Chanticleer Reviews #1

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Discovering Today’s Best Books

Chanticleer Reviews Fall 2014

Author Spotlight: Janet Oakley

Book Reviews Awards Competitions Short Story Testimonials



Fall 2014





Dear Book Lovers, As a member of the Chanticleer Community of Authors and Readers you are part of an international community of authors, readers, aspiring writers, booksellers, librarians, publishers, media specialists, book distributors, and publishing professionals. Even when we live continents and oceans apart, we are still strongly connected in our love of books. We connect via social media: commenting, sharing reads, supporting each other. We connect in person at conferences and trade shows - those who attended the inaugural Chanticleer Authors Conference surely made new lifetime author friends. We connect via workshops—online and offline. We connect via writing competitions and discovering and sharing new works. We connect via helping each other discover new tools to help each of us achieve our publishing goals. Chanticleer Book Reviews and International Writing Competitions is passionate about discovering today’s best books and then help these sparkling jewels shine and attract their readers in today’s new golden age of publishing. This magazine, Chanticleer Reviews, is our newest tool to help promote CBR’s award winning books and stellar books that we have reviewed. We are excited about all of the new opportunities that this magazine will offer to CBR’s community members! It will provide useful information and inspiration by announcing award winners, making CBR’s reviews easily accessible to publishing professionals, booksellers, literary agents, publishing houses, distributors, and to potential new readers. We are publishing the first issue of Chanticleer Reviews online Fall 2014, but hope to have it available in print by next year’s awards banquet. The platform that we are utilizing for our online magazine is ISSUU known for its ease of “sharability” on social media and a widely utilized within the global internet community. ISSUU offers an exciting new way to engage with others with its ISSUU Clip tool. Now you can easily share and comment on any part of the Chanticleer Reviews publication that inspires you. Click the blue outlines to interact with clips published in Chanticleer Reviews online magazine. Click the PLUS sign to see clips made by fellow readers or create your own. Sharing reviews or author spotlights is easy. All you have to do is open the magazine, go to the page you want, and select share from the current page. You can then tweet, pin, and post to your hearts’ content on any social media platform you’d like. Directions are easy to follow and to “close”the magazine, simply click your “escape” key. Your participation is what makes the Chanticleer International Community of Authors and Readers such an awesome and active group of book lovers and publishing professionals. Look for this magazine to grow and evolve with each issue. As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, concerns, or suggestions. We would love to hear from you! Wishing you all the best,

Kiffer Brown, Head Hen and all the Chanticleer staff Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media, L.L.C. – Discovering Today’s Best Books


Fall 2014



Table of Contents


Author Spotlight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

– besides that handsome rooster in Chanticleer Book Reviews’ logo?

Tree Soldier. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

He who sings loudly and clearly!

Nowhere Else to Go. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Geoffrey Chaucer immortalized Chanticleer in “The Nun’s Priest Tale” in his Canterbury Tales collection that was written about 1390 in what is now known as Britain. The tale of a handsome rooster with a beautiful singing voice has been handed down for ages and in many lands in its narrative form. The story varies in the number of hens Chanticleer has in his harem and by exactly how he came to be in danger from a cunning fox. Chaucer’s version of “The Cock and the Fox” was printed in Middle English – exceedingly rare for a book at that time (the printing press had yet to be invented, so books were hand written in Latin by mostly clerics) made it accessible to more people than the books written in Latin or French.

Look For Me. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 The Gentleman Poet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Maiden’s Veil. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Endangered. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Dirty Laundry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Home to Woefield. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Murder Strikes a Pose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Trudy, Madly, Deeply. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Magick by Moonrise. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Nardi Point. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Sacred Fires. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Package Deal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 A Lesson in Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Semmant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 More and More Unto the Perfect Day . . . . . . . . . . 30 A Trip to the Stars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 The Grave Blogger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Murder One. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Blood of the Reich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Saving Hope. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Crossing the Void. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Chocolate Yoga. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Waking Up Dying. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Unforgiving: the Memoir of an Asperger Teen. . . . 40 APE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Poe: Nevermore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Awards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Upcoming Contests. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Testimonials. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50


Who is Chanticleer?


Fall 2014

The collection itself was a collection of more than 20 stories written at the end of the 14th century during the time of the Hundred Years’ War. The Canterbury Tales are thought to be the first secular work to be printed on the Gutenberg Press. This is how Chaucer described Chanticleer: “a cock called Chanticleer—a merrier crow than his was not to be heard in all the country round. He was as true to his matin hour as the abbey clock. He could tell by instinct the ascension of the equinox, and when it had risen fifteen degrees, then would he crow so that it was a joy to hear him. Continued page 6

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where writers win Chanticleer Reviews Publisher Chanticleer Book Reviews & Media, L.L.C. Editor-in-Chief Kathryn Brown Assistant Editor Ashley Libey Creative Director Rochelle Parry Consulting Magazine Advisor Sheila Webb, Ph.D. Senior Reviewers S. J. Stanton & K. Brown Associate Reviewers P. Beason, D. Beaumier , L. Costantino, N. Davis, Ph.D., Elaine Douglas, K. Hess, Virginia Herrick, L. Wilson Hunt, Raney Jordan, Judith Kirscht, A. Libey, T. Mitchell, A. A. Pace, C.I. Rinn, Kirk Smith, Ph.D., Marion Spicher, & Jordan Zedler Interns D. Beaumier, Kendra Herrick The Chanticleer Reviews is an online magazine debuts October 2014. It is available by subscription and can be delivered to your email inbox. Please subscribe online at The print edition of Chanticleer Reviews will launch in Spring 2015. It will be available by subscription and at various bookstores through Ingram Periodicals. Please send correspondence to Chanticleer Reviews & Media 1050 Larrabee Ave. Suite 104, #334 Bellingham, WA 98225 U.S.A. Advertising Information E-mail Visit us on the web at Founders Kathryn & Andrew Brown Add us on Google+ at +Chanticleer Book Reviews Follow us on Twitter @ChantiReviews Find us on Facebook Chanticleer Book Reviews All rights reserved. Copyright @2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, & 2014 Chanticleer Reviews & Media, L.L.C.

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Fall 2014


Continued from page 4 For crowing there was not his equal in all the land. His voice was merrier than the merry organ that plays in church, and his crowing from his resting place was more trustworthy than a clock. His comb was redder than fine coral and turreted like a castle wall, his bill was black and shone like a jet, and his legs and toes were like azure. His nails were whiter than the lily and his feathers were like burnished gold.” When Chanticleer and his favorite hen, Pertelote, speak to each other it is with courtesy and fine manners that reflect courtly love and chivalry. Pertelote and the other hens dote on Chanticleer and screech uncontrollably when he is taken captive by the fox.


The tale cautions us to beware of trusting flattery because it can lead to reckless decisions.

The traditional publishing industry is broken… …because the gates are closed to talented new authors.

Self-publishing never had a chance… …because there is no quality control.

Virtues of War


Winner 2013 Cygnus Award Military Science Fiction

Finalist 2013 Indie Book Award General Fiction

In Search of Sticks

Dark Seed

Finalist 2014 Somerset Award

Top 10 2014 Ben Franklin Awards

There has to be another way… …which isn’t all about the money. Promontory Press is a new kind of publisher which offers the high quality, full distribution and sales support of traditional publishing, blended with the fexibility and author control of self-publishing. Created by authors for authors, Promontory recognizes that publishing is a business, but never forgets that writing is an art.

If you have a great book and want a great shot at the market, contact us.



Fall 2014





Janet Oakley

Tree Soldier


Fall 2014



anet Oakley grew up back East listening to her mom’s stories of life in Idaho after WWI. In the early 30s a Civilian Conservation Corps camp opened up near her uncle’s ranch in the Lowman wilderness area in 1933. Mostly filled with boys from New Jersey, they were from tenements and very poor. Years later when Janet needed a paper for a university history class, she looked for the CCCs in her backyard. The grand result was an “A” in class and her novel, Tree Soldier. After several years of querying, Janet put Tree Soldier aside and wrote two more novels. Then along came social media and indie publishing. She wanted to find out what the fuss was all about and published Tree Soldier as an experiment in 2010. The rest, she says, is history. Janet entered Tree Soldier into several contests for ebooks and indie-published novels. It won the 2012 EPIC ebook Award for historical fiction and in 2013, a grand prize from Chanticleer Book Reviews. In 2014, it was a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. It’s now out as an audiobook and will be performed again this fall as a one act reader’s theater in Morton, WA. Janet loves talking about her CCC boys and their amazing work 80 years ago. Ms Oakely considers herself fortunate to have been a Humanities Washington speaker for the past two years speaking on the Civilian Conservation Corps all over the state. In doing so, she has discovered that Tree Soldier has a purpose beyond its story: celebrating the legacy of the CCCs nationwide. In 2012 after visiting Clarkston, WA, the librarians of the Palouse and Lewis and Clark Valleys chose Tree Soldier as their Everybody Reads. Over a four day period in November 2013 she was hosted by librarians in eastern Washington and Idaho at six different libraries. She met book clubs and library patrons. In the tiny town of Nez Perce, Idaho (population 400) a large section of a social studies class showed up at the library built by the community. Janet loves writing historical fiction, but she is also a historian. She’s been giving history talks and workshops on teaching history in the classroom and at national parks for many years. She especially enjoys working with school age kids exploring 19th century pioneer life in the NW and colonial life. She loves making butter in a churn and teaching kids to wash it after it forms from cream. One fourth grader called her the Butter Queen. “I guess I am” Janet agreed. 8


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Left to Right: Jennifer Ashby (Asotin County Library), Heather Stout (Lewiston), Janet Oakley, Claudia Jones (Nez Perce Library)

“Getting the word about your work isn’t always easy” Janet explains. “I especially appreciate the effort Chanticleer puts into posting reviews, chattering about Tree Soldier on social media and carting my books around to conferences. Love my shiny stickers and lovely Chanticleer shelf talkers. And the growing community of Chanticleer writers.” You never know where a tweet will take you. Last January, while looking on Twitter for an after party at the AWP14 (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) in Seattle, I happened upon Jane Hodges. She was giving a party for attendees. She mentioned new Mineral School project. I tweeted back: “Did you know there was a CCC camp there?” Yes! So, on Wednesday Nov 5th, I’ll be doing my last Humanities Washington talk at Mineral School. The Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Museum and Mineral School will host me Tuesday night, then the next day I’ll first speak at Centralia College East’s Lyceum program on the CCCs and that night again at the Roxy Theater in Morton, WA. Afterwards, some actors will put on my reader’s theater one act of Tree Soldier.



Fall 2014






Our book reviews are grouped according to genre. Look for the graphic in the corner for the genre, and find the genre(s) below the rating. In this edition:


Mystery & Mayhem


Historical Fiction

Cozy Mystery

Romantic Fiction

p. 11

p. 17

p. 22

Journey Somerset


Narrative Non-Fiction p. 36




Mainstream Literary Fiction


p. 28

p. 32

Supernatural Fiction


p. 42



Fall 2014


n this action-packed, emotionally charged historical novel titled Tree Soldier, J.L. Oakley takes us back to the era of the Great Depression. With millions of Americans unemployed, President Franklin D. Roosevelt devised a New Deal work relief program called the Civilian Conservation Corps. Some three million unmarried young men went to work in CCC camps across America—building roads and bridges, establishing flood control, and replanting depleted forests. Of the men’s $30 monthly paychecks, $25 was sent to help their desperately poor families.


The Book:

Tree Soldier The Author:

J.L.Oakley Genre(s):

Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery Romance Review:

S. J. Stanton Publisher:

Self-published (U.S.A. (2010))

Oakley skillfully weaves this history into a suspense building story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. The story commences with the arrival in 1935 of a new squad of “Tree Soldiers” at Camp Kulshan, a CCC forestry camp in the rugged North Cascades, near the little village of Frazier, Washington. While most of the new recruits are sort of rough teenagers from urban New Jersey and New York, our protagonist is a college student who left school and his farm home in eastern Pennsylvania to join up. The strong and handsome John Parker Hardesty has more than a paycheck on his mind, however. The pensive young man, who sometimes seeks solitude in the forest, is trying to escape his nightmare memories of two tragic events in his life. His fellow recruits nonetheless respect the polite, clean-cut, Park who can also hold his own in the physically competitive proving ground environment of camp life. Many of the new recruits seek out his company, especially a wiry, 18-year-old Italian kid named Mario Spinelli, who takes the upper bunk above Park. Before long Park becomes the squad’s “straw boss.” Camp Kulshan is no fun summer camp. The physical training is tough, camp chores are boring, and not all the Tree Soldiers are easy to get along with. The boys of “Joisey Squad” (from the Jersey accents

of several) are dubbed “foreigners” and suffer some rough hazing. However, camp life is not all work and no play. The people of Frazier appreciate the camp’s contribution to the community and in friendship arrange baseball games and picnics. The Tree Soldiers reciprocate with a dance in the mess hall. Boys meet girls, sparking romance, but also jealousy. Park is drawn to the dance floor by a pretty, auburn-haired young woman, Kate Alford. He breaks in on an arrogant, self-serving camp officer, David Callister, who has his eyes possessively on Kate. As Park takes Kate in his arms, Callister stalks off the floor. As the story’s pace increases, so does the emotion it evokes. Suspense builds as reputations are undermined, treachery and deceit threatens lives on the verge of redemption, while storms brew and forest fires erupt. Oakley’s characters come to life as their respective roles are defined as the drama of trials and tests of will and determination build. Love blossoms, but is not without thorns. Friendships are solidified, and trust and support are developed in the face of duplicity and enmity. In the final pages of this compelling book, Oakley introduces one more human trait, one she saw fit to include in its title—forgiveness. J.L. Oakley’s Tree Soldier will draw you in and keep you turning the pages. Tree Soldier won Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Award of Grand Prize in our Published Novels Contest 2012 earning it a coveted CBR star.



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t’s the fall of 1968 and America is in the throes of rapid social change and cultural upheaval. Martin Luther King has just been assassinated and body bags filled with 18-year-olds boys are coming back from Vietnam at an alarming rate. Political unrest and race riots are turning cities into war zones while suburbanites try to buffer themselves against the tumultuous times. Nowhere Else to Go by Judith Kirscht masterfully explores these momentous national issues by humanizing them on a personal scale in the small Midwestern college town of Norton Bluffs. The intransigence of the ruling suburbanite whites along with their fears meet head on with the anxieties of the disadvantaged blacks in the halls of education—where the effects of racial polarization are most profoundly felt and magnified in small towns.

Principal Cassie Daniels, of Red River Junior High School, relentlessly tries to carry on classes, school dances and basketball games even as she encounters the shrapnel from these social upheavals in her beloved school, in her marriage, in her relationship with her two schoolaged sons, and within her professional relationships.


The Book:

Nowhere Else to Go

Principal Daniels and the RRJH faculty have already endured the difficulties brought on by racial integration and bussing. But just when they thought that they had made it past the worst and even came out somewhat ahead with a new wing of classrooms, the Board of Education has more in store for RRJH. It seems that with a bit of “redistricting,” Red River Junior High, due to its location on the edge of town, can serve as a buffer zone between disadvantaged, mostly black, neighborhoods and those of the affluent white ones.

The Author:

Judith Kirscht Genre(s):

20th Century Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction Review:

L Wilson Hunt

The hoped-for, by the town’s politicians, result from this redistricting maneuver is to return a sense of “normalcy” to the town of Norton Bluffs along with the prevention of any violence like last year’s riots at the high school. And if the redistricting isn’t enough to throw RRJH into a tailspin, The School Board


Florida Academic Press, Inc. Press (2011)



Fall 2014

is dictating to use RRJH as a social experiment laboratory for testing some educational “new-think” concepts. Fresh new teachers have been hired by the School Board for RRJH –and this is where things start to get really interesting. These new teachers’ tutor in ‘advanced school room theory’ is Principal Cassie Daniels’ husband. Ben Daniels is an ivory tower burnout hoping to put a new polish on his tarnished idealistic proclivities. He’s already selected the feisty Louisa Norton as his favorite protégé. Principal Daniels can’t help but worry that the escalating racial tensions in her schoolrooms will erupt into violence. Can she keep her divided faculty members on the same page? Will those wide-eyed kids from the Flats be able to make “the jump” from the safety of their old elementary school into the open-jawed terrors of junior high? And just what are Ben and the confrontational Louisa really up to? If Cassie Daniels is the strength of the author’s energetic narrative, the teenage students are its pulse, a Greek chorus chanting under the noisy howl of the games adults play. As expected, a great deal of this novel is devoted to these adolescents’ emotional responses. Particularly endearing are Kirscht’s portrayals of how the kids try to cope with a world that they are too young to understand. Kirscht does an excellent job telling her story from many perspectives. No Where Else to Go is a tenacious read that captures the grittiness of the undertow of racism and prejudice. However, some may find the first several pages a little hard to follow as you are taken instantly into the fray of the battle, but if you hang on, you will find this dense novel to be fast-paced and hard to put ➥


down. I heartily recommend Nowhere Else to Go as a tightly woven and insistently engaging novel about racial prejudice and the blackboard jungle of the 1960s.


The Book:

Look For Me The Author:

Janet Shawgo Genre(s):

Fiction, Historical Fiction Review:

L. Costantino Publisher:

Two Harbors Press (2011)


lantern, a medicine pouch, and a bell to stop the gunfire: That was all nurses took into the Civil War battlefields as they sought out injured men, boys, and women disguised as men. Among them is Sarah Bowen, a young healer from Georgia, whose use of herbal medicine brings her scorn from most field doctors even as it saves countless lives. Look For Me begins with young, affluent New Yorker Samuel White, who has just embarked on his career as a war correspondent. Through an early incident between their fathers, he is also Sarah’s longtime pen pal. Meanwhile, Mack, a teenage girl traveling as a boy, delivers a letter from the youngest Bowen son to the family farm, lingering long enough to be tutored by Sarah and to fall in love with brother James before leaving to pursue her goal of becoming a Confederate spy. Soon after her departure, a band of traveling nurses comes looking for the local healer, and it doesn’t take much persuading for Sarah to realize her destiny. This is when all of the primary story-lines begin to intersect. It is with this wagonload of women that the story comes fully to life. Ruby Belle and Maud bring a boisterous energy that infuses the story with attitude, while the more fragile Leona and Emma embody the particular tolls that warfare takes on women. As the nurses set up makeshift hospitals in abandoned houses near the battle sites, Sarah gains confidence in her skills as she also gains the terrible knowledge of carnage. What the reader gains is an understanding not only of the medicinal uses of native plants, but of the women’s incredible resourcefulness. The homes of families killed by opposing troops are scoured for food, blankets, and clothing to use for bandages; root cellars and

herb gardens replenish ever-dwindling supplies; while coffee and tobacco become particularly valuable to trade with soldiers for battle information, or with moonshiners for alcohol and barrels to fill with clean water. Here the author’s own background as a traveling nurse brings an earnest authenticity to the narrative. In short time, Samuel discovers the value of these “women who travel in war,” and the series he writes about them takes form alongside both his battle reports and his attempt to uncover the story of the Night Walker, the elusive spy who slips in and out of battle scenes and his own life. As the war concludes amid tragic losses, broken families are reunited and promises are kept beyond the grave. Told with both compassion and restraint, Shawgo’s Look For Me enlightens us by uncovering the critical roles women played in the Civil War: as soldiers, as spies, and, most importantly, as healers. Look For Me is a gripping well-researched and well-told Civil War story of espionage, the battlefields’ terrible tolls, of healing wounds and timeless love. Look For Me by Janet Shawgo is a First Place Blue Ribbon Award winning novel for Historical Fiction in Chanticleer Book Reviews Published Novels writing competition 2012.



Fall 2014



istorical romances have never been my favorite genre, but I’m now rethinking my previous hesitations to indulge in such stories after reading the entertaining and dramatic tale of The Gentleman Poet.

In keeping with the seventeenth century recipes found in this book, the author mixes one maidservant heroine, Elizabeth, with a ship’s cook, Thomas, who really doesn’t know his herbs or spices, a mystery man whose first name is Will, his last name beginning with S (but, is he really Shakespeare?) and tosses them with another hundred-plus souls onto the good ship Sea Venture. Their destination? The Virginia colony in New Britannia. But a storm—we’ll call it a tempest—sends them off course and onto a chain of uninhabited islands, perhaps the Bermudas. Elizabeth knows how to cook and spices up her concoctions with local herbs, nuts, mushrooms, and the like, to the delight of the ship’s captain. Friend Will encourages her growing relationship with Thomas, the cook, to protect her from the more unruly sailors. Thomas’ courtship of the reluctant Elizabeth, who now prefers to be called Miranda, is described in language that felt delightfully Elizabethan to me.


The Book:

The Gentleman Poet The Author:

But their much-delayed arrival in Virginia threatens their relationship and is presaged by Miranda’s headaches. When tragedy strikes, our heroine experiences a true emotional tempest that carries the reader through to the end of the tale. In The Gentleman Poet, Kathryn Johnson poses an intriguing question: Did Shakespeare personally experience a shipwreck before he wrote The Tempest?

Kathryn Johnson Genre(s):

Fiction, Historical Fiction Review:

Elaine Douglas

For those who have not ventured into Shakespeare’s works, The Gentleman Poet, in this reviewers opinion, would make for a wonderful introduction to his literary feast. But whether or not you have or haven’t partaken, this delightful and clever tale is enjoyable in its own right.


William Morrow Paperbacks, a Harper Collins Imprint (2010)


R |

Fall 2014


isa Costantino’s Maiden’s Veil is an entrancing tapestry of history, love, and sacrifice that spans the centuries from 1720 to modern times. The story exemplifies the psychological power that ancient rites have held and do hold over us, and the effects of these rites as they ripple through our consciousness or, more dangerously, our collective subconsciousness as they cross the barriers of time.

Costantino deftly intertwines the stories of two star-crossed love affairs, building to a climax wherein the fates of all the four lovers are bound up together— making a seemingly chance encounter an event that will forever change their lives.


The Book:

Maiden’s Veil The Author:

Lisa Costantino Genre(s):

Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women’s Contemporary Fiction Review:

Virginia Herrick Publisher:

Lisa Costantino (August 10, 2012)

A spirited and headstrong weaver’s daughter, Clarinda Asher is no fit match for Benjamin Keane, son of a prosperous merchant, even when they are paired as Maiden and King of their village’s May Day festival. However, it is when they are brought together to the circle of ancient standing stones to partake in a sacred fertility ritual that their lives truly begin to unravel. Three centuries later, Owen Calder, curator of the modern-day textile museum in England’s West Country, meets Jessamine Barlow, a traveling textile buyer from the U.S., Owen offers to take Jess to see the standing stones on the outskirts of the village. Unbeknownst to them, the circle’s power continues to resonate. Jess abruptly quits her corporate job to return to her first loves: weaving, and a pagan spirituality that echoes Clarinda’s faith. Owen longs to experience the more spiritual existence of his youth, one more in tune with nature, after having traded a

life of poetry for “curatorial reports and funding proposals.” Costantino titled the story after the indigo veil that the virgin female must don during the pagan fertility ritual. But it is the natural beauty of the rural village that provides the crucial backdrop for both stories: Maiden’s Hill, where Clarinda is banished after her sacred tryst with Benjamin meets with disastrous results for the whole community; the River Guen that plays a fateful role in the tragedy; and the spring-fed pools where King and Maiden purify themselves—and where the two couples repeatedly return for strength to face their destinies, and bring life out of death, love out of sorrow. Maiden’s Veil was awarded 1st Place in the Women’s Fiction category, INDIE Awards, a division on the Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Awards 2013, for Costantino’s mesmerizing lyrical prose, her welldeveloped characters, and her compelling storytelling of a timeless and ancient theme.



Fall 2014


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Fall 2014


ndangered drops us into immediate engagement with its story: a child goes missing, wildlife need protection right now while hunters loom, people are hurried, focused on their own lives, and fallible with their good and notgood-at-all motivations and behaviors. You will find many levels and many stories here, all combined into one.


The Book:

Endangered The Author:

Pamela Beason Genre(s):

Eco-mystery/ suspense, Fiction, Mystery, Mystery Romance Review:

C.I. Rinn Publisher:

Berkley; Original edition

Issues, suspense, varied characters, and settings are skillfully interwoven in this heart-engaging drama and, like life, it is a complex tale. People with all their different values-based motivations are brought together. Romance shows up, too, with a frisson that grows steadily to an unexpected conclusion. Such is the draw of the characters’ dramas that there are a few moments where you might be tempted to skip some of Beason’s detailed setting descriptions to relieve your suspense, but those descriptions are so well done and the setting so integral to the story that you cannot. Beason provides a wide range of characters: the good, the bad, the wellintentioned, those whose actions are admirable and those whose actions are reprehensible. This is not a simple tale and, several times, just when you think you know where it is going, it shifts again. Beason sweeps us into the untidy world of human inter-relatedness, ranging from

those who are engaged in life to those who have withdrawn. Parallel and yet interwoven stories come together from the central character’s early and serious mis-step and we walk with her as she struggles. Human variability and natural beauty provide the setting that makes it all credible while Beason remains true to Endangered as a mystery. Endangered will have you alternately holding your breath, reading fast to find out what is going to happen, and admiring Beason’s description of people, issues, and places that is so real and holds you so hard. I read it in one sitting and you will want to as well. Endangered will stir your fears, engage your heart, and make you hold your breath to the end.


(December 6, 2011)


Fall 2014



othing seems to go right on Friday the thirteenth for Robyn Kelly, Patient Relations manager at Madrona Bay Hospital, when she collects professional and personal crises like a movie star collects fans.


First, she is confronted by an injured homeless man who wanders into her office. Then nurses and a food service worker complain about a flasher patient, who turns up dead—murdered—when Robyn goes to his room to speak with him. On the personal front, her friend, Detective Pierce, injures his back hauling gardening supplies for her. And then her son announces he’s going to Africa as a volunteer for a company Robyn has never heard of. Next her father, who considers himself invincible, has to be convinced to come to the hospital to be evaluated after he collapses at his ranch.

The Book:

Dirty Laundry The Author:

Liz Osborne Genre(s):

Cozy, Fiction, Mystery Review:

When Detective Pierce, now trussed up in traction, asks Robyn to quietly look into the details surrounding the murder of the patient, she begins to unearth unexpected issues related to the hospital. But, how can she investigate and get all her work done when the new hospital administrator insists Robyn take over for him in writing reports, presenting same, and participating in numerous meetings long on time-wasting? Meanwhile, situations on all fronts begin to escalate.

Elaine Douglas Publisher:

A Worldwide Mystery (2011), an imprint of Harlequin)

Robyn begins to suspect someone in the hospital has to be involved. Is it the unpleasant contract nurse whose behavior at Madrona Bay and other hospitals is less than stellar? A hospital staffer who has it in for Robyn? The homeless man whose hospital room begins to look more like a pleasant hotel suite each day that he remains there? Can Robyn, with the help of Detective Pierce, still unable to walk, solve the case before his boss intends to charge her with the murder? Mystery buffs will thoroughly enjoy trying to identify the clues Robyn will need to put together before she gets herself killed by the real perpetrator. Dirty Laundry by Liz Osborne was awarded the First Place Blue Ribbon for Cozy Mysteries in the Chanticleer Book Reviews Writing Competition 2012. This is the second novel in the Robyn Kelly Mystery series. Cozy mystery fans will find Robyn Kelly an engaging amateur sleuth fighting crime, and sometimes fighting for her life, in a deadly arena —the hospital where she works. Readers will never look at hospitals in the same way again after reading this well-researched classic cozy mystery novel.




Fall 2014


ou might, at first glance, be doubtful about a story about poultry but don’t hesitate: This story is about way more than chickens. It will have you laughing out loud and wincing at the same time. Will the impetuous Prudence from Brooklyn, with her inheritance of worn-out Woefield Farm on Vancouver Island along with its looming foreclosure papers and its attached oddballs, ever succeed at fulfilling her dream of selling her own organic produce at the farmers’ market?

Before long, you will soon find yourself rooting for Juby’s unpredictable characters instead of shaking your head in disbelief at their madcap antics and the ensuing mayhem. And, then, along come the chickens—who would have thought chickens could be the glue for the magic of it all? Juby immerses us in the endearingly hapless mayhem of her characters’ lives with their doubtful plans and out-right weaknesses: a banjo picking Earl with his crankiness and withdrawal from life, Seth with his very convoluted coming-ofage issues, a clip-board-carrying elevenyear-old girl who shows up unexpectedly on Prudence’s door step and meets challenges far beyond her years headon, and then there is poor ol’ Bertie the depressed sheep. All of these misfits commensurate with the landscape of the barren and tattered Woefield Farm, and soon we know that they and the farm are all dependent on each other if they are to flourish. And, of course, there is romance! We follow Prudence again as she roars into romance in the same energetic and unpredictable ways that she faces all of her challenges with the unsuspecting, seemingly improbable, Eustace. Be ready for more laughing out loud while

you are groaning at the predicaments that Prudence keeps getting herself and everyone around her into. Juby’s use of the first person narrative style keeps the story immediate, enriching each character in our “mind’s eye” as each one’s perspective of the same events overlap. Her description of their thoughts and opinions is so lively and her characters such a riotous mix of people and animals that it makes you marvel you are not hearing from the chickens and the sheep, too. You will find yourself laughing at Juby’s wry wit and practical outlook and wishing you could look at your own life the way these characters look at each other’s lives. Her fresh humor provides lightness to their heavier issues and you will find yourself re-framing your first reactions to them as the story unfolds. Home to Woefield will make you think again about reaching toward the seemingly unreachable in your own life, about taking that leap of faith, and believing maybe, just maybe, some chickens will show up to make it all happen.



The Book:

Home to Woefield The Author:

Susan Juby Genres

Contemporary, Fiction, Humorous Review:

C.I. Rinn Publisher:

Harper Collins, USA (2011)


Fall 2014



n this award winning mystery, yoga instructor Kate Davidson tries her best to live the Zen life, but she often finds herself being challenged with her fluffy hips, her struggling yoga business, and missing her deceased dad, who was a cop. Datefree for nine months, three days and seven hours since her break-up, Kate tries to resist friend Rene’s numerous attempts to set her up with dates.


The Book:

Murder Strikes a Pose

Into Kate’s world steps George, a homeless alcoholic with a German shepherd sidekick named Bella who loves to bark. The duo has decided that the entrance to Kate’s yoga studio is the perfect place for them to hang out, which definitely challenges Kate’s savasana.

The Author:

Tracy Weber Genre(s):

An uneasy truce develops between Kate, Bella, and George as she learns more about George’s history and that Bella adores him. She also learns that Bella was stolen, but George corrects her: “Bella wasn’t stolen. She was rescued.” Bella needs costly medicine, and George has a scheme to get the funds needed for his dearest friend in the world.

Animal Cozy Mysteries, Contemporary, Cozy, Fiction, Mysterye Review:

But George is murdered, and the Seattle cops dismiss it as another drug-related street crime. Kate ends up taking care of the sickly, shedding dog that is the size of a small horse. She also finds that having a murder take place within steps of your business is not the best thing to increase clientele. Despite warnings, Kate takes on solving George’s murder. She is also desperate to find Bella a home.

Chanticleer Publisher:

Midnight Ink (2014)

Kate and Bella become unlikely partners on the murder beat and at home when Kate realizes George’s murderer is hot on her trail and that Bella may know too much. Weber keeps the plot twisting and turning until its climactic conclusion. Its fresh writing, social relevance, and suspenseful page-turning plot makes Murder Strikes a Pose a hands-down winner. We look forward to reading more of Kate and Bella’s clever sleuthing adventures in the next novel of Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog Mystery series. Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber was awarded a First Place Category Winner in the Mystery and Mayhem Awards 2013, a division of the Chanticleer Book Reviews writing competitions. [Reviewer’s Note: Even if you don’t know your downward dog pose from your dolphin plank, we believe that cozy mystery readers will enjoy this engaging first novel in Tracy Weber’s Downward Dog Mystery series.]




Fall 2014


itty, fresh, and full of surprises, Trudy, Madly, Deeply, delivers. Wendy Delaney’s debut novel in her Working Stiffs mystery series is a fun and immensely entertaining read with its odd assortment of lovable characters, clever writing, and twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages.

When Charmaine Digby is cut loose as “excess baggage” from her ex-husband whom she met at culinary school in California, she heads back home to the small town of Port Merritt, a retirement mecca on the waterfront of Washington state. She finds herself living with her Gram, slinging cheeseburgers at her great-aunt Alice’s diner, and living across the street from a guy who used to pull her pigtails when they were in grade school together. Charmaine Digby is also living up to her school moniker of “Chow Mein;” she has been eating her way through her divorce. She is out of work, out of money, and out of shape. This wonderfully humorous cozy mystery will have you cracking up at the trouble that “Char” manages to get into when she finally lands a “real job” as a deputy coroner to the Chimacam County Prosecutor’s office—if she can make it past Day One of her 30-day-trial period. She was hired not for her crime fighting abilities (unless that includes her handiness with a rolling pin), but for her special ability – Charmaine is a human lie detector. Apparently only .25 percent of the population has this uncanny ability— these few people are known as “truth wizards.” Really. And Charmaine, bless her heart, is one, which doesn’t help to make her life any easier. And it is about to get tougher. A handsome doctor at the local hospital reports a suspicious death of a patient, Trudy Bergenson, who was a dear friend of Char’s Aunt Alice. Trudy was

supposed to be released to come home on Charmaine’s first day of work–not end up at the county morgue. With Aunt Alice’s diner at the eye of the gossip hurricane of Port Merritt, it isn’t long until Char is in hot pursuit of clues to discover if Trudy’s unexpected demise is the most recent in a chain of suspicious deaths at the county hospital. It seems that childhood neighbor, now all grownup and sexy, Detective Steve Sixkiller, is not appreciative of Charmaine ‘playing detective.’ Sparks fly—in more ways than one. If you enjoyed reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you will love Delaney’s Trudy, Madly, Deeply. I had no idea whodunit until the very end (and I have read hundreds of mysteries). Well done, Ms. Delaney, well done! I cannot wait to read the next novel in Delaney’s Working Stiffs mystery series so I can learn more about the goings-on of Chimacam County, its cast of lovable (if not, peculiar) characters, and any new mysterious treats that Ms. Delaney decides to dish out to her awaiting fans, yours truly included. Trudy, Madly, Deeply by Wendy Delaney is a Finalist in the M&M Awards 2013 for Mystery & Mayhem Novels, a division of Chanticleer Book Reviews writing competitions.



The Book:

Trudy, Madly, Deeply The Author:

Wendy Delaney Genres

Contemporary, Cozy, Fiction, Humorous, Mystery, Mystery Romance, Women’s Contemporary Fiction Review:

K Brown Publisher:

Corvallis Press (2013)


Fall 2014



he daughter of King Arthur leaves the Summer Lands of Faerie to petition the Catholic Tudor Queen for a truce between worlds in this uberromantic take on Arthurian lore. If you are a devotee of The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and you enjoy sensuous romantic heat that threads through a great story, you will relish immersing yourself in the world Laura Navarre created that intersects sixteenth century English historical fiction with some surprisingly fresh interpretations of Arthurian legends, and then blends a new element into the mix: angelic lore.

Tasked by her mother, the Faerie Queen Maeve, to reach an accord with her human counterpart, Mary Tudor, Rhiannon le Fay crosses the Veil into Tudor England—a portal that is thinning as the millennial Convergence approaches. The intersecting of these two worlds, Faerie and the mortal realm, will bring endless wars between the two unless Rhiannon’s mission is completed. For the virginal half-Faerie, half-human princess, the timing is dire, as the Inquisition’s reign of terror is in full force. Even worse, Beltran, one of the “Blades of God,” who enforces the papal edicts has picked up Rhiannon’s trail. Intent on delivering to Bishop Bonner any soul suspected of devilry, Lord Beltran Nemesto makes quick work of Rhiannon’s escort as he captures the princess.


The Book:

Magic by Moonrise The Author:

Laura Navarre

Little did Beltran expect to be captured by Rhiannon. Her elfin beauty torments him far more than is seemly for a man of God. It is lust at first sight, but by the time Beltran reverses his original course and determines to protect Rhiannon from the inquisitors, it is too late.


Chanticleer Genre(s):

Fantasy, Fiction, Romance

Eluding his custody at the country manor of the exiled Lady Elizabeth, Rhiannon makes her way to Hampton Court, where the sickly and pious Queen Mary believes her first an angel, and then a witch. Thrusts and parries of passion ensue on


Carina Press, a Digital First imprint of Harlequin 22


Fall 2014

many levels as Rhiannon and Beltran’s loyalties and faith are tested at first by their honor bound by their respective duties to kith and kin, and then to each other—especially when the ultimate sacrifice is required from both of them. Navarre expertly employs “The Convergence” as a macrocosm of the religious struggle between the Faerie princess and the man called God’s Vengeance. Herein lays the crux of the novel, as Faerie magic and Christian dogma collide repeatedly across time and space. Magick by Moonrise’s romantic heat is sensual, stirring and puissant—enough to empower Rhiannon and Beltran to overcome the deep chasm that separates them. Navarre’s lush writing style, which deftly appeals to the senses, describes the unbridled lust stirring in Beltran while he debates with himself over his duties, loyalties and honor. Alternatively, she artfully reveals the euphoria of feminine ecstasy that comes with submission of heart and soul. Book One of Navarre’s Magick Trilogy, Magick by Moonrise, will leave fans of fantasy and romance eagerly awaiting the series’ next installment.



ove among the ruins: in this case, an archaeological dig at a new subdivision in North Raleigh, where rolling pastures and woodsy farms are giving way to housing developments such as Nardi Point. Here Laurinda Elliot and her live-in fiancé, Dan Riser, plan to buy a home and start a family—or at least, that is Laurinda’s intention, even as she watches Dan once again run “away from her gentle attempts to grow their lives.” Still, she presses on, seeing a family as the missing piece to her otherwise successful life: a high-level IT position, a silver Porsche and designer wardrobe, beauty to spare.


The Book:

Nardi Point The Author:

Nancy LaPonzina Genres:

Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Southern Literature Review:

L. Costantino Publisher:

Rebel Ink Press, LLC; (April 2012)

Those pieces begin to break apart when Laurinda visits the construction site at Nardi Point with her closest friend. A highly sensitive Reiki practitioner, Leyla Jo Piper pokes around in the red-clay mud where Laurinda’s house will soon be built and finds pottery shards. A vision of a Native American woman carrying an earthen pot, plus a flashback to her own orphaned childhood, drives her to contact the State Archaeology Office. Colson Mitchell, the construction company’s handsome supervisor, reacts differently. He’s aware of the scorchedearth mentality of his employer, but he’s also concerned that standing up to him could mean losing his job, causing hardship for the love of his life: threeyear-old daughter Annabel. Initially, he fights the two women’s increasing concern about building on what may have been a camp or burial site for the area’s ancient peoples, but as his feelings for Laurinda intensify, he finds his own ethics in conflict. Dan, the brilliant technology geek Laurinda is living with, on the other hand, sees no conflict in taking the path of least resistance or being opportunistic when situations present themselves—especially those that he thinks will improve his social standing. And being with Laurinda has certainly improved his social standing. This

pattern of over-riding selfishness soon has him leading a double-life. Once Leyla Jo engages Dr. Hal Jared, state archaeologist, in the pottery find, the richness of the narrative deepens. The author spent time as an archaeology office volunteer, and her knowledge shows: the details of the meticulous work of unearthing and classifying artifacts, along with the struggle between building for the future and learning from the past, makes for a fascinating read, and the discoveries play perfectly against the uncovering of Leyla Jo’s family history, which ultimately explains her visions. Nardi Point develops into a lovely, nuanced tale with the layers of relationships uncovered like strata of earth, revealing harsh truths and personal epiphanies. In the end, the pieces of Laurinda’s life finally fit together like the ceramic shards that touched off her journey, and from this vessel pours love and fulfillment. Nardi Point was awarded a First Place Blue Ribbon for Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Romance Category in Chanticleer Book Reviews’ 2012 Published Novels contest.



Fall 2014



asey is a journalist who is trying to prove her reporting chops when she joins up with Miguel, a U.S. Customs agent whose mission is to solve the mystery of missing ancient artifacts and recent bizarre cult murders. Their leads take them to Mexico City and the lush, sultry tropics of Acapulco.

Sparks fly when they both discover that they had been together as lovers in another lifetime in ancient Aztec Mexico. However, they were both sacrificed because of their forbidden love. Now, given another chance to be together, they must stay alive while they search for a cult killer who is sacrificing people like the Aztecs did so long ago. The suspense builds at a fast-pace that kept me turning the pages. What really drew me into this story was the Aztec history along with the overwhelming love the characters had for one another throughout lifetimes. The details of the ceremonies and sacrifices to the ancient gods were mesmerizing to read about. If you like a bit of history and ancient culture intertwined with a modern story-line, you will definitely enjoy reading Sacred Fires.

Casey is the type of protagonist whom I love; she is not scared to go after what she wants even if it means she could get herself killed. She is strong, loving and has a kind heart. Miguel is dashing and fearless—especially when it comes to protecting his soul mate. There were a few things that I thought were predictable in the story. However, I did not know when they were going to happen. Once I started Sacred Fires, I just had to keep reading it. I had to know what was going to happen to Casey and Miguel next. Will their sacred love survive? Sacred Fires is a well written and crafted romantic paranormal novel with elements ➼


The Book:

Sacred Fires The Author:

Catherine Greenfeder Genres:

Romance, Suspense Review:

S.C. Brentson Publisher:

Secret Cravings Publishing (February 5, 2012)



Fall 2014

of intrigue and suspense along with a story set in a lush locale with mystic Aztec undercurrents. Greenfeder has succeeded in writing a fast-paced romantic suspense novel that is refreshingly different.


Sacred Fires is Chanticleer Book Reviews First Place Blue Ribbon Award Winner for Romantic Paranormal Mystery category.


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Fall 2014



hen the beautiful Amanda Gardner arrives in the coastal town of Shoreville, Washington, her only expectation is to begin a new life with her nine-year-old daughter Cecelia and a new career as an English professor at Buckley College. The previous ten years have not been easy. Undaunted, Amanda supported her daughter and managed to get her PhD. Now the bright and lively Cece is enrolled at the Campus School, and her intelligent, attractive mother is preparing for her first class at Buckley. Surely life is full… or is it?


The Book:

Package Deal The Author:

Kate Vale

The suspense begins when Amanda leaves Cece in her shared campus office with Carlton Winslow, her colleague and office mate while she attends a short meeting. Carlton is surly with Amanda, but queasily friendly with the blond, blue-eyed Cece.


S. J. Stanton

Intrigue begins to build on the romantic level when Amanda meets the handsome Marcus Dunbar, a friendly and witty journalism professor assigned to interview new faculty members. She is attracted to the handsome, athletic –looking man in spite of herself. His eyes—so intensely blue—are a perfect match for Cece’s! Marcus begins to win Amanda over when he takes her and her daughter on a tour around Shoreville. However, Cece appears jealous of Marcus’s intrusion in their life.


Fiction, Romance, Suspense Publisher:

North Cascades Press

But how can Amanda resist her feelings for Marcus? She feels torn between dreams of a loving husband and a caring father for Cecelia and nightmares that their life together might somehow be torn apart, as happened before with Cece’s father. Marcus has his own relationship demons to fight. Then just as all three begin to open up to each other, Cece inexplicably runs out from her home into the street and is hit by a car, suffering grave injuries. While the young girl recovers she suffers nightmares. She cannot, or will not, explain why she ran. Marcus draws on his journalist-investigative skills to determine what might have happened to Cece. He believes that Carlton Winslow—especially after he disappears—was involved, but the local police are not so convinced. Amanda does not know who to trust anymore—not even Marcus. Nothing appears as it seems and danger looms over their lives. Vale keeps us rapidly turning pages in this contemporary novel that is as suspenseful as it is romantic. Package Deal is a riveting book–I could not put it down. Vale keeps the tension building, on multiple levels, from page one to the very end.




Fall 2014


Lesson in Love is an engaging reminder that we all need forgiveness and love in our lives to fully meet the challenges and opportunities that life presents to us.


The Book:

A Lesson in Love The Author:

Heather Westing Genres:

Christian, Christian Contemporary Romance, Fiction Review:

Raney Jordan Publisher:

Promontory Press (2012)

A sheltered young woman, recently graduated from Bible College back east, is determined not to continue to live in a protective environment where she is shielded from temptation, but to live in the world as an example of her Christian faith.

She is cautioned by her best friend, Yuko, to question whether or not Eric’s charm is just a façade like Glenn’s. Holly soon learns that to forgive and forget is easier said than done when she finds out that Eric has a predator reputation for smooth-talking women to bed.

However, Holly Boardman learns quickly that her beliefs and values will be challenged at every turn–especially when she moves to Victoria, home of the Canadian Pacific Naval Fleet. One of the first hard lessons that Holly learned when she moved to Victoria was from Glenn, a handsome and, seemingly, charming young navy man. She still feels the emotional scars from his ridiculing of her beliefs and the heartbreak that she endured when she finally had to break off with him when he wanted more from her than she was willing to give. Not only did she lose him, but she also lost the circle of new friends that came with him. The close-knit Navy community that she was instantly part of when she dated Glenn immediately ostracized her upon the break-up.

And will Eric believe that Holly is sincere in her Christian faith when he learns that she dated Glenn, who is known for his excessive drinking and partying? When Eric and Holly are confronted with each other’s past missteps and mistakes, will they each be able to forgive and forget? Will they learn the lesson of forgiveness and unconditional love? Will they open their hearts to the Lord’s will for their lives?

A few years older and a little wiser, Holly knows now that she did the right thing, but thinking about it is still hurtful. Holly had learned her lesson; she had sworn off from dating Navy men. That is until a widowed handsome young naval officer picks up his young son from the day care center where she works. She finds herself being swept up in Eric Larsen’s winsome ways and can’t stop smiling when she thinks about him. Will Holly take a chance on another seemingly well-mannered, handsome young man in uniform who may try to undermine her faith in the Lord?

A Lesson in Love by Heather Westing is a well-written and well-crafted contemporary Christian love story that is both engaging and inspirational. Westing’s descriptions of life in Victoria are vivid and lively. She writes of realities and challenges that young adult Christians deal with in today’s dating scene, but she reminds us that with God’s help all things are possible. We hope to read more of Westing’s inspirational stories. As an added note: This reviewer particularly appreciates how Westing navigates the intricacies of ranks, acronyms, and jargon of the Navy without skipping a beat.



Fall 2014



Russian scientist with a PhD from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, a widely recognized leader in the field of artificial intelligence, an entrepreneur in high-tech development, Vadim Babenko closed the door on his past achievements to fulfill his desire to write. We his readers are in his debt.


The Book:

Semmant The Author:

Vadim Babenko

In Semmant (not his first novel), Babenko has created a fascinating story, peopled with unbelievable characters in whom we believe nonetheless. He introduces emotions where we would not expect to find them, and keeps us rapidly turning the pages to learn the fate of his protagonist, a genius in cybernetics named Bogdan Bogdanov, who creates a “gift for the world” named Semmant.


Contemporary, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Thriller/ Suspense

This literary work of fiction, which defiantly transcends the ordinary scheme of genres, begins in Bogdan’s white-walled room in an elite mental institution near Madrid, where he is erotically contemplating the sexual merits of his various nurses and pondering his chances of enticing one or another of them into his bed. As the sun sets behind the jagged mountain peaks that comprise the view from his window, and the institutionalized genius awaits a gourmet dinner accompanied by an expensive French wine, he begins composing his evening letter to Semmant—his friend, whom he can never desert.


S. J. Stanton Publisher:

Ergo Sum Publishing

Bogdan’s thoughts laze across the course of his life since the discovery of his phenomenal giftedness in mathematical calculation—an Indigo child, they had called him. While this afforded him an excellent education, he remained a misfit in society, seldom forging friendships, including with women. Finally stumbling into the field of artificial intelligence, Bogdan glimpses a path for his future. As a means to an income, he has always earned more than his share in the stock market. What if he applied artificial intelligence to the task? Yes! He acquires state-of-the-art knowledge in the field and leaves yet another job—this time for entrepreneurship. Bogdan decides on Madrid as his new home, finds an apartment, and begins the creation of a robot in a computer. He expends much money and many months in meticulously programming the robot to successfully challenge the financial markets of the world. Finally his work is done. Not surprisingly, a relationship of sorts has emerged between Bogdan and his creation. He affectionately names it Semmant and sometimes whimsically sends him messages, as to a friend. Semmant, housed in his gleaming computer, learns to respond in kind—in almost human terms. As Semmant settles in to work, and money pours into the trading account, Bogdan goes out to play, to enjoy the amusements and the women of Madrid. Unfortunately, ➥



Fall 2014

his success with Semmant has not spilled over to his savoir faire. Though his money attracts, Bogdan cannot understand (and certainly cannot program!) women, especially the intriguingly erotic, violently emotional, redhaired Lidia Alvares Alvares. Their initial passionate love affair gives way to an undulating path of hot and cold, which pushes Bogdan to create another colorful character, this time pseudonymously on the e-pages of a literary forum. The exploits of a high-class prostitute named Adele titillate the forum members, including an unwitting Lidia. As her character develops, Adele is lent a resemblance to Cervantes’ Dulcinea in attracting a knight in shining armor. Babenko brings his compelling story to an emotionally charged and thought-provoking conclusion—one this reviewer will likely not forget. Editor’s Note: This is one of the best books that I have recently read. I loved the writing and the complexity of the story along with the many subtle philosophical questions and dilemmas that it presents. Semmant is Babenko’s third novel. His first two, The Black Pelican and A Simple Soul, were both nominated for the Russian National Bestseller Awards and the Big Book Awards (the Russian equivalent of the Booker Awards), Russia’s most prestigious literary awards.



Fall 2014



izarre things are beginning to happen to Joel Gasteneau. A strange illness has left him feeling weak and haunted by vivid dreams, and he feels that he is being followed. Exhausted and fearful, he decides to abandon his life as a pensive drifter and focus on a longneglected project: To find durable proof for the existence of God.


The Book:

More and More unto the Perfect Day

This pursuit will run Joel through a gauntlet of self-discovery, one that will challenge the very limits of his mental and physical endurance.

The Author:

Ray Harvey

In a solid telling of a complex story of mystery and intrigue, author Ray Harvey assumes the role of master illusionist. Clues abound, but can Joel trust them? What is he really experiencing? Viral fever flashbacks? The eruption of long-buried memories? Reality? More questions than answers emerge as the reader is drawn into another world, where mysticism and philosophy tangle and clash across a stunningly-rendered, often other-worldly landscape.


L Wilson Hunt Genre(s):

Fiction Publisher:

Pearl Button Press (January 1, 2010)

The novel is stocked with well-developed, fascinating entities. Joel’s father, Neil, a brilliant and deeply ascetic man, has a weakness for violence and his own definition for the word “blood.” Has he killed in the past? And, if so, will he again,

and soon? Another entity is a stranger that Joel encounters called Tom, a sort of human/alien hybrid, who seems to know too much about Joel’s past. Along with these characters are oddly-shaped, silver clouds that seem to be keeping a watchful eye on Joel’s whereabouts. The story owns a unique lyricism; one of an eerily faint off-key melody constantly echoing through the richly orchestrated atmospherics. And there is a rhythm, a strong pulse, which propels the narrative to its startling and memorable ending. With its frequent references to philosophy and literature, More and More Unto the Perfect Day can, at times, be a cerebral read. However, it ultimately offers a rewarding, rather hypnotic and moving experience—memorable and sufficiently haunting to merit additional readings.


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The Book:

A Trip To The Stars The Author:

Nicholas Christopher Genres:

Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Mysticism Review:

L Wilson Hunt Publisher:

Touchstone (February 20, 2001)


Trip to the Stars will take you to exotic locales while introducing you to its realms of magic, music, memory and time travel. You will become acquainted with this mesmerizing story’s fascinating characters and their mysterious talents. Some of these are characters with whom you will wish could become life-long friends. Other ones you will vehemently desire that they could feel your wrath. And then there are those characters of whom you will pray never cross your path. Nicholas Christopher deftly weaves these threads to create this ensnaring mystical web of a story that crisscrosses the globe, the turbulent 60s and 70s, and the celestial sky. The story opens with the young Alma and her ten-year-old nephew Loren enjoying an afternoon planetarium show. The drama starts when they are separated in a post-show tangle of exiting stargazers. The ensuing plot, enormously complex yet tantalizing, documents the next fifteen years of our protagonists’ separate, but seemingly cosmically-linked adventures. While under this book’s cosmic spell, you will be both educated and entertained as A Trip to the Stars sends you to the outer rings of love and destiny as this mystery unfolds.

throughout their separate lives. Christopher’s direct and sure-handed prose is made from words so carefully selected and assembled that you may at times be tempted to pause your reading to relish in the fluent lyricism of a recently read poetic phrase.

As Alma and Loren narrate alternating chapters of this 499 page opus, they become Mala and Enzo. Name changes are only two of, what will be many, portents you will encounter on their esoteric journeys. Indeed, Christopher will connect many of his dots with a colorful variety of such talismans,the majority of them touching on notions of stars and constellations, perhaps as a reminder that subtle, yet influential, energies are at play.

This is a novel to be enjoyed again and again as each reading discovers new layers of intricacy and revelations. Warning: If you loan out your copy of A Trip to the Stars, you may never get it back. I am on my fourth copy of this treasure.

As you share with Alma and Loren in their struggles toward growth and fulfillment, you will come to care about them deeply, and to hope for them that the biggest and brightest star in the cosmos will light the way to the convergence of their destinies.

Christopher, an accomplished poet, rendered in Mala and Enzo characters a vulnerability and an openness that propels them into captivating situations



Fall 2014



he Grave Blogger is a murder mystery that is not for the faint-hearted. The horrors of the torturings and killings detailed within its pages are definitely not for those who prefer their mysteries to be the cozy kind. This story, complete with a psychotic psychiatrist, takes place in the Deep South where a special kind of macabre is required to send chills up your spine.

The main character, Raya, is a true crime blogger who begins having flashbacks of a gruesome massacre–one that she witnessed as a young child while she remained, she now hopes and prays, hidden out of sight of the killer. The human monster who committed the revolting crimes twenty years ago in this small, seemingly idyllic, bayou town was never caught. Enter the attractive Nick Simoneaux, a detective, who agrees to talk with Raya about the case. He harbors fears that his own father might have been involved as they begin to interview townspeople who were around when the first murders were perpetrated. It has been suspected that the killer was one of the town’s own. No one is above suspicion. Fontenot’s style allows the reader to see through the eyes of the main characters, which is especially chilling from the killer’s perspective. Readers’ hearts will be racing as the story twists and turns and the suspense rapidly intensifies in this creepy “OMG-this could really happen” page-turner. Prepare to devour this fastpaced thriller in one sitting with the lights on and the doors locked. The Grave Blogger was awarded 1st Place in the Murder/Suspense Category of the INDIE Awards, a division of the Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Awards 2013. Fontenot’s first novel, The Grave Blogger, was selected for showcasing a new style in fiction writing for fans of modern crime stories.



The Book:

The Grave Blogger The Author:

Donna Fontenot Review:

Elaine Douglas Genre(s):

Crime Thriller, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense Publisher:

DDtect Publishing (2012)



Fall 2014


n Murder One, lawyer turned novelist, Robert Dugoni has conjured up an intense page-turner that deftly mixes drama, mystery and suspense that will keep you guessing until its final pages. Dugoni’s vivid characters in his novel are marvelously believable, as are the Seattle locales that are described.


The Book: The characterizations of David Sloane and Barclay Reid (the central characters) are emotionally multi-dimensional, which makes this novel much more than a “legal thriller.” Sloane and Reid are high-profile adversarial Seattle lawyers who have done battle against each other in the courtroom. Both own .38 caliber handguns. He likes his scotch on the rocks and never loses a case. She takes her martini with an olive and refuses to lose a case. The rivals meet again, but this time out of the courtroom and discover that they have much more than courtroom bravado and finesse. They are both going through the agony of grief: He, for the murder of his beloved wife; she, for her daughter’s death from a drug overdose. Sloane finds himself attracted to the beautiful and mesmerizing Reid—a woman who will do whatever it takes to satisfy her obsessions and agendas. Yet, aware as he is of his own emotional fragility, he willing slips into her embracing spell. Their fusion is quick—pumping steam into an unusually hot and humid Pacific Northwest September. Reid focuses her drive and all her resources towards the Russian drug traffickers whom she blames for her daughter’s death. Her well-known threats of revenge make her the number one suspect in a Russian drug dealer’s murder.

Murder One

Enter Sloane, who takes on the role as her legal defender only to discover that she is a woman of many secrets. Dugoni masterfully shares his insights into the subtleties of law, often revealing them through the thoughts of David Sloane at work. Dugoni’s deep relationship that he shares with his characters is most evident when he puts them on the witness stand. His ability to blend the emotional trials of the protagonist Sloane into a complex murder-mystery is nothing less than brilliant.

The Author:

Robert Dugoni Genres:

Fiction, Mystery, Thriller/Suspense Review:

L Wilson Hunt Publisher:

Murder One’s immensely suspenseful plot twists and turns will have you devouring each of Dugoni’s sentences seeking clues in this emotionally charged, fast-paced legal murder-mystery thriller.

Touchstone, a division of Simon and Schuster (2011)

Note: Murder One is the fourth novel in the David Sloane series by Robert Dugoni. The Jury Master introduces David Sloane, attorney; Wrongful Death is the second in the series; Bodily Harm is number three. Each may be read out of order, but this reviewer advises reading them sequentially to experience the development of David Sloane’s character to the fullest.



Fall 2014



repare yourself for grand adventure as William Dietrich deftly blends the fruits of a fertile imagination and well-researched historical facts into a tale so well-crafted that characters and images seem to jump from the page in wide-screen 3-D. I was only 12 pages into Blood of the Reich when I became apprehensive that this hypnotic thriller would eventually come to an end.


The Book:

Blood of the Reich

From the golden, autumnal splendor of present day Washington State’s Skagit River Valley to the vivid color of prayer flags waving in contrast to the stark remoteness of Tibet, you’ll be there, deeply involved, wanting more. Blood, a major player in this complex mystery, will be as red as the trees of the Pacific Northwest are green.

The Author:

William Dietrich Review:

L Wilson Hunt

Then find yourself in 1938 when a Nazi expedition journeys to the high Himalayas to determine if there is any truth to a myth that hints of an ancient city located there that cradles a source of immense power—power which could accelerate their plan of world domination. Close on their heels are the Americans, bent on decoding the satanic plan. Both parties are armed and dangerous. However, the Nazis have the advantage: a very old vial of blood.


Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery Publisher:

Harper; Reprint edition

(December 27, 2011)

In a saga that spans a turbulent seventy years of action, romance and intrigue, the historian-author maintains a high level of entertainment and page turning. Dietrich’s narrative is as informative and amusing as it is boldly exciting. Be prepared to fully surrender your sense of reality to a high velocity ride that crashes head-on with a sensational blood splattered finale. Blood of the Reich deftly blurs the line between science and the paranormal as it exposes the veins of a twisted relationship between the human race and our own, often terrifying, technologies. With his memorable characters, dichotomy of modern technology and ancient Buddhist Tibetan temples, along with non-stop action, and thrilling plot, Dietrich delivers.




Fall 2014


t is a frigid night in Siberia in the year 2000. In their small apartment, Alexandra Pavlova is jerked awake by the sound of her small daughter’s struggled breathing. The mother’s tender caress of her forehead reveals a raging fever. Quickly Alexandra wakes her husband Yuri, and the parents bundle up Nadezhda for the drive from their city, bearing the Soviet-style name of Stop-100, to the regional hospital, 100 kilometers away.

With expensive medicines that her parents must buy, Nadezhda (Hope, in Russian) recovers from this bout, but the doctor tells them that the girl desperately needs surgery in one of Moscow’s major hospitals. The loving mother is a lioness in her fierce determination to do whatever it takes to help her child, born with a heart condition that leaves her vulnerable to life-threatening infections. She guiltily fears that her earlier employment as a microbiologist in a Soviet biological warfare institute may have led to Nadezhda’s condition. Now she vows to save her life. Vladimir, a friend of both Yuri and Alexandra since childhood, willingly provides money for the trip to Moscow, and Yuri begins selling car parts to earn extra money. Alexandra gratefully accepts the secretarial job offered by Vladimir, who eventually confesses his lifelong love for her and his pain and even jealousy when she married Yuri. It is hard to see how this story is to evolve into the exciting spy novel that Saving Hope has promised to be, but author Sherwood-Fabre isn’t about to disappoint her readers. She comes through with flying colors, creating her cliffhanging thriller not only with literary skill and authenticity regarding life, crime, and medicine in Russia (Sherwood-Fabre lived and worked there), but also with great emotion and story-telling ability. We learn that the hard-working father and the generous friend have hidden their

true characters—not only from us, but also from Alexandra, and even from each other. Even Alexandra, an unemployed microbiologist, is drawn into the nefarious Russian underworld that entices her with offers of a high salary and good medical care for Nadezhda. These activities do not go unnoticed by the Russian Federation’s intelligence arm, the FSB (successor to the former Soviet KGB). Agent Sergei Borisov tries to recruit Alexandra to help in his investigation by telling her how she has been betrayed. She is devastated as well as desperate, feeling there is no one she can trust. She is soon to discover that her fears—not just for herself and Nadezhda, but for the safety of the world—are well grounded. The deadly race is on.


The Book:

Saving Hope The Author:

Liese SherwoodFabre Genres:

Fiction, Thriller/ Suspense Review:

S. J. Stanton Publisher:

Musa Publishing (2012)

This reviewer’s heart was pounding as the final pages of this book flew under her fingers at 2:30 in the morning. Surely the evil that is encompassing her life and threatening the world must not reach fruition unchallenged, but what or who is going to stop it? Saving Hope is a great read, and not just to find out how it ends. There are sub-stories and sub-sub stories, built around characters I didn’t even mention in this review, that add depth and texture to this spy novel. Saving Hope by Liese Sherwood-Fabre is the Chanticleer Book Reviews 1st Place Blue Ribbon Award winner for the Suspense/Thriller category, Published Novels division.



Fall 2014



ave you ever wondered what it is like to suddenly become wordless? Words move so effortlessly from our mouths that we take them for granted. Not so with Carol Schultz who now appreciates speech as few do.

Schultz went to sleep unsuspectingly and woke up unable to speak, read or write, and realizing that she couldn’t understand other people. A stroke blasted a void across part of her brain and speechlessness into her life. Crossing the Void is the story of her journey across that wordless void to a much higher level of recovery than is generally thought possible.


The Book:

Crossing The Void: My Aphasic Journey

Schultz writes to assist other stroke victims. But, since wordless victims cannot read this helpful and hopeful account, she offers her story for those around the victims — friends, families and professionals. Being careful to inform readers that all strokes are different, and not claiming to provide a panacea for all stroke victims, she makes real the possibility of substantial recovery.

The Author:

Carol Schultz Review:

C.I. Rinn Genre(s):

Health, NonConventional Medicine, NonFiction

Crossing the Void is a chronological, descriptive narrative that flows smoothly even though Schultz’s life and recovery did not. Her skillful weaving of her thoughts, journal entries, friends’ writings and medical reports carries the reader through fears, struggles and triumphs. It makes her methods for recovery and advice for advocates credible. Her extensive glossary, detailed appendices and list of “Insights for Advocates” make this a practical “How To” guide.


The reader travels the road back to communication through Schultz’s eyes and feelings. From the initial shock and fears, the reality of not getting what she needs through others’ lack of understanding, the skill and kindness of family and friends, she arrives at her determination to help others. The description of Schultz’s journey is intense, at times humorous, and finally, triumphant and focused on helping others.


(August 10, 2012)

The marvel of this book is that it is written by one who, not so long ago, could not produce or understand words but, through dogged determination, has come full circle. I heartily recommend Crossing the Void. This inside story of a journey back from almost total loss of the ability to communicate will make you hold your breath as you read and then, finish rejoicing at both Schultz’s triumph over wordlessness and the hope her experience and advice offer to others.




Fall 2014


ake a few moments for yourself. Breathe.” How often have we heard this advice? But, how often do we follow these sage words? If you are like me, not very often—if at all.

So I began to read Chocolate Yoga expecting the ‘same ol’ same old.’ How to Lose Weight without Dieting or Exercising—just breathe! Yea, right and eat lots of chocolate while you are at it. However, I found that this book actually does take an entirely different approach to health improvement. One that I, yes, even I, might incorporate into my unhealthy lifestyle. Margaret’s words soothed and nurtured me as I read them. I found myself picking up the volume and rereading passages. Chocolate Yoga became like a supportive friend who is always there for you reminding you that you will be okay. Not only will you survive, you will thrive. Just remember to breathe. Chocolate Yoga does not deny or belittle the stresses of our daily lives—especially with today’s hectic lifestyle. My work requires me to be at a computer keyboard for eight-to-twelve hours a day. Deadlines are the mainstay of my business. I had gained weight at unprecedented rate this past year. I haven’t exercised in months. Oh, and did I mention the menopause thing? You get the picture….

using Chocolate Yoga’s techniques, I found myself making time—taking the time— even if it was just a few more moments for exploring another stress reducing yoga technique or a meditation that Chocolate Yoga shares with us. No special equipment or clothes are needed. Just you. Just breathe. “There are many paths up the mountain. Find what works for you,” is a sample of the encouragement from Margaret Chester that you will find in Chocolate Yoga that will embolden you to begin your journey for better health for your body, mind and spirit—one step at a time.


The Book:

Chocolate Yoga The Author:

Margaret Chester, MPH, RYT

Margaret Chester, author of Chocolate Yoga, is a MPH, RYT, certified yoga instructor. Her advice on how to get started on your journey to better health is: “Begin wherever you are.” [Reviewer’s note: And, yes, I am losing weight the Chocolate Yoga way.]


Health, NonFiction, Weight Management Review:

K Brown Publisher:

self-published (2011)

This slim tome is filled with inspiring passages and techniques of how we can withhold snippets of our own days—just for ourselves. Margaret names these blessed moments “chocolate.” She uses chocolate as a metaphor for those moments in time that nourish the soul. A few moments here, a few moments there when we are mindful of our breathing will make a difference. Exhale. Inhale. Breathe. These few moments a day of me nurturing me was making a difference.


As I remembered to breathe (with Margaret’s gentle and nurturing nudging)


Fall 2014



n intensely personal and compelling narrative, Waking Up Dying offers an insider’s perspective of the passage through cancer beginning with Duke’s wife’s diagnosis of stage IV glioblastoma brain cancer—typically a fatal condition.

Duke found the entire caregiving experience an agonizing, non-stop emotional rollercoaster: unbelievably frustrating, emotionally searing and increasingly chaotic.


The Book:

The author’s story of his dedicated and loving role as caregiver entails four phases of this tortuous journey: the couple’s daily coping with the disease; the author’s struggle through the health care system; the emotional reality of caregiving his dying wife; and the carefully documented material put forward as a basis for reforming the care system.

Waking Up Dying: Caregiving When There is No Tomorrow The Author:

Robert A. Duke Genres:

Duke took on the mantle of caregiver for his wife, Shearlean, with no practical experience, no history of what it is like to take care of a loved one with an acute health condition, or little knowledge of what was involved or to be expected from the U.S. healthcare system, nor from him as her advocate and caregiver. Nevertheless, Duke immediately committed to her treatment and care. His goal appeared simple:

Health, NonConventional Medicine, NonFiction, Pacific Northwest nonfiction, Senior Care Review:

N. Davis, Ph.D.

“She would remain at home throughout the course of her illness and would die at home in her own bed with me beside her when it was time.”


Good Enough Publishing

But life in the cancer ward was never about simple. While Shearlean confronted a regimen of powerful medications, facing the effects of radiation and chemotherapy, and piecing together a quality of life, Duke had his own challenges. Over an 18-month period, Duke chronicles his caregiver’s routine: managing medications, diet, medical bills, schedules, and fights with a never-ending bureaucracy that undermined his every effort to facilitate care. The physical, psychological and financial burdens that he shares with his readers are beyond comprehension.




Fall 2014

Help and encouragement from friends and hired help weren’t all the support the couple needed. Shearlean suffered the effects of aphasia, affecting the brain’s language center, seriously affecting her academic livelihood as a journalist and teacher. She believed that working with a speech therapist could help repair the damage of cancer and surgery, including a serious loss of skills in reading, writing, speaking, typing and listening. There was nothing that the speech therapist could do for her. Her recommendation was only that Shearlean stay out of groups, where language would be more difficult to manage, even for a highly educated person. Over the course of her disease, Shearlean’s language abilities remained, allowing her to continue teaching, although speaking intelligibly was highly dependent on her overall emotional condition and physical strength. The author summarizes their life together with terminal cancer. He deemed it… “A death sentence—[which] should have obliterated any semblance of normal life. There were days when this was true, like when Shearlean had great pain, but mostly it wasn’t. A balm to our souls was how ordinary life remained… although things were hard, confusing and frustrating; we were also okay in many respects.” The health care system was another, even more horrendous story, characterized by “bad medicine and underwhelming care” was what Duke said he experienced. Physicians could be inaccessible, indifferent and/or negligent; prescription snafus commonplace occurrences; medication lists impossible to decipher. And, he found insurance companies to be arrogant corporate ➥

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doctors and nurses alike: “We have other patients.” How unbelievably heartless and inhumane. Duke is adamant about how medical personnel should interact with cancer patients: “Reception and administration should be limited, efficient, personal, knowledgeable and considerate. They should never preempt the patient’s tranquility, equilibrium, peace of mind or personhood.” entities, with a single goal: the bottom line of profit, regardless of patient need. Assertive caregivers felt that they were not welcome, even actively rebuffed, from participating in their loved one’s care or for advocating for their patients’ rights, Duke posits. When pursuing essential help, Duke stated that he was often dismissed by

The author could have written a simpler book, just the story of the final months of his 40-year love affair with Shearlean, his intelligent, accomplished wife. Instead, he took on far more: the intimacy of caregiving and the battle to understand and document why the system was failing him and his loved one.

Waking Up Dying is a blockbuster; a hit between the eyes. Duke challenges the reader to take those tortuous steps he has—feel his sorrow, elation and pain, walk his walk through the everyday rituals of care, and talk the talk of his analysis of much-needed system reform. As a doctor of sociology, a professional caregiver consultant, educator and researcher of caregivers and their patients, I know of no other book on caregiving that details the precise obstacles that caregivers may encounter and must contend with because of a disorganized, broken system. This book is a must-read for caregivers. Be prepared for a mind-blowing, ultimately, illuminating and educational experience.



Fall 2014



n Unforgiving, The Memoir of an Asperger Teen, Margaret Jean Adam chronicles her own struggles with growing up with Asperger’s Syndrome in the early sixties, decades before it would be officially recognized by the medical profession.


One of the syndrome’s hallmark symptoms is a lack of the ability to understand the subtleties of non-verbal communication. Social cues such as body language and facial expressions are opaque to its victims, whose resultant awkward and seemingly inappropriate behavior can leave them feeling isolated and misunderstood.

The Book:

Unforgiving: The Memoir of an Asperger Teen

Life at the totally dysfunctional Adams’ home was strict and laborious, leaving the young Margaret Jean little time to retreat into the world of reading, writing and religious thought that had become her sanctuary of survival. She had also been molested by a family friend at the age of fourteen, but acknowledged that her parents would not believe her. Life with Asperger’s is not something that anyone wants, but for Margaret Jean this experience was exacerbated by being sexually abused.

The Author:

Margaret Jean Adam Genre(s):

Memoir, Non-Fiction Review:

L Wilson Hunt

As a teen, Margaret Jean devoured Shakespeare, which led her to find dignity and recognition in acting. Role playing suited her strong persona and resonated harmoniously with the fantasies of her inner sanctum. And, from her will to succeed in a daunting world came her self-appointed directive of staying on the rocky path to becoming “the best-possible Margaret Jean.”


Margaret Florczak (2012)

The memoir’s brave narrative, an inviting mix of diary excerpts and personal reflection along with some of her own very moving poetry, offers a clear view into the workings of the Asperger mind. As such, it provides drama, humor and surprise to substantiate a good novel. But it is mostly an expression of the author’s desire to help others via a generous sharing of her own experiences, a project that she manages brilliantly. Unforgiving: the Memoir of an Asperger Teen celebrates the beauty and resiliency of the human spirit.




Fall 2014


PE is the how-to compendium for today’s selfpublishers.

Authors will find APE an indispensable resource. Guy Kawasaki passes along his publishing experience in his “no-shitake,” but affable manner. Imagine having an extremely successful uncle in the publishing biz who also has a tech-wizard pal (co-author Shawn Welch) of digital publishing magic. Fortunately for us, this dynamic duo decided to share their publishing know-how. APE’s premise is that publishing is a parallel process “that requires simultaneous progress along multiple fronts.” Hence, self-publishers are challenged with how to: market, brand, design, promote, publish, distribute, and finance a book–all at the same time. Oh, and don’t forget the time required for actually writing the book. Indisputably, each self-publisher is an: Author, Publisher and Entrepreneur. Reading APE is like taking a condensed survey course in publishing; it addresses the range of topics that authors must know about self-publishing. APE covers aspects from the existential question of “Should I write a book?” to advice on how to create foreign language versions of your book, to guerrilla marketing techniques, and ideas for financing. Traditional publishers have long prided themselves on their art form and on their discernment abilities. Readers have come to expect and appreciate their expertise. APE’s tactics and techniques will enable self-published authors to deliver to readers books that will meet these timehonored and well-justified expectations. Kawasaki and Welch challenge selfpublishers to take up the mantle of “artisanal publishing”—where authors who love their craft must dedicate the time and resources to “control every aspect of the process of


The Book:

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur— How to Publish a Book The Author:

beginning to end.” If authors engage this philosophy, their books should have a much improved chance on separating themselves apart from the chaff of the expected two million new titles that are expected to hit the English language market in 2013. APE admonishes that self-publishing isn’t easy or a way to get rich quick. But if you want a realistic, tactical, and, relatively, slim (300-pages) self-publishing guide that is profuse with handy resources and links (which actually work—this reviewer checked them) on how to do it right, then APE is the go-to guide for you.

Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch Genres:

Non-Fiction, Publishing Review:

K Brown Publisher:

Nononina Press

(December 10, 2012)

An additional remark from the reviewer: APE should be on every author’s desk or e-reader right along with The Chicago Manual of Style and The Copy-editor’s Handbook. As with the latter guides, it is one that you will refer to often as you find your way in today’s era of the Wild, Wild West of Publishing. It also addresses the particular formatting hurdles that non-fiction writers must clear when selfpublishing.



Fall 2014



oe: Nevermore, by Rachel M. Martens, is a contemporary suspense thriller with a nod to paranormal elements of the Romanticism Movement. This dark and dense novel that borders on horror is told in the first person by a young woman, Elenora Allison Poe, known simply as ‘Poe.’


The Book:

Poe: Nevermore The Author:

Rachel M. Martens Genres:

Fiction, Literary Fiction, Paranormal Romanticism, Thriller/Suspense Review:


The story begins innocently enough; it seems that the characters and the plot are driven by mental illness (even Poe) until the impetus is revealed. That is the hook of Martens’ writing—just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the game changes. The plot twists and turns as it sinks its hook deeper into you. At first, as I read, I thought that this novel might be another variation of Fight Club or the Dragon Tattoo series. It is not.

something worth saving in her, and shares her interest in the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Poe himself aids her pursuit, explaining the curse, and presenting himself as her spirit guide.

For some, it may be too haunting a tale. The author skillfully builds tension and anticipation with complex characters that are not easily dismissed. The antagonists are evil incarnate. The scary part is that they could be someone you speak with every day, the next date that you are on, the person you work with….

The 19th century Romantic Movement, a revolt against societal norms in art, was represented by deep emotional response to experience, including emphasis on terror, horror, and the supernatural. Edgar Allan Poe’s writings, known for their mystery, their macabre, and his delving into the human psyche, were part of this movement. The parallels between our heroine’s life and that of Edgar Allan Poe are brilliantly developed by the genre and style in which Poe: Nevermore has been written.

The beginning of the story manifests Poe’s awkwardness of Poe in trying to make her way in the world alone, as many young adults do. The ordeals Poe has survived so far in her young life have reduced her to perilously low levels of self-worth and confidence. You think to yourself that Poe needs to get a grip on herself, to stop feeling sorry for herself. But soon enough the reasons for her self-defeatist attitude are divulged and you will wonder how she functions at all and why, … indeed, why she is still alive.


BookBaby (2013)

Poe learns that her family has been accursed since Edgar Allan Poe’s foster father had a witch invoke it. The curse destroys the victim psychologically and emotionally. It will destroy everything and everyone to torture its victim, to make the victim’s life a living hell.


Poe must unravel the details of the family curse in order to save the few loved ones she has left in this world. She pursues this with the help of a budding relationship with Frost, a homicide detective who sees


Fall 2014

Be warned; Poe: Nevermore is not a cozy mystery. Ms. Martens succeeds at painting dark, suspenseful, sometimes horrific pictures. It is the type of psychological horror that locking the doors and windows and reading with the lights on will not keep out. I highly recommend this book for my fellow edge-of-our-seat junkies—those of us who are constantly seeking the book we ever so briefly fear picking up, then can’t put down in the relentless pursuit of discovering whatever comes next! Martens’ Poe: Nevermore deliciously feeds these cravings along with satisfying those with classical literary interests. I anxiously look forward to reading Marten’s next installment of Poe.






Congratulations to our 2013 1st Place Category Winners in the Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Awards Writing Competitions!

The Chatelaine Awards recognize new and outstanding works in the genre of Romantic Fiction. The Chatelaine Awards 1st Place Category Winners for 2013 are:





Historical Romance

The Lily and the Lion

Catherine T. Wilson & Catherine A. Wilson



Kate Vale

Southern Romance

Swamp Secret

Eleanor Tatum


The Hourglass

Sharon Struth

Jane Austen Inspired

Pulse and Prejudice

Colette Saucier


Crimson Flames

Ashley Robertson

Christian Inspirational Romance

Chasing Charlie

C. M. Newman


A Path through the Garden

Nancy LaPonzina

Classic Bodice Ripper

To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield

Bronwen Evans


The Laramie Awards recognize emerging new works and outstanding authors in the genre of Western Fiction. The Laramie Awards 1st Place Category Winners for 2013 are:






Double or Nothing

Meg Mims


Haunted Falls

Ken Farmer & Buck Stienke

Historical Fiction

Because of the Camels

Brenda Blair

Civil War

Ford at Valverde

Anita Melillor

Prairie Pioneer

They Rode Good Horses

Dale B. Jackson

Literary Western

Unbroke Horses

Dale B. Jackson

First Novel

Confessions of a Gunfighter

Tell Cotten

Best Manuscript

Lick Creek

Deborah Lincoln


Fall 2014


The Clue Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of Thriller, Mystery, and Suspense Novels. The Clue Awards 1st in Category Winners for 2013 are:

Clue :




Romantic Suspense

Small Town Storm

Elise K. Ackers


Buried Threads

Kaylin McFarren

Debut Novel

The Last Dance

Lonna Enox

Historical Mystery


Jim Musgrave


Too Many Violins

Mark Reutlinger

Private Eye

Fire Trap

Richard Mann

Police Procedural


Carolyn Arnold

Classic Detective

Raggedy Man

Clyde Curley


Deadly Recall

Donnell Ann Bell

Amateur Sleuth

Death Over Easy

Toby Speed


Grind His Bones

Richard Newell Smith


Without Consent

Bev Irwin

Psychological Thriller

The Grave Blogger

Donna Fontenot

B The Chaucer Awards recognize new and outstanding works in the genre of Historical Fiction Novels. The Chaucer Awards 1st in Category Winners for 2013 are:

Chaucer :






Adventure/Young Adult

I, Walter

Mike Hartner

N.A. Western

Crossing Purgatory

Gary Schanbacher

World War II (European)

Deal with the Devil

J. Gunner Grey


Lady Blade

C.J. Thrush

Nordic History

The Jossing Affair



Traitor’s Gate

David Chacko & Alexander Kulcsar

Women’s Fiction/WWII

Wait for Me

Janet K. Shawgo

Medieval/Dark Ages

Divine Vengeance

David Koons



Sean Curley

Women’s Fiction/World History

Daughters of India

Kavita Jade

Fall 2014

The Dante Rossetti Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of Young Adult Fiction. The First Place Category Winners of the Dante Rossetti Awards for 2013 are:

Dante Rossetti




Time Travel, Sci-Fi:

Cryptic Space – Book One: Foresight

Deen Ferrell



Nely Cab



Pauline Creeden

Contemporary/Paranormal The Undead

Elsie Elmore


Spirit Legacy


New Adult

The Immortal Game

Joannah Miley


Black Crow, White Lie

Candi Sary


All is Silence

Robert L. Slater


Leon Martin and the Fantasy Girl

Andre Swartley


The Borealis Genome

Thomas P. Wise and Nancy Wise

We now have a new category for outstanding works that didn’t quite fit into the YA/New Adult categories, but were stellar works for younger readers:

Tweens Coming of Age

A Town Bewitched

Suzanne de Montigny

Tweens Fantasy

Fiona Thorn and the Carapacem Spell

Jen Barton

Tweens Historical

Dangerous Road

Jenny Clark

Tweens Inspirational

The Knoll

Ginger Cucolo

Tweens Paranormal

The Mouse Catcher: Witches Beware

Julie G. Helm

Tweens Adventure

I, Walter

Mike Hartner



The Journey Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of Narrative Non-fiction. First Place Category Winners for the Journey Awards for 2013 are:





Era Memoir

Unforgiving, The Memoir of an Asperger Teen

Margaret Jean Adam

Travelogue Experiences

My Next Husband Will be Normal

Rae Ellen Lee


My Aphasic Journey

Carol Schultz


Survivor Clift

Jessica Clift


The Tutor

Debra Boyle

True Action/Adventure

More Faster Backwards

Christine Smith

Personal Journey

Leaving Early

Don Waitt


Fall 2014


The Somerset Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of Contemporary, Mainstream, and Literary Fiction. The First Place Category Winners of the Somerset Awards for 2013 are:

Somerset :





Chocolates on the Pillow

Sean Dwyer


Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book that Changed the World

Dermot Davis


The Prodigal

Michael Hurley

Speculative Fiction

Individually Wrapped

Jeremy Bullian


Tarnished Hero

Jim Gilliam


The Opposite of Everything

David Kalish

Women’s Fiction

Cheating the Hog

Rae Ellen Lee

New Adult

Saving Faith

Patrick M. Garry


The Mystery & Mayhem Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of Cozy Mystery Novels. The First Place Category Winners of the M&M Awards for 2013 are:

M&M :




Amateur Sleuth

Trudy, Madly, Deeply

Wendy Delaney

Animal Mystery

Murder Strikes a Pose

Tracy Weber

British Cozy

Blue Virgin

M. K. Graff

Cozy Classic

Fatal Induction

Bernadette Pajer


Rules of Lying

Stephie Smith


Package Deal

Kate Vale


Her Boyfriend’s Bones

Jeanne Matthews



The Cygnus Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in the genre of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Mythological, and Steampunk fiction. First Place Category Winners for the Cygnus Awards for 2013 are:

Cygnus :






Science Fiction

Citadel 7, Earth’s Secret

Yuan Jur

Military Sci-fiction

Virtues of War

Bennett R. Coles

Young Adult/Steampunk

The Lotus Effect

Bridget Ladd


Celia’s Heaven

Nancy Canyon


Artemis Rising

Cheri Lasota

Women’s Fantasy/SciFi

The Maiden Voyage of the Mary Ann

Linda Reed


Ragnarok: Demon Seed

E. Bishop

Fall 2014

Congratulations to our 2012 1st Place Category Winners in the Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Awards Writing Competitions!

Chanticleer Book Reviews Grand Prize and 1st Place Winners Chanticleer Blue Ribbon Published Novels Contest 2012 CBR Blue Ribbon Awards Grand Prize Winners: TREE SOLDIER by J.L. Oakley THE ONLY WITNESS by Pamela Beason 1st Place Winners: Cozy Mystery: Historical:

DIRTY LAUNDRY by Liz Osborne

LOOK FOR ME by Janet Shawgo

Women’s Contemporary:

NARDI POINT by Nancy LaPonzina

Mainstream: ENDANGERED Mystery Thriller:

by Pamela Beason

SAVING HOPE by Liese Sherwood Fabre

Romance Mystery:

INN AT LITTLE BEND by Bobbi Groover

Romantic Paranormal:

SACRED FIRES by Catherine Greenfeder

FMI about writing contests, visit Promote your book with the power of a CBR book review Generate Press Releases • Enhance Author Platforms • Create Content for Social Media Develop Market Collateral • Drive Book Promotions


Fall 2014






More than $20,000.00 dollars worth of cash and prizes will be awarded to Chanticleer Book Reviews 2014 writing competition winners! Yes, CBR writing competitions are challenging. Those who enter are impassioned about their writing and are keen to meet their publishing goals. •

Submission deadlines help you meet your deadlines for your publishing goals.

Winning and placing in a CBR competition will help promote your work and your author platform.

Manuscript submissions help to get your work out of the slush pile.

You could win cash, promotional opportunities, and a coveted CBR book review package. CBR Grand Prize Blue Ribbon Award 2014 winner will be awarded $1,000.00 cash. Nine 1st Place Genre Blue Ribbon Award 2014 winners will be awarded $250.00 cash each. CBR 1st Place Award Category Contest Winning Authors will receive:



Chanticleer Book Reviews’ Blue Ribbon Writing Contests 2014 – 2015

Award winning books will be placed on the Chanticleer Book Shelves (which sell and promote the winning titles). Our CBR Book Shelves are located in participating Independent Book Stores across the U.S.

A coveted Chanticleer Book Review

A CBR Blue Ribbon embossed with the Contest Name, Author Name, and Book Title to use in promotion at book signings and book festivals

Digital award stickers for on-line promotion

Adhesive book stickers

Shelf-talkers and other promotional items

Promotion in print and on-line media

Review of book distributed to on-line sites and printed media publications

Review, cover art, and author synopsis listed in CBR’s newsletter

Enter Now @ The 1st Place Award winners will automatically be entered into the GRAND PRIZE AWARD for title of The Best of the CBR Award Winning Books of 2014! Now that is something to CROW about!

yyzzyx 48


Fall 2014

yyzzyx These are Chanticleer writing contests you can still enter for 2014. Blue Ribbon Awards Writing Contests – 2014 - 2015 Two Divisions in Each Category: Published (Legacy, Indie, Self-Pub, Small Press, E-pub) and Manuscripts The Clue Awards– Mystery, Thriller, Suspense Novel Writing Contest 2014 Deadline: September 30, 2014 • Romantic Suspense • Cozy/Amateur Sleuth • Professional Sleuth • Mystery/Suspense/Thriller • Historical Mystery • Mystery Caper/Adventure • Mystery Crime • Private Eye/Noir • Legal/Medical/Police Procedural

The Cygnus Awards – Fantasy and SciFi Writing Contest – 2015 Deadline: Jan. 31st, 2015 • Steampunk • Science Fiction • Time Travel • Fantasy • Paranormal • Mythological • Soft Sci-Fi/Young Adult • Speculative Fiction

The Paranormal Awards – Speculative Fiction Novel Writing Contest 2014 Deadline: October 31st, 2014 • Special abilities, super-natural • Werewolves, vampires, vampire slayers, shape shifters, etc. • Southern Gothic • Pulp Gothic • Contemporary Gothic • Romantic (no eroticism, please) • Urban/Edgy Paranormal • Historical • Magical systems • Parallel universe • Angels & Demons • Young Adult & New Adult

Mystery & Mayhem Awards (M&Ms) – Cozy Mystery Novels Writing Contest 2015 Deadline: March 31st, 2015 • Amatuer Sleuth (ex. Agatha Christie, Alexander McCall style) • Romance • Animals (ex. Cat Who…) • Hobbies/Cooking, Knitting, Gardening & Hobbies • Blended Genres • Medical/Lab Lit • Travel/Vacation/Exotic Locales (ex. Peter Mayle) • Humourous • Senior Sleuths • Historical/Period • Y/A • Classic/British-English Cozy to Not-so-Cozy

The Somerset Awards Contemporary & Mainstream Novel Writing Contest 2014 Deadline: November 30th, 2014. Categories: Genre blending encouraged! Surprise us!

The Dante Rossetti Awards – Young Adult Novels Writing Contest 2015 Deadline: Extended to April 30, 2015 • Contemporary • Fantasy, Steampunk, Sci-Fi • Romance • Historical • Inspirational • Dystopian/Edgy/Urban • Mystery/Thriller/Suspense • Lighthearted/Humorous • New Adult (New Category/more intense/more adult subject matter than Y/A)

The Journey Awards for Narrative Non-fiction Writing Contest – 2015 Deadline: February 28th, 2015 • Travelogue Experiences • Global Enlightenment • Culinary/Hobby Experiences • Volunteer Experiences • True Action/Adventure • An Era Memoir (Ex. “Larkrise to Candleford” by Flora Thompson) • Personal Journey

RAW NaNoWriMo 2014 Writing Competition The RAW NaNoWriMo 2014 writing competition is for 1st & 2nd drafts manuscripts ONLY! We are searching for orginality of story concept and raw storytelling ability. See website for details.


Fall 2014





Story “Clean Slate” A Novelette by Amanda June Hagarty

Story Copyright © 2013 Amanda June Hagarty Cover art copyright © Amanda June Hagarty All Rights Reserved Author contact: Author Website: He was as far from London as a man on foot could travel in three days. Three days ago he had awoken with no memory of who he was. Now his mind was full of memories. But they were as chaotic as a battlefield, slipping and slithering like soldiers trying to keep steady in mud and blood. First, he had followed his instincts home through the cobbled streets. The brickbuilt townhouse had a large bay window, with a white stucco surround, where a single candle glowed as if waiting for him. It was the home of a well-to-do man, or perhaps a family. He’d hesitated at the door and then knocked awkwardly. The door had opened, and a gawking maid barred the threshold. Her familiar blue eyes had tugged at his heart, but his mind remained an echoing cavern. “Please, Leland—Dr. Kelley. Go. Run! I know you are not what they say. You are gentle soul.” She had not offered him shelter; but her eyes had offered him kindness, her caressing hands had pressed a leather wallet into his, and her lips had given him something precious—his name. He had tried to find a place to rest, but each time he stopped to collect himself the darkness had gathered, a demon presence at its heart. And every other face he had seen on the streets of London became a mask of horror at the sight of him; people had pointed and shouted for the constabulary. And so he had quickly given in to her advice. He ran for his life. Now he was coming to the end of a pier in some northwestern port town. Boats rocked in their moorings and the stench of tar invaded his nostrils. The early fall sky was clear and bright, stabbing his eyes with unending blue. His mind was full of contradictions. Gaslights in the streets were both a wonder of modern technology, and painfully primitive. Travel by horse-drawn taxi was a comfortable and expedient way to travel, but it told him he was in an undeveloped and backward place. The idea of men traveling in tiny vessels bobbing on the open water was natural, and yet unthinkably



Fall 2014

archaic. Memories had returned, but so scattershot he could

it in the pouch. “I am in your debt, Sir. What can I do to repay

make no sense of them. Each memory seemed at odds with

the boon?” “I’d like to speak to the captain of this ship, please.”

the last. Cracks of black ocean alternated with planks beneath his feet. His mind hummed the old rhyme: “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” No face came to him at the word

The big man grinned as he hopped from the pier onto the ship’s deck. Leland’s eyes darted over him, absorbing every

mother. He concentrated harder. A slough of women’s faces

detail: his well-kept clothes, his muscular body, a few years

bombarded him. Dark faces, light faces, bloody faces, burned

past its prime, his speech, not rough like a sailor, but smooth

faces. Leland cried out in horror.

with the Queen’s English, and the way the man seemed part

The black between the planks began to deepen and

of, yet, set apart from, the busy swarm of the crew.

he averted his eyes to the merciless sky. But even without

“You are the captain,” Leland said.

seeing it, he could feel its oozing presence. The darkness had

“And you are a clever, as well as prudent, man,”

found him again. His heartbeat quickened, urging him to run, but his feet could take him no further. Water stretched out endlessly on the horizon before him. He had come to the end of the

said the captain, looking down at Leland’s feet, which were carefully avoiding the cracks. “I’d like to buy passage. I have money.” Leland’s hand cradled the leather wallet in his pocket. “You’re too late. The tide is on its way out, and

pier. He looked around franticly. A fair sized fishing vessel was preparing to leave, clouds of sooty steam puffing up from its stack. A large man, with salt and pepper stubble,

us with it. We have no time to load luggage, and no accommodation fit for a gentleman.” Leland swallowed. All around him he could see the

stood nearby, coiling a rope with precision and speed. Leland

darkness gathering. He needed to keep moving. “No luggage.

lurched toward him, then stopped.

Just me. And my needs are simple.”

The gaps of the dock throbbed with an evil that threatened his right mind, but square on a board before him, pure and untouched, laid a small lock of black hair carefully tied with a red ribbon. Leland mustered his courage and snatched it away from the reaching fingers of shadow. “Sir, did you lose this?” He hadn’t spoken in days. His voice sounded strange, like someone else was speaking. The man turned. At the sight of the black curl in Leland’s outstretched palm, his eyes widened and his hand flew to the pouch at his hip. “Heaven help me if I were to lose my Jennie’s token!” As though handling a delicate butterfly, the man picked up the hair between two calloused fingers and placed

“Oh, aye? I have seen many a man come aboard ship with no luggage. Have you committed a crime, Sir?” Crewmen were pulling in the fenders, and the split of ocean between the dock and the ship began to widen, the gap filling with unnatural darkness. Alarm grew in the pit of Leland’s stomach. “Not that I can recall!” he blurted. “I’m not quite sure what to make of that answer.” The captain squinted at him. “But it strikes me as honest.” He hesitated for an agonizing moment, then, quickly said, “Come on. You’re going to have to jump.” The men were pushing off. The ship drifted free, and the darkness grew. Leland faltered. “Now or never! Time and the sea wait for no man.” Time. A fog of omens chased that word through his


Fall 2014


mind, but he couldn’t stop to think what it meant. He landed on the wooden deck with a jarring thud,

the varnished wood of the wheelhouse. The captain nodded in satisfaction and ducked through a small doorway. The underbelly of the ship was thick with heat; the

and pain drove a spike deep in his head. He hadn’t realized he how much his head was aching until just then. He wavered.

smell of bilge and burning coal competed with the various

“Easy.” The captain steadied him.

odors of people living in close quarters. Dim light gave the

Leland sighed with relief as the black waves

tight space a sepia wash, until the captain unhooked a lantern

retreated behind them. He was safe once more, and perhaps

and turned up the wick. He guided Leland down narrow steps. “You had best become friendly with the crew,” the

he could rest. “Where are we sailing?” “Ha! Now he asks. We are headed for one last haul

captain said, stepping aside and sucking in his belly to let Leland squeeze around him.

of cod, off the shores of Down.”

Four sets of bunks lined the walls to the left and

“Ireland?” Leland was swept with two simultaneous sensations: one of having been raised in Ireland, and one of

right, stacked three high. Between them was a space barely

having never been to Ireland. He gripped the rail as his sanity

longer than his forearm. Glad of his thin frame, Leland


maneuvered to a lower bunk and sat down. A barely decent Remembering his promise to pay, Leland pulled a

distance beyond the bunks was the boiler. A wet shirt hung

paper note out of his wallet and handed it to the captain. The

above it, filling the small space with its particular odor. The

captain took the money, held it up to the light briefly, and

boiler was plunged into shadow as the captain hung the

tucked it away.

lantern on a hook and turned down the wick again. “Now, Mr. Kelley, I let you come aboard because I

“I am Jonathan Blake, skipper of this here beauty,” the captain said. He swept his burly arm in a grand gesture

owed you a favor. But tell me some skill you have, to appease

at the riggings, nets, shouting men, and then thrust his hand

the lads, and prevent a mutiny over the reduced rations. How

toward Leland. “Welcome aboard the Albatross, finest steam

do you make your living?” Images swam around in Leland’s head. A strange

trawler in all the Isles.” “Leland,” He reached out to shake the waiting hand.

world of blinking lights combated visions of blood, carbines, and the screams of animals.

“Leland Kelley.”

“I’m a veterinary surgeon...I think.”

“Very fine to meet you, Mr. Kelley. Let’s get you

“You think?”

settled below.”

Two uniforms came into his head. “The war.” He said,

Painful pressure was building behind Leland’s eyes, and the crew was staring at him sideways, so he was glad of the suggestion. As he followed the captain, he inspected the skies for signs a storm was coming. A storm might bring some “Is it safe to sail to Ireland with a storm coming,

understood, “Army. Lancers, I suppose?” eyed beasts, always struggling to stand and run. The captain rested a hand on Leland’s shoulder.

Captain?” he asked, hopefully. “A storm? You bite your tongue and touch wood!” The captain stopped, staring, until Leland felt obliged to touch

“Ah,” The captain nodded, as though he finally “Yes. The horses. I treated them.” Wounded, wild-

relief to the throbbing in his head.




Fall 2014

“That business in Sherpur was a terrible thing.” He bowed his head. After a moment of silence, he clapped Leland on the

shoulder, and said, “Perhaps, if one of the lads gets a scrape?”

have killed him if he had been hospitalized and given regen

“I’ll do my best, Captain.”

treatment. But he hadn’t been in the hospital; he had been in

“Much appreciated, Mr. Kelley...or rather, Dr. Kelley.”

a mortuary. And, he was a medical man, there was no fixing a

The captain left him alone in the dark, with only the

bullet through the heart—no such thing as regen treatment.

lantern to hold it back. The raised cot-sides dug uncomfortably into Leland’s

Leland lay back on his bunk and heard the dry crackle of paper. The cot was stuffed with newspaper. He leapt up

legs. The air was hot and stale. He hadn’t slept in days and

and fished a few crumpled balls from under the blanket,

he was exhausted, but he could not bring himself to close his

smoothing them out across his knee. His eyes swept up to the

eyes and invite the darkness in.

top corner: 1888. It felt both right and wrong.

If he went back up, they would ask him more

Leland smoothed out another, and another. Different

questions. How could he answer them when the earliest

months, different days, but the year remained the same. It

memory he trusted was waking up three days ago, in an East

was 1888, yet he felt like he was unpacking an ancient box of

End mortuary, with the taste of gunpowder in his mouth?

china, seeing a snapshot of history in the packing paper.

The lantern swung gently with the rocking of the

One of the headlines grabbed his attention. “War

ship. In his mind his memories were at war. One world, lit by

Hero or Killer? Vigilante Committee Decides With A Bullet!” He

candles and kerosene—electricity a novelty—battled another,

crumpled it up.

where every chink in every wall was lit by electric light. He

You can’t repair a heart! The body was a strange

dragged his fingers through his hair, yanking. How could he

and organic place. Bullets did not always travel a straight

pluck out the path of his life from this skirmish in his head?

path. In battle, the bizarre was commonplace—men could be

He stripped off his shirt and mopped his face. He couldn’t help looking down at his chest. The impossible scar was still there. He felt it with his fingers again, just to be sure.

mistaken as dead and come back to life. The bullet must have somehow missed Leland’s heart. Bizarre, but not impossible. The list of the ship changed, and the lantern swung.

The scar of a bullet wound right over his heart. There was a

Light glinted off something metal on the bunk across from

twin scar on his back. He should be dead.

him. Cold steel. Not the precise and delicate blade of a

The lantern flickered, and the darkness pulsed.

scalpel, but a brutal knife, meant for gutting and butchering.

Leland’s eyes widened, but the darkness that surrounded

Blood welled in his mind again, and bile rose in his throat.

him did not deepen, or grow, or reach out for him. He let his

Maybe it was better if he didn’t remember. But he was

breath out.

desperate to. What was a man without memories?

More disturbing than the scar over his heart, was the

The more Leland tried to remember, the more the

scar missing from his forearm. A small, raised circle of flesh,

memories eluded him. There were moments he would see a

like a vaccine scar, had been a familiar sight all his life. Now

lifetime clearly, but seconds later it slipped through his grasp,

it was gone. His body seemed both foreign and familiar. Pale

forgotten and fading like a dream.

skin, random freckles, wispy arm hair standing on end. His

The lantern swung again, and darkness swallowed

hands—the way a scalpel fit against his palm, and the welling

the blade, growing blacker by the second. Panic filled him and

of blood as it cut.

he whipped his head back and forth, as if keeping his eyes on

Leland shook his head. The wound might not

the advancing darkness could prevent it from consuming him.


Fall 2014


Overhead, the crew above began to sing. It was a

chimpanzee in a cage. “Give it a rest, Hayes,” she said with a long-suffering

working chant, a slow steady rhythm, which helped a man narrow his world to one single task. Leland latched on to that

sigh. The shadows around them deepened and Leland

rhythm like a life preserver and began to hum along. Slowly, his anxiety eased. The darkness returned to normal. It was

was trapped between the devil’s darkness and this new

the first time he had escaped the darkness without running.

threat. At least he had learned how to quell the darkness.

Leland’s relief lasted only a second. The hair on his

Leland began to hum shakily. “Is the freak humming?” her partner asked. “This is

arms prickled. His stomach lurched, and he heard the sound of wind blowing backwards. Then, silence—no men singing,

the 19th century’s sorry excuse for a hero?” “I’m not a hero,” Leland whispered. The word

no waves hitting the hull, even the dip and rise of the ship

sickened him. He felt to his core that nothing he had done in

was stilled. He knew they were there. He didn’t need to hear the creak of a floorboard, or the barely stifled breath by the

the war made him worthy of the title. For the first time he thought that perhaps he did not want his memories back. The woman stepped toward Leland, holding up her

boiler. There would be two of them. Always two. In one fluid motion he slipped from his bunk, flicked

hands. Every detail of those hands was achingly familiar--the

the knife into his hand, and came to a rest in the optimal

slender fingers, the chewed nails on the right. “Leland. Put

position for close-quarters knife fighting: body sideways,

down the knife. We are just here to find out what happened

knees bent, feet braced, strong grip on the hilt. Ready. He was

to Sgt. Davis. We can help you.” She took another step forward, raising her arm. A

a machine, responding to instinct and training, and not the simple training of a veterinary surgeon in the Queen’s cavalry. “Who are you!” he shouted at the darkness. “Are you the devil’s creatures sent to bring me back to Hell?”

thumb-width polished strip, as black as night, circled her wrist. Unearthly lights danced up from its surface when she tapped it, but he knew it was no dark witchcraft she conjured.

A chuckle emerged from the dark.

He remembered the feel of a similar band around his own

They stepped into his pool of light, a man and a

wrist, just as well as he remembered the weight of a scalpel in

woman, wearing grey uniforms he knew well. Her delicate

his hand. “What happened to Sgt. Davis, Leland? What did you

face danced across the coals of his past, fanning them into a blazing inferno. He clutched his head with his free hand as a

do with him?” she asked, her voice gentle. The name wrapped around him like a familiar coat. “I

hundred memories rioted. “Help me!” Leland shouted to the silent deck above.

don’t know any Sgt. Davis.” He spoke the truth, but it felt like

“Nobody can hear you, much less help you, Leland.”

a lie.

Her voice was more familiar to him than his own. “There is a

“Cover him, Hayes.”

sensory damper field around us.”

Her partner aimed a rectangular object with rounded

“Yeah, nobody can hear you. Try to wrap your little

corners at Leland. It was like no weapon he had ever seen,

19th century brain around that,” her partner said, the patchy

but he knew it was a weapon. The woman eased forward a

wannabe-mustache on his lip curled upward like a sloppy

little more, holding her wrist out before her, like one might

apostrophe as he sneered. He was young and agitated, like a

hold a magnifying glass.



Fall 2014

“You have his nanocytes inside you, so don’t lie to

eased. Slowly, the pressure let go, and clarity came over

me. How did you get them?” Her voice trembled; he knew she

him. Memories which had seemed impossible before began

was angry, though her face was a mask of calm.

to make sense, like a giant jigsaw puzzle sorted into piles of

“Nanocytes?” The word bounced around inside

similar pieces. Leland stood, stretching his neck; the pain was gone.

Leland’s skull, like a huge clapper ringing a bell. He saw their forearms. They both had the scar. The one he was missing. Pain throbbed to a crescendo in Leland’s head. The knife fell to the floor with a thud. He pressed the heels of both

Comprehension had replaced it. “Janey, how many times did I lecture you about Travel onto boats? Travel…atmospheric disturbance… Wooo! That storm is such a relief.”

hands to his temples, and fell to his knees. “Janine—Janey,

She gaped up at him.

help me,” he cried.

Two men. Leland had the memories and thoughts

“What the fuck, Franklin! How does he know your

of two men rattling around inside his head: one from the present, one from another time. He wasn’t exactly sure how it

name?” “Easy, Hayes,” she said, as her novice partner bore down on Leland with his weapon. When he didn’t listen,

had happened, but his memories made sense at last, now that this primitive world wasn’t their only context. The rookie’s thumb trembled over his trigger. “There

she whirled around and landed a solid blow under his ribs. “Back—the Hell—off!” Hayes fell back, wheezing, trying to keep his weapon

is no storm! Listen to him; he’s crazy. Let’s just do this, Franklin. Put him out of his misery.” Leland looked the replacement partner up and down,

aimed vaguely at Leland. She turned to Leland. “Davis? Peter?” She crouched down, reaching out with a tentative hand. “Don’t,” Leland flinched from her touch. “I’m a

measuring and coming up short. “Janey, are you a time agent, or a babysitter?” He held out a hand for her. She took it. She had always trusted him more than was good for her. “What the Hell, Franklin! Are you crazy?” Hayes

monster.” “Friggin’ Frankenstein,” Hayes spat, “What the hell is

shouted. Leland pulled Janine to her feet. As he did, his finger

going on? Is it some kind of ghost in the machine? It could be a trick. Maybe he tortured Davis.” “No. We both know Davis didn’t survive. Nobody survives Travel alone.” “Ok, I don’t care how or why. He has the nanos, they don’t belong in him, let’s clean up the mess.” “This is more complicated.” “Hey, when it’s some joyriding teenagers we can take

slid expertly across the black band on her wrist. The floor lurched beneath them, and Hayes fell backwards onto a bunk, his weapon flying out of his hands. The high-pitched howl of a storm rushed in to fill the burst bubble of the sensory damper field. Leland had planted his feet in preparation and held onto Janine tightly. Hayes shouted a string of curses, slamming

time to figure things out. But when a native gets tangled up

into the bunk and then screaming as he flailed face first into

in it, we do what needs to be done. We have a go from the

the boiler.

Corporation on this—what is there to think about?”

As Leland held Janine in his arms, he saw her with

“It’s my call.”

two sets of eyes. Emotions clashed, hot and cold. Her eyes

As they argued, the pain in Leland’s head finally

were two emeralds shining in a pool of tears. Her chestnut


Fall 2014


hair was pulled back efficiently for duty, but he could

soft white polymer, and the smell of antiseptic hung in the air.

remember it in a tousled aura around a loving face.

A sanatorium? His instinct was to pull against the restraints,

Janine’s voice quavered, “I needed a new partner.”

but the chair had a sedation field, and his muscles barely

He looked at her and he was sorry. He wasn’t sure

responded below his neck. “Aha, you’re awake. Welcome back, Dr. Kelley—or

why, a cold dread prevented him from reaching out for the memory. Only one thing would make everything better; he

is it Sgt. Davis?” A man in a white lab coat peered at him

knew what he had to do. “You deserve better than me, too.”

through a scanning film, his face distorted by the translucent

Leland made sure she had a firm footing, kissed her

material. It was a good question.

gently on the forehead, and dashed up the steps to the deck.

“Leland,” he said. The name had grown on him.

The men weren’t singing anymore. But the chaos

“Fascinating!” The film snapped back, like a blind

and shouting had a familiar tune. Thunder sounded off like canons, and lightning cracked like artillery fire. The sounds

rolling up, revealing a face dominated by a pair of bushy

of war had always followed him. Peace was a carrot always

eyebrows. Leland decided the room felt more like a mad

dangling just out of reach. “Dr. Kelley!” The captain shouted, clutching a rope

scientist’s lab. There was a tray of instruments to his right; a

tied around his waist. “We need all hands for this one. You’d

nearby workstation held various specimen containers, and a

best tie in.”

holodisplay of hovering images and text. It was both perfectly

The ship tipped up and over a swell, sliding down

normal and terrifying at the same time. Leland focused on the part of him that was calm and

it like a skier on a mountain slope. The darkness was there waiting in the black of the sea, but it was different this time.

collected: Sgt. Peter Davis. This was his world. A chime sounded, followed by a digitized voice that

Rather than terrible oblivion, he saw stillness. Ignoring the captain’s shouts, Leland stumbled to the rail. The ship crashed into the next swell and he hung on. A

emanated from a black dome in the ceiling, “Request for entry, clearance level: Executive.” “Already?” The scientist straightened. He closed the

shock of cold water washed over his face. He didn’t know which of the two men he really was, but he couldn’t bring himself to be either one. The ship

holodisplay, adjusted his lab coat, and fidgeted with his collar. In a louder voice he said, “Access granted.” The door to the lab opened, admitting a judge

crested another tower of water. He relaxed his grip, letting go. He felt weightless as the ship’s deck dropped away from his

and two cookie-cutter meatheads from Corporate Security

feet. The black ocean rushed to consume him.

& Enforcement. The door didn’t close, and after a moment

A body slammed into his. Supple arms wrapped around him. The hair on his arms prickled, his belly did back

Janine Franklin entered. She marched in with her head held high, but the slight delay told Leland she had hesitated. The judge was a prim, steel-haired woman. She was

flips, and he heard the sound of wind blowing backwards. #

not dressed in ceremonial judicial robes. Instead, she wore

Leland awoke, bathed in electric light. He was

the informal black jumper. There was nothing official about

strapped to a chair. The walls of the room were made of a



Fall 2014

this visit.

Sensible time agents kept their noses out of these back room sessions. Peter had trained Janine better than

executives information. And, in the 23rd Century, information was power.

this, but she was stubborn. She stood stiffly, her chin jutted

“Sgt. Davis had attempted singular Travel. With

out, the look in her eyes daring someone to challenge her.

no partner to offset his presence in the Void, his nanocytes

The judge ignored her. The CSE twins were doing a bad job

would not have had time to repair the void-damage.” The

of pretending not to notice her; CSE agents and time agents

scientist shuddered. “The destructive forces would first affect

didn’t get along.

the inorganic incidentals, such as clothing and equipment.

“You’ve had your look at it, doctor. Do we go to

Although the nanocytes would have naturally shifted all

trial?” asked the judge, skipping all pleasantries and getting

their attention to keeping their host alive, damage to the

straight to business. Leland could guess at the answer the

body would have outstripped their reparative capacity. Very

judge wanted.

quickly the damage extended to the sub-cellular—he and his

The scientist pulled at his collar. “Ah, well. There is

nanocytes would have been affected on an atomic level.

nothing wrong with him—it, Your Honor. Technically, it is fit for trial.” The judge had a sour look on her face. “That doesn’t answer the question, doctor.”

“Travel is fast enough that the matter which comprised Peter Davis was not obliterated, but the remains would have arrived at their destination damaged beyond repair.

“It has the body of one man, memories of both,

“Rather than follow protocol and shut down, the

but as far as I can tell they are just memories. I have yet to

nanocytes abandoned his body and entered the nearest

determine if it will exhibit behavior patterns of one or the

repairable body—that of Leland Kelley, recently deceased of a

other…” He hesitated.

gunshot wound to the heart.”

She narrowed her eyes. The scientist continued quickly, “The creature you

Leland remembered the revolting burnt-bacon smell of a charred corpse next to him in the mortuary. He

see before you is neither Leland Kelley, nor Peter Davis. There

remembered a dark shroud hovering over him, blacker than

is no proper way to try it for the crimes of Peter Davis, or even

black. His heart quickened, sweat beaded on his forehead, as

those of Leland Kelley. I would like to run more tests.”

the darkness gathered again, invading the cracks between the

Leland frowned. It didn’t make sense—not that being two despicable men trapped in the same body made

wall panels of the laboratory. He had thought he’d escaped it; wished he’d imagined it.

any sense. He saw the judge smile. The last thing the

Leland recognized it now. It was the same shade of black that pressed heavily around him during Travel, probing

Corporation wanted was a trial. But the Corporation could

his little bubble of self. It was the thing that they called the

have easily rubber-stamped him out of existence, without the

Void. Now it clung to him, like he’d walked through a cobweb.

OK from a man in a white coat. She had to want something

He began to hum and just as it had before, the darkness


slowly drained away and the electric light reclaimed the “And do you have an explanation for this thing,

doctor?” she asked, arching a tidy eyebrow. And there it was. Scientists didn’t decide legal proceedings; they gave

cracks. The judge looked at him with contempt. The scientist’s hands twitched, as if he wanted to clamp them


Fall 2014


over Leland’s mouth. Janine kept staring straight ahead; the

“Damaged nanocytes, yes.”

way she did when she put a cork in her emotions.

“And this is neither Peter Davis, nor Leland Kelly.”

Leland stopped humming and stared at her. The night Janine had dumped Peter Davis, she’d had the same

The judge looked at Leland accusingly. “So what you are saying is that he is a nanocyte.” “Not one nanocyte, a consciousness born of many

look on her face. They had been on assignment in another time. Peter had left her stranded without a partner. And yet

nanocytes, with memories from his hosts somehow tagging

here she was.

along. Your Honor, I need to run more tests. This is a unique

“Nanocytes cannot repair individuals postmortem, Doctor. The lights come on, but nobody’s home,” the judge

opportunity to study something incredible. Think of what this could mean?” “I am fully aware of what this could mean. This is a

snapped. Leland wasn’t humming anymore, but the tune

dangerous situation, doctor. The nanocytes have not created

continued inside him. It was the nanocytes. He could feel

a new liver; they have created a new brain. They have taken

them, humming and alive. He wanted to turn his awareness

over their host body—of their own volition.” Her eyes flicked

inward, examine this new connection, it was not normal; he

to the agents at her side. “If news of this were to get out,

felt like he could communicate with them directly, with no

people would panic. It would give very effective ammunition

program or device. But he needed to know more than the

to the extremist groups.” Leland had known it was a bad idea for Janine to be

mute little biobots could tell him. He forced himself to focus

here. He wondered if she realized her danger. She just kept

back on the scientist. “Their programming became confused,” the scientist

staring straight ahead, as if she was hearing none of this.

was explaining. “Perhaps they became stuck on the command

But she was, and wheels were turning in the minds of the

to repair, obsessed with it. The new body, as Your Honor

executives. Wheels that could crush. The judge held a finger up to silence the scientist’s

pointed out, had been dead long enough for the prefrontal cortex of the brain to deteriorate beyond their ability to

protests. “I need a moment to confer with my colleagues.”

repair. So the nanocytes got creative.”

She tapped the black band of the NanoDerm Hub on her

There was an uncomfortable silence. Nanocytes were machines. They obeyed; they did not create. In an excited rush, the scientist said, “They came together! Formed a complex grouping. A new organ—a…a…” Leland’s mind raced ahead of him. “Nanocortex,” he

wrist. Leland knew it now, informally known as the “blackstrap,” a multi-purpose tool and nano-control-center. The normal way people communicated with and controlled their nanos. The judge’s eyes became unfocused as she used

said. Everything fit. “Yes! That’s exactly the word!” the scientist said.

her blackstrap to communicate with the unseen executives

The judge’s eyes sharpened on Leland, and her

observing the hearing.

lip twitched with distaste. “Nano-organs? Are you saying

With his newfound connection to his nanos, Leland

nanocytes, without human commands or input, are capable

realized he did not need a blackstrap. He gave his nanos a

of accomplishing what our best scientists are only beginning

mental nudge, and felt some migrate into the chair restraining

to take baby steps toward?”

him, accessing systems and probing security protocols. He



Fall 2014

opened himself to the NanoNet and encroached on the

it? For a stranded time agent there is no rescue. Any search

connection the judge had formed; shadows and whispers

party would be a pair itself. They said any small amount of

teased the edge of his senses. He didn’t have time to break

body tissue would do, living or dead, attached to a person or

her encryption, so he brought his attention back to the room.

not. A pseudo partner to offset the effects of the Void. “Did you have to dig up a grave? What was it? A

While connected, the judge was oblivious to her surroundings. The CSE agents had dropped their stoic

hand? A foot? He misjudged you.” Janine kept staring straight ahead, but finally spoke

composure. They shifted from foot to foot, eyeing Leland. The older one rubbed the implant scar on his forearm, as if he

through clenched teeth, “I guess we misjudged each other.” “Was it a pleasant trip?”

could placate any rebellious nanos inside of him.

Before she could answer, the judge cleared her

Janine was rigid, he face unreadable but her body showing her tension.

throat, and the security agents snapped back to attention.

Leland felt an impulse to break the silence by

The conclusion of the judge’s conference was

shouting: “Boo!” He didn’t recall his other incarnations having

inevitable, and apprehension came over Leland. On the steam

much of a sense of humor. Every thought was like a new

trawler he had been more than ready to die, but that seemed

discovery. It was like being on a first date, only his date was

more like a vestige of the last thoughts of Peter Davis, now.

himself. The thought sparked crude time-agent humor in his

Leland wanted more time. He had only been alive for three

mind and he smirked.

days. The memories in his head were not even his. He had

His gaze swept around the room. He calculated the

barely begun. “It is the ruling of the Corporation that the nanocytes

odds of taking out a room full of agents while recovering from the effects of a sedation field. Normally they were

of Sgt. Peter Davis, being the property of the corporation, be

astronomical. But the nanos would give him an advantage,

deactivated and destroyed.”

he thought. His eyes came to rest on Janine. He was caught

The scientist’s shoulders slumped.

between contempt and worry for her.

“Deactivated?” Leland said. Panic swept over him.

“This has all been very informative,” Leland said, and

“Call it what it is. Murder!” The judge issued orders to the CSE agents for his

everyone in the room jumped, “but there is one question still unanswered.”

disposal and exited the lab without looking back. The two meatheads stepped toward Leland with

Nobody spoke. “You did it, didn’t you?” he asked Janine. It was the only way to explain the impossible. Janine glared a hole in the wall in front of her. Leland laughed. Peter hadn’t known her as well as he thought. “Your partner left you stranded. Yet here you are, safe and sound. I guess I owe you a case of beer. Or do I? I mean I am not him after all.” It was an urban legend. Something discussed between partners over beer: who would have the guts to do

a sedation collar. The younger one looked down at Leland’s balled up fists. “Are you sure the chair sedation is active, doc?” “Absolutely,” the scientist said, checking his blackstrap. Leland relaxed. He had to keep a clear head, and he needed to buy a few more seconds. “Careful,” he said. “I could be contagious. I might take over your brain next.” “Whoa.” They backed away quickly, looking at the


Fall 2014


security feeds. There were no alerts, nothing more than the

scientist. “Is that true?” “Oh, please,” Janine finally broke her statue stance

usual chatter from CSE. “Take me!” the scientist blurted, coming out from

and pushed them aside, snatching the collar. As she leaned across Leland, he breathed in her slightly floral fragrance and whispered, “I’m glad it’s you.”

under the table where he’d taken refuge. “I can help you get out of the lab.” “And be your guinea pig?” Leland snapped, aiming

Leland felt a subtle mental click as the nanos he’d sent into the chair completed their task. The sedation field

Janine’s blackstrap at him. The scientist stumbled backward into his

disappeared, and the restraints loosened. Most people would have a delay as their brains

workstation, hands up.

reconnected to their muscles along neural pathways only just

“I don’t need you to get me out of here.” Leland

released from sedation. But the nanos thrummed inside him,

called up the Travel controls on Janine’s blackstrap with a

rebooting his system faster than organically possible.

thought, and started scanning for coordinates. “You know we can track your nanos, even in another

Leland snapped free, grabbed Janine by the arm, and whirled her around. He held her tight, one arm pinned behind

time,” Janine said. “It’s not like you can just unplug like the

her back. The other he twisted sharply to break her grip on

tree-huggers. You need your nanos—you are your nanos.” “I’ll manage.” A time agent was part engineer,

the collar. Before the collar hit the floor, he had hacked her blackstrap, and shot the pair of agents with its weapons app. “That was on stun, I hope. I don’t want to be a killer.”

part soldier, and Peter Davis had been the best. Having his memories wasn’t all bad.

Leland rested his chin on top of her head, enjoying the feel of

“You won’t get far dragging me along with you.”

her pressed against him: bodies intertwined, hearts pounding

“True. But I don’t need all of you,” Leland said. The

against each other. He had memories similar to this, but there

blackstrap loosened its coil from her wrist and slithered onto

was something missing. Peter Davis had been in love with


Janine Franklin, and he was not Peter Davis. “Too late for that,” she muttered. He jerked her across the room harder than he

Janine’s eyes widened. “You wouldn’t. Peter—” “No? The man who might have cared is dead—not to mention you tore his heart out, once upon a time.”

intended, her words stung him with the truth. But was it

“I only did what was best for both of us.”

true? He was a new man. Shouldn’t that mean he had a clean

Leland snorted in disgust.

slate? The memories in his head were nothing more to him

“We were breaking the rules, risking our careers.”

than something he might have seen on a holoprogram.

“Remember when we waltzed in 20th century Paris?”

Janine didn’t struggle in his grip. She was smart. She

Leland began to sway her back and forth.

would wait for her moment, but he was smart too, and nano-


enhanced. There were no firewalls, no lag time. He was faster

Leland led Janine through the steps. Her body was

and stronger than Davis had ever been. “I am getting out of here, and I am going to make my

stiff, her feet dragged. She refused to meet his eyes. Leland waltzed her toward the tray of surgical

own memories,” Leland said, keeping her immobilized against

instruments. The scientist scurried around to the other side

him while he opened the holodisplay and used it to access

of his workstation, out of the way. One-two-three, one-two-



Fall 2014

three—dip. Leland perused the choice of instruments before him. Forceps. Retractors. An iontodermic syringe. A nano-

“You aren’t even a real person.” Leland wanted to cut her heart out like she had his.

scalpel; for a moment, he remembered the razor-edged gleam

He could send a flood of hostile nanos into her body, wreak

of its predecessor.

havoc on her systems, her heart. A part of him reveled at the

“I am glad I only feel shadows of what he felt.”

thought of destroying her from the inside out. Blood welled

Leland snatched what he needed from the tray and brought

up in his mind. But he had already sent out too many nanos.

her upright again. “The night you abandoned him, he had

Regenerating them took time. As it was, he would be lucky if

never felt such pain before.”

he had enough to Travel out of this place.

“I didn’t abandon him,” Janine cried, and her eyes

Leland gritted his teeth and held Janine’s arm out

pinned him. “He left me. Stranded. And he—that girl! Why did

in front of her in one hand, the instrument from the table in

he do it? Because he was angry at me?”

his other hand. “I suppose I should thank you. If you hadn’t

“That was not your fault,” Leland said, the memories came to him unbidden. A young woman, eyes full of wonder

broken his heart he would still be alive. I owe my existence to you, and now I will owe my escape to you.”

as he led her on path to adventure—then burnt out sockets

“No. Please!”

staring accusation at him. “He didn’t intend…he was very

“Don’t worry, I just want a token. For luck.” He pressed the cold metal into her flesh.

drunk.” A tear rolled down Janine’s cheek. Loosened wisps of her hair trailed along the curve of her face. Leland’s throat tightened and he relaxed his grip on her. He didn’t deserve a life. Not after what he did. “She had been hitting on me all night. I thought I could show her

Janine screamed. A thump sounded behind him, as the scientist hit the floor in a dead faint. The iontodermic syringe buzzed as it drew up a vial of Janine’s blood through a small electrical current. “I never could understand your fear of needles,

wonders. Paris. But I forgot she was a native—without nanos.

Janey. I mean they aren’t even needles anymore.” He smiled,

Oh God, the smell still haunts me.” He pressed his face into


Janine’s hair, breathing in the good memories. Janine freed her arms and wrapped them around him, her body soft against his. Leland closed his eyes. “I couldn’t forgive myself. I initiated Travel. Alone,” he whispered into her ear. Janine nodded. She understood. He could tell her everything and she would understand. Tension vibrated through Janine’s muscles. Leland’s eyes flew open as she hit a nearby biohazard alarm. The feelings that had been budding inside him withered and died. Leland spun her around with a vicious yank, “Is this always the sum of human emotion? Hurt and betrayal?” “What did you expect?” she said, her voice choking.

Janine hung, pale in his arms. Her eyes blank with shock. The holo security feeds scrolled with activity. “Listen to me time agent,” Leland said as he laid her on the floor. “I am not Peter Davis. I am not one of you. I do not recognize the authority of your government. So tell them to call off the pitchfork party, and let me live my life.” Armed agents busted through the door to the lab. Leland stepped back from her, clutched the vial of blood to his chest, and initiated Travel. His stomach lurched, the hair on his arms prickled, he heard the sound of wind blowing backwards, and the darkness exploded around him. #


Fall 2014


A bell tinkled as Leland walked into the stale-smelling antique store. Old junk was piled everywhere. A dumpy man

Humans were monstrous and weak. Their morals warped, thoughts flawed. The men he had been had done terrible

of his clothing had not. He had been here for three days


already. But this time he had taken steps. He figured he had a

About the Author

few weeks before they tracked him down.

Amanda June Hagarty

behind the glass showcase, which doubled as a counter top, was thumbing his cell phone, and did not look up. Leland had survived Travel. The blackstrap and most

thing. He would be different. He was different.

Now he was shopping for supplies. He needed to build a new Nano Hub, he couldn’t calculate Travel coordinates without one. With 21st Century tech, and his nanos, he should be able to rig something. But if Travel with a vial of blood burnt out that device every time, he would never be able to keep ahead of the time agents. Leland was going to have to implant a native, which was not going to be easy. How do you convince someone to bounce around through time with you? Oh and by the way before I can prove time travel is possible I need to give you a blood transfusion. More than once he had considered it might be easier to just hijack someone each time he needed a ride and dump them when he got where he was going. But part of him was still Peter Davis, and the mess he would make out of the timelines was off-putting. The last thing he wanted right now was a relationship with a human, but he didn’t have much choice. Leland picked out an old microscope and a Junior Chemistry set. Whoever agreed to his crazy offer would have to match his blood type or they wouldn’t survive the implant. As he made his purchase, the glint of an old fashioned scalpel caught his eye inside the glass showcase. Memories invaded his head. He felt the ghost of a scalpel in his hand; saw pooling blood. Leland started to hum, looking sideways at the shadows. After a moment his thoughts became his own again, and the shadows stayed in their place.



Fall 2014

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC Canada, and now residing in Bellingham, WA, Amanda is a west coast girl through and through. She earned a BA in Psychology from Simon Fraser University. She earns a living as a virtual land baroness in Second Life, teaching social media marketing, and running a calendar kiosk in the mall during the holidays. She has adored reading and writing sci-fi and fantasy ever since 1988 when she discovered the Dragon Riders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey.

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Fall 2014


by the



Fall 2014