Friday, May 31, 2019

Following a dream - #RomBkLove #TW4RW #Romance @_Iris_B

Journey to her Dreams cover

It’s not the money that makes you rich. It’s the knowledge that the other person loves you and is always there for you, no matter what. 
That makes you content and, therefore, rich.”

By Iris Blobel (Guest Blogger)

Thank you, Lisabet, for having me on your blog today to share my latest release with your readers.

DREAMS … who doesn’t have them? They’re an interesting part of our life. There are dreams that are straight forward, or awkward, scary, some we do remember, most of them are gone from our memory once we wake and as much as we try to, we are unable to recall details. I love dreams and I try to check the possible meaning whenever I can. Some make sense, most of them I wonder.

The definition of dream according to the Oxford Dictionaries is “A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.”

Of course, we day dream as well. As an author I most certainly do. As a reader I do as well, long after the story’s finished I imagine how the characters keep going.

In my latest book, however, a dream takes Hollie all the way from Australia to Ireland … because that’s where she believes she can find the person who’s crept into her dreams for the last few months, making her life miserable.

When I started the story about ten years ago I wanted to include dreams, having just figured out a recurrent dream of mine. And where else to have the answer of a dream to be found in Ireland, the land of fairies, leprechauns, and shamrocks. The perfect setting.

I hope you will give the book a chance. One reader wrote: “Beautifully told through vivid imagery, the characters come to life and stick with you long after reading it. Highly recommend!”


There must be a reason for her dreams...

Hollie Anderson, a young woman living in Tasmania, is content with life, even more so since she has met Jeremy. However, she has been having a recurrent dream that impacts her daily life, as well as her relationship, a dream that eventually takes her on a journey to Ireland.

Samantha Shaughnessy enjoys the success as Head of Advertising for a popular magazine in the Irish capital Dublin. Married to Padraic, she thinks she loves her husband, but when she meets Hollie under unusual circumstances, she needs to face the truth--and not just about her marriage.

When both women meet and find they share an unexpected tie to the past, will they finally be able to move on into relationships with the men they love? 



Hollie stared at the sliding door but didn’t dare to move any closer. So, this was Dublin. She had been glued to the window since the plane started descending. It didn’t appear all that different from Tasmania. There were fields upon fields of green paddocks, divided by hedges and rocks, sometimes in even squares and sometimes, it seemed, just randomly. She even spotted a few double-decker buses from way above.

Overwhelmed by the thought that she was about to set foot on Irish soil, she hesitated.

Hollie. What are you waiting for?” Davo was already outside, but his movement set off the sensor and the door opened in front of her.

She shrugged. “I don’t know.”

He came back in, took her hand, and led her outside. “I’ll be there all the way. We’ll find whatever is worrying you. I promise.”

About the Author

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper only emerged a few years back, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as their dog. Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Author Links

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Shifter Invasion, or just a rabbit? #paranormal #suspense #shapeshifter @shiela.stewart

Surviving the Darkness cover

By Shiela Stewart (Guest Blogger)

Recently a new neighbor has moved in. Well, of the furry kind. A floppy eared, hoppy kind. It's not unusual to see a rabbit or jack rabbit hopping down the street, or sitting in a yard. The hop away if you try to get close. Me and my family love seeing them and watching them. Several years ago, rabbits decided to take up residence in my back yard. My poor black lab, Bella (RIP) was terrified of them. LOL

But back to my new neighbor. We would come outside to see her (my hubby insists it’s a boy) hunched down in their flower garden. She’s dug out a spot where she sits.

Why, you may ask, do I insist it’s a girl? Because she goes to the same spot every time. She dug a spot in the dirt and she hunches right down and sits there all day, leaving a few times, I assume, to eat. I think she’s making a spot to have her babies.

I think it would be cute to see a bunch of tiny bunnies hopping around. But I do agree with my daughter. They’d eat my plants, though she hasn’t touched any so far.

We’ll keep watching her, and maybe soon, I’ll see some tiny hoppers in my yard.

Then one day, while watching her sitting in her usual spot, I jokingly said to myself, Maybe she’s a shifter. That’s my author's brain at work. My mind goes into overdrive and I began building a story around her. What if she’s a shape-shifter, and she has been sent here to observe the human race, to learn from us, imitate us? What if they plan to take over the world? There could be millions of shape-shifters around in other forms, monitoring us and we would never know it. I now, it's just fiction, yet… when I asked the bunny if she was a shape-shifter, she looked at me, then hopped off. Hmmmm, Maybe…

And that’s what brings me here today. My shape-shifter story, Surviving the Darkness. I’ve never written a shape-shifter into any of my books. I mainly write about vampires, demons and ghosts. Yet here I was, creating a shifter, and not just any shifter. He’s a wealthy bar owner with a passionate heart. And what better place for a shifter than in a town run by vampires.
Surviving the Darkness is the last book in my Darkness series.

Here is the blurb

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Surviving an abduction, and running home to hide, might seem like a good idea. Except home is now run by vampires.

Deborah Carmichael had it all. Fame, fortune and an amazing gift bringing songs to life on her piano. Until a madman began stalking her. At first he seemed harmless, attending her concerts, asking for autographs. Then he turned creepy, sending photos of himself wearing identical dresses she wore, dressing up mannequins in her likeness. But she made a vital mistake, sending her bodyguard away. It was the perfect opportunity for her abductor to strike.

Rich, debonair, and owner of the only vampire/demon establishment in Jacobs Cove, Zachary Adams has it all. Or so he thought. When a beautiful, troubled young woman walks into his club, he is instantly taken by her. Helping her overcome her fears, teaching her to stand up and fight, Zach knows she is the one.

When her abductor finds her, and takes her captive, Deborah fears this will be the end. Will Zach find her on time, or will Deborah find the strength to fight?


What is that?” A rag doll-like dummy held up by posts on either side stood in the living room.

Your enemy.” Taking her hand in his, Zach led her to the dummy. “Meet Buster.” 

Buster?” Was he serious?

He’s here for you to beat on.” He made the dummy dance and brought out a smile.

Come again?” 

I can feel you hesitating when I’m teaching you self defense. I know it’s because you don’t want to hurt me, so this is my solution.”

You want me to pound on this rag doll?” She held a hand out to the dummy.

I do indeed. He can take it.” To demonstrate, Zach threw out a right cross that shook the dummy on the release. 

You’re a very strange man.” Yet it made her smile. When he took her in his arms, drawing her to his chest and kissed her forehead, then her lips, every muscle relaxed.

I love the dreamy look in your eyes after I kiss you. Okay, let’s get started.”

Deborah stood still, her mind numb. He had a way of making her feel safe. He had a way of making her feel. Period. “Are you ready? Let’s get started,” he said.

She felt absolutely ridiculous, but she stepped up to the dummy and jabbed it with her right fist.

Zach snorted beside her. “My grandmother can punch harder than that, and she’s a hundred and ten. Come on, Deborah, give it all you’ve got.”

Seriously?” That can’t be real. He was probably just egging her on. 

As serious as I am standing right in front of you. Come on, show me what you’ve got.”

Deepening her frown, she jabbed the dummy one more time with a little more heat.

If he had a voice he’d be laughing at you right now. Hit him, Deborah!”

Shooting Zach a heated glare, she balled her hand and plowed it into the dummy’s gut. It rocked, it teetered, but remained standing.

See. Now kick it.” He demonstrated with a kick to the dummy’s shin. 

This is stupid,” she said with a roll of her eyes. 

Kick it.” 

He was beginning to piss her off. Lifting her right foot, she slammed it into the dummy’s gut with enough force to have it rock back and forth several times before coming to a stop. “Happy?”

Not particularly, no.” He walked behind the dummy and lifted one ragged arm. “Is that all you’ve got?” he said in a wimpy, high-pitched voice. “Come on, weakling, bring it on.”

Now you’re just being foolish.” 

Look at you, all frail and scrawny,” he continued with the silly voice. “Those arms are like toothpicks. You can’t take me. You’re too weak.”

Why do you want me to beat on this poor, defenseless object? We both know I can punch and kick.” 

Why did I get you to scream for two days?” 

Because you’re a sadist?” One blond brow lifted.

I’ve never been called that before. No, it meant to open you up, bring out the fighter in you. Now kick me, Deb and do it with meaning.”

You never call me Deb.” She hauled off and planted her foot in the dummy’s leg. She was sure if Zach hadn’t been behind it, the thing would have toppled over. 

Because Deborah suits you better. The dummy called you Deb. Do that again, only this time with your left.” She did, but she didn’t have as much power in her left as she had in her right. 

Good, now try the side kick I showed you and go for his mid chest.”

This is all fine and good for a dummy, but there is no way I can do this to a human.” She did as he asked and shifting to her left, raised her right leg, then jammed it into the dummy’s chest.

Yes you can, and you will. Now go with the left.” 

She repeated the move with her left, frowning at Zach. “No, I can’t, and I won’t. I can’t hurt anyone.”

Oh, so you would rather they hurt you. It’s your life or his—which one do you value more?”

That’s a stupid question.”

Answer it.” 

Mine,” she said between her teeth.

I don’t think you really mean that,” Zach taunted, flapping the dummy’s arms at her. “Say it with conviction.” 

Mine,” she repeated a little firmer, throwing her right fist out at the dummy’s abdomen.

Still not good enough.” 

Mine,” she shouted, and this time she put everything she had into the kick. She gasped when both Zach and the dummy went tumbling backward. He came down hard on his back, dummy resting on top. “I am so sorry! Are you all right?” Rushing to his side, she pushed the dummy away, amazed at its heaviness, then placed her hand on Zach’s face.

Now, that’s better.” Looking up at her, he smiled.

Buy Links

Champagne Books:

About the Author

Shiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth.  Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since.  It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.

Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine.

When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren.. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for.

Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.

Shiela’s Website:


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

What is different about Love My Fate? #fate #rules #romance @DarylDevore

Love My Fate cover
By Daryl Devore (Guest Blogger)

How it was written. I ignored two conventions of romances. First – Love My Fate was written with three distinct sections (acts). A lot of romances have the idea of three acts, but they are not so obvious. The story flows seamlessly from the sweet meet to the happily ever after. Nothing wrong with that. But, I like trying things outside the box. I know I’ll get grief from some readers. Some people do not handle/accept deviation from the norm. Others will find it unique.

Happily ever after just doesn’t happen. Events have to come together to get the two to meet. Both people have background, baggage, quirks and foibles which affect the development of the relationship. Instead of just focusing on the romance, this story focuses on the lives of the two people who are in the sights of Cupid’s arrow.

I let my characters tell their story and this is how Love My Fate came about.

Act 1 Capri

Meet the female MC (main character)

Capri is a business executive with a crazy-ass friend, Kat. They have been best friends since elementary school. While Capri has grown into her mature, responsible corporate persona, Kat is still the wild child.

Kat orders tickets to a sex toy convention and drags Capri to the event. After several glasses of champagne, which Capri needs to bolster herself, she tours the event.

A voice whispers in Capri’s ear – buy something fun, something erotic and something dangerous. Capri dismisses it, thinking she overheard someone else’s conversation until the voice continues to follow her around the event.

Then it follows her home. Crazy sexiness happens, but Capri can’t cope with the fantasy. She needs stability and reality in her life. She tells the voice to leave. It does and she immediately regrets her decision.

Act 2 – Thall

Meet the male MC.

Thall is the youngest son of one of the three Fates.

The Fates control our life. They are who are called upon when a human says – oh, let the Fates decide. Clothos, Atropos and Lachesis are the three main ones with children taking over part of their job as the world’s population has exploded.

Thall has been the overseer to Capri since she was born. He watched her grow up, graduate from university, fall in love, get married and suffer through a soul-crushing divorce. Then something unexpected happened; he fell in love with her. Fates are not human. They have no emotions. Thall couldn’t understand why he felt this way. None of his thousands of siblings or cousins has a ounce of emotion, yet he craves to be with Capri.

In a conversation with Lachesis, his mother, and Xyno, his sister, he confesses he is in love. The women conspire to grant Thall his desire and let him become human so that he may love Capri.

Atropos, his aunt, is furious. It is wrong for a Fate to love a human.

Act 3 – The Romance

This is where it all happens. And no, I’m not going to tell you.

Second convention I broke - Act 1 and 2 are written in first person POV – to really let you get into the heads of the characters. Act three – Takes a step back to third person POV and let’s the reader watch the action.

Numerous people told me I couldn’t/shouldn’t write the story this way. I ignored them. Hey, if I’m wrong – I’m wrong. But what if I’m right?!?!

Everything evolves. What if Love My Fate is the start of a new trend in writing? Who knows.

Other romance conventions were adhered to. There is suspense – action – oh, and yes – some romance (and a lot of hot sex). The action involves a crash landing – a komono dragon - a run from a tsunami – a man with a knife – a car crash and corporate espionage. Wow – I hadn’t realized how much I put these two through.

One last comment – if you like a book filled with high drama and angst – then this NOT the book for you.


What's a woman to do when a voice follows her home and makes mad, passionate love to her?

Daryl Devoré’s latest is a quirky paranormal urban fantasy – Love My Fate.

Corporate businesswoman, Capricious Gray, is dragged to a sex toy convention by her best friend. After a mysterious disembodied voice helps her with her purchases, it follows her home. Passion ensues, leaving Capri torn between lust for her fantasy lover and the desperate need for reality in her life.

Thall, son of one of the Fates, harbours the irrepressible need to be with the woman he's desired from afar for years. In order to make her his, once and for all, he must help Capri get past her fears, including the fear of what he represents - a fantasy.

Can fantasy become a reality for these two lovers?

Note: This book was previously published by New Dawning Bookfair under the title Capri’s Fate. The edition has a new title, new cover and has restored previously deleted scenes.


By the time Kat and I left Patsy's Party, I had a bustier and a glass dildo. Three display areas later, I owned a bottle of lubricant—'A water-based warming gel that gently heats on contact to improve mind-blowing sexual satisfaction.'

Who writes the blurbs for these things?

My fingers hovered over a pair of red, fuzzy handcuffs, having noticed cuffs like these around Valentine's Day and thought they'd be a giggle to own. But could I? I'd never be able to trust a man enough to let him cuff me to… well to anything. Still, I wanted them. Really wanted them. And I kind of would like to find the man who could do the cuffing. Someone mysterious, adventurous and have incredible eyes. Hmph, I'm at a sex toy convention and I'm thinking about eyes. I gave myself a little shake and turned away.

Noting that my inhibitions had taken a vacation, I followed Tee to the next display area, side by side with Kat. The neon pink sign above the display read Adam and Eve. Adam's other job was probably male stripper or porn star. It had to be. Real men just don't look like that. You know that tingle that starts in your crotch when male heat walks into the room—well—hello Adam!

He talked about a five-function clit massager. My knees went weak and my jaw dropped open. By the time he got to powerful, easy to use and comes with multiple adjustments, perspiration trickled down my back and my panties were wet.

Did he stop there?

Nope! On to the latest and the greatest in spanking toys.

He stroked my behind with a long, black stick. "Do you like to be tamed? This is a stiffening crop." He gave my backside a slight slap.

I almost ripped his shirt off.

"You can turn it on low and be teased by your partner. Or turn to four…"

"And what?" Kat's voice was breathless.

He brushed my cheek with the crop. "It's best to save number four for a very naughty partner."

Yes, I bought it. As we left the display stall, my fingernails dug into the flesh of my palms from the vice-like grip I had on my purchases. "I need a drink."

Tee checked her watch as she led the way. "We'll go back to the VIP area. There'll be a demonstration on the main stage in about ten minutes."

I kept pulling Kat out of displays as we walked back. I think she wanted to purchase one of everything in the building.

"Very good choices, so far," the deep male voice breathed in my ear. "But you still need one more item—something erotic."

Something erotic? I've got a glass dildo, warming lubricant, a red bustier and a riding crop. That's not erotic enough?


Can you hear my thoughts?


Trying not to think anything—or pee my pants—I reached for Kat's elbow, but my hand moved and I grabbed an object in the display beside me. The label proudly read The Nipple Tickler. Vibrating nipple clamps?

Tee stepped next to me. "I have a pair of those. I just love them."

I stared at my hand. Every time I tried to open my fingers to release the package, the muscles and nerves ignored my command.

Erotic enough for you? Voice. Person. Thing?

A hot breath passed over my ear. "Delightfully erotic."

I've got sex toys in my hands and a horny voice in my head. Oh, happy day.

About the Author

Two writers in one. Daryl Devoré writes hot romances with sexy heroes and strong heroines. Victoria Adams is Daryl's alter ego when she's inspired to write sweet romances with little to no heat.

Daryl (@daryldevore) lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, two black cats - Licorice and Ginny-Furr Purrkins - and some house ghosts. Her daughter is grown and has flown the nest. Daryl loves to take long walks on her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth, and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter, and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Review Tuesday: Global Detectives #Sweden #Japan #China #ReviewTuesday


Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

A lot of my reading tends to be opportunistic. I don’t usually decide beforehand, “Oh, I want a sci fi book”, or “It’s been too long since I’ve read a mystery”. We always have a couple of shelves full of volumes we’ve picked up at the local second hand bookstore. I’m typically reading several things concurrently, some in ebook form and some in print. When I’m looking for a new print read, I’ll browse through those shelves, waiting for a title to grab me.

Hence it was a bit of a surprise for me to realize that in the past month I’ve read three detective stories. This certainly wasn’t intentional. Even more interesting, each of the three books was written by an author from a different country. The similarities and differences motivated me to review all three in a single post.

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

On a remote farm in rural Sweden, an elderly man is viciously bludgeoned to death, while his wife is left beaten, barely clinging to life, with a noose around her neck. The senseless ferocity of the attack raises a public clamor for justice. The old woman’s final word - “foreign” - dramatically increases the urgency for police detective Kurt Wallander to solve the crime. Anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise in formerly generous Sweden. As Wallander and his team meticulously sift through clues and follow up the most tenuous threads of evidence, vigilantes start targeting innocent refugees, and Wallander himself.

Faceless Killers is the first book in Mankell’s popular Kurt Wallander series, but the second that I’ve read. (You’ll find my review of The Fifth Woman here.) Like the previous novel, this one is unrelentingly bleak. Mankell skillfully evokes the flat, featureless terrain of Skåne province and its dank, chilly weather, as well as the largely empty, routine-filled lives of its inhabitants. The horrific violence of the crimes Wallander investigates offers a startling contrast to both the dull, mundane environment and the tedious, detail-oriented nature of police procedure.

Despite the darkness, these books fascinate. Wallander is a wonderfully flawed character, devoted to his job but almost helpless in dealing with his family and his personal life. He has learned to trust his intuition about his cases; he reacts without thinking in situations that require physical action, risking life and limb in the process. More than anything else, he’s persistent. He cannot let go of a case, even when it appears he has failed to apprehend the villains. I don’t think it will be too much of a spoiler to tell you that in this mystery, the trail goes cold for more than six months before Wallander has an unexpected breakthrough.

I’d expect this series to be depressing, but somehow it’s not. One reason is the moral issues that underpin the story. Mankell is seriously concerned about the “immigrant problem” in Sweden. He knows there’s no simple solution. Wallander reflects his creator’s confusion.

Indeed, if you’re interested in the complexities of immigrants and their stories, I recommend Mankell’s recent novel The Shadow Girls (which is not a mystery).

Malice by Keigo Higashino

A famous writer, Kunihiko Hidaka, is found murdered, in a locked room, in his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, fellow author Nonoguchi. Despite the fact that Nonoguchi has an iron-clad alibi, police detective Kyochiro Kaga senses something not quite consistent about his story. As Kaga delves deeper, Nonoguchi confesses to the crime, a revenge killing for his supposed friend’s long-time extortion. Still, Kaga has his doubts. Only when he revisits Nonoguchi’s and Hidaka’s childhood together does he manage to uncover the whole truth.

Malice is an intellectual exercise, a so-called puzzle mystery, full of unexpected twists and clever deductions. Unlike the Mankell novel, it does not strongly engage the emotions – or at least, it did not engage mine. Detective Kaga seems to be primarily a vehicle for generating plot twists. He did not strike me as particularly realistic and I had little or no sense of who he might be aside from his mental acuity. Still, like Wallander, he is doggedly stubborn about ferreting out the true story behind Hidaka’s case. Even when he has a confession from the so-called murderer, Kaga can’t let the case go.

He is similar to Wallander in his trust of intuition as well. Although mental gymnastics play a far more important role in Malice than in the Wallander mysteries, it is Kaga’s feeling that things don’t quite fit together that propels him to deeper research.

A Case of Two Cities by Qiu Xiaolong 


Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police Department is a rising star – but perhaps someone wants to stop his ascent. His superior has assigned him a nearly impossible case, namely ferreting out the details about a web of corruption that involves the highest echelons in Chinese society, and bringing the players to justice. In a country where wealth and political power go hand in hand, where connections to the ruling Party ensure impunity, how can a lowly inspector, even one as intelligent and perceptive as Chen, make any headway? Indeed, digging too deeply into the affairs of the rich and influential members of the syndicate may be personally dangerous, as demonstrated by several murders that occur as Chen inches closer to uncovering the .

Like Kurt Wallander, Inspector Chen Cao is the hero of a series of detective novels. In each one, he tries to solve a case while struggling against dark political forces. Chen truly wants to serve society, but he’s too smart to ignore the abuse of power that surrounds him. He walks a tightrope between fulfilling his assignments and falling prey to the bribery and other seductions. He’s similar to Wallander in his strong moral compass, and his tendency to ignore his better judgment when called upon to act. However, he’s far more intellectual and introspective than Wallander.

Chen grew up wanting to be a poet, but the Party called him to other duties. Poetry still runs in this veins, though. The spontaneous quotations from classical Chinese verse are one of the joys of this series.

I’ve read most of this series, though not in the original order. Overall I didn’t like this book as much as the earlier ones. It seems that the series has become somewhat formulaic. At the same time, the tale has its brilliant moments, especially when Chen is pulled off the case and sent to St. Louis as the nominal head of a group of Chinese writers involved in a cultural exchange. Qiu shows us American culture viewed through the lens of the Chinese. These revelations are sometimes funny, sometimes embarrassing.

In my favorite section of this novel, Chen persuades a monk in a Chinese temple (in the US) to allow him to step in and tell fortunes as a way to gain information from the villain and his mother. Drawing on his literary background, Chen does such a fantastic job that he impresses not only his marks but also the monk.

Of the three authors discussed in this post, Qiu Xiaolong is the only one who writes in English. In fact, he is a professor at a U.S. university. His deep disillusionment with the current government in China shows in every page. His perspective is so unfailingly negative that it makes me uncomfortable. I’ve visited China five times in the past two years. I know that the corruption, the authoritarianism and the hypocrisy that Qiu highlights is very real. At the same time, I can’t help feeling that his own experiences as an expatriate have blinded him to some of the more positive aspects of modern China.

Or perhaps I am wrong. Maybe the dark picture he paints is realistic. In any case, his books in a way are more political polemics that true mysteries. If you’re looking for a pure whodunnit, I would not recommend the Inspector Chen novels.