of the Opera...


James Houston Turner Throws Terrific Thriller in November Echo - How and When Talanov Became A Spy! BRH Favorite Book of 2013!

"So the smiles he gave people stopping by his table were not genuine, not that anyone cared. For one thing, people did not stick around long enough to notice it was a façade. And he knew the reason. In spite of his popularity, he was still KGB.     "In the wake of Noya's death -- which was over six months ago -- he'd become even more cynical and bitter toward the KGB and what it represented. And it took everything within him not to let his feelings be known.
"But he hadn't, and during these months, working undercover as November Echo, he had supplied La Tâche with the names of numerous Soviet moles operating within the United States government and related private sectors. He also supplied him with information on Soviet weapons programs and ongoing intelligence operations.
"He remembered La Tâche asking him once how he could betray his country. He replied that he wasn't betraying his country, only the disease infecting it.  "People should not have to live in fear of their government," Talanov said. "That's why I'm doing what I'm doing.
"This isn't about Russia. This isn't about America. It's about the Noyas of the world. And don't for a second think I won't hold you every bit as accountable as I hold myself and those I'm taking down.
"Does this answer your question?"    
"Talanov remembered how loud the silence was on the phone.
"Then we understand one another," Talanov said, hanging up.

    November Echo
. By James Houston Turner

Kravenko had been simple and clear:
 slip quietly into Spain and intercept
Dr. Yefim Gorev, a scientist from the
 Soviet Union's weaponized anthrax facility
 at Sverdlovsk, in the foothills of the
 Ural Mountains eight hundred miles
 east of Moscow. But slipping quietly
into Spain was not what they were doing.
 They were doing the exact opposite.
And therein lay the problem.  
Which would not be a problem if he
delivered the goods -- in this case,
Gorev -- and which would be a problem
 if he did not.     Silencing Kravenko's
advisors had not been easy.
 Their argument: that Gorev had
disappeared with his family in
 Leningrad. It therefore made no sense
 for him to cross all of Europe in a risky
 flight to Spain. Helsinki was the
logical choice. Or London. Or some
 northern European city where sanctuary
 was obtainable at any of the American
 Consulates or military bases.
     Talanov's counter-argument had been
 a chain of solid but circumstantial
 evidence pointing to Spain. Back and
 forth they argued, with neither side
 giving an inch. It was a stalemate:
a twenty-eight-year-old KGB colonel
 against five old-school gray-haired
 conservatives in cheap suits and
polyester ties. Having come up through
 the army together, the five advisors
 viewed everyone with disdain and
 suspicion, especially progressives
 like Talanov and Gorbachev. The
 result was a group of individuals as
 antiquated and unimaginative
as the clothes they wore.
It's not often that I feel a need to go backward in time with a series character...others have written prequels which never seemed to be too much different than another book... but when Turner's fans ask for more information on how Talanov came to be a spy, James Turner gave us much more than information. This is a solid piece of thriller action that is unstoppable from cover to cover. 

The story may even have become my favorite, perhaps because it first shows the United States reps working directly with Talanov.  I think, more, though, there was a focus given on the internal thoughts and feelings of Talanov. And when fans look at the attractive young man he was at 28, after reading this novel, we now know how and why he became the intense ice-man hero that so many of us have come to love in such a short time.

Let me give you another example, out of context...
"Talanov remembered wanting to cry that day. But he did not. Instead, he shoved her memory away just as he shoved his dǎoshī away. The one person he cared about most had been ripped away from him by the only other person he cared about -- his dǎoshī -- who had turned on him like the weather of Khan Tengri, which lures you onto its slopes with its majestic, friendly red afternoon glow, only to trap and kill you. 
"For a while, he tried hating her. It was no use. How can you hate someone who makes you so happy? He just hated the ache that he felt now that she was gone. He hated the ache he felt when he remembered her shy smile and laughing eyes, or that tangle of silky black hair falling in straggly wisps around her face. He hated wanting so desperately to find her but knowing he couldn't. And before leaving the monastery, he vowed never to let anyone make him feel so unhappy and lost again.
"And in that moment, ledyanoĭ chelovek -- the "ice man" -- was born.     Yes, it took every bit of strength that he had not to let them see him cry. And he didn't, nor had he cried since -- ever -- not once.     Until now.     Standing alone on the bow of the freighter, 

So that readers can consider this novel in relation to real activities which actually occurred, I am including an item in the front of the novel, which is very important to correlating the story with what happens in November Echo, which I normally wouldn't do, but will help everybody understand why this novel is so important to me, to others...
1972 -- The Biological Weapons Convention becomes the first multinational treaty prohibiting the production and use of an entire category of weapons. The United States and Soviet Union are among the original twenty-two signatories of this treaty. In compliance, the United States destroys its military stockpiles. The Soviet Union claims to destroy its stockpiles but in fact responds by creating Biopreparat, the largest biological weapons program in history. Over the next few years, forty-seven top-secret installations are built across Russia.

1979 -- "Anthrax 836" spores are accidentally released from military Compound 19 in Sverdlovsk, USSR. Nearly one hundred people die within days although thousands are believed to have perished. Sverdlovsk and the surrounding area is quarantined by the Soviet military. Decontamination trucks arrive. Reports of the incident surface in the West, and the Soviet Union is accused of violating the Biological Weapons Convention. The Soviet Union vigorously denies the accusations by insisting the outbreak was caused by tainted meat. All medical records relevant to the incident are immediately destroyed.

1982 -- Spain joins NATO and announces plans to join the European Economic Community, resulting in violent demonstrations and protests. 1983 -- U.S. President Reagan announces plans for his Strategic Defense Initiative (“ Star Wars”) missile defense system in space. Pershing II missiles are deployed in West Germany. Korean Airliner KAL 007 is shot down by the Soviet Air Force; all crew and passengers are killed. The Soviet leadership is convinced that KAL 007 had been an American intelligence mission. Cold War tensions between the United States and Soviet Union escalate to an all-time high. The Balashikha sabotage and terrorism complex near Moscow is now in full operation.

1985 -- Thousands are now demonstrating across Spain against NATO and the American presence. Violence is everywhere. The Soviet Union's manufacture of biological weapons.

"Sofia responded with an exasperated sigh.
 "Yes, I made the reservation."  
"Which name did you use?"
     "The one you told me to use. But I still
 do not understand what we are doing.
"We are here to catch a defector and you
have me booking a suite in the name of a
ballerina."     "Anna Pavlova is not just
 a ballerina."
    "Stop it, Sasha. What is going on?
 How do we plan to catch Gorev?"
     "Talanov smiled. "Patience, my dear."
     The assignment given to them last Tuesday
 in the office of KGB Deputy Chairman
 Walter Kravenko had been simple and clear:
 slip quietly into Spain and intercept
Dr. Yefim Gorev, a scientist from the
 Soviet Union's weaponized anthrax
 facility at Sverdlovsk, in the foothills of the
 Ural Mountains eight hundred miles east
of Moscow. But slipping quietly into Spain
 was not what they were doing.
They were doing the exact opposite.
And therein lay the problem.  
Talanov had been sent to find and bring back a family that had disappeared, assumed to be defecting. But what Talanov had not counted on was being given a partner... You see, everybody knew he was the best, and he normally worked on his own with his own plan of action in responding to his assignments--which he always successfully completed. In fact, already had his plan worked out, assuming he'd be on his way shortly...  Until he met Sofia Dubinina, a beautiful woman who he'd never met before and also not worked with! Who was she?

Nevertheless, Talanov went full speed on his plan to get to Spain. He gave instructions to Sofia, and she immediately started with "whys..." No, Talanov didn't trust her, but he was prepared to work with her as long as she followed his instructions. That was apparently not going to happen easily...

His idea, quite simply, was not to slip gently anywhere. He wanted everybody, from every country involved, to know he was in Spain. Sofia seemed to think they might be told to get back home and abort the assignment. That she did not want to have happen... So she quickly fell into place as Talanov's companion, allowed him to dress her in fine clothes, take her to the best restaurants and clubs... In fact, Talanov made sure he had the money for handling this job as he wanted it, simply by doing another thing that he did well... He had Sofia meet him in Spain and on his way, he's already won a substantial amount of money that he carried with him in a small case... And as soon as he was in Spain, they were often seen together, using cash only, with the casino bosses quickly falling to meet Talanov's demands...and constantly winning...

But Talanov knew one thing nobody else did. Where the safe house was where Dr. Gorev would be waiting to meet...

Dr. Gorev had brought his parents, his wife and his daughter. None of them were willing to feel secure until they were safely on their way. Gorev had brought samples of what he'd been forced to work on--Anthrax! Even while the Soviet Union had been one of the countries signing the 1972 agreement to destroy all biological weapons, they had been establishing locations throughout the country for making and testing such weapons. Gorev had been one of the major scientists working to ensure the best possible use of Anthrax and had steadily refined and tested--on prisoners--until he could so longer stand it. He wanted out and asylum for his family!

He had thought Spain would be the best location for meeting, but by the time arrangements were made, the streets on which they would have routinely traveled were now filled with protestors!

Everybody involved--the U.S. who would be meeting the doctor and his family--as well as those searching for Gorev's to either return or kill them, were now forced to also deal with the police who were out in full numbers, dealing with the thousands of protestors who had come into the city...

For readers, we are right in the middle of car chases, gang fights, protestors fighting the police, as well as the need for the United States representatives to successfully meet and get Gorev, et. al., out of Spain!

And one explosive surprise sends Talanov into so much turmoil, frustration, and anger that we also revisit with him as he remembers when he was still free to feel--when he was not the ice man that they now called him... What was it? A teenager, named Noyabŕ, Noya, Dr. Gorev's daughter who, upon meeting them and for most of the time, displayed no emotions, only hopelessness, that anything would ever work out...

And it was beginning to look like she was right, especially when she stood and watched as her grandparents were murdered...first...

OMG, I don't know how some authors do it, but James Houston Turner certainly has the skill to wrap readers around his fingers, tied up in every word, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically involved as the action gets so tense that we don't realize that, after all, it's just a book, fiction... Yet, he does it! And he shows true facts upon which his fictional thrills are based. Some could even be true...but reading about it or even seeing it in the news just does not bring us the most important thing...context... Turner brings us right into the streets as he faces gang members with knives or even into the house--that house that was supposed to have been safe...

But there is no safety to be found...

Talanov Rules! He's my hero! But Turner? I think even Talanov worries about him...Read November Echo by James Houston Turner!

"Let me understand this, Turner...You want me to do WHAT?!!!"


James Houston Turner is the bestselling author of the Aleksandr Talanov thriller series, as well as numerous other books and articles. Talanov the fictional character was inspired by the actual KGB agent who leaked word out of Moscow back in the 1980s that James was on a KGB watchlist for his smuggling activities behind the old Iron Curtain.
James Houston Turner's debut thriller, Department Thirteen, was voted the Best Thriller of 2011 by USA Book News, after which it won gold medals in the 2012 Independent Publisher ("IPPY") Book Awards and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
A cancer survivor and former journalist in Los Angeles, he holds a Bachelor's Degree from Baker University and a Master's Degree from the University of Houston (Clear Lake). After living in South Australia for nearly twenty years, he and his wife, Wendy, a former triathlon winner, now live in Austin, Texas. Visit his website at

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Magazine Review: Weird Tales: Fairy Tales Issue - Weird is Fun, Droll, Amazing and Wondrous...

Publisher/Creative Director - John Harlacher
Editor - Marvin Kaye
Today, O Wondrous reader of the 21st century, we continue to seek out that which is most weird and unsettling, for your own edification and alarm...ALL WRITERS OF SUCH STORIES ARE PROPHET...
Weird Tales was the first storytelling magazine devoted to the realm of the dark and fantastic...90 Years of Weird Tales!
Soooo, how does a reviewer go about reviewing a magazine... Of course, it's no different...Just Start Reading... Turning to the first page, you'll see the above...which includes that Weird Tales is having an anniversary! Well, this is my first read, not because I've never read many of the authors that write scifi, fairy tales, fantasy, etc., but as you know, I'm normally reading books constantly... So, I thought I'd do this a little different--a lot different... 

First, let me say that this is a truly outstanding genre writers magazine! Writers can contribute! Each mag will have a theme, so more than likely if you are writing in scifi-fantasy, you're going to have ample opportunities to submit items...Check submission guidelines, first, of course!

You've already seen just one book review from this edition by Jon Koons...
and a sample of covers from Cover Artist Extraordinaire Margaret Brundage... 

But the truth is that this barely touched the surface. I don't normally talk about cost, but for under $10, this magazine has an amazing number of short stories, poems, Interviews, poetry and, like I said, book reviews... In this issue, there are 19 fiction stories of various length, for instance!

Enter The Den to find reviews--longer than what I write! Wow! This issue includes, in addition to the one mentioned above...
Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams, by Gareth Roberts, reviewed by Jon Koons
Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop and Other Practical Advice in Our Campaign against the Fairy Kingdom by Reginald Bakeley, reviewed by Dick Baldwin
Pure by Julianna Baggott, reviewed by Jon Koons

Design Director is Jeff Wong 
Contributing Artists include Jill Bauman, Marc Bilgrey, Tessa Farmer

Don't mind telling you that the artwork in this magazine is extraordinary in my opinion. Each article has appropriate complementary designs. Sure, some of them are weird, right? Like this little Cover gem that has fairies tying up a monster! I don't know whether he's shooing them away or trying to capture one...but it's clear who is winning, of course!

And check out these cute page-fillers that helps decorate and organize pages...I loved the layout/art support completely!

Let's spend a little time with the fiction... Of course I can't review all of the stories, but I do want to give you a taste of quite a number to give you the flavor of presentations... There were some that I absolutely adored and I just might do a single review for several...So keep watching...

Ok, Weird #1...Peter Beagle shares, "The Queen Who Could Not Walk" In some country, unnamed due to age and lack of maps available at the time, there is a king and queen who reigns... The weird part? They can have their reign stopped at any time--and when they leave the position, they become beggars... Now, the King was "kicked out" first so his Queen began reigning on her own. She could not walk and the King had quite a lovely wheelchair made for her. Fortunately when she was kicked, she was at least allowed to take her chair. Everything they had enjoyed during their time leading was left. In fact, this king and queen ruled graciously and even the servants told them that they were better rulers than those they served, deserved... The Queen was nearly helpless after she left and would sit without food or drink, until a beggar woman started to help her... I'm not quite sure why this tale was written because everybody knows that kings and queens never ever die or get kicked out, right? It does have a moral of forgiving...and I must say it had a very happy ending for those who get kicked out of the castle and their jobs, if it wasn't a fairy tale... LOL


Magpied, Weird Story #2, by Tanith Lee, was an old tale replayed, quite interestingly... Some of you may remember the original, but there's much more drama this time... This tale tells of a young stranger who came into town, no matter what town that it was, and was told of the danger there and that he should beware... Why? Well all of the young people would drink and party each night, then sleep all day... So the young traveler play on a magical pipe and...
This reed with speed, such is its sway, Will subdue, And mesh in a net like a debt they That harm you... To wit, each chit and child uncouth, Snared in steel, And locked as in jail...
Now somewhere along the way, rats became like their children since their real children were gone and couldn't come back... imagine that--they loved them best!

Now you might think this is coming to an end...but it just isn't true...

Weird, I know, but this tale continues... Tomorrow with Fae For a Day for Halloween!

 And if this hasn't been weird enough...hurry back for more!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Seacrest by Aaron Paul Lazar, Lazar's First Sexy Romance! Waiting for You Today!
Life can change in the blink of an eye. This blink came when a cop car cruised up The Seacrest’s white shell driveway on a hot Saturday in July. I’ll never forget the moment. You know how folks remember where they were when John Lennon died? Or when President Kennedy was assassinated? It was like that, every detail stamped into my brain, forever. A fresh breeze laden with the scent of the sea rustled blue flowers in a nearby hydrangea hedge. Hot and sweaty, I stood in the blazing sun, feeling like a fool. I’d just finished weed wacking around the paddock fence posts. Unfortunately, said weed wacker had spooked Libby Vanderhorn’s favorite mare, Serendipity, who I secretly called Dippy, because she was such a loose cannon. She’d bucked three times and knocking down several fence boards. Libby was a good rider, but this time she’d landed in a sprawling heap on the soft dirt, swearing at me. 
"The boss’s gorgeous, stuck-up daughter didn’t mince words, and the sting of her accusations still sounded in my head. How stupid can you be, Finn? What’s wrong with you? Libby’s father held great power on Cape Cod. Rudolph Vanderhorn sat on so many boards, I’d lost count. His father’s fish canning company made a fortune back in the eighties, and he and his daughter had enjoyed the spoils ever since.
"I stooped to pick up a hammer from my toolbox, planning to reattach the fence boards before any of Libby’s horses got hurt on the protruding nails. Curious now, I watched the Brewster Police car circle the long drive, heading toward the mansion. The local authorities stopped by every few days to discuss town matters with my boss. But today the blue light was flashing, which didn’t look like a casual visit. A shudder went through me, and I turned cold. Something bad had happened. I sensed it. 
"The front door opened, and Rudy watched them approach, one hand shading the sun from his eyes. Like a majestic lion, he stood broad-shouldered and strong, his longish white hair lifting in the sea breeze. Libby stopped hosing down her big white mare, who thankfully hadn’t hurt herself in the fit she’d thrown earlier. The horse snorted and rubbed her big head against her owner’s arm as if to scratch an itch. Long, dark hair blew around Libby’s face, and she stared with open curiosity at the cruiser, rhythmically combing her fingers through the mare’s curly mane. 
"Time froze. I stood still, gripping the hammer, studying the patrol car as it drove past the front porch with its impressive columns and portico. It didn’t stop for Rudy, but passed the six-car garage, followed the driveway to the barn, and rolled to a stop ten feet from me, lights still flashing. Police Chief Kramer and Deputy Lowell stepped out and ambled toward me, their eyes somber. I dropped the hammer, letting it thud to the grass near my feet. “Finn?” Kramer said, approaching slowly. “I’m afraid we have bad news.” 
"There is nothing worse than hearing that bad news is about to be delivered. My brain went wild, imagining the worst scenarios. But somehow I didn’t quite picture what he was about to tell me. “There’s been an accident,” Kramer said. Lowell, a high school football star in his day, kicked the dirt at the edge of the path. “Car went over the cliffs,” he said, avoiding my eyes. 
“For God’s sake, guys.” I looked from Kramer to Lowell. “Who was in the car?” 
"Kramer pulled out a piece of paper. “I regret to inform you that your wife, Cora Mae McGraw, and your brother, Jaxson Robert McGraw, have been killed in a vehicular accident.” Deputy Lowell touched my sleeve, then awkwardly stepped back. “We’re real sorry...

The Seacrest: Sometimes Love Won't Die

Aaron Paul Lazar

Lazar opened another part of himself to his many readers in his latest novel, now out! You know, though, that this is not so surprising because his books always includes some romantic ties within a family setting. But those family members were once teenagers, finding their first interest in the opposite sex... And this writer remembers that....verrrrry well!

Two brothers were part of the family that lived on Blueberry Hill. As the name implies, they farmed blueberries and were constantly selling the best berries around--people came from all over to pick the fruit, keeping the entire family busy from dawn to dusk... But after that and in the little bit of free time, both boys were out--looking. Early on their parents had seen the difference between the two boys and tried to keep the younger one, Finn, from too much "brotherly love...teasing that he got" Still, Jax eagerly announced to their parents that Finn had a girl! 

The love that Jaxson wanted was with as many of the town girls as he could find...And that caused problems for everyone!

"Didn't you think I'd find out?"
"Dumbfounded, I sat still.
“About what?”
"She slammed her lemonade onto the table with a bit too much force, sloshing it over the side. “About the others, for God’s sake. What do you think?”
"I eyed her, wondering what the hell she was talking about. “What others? Libby. I swear to God, there was only you.”
"She jumped up, eyes narrowed, arms waving wildly as she stomped in a tight circle. “Jax told me, you moron. He told me about Penny and Sarah and Vanessa. He told me about how you knocked them all up. I saw them around town, for God’s sake! Their bellies were huge. You can’t deny it!”
"My jaw dropped. “You’re kidding, right?”
"She walked closer now, shoving me back in my chair with both hands. “No, I’m not kidding! Why can’t you just come clean and admit it?”

" I slowly stood, taking her hands in mine. She tried to pull away, but I drew her to me. “Libby. Listen.”
“I don’t want to hear your lame excuses! Sure, you were horny. All the girls liked you. You juggled us like balls in the air. You were all man. And you proved it, didn’t you?” She tried to wrest her arms away, but I held tight to her. “Listen to me, goddamn it.”

"For a moment she hesitated, slowed. She raised her eyes to mine. “I really loved you, Finn. You broke my heart.” 
"Anger surged through me. Jax had done it again. He’d turned my life upside down with more lies. More deceit. More betrayal that I couldn’t even yell at him for. He’d escaped that part, hadn’t he? I shook her, maybe a bit rougher than I should have. “Jax got those girls pregnant. All three of them. It. Wasn’t. Me.”

But the love that Finn found was more precious to him...than anything... He was just 17 when he met her. She wouldn't tell him her name so he gave her a nickname--Sassy. They spent most nights on the beach, even after her father had once found them there...and wanted him arrested!

Embarrassed maybe, but nothing was going to stop them from seeing each other and they were soon meeting in the loft of the barn at Seacrest...

Moving back and forth between the present and that time when they first met, the novel opens with a scene also at the Seacrest, where Finn now works, taking care of the horses, the garden and other things needed. He and his wife, Cora, both worked and lived in a cottage on the property...

But almost immediately, Cora and Finn's brother are killed in a vehicle accident...

Anybody reading that is automatically going to think the worst, I am sure... And it was true. Cora had been having an affair with Finn's brother... 

Trust, Lies, Deceit are all twisted up within the lives of that young couple after their early teen romance.  The only thing that remained was the love between them--but was it enough? More characters are brought in as ten years elapse from the time they first fell in love. Jax, Finn and Libby all marry and heartbreak grows..
“Yesterday” came on the radio, and Paul McCartney’s words reminded me how deeply I loved Libby, how no matter what happened, I’d cherish our times together in youth and over the past few days. But I knew I needed to support her right now, because she had to be going through hell. How did someone handle the news that an abusive husband who had reportedly died three years earlier was actually alive, coming home, and would need twenty-four-hour-a-day care for the rest of his life? 
In many ways, this was a romantic suspense that even closed with another surprise, closing out the novel wonderfully. I very much enjoyed Lazar's trip to the more sensual side. If you are a romance reader and have never read Lazar, this is the perfect novel for you to start! Highly recommended!

"I jumped in the shower first, and while she showered I closed the bedroom curtains so the filmy white fabric fluttered in the sea breeze. It wasn’t likely that anyone could see us, even if they were out in the yard, but I wanted to give the illusion of privacy. I put clean white flannel sheets on the bed and grabbed the bottle of champagne I’d been keeping downstairs in the fridge for the past few months...  
"With two fluted glasses on the bedside table, I set the champagne in a decanter with ice, and arranged a small vase of pink roses I’d hurriedly clipped from the stone wall by the barn. I found a collection of romantic tunes sung by Ella Fitzgerald in my brother’s stack of CDs near the player, and put it on softly in the background. 
"At least that’s how I’d imagined it."

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. A multi award-winning author of three addictive mystery series, writing guides, and more, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. 

Visit his website at and watch for his upcoming releases, SANCTUARY (2014), and VIRTUOSO (2014). You may contact him at 

Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning author, Aaron Lazar: LEGARDE MYSTERIES DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book) UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)   TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book) MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book) FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book) DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book) VIRTUOSO (~2014) MOORE MYSTERIES HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book) TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book) FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book) TALL PINES MYSTERIES FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book) ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book) SANCTUARY (2014) MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)   STANDALONES THE SEACREST (2013)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Against Her Will Presents Realistic Life of Victim in Debut Novel by Peter Martin...

Smoked (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)
Smoked (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
"Hallo Donna.’ Her voice was soft, her large grey eyes  widening with concern and compassion. ‘I’m Jill  Meadows, Dexford police. Sorry to disturb you, at
 a time like this. I know you need to get some rest
 and its late, but I just wondered if you feel up to
 answering a few questions, about what happened
 to you.’ 
"Donna didn’t answer, she just wanted to be
 left alone. 
‘So how are you feeling?’ Jill asked 
finally. Donna began to weep. The police woman
 reached out to touch her hand, but Donna pulled
 back in a flash. ‘Look, I can see you’re upset. 
You have every right to be. But you’re going to be
 fine, no one can hurt you now. And I promise we’ll
 be working day and night to find the man who did
 this to you. But to do that we need your help. 
I realise how difficult this is, but we need to know
 exactly what happened while it’s still fresh in
 your mind - I believe it could make a huge
 difference. Think you could do that for me?
’ Donna didn’t respond. ‘Please, Donna. I 
appreciate you’ve been through a terrifying
 ordeal, but it’s vital you tell us whatever you
 can. Come on try - for me and all the other
 girls out there, who might be at risk until
 he’s caught.’ 
‘I... I can’t talk about it.’ 
She shook her head rigorously, breathing
 in and out deeply.

Against Her Will

   By Peter Martin

One of the most long-standing dramas on 
television is Law and Order--Special Victims... Most of us are concerned about these victims and like to see the criminals face justice...

But I have not seen or read, until now, a book about the victim--after the criminal is caught. And what if he isn't caught? A life continues, but it may never be the same...

When, however, the victim already has issues from her past that have bothered her, the diagnosis may be much worse.

A young man, Peter Martin, has tackled this subject and has done, in my opinion, an outstanding job. Sure you can fault him for some editorial issues which seem to automatically come in ebooks which mostly I've learned to ignore. After you get lost using today's technology as many times as I have and have to stop and find your place again, then small typos pale in comparison... 

I love the character in the unit who play on SVU,
but the victims usually play a very small role, don't they? That's because, I think, of the sensitivity with which the show is produced. It is not to focus on the criminal act--rather it is to focus on the law and order activity in support of those victims. Kudos to everybody involved in this great program.

I've highlighted this because in Against Her Will, there is no cast of characters to "enjoy." Some at the end will be found. The intent of this novel is to share the "reality" of being abused--mentally, physically, of emotionally. You will see a young girl in a number of situations--first she is kept late at work with the boss finding problems with her work. Sure it was good that he took the time to help her, but why wait until closing time to start? Then he asked if he could give her a lift home...

"They ought to string him up when they catch him,"her dad growled. Her mum sat reluctantly back down in her chair. 'No one's safe out on their own these days.
Makes you wonder what the world coming to.'
‘I’ll kill the bastard, if I ever get hold of him,’ Blake said angrily.
‘Did you get a good look at him, love?’ her mum asked.
"Donna shook her head, her face creased up in pain. She glimpsed Blake moving off his chair to sit on the bed. He attempted to put his arm around her, but the very thought of it made her writhe as if a venomous snake was about to be placed on her shoulder. ‘No, please don’t!’ "Blake’s face dropped. Donna didn’t want to talk yet let alone have any physical contact with him. She wanted him to understand, but wasn’t sure he would.
 "‘Sorry love,’ was all he could say, backing off to his seat.
"Donna, don’t get upset, Blake didn’t mean anything.’
"I don’t want to be touched, mum.’ Finally, she sank back down into her bed, and turned her face away from them.

Let me stop here and describe our young female character--she is tall, blond, beautiful and has been in many beauty contests, won and then moved on to modeling... In other words, she is used to having attention of men. 

NOT every woman wants that... Donna definitely did not...

She was on her way home to be with her fiancee. Instead she was dragged, kicked everywhere, and raped... A gang came along and would not help her... Finally, an older couple found her and helped...There is no need to go over the actual scenes that followed. We know that a beating of a beautiful woman will be seen and gain sympathy from everybody...

Even more so by her parents...
‘I gather ever since then you’ve struggled to cope with life. I hear you broke up with your boyfriend and have had to give up your job as well.’ 
‘Been talking to mommy and daddy have you?’ 
‘Of course I have. They’re extremely worried over you, Donna.’ 
‘Only because of the money.’ 
‘The money they’d make out of me as a model. But I won’t do it, not now not ever. Did they tell you about the photo shoot they tried to force me into?’ 
‘No they didn’t.’ 
‘Well, they secretly arranged for us to bump into old friends of theirs, who just happen to be in the fashion business. They’d already set up a photo shoot with a top photographer behind my back. I couldn’t believe they’d do that.’
‘Well, we need to talk about how to rebuild your life, but I agree they should have asked you first, in fact no one should be forced into  doing something they don’t want to do.’ 
‘I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to go back to work or have a relationship with anyone – because the thought of someone touching me disgusts me. I wish I didn’t have to wake up in the morning, and I wish there was somewhere I could go to get rid of these horrible feelings.’ Tears trickled down her cheeks once more. 
‘There is nowhere like that, my dear. You have so much to be grateful for, lots to look forward to, and most of your life is still ahead of you. How terribly sad it would have been, if you’d succeeded in ending it all.’ 
"Donna thought the doctor seemed genuine, but she had no chance of making her feel better. She could pump her with more pills and give her as much counselling as she liked, but it wouldn’t make a heap of difference. 
‘I don’t want to keep feeling like this. If this is it, there’s no point in living...
But, remember, I said earlier that Donna had never wanted attention to her beauty. In fact, when she was young, her parents, mostly her mother, had forced her to become involved in contests and modelling... She had finally convinced them to let her go to college where she majored in mathematics and was now a Statistical Analyst...

And when Donna shared that she might not be able to go back to her job, her mother made arrangements, behind her back, to "accidentally" meet one of her former talent agents and then arranged a photo shoot...

About that time, I wanted to take that young woman and help her run away from home... And, indeed, that's exactly what she did...

And she wound up placed in a mental hospital...

Some of you who've read my reviews know that I retired early due to job burnout. What I haven't said is that I'm still on medication for that traumatic stress after years. The reason I share this is very simple. There wasn't any action by Donna in this novel that has not crossed my mind. Suicide was a passing thought and quickly found unacceptable; however, I've never been raped. Most of you haven't either. Add that to the pressure of parents who wanted to exploit her body due to its monetary value. Many may rebel at my saying that, and it might not be so harsh in real life; however, I can almost guarantee that not every little girl wants to be placed in pageant after pageant, etc. I know I would never consider that as a career...

When I went on medical leave, I went into seclusion. Fortunately, I was able to do so since I lived alone. It bothered me to see some comments in reviews that Donna was not a likable character. OMG, of course she's not! Who would be in that situation? An individual can feel fine, confront a trigger, and go off, either crying or angry in a second. This mood switch situation was handled quite effectively by the author. On the other hand, he has succeeded in dealing with the issues facing Donna in a sensitive manner that allowed us to recognize that the aftermath of any type of trauma is different for every individual and we must recognize and give that individual "space" in order to find her way back.

Again, here, the author chose an exemplary method to do this, although most who face this situation might not ever have the opportunity as presented to Donna...But I think by using what happened in the way that he did would allow readers to begin to understand how Donna needed to find her own way, even with help...

There was only one situation with which I disagreed with the writer and that was when the psychiatrist alluded to the money she was being paid by Donna's parents.That should never happen, but, of course, it could very well happen exactly like that in today's world! Couldn't it?

Many kudos to the writer for sensitively covering a subject that is very hard for actual victims to talk about. Whether he's had some personal experience with it or not, I do want to attest to his portrayal of what a victim truly goes through, no matter what the trauma has evolved from...

Highly recommended for those...who care... Even though it may not be an enjoyable book to read... The ending is surprising, but still quite satisfactory...


Born and bred in the West Midlands, Martin writes under the pen name of Peter Martin. Against Her Will is his debut novel, and is the story of one young woman's fight to lead a normal life after a horrific rape.

Martin's interests lie mainly in crime, suspense and thrillers. His favorite authors are diverse, including Robert Goddard, R J Ellory, Kate Mosse, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Diane Chamberlain, Harper Lee,Wilbur Smith.

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