Tag Archives: Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

20 Nov

It’s the third week of the month! Time for Colleen’s Poetry Challenge‘s Ekphrastic Photo Prompt!

This challenge explores Ekphrastic writing inspired by visual art (photographs). Diana Peach from last month’s challenge has provided the photo for this month’s challenge.

The Saddest Leave The Least Of Clues

Depression sneaks up when least expected

What you once had seems far above you

as you spiral into darkness

sapping your life of meaning

but you smile all the time

though you’re rarely fine

You leave no clues

Depression

is like

cancer

“Real depression is when you stop loving the things you love.”

Atticus

When I saw the image chosen by Author, D. Wallace Peach it reminded me of a beautiful soul who couldn’t see her ethereal beauty in the water because she was shrouded by the darkness of depression. I have several loved ones who suffer from depression. This poem is dedicated to them and to anyone else who is struggling with this disease. What a lot of people don’t understand is that there are two types of depression. Feeling extremely sad when you lose a loved one, a pet, or when you lose your job or go through a divorce is perfectly normal. People expect you to suffer some level of depression when you experience something terrible. Being diagnosed with clinical depression is an entirely different thing. This is an illness that stems from there being a chemical imbalance in your brain. When depression hits it does so without warning, and it comes with muscle aches, loss of focus and concentration, insomnia, overeating or loss of appetite, headaches, digestive problems, anxiety . . . . It is a disease like diabetes, lupus, COPD, Alzheimer’s or cancer. Whenever I get a chance, I try to create awareness because there’s a stigma attached to this disease and there shouldn’t be.

Click on image to read an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Rise of Gadreel.

The Rise of Gadreel ~ Excerpt

6 Nov

Hi, everyone! I’m happy to see you here. Welcome.

I’m currently doing the final reading of my WIP, The Rise of Gadreel, and I’m reading it (cover to cover) out loud. I’ve had a lot of fun writing this book. It’s been my favorite to write so far, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy process. Because the story is set in the Medieval Period I had to do an enormous amount of research to get the details right. I also had to research the Medieval Roman Catholic Church, the Black Plague, the Little Ice Age, among many other things. Although my books are fantasy fiction I like to ground my stories in reality. Luckily, I enjoy doing the research. I can’t wait to release this book. I truly hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

I decided to share an excerpt from The Rise of Gadreel Book – 3 of my Fantasy Angels Series. Sharing the first excerpt of a new book is always a nerve-racking ordeal, but, here we go. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 13 – Gadreel Confronts the Beast

As we walked down to the harbor town of Whitby, the rising sun’s rays shone on my face, yet that didn’t prevent the cold from sinking into the core of my bones. In town, although early in the day, few people walked the streets, and the fields were void of serfs and farmers. 

Screams coming from the center of town sliced through the morning fog, so we hurried in that direction. Townsfolk gathered around three women who stood in the center of the town’s square, bound and held captive by five men in black tunics and hooded cloaks. The men smacked them and yanked them by the hair. One wrenched a woman’s arm so violently that I thought he would tear it out of its socket. As we ran toward them, another hooded man knocked a woman to the ground. The people watched and did nothing to help them.

“What is happening here?” I stood before them, panting, my breath rising in visible billows. “Why do you treat these women this way?” My hands closed into fists as heat rose to my face despite the cold.

One of the men stepped toward me, pulling his hood back to expose his face. “We’re inquisitors sent to bring order to this cursed city.”

“Who sent you?” I didn’t back down, keeping eye contact with this man at all times. “What curse do you speak of?”

“We were sent by His Most Reverend Excellency Abigor Chailín, bishop of London,” the man said. “His Excellency established The Inquisition with the blessing of both King Edward and His Holiness the Pope, to find and punish heretics and those practicing witchcraft, which is a form of heresy.” He measured me with a sideways glance. “What curse you ask? Look around you. This port city once thrived. Those who did not die of disease are now perishing from hunger due to poor crop growth and dying livestock as a result of this demoniacal frost. The rest of them lash out through violent crimes, even murder and rape. Witches are to blame for this. They cast spells, making people do atrocious acts they normally would never do. Sorcerers manipulate the weather.”

“So you’re claiming that these three women are witches?” I said.

“Yes,” he said with confidence as he held up a book. “This is the Malleus MaleficarumThe Hammer of Witches. The bishop of London wrote this instructional manual for his inquisitors. It lists ways to identify witches and explains the procedures in which to investigate, arrest, and punish them. We understand what must be done.”

I stood before him, unwavering. “What do you plan to do to these women? Judging by their bloodied and disheveled appearance, they’ve been punished enough.”

The man burst into laughter, as did his cohorts. 

“These women will burn at the stake for their crimes. I’ll not say another word until you tell us who you and your friends are and why you deem yourself worthy of interrogating the church.”

“My name is Gadreel, and I ask that you let these women go.”

The five men broke into hysterical laughter once more. Dracúl, Golem, and Sabina stepped forward and stood beside me. Thomas also stood by, a mere shimmer in the bitter air, the men unaware of his presence.

Dracúl moved closer to me. “We should verify if these men speak the truth. If these women practice black magic, they should be burned at the stake.”

His indifference in the matter of burning three souls alive shocked me. The doctrines of the church were deeply rooted in his psyche, skewing his perceptions.

“If I could touch them, I could determine if they’re lying,” Sabina whispered to me.

“Are you sure you want to do that? You’ll be weakened by the touch.”

“There’s no better way to find the truth.”

“Then you must do it.” Dracúl took Sabina by the arm, putting her in front of the women. “Apologies, but it would be irresponsible not to.”

I tipped my head in Sabina’s direction, and she wrested her arm from his grip. 

All the hooded men scrutinized her with their hands on the hilts of their swords, except one who stepped closer to me, his face hidden in the shadow of his black cape’s hood. “Did you say your name is Gadreel?”

“I did. Why do you ask?” 

The man stumbled backward so fast that he lost his balance. If not for one of the other men, he would have fallen on his backside. Jarred by his reaction, I looked to Dracúl. He gave me a half shrug and continued to focus on Sabina and the three women accused of witchcraft.

“We have a warrant for her arrest,” the man said, pointing at me as he steadied himself. “She’s a sorceress.”

“Oh bloody hell!” Golem rushed to Sabina, pulling her back in time to avoid getting trampled by the men who came charging after me. 

Dracúl transformed into his red fiend form to the gasps and screams of the hooded men and surrounding crowd.

Dóna’m la força que necessito!” Golem exclaimed, holding his stone figurine to his forehead and shifting into the stone giant.

The five inquisitors stopped in their tracks, eyes shifting between Dracúl and Golem. I revealed my massive wings, and although they were marked with a black band that ran horizontally across the top portion of them—a reminder of my past transgressions—they were otherwise pure white.

“What are you?” the first man who had approached me said as panic flittered across his face.

“I’m not a sorceress,” I said. “Go on, Sabina. Verify whether these women practice black magic or not.”

Sabina looked into the women’s eyes, and one by one she held their hands. When done, she staggered toward me.

“These women do not practice black magic,” she said. “They’re not even witches, not a one.”

Dracúl looked away and stared at the pebbles on the ground to avoid my eyes. I confronted the five hooded men. “You tortured three innocent women and were about to burn them alive. How should you be punished?”

 One of the men fell to his knees, whimpering. A steaming puddle formed on the ground between another’s legs, while the others trembled and gawked at us.

“Please forgive us,” the man who had lowered his hood said, holding up the inquisitor’s handbook. “We tried to follow the Malleus Maleficarum, but we must have done something wrong . . . missed a step somehow.” 

“Your master, Abigor, is a deceiver. I don’t care what that book says. Those three women are no more witches than you are. Save your regrets for them.” 

The men scrambled to the women, untying them while offering apologies.

“Do you have gold coins?” I asked. 

The men remained silent.

“Fine. Dracúl, please check them.”

Dracúl stepped toward them, and the men pawed at their belts to remove their coin purses. They threw them on the ground before Dracúl. 

“Give it all to the women,” I told him.

“Those purses hold gold coins,” the unhooded man said. “That’s too much money for peasant women.”

“There is not enough gold to compensate them for what you and the others have done,” I said. “The crosses you wear around your necks are fashioned from gold and hang from golden chains. Remove them as well, and hand them to the women.”

The men protested until Dracúl growled at them. Then they couldn’t remove them fast enough.

“Now leave this place and never return,” I said. “Be gone, but the horses stay.” 

“But how will we reach our destination without horses?” one of the men asked.

“On foot,” I said with a shrug. “You’re wearing expensive shoes. Many of these people do not own shoes, and yet they manage to get to where they’re going. You claim to be better than they are, so you should do just fine. Now go. I’d prefer it if we didn’t shed blood today.”

The men hurried away toward where the city’s edge meets the forest road.

Many of the bystanders had run away when Dracúl transformed into the red fiend, but those who stayed behind now cheered for us. The three women rushed to me and fell on their knees, reciting words of praise.

“No, please do not kneel before me. We are here to help you—all of us. It’s what we do.”

“I acknowledge what you are,” the youngest of the women said as she and the others got to their feet. “You’re an angel. Your skin has an iridescent glow, your entire being is surrounded by an ethereal radiance, and only an angel has massive wings like yours.” Her eyes were a silvery-blue, and although one of them wandered, she reminded me of my dear Cleodora. For once, I reveled at the thought of them living in the great depths of the ocean, for the world above had become a dark and dangerous place, full of misguided souls.

“You are safe now,” I told her and the others, including the crowd. “Your lives must change if you want to survive and live in peace. Stop the violence and depravity, because bad behavior will lead the inquisitors right back here, and next time we may not be here to help you.”

“Stay with us awhile,” one of the other women said.

Dracúl gave me a look before going behind a copse of trees to shift back to his man form and get dressed. Golem followed him. Sabina had regained the color in her face and looked more like herself again. She came closer to me.

“Our task is to find and destroy Abigor,” she said under her breath.

“I understand, but isn’t our main objective to help the people? They have been through so much. We wouldn’t have to stay long. There are sick people here who could use your aid, and the rest of us can assist them in other ways. I think we can stay a few days.”

“All right, but you have to break the news to Dracúl.”

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the excerpt from The Rise of Gadreel. Books 1 & 2 of my Fantasy Angels Series are available on Amazon and you can read them free with KindleUnlimited.

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

23 Oct
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hello, everyone! A warm welcome to my blog.

I’m participating in Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Prompt Challenge. Today’s photo prompt was provided by Trent McDonald. I’m sharing a Haiku and Tanka.

Swans glide together

as lake mirrors the trees

a serene portrait

Photo by Belinda Fewings (@bel2000a)

Mysterious swans

enduring all the seasons

dressed in white feathers

Together for a lifetime

A beautiful, loving pair

I hope you enjoyed the poems. Thanks for stopping by!

Magical Whispers

14 Oct

Hi, everyone! I’d like you to help me welcome the lovely and talented poet, Balroop Singh . She has released a new poetry book, ‘Magical Whispers.’ I’m excited to read all about it, because I’m a fan of her work. The floor is yours, Balroop.

Thank you for hosting me, Vashti.

Book Blurb:

I wait for whispers; they regale my muse. Whispers that can be heard by our heart, whispers that ride on the breeze to dispel darkness and ignite hope. I’m sure you would hear them through these poems if you read slowly.

‘Magical Whispers’ would transport you to an island of serenity; beseech you to tread softly on the velvety carpet of nature to feel the ethereal beauty around you. The jigsaw of life would melt and merge as you dive into the warmth of words.

In this book, my poems focus on whispers of Mother Nature, whispers that are subtle but speak louder than words and breathe a quiet message.

Each day reminds us

It’s the symphony of surroundings

That whisper life into us.

Book Information:

Title: Magical Whispers

Author: Balroop Singh

Genre: Poetry

Available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KJQ6K5D

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Excerpt:

Sublime Sky

If you just look at the dark clouds

They may share your anguish

But they offer no solace

They drag you into deeper dumps.

If you look at the moon

It would speak to you calmly

Telling you timeless stories of change

And purge your heart of all regrets.

If you look at the sun and his hues

It would unravel stories of life

From dawn to dusk it spreads gold

And fills your heart with delight.

But I beseech you to look at the azure sky

When the sun’s amber song begins

Permeating through pink clouds

A melody that springs hope and light.

© Balroop Singh

Meet Poet and Author, Balroop Singh:

Balroop Singh, a former teacher and an educator always had a passion for writing.  She is a poet, a creative non-fiction writer, a relaxed blogger and a doting grandma. She writes about people, emotions and relationships. Her poetry highlights the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.

When turbulences hit, when shadows of life darken, when they come like unseen robbers, with muffled exterior, when they threaten to shatter your dreams, it is better to break free rather than get sucked by the vortex of emotions.

A self-published author, she is the poet of Sublime Shadows of Life and Emerging From Shadows, both widely acclaimed poetry books. She has also written When Success Eludes,Emotional Truths Of Relationships Read FREE with Kindle Unlimitedand Allow Yourself to be a Better Person.

Balroop Singh has always lived through her heart. She is a great nature lover; she loves to watch birds flying home. The sunsets allure her with their varied hues that they lend to the sky. She can spend endless hours listening to the rustling leaves and the sound of waterfalls. The moonlight streaming through her garden, the flowers, the meadows, the butterflies cast a spell on her. She lives in San Ramon, California.

Visit her blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Connecting linkshttps://twitter.com/BalroopShado

Thank you for visiting today. I hope you enjoyed the post. Please show my guest author some love in the comment section below.

Poetry Friday ~ Poet’s Choice

9 Oct
Photo by Joanna Kosinska

Welcome, everyone! This week is ‘Poet’s Choice’ on Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge. Poets can choose their own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. I’ve chosen to share a witchy Etheree poem and a couple of quotes today.

“Isn’t it odd how much fatter a book gets when you’ve read it several times? As if something were left between the pages every time you read it. Feelings, thoughts, sounds, smells and then, when you look at the book again many years later, you find yourself there too, a slightly younger self, slightly different, as if the book had preserved you like a pressed flower, both strange and familiar.”

Resurrection

She had a mother that didn’t love her

that lied to her about her true worth

that singe her eyebrows with her sneers

taught her nothing of true love

so she dreamt of evil

writing purged the gloom

books gave her joy

nature taught

her to

love

“Do not let anyone tell you the next few months won’t be crazy. We have two full moons in October. An Eclipse in November. An Eclipse in December, and we close the year with a full moon December 29, 2020. This is wild card energy.”

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you liked the post. Enjoy the rest of the day!

The Ballad of Mrs. Molony

6 Oct

Hi, everyone! Today’s guest is no stranger to this blog. I’ve featured C. S. Boyack and his work several times. Craig is a prolific speculative fiction author, and I enjoy his writing style and quirky characters. I’ve read his book ‘The Hat’ and enjoyed it very much. You can read my review here. His personal assistant, robot girl and spokes model, Lisa will introduce us to his latest work. Without further ado here’s Lisa Burton.

Gosh, thanks, for the invitation Vashti. It’s been so hard getting out with all the troubles going on lately. I’m here to promote Craig’s new book, The Ballad of Mrs. Molony. This is the third one in The Hat series, but don’t let that scare you off. He worked pretty hard so readers wouldn’t absolutely have to read them in order. People can start right here and have a good time.

You asked for something about Craig’s characters, and I could tell you all kinds of stories. He has a definite style. He likes to use more stoic main characters, then add color with his supporting characters. The Hat Series is a little different, because it’s a buddy series. There’s still a bit of that framework.

Lizzie St. Laurent is a struggling twenty-something working multiple jobs to keep the wolf away. She’s the more stoic one in these adventures.

The hat is a being from another dimension. He was brought here years ago by witchcraft. He’s magically bound to Lizzie’s bloodline and must always take the form of a hat. The form varies, but there are limitations. He has a few magical skills, but no form he can use to accomplish anything. He’s a little more colorful than Lizzie is, to say the least.

Together, they team up to improve their lot in life, but also to fight against monsters.

Character is a big part of these stories. Because there is a huge generation gap, and maybe some differing values, they’re at each others’ throats all the time. Craig plays this for comedy, because that’s a big part of this series. Imagine a social justice warrior trying to deal with her own grandfather and you get the idea. This geezer doesn’t really understand cell phones, the Internet or anything very high tech. It’s enough to drive a robot girl crazy, so I kind of side with Lizzie.

Craig adds some colorful characters everywhere else, too. In this book you’ll meet Kevin, who’s probably the worst vampire of all time. Can you imagine a vampire with gnarly teeth and a speech impediment? Not quite the romantic image Dracula left us with.

Craig’s known for some pretty outlandish characters. Present company excluded. This series has some of the craziest ones he’s ever come up with. That’s saying something if you consider he came up with a talking yak and the root monsters in other tales. I hope your fans will give it a chance.

Oh, I’m also supposed to tell you they’re designed to be short reads. They come in at about half the length of a novel. Makes them easy to read on a Saturday afternoon.

Now let’s get to the fun part. Part of my job is to pose for promotional posters, and I have one for you and your fans. Remember, this series is supposed to be kind of corny, so the scene I’m representing has a little humorous nod to the Spaghetti Westerns of years gone by. It occurs toward the end of the book.

It was so nice visiting with you. Now I want to check out your area. Maybe get my nails touched up. Robot girls don’t actually breathe, but I have a cute mask with bunnies on it to make others feel comfortable. Do you think one of the salons might be open?

There are plenty of beauty salons around here, Lisa, but I haven’t been to one since the pandemic began. I have no idea if they’re open. Maybe we can do each other’s nails? When you wear your mask you’re giving others a good example. Thanks!

Blurb:

Lizzie and the hat are back, and this time they’re chasing vampires across a subculture of America. A pair of rodeo cowboys are holding a woman captive to use like a milk cow since they joined the undead.

The person who put them onto the trail is also a vampire, but he has to be the worst vampire in history. Is he really that pitiful, or is he setting a trap for our heroes? Does the woman even exists? Can Lizzie and the hat find her before she also takes up blood sucking?

Follow Lizzie and the hat as they use their cover band to stalk vamps across the country music scene.

Purchase your copy hereThe Ballad of Mrs. Molony

Other stories in the series:

THE HAT

VIRAL BLUES

You can contact Craig at the following locations:

BlogMy Novels|  TwitterGoodreads |FacebookPinterestBookBub

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to leave Lisa some love in the comment section below. Even robot girls need love. 😉

New Book Launch: Eternal Road – The Final Stop

29 Sep

Hi, everyone! I’m delighted to feature author John W. Howell on my blog today. He launched a new book titled Eternal Road – The Final Stop. John is a favorite author of mine, and I’m excited to read his new book. I’ll let him tell you all about it.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Vashti, and for helping me launch Eternal Road – The final stop. I know you are busy with your next manuscript so I’m happy you could take time to help with the launch. Let me describe the kind of book it is. Eternal Road is the story of two people finding their way through the selection process leading to the place where one will spend eternity. Yes, it is true. They both have passed away. James Wainwright just died in an auto accident. Samantha Tourneau died seventeen years before. Sam is James’s guide to help him decide where to spend eternity. This is not your usual thriller or paranormal romance. It is a piece of fiction that is a combination of inspiration, adventure, time travel, sci-fi, a touch of erotica, and a dash of spiritual. In short, it is a lot of things, but hopefully, a story that will make you happy to have read it.

BLURB:

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer, who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save humankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

It is now available on Amazon in paperback and eBookThe Kindle edition is introductory priced at 99¢ until October 15th.

Here are the universal links

Kindle Universal link:  mybook.to/EternalRoad

Paper universal link:  mybook.to/Eternalroadpaper

Excerpt:

James steers Sam to a café that has seating on the sidewalk. They order coffees, and James then leans closer to Sam so that nobody will overhear and whispers, “Have you ever been to the Bellagio?”

She whispers, “No.”

No one pays them any attention, so James raises his voice to a normal level, “Neither have I. It will be hard to visualize a place that we’ve never visited.”

“How about going to a travel agent and getting a brochure? Would that work?”

James smiles. “It’s worth a try. I mean, how bad could it be?”

Sam shakes her head. “Don’t say that. The desert seemed pretty bad.”

James looks down. “Some parts were nice.”

Sam half-smiles. “My butt, right?”

James winks. “You said it, not me. Here’s our coffee.”

The server places the drinks on the table. James gives her twenty dollars. “Keep the change.”

Surprised but gratified, she leaves them to it.

James pulls out his phone while Sam enjoys her brew.

He sips while he concentrates on searching for a travel agent. “Looks like a travel place operates across the street.”

Sam nods. “Oh, yes. I can see the office from here.”

“So, after we finish our coffee, we’ll go over there.”

Sam nods at James’s cup. “How does it taste?”

“The coffee? Every bit as nice as when I was alive.”

“Good.”

When they’ve finished their drinks, they cross 79th street. The travel agent offers several brochures, so he and Sam select two that contain photos of the front of the Bellagio. They thank the agent and promise to come back as soon as plans get finalized.

The pair leave the agent’s office and head down 79th and toward Central Park. James says, “The park will give us the space we need from other people so that we can vanish from there.” They laugh out loud, trying to imagine the faces of those who might see them one second and then not the next. Still chuckling, they locate a spot that seems remote enough.

James says, “Hold my hand.” Sam takes his in a soft grip. “I’ll look at this Bellagio photo until it burns into my subconscious.”

“Just make sure you don’t have any other thoughts when you start the process.”

James stares at the brochure. “Don’t worry. The only thing on my mind is the Bellagio.”

Sam squeezes his hand. “You sure?”

“Yes. Well, confession time.” James grins at her.

Sam looks into his eyes. “My breasts, right?”

“Just for a moment.” James closes his eyes. “Okay, you ready?”

John’s bio:

John W. Howell is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Contact John:

Blog Fiction Favorites:  http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John’s other books:

My GRL,

His Revenge

Our Justice

Circumstances of Childhood

The Contract: between heaven and earth 

Thank you for stopping by and visiting today. Please show this brilliant writer some love.

Poetry Friday ~ Whatever It Takes

18 Sep

Hi, everyone! Welcome to my blog. I hope all is well with you and your loved ones.

Today I am featuring the book Whatever It Takes by S. Burke. Suzanne Burke is a talented author of fascinating and thrilling books with a dark edge. I’m a big fan. Visit her awesome blog, Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke. Check out all her books here.

Blurb:

James Kincaid had it all.
He’d made it to the ‘A’ list in Hollywood, a town that prized and idolized winners above all else. Three golden statuettes currently graced the mantle of his Los Angeles mansion. Next year’s Oscars held the sweet promise of more.
Then life began exacting a price that no man could be expected to pay as the people he cared about began dying and dying badly. 
He couldn’t move on with his life or the dream without knowing why.
Andi O’Connor is the woman he’d hired to do ‘whatever it takes’ to find him the answers.
Could this disenchanted, street-hardened, ex-homicide cop uncover the truth without adding to the growing list of those already sacrificed on the altar of one besotted human’s insanity?
From Hollywood to New York, the body count continues to rise. Time is not on their side.

Click image to purchase on Amazon

My Review:

Whatever It Takes by S. Burke is an intricate, gripping, and entertaining crime thriller. It’s a smart and thoughtful page-turner that checks off all the boxes for me.

James Kincaid is a Hollywood A-list actor. His wife, Nicole’s sudden death left him unsettled with a plethora of unanswered questions.

He hires ex-NYPD cop Andi O’Connor to look into his wife’s death in order to get the answers he seeks. Soon afterward, a remarkable young actor playing the lead in James’ movie, “No Letters From Home” is found dead. Now he wants Andi to investigate whether the death of his wife is connected to the deaths of two others who died during the filming of this movie.

Andi begins to dig into what should be a routine case but finds far more than she had anticipated. As the horrifying truths uncoil, dark secrets are revealed, a string of murders are uncovered, and all the dots connected to a sadistic serial killer on the loose.

Whatever It Takes (Shadorma poem)

When you love

your love is so wrong

Possessive

Obsessive

You avoid reality

until it’s too late

“Be careful who you trust. Salt and sugar look the same.”

I hope you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the visit!

Poetry Friday ~ Book Reviews

11 Sep

Hi, everyone!

I love to read. It’s one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy fiction most of all, especially the fantasy genre. There’s enough reality around me (24/7), sometimes it’s marvelous to take a breakation from real life and escape to another country, world, dimension. . . . Some people think that a person can’t learn anything from reading fiction but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve been reading since I was a small child, and I’ve learned so much from fictional stories about life, love, friendship, duty, different cultures, animals, science, politics, religions, human nature. . . . I could go on and on. There’s a lot of truth in fiction.

I’d like to share a few of my most recent reads with you. Chronicles of the Diasodz is a young adult fantasy series by author, Yvette M. Calleiro. I’ve read the first three books and I look forward to reading the last two books in the series soon.

I wrote a poem (Nonet) for the first book in the series, The One Discovered. I had already posted a review for this book which you can read here.

Between the covers of my new book

a fearless girl takes a journey

what awaits she has no clue

leaving loved ones behind

to become who she

was born to be

the savior

of her

kind

You can read my review for The One Discovered here.

Blurb:

Sofia has lost everything that was important to her: her mother, her boyfriend, and her best friend. Even the belief that humans are the only beings in the world has been stripped away, but she has no time to dwell on her losses because she’s been transported to a new world to become the savior of the Diasodz. Sofia trusted Ar’ch and Angel to be there for her and to guide and protect her, but only Angel has held true to his word. Ar’ch has abandoned her, leaving her to feel tricked and betrayed.

Ar’ch brought Sofia home, fulfilling his mission to bring their savior safely to their world, but it didn’t come without a cost. Rafe, Sofia’s boyfriend, was killed, and Ar’ch believes Sofia blames him for it. Ar’ch’s sole focus becomes doing what is best for Sofia, and in his mind, that does not include him.

As Sofia deals with Ar’ch’s absence, she throws herself into learning about the Diasodz’s history. She grows stronger both emotionally and physically, and begins to accept her role in their world, but not everyone is convinced that she is the one whom the prophecy states will save them.

Beliefs will be challenged. Secrets will be revealed. Relationships will be shattered. And in the aftermath, evil will see its opportunity and strike. Will Sofia be able to handle it all? Or will the savior of the Diasodz lose her will to continue?

My Review:

The One Enlightened is the second book in the Chronicles of the Diasodz series. It picks up where book one left off as Sofia, Ar’ch, and Angel leave Rafe behind to travel via a portal to the world of the Diasodz.

Sofia had a hard time getting over the tragedy of losing a loved one as they escaped into the portal. She also misses her mom, and a few quarrels kept her and Ar’ch apart. However, she and her newly found brother, Angel, created a bond.

She trained with her brother as a Diasodz, and they learned about the history of her people with Nolan who had taken on the role of her father.

Sofia and Ar’ch cleared up their misunderstandings, and a secret romance progressed. Sofia embraced her new life, and she slowly accepted her role as savior of the Diasodz. She grew more confident and stronger both physically and mentally every day. As her relationship with Ar’ch became impassioned, and she rejoiced in their love for one another, an unexpected twist threatened to tear them apart forever.

I liked observing Sofia’s transformation from an innocent teen to a strong, confident young woman. I also enjoyed learning about the culture, faith, and history of the Diasodz. The vivid descriptions and beautiful world building were delightful. The characters continued to grow and develop, which was a lot of fun to witness.

I will be reading the third installment of the Chronicles of the Diasodz series, The One Betrayed. I recommend this series to readers who enjoy young adult fantasy sprinkled with romance and the supernatural.

Blurb:

When Sofia chose to leave Rafe to live with Ar’ch in another world, Rafe’s system shut down and sent him to an early death. But Rafe didn’t die, at least not permanently. Rafe is a Diasodz, and his death simply freed him from his human shell so that he could become the powerful Diasodz that he was meant to be.

He awakened to a completely new reality, a reality in which he was the prince to a kingdom of powerful beings. His parents, Drake and Damiana, were the rulers of the Raizyns, a group of Diasodz who were determined to take their rightful place in the world. And Rafe would be the savior who would lead them on their quest.

Rafe wanted to please his father, especially since he had just met him. To do that, he needed to learn how to fight like a Raizyn and how to master his newfound skill. He needed to become stronger, faster, and more powerful. Rafe needed to become the savior they all expected him to be. That was what was required of him.

But there was one thing that was more important than everything else. One person. Sofia. Rafe was going to find a way to get her back, even if it cost him his life. Again.

My Review:

The One Betrayed is the third installment of the Chronicles of the Diasodz series. It does not pick up where the last one left off, like the previous one. Instead, this book takes us back to the ending of book one and revisits the events of the first two books as told by the enemy, the Raizyns. At first, this was a little jarring because I was so involved in Sofia’s story in books one and two. It didn’t take long for me to get into this story, though. I was excited to see how the events unfolded from the point of view of the “other side.”

The author introduced new characters and gave us more insight into the older ones. I enjoyed the in-depth look into the “enemy” and their world. Rafe, Drake, and Mel were my favorites, but all the characters were well developed, interesting, and relatable in some way.

The world building was impeccable, and I enjoyed escaping into this realm. I also enjoyed the sci-fi elements the author sprinkled throughout the story with teleportation, force fields, hologram technology. . . .

The pacing was a bit slow at times but not enough to take away my enjoyment. Although I missed reading about Sofia, it was fun reading the other side’s point of view and getting to know these characters better. And as each book sets up the next one, I look forward to reading book four.

This week, Annette Rochelle Aben selected the words for Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry (syllables only) Challenge. This week’s words are: HINT & BOLD. I used the synonyms Clue and Fearless in my Nonet.

I hope you liked today’s post. Enjoy the rest of your day! Happy reading!

Poetry Friday ~ Fantasy Angels Series

4 Sep

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all having a fabulous start to the weekend.

“It’s the first of the month and you know what that means! Poets get to choose their own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc.” ~ Colleen Chesebro

The 3rd and final book in my Fantasy Angels Series, The Rise of Gadreel will be released in a couple of months. So today I’d like to talk a little about the first two books in the series and what they’re about.

The Fall of Lilith, the first book in the series is an origins story. The origin of the angels, of the revolution in heaven, of other supernatural beings that came into existance when fallen angels evolved upon landing in different areas of a primitive planet, the origin of Earth, of mankind and sin.

“I really enjoyed this book. I love when stories put a spin on biblical/historical stories, and this one definitely kept me entertained. Lilith is a deceptive little thing, and I loved reading about her journey, though I will admit that Gadreel held most of my affection throughout the book (which would probably really anger Lilith…lol!).”–Amazon Review

BLURB:

In The Fall of Lilith, Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts an irresistible new take on heaven and hell that boldly lays bare the passionate, conflicted natures of God’s first creations: the resplendent celestial beings known as angels. 

If you think you know their story, think again.

Endowed with every gift of mind, body, and spirit, the angels reside in a paradise bounded by divine laws, chief of which are obedience to God, and celibacy. In all other things, the angels possess free will, that they may add in their own unique ways to God’s unfolding plan.

Lilith, most exquisite of angels, finds the rules arbitrary and stifling. She yearns to follow no plan but her own: a plan that leads to the throne now occupied by God himself. With clever words and forbidden caresses, Lilith sows discontent among the angels. Soon the virus of rebellion has spread to the greatest of them all: Lucifer.

Now, as angel is pitted against angel, old loyalties are betrayed and friendships broken. Lust, envy, pride, and ambition arise to shake the foundations of heaven . . . and beyond. For what begins as a war in paradise invades God’s newest creation, a planet known as Earth. It is there, in the garden called Eden, that Lilith, Lucifer, and the other rebel angels will seek a final desperate victory—or a venomous revenge.

“[A] compelling narrative that . . . strays far from traditional biblical text . . . A well-written, descriptive, and dark creation story.”—Kirkus Reviews

Spark of perfection

snuffed by ashes of desire

deep in the horrors

of ambition and envy

you evolved into evil

Son of the Serpent, the 2nd book in the series describes the life of Dracúl, the son of Lilith and Satan. He was abandoned in a forest as a small child. Despite being the son of demons he rejected evil. Tired of feeling lonely and insignificant he leaves the forest where he grew up alone. As a young man he meets Cain, the eldest son of Adam and Eve, and his adventure through time begins. After the shock of discovering who his parents were and the fact that his mother tried to kill him, leaving him for dead in a forest he began a quest to find her, to learn why. Despite many trials he refused to be like his parents and continued his efforts to be good. While on his journey to find his mother he witnessed many historical events like: the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, the building of the Tower of Babel, and the flood among others.

“It is rare in my experience to enjoy book two of a series even more than book one. And given that book one earned five stars from me, the fact that this book exceeds even that is a testament to the skill and clear love of this genre that permeates the work of author Vashti Quiroz-Vega.” –Amazon Review

BLURB:

In Son of the Serpent, award-winning author Vashti Quiroz-Vega crafts another fascinating glimpse into the dark, compelling world of fallen angels and demons, revealing more about their untold stories.

The war in heaven might be over, but the ambitions of the fallen angel Lilith reach far across the roots of history. Will there be a being powerful enough to stop her evil influence before the destruction of mankind?

Dracúl knows he is the son of Satan, but the rest of his memory has been taken from him. Alone and frightened, he awakens in a forest, beginning a quest to piece together who he is. The world he encounters is cruel, but he yearns to belong and find companionship. With each step he takes, another missing piece of his memory falls into place, revealing a truth that is ever more troubling . . .

A truth that will turn his quest for meaning into one fueled by the hot-blooded thirst for revenge. A truth that leads him to Lilith, the most wicked and ruthless of fallen angels and one he soon will have every reason to hate. His quest will consume him, perhaps ruin his life, but somehow Dracúl is determined to find both belonging and vengeance—to be good, in spite of his evil nature and the dark secrets that haunt him every step of the way.

The son of demons, and the last hope for the world.

A glance at the past

spark a pain my heart can’t share

an eye for an eye

revenge I planned from afar

but love & woe have worked their will

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about my Fantasy Angels Series. I want to thank everyone who has purchased, read and reviewed the first two books in the series. I sincerely appreciate it. ❤