Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stone of Cruento reviewed by Simply Romance Reviews

Stone of Cruento reviewed by Simply Romance Yea!
Stone of Cruento
Cerridwen Press
May 2008
ISBN: 9781419916984


Claren Maxwell felt she was misplaced, like she belonged somewhere else. Even as a vampire she was not like the others. Claren didn’t like to kill. She avoided intimacy with human men. It was too dangerous. Claren wanted to fit in. She wanted to be loved and protected. So she dreamed, but the dreams were becoming too real. She dreamt of three men. In real life she would have to choose one, right?The three men in her dreams materialize. Belgretor, a giant of a man from Cruento, protects her. Daniel is a vampire from Earth who desires her. Jamros is a centaur from Cruento who is drawn to her by destiny. Together the four of them must find a way to stop the destruction of Earth and Cruento.Can Claren choose between the three men she loves while saving the worlds she inadvertently put in jeopardy?
Lynda of Simply Romance Reviews gives Stone of Cruento the SRR GRADE: A

Vampires, goblins, centaurs….a vastly different alternate reality, that’s what you get from the Stone of Cruento. I loved the depth of the characterization and the story building in this riveting fantasy.Claren was a vampire but not the same as other vampires. Repeated dreams of three men and love only served to make her desire a love of her own. Though attracted to vampire Daniel, she doesn’t trust him and resists his charm. Her constant companion is Belgretor but she has yet to learn his full potential, and then there is the prophecy.One plot twist after another with love, sex, intrigue, back stabbing centaurs, you name it this story delivers. Charlene Leatherman weaves this story tighter than a rug and hands us a story that will leave us breathless and hoping for more.The Stone of Cruento is a great story and so much more. Claren has to juggle the relationship of three totally different beings let alone men while being in the middle of a prophecy she has no idea about. This is just excellent story telling. Don’t hesitate to pick up this exceptional book. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hazel Statham's Book His Shadowed Heart

His Shadowed Heart at http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook69078.htm?cache
Get your copy Now!!!

Can a shadowed heart be healed? Can love grow where least expected? The Earl of Waverly believes not. How wrong can he be!

After the death of his wife, the Earl of Waverly, believing his heart irreparably damaged, enters into a marriage of convenience. However, he is not prepared for the healing influence his new young bride has on his life.

Despite the couple’s new-found happiness, nefarious deeds abound and strange happenings are attributed to the ghost of his former wife. Will their love stand the test or will the perpetrator emerge the victor?
Traversing the long corridor to his bedchamber, he paused momentarily outside his wife’s door, but as no light shone from beneath, he continued on to his own apartment. Closing the door quietly behind him he paused in the centre of the room. All was in darkness except for the pool of light cast by the candles he held and for a moment, their flickering caught the handle to the connecting door. Yielding to an irresistible temptation, he pressed the handle, and finding no resistance there, entered the chamber.

As in his own room, all was in darkness, but turning to where he knew the bed to be he raised the candles higher so that their glow spread across the room, illuminating the sleeping figure there. Crossing to the bed, he knelt at her side and extinguishing all but one of the flames, placed the candelabra on a small table at the side of the bed.

The shadows of the remaining light played across Caroline’s sleeping countenance and he smoothed a lock of hair that had strayed across her forehead. He knew the desire that his lips should follow his finger’s course, but even in his state of inebriation, he knew this would be foolish. For several minutes, he watched his wife sleep, eventually placing his head upon the pillow beside her. His lips curved into a loving smile as his eyes drank in her sleep-softened countenance and he felt her breath caress his cheek. The longing to hold her became an almost physical thing and his arms ached with the suppressed desire. Eventually she stirred, muttering incoherently in her sleep, and he raised himself up. What foolishness is this, he thought. I am acting like a callow youth, and immediately he was on his feet. Snatching up the light, he went quickly out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
~ * ~

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Rose By Another Name

Lovac followed the trail with ease. Like most lionesses, this one did not give him much of a challenge. He sighed. Except for the entertainment of the audience Lovac didn’t see the need for the hunt at all. It would be easier on him and the lionesses if they just threw them in a room and recorded their sex act. A different type of entertainment, probably not one that the people would want to broadcast to an audience filled with children. Better to have the thrill of the hunt ended with copulation.
Still, he thought the way the lioness looked at him at the starting gate she would have given him a greater challenge. She was not hiding her tracks at all. He didn’t have to look for the bent blade of grass or search for the gentle press of a foot print. This lioness wanted him to follow her, wanted him to catch her, and wanted him to bed her.
Or so Lovac thought.
He pulled up short when the tracks took on a decidedly different feel. Instead of being hard footed and obvious, the lioness began to step softly. The tread became lighter and lighter until no one except a trained hunter like he was could have followed the trail. Lovac knelt beside a single bent sprig of grass, the only sign the lioness passed by.
“What are you up to, my pretty?” Lovac asked no one in particular and everyone on the broadcast feed. He followed the barely noticeable trail to the edge of forest next to a tunnel of some sort.
Lovac had never been in this part of the hunting field before. He saw delicate, soft tracks near the cave-like entrance. He also saw the deep claw marks on the tree limbs as though a large cat had scrabbled up the tree in a hurry.
“Exactly what you want me to think,” Lovac whispered. One of his requirements as a participant in the ‘Hunt’ was to make sure the audience was aware of his deductions. “Yet, these prints near this…this tunnel seem a bit too convenient as well. Where are you, my pretty?”

Zna rankled when he called her his ‘pretty’. She had a name. She was introduced to him, yet he continued to view her as a piece of property. From her hiding place above the Hole she watched the hunter stand and look around. He was better than she thought. Better than other hunters she encountered.
Better looking too. Zna let her eyes swing over the hunter below her. What is my attraction? Zna smiled to herself. Besides the broad chest, and narrow hips. He is muscular. I wonder what it would be like to have his arms wrapped around me? My legs wrapped around him. Zna caught herself. His pheromones must be extremely high. I want to crawl down from this tree and make him mine. From what I hear he is quite a stud.
Zna swallowed her feelings. Bescjen is my only concern. Besides, his is a hunter. I am a lioness. No matter what my body desires I have to stay focused.
She had to wait until he stepped into the entrance of the Hole following her fake foot steps. Then she could push him through its mouth. It would take him more than thirty ticks to get out of the Hole, even if he was only at the mouth. Doing it that way, she would be free of the Hole and would achieve her lead. The mouth of the Hole would not do Lovac a tremendous amount of harm, merely delay him. She did not want to push him deeper, nor did she want to follow him into the Hole. It would mean possible death for him and the end of her winning the hunt. It would take too long to get out of it. Bescjen would be in jeopardy.
Zna tensed, ready to pounce.

Lovac raised his head, sniffing the air. He was a skilled hunter. He followed tracks that no other hunter could. He shot truer and knew traps from superbly simple to agonizingly complex. He knew a trap when he saw one. He also knew scents.
He was looking at a trap. He smelled the scent of a lioness.
His pheromones were biologically enhanced. One of the reasons he was a preferred stud was that the lionesses were attracted to him by scent. For some reason, this lioness, this Zna, resisted him. She played the game of making him think she wanted him, leaving well defined tracks. Then, at the mouth of this…cave, her method changed.
Lovac backed away from the blackness facing him. He slung his rifle over his shoulder. The weapon was armed with two kinds of ammunition. The first was a marking pellet. It would mark Zna showing that he captured her. The second type of bullet was a tranquilizer. It wouldn’t put her to sleep. What amusement would that give? It would relax her and make her willing to accept his mating with her. Most of the lionesses he hunted never needed the second bullet. Lovac couldn’t remember when he fired a second bullet.
Looking around the trees that edged the clearing he stood in, Lovac wondered if he would need the second bullet this time. Would he need a real bullet, one that killed? Would she be one of the lionesses that attempted to kill her hunter? It happened rarely, but it happened. Most of the time, death during a hunt was of the lioness. Hunters, poor hunters, got carried away with adrenaline and the lionesses scent. The feline woman was beaten to death.
Lovac gave a bitter laugh. Another thing that was destroying the true beauty of the Hunt. The government gave hunters carte blanche. They could kill lionesses with immunity. Unconsciously he reached for the knife in the sheath at his belt.
Was she one of the ones that refused to give in to the government? According to her profile she has not been mated since she was inducted into the Hunt. Lovac racked his brain trying to remember if any of the hunters had been injured or killed. He had not read the file on Zna as he should have. He committed a cardinal sin of hunters. He did not know his enemy.
A bird flew out of a tree nearby jerking Lovac back to the Hole. He scanned the tree line and saw nothing that indicated a lioness. Either she was gone through the trees like her deep claw marks indicated, or she was hiding in the trees watching him. Lovac did not believe that she went into the cave in front of him.
Cave. Tunnel. Neither name seemed appropriate. He could admit he was whipped and communicate to the Handlers for information about this area of the hunt zone. He had not traveled to this location before. It was an unknown. And he was led here.
Lovac put his hand into the darkness of the cave mouth. In a normal cave, he would see his hand in the shadows. He would see the gradation from light to dark on his skin. He didn’t. His hand simply disappeared. Lovac pulled his hand back. It was his hand, unharmed. Yet when he put his hand into the darkness it was as if his arm ended at his wrist.
Backing from the cave Lovac searched around the ground for a long branch. He found one and moved to the darkness. He stuck the branch into the darkness about three feet into the darkness.
Nothing, just the illusion that the stick ended where the darkness began.
Suddenly something took hold of the stick and tugged. The branch was pulled out of Lovac’s hands. He jumped back, bringing his rifle forward in one fluid motion. Whatever was in the darkness would not be hurt with the bullets he carried, but maybe he could slow them down. If it was the lioness he would fire twice rapidly, subduing her. He was tired of this game she played. He wanted to get the mating done and get back to his quiet life.

Zna bit her lip to keep from growling in anger. The hunter was not supposed to test the Hole. He was supposed to walk in, following her steps. Her whiskers twitched as she tried to decide her next course to take.

“Lovac,” the Handler’s name spoke over the com-link the hunter wore at his ear.
“Here,” Lovac answered. It was voice activated. He did not move his hands from his rifle. It was useless against a real attack, but it made him feel better as he stared at the darkness that swallowed the branch.
“I took the com off line. The audience is getting restless. Do something.”
“Give me a reading on that,” Lovac nodded his head toward the darkness.
“Are you giving up?” the voice on the other end asked. “I don’t think I have ever heard you ask for a reading.”
“You said we were off line, right?” Lovac waited for the assent. “Give me a reading on that cave or you will be my next target. I won’t have these useless tranquilizer bullets either.”
Lovac smiled as the pause on the other end lengthened beyond the normal for checking equipment.
“Mister Lovac,” the voice of the Handler was respectful and wavering. Lovac heard the voice of the Handler’s supervisor in the background. Lovac was valuable. He was not to be mocked. “According to the readout, there is nothing there.”
“Can you see what I am looking at?”
“Yes, sir.”
“And you still tell me there is nothing there?”
“I can see the…the whatever it is, but according to the scanners nothing is there.”
“A hologram?”
“No,sir. Just nothing. It’s like there is a hole in the universe where nothing is. Not even anti-matter like a black hole. Just nothing.”
Lovac took in a deep breath. “Where is the lioness?”

Zna heard the hunter talking to the Handlers. They were off-line according to what she heard. No audio, no vid for the audience. Probably some kind of government announcement going on. And they were going to pinpoint her location in just a second. She had to act, now.
Screeching from her perch, Zna leapt for the hunter. She angled her leap and landed square on his back. She sank her claws into the heavy jacket Lovac wore. The hunter rolled as she knew he would. Instead of trying to gain purchase and get to her feet to fight, Zna used the momentum of the roll to continue forward. She pushed with her back legs and her tail and shoved. Zna and Lovac rolled into the Hole.

“Lovac? Lovac? Come in. Lovac? What in the name of the Spirits is going on?” the Handler’s voice shouted over the com-link that was knocked off Lovac’s ear as he and Zna fought. The handler looked at his supervisor. One moment he had readings on the hunter and the lioness. The next they were gone. Not moved. Simply gone. The scanner said there was no one there, only a space of nothing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

His Shadowed Heart by Hazel Statham

I hope you will allow me to introduce you to the romance of Regency and Georgian England.

Romance means many different things to so many different people. A glance, a word, just a little unexpected gesture, all have the power to charm. In Regency and Georgian times when young girls were chaperoned in almost every situation, the language of the fan was used to convey messages to would-be suitors and lovers. Hearts could be broken across the space of a ballroom if a lady’s gestures were not favourable.

There were fans for every occasion and the owners lost no chance to wield them to their advantage. A fan placed close to the heart means I love you. A half-opened fan pressed to the lips – you may kiss me. The fan resting on the left cheek, means no, the right cheek, yes. However, there are many gestures and all are not favourable, for example a fan held over the left ear means I wish to be rid of you.
Gentlemen, not to be outdone, often resorted to the language of flowers to express their feelings and whether it be a single flower or a huge bouquet, the message would be clear. There appears to be a flower for every emotion, Acacia - Secret love, Ambrosia - Love returned, Anemone - Unfading love, Arbutus - Only love. Not only did they show love, but withered flowers show rejected love.
These are just a few examples of the messages that could be conveyed by these methods but give you some idea of how love could be lost or won without a word being spoken.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Let Me Introduce Guest Blogger and Author Hazel Statham

Hazel Statham will be gracing us with a visit during her Virtual Blog Tour during the month of July. She will be talking about her lastest book
Here is a blurb:
Can a shadowed heart be healed? Can love grow where least expected? The Earl of Waverly believes not. How wrong can he be!

After the death of his wife, the Earl of Waverly, believing his heart irreparably damaged, enters into a marriage of convenience. However, he is not prepared for the healing influence his new young bride has on his life.

Despite the couple’s new-found happiness, nefarious deeds abound and strange happenings are attributed to the ghost of his former wife. Will their love stand the test or will the perpetrator emerge the victor?
Let me introduce Hazel:
Hazel lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history, especially the Regency and Georgian eras and it is the romance and elegance of these times that she tries to recreate in her work.
When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. There have however, been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment intervened, but now that she no longer works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.

She has been married to her husband Terry since 1969 and they have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organization that raised money for animal charities.She currently shares her home with two lovely yellow Labradors named Lucy and Mollie, who are her constant companions. Mollie is a recent addition to the family and at five-months-old is keeping everyone on their toes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Writers, Emotions and Reviews

One major attribute of a fiction writer - whatever the genre - is to feel emotions. The writer has to be able to feel the emotions so they can put those same emotions on paper well enough so the reader feels the same emotions. Adventure writers have to make their reader's heart pound, their pulse quicken and those pages turn. Romance writers have to make their reader's heart go pitter-pat, their pulse quickens and depending what kind of romance, tears fall, body parts go 'oh my' and a sigh escapes when the happy ever after happens. Mystery, suspense, thriller, horror writers all have to feel the emotions they want the readers to feel - fear, tension, anxiety, startle, checking behind doors and under the bed for spookies. Writers have to know and feel these emotions so they can write them.
But therein is the problem. Writers also live in a real world with real life that creates real emotions. That is probably why, historically, writers are drawn to alcohol and drugs. Because writers feel things intensely, whether it is in real life or in imagination.

So, when a writer gets a bad review, life crashes around them. After all, it is not just rejection of an object. It is rejection of the outpouring by the writer of personal emotions into a medium that everyone can see and someone had the audiacity to reject.

We all learn how to deal with negative reviews. We pout, stomp our feet, drink, eat chocolate, and myriad other things to get rid of the negative emotions the review puts into our psyche.

This blog is not about a negative review.

When a writer gets a good review there is just as much emotion - but this time there is dancing, singing, yelling it from the rooftop, eating chocolate (there is always chocolate no matter what emotion, at least for me there is) and all sorts of things to do to savor the wonderful emotions we gratefully receive.

I was doubly blessed this week. I got good reviews for Prophecy of Vithan
and for Stone of Cruento.

Jean of Fallen Angels Reviews gave Prophecy of Vithan 5 Fallen Angels and said it is a recommended read.

Every once in a while, I find a book that grabs me and draws me into the emotional life of the protagonist, making it almost impossible for me to stop reading. Prophecy of Vithan is such a book. This is a complex, multi-layered science fiction novel with a great love story mixed in. It includes the stories of a mentor protecting her student, a woman trapped by slavery, a man and woman chained together by an emotional connection they cannot resist, a rogue organization attempting to gain absolute control over the true government, and the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy that will save the world. That’s a lot to cover in one book! The love story will be very satisfying to the romantics among us, with a few moderately explicit erotic love scenes for spice. I wholeheartedly recommend this very interesting science fiction romance as great summer reading.

Amy of Bitten by Books gave Stone of Cruento 4 Grave Stones and said

This is an enjoyable story of adventure, love, betrayal, faith and belief that kept my full attention from the moment I started reading the first page. Did I mention the love scenes are hot and wild?

So, I am breaking out the chocolate, dancing on the rooftop while yelling and soaking in all these good feelings. I will then sit down and write like crazy a scene that will give my readers something to feel deeply.