It is award season, and whilst I may not be wearing a fancy designer dress with sparkles and borrowed jewelry from Tiffany’s (or crippling Jimmy Choo Shoes!), I have dabbed a little Chanel No 5 behind my ears and at the wrists. After all is not everyday you get nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award. In this instance courtesy of author and poet, Mary Smith of Mary Smith’s Place to whom I am most grateful….

Before I embarrass myself answering Mary’s questions on my personal life…. here are the rules.

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunshine Blogger #Award and personal questions.

Delighted to welcome a new guest writer to the blog. Sarah Calfee is an editor specialising in Romance novels. In her first post, she is demystifying the various elements of book editing, so that you can select the service that is most beneficial to you and your book.

Demystifying the Levels of Fiction Editing (a bit) by Sarah Calfee

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Demystifying the Levels of Fiction #Editing (a bit) by Sarah Calfee

Seer by Hettie Ivers

Hettie Ivers
Publication date: April 7th 2019
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Lauren is just like any other college student trying to juggle school and a social life.

While being bombarded by dead spirits vying for her time and attention.

And being stalked by hot werelocks with supernatural powers who keep showing up around campus.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the battleground wasn’t Lauren’s mind.

And if werelocks weren’t constantly erasing and altering her memories in order to hide their time in her head from their rivals.

But Lauren is no ordinary college student. She’s the seer the supernatural world has been waiting for.

As word spreads of her existence, powerful forces will hunt her.

The dead will unite to defend her.

And a century-long celibate werelock will risk unleashing the darkness he spent four centuries suppressing in order to claim her.

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Author Bio:

Hettie Ivers is an accidental romance author who likes to escape the stress of her workweek with a good dirty book–preferably one that’s also funny.

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#GUESTPOST Auras and other Metaphysical choices in writing by The Sound of Suffering author Darin C. Brown


**Though The Sound of Suffering is a sequel, it can be read as a standalone as the first chapter summarizes book one.**

Auras and other Metaphysical choices in writing.

I have friends who see auras, although I do not myself. I spent many hours researching the occult, listening to hypnotists, mediums, Reiki masters, and many others in preparation for my novels. The reason why this all works well with The Master of Perceptions is the basic premise that Hunter perceives things differently that everyone else.

There are only really three “senses” from a strict perspective. Electromagnetic, tactile (which includes vibration, the actual definition of temperature) and chemical.  All perceptions are the brain’s interpretation of these sensed inputs. We all say “five senses” because Aristotle did many years ago. He was just plain wrong.

An individual’s perceptions are much more numerous. Sight (light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum), sound (vibration of the tympanic membrane in the ear transduced), smell (chemical), taste (combines chemical and tactile) and feel (tactile) are simply the most common, thanks to a dead Greek thinker.

Consider others like proprioception (the location of your body in space), direction, equilibrium (balance), attraction, acceleration, moisture, agency (sense of having made a decision) familiarity (recognition) anticipation, or social awareness. These are all truly unique to the brain of the person doing to perceiving, and therefore cannot truly be understood by anyone else. After all, there is no actual “light” or “sound” in your brain, only your individual perception of these stimuli. Who knows for sure if what actually exists in the world matches what each of us perceives? My son is color blind and can’t tell red from green. My mother cannot smell much of anything (which is why she was such a terrible cook). There are hundreds of similar examples.

If all perceptions are unique, what about auras? Maybe they give the perceiver unique perspective that others simply do not have. Might there also be ability to speak with the dead, or manipulate conscious thoughts, or anything else you might be able to imagine? Why not?

Hunter, as The Master of Perceptions, will gain control over many of these areas. His unique ability will hopefully give readers insights into their own potential.

The Sound of Suffering (The Master of Perceptions #2)
by Darin C. Brown
Genre/Keywords: Young Adult Loners and Outcasts, Superheroes, genetic engineering, auras, autism spectrum disorders, bullying, healing energy
Release Date: February 21st 2019

Hunter Miller has a secret.

He can read and manipulate the auras that surround everyone.

Having used his talent to dethrone the reigning school bully, thirteen-year old Hunter finds himself thrust into a new quest after hearing screams in the aura of a teacher.  Unable to resist this powerful siren song, he investigates—despite warnings from his family and friends. It nearly costs him everything.

Upon discovering the truth, Hunter seeks assistance in his mission to defeat his formidable adversary. As the situation escalates, the adolescent hero ultimately realizes that despite the risks, he must fight this battle alone.

In this second installment of The Master of Perceptions series, can Hunter use his extraordinary powers to rescue an innocent woman without losing himself in the process?


5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Perception Series ramps up!

 February 5, 2019 

 Like Rowling’s Harry Potter, young Hunter is gaining maturity and skill in each new book of the “Master of Perceptions” series. The reader shares his increasing grasp of the unique ability to see people’s auras and manipulate them, and in Book 2 Hunter has a mission. He must deal with the very adult issue of domestic abuse. The perpetrator is a policeman, and his victim is a teacher at Hunter’s school. He can hear her aura screaming for help, but what can a sixth grader do against an officer of the law?
Dr. Darin Brown expertly builds the tension and leads us to understand this autistic young man’s unique perspective. Imagine the power of seeing people’s feelings and thoughts in their auras and also being able to manipulate the colors to affect their behavior. Hunter can already heal himself, but this skill comes at a price. It drains his energy, which can send him into the Void, if he is doesn’t keep up his carbs and sugar. Believable – though fantastic – and engaging, I highly recommend the “Master of Perception” Series.

Book One:
The Sight of Demons (The Master of Perception #1)
Release Date: October 16th 2017
Hunter Miller sees demons. The terrifying shadows engulf him and everyone he knows—yet nobody else notices their presence.
Hunter can’t escape them, so he sets out to understand them. Why do they follow him? What are they trying to tell him?


In this first installment of the Master of Perceptions series, pre-teen Hunter discovers that every sensation the demons produce—whether it be sight, sound, texture, flavor, or smell—has a different meaning. And that by breaking this code, he just might be able to harness their power.




About the Author
DARIN C. BROWN spent the last twenty years saving lives as an emergency medicine physician in New Hampshire and Maine. His master’s degree in biomedical engineering and PhD in biophysics helped him conceptualize Hunter’s astounding capabilities. When he’s not writing, he directs Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, including the biannual shows on the Conway Scenic Railroad. In addition to his varied academic interests, he competes at the national level in master’s track. He currently resides in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with his wife, Dr. Sandra Brown, and their many pets.
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via The Sue Grafton Memorial Award

The nominees for the inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial Award are:

So excited for LISA BLACK and CHARLES TODD

☞Lisa Black, Perish – Kensington
Sara Paretsky, Shell Game, HarperCollins – William Morrow
Victoria Thompson, City of Secrets, Penguin Random House – Berkley
☞Charles Todd, A Forgotten Place, HarperCollins – William Morrow
Jacqueline Winspear, To Die But Once, HarperCollins – Harper

Reign Drops (Bloodborne Series Book 1) by Chris Patt

Reign Drops (Bloodborne Series Book 1)

A simple Mayan girl. A powerful spirit. A bloodthirsty monster. All leading to a desperate quest.

When the Mayan calendar ended some people scoffed while others joked and a few waited for the end of the world. After living half her life apart from her native people, Dalia no longer believes in the supernatural and monstrous things that the final cycle predicted.
But unbelief is not protection.

Going home draws her into a fight against mythical creatures, limitless power and a battle for humanity’s survival. Can Dalia balance an outsider’s knowledge and tribal wisdom to give the world a fighting chance? Or will she choose to stay blind and let the world collapse around her?

Reign Drops is the first book in The Bloodborne Series, a saga of urban fantasy novels. If you like tenacious heroines, Mayan legends, and new twists on magical beasts, then you’ll love Chris Patt’s spellbinding series.


Summer Sinks (Bloodborne Series Book 2)

An adept student with a powerful mentor. A diabolical witch huntress . Two friends working to avert a tragic twist of fate.

Dalia and her dragon’s quest for the histories of magic and humanity, and a long lost dragon tribe, lead them to Texas. While building her magical reserves, and satiating the dragon’s need for knowledge, they stumble across a powerful hex.

A curse that could cost her everything she loves.
Battling an unknown enemy, Dalia wonders if she can find the answers before time runs out. Finding enemies close and new allies in unexpected places it comes down to a battle of magics. Will the more powerful witch retain the upper hand, building on her generations of training? Or will Dalai’s faith in others be the end of her?


Download Temple Origins for FREE

Temple Origins show us how the Fate Sisters can turn a promise into curse. a curse that will lead to the Bloodborne Legacy. Follow along as we trace the path of the amulet. Death shows us the way, as only he can.

Chris Patt lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, three cats, two dogs and DJ the turtle. She writes as often as she can, but perhaps not as often as she should. According to the husband it is possible she reads too much.

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About the Book:

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans.

Book Links:

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The US justice system –  does it work?
Some facts about the US justice system are often overlooked,
such as the fact that more than 90% of criminal cases never go to trial, and
trial by jury is the exception rather than the norm. But when they do, does the
trial process work?
In the novel, Justice
, two steps of a criminal trial are examined. The first is the Grand
Jury proceedings. Many of us don’t realize the extent of the state’s influence
in these hearings. The District Attorney decides what evidence can be admitted,
selectively issues subpoenas, and basically runs the show, while the defense
plays little or no part. Commonly, overzealous prosecutors will make a case for
an indictment that might not be warranted, generating criminal trials for those
who may very well be innocent of the charges.
On the other hand, if an indictment is sought against law
enforcement officers, the shoe may very well be on the other foot. Law
enforcement is on the same side of the fence as the DA, and consequently a conflict
of interests is difficult to avoid. That is why indictments against police for
using excessive force are rare.
The second step of the trial process is trial by jury, which
decides whether to convict or not. And this is where the public and the media
can play an unwelcome part.
The trial of O.J. Simpson lasted over eight months and was
watched by over 100 million television viewers (comparable to the Super Bowl),
and was a sign that even in 1995, the people of the United States had yet to
bridge the divide over race, as well as raising doubts over the behavior of law
enforcement. But most of all, it provided an intimate glimpse into the US
justice system, from jury selection to the jury’s verdict.
Although we had a celebrity athlete on trial and the finest
criminal defense lawyers in the US – the “Dream Team,” the real
centerpiece was the jury. Although the trial took eleven months of testimony,
it took the jury only four hours to acquit.
So, the question is: Was the verdict of ‘not guilty’ responsible,
impartial and correct?
A poll gave the obvious result that most African-Americans
felt that Simpson was innocent, while most Caucasians felt the opposite. Was
the fact that 80% of the jurors were African-Americans influence the outcome,
i.e. did they acquit Simpson solely due to he being the same race as they?
In my view, race didn’t matter for this particular case,
because the defense succeeded in raising reasonable doubt. Even if the jury believed Simpson murdered those people,
according to the principles of American justice, he should not have been
The strongest piece of evidence the prosecution had was the
DNA forensics, but chain of custody became a big issue. In fact, the handling
of all the evidence by the police came under scrutiny, and rightly so. Later
during the trial, with the jury absent, Mark Furhman, the detective who found
the bloody glove and socks, invoked the Fifth Amendment against
self-incrimination when asked “did you plant or manufacture any evidence
in this case?”
Then there was the bloody glove found at the crime scene,
which the prosecution challenged Simpson to try on. Simpson could not get his
hand in.
In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors said that they
believed Simpson probably did commit the murders, but that the prosecution had
failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Three jurors together wrote
and published a book called Madam Foreman,
in which they described how their perception of police errors, not race, led to
their verdict.
Even more controversial was the Casey Anthony case. Equal to
the Simpson trial in terms of attention grabbing, the trial of Casey Anthony, who
was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, was quite different. The
big difference was that while the country was divided over Simpson’s guilt, the
public and the media overwhelmingly assumed Anthony was guilty, which in turn
fueled the outcry over the not guilty verdict. One charge, that of first degree
murder, was problematic, in that forensics experts could not determine the
cause of the little girl’s death, but in general the questions of how, why
where and when were never answered satisfactorily. According to many legal
experts, the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony can be seen as a victory for
the U.S. justice system, despite strong public opinion opposing it, mainly because
it upheld the concept of reasonable doubt.
In an ABC News interview, juror Jennifer Ford said that she
and the other jurors cried and were “sick to our stomachs” after
voting to acquit Casey Anthony of charges that she killed her daughter. “I
did not say she was innocent,” said Ford,. “I just said there was not
enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine
what the punishment should be.”
So is the flaw in the system reasonable doubt itself. How
can legal experts exclaim victory, even if a guilty person is allowed to be
released back into society?
It’s because the opposite case, convictions of innocent
people are not only possible, but probably occur at a rate that would alarm
Let us look inside John Grisham’s true crime study, An Innocent Man, a revealing and well
documented account of three separate trials, and the wrongful conviction of five men
(perhaps the title should have been The Innocent Men). In one case, the police and prosecutor used forced
“dream” confessions, unreliable witnesses, and flimsy evidence to
convict Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz of murder and rape. After suffering
through a conviction and eleven years on death row, Williamson and Fritz were
exonerated by DNA evidence and released on April 15, 1999.  Similar narratives apply to the trials of Tommy
Ward and Karl Fontenot, and the trial of Greg Wilhoit, namely horror stories of
persecution, harassment, fraud, lying snitches, and fabricated evidence. If
reasonable doubt had been applied, those men would have never been incarcerated
on death row (this was in Oklahoma, where the death penalty still exists).
Fortunately, these men were exonerated before they could be put to death.
One could surmise that so much of a trial outcome depends on
the jury. That is why I dedicated a whole chapter in Justice Gone on the jury deliberations in the trial of Donald


Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, for court cases in the
US, justice is in the hands of ordinary citizens.

About the Author:

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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