2023 November InD'tale Magazine

Page 1

Our Staff Founder

Social Media

TJ MacKay

Lynn-Alexandria McKendrick

Editor-in-Chief Katy Nielsen

Columnists Tamara Cribley

Copy Editors

Scott Carpenter

Katy Nielsen

Kevin G. Carpenter Peggy Jaeger

Special Publications Editors

Becky Flade

Sarah McEachron

Elle J. Rossi

Graphics Tamara Cribley

RONE Awards Coordinator Sarah McEachron

Reviewers* Emerson Matthews Sarah McEachron Moira Wolf Viola Robbins Tricia Hill Lynn McKendrick Cara Cieslak Joan Lai Simone Dober Roslynn Ernst

Tonya Mathenia Jennifer Shepherd Belinda Wilson Austen Grace Chelsea Anderson Carey Sullivan Victoria Zumbrum Sadie Wilson Amy Rubottom Valerie Vicars Stephanie Bell

*Please note, ALL InD’tale staff are required at times to read and review books. Material in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission. All books and material reviewed by InD’tale have been read by the stated reviewer and are the opinions of that reader.





Do your Readers Take you Seriously? Tamara Cribley



Addictive Urban Fantasy with a Kick!


Book Reviews from an Author’s Perspective… Peggy Jaeger


Fava Beans and Light Bondage: Rising Star Jude Knight

My Safe Word is Elephant Becky Flade



Leftovers are for Quitters Scott Carpenter

48 RONE Award Winners Page

50 The Glorious History of the RONE Awards

64 Anthology 64 Audiobook 65 Contemporary 67 Fantasy 69 Historical 71 LGBTQ 71 Memoir 72 Mystery 73 New Adult 73 Novella 74 Paranormal

75 Suspense/Thriller 77 Time Travel

TJ Mackay

54 Ghost Creek InD'tale Serial Kevin G. Chapman

Photo by Ioann-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash

Contributors TJ Mackay While working in this industry I've had the wonderful opportunity of meeting and interviewing some of publishing's most famous (and fun) authors and celebrities. Since the biggest complaint people had about me while growing up was that I ask way too many questions, this career has been the perfect fit. I LOVE people (one has to work very hard for me not to like them!) In past years, however, I had become increasingly aware of the very talented authors that were not afforded media exposure simply because they chose to self or small publish rather than accept the strictures of mainstream publishing. Thus, the idea of "InD'tale" magazine - and then the RONE Awards - was born!

Tamara Cribley Tamara Cribley is a self-professed formatting junkie who believes beautiful books don't happen by chance. Having worked as a Commercial Photographer, Graphic Artist, and Art Director, Tamara’s unique skills enable her to put together classy and professional books that keep the reader focused on the story.

Becky Flade When I was little, I thought everyone had stories in their head. When I found out only special people had stories to tell, I wanted to be one of the magical ones who shared their stories with the world. I wrote my first book in kindergarten with the help of my teacher, Mrs. Daniels. My mom – my biggest fan and most ardent supporter – has that little crayon-drawn book tucked into the pages of her family bible. It took almost thirty years to get from there to published, but here I am, making my own dreams come true, one happily ever after at a time.

S.L. Carpenter A lifetime Californian, Scott Carpenter lives the ordinary life of a husband and father. Humor has always played a large role in his life, and he enjoys making people smile. His stories range from the outright absurd to the deeply poignant, and his mastery of the short story format is undeniable. If asked, he'll describe himself as just another guy. His many fans will tell you that his writing paints quite a different picture.

Kevin G. Chapman Kevin G. Chapman is an attorney specializing in labor and employment law, and an independent author from New Jersey. In 2021, Kevin finished the first five books in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series. His next novel, The Other Murder, will be published in early 2024.

Peggy Jaeger I’m a contemporary romance writer who writes Rom Coms about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If I can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, I’ve done my job as a writer! Family and food play huge roles in my stories because I believe there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal… or two… or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, I bring all topics of daily life into my stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. 4

InD’Tale Magazine

from the

Welcome, Readers!



he cooler weather is finally… sorta… arriving where I am, bringing with it the crisp scents of fall – and pumpkin spice from the local Starbucks and bak-

eries (seriously, have you walked past the Costco bakery? It smells so good I can almost feel the calories attaching themselves to my waistline!). Fall has always been my favorite time of year; the multitudes of reds and golds in the trees, the slight frost that glistens like magic in the early morning light, and the arrival of the most fun holidays of the year. Halloween just passed, which meant a birthday and a major influx of candy at my house, and now as Thanksgiving is coming, I do my best to have November be my Thankful Month. Cheesy? Maybe, but I didn’t grow up with this holiday, (I’m from the UK) so it is still somewhat of a novelty for me. I’m sure you’ve all heard of Gratitude Journals, and personally, I think they’re a wonderful idea. It

publisher, or author. There are some truly delight-

is so easy to get lost in the stresses of every day life,

ful people in the book world, and I am thrilled to

that it’s easy to miss those little (or big) things that

know you!

mean so much, hence my goal of having a Thankful Month.

I could go on and on about what I’m thankful for… but instead, I’m going to challenge you to

Right now, I’m incredibly thankful for all of the

have November be your Thankful Month. Take

authors we were able to celebrate during this year’s

the time at the end of your day to think about

RONE Awards. (Missed it? Watch it here.)There are

something you were thankful for. Write it down,

so many fabulously talented Indie and Small Press

or don’t, your choice, but I’ve personally found

authors out there, and we are so grateful to be able

that when I look for the good things, I find more

to work with you!

than I thought I would, which gives me even more

I’m extremely grateful for all of the wonderful, dedicated staff here at InD’tale. They are a great group of people, and I’m thankful for everything they do. I’m grateful for all of the friends I’ve made since I began working here five years ago, whether they be reviewer, graphic designer, narrator,

things to be thankful for. Until next month, Happy Reading!


Editor in Chief



Lisa Edmonds is living proof that dreams really can come true, and they can be realized without the help of big names or big business. Although her dream of becoming an author took a second seat to her education, and later her teaching profession, she never gave up… and with the help of a little known, small (at the time) publishing company, she has built a fabulous and successful career!

It really is a

dream story… after an awful lot of hard work. And the most wonderful part? She is still just as humble, friendly, and as in awe of all that has happened as when she first started. She is also loads of fun and easy to talk to, very warm and friendly, and as down to earth as a small town Kansas girl can be! Read on and we’re sure you’ll agree!



Fantasy with a Kick !

6 InD’Tale Magazine

Photo by Matthew Sewell

InD: So you just moved to Arkansas?

mean I love the house. But when the guy who flipped the house did the upstairs room he covered up the

LE: We moved from Texas to Arkansas. We moved

valve for the gas fireplace so for that to work I'm going

in July from the Fort Worth area to Little Rock. My

to have to hire a contractor to come in and find the

sister lives in Little Rock. I actually bought the house

valve and then replace the floor.

next door to her.

InD: That must be a good thing because you must get along with your sister.

LE: We do as adults but as kids not so much. You

InD: So you're going to go to comic-con? How much fun is that?

LE: Yes, I'm going to New York for the comic-con. My publisher has a booth there so a couple of us are going

know, two Geminis living in the same house creates a

to go and sign books. I am a little overwhelmed think-

lot of drama. But I fell in love with this house when my

ing about it because I have never been to a comic-con

sister moved into her house and I loved it for 8 years

as big as the one in New York. I have been to a lot of

and then last year it unexpectedly came on the market

comic-con but this one is the second biggest and I

and my husband and I have been talking about moving

have never been to one that big.

here for years and so it was not a spur of the moment kind of thing but on the horizon. I was like if I don't

InD: I have never been to comic-con but there

make an offer on this house I am going to regret it. You

was one in San Diego and it seemed like all of the

know every time I would visit my sister I would be

locals moved out. But there were so many people

thinking oh that could have been mine. So we actually

there that I didn't even want to try it because it is

bought it last year but we didn't get to move in until this

so huge.

summer because I had to finish out my contract with the college that went through May. My sister joked that

LE: It is amazing because there are so many people

it was the world's slowest move because we bought it in

there and they are your kind of people like the herds

October and moved in July. I could have left in Decem-

of nerds and everyone is in Cosplay or wearing their

ber but I really wanted to finish out the school year.

favorite nerdy shirt and there are all kinds of celebrities. There are a ton of artists. There are a ton of

InD: That is understandable. So do you like the

people that make cool things and a ton of vendors

house so far?

and crowds are definitely not my thing so I have to psych myself up and I only go for one day because it is

LE: Yes but every time we turn around there seems

overwhelming for me as an introvert but I have met

to be something else we find wrong with it. It was

and have taken pictures with some incredibly awe-

built in 1986 in a Victorian style house so it is a house

some people and actors. So you kind of have to do it

that is 40 years old. The guy that renovated it before

and then you go home and as introverts you have to

he sold it did some stuff but it seems like every time

recharge because it had been so peoply. But it is fan-

we turn around there is something else. You know, we

tastic. I think Chris Evans is going to be there and

have to do the gas fireplace and the master bathroom

maybe I can catch him. I have went to one and met

had to be redone because it was leaking and a mess. I

Tim Curry and he was in a wheelchair and I had a



kneel to one side of him for a picture and I had said it

and say they are going to get uncomfortable if you

was such an honor to meet you and he turned to me

don't stop staring at everybody. But I am like it is

super slowly and he said “No the honor is mine.” and

so much fun.

I was like “Oh my God! Take the picture.” There were about 10 or 15 people there and we were all holding

LE: I was at a New Orleans comic-con a few years ago

hands, strangers and just bawling. Even my husband

and I was going to get a picture with David Tennant,

was touched. He said if I ever have to cry on command

from Doctor Who and do a bunch of other things and

I will think about that.

this curtain moves aside and outcomes Jason Momoa and he just walked right past us and says hello and

InD: That is so cool. What an amazing man.

a girl standing next to us said oh my god I think I'm

What an amazing experience even though it was

pregnant and I actually got a picture with Jason had


a different comic con and what is funny is that his security guards that he had are like half your size and

LE: Oh yes and it is top notch people watching.

you know if I really wanted to climb Jason Momoa

People watching is definitely my thing whether it is

like a tree, which is what I wanted to do, I really don't

at the airport or comic-con. The cosplay is incredible,

see that you guys who could probably barely defend

the nerdiest people and it is just all of us nerds. These

yourself could stop me. I'll tell you a cool thing about

are your people.

Jason is that he goes out and walks the floor and at the booth where the people that make things he will

InD: In fact, I enjoy people watching so much

find the most expensive thing that they made and

that I will forget and my husband will nudge me

buys it.


InD’Tale Magazine

InD: How cool is that! LE: He goes round to whatever the people make and finds the most expensive thing and buys it so he is supporting the local market. So it is not enough that he is devastatingly hot but also an amazing human being and it is just not fair. I mean I don't want him to be a jerk but he has to be an honest decent human being.

InD: Who have you chatted with that you really enjoyed?

LE: I have met Levar Burton. I grew up watching Reading Rainbow and of course the Next Generation and that I grew up to become an English professor because of watching Reading Rainbow. I have met him twice and chatted with him twice. I have met Wil

LE: Maybe. You see a little bit more behind the

Wheaton from the Next Generation and Stand by Me.

scenes. Where I have my own booth I have to get

I got to meet Nichelle Nichols who played Lieuten-

there and get things set up and you sit at your booth

ant Uhura on the original Star Trek. She was the first

the whole time because you feel like you need to be

black woman on television to not play a maid and

there especially since I'm an author and I'm trying

howling incredibly grateful I was that she had that

to meet people. But when I go as a fan I still feel a

role. I got to meet Carrie Fisher about 2 years before

sense of wonder and you have to take a minute to

she passed away. I have gotten to meet so many people

absorb the scope and I have never been to anything

and it is just so neat to get to talk to and to know they

as big as New York. Dallas has a really big one and

are just people too. so I have been going to comic-con

I have been to that a bunch of times and Austin so

since the mid-2000s and at the time I was going to

you have to stand up there and just takes it all in for

Texas A&M working on my thesis and Austin holds

a minute.

a really nice comic-con and I think that was when I started going and it was a lot of fun meeting actors

InD: Does it ever get to you like when you are

and other people. I think the first real chat I had was

at a signing and I think that it would be weird

with Peter Mayhew who played Chewbacca and I met

with all of us being fans of books and movies and

Walter Koenig who played Chekov and I got to chat

other things like that to be on the other side with

with him. I was like these people just want to chat. I

fans of you?

don't know why that surprised me but these are just regular people who happened to be famous but after

LE: I know. But what is weird to me is once I went

that I was just kind of hooked. I got to see all the awe-

to a book signing of Charlene Harris a couple of years

some cosplay and the vendors who sell some of the

ago in Texas and it was so funny because this is Char-

nerdiest stuff.

lene Harris because she's one of the OG's and I asked for a picture and she got kind of goofy and bashful like

InD: Has your experience changed now that

oh my God I can't believe they wanted picture with

you sign at these things as compared to when you

me and I'm like you are Charlene Harris of course we

went as a fan?

want a picture with you.



InD: Okay. So let's start: You were born and raised LE: Yes, my sister that I live next door to has an Emmy in Kansas.

sitting on her mantel piece and she lets me touch it.

LE: Correct.

InD: For what?

InD: You know my first thought was how many LE: She produced a miniseries for CBS called Little Wizard of Oz jokes that you had to live through

Rock Nine which was about the nine kids that were

growing up?

first integrated in Little Rock Central High School and she's a producer that won an Emmy for that and it sits

LE: A million. You’re right because it is Kansas

over on her mantelpiece as if it was a family photo. So I

and that is what we're known for. The Wizard of Oz

grew up in libraries and that was kind of like my happy

and tornadoes. It is just tornadoes all the time but

place. So of course I was kind of locally famous for being

you get kind of blasé about it like oh it's a county

at the library and checking out multiple books and

over and we are fine. So I'm from a small town

then I would be back next week to turn those in and

in Kansas.

check out more. you know reading all of the science fiction and it was really hard to read sci-fi as a young girl

InD: So what was your childhood like?

because it was really hard to find a female protagonist that wasn't either a space witch or a damsel in distress

LE: My parents were both librarians and this is

it has gotten better since So I started reading Myster-

what happens when they are both librarians but my

ies and that was when I found Susan Grafton, Kinsey

sister became an Emmy winning television producer

Millhone, and the alphabet series, A is for alibi, B is for

so you're not automatically going to be a librarian.

burglary and etc. Sarah Mlynowski, The Hard Boiled detective section with these female private investiga-

InD: Your sister that you live next door to?


InD’Tale Magazine

tors who were everything that I was looking for in a

self-rescuing princess, you know not a space witch or

LE: Just the one sister.

a Damsel in distress. You know Kinsey saves her own skin, Kinsey Millhone from the alphabet series and


I kept reading Science Fiction and Fantasy but I was

you choose criminology for college, how does

super into Mysteries and into police procedurals and

that work?

So you finish high school and then

the Scandinavian psychological crime thrillers. You know, Penny winkle and Joe

LE: I was an English major but I started

Nesbo and Stieg Larsson who wrote

out as international business Span-

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

ish double major because I always

Maybe 15 years ago or so I was walk-

wanted to be a writer but a writer

ing through a Barnes & Noble and

has to pay the bills so I thought

I still remember the day I was

I will get a good paying job and

walking through the science fic-

write on the side but then I took

tion fantasy section and I saw

an accounting class and that

this covered of a book and this

was that so I switched to being

woman had red hair and hand-

an English major and at that point I thought I wanted to be

cuffs tucked into the back of her black leather skirt with charms hanging from it and the name of


to by M

at t h e w S e w


an English professor but I still wanted to be a writer but I have

the book was “Dead Witch Walking”

always been fascinated with foren-

and I was like what is this? Oh, Kim

sic psychology and the Behavioral

Harrison So I read the back and thought

Science studies of what humans do and

this was really interesting so I bought that

why they do it and so I started taking all of

and The Good the Bad and The Undead that day and

these criminal justice courses. there would be like

that was the beginning of what has landed me here.

150 criminal justice majors and then there would be

My discovery of urban fantasy. I came here because

me an English major and these courses were taught

it was the gateway drug for many people and that was

by practicing or former criminal investigators and

the gateway drug for me. I just devoured the Hollows

they always thought that I accidentally enrolled in

series and still do. Then I continued to read hundreds

these courses and I had to constantly explain this

of urban fantasies and then a few years ago I thought

was a hobby for me but I really did consider and I

well maybe I can write everything fantasy since I love

wanted to go into the FBI and be a behavioral profiler

reading them so much but then what I write about.

but I obviously didn't go that route.

I love stories about private investigators and so I thought of a Sue Grafton style investigator with magic

InD: Why did you not go that route?

who solves paranormal or Supernatural Mysteries and that was sort of the Genesis of what became the

LE: I think it was two things. I am a very empathetic

Alice Worth Series so I wrote the first book in 2015 and

person and while I find those kind of behavior really

I started to query it and it got picked up by City Owl

fascinating and I do want to save lives by understand-

and “Heart of Malice” came out in 2017.

ing the behavior and using that to apprehend but I also thought this was suck my soul out to be around

InD: Okay so you are a big reader where you have

this kind of stuff for any amount of time because not

two Librarians for parents so do you have any

just the suffering of the victims’ families but you

other brothers and sisters or just that one?

have to interview the families of the victims and so



forth and I talked to a lot of my college professors and

InD: I am laughing. You and I have interesting

homicidal investigators and they said it was your job

lives because I used to be a teacher. I was a music

but you compartmentalize But I don't know if I could

teacher and for a period of time I taught in ele-

or that I would like the person that I may become. It

mentary school and I came home with that exact

may be something like the Doctor Jekyll Mr. Hyde

thing. The days that I had to teach the kindergar-

complex with the person that I was to the person that

ten students I would come home and crash and I

I may become. I have kept up with it with the read-

could never do this.

ing and the shows that are about it. I'm a total True Crime nut and I enjoy watching the shows and trying

LE: I am so grateful that there are people who

to solve the crime and all of that but I just thought

can and are willing to teach them. It is a different

that on a daily basis I don't know that my heart could

set of issues than trying to teach High School or

take it and that was why I didn't go into that route and

middle school.

making it a career

InD: I did middle school and high school after

InD: I completely understand that. My husband

Elementary and it is totally different. Kindergar-

is in law enforcement and his whole family has

teners are so adorable but they have a 10-second

been. I have watched him and his brother and

attention span. but back to what I was saying

his family but his brother mostly they do have

hopefully we are drawn to careers that fit us

to compartmentalize and I don't know how they

and I have watched my husband and he is per-

do it because I don't know that I could but I think

fect and his brother are perfect for what they do

it's wonderful that you were cognizant of that

and they can turn it off and it is literally a switch

time with empathy that you feel in the need to

that they turn off the moment they walk in the

understand that you don't think you could turn

door and they don't even worry about it but then

that off. Over the years I have come to the conclu-

they go back and deal with it all day. I mean they

sion that it takes a specific personality that can

have seen the most horrific things that you could

do that.

believe but that's where I've learned that this has

LE: Absolutely. I would have to agree. John Douglas

got to be a personality because that has just got to be in your makeup.

said that you don't want to study the monster so long that you become the monster.

LE: One of my favorite shows to watch is the first 48 and it is an unscripted show of a real homicide inves-

InD: I would think someone that has a very

tigation with real suspects and real interrogations

empathetic heart would become very depressed

and so forth and it always slays me when they have to

and a miserable person. I think there are person-

go and notify the next of kin and that was part of my

alities that would become monsters but there are

thinking when I was pondering my decision of which

personalities that just can't take that weight.

direction do I go. Can I be the person that knocks on someone's door at 3:00 in the morning with this hor-

LE: Or someone that is predisposed with depression

rible, horrible news and I said no I can't. My argument

or struggling with depression or the weight of their

was by going this route you could be saving lives. You

own thoughts And so forth. Like the people that can

can help catch people by better understanding them

be kindergarten teachers. I can never do it but thank

and help predict Behavior and that is a strong argu-

goodness there are people that can and I equate the

ment for somebody that is empathetic. I do want to

two things because those are two things that I can't do.

help and I value that aspect too but when you weigh

12 InD’Tale Magazine

it out. I just thought that no I just don't think I can do

of them. I just kind of feel like everything that I have

it and still be the person that I am.

studied and read has created this imagination that has become Alice Worth books and the influence of

InD: I totally understand.

all the different genres and different authors and what I studied in school and taught has just really

LE: But it contributes greatly with not only having


fascinating stories when I teach about the things that I have seen and learned but it also comes into

InD: Which goes back to when you had this

play when I'm writing Mysteries. That is what to me

moment where you don't think you can do this

Alice is she is like a Kinsley Millhone With magic as

then I'm just really going to stick with English

a sidekick with paranormal, Supernatural Mysteries

and then you graduate. Did you go right into teach-

to solve but the series that I wanted to write was a pri-

ing after? Or did you continue on to your masters

vate investigator solving Mysteries by putting Clues

and PhD?

together and I love to dig into the psychology of Alice, Malcolm, Sean and Charles and the adversaries that

LE: I taught while I was getting my masters and

they come up against. The psychology for me I think

PhD. I was a graduate teaching assistant but in my

comes back into play and the motivation at the end

department we taught. I graduated with my bach-

of the day. Like what is motivating the antagonist or

elor's in May 2003 and in August of 2003 I started

motivating Alice and the other characters to do what

teaching at the college level while I was working on

they do. When they make choices where are these

my masters. So I finished my bachelors 3 months

choices coming from and what are the consequences

later I started teaching. I remember thinking that I



didn't know enough to teach but then I didn't know

InD: It is really scary.

more than the freshman. So I taught for 2 years working on my masters and then I taught for 6 years

LE: And I felt like I was not done teaching and I felt

as I was getting my PhD and then I got my PhD in

like I had so much more to give and so many more stu-

2013 and then I got my job at Weatherford in Texas as

dents out there to help. I loved being a teacher and I

a professor of English. So I did that for 10 years and

love creating that community of learning in the class-

with writing books and teaching that I wasn’t going

room especially teaching English where you have

to be able to do both very much longer. I taught at a

25 different students and 25 different perspectives

community college which I love doing and I believe

where it is not like a math class and I'm not craping

in 100% in the admission of going to a community

on math because I'm glad there are math people out

college. My parents taught at a community college

there but when you solve an equation you're solving

at different points. Both my sister and I attended

it for x. In English you're reading this text or article or

community college and it was very important to

an essay or speech and now let's analyze it and figure

me as a teacher that I felt like I was making a differ-

out what it means and you can have 24 perspectives

ence and the vast majority of my students were first

on that text and everybody analyzes it differently

generation college students. Many of the children

and we can look at the same text but see it in differ-

were of immigrants and I felt like on a daily basis

ent ways. But I loved it. The grading was the worst but

that I could make a difference but one of the down

sort of the daily stuff. I just felt like that I still wanted

sizes of teaching at a community college is that you

to do this but ever since I was 6 years old I wanted to

teach five classes a semester we're at a university

be a writer and it just felt like everything was falling

most professors teach only three so I was very busy

into place and in this house went on the market. So I

with teaching and you are teaching primarily comp

talked it over with the hubby. Hubby is a Libra and I'm

one and comp two and some lit but it is a very heavy

not into horoscopes but it's just something and I'm a

grading load as you can imagine. The comp classes

Gemini and I'm a little crazy and there are two of us

are generally capped at 25 but if you have five classes

in here and you don't know which one you're going to

of 25 students each and they write four or five pages

get. But he was a math major and he ended up getting

a semester so every time papers come in that's 125

a degree in psychology which requires three semes-

papers and multiplying that by five classes that's a

ters of statistics which would make me want to walk

lot of grading. A good friend of mine started a busi-

in front of a bus but the good news is we matched up

ness and she and I went to high school together and

really well. I am artsy and creative and kind of crazy

we were talking about how long do you stay with

and he is over here like numbers and logic and so we

your first career before you move on to your side

talked about it and talked about it and he said yes the

hustle and she said you do it until you can't do both

numbers are there. You are doing this well and as long

and I hit that last year. I felt like I was getting to the

as you keep writing we will be fine so let's do it.

point where I wasn't able to give all that I wanted to give my all to my teaching and to my writing and

InD: That is cool that he's so supportive.

that was starting to be a strain and stressful for sure. to try and do both and it felt sometimes that I

LE: Yeah I guess it helps. It really helped that from

was short shifting one over the other and then this

his very logical perspective that it made sense. The

house came up for sale next door to my sister and it

numbers made sense. The timing made sense. He had

was like the universe was making it very clear that

to move too. He moved within the same company but

this was the time for a change and to go full time as

he still had to move. But yeah I think you're at the point

an author. It is really hard to bet on yourself.

where we can do this and so full-time author I am.

14 InD’Tale Magazine

InD: That is awesome. It is cool and weird that I

some company and she is a graphic designer and she

understand because the things that we are talking

left a six-figure job to start her own Apparel Design

about I not only sympathize with but empathize

Company. she is one of my inspirations because she

with because you have got two teachers sitting here

had done something really similar because she was

talking who made a switch in their careers and I

making really good money and she's says I'm an artist

know it is hard because I love teaching. I emphasize

and I want to create this company for myself and so

with that because I know that feeling so well. You

she did it. She took the Gamble and she's been really

did it with English I did it with music and I agree.

successful. She did this one post and I started bawl-

But it is like you say you also have this love too. I

ing. She had drawn this picture of her 12-year-old self

love this area of my life so I totally understand.

and her current self and made it look like they were having a conversation and her little 12-year-old self

LE: You know what is funny my realtor who helped

says do you mean we're making a living off of our

us buy this house. She did the same thing. She was a

art and her adult self said yes we are. I started bawl-

teacher. She was a middle school teacher. God bless

ing because I was thinking about all of my dreams.

her. She left teaching to become a real estate agent

I started writing when I was six and then I started

and you know it is a very similar thing to give up the

doing short stories all through my teens and teenage

known factor. The thing that you worked for. To take

years and the idea of being a full-time author that was

a huge gamble because real estate you can slay or you

the dream but never in a million years that I think it

can fail. I actually know her through my sister. So

would actually happen.

when we were talking it was sort of the same situation and that I totally understand that you are taking

InD: Like so many of us have thought that this

a gamble on yourself and there is probably no more

would be a hobby because it would not pay the

difficult gamble to take. There is this wonderful gal

bills and to be fortunate enough that it can actu-

that I follow on Instagram. She has a company called

ally pay the bills is huge.



LE: I know I pinched myself all the time until I'm

Troi from the Next Generation. I always felt that they

black and blue because I'm living in my story book

gave her such crappy story lines so I wrote where she

house next door to my sister for all of my story book

would get to save the day and she would be the action

houses problems. Now we have a tree in the backyard.

hero and during my teens I was writing science fiction

My husband just sits out there and looks at it.

but also that was when I started getting into Mysteries and criminal procedures so I have some mystery

InD: You are living the dream girl.

novels around the house that I hope never ever see the light of day. Somewhere of a female homicide

LE: I am living the dream like it is a bumpy ride but I

detective because that was the sort of era that I was in.

will say that I am absolutely living the dream but I do feel a lot of additional pressure because now it went

InD: Did you actually write the entire novels at

from the side hustle to the thing that will keep a roof

that age?

over my head.

InD: But you have built up a big enough follow-

LE: I do have a lot that are unfinished for sure but I do have four or five that were finished but I am sure

ing with me included recently that I think and

they are gone because they were on a three and a half

hopefully it can only go up from here. When you

floppy disk.

are small and writing your little stories what were you writing?

LE: When I was little it was science fiction but

InD: So where were you when you actually decided to sit down and write Alice story?

because that's what I was reading. I was reading a lot

LE: That was in 2014, 2015. I had my full-time Profes-

of Science Fiction. I wrote a lot of Star Trek fanfic-

sor job for a full year so I had settled into that routine

tion before that was ever called fanfiction when I

and I told myself that I was tired of someday telling

was a teen. One of my favorite characters was Deanna

myself that I was going to be a writer and someday I


InD’Tale Magazine

am going to publish a book and now I'm going to make

character driven World buildings and I imagine who

this happen no matter what so that was when I made

is she in the beginning of the series. She’s rude and

it my priority other than teaching. If I was not in the

feisty and hard to like because she says and does

classroom or reading I was writing. So one day I'm sit-

things that are pretty s***** but that is who she is and

ting on my porch and drinking a cup of coffee and out

that's who you want to be. You have her backstory

of nowhere this line dropped into my head. It was the

she's maybe four or five years out of having escaped

first time Moses Murphy's granddaughter killed on

and she is super isolated and she won't allow herself

his orders she was 6 years old.

to have friends. She allows herself lovers but never anything emotional. It is purely physical and the

InD: That popped in your head?

second that it goes emotional she's out the door. That is the kind of person that you would be after what

LE: I was sitting on the porch thinking of what

she's been through.

I might write and it was urban fantasy and it just popped into my head. I was like I don't know who

InD: That's exactly how it comes across and

Moses Murphy is but the story is about his grand-

that's what I remember thinking. someone rec-

daughter and he made her kill when she was six. So

ommend me the book so I read it and I'm realizing

who is he and who is she? so figuring this out I was

that I don't like her but I understand her and

like well he has to be some kind of crime Lord and so

that's a huge thing and one of my pet peeves that I

she's the granddaughter so her parents have got to be

need to understand why the characters are doing

out of the picture and so who is she okay her name is

what they're doing because stupid if you don't

Alice. Some people say it is amusing that just came to

understand why they're doing it and you do that

me. I don't know if I would personify it that way but I

incredibly well throughout the series. Usually if

do feel like being a voracious reader of hundreds and

you don't like the character you're probably not

thousands of books of all different genres but par-

going to pick up the next book but with her char-

ticularly urban fantasy and mystery. All of that was

acter she was so compelling because you totally

in my well and something sparks for me and it was

understood the way she was the way she was and

Moses Murphy and gosh I love that name.

that makes all the difference. It is like you say you

InD: And to go on from that and with anybody that

have imbued her the reason that makes us understand and makes her such a rich character. I can

has read your books that her Persona all developed

see that through the books she learns, and she

from that statement and I can see now that like

grows and we get to follow that path which is an

you said all the criminology and forensics came

absolute joy.

into that because a child at 6 that kills by the time they become an adult has some serious issues.

LE: I think the character should sustain and grow and in the books. Now I'm working on nine and we're

LE: And she does.

going up to 12 and some of the characters will get a spin-off like Trent Lake has a book.

InD: Yeah you built that into a character so well but it all makes sense. It really makes sense

InD: Oh that's great! I love Trent

LE: I was thinking that building the character in LE: I tell you what, I got some angry email when I that world is like who is this person and what kind

sent him off at the end of the book where he went off

of world does she inhabits and I am really big on

to Seattle there was a lot of Team Trent versus Sean.



InD: I totally understood and I don't know if

will happen. The Carly one I'm excited about because

because I'm like you I had read so many books

she's going to go back and live in New Orleans and

especially in mystery but I totally understand

there is a second chance romance for her in that one.

this that this was needed for the further progres-

Trent deserves his happiness. I love Trent so much

sion of the story that you are telling but at the

and I knew so much about him from the very begin-

same time the minute that happened I thought

ning but the really was not a way to work it in so for

that you have to do a standalone for Trent.

instance he is the only person in his family who is not a convicted felon. There was no place for me to

LE: I know. I love Trent so much that you can't have

work that in so he has to get his own book or two. Like

someone who's entire existence is a secret of who

why is Trent a human lie detector? How can you tell

they are when someone is pathologically incapable of

when Alice is always lying when no one else can?

stopping and asking questions and as much as he was

Part of it is he is the black sheep of the family. He's the

falling in love with her and she was a little bit with

only one that's not a felon so growing up in that type

him it would never work and so the “Heart of Fire”

of environment he had to develop his own sense of

really illustrates that because he was always why are

truth and lies to survive. I love him and actually hon-

you doing this? Where were you? You just walked out

estly I like him better than Sean. But I couldn't have

of a burning building that was amazing. I don't know

Alex with Trent; it just wouldn't make any sense.

but I love Trent and I'm happy that he's going to get his own standalone.

InD: Series

InD: And Sean is perfect for Alice. It fits that storyline.

LE: One of the things that I was thinking about with

LE: His own perfect match. He's not going to be able

Alice when I was developing her as a character and

to stay away from weird women with magic. I will

having read so much urban fantasy is that I didn't

say that.

want Alice to be too perfect and too powerful and one of my favorite series that I read my main complaint

InD: That is another realize as I was reading your

about it is that main character is a little too perfect.

books that I was surprised at how well you have

When terrible things happen to her it kind of rolls

done with the secondary characters that you could

off and she keeps going and I realize that she had a

take off and do a book with because people really

tough childhood and actually worse than Alice but

follow those characters because they were so well

keep in mind that it is one of my favorite series and

developed when you fleshed out with her even

I am being nitpicky but I really don't know that there

though they are secondary characters. Of course

really is a lot of character development between the

is one that I would really love if you start a serious

books. So as much as I love that series that's not who

with but you could do it with Arcady and Charles

Alice is and that is not who I want her to be. some-

is one that you haven't given us the motivations

one with her background would not be like that. So at

behind but he is so intriguing that you could do

the end of “Heart of Malice” You know where Amelia

one on him. That is a gift in and of itself. You have

kills people to get the blood for the sacrifice and she

invested in so many secondary characters that

is tied up and she can't do anything about it. She takes

there is enough that you want to learn more.

it really, really hard and at the beginning of “Heart of Fire" she has developed a little bit of a drinking prob-

LE: I get a lot of requests with Malcolm and Carly. I

lem. It is more of a coping problem because you can't

actually have the beginnings of a Carly book so that

figure out how to cope with this terrible thing that


InD’Tale Magazine

has happened to her. I did catch some flak for that. I don't read reviews but you do run across them and there were some people that did not like the fact that she was drinking a little bit and really struggling in the “Heart of Fire”. But if you had gone through what she went through, anyone coming out of that would not just come out of it like okay that's okay and especially since it was so reminiscent of how her life was before where she felt helpless when terrible things were happening and here it happens to her again. Just when some things were starting to look up for her. Yes there are some things I would change about in the “Heart of Malice” but your first book should be your worst. Right? There are some things that I wish I would have done differently.

InD: So “Heart of Malice” is your first book? LE: Yes it is the first book that I have published. InD: Wow! You did a good job because usually the first book isn't. But I read that one and then I plowed through the rest of them in a couple weeks.

LE: Now with me when I go back through the heart of malice I'm like geez. People go hey I'm reading your first book and my instinct is to go. It gets better. One thing though that I will stand by is that she didn't make some mistakes and I hope that I did a decent job at explaining why she does what she did. I think sometimes I could have done a better job of explaining why she made the choices that she did. Again I don't read reviews but I know there's a lot of why did she believe Charles when Charles told her Sean was only dating her because she was a mage. Because she has zero selfesteem and so the only thing that would make sense to her is because I have power. He couldn't possibly want me for me. Because she has no self-esteem, zero.

InD: She thinks of herself as absolutely nothing. LE: But it must not have come through well enough in the book because there is quite a lot of that out

Photo by Matthew Sewell



there that they don't understand why she would not

you usually pretty good. It shows you where you

believe Charles or even give Sean a chance to explain.

didn't hit your mark and it shows you what you

well I know why she did that but I don't think I

did well.

expressed it well enough in the book but that's one of the things in the subsequent books that Alice is going

LE: I guess I shouldn't say I don't read reviews but

to do something that will be difficult for the readers

I'm human and I will use the filter and read the five

to understand why she does it. So I'm a bit clearer on

stars if I have a bad writing day and I have a hard time

her motivation of her doing what she is doing.

remembering why do what I do but when I look at my reviews and I have 15,000 5 Star reviews a number I

InD: I can see what you're saying and I remem-

know because I'm not conceited at all but there are

ber being frustrated with her but I did understand

some one and two star reviews and guess which ones

that she did not have any self-esteem but it is

live in my head?

totally understandable because of where she came from.

InD: Don't look at the ones or the twos.

LE: Again I don't read reviews but I have heard that LE: But if you accidentally see one. I spent eight was one quite a bit about is I don't understand why

years in grad school. I can take criticism. Right? I sat

she would not believe Charles.

across from the desk of professors that absolutely made me cry so I'm not going to sit here and say I can't

InD: I don't know if I agree but I can see not read-

take criticism or how dare you criticize me because I

ing every review. I've always Sat by don't read the

have read through the criticism of “Heart of Malice”

twos and the ones but the threes and the fours are

and pretty much down the line I am like that's fair.


InD’Tale Magazine

InD: Sometimes I think reading reviews helps

fine and I’m thinking that is not realistic. I get a lot at

because when I hear some authors say they don't

the end with people thanking me. This will make me

read reviews they just do what they do and in my

cry. For a realistic portrayal of trauma and the process

head I'm thinking that you need to read a few

of healing as Carly is the voice of a therapist saying

because it would help.

there is no magic word for this I can't wave a wand and fix your hurt but here is what we can do to begin

LE: Yes, there are a few as my mom would say have

that process. As I get stuff from fans who say they

gotten too big for their britches and they really need

had a terrible childhood, it is amazing when I read

to listen to their reviewers and editors. I am not a

your books because I feel like there's somebody that

New York Times bestselling author so I'm talking

understands what that process is. My childhood was

out of my ass there but I just really feel there are

just fine and having that deep psychological under-

some people that may have lost touch a little bit but

standing helps me and I certainly would not want

you know what? If their books continue to sell what

somebody to say this is a totally unrealistic picture

they sell then why would they start doing anything

of trauma and PTSD because that would make me feel


ashamed. I tried to be realistic and show characters who feel like real people and how they would react to

InD: Oh Lisa, that is one of my pet peeves too.

this very real situation. So with Alice she finds out

All the readers, the authors that get so huge they

that her biological father is still around, Daniel, and

don't try as hard anymore don't write as well any-

he comes back into her life and she doesn't know how

more and their fans still give them five stars. It

to feel about it. I caught some flak for that book where

drives me nuts. Your characters grow. Alice starts

she was pushing him away and maybe being a little

out kind of unlikable and you slowly watch her

unkind towards him. That showed up in a number

grow which is what we want and this is what we

of reviews. I don't understand why Alice is acting

hope people do in real life to learn from their mis-

like that.

takes and each other.

LE: It is really hard to sustain character growth for

InD: But reading reviews helps you improve yourself where you take the common thread and

multiple books and that was the approach that I took

make your following books better. When you went

because in “Heart of Malice” she is a hot mess so in

to publish your first book, how was that experi-

the other books I try and fix or sort of fix the ways

ence? Was it really hard to get published? Did it do

that she is a hot mess. In the first books she's getting

well right off?

better, in the second book she's learning that she can work as a team and in book three she learns a lesson

LE: It was actually called Magic City. That was its

in sacrificing. That the one where she dies and Sean

original title. I started querying it and you know how

is mad at her and they sort of break up for a while and

that goes. I have a spreadsheet whenever I need to feel

she's like oh I didn't think about how he would react

humble but I don't need to feel humble because that

to that.

is just how I come but I can go back to that spreadsheet all of the thank you for submitting and all the

InD: I can see where that would be hard to keep

Dead Files but a couple of months in I ran across the

her growing. But that is what makes it good.

City Owl and I sent them the summary and the first two chapters And two days later I got an email From

LE: In some of the series that I've read they start off

Heather McCorkle saying she likes what she sees

as a hot mess but by the end of book one or two they're

and can I read the whole thing and she was only the



second or third person to ask for the whole thing and

LE: I met him in college. We were both playing

so I sent it in a week later they offered me a contract

College trivia. Just a couple of nerds that met on

for the book and the rest of the series. Now City Owl

the college trivia team. So I knew him for about 18

is a small press but it has grown and it is insane and

months. He was the president. And we started chat-

how much it has grown since I signed on. One of the

ting and within we discovered we had so much in

things that I loved when I decided on City Owl is that

common with each other and that was in 1999 so we

it is a woman-owned press and they actually culti-

started dating and the rest is history.

vate their authors. We do a retreat and you would not believe these retreats. There are about 20 to 30 of us

InD: Well that was easy.

in this giant house who all Mutual support and love and there's no backstabbing. we don't look at each

LE: I know I wish there was something more dra-

other as competitors we all promote each other and I

matic but it was just a couple of nerds.

talk to a lot of authors that published with other companies and they are like this doesn't happen I'd rather

InD: I think that's wonderful. So let's do some

places and of course there are down sizes to being

favorites because I think favors really do tell us a

with a small press. You have to do your own market-

lot about you. What is your favorite food?

ing Hustle for sure and they are growing pains with City Owl. But as they grow they add on more people

LE: You know I have to give it to tacos

but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

InD: I kind of got that feeling working with City

InD: Hard sell or soft shell?

Owl through the magazine and it is good to hear

LE: Soft. True story my little nephew when he was

from an author's point of view that they are really

about three he started to call them comfy tacos and

good to their authors.

so we just kind of run with that in the family now it's like a warm tortilla hug. I am not going to turn down

LE: They truly are and I have always gotten sup-

any kind of taco. Literally. It's like when little pieces

port from editors and I remember posting a question

of the taco fall out so you have like a little bit of taco

before I was published on Facebook in the City Owl

salad there. So tacos fall apart and we still love them.

group and the other authors were all coming to help me and I thought this is what it is all about what a

InD: Who could ask for anything more. What

great community. It has been really good watching

about dessert?

them grow. After Alice is done I have another series that's ready.

LE: A case of margaritas and some tacos that is a happy place for me.

InD: Is it another urban fantasy series? LE: Do you remember in book 7 where Alice goes over the broken world? It’s going to be with Lucy. But

InD: There you go. LE: What about you? What is your favorite?

they have been nothing but supportive and it has been great.

InD: Tell us about your own love story. How did you meet your husband?

22 InD’Tale Magazine

InD: You know what? Lisa, no one has ever asked me that. My gosh, I have to think about it. I love all kinds of food there's very few foods I don't like. I can tell you I don't like sushi. Favorite dessert?



LE: That's a harder one.

InD: Why?

InD: That is me on favorite food but for dessert it LE: I don't know why I just love purple as early as I is pie. Any kind of pie.

can remember I just think purple is great.

LE: Okay I have one. A doe Bears cake from New InD: What is your favorite time of day? Orleans. It is a New Orleans thing. It is a layer cake and they come in a couple of different flavors. Usually

LE: Not morning. I hate mornings and I always

there's chocolate caramel lemon. If you get a chance

have. I would say early evening as the moon comes

you should get one. You can get them shipped.

up above the trees. Alice got that from me. There is a lot of me in Alice. The love of coffee and good

InD: Doe Bears cake. Faith Hunter said the

food. But she loves scotch and I despise scotch.

same thing.

And when I met her she said she loved scotch and I said really because I hate it. So much of her is me.

LE: She's from New Orleans.

The long, dark hair of course mine is shorter now than it was.

InD: Yeah she said that and hummingbird cake and I have never heard of that in my life and I still

InD: When you travel where is your favorite

have to try one of those too. Your favorite color?

place to go?

LE: Purple.

LE: New Orleans.


InD’Tale Magazine

InD: Where is your favorite place to be if you

is what we would like to be doing. There are so many

could just be some place?

voices out there telling you not to dream about creating. How are you going to support yourself? I mean

LE: If I'm going someplace to relax I would like to

I was a teacher right but I kept working towards my

be in the mountains like in a hammock and a cabin

dream. okay so true story right before heart of malice

or on the beach in a hammock. I will see someplace

came out I emailed one of the editors and I asked how

out in nature. We went to Alaska a couple of years ago

much should I sit aside for taxes and I was told to do

and that was freaking amazing. But if I could snap my

30% to be safe but don't be surprised if you don't make

fingers and go anywhere right now it would be New

enough to have to file taxes on it. So it is so hard not

Orleans. I love New Orleans and we used to go there a

to give up on that dream but I would have rather kept

couple times a year now it's down to about once a year

trying than to have not ever tried. So I never gave up

or less.

even after probably the 60th rejection or whatever from the different agents or publishers or whatever

InD: Where is your favorite place in New Orleans

because if I had I would not be sitting here in my sto-

when you go?

rybook house talking about being a full-time writer. Just write your story because somebody out there

LE: You have to go down Bourbon Street but you

wants to read your story and you might not believe

only go there for one night but in the French District

that but it is absolutely true and if you're a writer and

there is a ton of great food and a ton of great music

you know it in your heart and you feel it don't give up.

but a fifth of the people so there's way less drunken

You owe it to yourself to write that story and however

people. But I love to go to the French District to listen

it comes out into the world there are those people out

to music and eat and I can gain about 10 pounds

there that want to read your story so don't give up on

just going from across the bridge. When I go to New

that dream. Chase that dream. I am proof that you

Orleans I feel like I am home even though I didn't

can chase a crazy dream and have it come true.

go there until 2017. You know that feeling when you get in the hot tub that's how I feel when I get in New

InD: That is awesome!

Orleans. I don't know why, maybe it's the music and the food. The people that live there just love their city more than any place I have ever been.

InD: What is the best advice that you have ever been given? It can be professional or personal?

LE: Don't give up I know that can be so trite but it is so hard to go in on your dream and to go in on yourself to chase your dream. Especially if you're creative because the world tells us constantly what value is it and what you do? What do you make on your books? How many books have you sold? How much time did you spend doing this? Everything is so monetize and quantified and now we've got to deal with AI which should be used to take care of the mundane things in life but instead is being used for creativity which



Rising Star

Jude Knight


InD’Tale Magazine

What were you like as a child? I was one of those children who didn’t quite fit. Perhaps it was that my parents were both teachers and we lived in a low socio-economic area, or maybe because I was intense, academically gifted, and subject to passionate enthusiasms, and other children didn’t know quite what to make of me, nor I of them. I spent a lot of my time alone, and I didn’t mind, because the company was better inside my head. My dolls were props in my endless stories, which were largely mishmashes of book, radio, or TV stories. No dolls’ tea parties for me, or at least not until they had escaped the kidnappers, conquered

by books. My mother was a teacher at a time when

the pirates, got out of the jungle, and brought down

teachers were trained to believe it was harmful to

the evil prince.

children to learn to read before they were taught

Even with family—I had a huge group of

at school. Nobody told me. I had taught myself to

cousins—I was mostly the odd one out. A couple of

read by four years old. From then on, I was never,

cousins were on the same wavelength as me and if

by choice, without a book in my hands.

they were not around, all the relatives had books.

Books were my friends and books gave me my adventures. Christmas and birthdays always

Were you a big reader? What do you think influenced your love of reading?

brought me new books—my favorite type of gift,

I read a lot, and from a very young age. My parents

to my version of heaven. Indeed, when I was old

were both great readers, and I grew up surrounded

enough, I got a job at my local library, shelving books.

even today. My library card was a magic passport



I must have been the slowest book shelver in the world, because I always found something to read.

What made you want to be a writer? I was a storyteller before I knew I wanted to be a writer. According to my mother, before I could talk, I would sit in my playpen and yabber at my toys. Once a few words became intelligible, she realized I was telling them stories. Before long, I discovered books, and by the time I was seven, I answered the adult question, “What do you want to be when you grow up,” with “a mother and a writer.” The answer never changed.

Does your family read your books? My brothers and my sister read my books, as does one sister-in-law. My own children and grandchildren—not so much. Since romance requires physical attraction (or it would just be friendship), my books include references to physical arousal and often to sexual intimacy. Apparently, my children would prefer to think I am ignorant of such matters. They were clearly discovered in a cabbage patch. I love them all the way to the moon and back, but on this point, they are duffers.

What is it that drew you to writing Historical romance? When it comes to historical romance, I’m a late starter. I was writing fantasy in my teens… Not very good fantasy. I had a lot to learn about human nature before I could write credible people. Then marriage, a severe illness, and babies (in that order) took most of my energy. When child number two was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, writing didn’t so much take a back seat as fall off the truck. There followed years of treatment, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and hippo therapy— and two more babies. Once all the children were at school, I got back to writing, researching historical fiction set in New Zealand’s gold fields, and selling


InD’Tale Magazine

contemporary short stories for radio. Then it was

I began writing the one set in 1807, intending to

time for the next curve ball, the world-wide finan-

publish in chronological order. I had no idea that

cial crisis of the 1980s. Our mortgage interest rate

it was a good idea to finish one series at a time. To

shot up through the roof. I found a job two weeks

overcome my fear, I told everyone I knew that I was

ahead of our meagre savings running out, writing

writing a novel. Now I was afraid of not finishing!

computer software manuals—which turned into a

Eight years and more than forty books later, my

thirty-five year career as a commercial writer. Years of ups and downs followed. Among many

only regret is that I let my fears hold me back from starting earlier.

other adventures, we inherited two more children

Did any of your life experiences if I wrote a novel and nobody liked it? My dreams influence any of your storylines or characters? Give us some examples! would be dashed. from a friend who died. I gave up on fiction. What

Then my mother died, and I realized I’d lost my

Some of my scenes are edited versions of life. All

chance for her to hold a book of fiction that I had

of my characters take characteristics from people

written. About the same time, a daughter gave me

I’ve known. Several of my plot lines are cathartic

one of Mary Balogh’s Simply books. At the time, I

workings-out of experiences. Even in the worst

was reading fantasy, speculative fiction, mystery,

moments of my life, the part of my mind I call the

and literary fiction. But my girl was right. I loved

‘plot elves’ is standing back to watch. They observe.

Mary Balogh. I devoured every one of her books

They note things down. They remember. Every-

and then went looking for other authors in a six-

thing is grist for the plot elves.

month reading jag.

Examples? I have a wicked vicar in one book

I emerged with 43 plot ideas in a Word file and

who berates the heroine in a church yard because

multi-tab spreadsheet, organized by series, charac-

he doesn’t want her at a meeting. He uses the very

ter and year. I’d found my genre!

words I heard from a man who once shouted at



me in a car park when he wanted me to abandon a

him and he killed himself. Bam. There went


my plot.

I have a hero who tenderly washes the hero-

More than forty published books later, I don’t

ine’s feet after she ended up grazed, blistered, and

even try to outline. I start with a rough synopsis and

bruised. The situation was different, but once my

the first section of a modified hero’s journey for each

own personal hero, at that time my boyfriend,

main character, which I complete as I am writing.

washed blood and glass from my hair after I’d gone through a car windscreen in an accident.

The most dreaded part of writing, for me, is when I have no idea what happens next. In the middle part

I have a heroine who descended into deep

of every novel, I hit a spot where the end of the novel

depression, seeing the world through a wall of fog

has become clear to me, and I have no idea how to

that numbed her perceptions and every emotion

get there! My solution is to keep writing, grinding

except despair—and I learned how that felt from

out words until all of a sudden, it gels. Sometimes,


I’ve had to throw out scenes that didn’t fit. Once, recently, I chucked away 9,000 words. In one of my

What are your absolute favorite and most dreaded parts of writing a new novel?

current works in progress, I have my hero and her-

I’m a pantser, though that fact came as a surprise

I can get them out of it in about 6000 words, but it

to me. After thirty-five years of commercial writ-

leaves all sorts of unresolved problems, and only

ing, outlining was an essential part of my process.

10,000 words to get them to a credible happy ending!

Indeed, I taught my clients and protégées to divide

My favorite part? I love the “ah-ha!” moments.

the writing process into three: one third plan-

When I discover that the treatment for hemlock

ning, one third writing, and one third editing. Why

poisoning is artificial respiration until the paralysis

should fiction be different?

wears off, and I realize that my villainous stepfather

oine in an incredibly sticky situation, and I know

Except it is. For me, at least. When the villain

can give my Snowy White a hemlock laced apple

of my first novel was confronted by the heroine in

pie, and my Princess Charming can save him with

the prologue, the guilt he already felt overwhelmed

the kiss of life. When I’m trying to figure out a real


InD’Tale Magazine

life way for my Rapunzel to let down her hair, and it suddenly occurs to me that old furniture was stuffed with horse hair, which can be made into a rope. “Ah-ha!” moments can come at any point – while getting to know a character, while recognizing a plot prompt that can be spun into a story, while in the depths of writing or editing. I live for the “Ahha!” moment.

What’s a writing bucket list item of yours? I’m deep in writing Regencies at the moment, with a writing calendar full until 2025. But one day, I want to write an Edwardian murder mystery set in New Zealand. In New Zealand’s Rotorua is a Tudor style building called the Rotorua Bathhouse. It opened in 1908, and was the New Zealand government’s initiative. They wanted to build a health spa that would rival those of Europe. They harnessed Rotorua’s thermal activity to supply hot baths and mud baths, and the facility had a staff of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, hydrotherapists and the like. It was a very important rehabilitation center during and after the First World War. In more recent times, it was used as a nightclub and then as an art gallery and museum. Several years ago, it was shut for earthquake strengthening. Before that, I visited several times, and the basements where people were plunged into mud baths sparked all kinds of ideas. My plot elves occasionally remind me that they are slowly building a nurse, a dead patient, and a friendly, if somewhat damaged soldier, with a knack for solving puzzles. One day, I just have to go there.

If you could give anyone wanting to write a story one piece of advice, what would it be? Do it. Follow your dreams. If you write 100 words a day, at the end of the year, you will have more than 36,000 words, which is half of a long novel. Just write. Any writing can be edited, but you cannot edit what you haven’t written. If it brings you joy to write, then write.




InD’Tale Magazine

Do your readers W

Are You their Favorite Author or Just their Favorite Indie Author?

By Tamara Cribley

take you seriously?

ith a few rare exceptions, authors who write with the intent to publish their books, either tradi-

tionally or through self-publishing, want to be taken seriously. When a reader says that your book is good, for an indie author, it’s a bit of a letdown. The book is either good, or it’s not. Classifying the praise minimizes it. It’s a bit like saying “this is a great salad, for homegrown produce.” Now, I don’t know about you, but the quality of homegrown produce, at least in my neck of the woods, is a whole lot better than anything you can find in the grocery store. The same can be true for indie authors. Self-published books can be just as good as, if not better than, traditionally published books. So why the classifier? Self-publishing is a rapidly evolving landscape. Over the last several decades, it has become a very different industry than one an author from 1999 would recognize. Like so many creative industries, technology has made self-publishing accessible. It can be inexpensive and relatively easy, depending on your publishing platform and your intentions. Sometimes, it’s even free. Bring AI into the mix, and you might not even have to write the book. Like anything that’s cheap and easy, the dabblers jump on board.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash



There’s little risk, and if you believe the

traditional publishing on a pedestal

social media hype, there are fortunes

will hold them high, and use them as an

to be made, and a few folks can leverage

example to prove their point.

the tools and excel with minimal effort.

So how does one become a favorite

Most authors, however, must still put in a

author and not a favorite indie author?

great deal of work. Even traditionally pub-

In my experience, it comes down to two

lished authors devote time and resources


beyond just writing. How many query let-

ing like a business. While many online

ters were sent to agents? Building an

user groups tout that self-publishing is

audience didn’t just happen. Being a seri-

cheap or free, consider that cheap and

ous author is a lot of work.

free rarely produce professional results.




Self-publishing has a mixed reputa-

I can paint a car with a rattle can, but it

tion. Even with the tremendous success

won’t look professional, even though it

of authors like Colleen Hoover, Andy

might look nice. If I were to try to sell it,

Weir, and Christopher Paolini, to name

I wouldn’t expect to demand the same

just a few, there are still those who frown

price as a professionally painted car. In

upon and besmirch the practice. But I get

publishing, there may be places to reduce

it. We live in the extremes, and unfor-

your costs, or perhaps you can get cre-

tunately, it’s far more common to call

ative and find ways to trade or barter for

someone out for failing to meet expec-

services. When it comes down to it, what

tations than it is to praise someone for

are you willing to invest in a book that

exceeding them. And when self-pub-

can sit proudly next to top-selling, tradi-

lished books are lousy, those who put

tionally published authors?

Editing Let’s start with the assumption that your writing is up to par. You’ve written a compelling story and received




feedback from your beta readers. Get a professional editor. Not your sister who teaches high school English, or your neighbor who loves to read. Let them be your beta readers. Work with someone who has professional experience, preferably in your genre




are a whole host of different types of editing, and you may not need all of them. Different editors offer different


InD’Tale Magazine

services, and sometimes offer multiple

important part of your marketing. Be wary

services, so be clear about what you can

of working with a graphic designer who

expect from your editor. You may need to

does not specialize in publishing. They

work with more than one to get your man-

may be able to recreate a cover exactly as

uscript into shape for publishing. A few

you envision it, but they’re unlikely to be

typos are par for the course. Having many

able to assess it for commercial viability.

of them is distracting at best, and might

An artist who knows and understands the

land your book in the DNF (did not finish)

latest trends and industry specifications

pile. Be sure to work with editors who can

is invaluable.

be honest about their feedback and will provide constructive criticism.

Formatting and Design Formatting is an often-overlooked piece

Cover Art

of book production in self-publishing.

Work with a cover artist who is familiar

When done well, we don’t really notice

with your subject or genre. They should

it. When done poorly, it can be just as

have experience with self-publishing,

distracting as typos. It can also make it

and be able to work with you to create a

challenging to follow the story. While

marketable cover that will be appealing to

the aesthetics of your book interior can

readers at thumbnail sizes. A compelling

create an ambiance and enhance your

cover (that reflects your book and speaks

reader’s experience, professional for-

to your audience) is probably the most

matters, book designers, and typesetters



also take into account how the information will

First, you should have one. If you’re not sure what

be consumed. They consider age, format, sub-

should appear in your notice, pull a book off your

ject, and a variety of other factors to determine

shelf, or even better, do a quick search for a tem-

the ideal settings for your specific audience. Pro-

plate. You’ll get plenty of results. The best ones

grams like Google Docs and Microsoft Word are

will explain each component so that you know

word processors. They’re great for writing and

whether you should include it in your book and

editing, but a very poor choice for book layout and

how to customize it for your own use. The next

design. There are some free and affordable tools

piece is the ISBN (International Standard Book

that do a decent job, but aren’t a substitute for pro-

Number). Many self-publishing platforms provide

fessional software, real experience, and expertise.

these for free. There are a few reasons you might

Also keep in mind that designing for print and

opt to purchase your own instead, but in the con-

digital are two very different processes, and not

text of this conversation, the primary reason is that

all designers are well-versed in both. Work with

the owner of the ISBN is the publisher of record.

formatters who have the experience and knowl-

For example, if yours is provided by KDP (Kindle

edge for each, even if that means working with

Direct Publishing), they will be the publisher of

two different people.

record. When professionalism is important, the details can make a big difference. Some authors

Copyright Notice

will take this to the next step to create a separate

Beyond the production of your book, there are

legal business entity and establish an imprint

some key components in your book to address,

under which to publish. While you’re still the one

and they can all be found in your copyright notice.

doing the publishing, the appearance to readers is that your book was published by a publisher, and not an individual. Traditionally published books also include a Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Data Block. This is a bibliographic record created by the Library of Congress. The data becomes part of a database that the Library of Congress then distributes to libraries and book vendors. This should also include a Control Number. This number is referred to as the LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) or PCN (Preassigned Control Number). This number is used in the database to identify your book’s data. You can include each of these in your self-published book. It’s easy to register your book with the Library of Congress, and there are services where you can have your CIP Data Block produced for you. When professionalism is a priority, viewing your publishing as a business can help you make decisions about what’s important, and what kind of investments you’ll need to make, even if those investments are your time. You’re on track to become someone’s Favorite Author.


InD’Tale Magazine



Book Reviews from an

Author’s Perspective…


Peggy Jaeger

’ll be the first to admit this and do so proudly:

written every single time. Some books just don’t

I read my book reviews. Every single one, on

resonate with a reader. This doesn’t make it a bad

every single book. And no, I’m not a glutton

book, it’s just not for that person.

for punishment.

Reviews to me, as the author, are beneficial

in a number of ways—and not just because fabu-

You may think you’re the next Nora Roberts, whereas a reader may think you write like their third grader.

lous ones increase my Goodreads rating. There is

You may think your book is the next best thing

as much to learn from a glowing review as there

everyone’s been waiting for, and a reader thinks

is from a not-so-favorable one, if the reviewer

your story’s been told a million times before, and

explains why they rated the book the way they did.

yours is just meh.

As an author, I know just how much time, effort,

Or you may think every review should be 5

sleepless nights, and worry go into writing, editing,

stars, and many a reviewer is giving you 3 stars—

and releasing a book into the universe. So when a

which is still good. I don’t know why we’ve been

reviewer adores a book, 5-stars it, and then makes

conditioned to think it’s bad, but we have.

sure those in their realm know about the book, as

It’s the dreaded 1 and 2 star ratings that make

the author you float on a success high. Contempo-

authors reach for the emergency chocolate they’ve

rary romance author Kari Lemor says, “When an

stashed in their desks, though, and be consumed

author gets an excellent review, they should sing

with worry about sales and reputations. Writers

and dance and celebrate.”

have fragile egos. We want everyone to adore what

I’ve done all three.

we write, but the reality is that never happens. That

Urban Fantasy author Artemis Crow agrees.

old adage about pleasing some of the people all of

“Positive reviews are great. Who doesn’t love vali-

the time, and all of the people some of the time, but

dation?” Too true.

not all of the people all of the time, is simply a fact

But… there are always those who won’t love

of life. And some people, i.e. readers and reviewers,

your book. The reasons are varied, and can include

are very vocal about why they don't like something

anything from the reader not liking the POV

they’ve read.

you’ve written in, can’t relate to the plot line or

Goodreads, Bookbub, and any other social media

characters, or were expecting a sweet romance and

book review sites are rife with both excellent and

the author had them having steamy sex on every

horrible book reviews. A book can have 50 glowing

conceivable surface they came across.

4-5 star ratings and reviews, but the author will be

Just like every single human being on the

engrossed with the one review that’s negative.

planet won’t like you as a person, every single

My advice for authors when this happens,

reader on that same planet won’t like what you’ve

because it happens to us all: Grow some thick skin.


InD’Tale Magazine

Words hurt. That’s the truth. But it’s how you react to those words that will define whether or not

The lesson learned here? Don’t ever do what she did if you are an author.

you have a long and happy writing career, or a short

“Negative reviews are painful,” Artemis Crow

and miserable one. You can obsess over a 2-star

states, “but I would posit that there is something to

rating with an accompanying written review until

be learned, especially if the reviewer takes the time

it makes you mentally and physically ill… Or you

to spell out what they didn’t like.” In the case of

can brush it off and consider the 50 positive 3-5 star

the Goodreads scandal, the reviewer cited numer-

reviews you got instead.

ous trigger warnings in the book the author hadn’t

The most important advice I ever received from a seasoned author when I received my first

divulged, and even a few she appeared to make fun of (in the name of dark comedy and satire).

1-star review and was as close to a mental break-

Kari Lemor told me a story about a reviewer who

down as I’ve ever been, was do not – DO NOT – under

left a 1-star review on one of her books due to “inap-

any circumstances, engage with the reviewer. Do

propriate language” in the narrative. “The book was

not try to prove them wrong, shame them, or call

about a severely injured marine,” Lemor explained.

them stupid/illiterate/not worth living


“His language was appropriate for his character. I

your own descriptor here). Their opinion of your

used that review in a promotion for the book and

book is their opinion, and it is not wrong to them.

got quite a number of downloads from people who

You just don’t happen to agree with it.

understood that, and wanted that type of language.”

Despite how hard this is to do, it is excellent

Reviews and ratings are important to writers,

advice, and not following it can lead an author into

not only for the ego part of the writing equation, but

serious professional and personal trouble.

for the purpose of getting new readers for a book.

Case in point: We all remember the Goodreads

We fear that if a book has just 3 and 4-star reviews,

debacle several years ago where a new author was

it will be passed over by someone looking for a new

given a scathing review of her book by a book influ-

author to read, or the newest bestseller to jump on

encer. The author was astounded anyone wouldn’t

the bandwagon for. I am the type of reader who, if I

like her book, which was her first mistake. To try and

see a bunch of 4/5 star reviews and a couple of 1 stars,

prove the reviewer wrong, she began a campaign to

am intrigued, and if I don’t know the author or the

discredit the reviewer, even going so far as to hire a

book, will dive into learning why the disparity. And

private detective agency to dig up dirt on the person.

every time it comes down to what I’ve already said

Part of her crusade was calling out the reviewer

– the book simply didn’t resonate with that reader.

on every social media platform, and

“Reviews,” says Crow, “are for readers. If there is

even engaging in tit-for-tat “conver-

something I can fix (in the story), I do that and go on. If

sations” with her and her readers.

their issue is beyond my control, I let it go, staying true





to who I am as a writer, and the stories I want to tell.”

career before it ever had a chance to

Continued on page 62

begin, because the Internet came for her – and not in a good way. She was vilified for her behavior by everyone, called every name in the book, cyber-stalked, and ultimately reaped the repercussions of her actions when her book sales never took off the ground. www.indtale.com



InD’Tale Magazine

Fava Beans and


Light Bondage: My Safe Word is Elephant

Becky Flade

ome time ago, my cousin’s wife sent me

begs the question: Why is there such a stigma on

a copy of an ad she saw on craigslist – a

romantic fiction?

couple were looking to unload their hand-

No one assumes I’m a cannibal because I read

crafted BDSM playroom. This confused

Thomas Harris’ books, or that I practice witchcraft

me. Why would she be sending me this? And that’s

since I’ve read the Harry Potters. I don’t abuse my

what I asked her.

children (I have every book by V.C. Andrews); or

“I know you read the Fifty Shades books,” was her answer, to which I replied, “I also read the Hannibal Lecter books. Want to come over for dinner Saturday?” She laughed.

intend to kill all my neighbors in a televised fight to the death (Hunger Games). I have an eclectic taste in books, as evidenced by my extensive collection (Stephen King novels?

I laughed. And the awkward

moment was over. But this interaction has lingered on the edges of my subconscious since. It

Got ‘em all), but because I read [and write] primarily romance – clearly, I’m a fetishist? And she’s not alone in her assumption. Society on a whole denigrates the readers and writers of romantic fiction. Novelist William Giraldi makes us all out to be idiots. Thankfully, the Washington Post doesn’t agree with his opinion, but most people who don’t read romance fiction [and don’t think this is limited to men either. I read a scathing article by a female psychologist insisting romantic fiction is the lonely woman’s refuge] seem to share that opinion.

d e r o s n www.indtale.com


zombies, would you think I’m a zombie? No? Didn’t think so. You’re smart. I’m smart. So be smart. Stop




romance authors, and their fans. WordsRated is a non-commercial research organization whose research team takes a data-based look at books, literature, and the publishing industry. Their studies show:

• Romance novels generate over $1.44

billion in revenue, making romance the highest-earning genre of fiction.

• Romance reached over 39 million Last month, a man on the platform formerly known as Twitter, during a “stuff your eReader” event, asked: Is there any book that ain’t a “Romance

printed units sold over the last 12 months, as of May 2023.

• Romance sales grew by 52%

novel” that I can find? I inquired as to the use of quo-

compared to the 12 months ending

tations. He’s yet to respond.

May 2022, and this has been the

Another cousin read my first book—an erotic

third consecutive year with positive

novella about the First Daughter seducing the

growth in romance novel sales in

head of her Secret Service detail. It’s filthy fun

printed format.

and nothing more redeeming than that, I admit. It was published twelve years ago, mainly as a vehicle to break into a publishing career. It served me well. I currently have eight full length books, and a ninth on the way. They’ve been nominated for,

• Sales of romance novels more than doubled compared to 2021 figures (12 months, ending May 2021).

• Over 33% of books sold in mass-

and won, awards, they’ve received bestseller flags

market paperback format were

on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks. All

romance novels.

have a behind-closed-doors sensuality. But when I offered a review copy of a recent

It’s beyond arrogant, and more than a

release to her over-21 daughter, she panicked. She

little insulting, to paint fans of romantic

thought I was trying to give her kid PORN. Her

fiction as stupid, lonely, repressed and/or

cousin calls my book career “Fifty Shades of Flade”,

deviant. These books are not a guilty plea-

and a former boyfriend’s long-time wife buys my

sure. Romance novels explore the human

books then deletes them from her Kindle unread;

experience, and span every possible genre,

she wants to support my efforts as an author, but

from Science fiction to thrillers, histori-

is afraid she’ll recognize some of her husband’s

cal, fantasy, modern, futuristic, and so on.

“moves” in the sexy parts.

And they are exhaustively researched.

For the record – I don’t engage in BDSM, I am

Because they are written in large part by

not a sex addict and I write fiction. If I wrote about

Continued on page 62


InD’Tale Magazine





es, I know, ANOTHER article on food and turkey covering


the Thanksgiving holiday. I understand why you’d think

that. But…this is me, so let’s see how I can take a holiday about Pilgrims, turkey, and

Scott Carpenter

antacids, and make it about books. Walking up and down the aisles in the grocery store, you grab the essentials like milk, bread, potato chips, sardines, peanut butter, extra maxi ply toilet tissue for that extra layer of softness for your tushy, then you see the large shrine of various fall colors surrounding the meal preparation materials for Thanksgiving. Why leaves and chrysanthemums should stimulate your appetite, I haven’t figured out yet, although I’m sure it would work for rabbits. A giant smiling turkey wearing a bib with a knife and fork reminds you of a turkey cannibal, like a “fowl” version of Hannibal Lecter. (Hey, this is me.) Don’t forget the fava beans, and yes, it’s kind of twisted. The television ads have everyone celebrating, eating around the table, and keeping the antacid handy because everyone overeats—we just have to have that last bite. Growing up, I got a kick out of seeing my mom and aunts spending the day slaving over the cooktops and ovens, arguing over cranberry sauce or just slicing the beets. Not to brag, but my mom did make the best deviled eggs. No contest. As we grow up, things change of course, but they also stay the same in a lot of ways. Mostly it’s the faces that change and mature, but the festivities hopefully stay the same… except for the addition of the now-necessary three football games. Have to have that to wake up to, after stuffing ourselves like a turkey and passing out.


InD’Tale Magazine

On a side note... for all of the people out there

The fragrance of the turkey is filling the house,

that aren’t really into footbal, and see people all

and the morsels of appetizers just aren’t cutting it.

frantic while playing Fantasy Football, here’s a tip:

As everyone reaches a crescendo of pent-up

You know how reading a romance book pulls

tension, a loud roar echoes through the house.

you into the story and you get to live as a heroine

“Dinner’s ready!”

or hero for a short amount of time? Well, that’s

Gathering around the table, all the characters

what Fantasy Football is like. We all get to be an

have a specific spot to sit in for the story. Uncle

NFL Coach, and take our team to the playoffs—and

Bob sits by the mashed potatoes, Aunt Shayla

maybe the Super Bowl. I love picking up players

over by the wine. The kids have a smaller table to

and building the best team I can, holding on to the

the side because they tend to jabber on and annoy

hope of winning it all.

the adults.

My main problem is that my daughter plays too, and usually kicks my a** in the playoffs.

As the main characters finally get a chance to sit down and take a breath, someone might say

Where was I? Oh yes. Food.

grace and mumble something they made up to

So what exactly is Thanksgiving all about?

sound like a sermon of thanks for the bounty of

The holiday and the traditions behind it have

food, and for everyone present, whether they like

evolved—from a much-mythologized 1621 harvest

them or not.

feast shared by the pilgrims and the Wampanoag,

The main conflict of our little story kicks in

to a post-Civil-War era patriotic and religious gath-

because there comes a point when we ask how

ering, to the modern holiday focused on good food

much is too much? After nibbling on things, and

and spending time with family.

waiting, we have already consumed more calories

I know, a little boring, but over time it has

than we needed for the week, thanks to the cook-

changed. It’s become more of a Holiday with com-

ies, eggs, chips, vegetables dipped in dressing, and

mercials and sales for televisions and cell phones…

all that fun stuff. Now, we separate the men from

and less about family.

the boys in a basic eating contest.

And, as promised, here we go.

The carnage and basic manners can be slotted

To me, Thanksgiving is like a story in a book.

into categories from classy to gluttony. Especially

It starts with a slow burn. We meet the charac-

the mashed potatoes and gallons of gravy. Not a

ters and that sets a mood. It’s often present day,

pretty sight.

and different generations are planning to gather and mingle.

But after all the drama settles and the tryptophan kicks in, everyone starts to mellow and the

From the main characters (that would be you,

football fans snooze in recliners, or doze with their

the readers) to the secondary characters, and of

feet up on the couch, and everything calms down.

course, the pets. Can’t eat all that turkey without

Except for the chefs who are having to deal with a

giving some to the dog.

mountain of dishes while sipping coffee.

In the kitchen, the drama is building between

All in all, this story has a happy ending, with

those side characters, as the rush begins to add

everyone drooling from overeating, and almost

stress. Everything has to be perfect, and there is

ready for Pumpkin pie. Oh yesss.

little room for compromise, so plenty of wine may be distributed amongst the chefs.

And in most books, this is the cycle of events... the foundation of the plot.

Others are patiently waiting as they discuss

Start, conflict, resolution, happy ever after.

the many aspects of politics, the weather, kids, and

BURP. (Also loosen pants, but that’s in the steamy

whatever mundane thoughts cross their mind.




Fun! Last month we asked you: Which of the following titles has been translated into the most languages? Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Expuéry

According to babble.com, the answer is The Little Prince, at roughly 300 languages!

Here’s your question for this month! The Codex Leicester by Leonardo da Vinci, the most expensive book in the world, sold for how much? $29.8 million $30.8 million $31.8 million

Go to our website at www.indtale.com to vote!

Did you know? There is actually a phobia of running out of things to read, and it’s called Abibliophobia! Thankfully, the invention of modern-day technology should prevent this from ever happening to any of us bookworms out there!


InD’Tale Magazine

Memorable Lines of the Month

“There’s a woman. A muse I invented years ago, and she finds her way into every book I write. She’s you. And now I’m dreaming of you, finally.” From A Glimmer in the Hollows by Lorna Selley

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” From Savage Cove by Taryn Rivers

“I want to take you slow, Khara, but I don't think I can. I want you too damned much.” From International Incident by Nikki Davenport

“With a letter opener?” “With whatever it takes.” From Little Red Shadow by S.C. Grayson www.indtale.com


Audiobook Winner: A Knight’s Reward by Catherine Kean, Narrated by James Gillies

Contemporary: Sweet Winner: A Summer to Cherish by Josie Riviera

Contemporary: Steamy Winner: Somewhere In Between by Natalie Parker Runner-Up: Broody Devil by Melissa Ivers

Fantasy/Urban Fantasy Winner: The Necromancer’s Daughter by D. Wallace Peach Runner-Up: Elemental Fire by E.G. Manetti


InD’Tale Magazine

Historical: Sweet Winner: Edward and Amelia by Karen Thornell Runner-Up: The Call of the Sea by Sian Ann Bessey

Historical: Steamy Winner: Saving Her Highland Traitor by Maeve Greyson Runner-Up: Discreet Destruction by K.J. Jackson

Mystery Winner: What Lies Beneath Stillwater by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Novella Winner: Tempted by Rebecca Rivard

Paranormal: Short Winner: Becoming Crone by Lydia M Hawke

Paranormal: Long Winner: Lucky Me by Genevieve Jack Runner-Up: Fire Magic and Ice Cream by Lauren Connolly

Suspense/Thriller Winner: Forging Forgiveness by C.B. Clark

Suspense/Thriller: Steamy Winner: Whiskey Storm by Taryn Rivers

Young Adult Winner: The Liar’s Crown by Abigail owen



Glorious History of the The

RONE Awards TJ Mackay


InD’Tale Magazine


s the RONE (Reward Of Novel Excel-

for consideration in any publishing awards, they

lence) awards have grown to become

were pretty much excluded from all the book sign-

one of the most prestigious awards in

ings as well by being placed in a small back room to

all Indie publishing, I am often asked

sign books, away from the larger venues reserved

what the name actually means, and how they

for traditionally published authors! Now, you may

came to be. So considering we have just announced

think that might have been just the convention I

another year’s winners of this coveted prize, I

was at, but it wasn’t. It was every single large scale

thought I’d take a minute and fill y’all in!

conference out there at the time! So you can under-

The idea of an award for the best in Indie and

stand why the talented Indie and Small Published

Small Publishing took root in 2012 at a dinner

authors were incredibly irked. It was very much a

while at a national book convention. InD’tale

second-class citizen world for them.

Magazine had just launched for the first time to

Thus, when meeting with a group of Indie

incredible enthusiasm in the Indie publishing

authors for dinner and asking them what InD’tale

world, and I found myself inundated with excited

Magazine could do to help them, the number one

Indie authors who were finally given a voice in

suggestion was, “Give us a chance to showcase the

the heretofore juggernaut of traditional publish-

amazing talent of Indie authors by having an award

ing. For those of you “young-uns”, Indie and Small

that is strictly for us!” They needed the world to see

Publishing has not always enjoyed the acceptance

just how good their books were, and that there are

you find today. Only a little over a decade ago, there

Indie and Small Published authors that can stand

was absolutely no outlets whatsoever for authors

against any traditionally published author out

who were not traditionally published to promote

there (and we are talking amazing authors like Col-

and be recognized in the publishing world – even

leen Hoover, Jennifer Armentrout, Marie Force,

when their books were amazing and selling like

and SO many other greats that were Indie publish-


ing at the time). I agreed.

I was attending the convention to introduce

For the next two hours, the table of talent

InD’tale to the larger publishing world, and quickly

brainstormed what and how an award for Indie

found that the huge number of Indie and Small Pub-

publishing should look. We took the three main

lished authors were extremely frustrated because

areas that are required for any book to succeed: A

not only were they never allowed to be included

book must get great reviews, readers have to love




InD’Tale Magazine

it, and it must attain a high standard of techni-

attain the high quality that is required for world-

cal writing. And at the end of the evening, we had

wide acceptance and respectability without the

come up with an award that would require a book

confidence that each award was truly earned

to pass those three distinct stages. Ultimately, this

in a completely above-board and honest way.

competition would not only be on par with all the

But, because of the high competitiveness, every

well-known traditional awards, but exceed them

single aspect is always under the microscope. For

in its comprehensiveness. Thus, the RONE award

instance, after the first awards were held, and

competition was born!

one of our staff members won an award, (many

As with all worthy endeavors, however, the idea

up-and-coming authors have worked as review-

is great… it’s the execution of the idea where the

ers for InD’tale, as it is an excellent way to hone

rubber meets the road, so to speak! Just like writer

one’s writing skills), there was the rumor that we

can say, “I’m going to write a book!” then discover-

favored our own. I was outraged! How dare anyone

ing just how hard that can be, I soon found talking

even think that! We had been SO careful not to

about an award and actually creating and develop-

have anything at all to do with the results of any

ing the real life thing are worlds apart! Yes, there

of the rounds, BUT… after some (actually, a lot) of

are many polls and awards out there to see what

deep breaths and a good night’s sleep, I realized

books readers love best each year that give prizes

how it could look like that, even if it wasn’t true. So

and have fun, but creating a competition that can

we stepped completely out of all phases and hired

withstand the industry’s most cynical critics? The

an outside accountant to deal with the numbers

pressure was on!

and tallying. We didn’t even see the finalists, and

Now, you must remember that InD’tale Mag-

then the winners, until everything was already

azine itself was a baby at the time. We had only

completed. That created more work, and is much

published a couple of issues when we took on the

more expensive, but it’s important to assure there

job of also developing the RONE Awards competi-

is absolutely no question these awards continue at

tion. Quite frankly, I have often wondered “What

the highest level of honor. There are so many more

was I thinking?!” – even as I was working to build

examples of ways we have ensured everything is

it! But, if you could have seen the sincere and

at a peak quality level. And yes, no matter how per-

honest excitement and enthusiasm in every single

fectly we feel we have attained that goal, we will

author’s eyes, and feel their love and support like I

always strive for better. If you have been with us

did at that time, you would absolutely understand

since the beginning, however, I’m sure you will

the importance – as well as the immensity of the

agree that the level of writing, the excellence of the

project. That love and support from the Indie and

books, and the overall quality is better than it has

Small Published community has continued until

ever been!

this very day.

Now, Indie and Small Published books can

So how did it go? Well, we have had our chal-

hold just as much honor and prestige as any tradi-

lenges. And, although the basis and foundation we

tional book out there! That is in large part because

originally set up are still running strong, we have

the authors who choose this uniquely creative

and will continue to tweak and improve as we see

avenue have learned right along with InD’tale

the need. As with any highly competitive awards

how to improve, how to innovate, and how to suc-

competition, the greatest challenge has been to

ceed in a world that at first was not welcoming – to

assure that it is completely honest and fair. That

become the hottest sellers in publishing, all while

has been a rule that myself and our staff have

we have created a community and an award to be

been absolute sticklers about. No competition can

proud of!




InD’Tale Magazine


DECEPTIONS To listen to this chapter, click on the link! https://wordpress.com/page/kevingchapman.com/5803 Chuck Foreman, Penny’s high school sweetheart, helped Penny by driving her to appointments and helping her work on cleaning up the old farm tractor in the barn, which hadn’t run in years, but which Penny wanted to repair and drive around the farm one last time. After her father’s funeral, a real estate agent named Madden showed up at the farm and presented documents to Penny purporting to be a deal her father made to sell the farm to a group of developers after his death – for one million dollars. The deal was supposed to be in Gary Thompson’s will, according to Madden. But when Penny and Chuck visited the family’s lawyer for the reading of Gary’s will, there is no mention of a deal with real estate developers. More importantly, the lawyer explained to Penny that, while the deal with Westfield prohibited her father from selling the land while he was alive, now that Penny owned the farm as Gary’s heir, she had no such restriction and could stay or sell to whomever she chose.}

{Penny Thompson returned to her family farm after her father died suddenly. Penny is haunted by memories of her mother who died of cancer when Penny was a teenager, and the tragic death of her brother, Eric, in a car accident. Penny expected to sell the farm to the town of Westfield, which made a deal with Penny’s father to keep the land undeveloped in exchange for a monthly payment. This allowed “Farmer Gary” to keep the farm active without needing to turn a profit on the agriculture. The mayor, Chester Almon, showed up on Penny’s first day back in town to let her know she could stay and work the farm under the open space deal, or she could collect the $450,000 purchase price on the sale of the farm. All her plans for a quick escape from the memories of Westfield were dashed when a lightningstrike fire on the property led to the discovery of a body, buried in the embankment of the creek out by the cow pasture. While the police investigated the identity of the corpse, believed to be a boy between the ages of eighteen and twenty, Sheriff ’s Deputy



ACH DAY THAT SUMMER seemed steamier than the last. The only thing hotter was Penny’s temper. “You don’t really want to do this,” Chuck said for the fourth time. “It’s not necessary and won’t accomplish anything. Besides, you said you didn’t want to work the farm, so if you’re going to sell, then just sell. Why make trouble?” They were in the barn, where they had spent most of their time for the past few days. Chuck was a fair mechanic, and with his help, they had overhauled the

engine, re-inflated the big tires, and cleaned the old tractor to something resembling its former glory. At least it was glorious to Penny. To Chuck, it still looked like an old tractor that had been washed. At least the hose water had been cool. They didn’t mind being wet for a few minutes. But driving the old girl around the farm was still out of reach. Penny sat on a hay bale and removed the scrunchie from her golden hair, which spread over her shoulders. She noticed Chuck admiring her faded gray t-shirt with Mickey Mouse smiling from her chest. When she pulled www.indtale.com


her runaway pony tail back into place, with both hands behind her head, she felt the soft cotton pull across her unencumbered breasts. She remembered wearing the same shirt, in that same barn, when she and Chuck were seventeen. The memory made the shirt feel even tighter. “I’m pissed off at my father for not telling me, and I’m more pissed off at the lying bastard Mayor.” “Well, to be fair, your dad didn’t know he was going to die suddenly, and you didn’t show much interest in the farm, so I can’t say I’m surprised he never explained to you the fine details of his deal with the town.” “Whose side are you on?” Penny grabbed a handful of hay and flung it in Chuck’s direction, watching it flutter harmlessly to the barn floor. Her old yellow Lab, Duke, jumped after the stray hay blades. “I’m on your side, but I’m also trying to be objective. You certainly should be mad at the Mayor. If the farm is really worth a million and he’s trying to pressure you into selling for half that—” “Less than half !” “Right, lots less. That’s nasty. He knows you don’t want to stay and he wanted you to sell before you discovered that the price is crap. So, what? You gonna stay and work the farm, just to spite him?” “Probably not,” Penny groused and tossed a dirty rag onto the exposed tractor engine. “Probably?” Chuck stood a few feet from Penny in the filtered sunlight seeping into the expansive barn. “You really gotta decide.” “I know.” “Is there any chance you’d decide to stay?” Penny leaned one arm against the tractor, extending her hip and stretching. “I guess not. You disappointed?” Chuck moved forward. “I need to know what’s happening here, Pen. It’s been terrific hanging out with you. Should I get my hopes up?” Penny stepped closer. Chuck’s sweat, mixed with spicy aftershave, tickled her nostrils. “Which would be better for you?” Chuck’s arms encircled her waist as he pulled her close. “I’m not sure.” He leaned in. Penny melted into the kiss, both familiar and brand new. Chuck’s body was thicker and stronger than she remembered, yet his lips 56

InD’Tale Magazine

were as soft and gentle. She pressed against him, wrapping both arms around his neck and savoring a first kiss moment that both was and wasn’t. The barn ceased to exist, along with the hay, the manure, and even the tractor. Every part of Penny’s attention was riveted on her lips, then the tip of her tongue. Chuck pulled her tighter, massaging the small of her back through the thin t-shirt – two fingers sliding down to the exposed skin above her jeans. Then, disengaging for a breath, Penny buried her face against his chest and gently rocked from side to side. She thought about their senior prom as they slow-danced there in the barn to a memory of music, while Chuck’s fingers explored under Penny’s waistline, where perspiration along her spine formed a slippery canyon. Duke’s urgent barking broke their trance, as he pushed on the small door on the side of the barn and squeezed through, sounding his canine alarm. Outside, the Lab growled as Arthur Madden, the real estate agent, walked slowly from his car toward the house. Penny called from the barn door and waved the man in the red sales jacket toward them. “Hello!” Madden bellowed jovially, holding up a hand and veering toward the barn. Penny and Chuck met him halfway, with Duke prowling their perimeter. When he got close enough to speak without shouting, Madden said, “Did you have a chance to view your father’s will yet?” “We have,” Chuck said, taking a position between Madden and Penny. “Turns out there’s nothing in it about any real estate deal.” “Well, that’s disappointing.” Madden held up his briefcase. “I’ve got all the paperwork here, amended to have your name, Miss Thompson. Your father was excited about getting you the best possible price for the land if he ever died. I’m sorry it was so sudden.” “That’s a nice story, Mister,” Chuck unconsciously followed his army and police training by assuming a defensive posture, as if the real estate agent was a physical threat. “Seems like maybe Penny will need to do some research to figure out how much the property is really worth. Maybe get some other offers, don’t you think?” Madden allowed the briefcase to fall back to the end of his extended arm. “I can assure you that one million is the best offer you’re going to find.”

Penny squatted down next to Duke, putting an arm around the dog’s neck. “The Mayor told me the same thing.” “You mean the four-hundred-fifty thousand option price in your father’s open space agreement with the town? He was lying to you.” “Yeah? Well, you also lied to me. You told me you and my father had a deal, but I don’t see any signed agreement or anything in his will.” Penny’s tone of voice made Duke growl softly, his eyes fixed on the intruder. “I’m telling you the truth. Your father and I had a deal. He was supposed to put into his will that it was his wish that the farm be sold to my developer group at the price I quoted you, and that his executor would finalize the paperwork. He said you had abandoned the farm.” Penny jumped to her feet and took a step toward the red jacket. Chuck reached out and gently grabbed her elbow to support her. “I have not abandoned anything.” Madden’s smiling face never lost its fixed expression. “I’m sorry about the terminology there. That was your father’s word. I know this is not a good time in your life,

Miss Thompson, but the price is well above market. I can only keep the offer on the table for a short time.” “Well, why don’t you let the lady think about it for more than a week after she buried her father?” Chuck snapped. “We have your card; we’ll call you if Penny’s interested. How’s that?” Madden paused, looking at Penny for some sign of disagreement, but didn’t see any. “Fine. I’ll be in town until tomorrow. I’m not saying the deal is off the table after that, but I’ll have to check in with my clients.” “You do that,” Chuck said dismissively, tilting his head in the direction of the man’s car. When Madden had driven off, Chuck and Penny sat at the kitchen table, sipping Cokes with Duke at their feet. “Finding that dead boy is still creeping me out. It’s like there’s nothing here but death.” “You want me to stay with you tonight? I can sleep on the sofa. I don’t want you to be alone.” Penny put a soft hand on Chuck’s forearm. “Thanks. That’s sweet, but I’ve got Duke with me. I’ve still got a



ton of Dad’s stuff to go through, so I’m not going to be much company.” “I could help.” Chuck’s sincere offer made her pause, but only for a second. “No. I need to do it myself.” “I could watch.” Penny giggled. “I don’t want you watching me, Chuck, but thank you.” “How ’bout I come by tomorrow and bring us some dinner? Deal?” “How about I cook us some dinner? I need to use up the food in the fridge before it goes bad.” Penny held up her Coke glass to clink. “Deal!” Chuck responded, angling his Coke toward Penny’s, his eyes fixed on Penny’s smiling face. *** CHUCK WENT THROUGH his daily duties as a Deputy Sheriff on Thursday, but his mind was elsewhere. The investigation into the body found on Penny’s farm had not moved ahead. Sheriff Jack Baskins was waiting for an ID from the state crime lab or the FBI, which might take weeks. Nobody in the Sheriff ’s office seemed in a rush to hunt for a murderer when the body was clearly years old and the chances of finding any useful clues without knowing the victim’s identity were near zero. It was frustrating, but Chuck couldn’t think of anything specific to suggest. At six o’clock, Chuck knocked on Penny’s kitchen door and then let himself inside, Duke at his heels. There was no sign of any dinner preparations underway. He called out and heard a distant reply. “I’m upstairs.” Chuck found her sitting on the floor of her bedroom, a cardboard box next to her on the hardwood. Penny looked up at Chuck. Her eyes were red. Streaks from now-dried tears ran down the sides of her face. She sniffed and struggled stiffly to her feet, then plopped down onto the bed. “I found a note from Eric…” She trailed off and put her chin into her chest, sobbing softly. Chuck dropped to a knee on the floor next to her, putting a hand gently on her knee. “What is it?” Penny looked up at Chuck’s kind face. “I think I may know who was buried out by the creek.” 58

InD’Tale Magazine

“What did you find?” Chuck failed in his attempt to maintain a calm and professional voice. Penny sniffed and wiped away fresh tears with the back of her hand. “He—Eric—he left me a note. It was inside a book on my desk. He left me the book. I—I guess he expected me to take it after he…” She swallowed hard, fighting to keep her composure. “Chuck, it was a suicide note. Eric killed himself.” Chuck jumped up and sat next to Penny on the bed. She fell against his chest, sobbing without control or shame. He held her gently without speaking until she was ready to talk. After a minute, Duke jumped up onto the bed and licked Penny’s salty tears. The dog’s tongue made Penny laugh, breaking the avalanche of sadness. Chuck whispered, “I’m so sorry, Pen. We all thought it was an accident.” “I know. That’s what everyone thought, but it wasn’t. He drove into that tree on purpose.” “Did he say why – in the note?” “Kind of. He said he couldn’t go on living with Dad, and that he didn’t want to live without Oliver.” “Who’s Oliver?” “I have an idea. I think it’s the boy they dug up out by the creek.” Penny dropped her head to the open shoebox filled with Eric’s memories. “Here,” she reached down and handed Chuck an envelope addressed to Eric. “I found some letters Eric kept. Oliver lived in the city. You see – there’s a return address. Eric and Oliver were friends.” “Do you know Oliver’s last name?” “No. There’s nothing on the envelope or in the letters. Just Oliver. But if that’s his address, you should be able to check it out and see if Oliver is still alive… or is missing, right?” “Sure. Right.” Chuck took Penny’s hand gently. “Pen, what makes you think this Oliver guy is our body?” “I hope he’s not!” She lowered her eyes. “I just think he could be. Can’t you check?” “OK,” Chuck squeezed Penny’s fingers. “But if it turns out that this guy is the one who’s body we found, it’s gonna mean that your brother, or your father, might have been involved, and you’re gonna have to turn over those letters, and Eric’s note. They could be evidence.”



Penny’s lip quivered as another tear slid down her cheek. “Don’t make me give them to you yet. They’re all I have left of Eric.” She leaned into Chuck and buried her head on his shoulder. Penny wiped away another tear before looking sternly into Chuck’s eyes. “You can’t tell anyone.” “What?” “You heard me. This is our secret. It’s Eric’s secret. I’m going to keep it secret. And so are you!” “Pen—I’m a Deputy. I can’t keep it to myself.” “Why not? If you want to be here now, for me, then you need to do this. Besides, what difference does it make? Who’s going to care, besides me?” “But if somebody murdered that boy—” “Then what?” Penny’s eyes were red from crying, but shot daggers into Chuck’s face. “You think my brother killed him and buried him and that’s what drove Eric to suicide? Well, Eric’s dead, so who cares?” Chuck didn’t speak, but nodded slightly. “You still want me to try to match up the body to his boy, Oliver?

“Yes. I need to know.” “If I do that, I’m not going to be able to keep it secret. If we get a confirmation on the body, the Sheriff needs to know.” Penny was silent. “OK. I get it. But if you want to be here, with me, I need to know you’re on my side.” “I’ve always been on your side, Pen. You know that.” “You were, back then. That was a long time ago. This isn’t my home anymore.” “It could be.” “Yeah? Well, I’m not sure yet, but I know for damned sure that I don’t need the whole town in a tizzy about my brother killing himself. That’s not going to help me.” “You’re right. I get it. I won’t say anything. Thanks for telling me, Pen. I know that wasn’t easy.” “It was horrible,” she dissolved into full-blown sobs again and held out her arms to Chuck. They hugged while Penny cried. Duke curled up on top of Penny’s feet, sensing that she needed him, too.

Coming next month! Part 4 – The Fair Penny Thompson expected to sell the family farm after her father died and get back to the city. She is haunted by death of her brother, Eric, who died in a car accident. But when Penny discovered Eric’s suicide note, she started to question everything. And she wondered whether the body buried out by the creek might be Eric’s friend, who visited

the farm shortly before Eric’s death. Penny and her high school sweetheart, Chuck, have a mystery to solve while they get reacquainted. Don’t miss part 4 of the ten-part serial novella, Ghost Creek, from award-winning mystery author Kevin G. Chapman.

Kevin G. Chapman is an attorney specializing in labor and employment law and an independent author from New Jersey. In 2021, Kevin finished the first five books in the Mike Stoneman Thriller series. Righteous Assassin (Mike Stoneman Thriller #1), was named one of the top 20 Mystery/Thrillers of 2019 by the Kindle Book Review and was a finalist for the Chanticleer Book Review CLUE award. Deadly Enterprise (Mike Stoneman Thriller #2) was a top-20 Mystery/Thriller of 2020 according to the Kindle Book Review and made the Short-List for the 2020 CLUE Award. Book #3, Lethal Voyage, was the winner of the 2021 Kindle Book Award and a Finalist for the CLUE and for the InD’Tale Magazine RONE Award. Book #4 in the series, Fatal Infraction, was named Best Police Procedural of the year by the Chanticleer Book Review, and book #5 (Perilous Gambit) was published November 24, 2021. The Mike Stoneman Thriller series books are available through IngramSpark and bookshop.org. Dead Winner, a stand-alone mystery, was the winner of the CLUE Award for best suspense/thriller of 2022. Kevin’s next novel, The Other Murder, will be published in early 2024. Contact Kevin via his website at www.KevinGChapman.com.


InD’Tale Magazine



Continued from page 42

smart, educated women, and read, in large part, by smart, educated women. Largely, but not exclusively. In 2017, RWA commissioned "The Romance Book Buyer 2017: A Study by NPD Book for Romance Writers of America". Some of the things this report discovered was 18% of romance readers are MALE. You consider the fact 39 million books were sold in one year as of May 2023, and that’s a LOT of men, reading a LOT of romance. Good for you fellas, spread the word. In fact, if you’re looking for a good book which digs deep into the emotional lives of its characters, centered on smart, strong, frequently stubborn men and women putting in the work to live authentic and meaningful lives, romance is for you. Want to read a story about people breaking free of tradition to find modern love? Figuring out their careers? Committing sexy espionage? Bringing a serial killer to justice? There's a romance novel for that. The 2017 report also concluded that half of all romance fans, regardless of gender or preferred format [ebook sales account for 60% of total romance units sold], read romantic suspense (my genre, wink wink). No matter your favored flavor, you’ll find an amazing selection of books in this very magazine. All-Star athlete Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies proudly admits to enjoying romance novels. Now, if they’re good enough for him…

Continued from page 39

Does it make it hard to see 1 and 2-star ratings on book review sites for my books? Sure. I wouldn’t be human if I said it didn’t. But if there are legitimate reasons why the reader rated it that way, I just accept it and move on. And remember: not everyone is going to love you in real life. Don’t expect it to be any different in your writing one. I’ve grown that thick skin we all need as writers. It took me a few years, but I am better off for it. That is, ultimately, all we can and should do, as authors. 62

InD’Tale Magazine



Reviews Ratings We use a Standard 5-star Rating System EXCEPTIONAL EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR POOR CNF: If the problems in a book are such that a reviewer is unable to finish it, the book will be given to another reviewer to read. If both reviewers are unable to finish the book, it will receive the rating of “CNF” or “Could Not Finish” We also rate the "Steam" or sex factor so readers can enjoy whatever level they are most comfortable with.

The Criteria is as Follows Nothing but kisses

Passionate kissing,

Sex but the door is closed

Slightly steamy sex with some description

Steamy sex with somewhat graphic description

Those books receiving a 4.5 or a 5 star review will also be awarded the "Crowned Heart" for excellence. This symbol will be seen beside the review in the magazine. www.indtale.com




Tempting the Sheriff

The Light of Love: A Hearts Through History Winter Anthology

Anna Lowe

PARANORMAL: The famous Robin Hood is actually a woman! Robynne Hood, who is a fox shifter, made outlaw after standing up for what she believes in! When her brother, Robert, and his Merry Men decide to rob a carriage which is full of ladies of the court, they rope in Daniel, the acting Sheriff of Nottingham. Daniel is Robynne’s mate, and a dragon shifter. After having gone to fight in the crusades, Daniel isn’t sure what to do with his life anymore. He’s offered a post as temporary Sheriff of Nottingham, and his job is to stop the outlaws—a.k.a Robin Hood. Robynne doesn’t expect to reunite with Daniel under such circumstances; he’s not supposed to be her enemy! True love might not prevail in the end. One of the best adaptations of Robin Hood that’s graced bookshelves! “Tempting the Sheriff ” takes that familiar story and all of the characters, spins it around a few times, and makes it something new. Ms. Lowe has beautifully crafted a love story between Robynne and Daniel, the main heroine and hero of the book. Their longing and lust is palpable, and their chemistry is believable. All of the side characters making up the Merry Men are fun and unique as well, leaving readers wanting more from this world Ms. Lowe has created! The plot is fast moving and engaging, and hard to put down! Even when not reading, the reader will be thinking about the story and what’s going to happen next! A few world building elements could use a bit more detail, and while the plot devices are logical, they could be a tad bit stronger. Overall, this is an awesome take on a classic tale! Ms. Osborne and Mr. Merlin bring to life Robin and Daniel, respectively. Ms. Osborne has an energy in her performance that drives the story forward. Both her and Mr. Merlin are emotionally connected to the book, and it makes for a more engaging read! They nail all of the characters, male and female. The pacing is topnotch! They are the perfect pair for this novel! This is a great beginning of a paranormal shifter romance series, and it’s great for lovers of classic lore as well! Chelsea Anderson

Ruth A. Casie, Joan Koster, Heather Hallman, Opal Iden, Doreen Jensen, Jaylee Austin, Niki J. Mitchell, Elf Ahearn,Julia Masters HISTORICAL: Composed of ten short stories, this anthology runs readers sporadically through history, jumping through different love stories. As a bonus, readers get to watch each of the protagonists fall in love during the time of the winter solstice. This anthology launches through years of history, starting with the Viking age, to the medieval age of the Scottish Highlands and England, then to a time-traveling story placed in Ireland, a forbidden love in Nantucket, and a detour in California during the Gold Rush. In the last three, readers glide through the 19th century in Wisconsin, Tokyo, and finish back at Harvard college. Throughout every story, the authors guide readers through the winter solstice celebrations, emphasizing the important tie between the lovers and this special holiday season. In a beautiful whirlwind of romances, readers get to experience every trope imaginable in each of these ten love stories, ranging from enemies-to-lovers, childhood friends-to-lovers, forbidden love, time-travelling love, and even a second-chance romance. The mini short stories make the plot feel a bit fleeting, squeezing all the stories in one anthology and straining the attachment to the characters. However, each romance gives us a beautiful storyline, hitting all the necessary plot points including a well-developed setting, exciting conflicts, and a satisfying ending. Some stories are tougher to follow along with for readers who don’t know many details about certain celebration traditions, making it hard to follow along with the unknown details. Still, something about watching these couples fall in love in spontaneous places across the world and in completely different timelines highlights the magical feel. Plus, the historical accuracy of each period was welldone, providing a more thoughtful and interesting read. Readers will love these short and sweet romances, hoping they will find their winter solstice lover some day too. Austen Grace


InD’Tale Magazine


Fairies of Death (as part of Realm of Midnight anthology) Victoria Liiv

Isay’s mother found happiness again and marries the Fae of Death’s King, Grath. Isay is not happy about this marriage and does not trust his people. She fears they will steal her life force, despite being under the protection of King Grath. Karmuth is one of the warriors who watches over and protects Isay, along with her stepbrother, Prince Hiko. Isay and Karmuth find themselves attracted to each other but are unable to touch because it would mean a death sentence for Karmuth. King Grath and Isay’s mother are keeping secrets from both of them, which could change everything. “Fairies of Death” is a paranormal romance that is part of the Realm of Midnight Anthology. Author Victoria Liiv has created a unique and fascinating world filled with unique and scary beings. There is a lot of action throughout the story and a lot of character growth— especially for Isay as she learns to adjust to being a princess, and living with the Fae of Death people, who come to love and respect her. Isay and Karmuth have a strong attraction that grows as they get to know one another. The chemistry between them steams up the pages! The reader will love the constant bickering between the characters, especially the warriors, who behave like brothers and family. One will find Isay’s character extraordinarily strong, not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what she wants. “Fairies of Death” is one of the stories in the anthology, but fans of paranormal and fantasy should definitely check out the rest!

Autumn Deception

Catch Me If I Fall

Sierra Scott’s job is consuming her life, and her grandmother has had enough. All of a sudden, Sierra finds herself on an unplanned—but much needed—vacation. Sierra and her grandmother, Cora, are spending their free time in Harts Valley with Cora’s friend, Carla, and together the two older woman are working hard to turn Sierra’s vacation into whole new outlook on life, filled with everything she has been missing, including a chance at love. Unfortunately, changes aren’t easy, and the past is about to rear its head in unexpected and dangerous ways. Can Sierra and her new relationship with town sheriff, Cade Collins, make it through the storm heading their way? Or is her new found freedom about to be stolen away before she even gets the chance to enjoy it? This book is filled with laughter, love, mystery, and intrigue, and is a comfortable and relaxing read that will be sure to leave one happy! The reader is treated to a classic love story featuring a small town sheriff and a high powered businesswoman. While the story might be familiar it is not repetitive, and readers won’t be left with a sense of been-there, read-that, with this one. Fans of sweet love stories where the good guy never gives up are in the right place with this tale! Prepare to be treated to a love story with some spicy grannies and some high pressure action that is sure to get your pulse racing in more than one way!

Darcy Fletcher is twenty-one and at a stalemate in her life. She leaves college and returns home to Sugar Creek, hoping to find out her life’s purpose. Bouncing from job to job, she lands the unlikely position as nanny for the new high school coach’s five-year-old daughter, Sara. Evan Porter loves the small-town feel of Sugar Creek, and knows it’s the perfect place to raise his daughter. As a single dad, he tends to be overprotective, and he isn’t sure the nanny he hired is the best choice for Sara. She’s much younger than him, impulsive, too pretty… and sometimes he questions her decisions. But Sara adores her, so what’s a daddy to do? Calling all readers who enjoy smalltown contemporary, clean romances with an age gap, intrusive town “Mamas”, and darling little children… your book has arrived! Sara stole the show—and the story—with her winsome ways. Darcy and Evan can’t help but notice the slow burn of attraction, despite Evan’s thought that they can’t get together. He’s a dad and school football coach, and she’s still in college. How can that work? The conflict here could have been deeper and the tension tighter which would have added more anticipation, and another round of edits probably would have caught the inconsistent spelling of Sara’s name. Regardless, the book is delightful, humorous, and absolutely worth the read. Don’t delay, get your copy now!

Valerie Vicars

Emerson Matthews

N. Jade Grey

River Ford

Victoria Zumbrum www.indtale.com



Christmas at Solace Lake

International Incident

Secrets We Keep

Drew Barnes returns to his family-owned lake lodge in Minnesota. He agreed to help with the bookkeeping while his aunt and uncle are off to have twins! His track record recently tarnished his reputation, but his family trusts him, and hopes this will move him past an unsavory scenario. Now working at the lodge, Drew discovers multiple discrepancies in some of the orders and invoices. When food comes up missing from the kitchen, this confirms that Drew must jump into action. Celeste is one of the lodge chefs and lives on site with her daughter, Hope (8). Celeste, who is widowed, has found her new family at the lodge, and a chance to start over. When Drew volunteers to teach her how to drive, a fresh new relationship is budding… or is it? There are hurdles in their way, can they move past them and catch the thief ? “Christmas at Solace Lake” is a wonderful trip into the holidays at a scenic country lodge. The scenes drawn are very picturesque, which allows readers to feel like they have a front row seat to the happenings. The slow burn of a building relationship, and the sleuthing of an onsite criminal keeps the pace of the story rolling. The main characters are strong willed and come through as genuine personalities. Some predictability and the feel of catching up without reading other books in the series may have some at a disadvantage. Overall, this is an optimistic story with the magic of Christmas, and the gift of forgiveness shines throughout. Some sensitive subjects are child bullying, interracial relationships, wounded war veteran, young widow and second chances galore. Welcome to the Lodge, and enjoy all the winter holiday festivities it brings!

Khara Therin, Queen of Lytua, has the chance for a romantic fling when an extremely handsome architect mistakenly assumes she's the Queen's assistant. As partner in a black-owned architect firm being considered to design Lytua's new embassy headquarters in Washington DC, Joshua Riddick is so taken with the gorgeous "assistant" he has no qualms about declining the project; thereby avoiding a conflict of interest in getting to know Khara while she's in town. The two take in the sights of the nation's capital as they grow closer than either expected, while someone from Khara's past secretly plots her downfall. Khara keeps her real identity a secret. Riddick keeps his tragic childhood a secret. Which of these secrets will be revealed, and what will the consequences be? "International Incident" is a contemporary romance filled with secrets, seduction, and suspense! Readers will relate to two lovebirds who are strong, independent individuals; the beautiful island queen, Khara, a dedicated delightful monarch struggling with her identity deception even as she throws caution to the wind for romance, and the scrumptious, philanthropic, and introspective architect, Riddick,who is normally a takecharge guy, but is willing to let her set the pace. Readers will enjoy the leisurely pace of their dates and be left breathless after their exhilarating make-out sessions. Suspense and intrigue are provided by a devious antagonist who is willing to bide time to strike, leaving all those who care for Khara afraid for her safety. Author Nikki Davenport manages to pique the reader's interest with a slow-paced love affair, and a steady climb to an exhilarating cliffhanger that will have readers clamoring for part two with much anticipation.

Anna Levenko is from Ukraine. She is a junior tennis player on the circuit—before an injury forces her to change career paths. After graduating from a university in Washington DC with a degree in Business, Anna returns home to Ukraine, and works without pay for a non-profit and with pay for her uncle. However, she dreams of working for Polaris International Corporation—they do global work that she finds meaningful, and that directly impacts lives in several different countries. Her applications are consistently rejected until she tells a lie that nets her an interview. However, her hard work and the breadth of her financial knowledge are the things that enable Anna to find her true success. This book has a lot of untapped potential. It centers on topics that are relevant and important today, such as climate change, plastic pollution, and education. With some excellent editing, this book could be a 5 star read, but unfortunately, incorrect word usage, choppy sentences, and uneven pacing steal some of its impact: for example, extravagant Porches are mentioned in a paragraph referencing expensive cars, while skimpy shorts are referred to as risky, but not risqu. The pace is uneven at times and the sentences don’t always flow smoothly. Additionally, there are multiple unanswered questions by the end, which begs the question of whether this is the first book of a duo. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of good in this relevant and timely story. This author brings Ukraine to life through the words of this book. The customs, foods, people, and natural beauty shine through, lovingly written by someone who seems to know and love it well.

Jana Richards

Viola Robbins 66

InD’Tale Magazine

Nikki Davenport

Tonya Mathenia

Valeriya Goffe

Carey Sullivan



The Heart of the Fallen

Dream Lover

House of Bane and Blood

Late at night, Katrina, burdened by the troubles of the world mutters a brief outburst, questioning why Lucifer continues to spread evil in the world. To her surprise, he answers. Guarded and guided by Celestial allies such as the Archangel Michael, Katrina finds herself on a journey to transcend her mortal self, and send light to the darkness. Drowning in depression and plagued by confusion, Katrina is young woman seeking answers to the evil in the world and how she can affect change. Her efforts to understand the destiny of her soul, its power, and the dance between shadows and light, is fraught with emotional rollercoasters and struggles with spirituality. Drawn from the author’s personal experiences, this story is not for every reader. The story is told in a mix of narrative and journal-type format, with little details as to her appearance, age, or anything else based in reality. Instead, it focuses on her spiritual journey that moves from astral projection travels to fantastical worlds to wandering outside in poor weather during her lowest depression points. Different religious beliefs are intertwined in the tale, including mentions of Karma, Gaia, and many Christian figures and practices. However, the presence of Christian figures such as Michael, Jesus, and Mary Magdelene in no way makes this a Christian tale, as the focus of Katrina’s journey is on portraying Lucifer as a sympathetic victim of the other angels’ actions—and in saving him. The technical writing itself is well done, although the vocabulary and passage from poetry to narrative to dream states will not be a challenge for many readers. Overall, this is an interesting book that might appeal to those interested in all things meta-physical.

Tony Oneiros, Dream Weaver and sports performance trainer, doesn't approve of the bad influence of a particular Lunatic. Hunter Mahina, Menae and personal life-coach, enjoys helping people have fun. After sharing a wild kiss and a naked slow dance under the moonlight, they can't stop thinking about each other. Against their better judgment and in spite of their family's historical feud, they meet on the pretense of setting ground rules. Their arguing leads to kissing, which leads to a nooner, which leads to secret trysts, which leads to feelings for each other, which leads to worrying how they're going to let their families know about their relationship. But when Hunter notices a menacing blue light from her client's electronics, she informs Tony that they may have a new sleep raider to deal with in the dream realm—and the waking world. As an urban fantasy, "Dream Lover" is a hot, hot, hot, enemy-to-lover romance with a modern day lesson to balance technology and real world experiences all wrapped into one! The characters are mythical entities with influential powers over humans when awake or asleep. The romance is flavored with an unexplained Hatfield and McCoy's storyline stretching back millennia and brought into modern day. The titillating love scenes are playful, sensual, and worthy of each steaming tea kettle! The villain of the story is a contemporary issue given monster-like qualities requiring our lovers and their feuding families to put aside their differences to vanquish. Ms. Dean's fourth installment in her Dream Weaver series is a standalone standout with a feisty heroine and a protective hero who battle the odds and blue monsters for a love readers dream of.

Camilla (Milla) Marchese is the heiress to a rich and powerful family in Lynchaven. Her family’s business is going bankrupt, and the only way out of this predicament is to marry her rival, Nicolai (Nico) Attano. The union is supposed to bring peace between the families, but instead, it only stirs up more drama. Nico is on the hunt for a serial killer known as The Collector. Milla’s connections are a key part of his plan. If they can establish long lasting peace, find the killer, and pay off her family debt before she turns twentyone, then Milla will gain all the freedom a woman hardly ever has. The only problem is that she’s bitten off more than she can chew in terms of both family drama, and her new spouse. A twisting and turning literary ride that will leave readers guessing! Just when they think they’ve got it figured out, they’ll be in for a big surprise! Ms. Menard does not hold back in this magically infused mafia-esque novel! Milla and Nico are a fun couple to watch as they shift from convenience to true lovers. The romance is a slow burn with a satisfying pay off ! The side characters are delightful and strengthen the world they all live in. There are a few slower points in the book, but for the most part, the action is driving everyone forward. Well developed and well thought out, the setting for this book is incredibly vivid. Readers will be leaving with a book hangover and craving the sequel ASAP! This is a great read for lovers of spicy paranormal romances in historical settings!

Anna Katmore

Sarah E. Bradley

Kimberly Dean

Alexis L. Menard

Chelsea Anderson

Tonya Mathenia www.indtale.com



Little Red Shadow

Precise Oaths

The Unseen

Scarlett wears shadows like a comfortable coat, and has hidden from society since both her parents were murdered by the Royal Police for being talented. Scarlett portrays her friend, Georgette Ward, jewel of the social season at a ball to flush out the assassin making threats to her life. The would-be assassin, Lord Benedict Pearce, is caught up in the gang wars due to gambling debts owed by his father, the duke. Scarlett and Benedict investigate the Wolves gang while pretending to pose as a courting couple, and uncover more than they bargained for with the Wolves crime ring. Will Scarlett’s heart be able to come out of the shadows since she’s fallen hard for Benedict? Or will she continue to shadow her heart and get stuck in the depths of the gang forever? A fantastic tale with a little magic, fighting, deception, true love, and adventure. In a couple of passages it seems the wrong character is mentioned, and required a read-over to determine which character should be mentioned, but all the characters were well written and a delight to discover. The book is incredibly hard to put down with so many laughable lines, and the interaction between Scarlett and Benedict are priceless. Scarlett hiding herself to protect all those she cares for while putting herself in harm’s way to protect them, but not comprehending when those around her want to do the same for her, is relatable to so many people. Reading her journey to uncover the hidden pieces of herself and meld her old life together with the new is heartwarming, and watching her friends discover bits about themselves along the way is terrific.

What if you could see the future, and could change it? Spider-kin seer, Liliana, is one of the rare creature-kin Others that share a greener futuristic Earth with Normals. Like all spider-kin, she has three extra sets of eyes besides her human ones. She uses her clairvoyant fourth set to see the future, but the further she looks, the blurrier the visions. When soldiers on the nearby Fort Liberty base start dying, their commanding officer, Colonel Bennett, suspects a spider-kin is the serial killer. He sends Peter Teague, a Celtic wolf and natural predator to the spiders, to hunt Liliana. The petite spider can more than hold her own. Peter realizes Liliana isn’t the killer when he senses her fairness and honesty. Grateful to be finally understood, Liliana is dismayed that her efforts to help Peter find the real murderer will likely get him killed! A delightful neurodivergent heroine finds herself caught in a deadly game of choose-your-own-adventure! Liliana foresees three grisly outcomes for her new friend in the immediate, near, and slightly distant futures, and only her wits and ingenuity can alter his fate. Liliana’s worldview is empathetic and honorable. She has had to navigate not only being different in her physical attributes, but also in her “not quite autistic” aspect. Readers will fall quickly and utterly in love with this character. Paige Ewing’s talented storytelling weaves the magical, the suspenseful, and the romantic, into a strong and subtle web that fascinates and entraps. With amazing creatures and layered intrigue, “Precise Oaths” is a memorable introduction to a promising new series!

Elwyn is completely unremarkable, and that is the way she likes it. Her ability to remain unnoticed in every situation is what has made her a terrific thief. It is what gave her the job at the notorious crime syndicate where she was raised, and it is what will keep her alive and hidden in Amblewick, where she has fled this same syndicate. But when people start noticing her, she suddenly finds herself banded together with a fellow syndicate assassin, a prince looking for fun, and a young girl she can’t resist protecting. As this unlikely group finds themselves tossed together, they find that in order to save themselves, they have to work together. Working together might even help them to save multiple worlds. Lilla Glass has woven a fantasy filled with multiple worlds and realms, fae, and magic. Each of the main characters undergoes wonderful character development as they learn to work together. Elwyn and Prince Aedyn have a delightful chemistry, although that is not a major focus, but ads sprinkles of hope for a budding romance. Even the villain in the story has a compelling backstory that induces sympathy and understanding. It is a perfect mix of fantasy, adventure, and suspense. Trigger warning for some graphic descriptions of violence and abuse of children. With such a large cast of characters, Ms. Glass has given each a unique voice and story, and despite the number of players, it is never overwhelming but serves to pull readers into this carefully crafted world. Absolute perfection!

Amy Rubottom

Joan Lai

S.C. Grayson


InD’Tale Magazine

Paige Ewing

Lilla Glass

Cara Ceislak


An Improper Courtship

Chaos Come Again

Enid Longbourn is a pariah, shunned by all. Several years prior, she eloped with John Longbourn, who proves to be extremely abusive. Now a widow and a mother, she lives at home with her parents. Word is, her friend Eugenia has murdered Phineas, Viscount Rushcliff. His brother, Greydon Campden, is determined Eugenia will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Enid is positive of Eugenia’s innocence, and begs Greydon to help her prove it. He cannot deny Enid anything, so he agrees. Greydon, as the second son, is a Bow Street Runner, and is a successful investigator, and Enid inserts herself into the investigation. As they work together to solve the murder, they find themselves falling for one another... only Enid has vowed never to marry again. Can Greydon convince her otherwise? A brilliantly written love story, Ms. Beers crafts two courageous characters that immediately jump into the middle of a murder mystery. To many it is obvious who the killer is, but it is much more convoluted than meets the eye. Viscount Rushcliff has a bad habit of using people, and this time it came back with a venomous bite! As the reader tries to solve the mystery along with Enid and Greydon, they will visit the darker areas of London—the temporary prison in the bar, and later, Newgate. The descriptions make the reader visualize the squalor and dankness observed in Newgate Prison, along with the desperation of the prisoners. One can almost smell the vile conditions under which the prisoners must live. Exquisitely executed, this story is heartwarming as Greydon gives his all to win the love of his life.

Dorothea Barbant has been kidnapped by Roderick Westinghouse with the assistance of her father, and managed a daring escape in the carriage storage box of Colonel Lionel (Lion) O’Toole and Corporal Blythe. Lion is thought to be illegitimate, and discovers some surprising family secrets from the Earl of Ruthford, his grandfather. Lion spending the majority of his life closed off and alone, not allowing anyone to be close enough to hurt him, has few people he can trust— including mainly his inner circle of three close friends. Dorothea and Lion manage a quick marriage ceremony before he returns to the war. The union is passionate, and both feel true love, but will a traitorous spy in their midst ruin it all and be able to turn Dorothea and Lion against each other? Assassination attempts, war, traitors, family secrets, heroes, true love, passion, and much more! A strong story with both delightful and spiteful characters who leap off the pages to life. The loneliness and angst of both Lion and Dorothea, and the ease with which they are manipulated by the traitor who plays on both their insecurities and new love is true to life. The mystery of the traitor and steps to uncover him, along with Dorothea’s new friendships and experiences, were creatively interwoven with Lion’s own daring story. The tale just goes to prove the adage that actions speak louder than words, and even if you’ve known and trusted someone for a long time, they still might not be true to you. The imagery of rage and heartbreak brings tears and hopes that things will all work out in the end!

Belinda Wilson

Amy Rubottom

Laura Beers

Jude Knight

Lizzie: The Home Coming (The Pine Lake Girls book 3) Jane Yunker

Betty returned from Minneapolis to Pine Lake, Wisconsin, pregnant and hoping for sanctuary from her abusive, drunken husband, Harry. She brought her friend, Lizzie, and her husband, Fin, a baby named Grace to adopt as their child. Lizzie wants to help her friend and heal the rift between Alice and Betty. The three friends vow the next generation of Pine Lake girls will be stronger because of their mothers' convictions between right and wrong. Lizzie wants to create a legacy to share the love she had with her father through his years of storytelling during her childhood. Her search uncovers a long-buried family secret. How will the secret impact her mother? Should the past remain buried—even from her closest friends? What will happen to Lizzie and her daughter if the local busybodies let this gossip spread throughout Pine Lake? The society details of post-World War I illustrate the empowerment of women. Lizzie goes to extraordinary lengths to protect her friends and family. Fin supports his wife, Lizzie, as she plans alternatives to ensure the safety of Betty and her child. Lizzie positions Betty to change direction for herself and her daughter, using the values of her youth. These three women aren’t afraid to take risks to right the wrongs and expose the culprits. The threads of this story repeatedly tug at the readers' heartstrings, hoping these young women make the right choice. Women will embrace the changes each young mother experiences to help one another while enriching their own families. The story unfolds the commitment of lifelong friends, abhorrence of unjust brutality, and love of extended family. Simone Dober www.indtale.com



The Creole Duchess

Under the Java Moon

In Place Publique, New Orleans, Caleb Reginald Elmond Wirtham, Duke of Margris, goes simply by Caleb “Cal” Elmond, to do business with a local bookseller. Caleb, while there, witnesses the sensual dancing of the ethereal Miss Celestine “Celie” St CyrDuval. Cal is instantly drawn to Celie—despite the warnings to avoid her because of her dubious, questionable background. For Cal to pursue a relationship with Celie would be frowned upon by society. When Cal saves Celie repeatedly from her courageous attempts to save all Africans, he becomes constantly in her world. The more Cal and Celie find common ground, the more secrets could drive a wedge between them. Cal and Celie must find a way to save everyone they hold dear before the threat of war looms ever closer, and possibly destroying their love for each other. What a surprisingly enchanting historical romance that is a truly delightful read! The book might be a love story, but it is beautifully crafted and well researched, evidenced by the moving visage of freeing African slaves, and the battle of New Orleans quite wonderfully! From each harrowing, heart-stopping, narrow escape to another, the tale moves quite quickly. Many things are touched on briefly, though that seems a bit confusing in places. The voodoo culture isn’t explained fully, yet it isn’t hard to imagine the places or people. Caleb is just the epitome of an enigmatic duke, but he’s still a sensitive hero, while Celie is the perfect strong-willed heroine who isn’t scared of danger. Ms. Allyn has penned a captivating tale that readers will just adore!

What would you do if you found yourself suddenly forced to leave behind everything you knew? Rita is only a child when her family is forced out of their home and into an internment camp near their Netherland East Indies (now Indonesia) home. For three years she was forced to live in dangerous—and often deadly conditions—alongside her younger brother, pregnant mother, and elderly Oma. Survival is a daily fight, and Rita's family is forced to live in conditions that many do not survive. Told by the adult Rita, now called Mary by her family, this book covers a portion of history that many are unaware even happened, and is a heartbreaking story of one of thousands of families who were forced into internment camps on the island of Java during World War II, under Japanese occupation. The author has given a rare look into the life of Rita's family, and does an amazing job at expressing both the confusion and pain, along with small moments of joy and lots of love. Be prepared to be overwhelmed with unspeakable horror, but also with the unending determination of families fighting to survive while caught up in a World War. The story is told from several points of view, and while it’s being told to the author by Rita, we are given insight into the feelings of her other family members, including her mother and father. The reader will be satisfied with the amount of background research the author put into this story to give us insight that the young Rita may not have been aware of at the time. Emotional and touching from beginning to end.

Roslynn Ernst

Valerie Vicars

Rue Allyn


InD’Tale Magazine

Heather B. Moore



Where The Stars Lead

Counting Fireflies

Kissing Asphalt

Emilie Wilshire has been distraught and lonely since her best friend, Caitriona Murray, left her to go back to her husband in a time 1400 years ago. She still struggles to accept her new reality and focuses on spending all her time in her archaeological work. However, when she makes a recent discovery about her own ancestry, she longs for her best friend more than ever. In an effort to move on, she moves away to modern-day Edinburgh, working in historical underground vaults and sharing tales of its history… Until one day, a tour goes awry and she finds herself in an all too familiar world with one mission — save her family, save Lucas. The veil of time strikes again in this insatiable story of love, friendship, and family. While the first book in this series was more unique in its storytelling, the foundation of pulling Emilie back into the same time as her best friend, and direct ancestor, was an exciting twist to start off with. While this new revelation served its purpose in exposing the banshee’s warning, the surprise was brushed off quickly by the other characters and seemed to fall a little flat. Additionally, unlike book one, “Where the Stars Leads” has a stronger emphasis on the romance with Goodwin rather than the true purpose of being pulled back to 686 AD. There were also several instances where the character names were misused, which caused brief confusion in the reading. Despite this, the world and character building is still impeccable and will leave readers engaged and excited to see where Emilie’s life leads after her purpose has been fulfilled. Even with its minor faults, “Where the Stars Lead” is another beautiful story full of bold emotion that transcends through time and space.

NEW ADULT: Oregonian native, Adrian Monterey, runs away from everyone, including himself, by leaving for the wilds of the Canadian wilderness to Moonbreak Falls to help an elderly woman tend her farm. Adrian is escaping his unrequited love for his best friend’s older brother. As Adrian starts to settle, North Beckett, the elderly woman’s grandson, comes back from Calgary University. Adrian, at first, tries to avoid North because he develops an unnatural, yet abhorrent, interest in him. North won’t hear of it, but he will show Adrian how to truly live and love. Adrian can’t curb his undeniable attraction to North and slowly opens his heart to him, even though he tries to resist him. Just as Adrian starts to fall for North, distance and crisis could pull them both apart—unless Adrian is willing to risk all to prove his love for North. This is an exquisitely written, poignant contemporary love story that truly shines! The breathtaking imagery and lush scenery bring both the simpleness of Oregon and the untamed Canadian tundra to vibrant reality! This book will definitely evoke powerful emotions, and they’re touched on sensitively. Unfortunately, the book does end on a cliff-hanger. Even with the warning, it still manages to be quite jarring, so readers may not be happy with the anti-climactic finale. Adrian, the tenderhearted, soft-spoken hero, seems afraid of everything—including his own feelings, even though North, who one can’t help but love, manages to bring him out of his shell. The strong sexual tension and angst will be easily felt too. Ms. Katmore writes with an honest, straightforward nature that is both refreshing and wonderfully brilliant!

Delicia was four-years-old when she and her seven-year-old brother were kidnapped from their home in Los Angeles and taken to Iraq by their estranged father. Forced to live in a country she has never known, and finding herself the victim of abuse, she fights each day, and now tells her story in this book. Delicia writes about the challenges she faced, and how she overcame them to become the woman she is today. This is a story about a child overcoming what she was forced into, and becoming a strong, courageous woman who has fought a battle that no one ever should. This is a really hard-hitting book, and readers should be warned that it is not an easy read in parts. However, the story is one that will draw one in and refuse to let go. Delicia went through things that no-one ever should, and it is a credit to her of what she has overcome. To also share her story takes a great amount of bravery and courage that may rarely be seen. For fans of memoirs and books about overcoming horrendous situations, this is definitely a book to read. It will also appeal to the reader who may not usually read this sort of book. Be warned to keep some tissues handy as there are some aspects that are justly difficult to read. A truly moving and well written memoir that will get people thinking about what others in the world are forced to endure.

Mia Pride

Sadie Wilson

Anna Katmore


Delicia Niami

Lynn-Alexandria McKendrick

Roslynn Ernst www.indtale.com



Defended by a Duke Cheryl Bolen

HISTORICAL: Every matchmaking mother in London seeks Richard Harwood, the sixth Duke of Bentley, for her daughter. His coffers are overflowing, and his title adds to his desirability. However, he has no plans to wed. When visiting Lord Devere, he overhears a young woman talking politics. Impressed by her knowledge, he looks to see her and finds she is stunning. At this moment, he loses his heart to Emily. Shortly after, Emily and Bentley wed at her cousin Devere’s home. While getting ready for their wedding night, there is a pounding on the Duke’s chamber door. Devere has been stabbed by robbers, and Bentley is needed at once! Bentley goes to Devere’s bedside, learning he has been asking too many questions about the New Londinium project several Tories are trying to start up using investors. He suspects this is why he has been attacked. Bentley immediately goes off to investigate, and Emily spends her wedding night ALONE. “Defended By a Duke” is an exciting tale of intrigue and suspense, keeping readers sitting on the edge of their seats while eagerly turning the pages to see what’s next to come. Bentley and Emily are charming characters who are cunning and secretive. The mystery of who stabbed Devere keeps the reader engaged and guessing till the end. Occasionally sentences were garbled due to extra words, leaving the reader guessing as to the author’s intent. While the first two chapters start slow and the beginning dialogue is somewhat stilted, the remainder of the story becomes dynamic and a pure joy in which to be immersed. It is an delightful tale, to be enjoyed by everyone. Belinda Wilson 72 InD’Tale Magazine

Muddled Matrimonial Murder

The Fog Ladies: Date with Death

LGBTQ: Emory Martinez is planning her best friend, Brad’s, wedding in addition to a Thanksgiving feast. Between this and her cupcake catering business, she is busy on her toes. With two weeks to go to the wedding, Emory and Brad discover a dead body at his home, and wedding venue. The victim is Brad’s former stalker, and all the evidence points towards his fianc, Gabe, a police detective. The couple have further squabbles as Gabe’s old college friend comes to town, monopolizing his time, adding to Brad’s anxiety about the wedding. Emory and her cohorts put on their detective caps yet again to save their friends from jail and heartache. But will they find the killer in time to exonerate Gabe? Will there even be a wedding? With a little of Nancy Drew, a smidge of Scooby doo, and a dash of Nigella Lawson, this is a light-hearted mystery filled with interesting recipes. The plot has the potential to be an intriguing storyline, but the characters with their amateur detective skills are more flighty than engaging. An inordinate amount of time is spent detailing recipes and preparation when there are more interesting themes to explore. Perhaps Emory could have spent more time trying to gather information from Gabe rather than go behind his back to prove his innocence? Or maybe worked closely with the detective? Emory’s sleuthing skills and limited self-awareness leave much to be desired, considering this is the sixth book in this series. The story focuses too much on Emory and her baking and snooping, and would have benefited with more substance between Brad and Gabe, focusing on their turmoil and backstory. A quirky read to while away the hours.

When a Senior Singles outing goes awry, Graham Parselle winds up dead on the bluff. Written off as a terrible accident, everyone is expected to let the incident go and grieve. However, the Fog Ladies can hardly pass the incident off as a simple accident, and are determined to uncover the truth. Nobody is safe from being a suspect, especially Olivia Honeycut’s newest love interest, Malcom. He is simply too suave and smooth-talking to be innocent in this game. Could it have really been Malcom who pushed Graham over the edge? The Fog Ladies will stop at nothing to solve the mystery. “The Fog Ladies: Date with Death” is an absolute bustle of comedic thrills! The Fog Ladies are such an interesting, diverse group of senior ladies with an impeccable sense of humor and respect for one another. As they race to uncover the mystery of Graham's death, the motives keep coming and it becomes more difficult to pinpoint any single suspect. The constant uncertainty of who-did-it is an absolute thrill, and the banter between the ladies keeps the story on the lighter side by adding the perfect amount of laughter. As the mystery unfolds and the ladies get closer to uncovering the true suspect, the anticipation builds and the words fly from the page even faster. Each new detail that surfaces brings another suspect to the table, with new dramas and horrors making finding the truth even more difficult. This is an absolute gem of a read that is cozy enough for any rainy day!

Kim Davis

Rika Chandra

Susan McCormick

Sadie Wilson


To Sketch a Killer



Caryl Janis


Laylah Abrams

True Stars Collide

Sarah Quinlee loves to sketch what she sees in the world. While she also wants a job incorporating her art, she is a valuable employee for a small insurance agency. On her way to work, she is shocked to discover a dead man no one seems to know. Sarah plays amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery, and learns along the way the history of the locals and the buildings which hold the secrets of everyone’s past. Sarah’s persistence is recognized—to the annoyance of a detective whose partner seems much warmer in his approach to handling Sarah’s ongoing investigation. Following her leads, Sarah gets tangled between the present and the past. If Sarah continues to ignore the warnings of the detectives, she may find herself as the next victim. “To Sketch a Killer” is a clean mystery novel by Caryl Janis. Readers will be pleased with the clean elements of a whodun-it without the gore. Sarah is a sweet character who embraces the relationships she forms with the other characters. The story has jarring moments which may cause readers to feel pulled out of the ongoing pace a mystery needs. One-sided conversations with information dumps, along with characters sitting to talk, discontinue the movement. Searching for repeated words would edit much of this story, such as the overuse of “but” and -ly adverbs. Aside from these elements, the characters play their parts nicely for the surprise ending. Readers will finish “To Sketch a Killer” feeling satisfied with the payoff, and hoping Ms. Janis pens another novel.

Claire Morgan understands how to play the ditzy heiress that everyone thinks they know. On the outside, she is a fun-loving party girl, but inside, she longs to do some meaningful work and hold meaningful conversations, rather than idle chit-chat. When Claire and a group of her famous “friends” eat at the restaurant where Nick Holden is working as a server, while struggling to hold on to his art scholarship and realize his art dreams, everything changes. In their short interactions, Claire is impressed by his down-to-earth treatment of her as a person, and they jump into a fast and furious fling. As their feelings for each other grow, Claire feels supported to reach for the career she wants, and Nick’s art finds inspiration. They both need to learn to trust in each other—and themselves—or their no-strings fling will break both their hearts. Claire and Nick have an explosive chemistry from the start, though some of the sexual encounters seem a little hard to believe. Claire and Nick both have great character development as each learns to trust in themselves, and find out who they really are. The supporting characters are well developed, and even the surprising moments feel natural and right. Laylah Abrams has woven a terrific new adult novel of two star-crossed lovers from different worlds coming together. Because their fling is secret, it grows in intensity as it’s sheltered from the outside world, but it’s vulnerable to mistrust… if what they have built is real and can stand the pressures of the outside world. This pressure cooker romance is a sexy read romance fans won’t want to miss!

CONTEMPORARY: ‘Love em and Leave em’ Liam Jones is the definition of a bad boy. Liam, the lead guitarist in his rock band, Black Velvet Machine, is desperate to bring them back into the spotlight, which means finding a perfect new lead singer. Zoe Hastings, a previous pop princess with a sweet image glued to her is trying to prove she’s a rock star by becoming the lead singer in this band with Ian, Ben, Andr, and reluctantly Liam. Unfortunately, the only way to fix her image is to temporarily be fake married to Liam. However, as the two try to keep up this facade, its obvious their chemistry is undeniable. Will there be a real connection developed between them, or will this sham crash and burn in the process? Strap on the rock-and-roll boots readers, because this rock star romance is perfect for anyone looking for some steamy love scenes, a dab of spicy enemies-to-lovers, and a sprinkle of band tension! Since this is a novella, the story mainly centers around the protagonists, so readers unfortunately only get a nibble about the other band members. However, the tension between the protagonists is sizzling from the very beginning, and only gets better over time. Their romance also starts off hot and bothered, but it drizzles down to a sweet, loving romance that readers won’t want to miss. The love story feels a bit rushed throughout the short plot, meaning readers may be unsatisfied and grappling for more after the book is finished. However, it’s a perfectly fun

Moira Wolf

Claire Marti

Austen Grace

Cara Ceislak




Fallen: A Vampire Syndicate Romance Rebecca Rivard

Twilight is a vampire hunter. She’s been working for Slayers, Inc. for quite a while now and is ready to call it quits, but after she tries to make a run for it, she is tracked down and told that she must do one more job for them to make things right, and she will be protected from the organization in return. The job is more dangerous than most. She must become a blood thrall, or a slave to a vampire, in order to get close to and slay a very powerful vampire by the name of Brien. Brien is the Crown Prince of the Maritime Vampire Syndicate, so this is a tall order for Twilight. Can she stay on course with her mission, or will she be completely distracted by the incredibly handsome Crown Prince? “Fallen” is the fourth book in The Vampire Syndicate series, but can certainly be read as a standalone. Readers will have no problem diving into this immersive world with all of its lovable and smoking-hot characters. This is an excellent enemies-to-lovers vampire romance with great character development. Readers will absolutely love seeing Twilight and Brien’s relationship grow throughout the story. Twilight is constantly surrounded by enemies, so her and Brien must work together and develop trust between one another. Watching that relationship develop is what makes these characters so unforgettable. “Fallen” is full of lust, love, and violence that readers won’t be able to get enough of. This world that Ms. Rivard has created really has it all! Jennifer Shepherd


InD’Tale Magazine

Tempting the Sheriff

Wine & Warlocks

Young lovers split by the call of war and a life on the run are reunited by fate, destiny, chance, or whatever the name of the thing that happens in life when you least expect it. Robynne, fox-shifter and exceptional archer, becomes an outlaw to escape her forced betrothal, and to watch over her younger brother. Daniel, dragon-shifter and former Crusader knight, returns from war disillusioned about life and charged with bringing law and order to Nottingham by acting as sheriff. The Merry Men, a rag-tag group of shifters, including Robynne's brother Robert, rob rich nobles passing through Sherwood Forest. Daniel and Robynne secretly rekindle their relationship while trying to find a way to manage the Merry Men's mayhem, to continue helping the villagers, to escape the hangman's noose, and find a way to be together forevermore. "Tempting the Sheriff " is a funtastical twist on the tale of Robin Hood. The main characters are both heroic and humble with a scorching chemistry. The supporting characters are funny individuals who bring levity to the tale, with a couple of standouts stealing some of the spotlight. The only drawback in the tale are the predictable villains whose evil deeds are only unsavory rumors and a weak show of malice; however their vanquishing is sufficiently satisfying. Using each main character's shifter point of view is a unique way of describing landscape and providing backstory. Adding even more comedy with their inner conversations is also a stroke of genius. Anna Lowe uses brilliantly whimsical storytelling to flip the classic tale of Robin Hood with a new spicy and comical point of view that is enchanting!

Dubheasa O’Malley can’t stand Ronan O’Connor. The rival warlock is too handsome, too sexy, and entirely too difficult to resist. After one amazing night, she realized his betrayal, and now she can’t trust him. Ronan is truly remorseful that his actions to thwart his villainous father, Loman, inadvertently hurting his fated mate. Now that his sadistic sire remains at large, Ronan must find and end him, and somehow he must convince Dubheasa to give their love a second chance. This fight is personal, as Loman is not only insatiably power-hungry, but he also wants to inflict maximum pain on his disloyal progeny. Can Dubheasa and Ronan achieve the miracle of defeating Loman for the third and final time and have their happily ever after? Or do the fates and powers-to-be exact a costly tithe for success? “Wine and Warlocks” will bring joy and tears to established T. M. Cromer fans! The O’Malleys and O’Connors receive plenty of help from other magical families; Dethridge, Thorne, and Blane included. All of these are star characters in their own right, and their contributions add texture to the plot, but also slow down the narrative. While a plan to stage a faux wedding to lure Loman out of hiding is hatched early on, weaknesses in the scheme and having more than one prognosticator worry over the outcome dilutes the suspense. There is also the rendering and withholding of assistance to our heroes by their deities and The Authority that appears arbitrary to the newcomer. Humorous exchanges, heart-warming camaraderie, and angsty romance are this story’s strong assets that distinguish it as valuable addition to the Unlucky Charms series.

Tonya Mathenia

Joan Lai

Anna Lowe

T.M. Cromer


A Glimmer in the Hollows Lorna Selley

At The Ready

Sharon Michalove

Bear on the Mountain

Jessica Paige has a very troubling past. As a babysitter to a six-year-old girl named Olivia, she was meant to protect her, but now Jessica is only haunted by nightmares of what may have happened to little Olivia. Twenty years ago, Olivia went missing, and all that Jessica has left are fragments of memories from that night. As Jessica tries to uncover the truth behind her mysterious disappearance, she stumbles upon more cases of missing children, all in her town of Driftwood. Author, Elliot Reed, is also interested in what’s happening in Jessica’s small Appalachian town, and he is hoping to use it as a premise for his next novel. When this unlikely pair collide, they decide to work together to find answers that may lead them to Olivia, and many other missing children. “A Glimmer in the Hollows” is a very fast paced, dual perspective story unlike any other. Filled with mystery, science fiction, and a little bit of romance, readers will definitely fly through this one. The overall premise of the story is very unique and will definitely have readers spooked. However, some of the plot points are a little far-fetched, for example, when Elliot turns up in Jessica’s town and he just so happens to be her favorite author. Character development is a bit lacking as well. While readers will learn a good bit about Jessica and her history, there is little said about Elliot and his past, let alone his interests or even characteristics. The romance between the duo develops pretty quickly, despite having very few scenes together throughout the book. Nonetheless, “A Glimmer in the Hollows” will keep readers on the edge of their seat, anticipating how the story will end.

Micki Press is a young woman trying to make it big in one of the most wellknown Chicago law firms. She does everything by the book; however, Micki’s world is anything but easy. Micki thinks her ex-lover is out of the picture, but she realizes he is back when she gets weird text messages and phone calls from him. With this happening, JL Martin, who is the head of his security company— WatchDog Inc. jumps in to protect Micki from her new stalker. Meanwhile, Micki and JL grow closer. They realize their feelings for each other reach way beyond the ideal ‘friends’ stage. With the high demands of Micki’s job and JL’s company, along with their complex backgrounds, will Micki and JL’s relationship end in turmoil and disappointment? Or will their love for one another be enough for them to pull through and see how much they are meant for each other, no matter what the circumstances or obstacles that may land in their way? “At the Ready” is the third tale within this series, but with the author’s background of the characters, the reader is shown enough to where they could read this book as a standalone. Sharon Michalove makes this story an easy read by explaining what the characters are saying when speaking a different language. That way no one gets lost in the middle of the story. JL and Micki’s love for one another is shown through each page, keeping just enough romance to not take over the action of the story. Sharon Michalove is a writer of the ages, not only with her quit wit, but also the connection she portrays between JL and Micki so readers are able to feel the heat penetrating from each page. Readers will not be disappointed if they are looking for a love affair with some twists thrown in! An excellent read!

Escape! Elinor (Ellie) is on the run from her family in Illinois. She’s headed to Colorado; the only place she’s ever felt safe and accepted. Her escape plans started when she received a letter stating that her uncle left her his old fishing cabin, and the land it sits on. She desperately needs to flee or she will never survive the abuse. Upon her return some things have changed, but there are still many familiar faces from her childhood—one being her cousin, Arden, who is more than willing to take her in with the promise of also keeping her safe. Arden’s brother, Sean, recently passed, as did her parents, so Arden having some family is a comfort. There’s a ‘pack’ of alpha males who have history and are all in for keeping Ellie safe—Bear pushing to the number one spot in line for Ellie’s safety—and her heart. Ms. Michaels has created and amazing take on the Colorado lifestyle and those who protect the ones they love! The hero and heroine are strong and resilient. The fact that two young kids are reunited as adults is a great spin. The overall feel of survivors is woven throughout this book. The threat of the bad guys coming is always present, and the rise of the phoenix is very rewarding. There is some predictability, however, but overall, this is an exceptional read and an amazing springboard for this series. The transitions of characters and solidarity shown serves as a feel good book, even though it takes many tears to get there! Be on the look out for more in this series as this author will not disappoint!

Jennifer Shepherd

Stephanie Bell

Olivia Michaels

Viola Robbins





Savage Cove

HISTORICAL: Warren “Chief ” Smith knows the sea better than most. His ship, The Folly, is in his command, and when Elizabeth “Betty” Devereaux comes on board to help navigate, Chief can’t help but fall for the attractive and brave nurse. She has a mission of her own, and a secret that she cannot share with anyone. As they navigate their way up the Sebou River, they find themselves falling for one another, and it is a race against time as there are perilous dangers awaiting them. Will they get through the various challenges and find their happily ever after? Or will their love sink to the bottom of the Sebou River? One thing is for sure, they will fight hard for their love—and to save one another from the dangers that await them. Suzanne Ferrell has created an awesome concept with the Neptune series, and there is so much to enjoy about this book. There is suspense, romance, and great writing, along with scene descriptions that will grip readers and pull them right into the heart of the action. Fans of both suspense and historical will get a kick out of this book, and it will entice them to go back and read the other books in the series. It is clear that the author has done her research, and really worked hard to make this book what it is. This is definitely a series not to miss out on; a real page turner and it should definitely not be missed!

US Army Night Stalker pilot, Erin "Xena" Savage, returns home to Wisconsin to deal with her parents death, grieving teenage brother, and family business, Savage Cove. The last person she wants to see is the misogynistic jerk she once shared a mindblowing one-night stand with. Three years ago, now former Delta Force Operator "Trek" Pierce had a major freak-out after discovering the sexy bartender haunting his dreams is actually a Night Stalker pilot. Now, no matter their complicated history, Trek has no problem watching over the Warrior Princess when danger in the form of an outlaw motorcycle gang wants to take over her family business. Will their still-strong attraction be too much of a distraction to keep Erin and all she holds dear, safe? A steamy, suspenseful drama, "Savage Cove" is a tale of danger, rescue, and second chances. From the emotional beginning to the fairytale ending, readers will turn pages of this story quicker than a helicopter blade spinning. Readers will want to be friends with the bad-ass heroine who takes down a biker, pours you a beer, and yet can still be vulnerable enough to question her choices. With appropriate inappropriate thoughts, readers will swoon over an alpha hero who rides in to save the day with toe-curling kisses and steamy, wet dreams. Readers will be envious of the loyal friends willing to use their special set of skills to keep them safe. The malicious, motorcycle minions and their nefarious plot will have readers ready to swing a tire iron to halt their mayhem. This foray into the hot bodied… sorry, alpha male world with a warrior princess' POV proves Taryn Rivers understands the assignment! Absolutely fantastic!

Suszane Ferrell

Taryn Rivers

Lynn-Alexandria McKendrick

Tonya Mathenia 76

InD’Tale Magazine


Boleyn Time Deborah Coeh

This story begins in January, 1519 at Chateau Du Clos Luce, in France. In this tale, Anne Boleyn is Leonardo da Vinci’s apprentice. She is well-educated which intimidates most men. She understands mathematics and science at a high level and is very competent. This time travel story occurs in two different settings with people living 500 years apart. The story features both Anne Boleyn and Ellie Bowlan—her descendant. They are connected through a special (lost) key that starts a clock that can bend time. This clock was created by da Vinci himself. Meanwhile, in present-day Canada, John Chelsea is in love with Ellie, but has spent several months away from her in New Zealand doing research. She envies him being gone while she stays in Canada. He’s having fun, while she protects her heart from the pain of missed opportunities and missing John. Her best friend is Dez, who meets his boyfriend about the same time John leaves for NZ, which also hurts Ellie, who feels doubly abandoned. Meanwhile, Dez’s boyfriend pops the question, and they decide to get married in France, at da Vinci’s final home. This gives Ellie and her friends and relatives a chance to find the lost key. This story drags a bit at the start. Use a little determination to get past the initial chapters, and the final product is worth it. This story is clever and loosely based on some actual happenings at the time. There are some interesting characters featured within the pages of this story, and they add some levity as well as some depth and heartbreak to this tale. Some evil occurs under the guise of righteousness, yet lighthearted banter occurs in greater measure to raise the mood a bit. This is a well-written and clever story! Carey Sullivan




InD’Tale Magazine

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