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Review: Spilt Milk

Spilt Milk by D. K. Cassidy is a short story collection that tells the entwined lives of two very disturbed guys, Caleb and George.

A Disinterested and Abusive Father is Oblivious
A Disinterested and Abusive Father is Oblivious

A drug-addicted mother dies in childbirth producing her son Caleb. A disinterested and abusive father is oblivious about his young son’s predilection for harming small animals.

After performing a heinous crime that lands him in a juvenile mental hospital, Caleb welcomes his eighteenth birthday. The young man can now seek friends that understand him.

George learns early to build a closet sanctuary that his battling parents never bother to investigate. It comforts George to fill his fortress with misbegotten collectables. He too is now an adult. Rather than battling a dangerous addiction, collector George embraces it. His vice is a monstrous lifestyle, because his imaginary friends urge George to do so.

A Surreal, Yet Reasonable, Dreadful World
A Surreal, Yet Reasonable, Dreadful World

Caleb posts a help wanted ad for a worker who loves collecting special things. The night job takes place behind the hospital. Caleb and George hit it off. Pity the people who catch the duo’s interest.

Spilt Milk is a subtle, disturbing, and delicious collection of related short stories that takes the reader into a surreal, yet reasonable, dreadful world. The stories have no bloody and squeamish parts, but nonetheless, they made Lita’s gut cringe. Between George and Caleb’s vignettes are glimpses into the sad and odd souls who cross their path. D. K. Cassidy uses a masterful hand in describing the characters. The frugal prose is much more effective than gushing over the bloody details. Lita just had to read the book twice, and it scared the bejesus out of her the second time, too.

Spilt Milk is highly recommended for Gentle Readers who have always wondered why some innocent-seeming people make them feel like a hellcat just ran over their grave. Now we know.

Spilt Milk on Amazon US

Spilt Milk on Amazon UK

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D. K. Cassidy on Goodreads

D. K. Cassidy Blog and Website

Review: The Secret of Excalibur

The Secret of Excalibur by Sahara Foley is a fantasy about a modern-day young man named Arthur Merlin, who struggles with mastering his phenomenal psychic powers.

A Head Injury Gave Arthur the Ability of Astral Projection
A Head Injury Gave Arthur the Ability of Astral Projection

After a head injury that gave him incredible psychic abilities like pyrokinesis, astral projection, telekinesis, and resistance to nuclear explosions, Arthur is finding his way in life. His new abilities frightened old friends. Now, he wanders. No government agency or military can hold him because he teleports to safety at the first sign of boredom.

His journey has landed him in London. At a paranormal studies lab affiliated with MI6, he finds a lovely telekinesis expert named Doctor Ruth Burns. His powers make for an unusual romance. He ends up working for the government, and the dangerous work turns Arthur’s life into an exciting twirl.

The Lady of the Lake and the Legend of the Sword Excalibur
The Lady of the Lake and the Legend of the Sword Excalibur

But something draws him to a mysterious lake shrouded in Arthurian lore. The Lady of the Lake, and the legend of the sword Excalibur waiting in its depths, is a mystery that only Arthur’s fantastic powers can unravel. The truth under the waters is nothing like Arthur imagined.

The Secret of Excalibur is a delightful entwining of Arthurian mythos, a modern Merlin, and clever supporting characters. Arthur, despite his fantastic powers, is an ethical young man with a refreshing innocence. Ruth is a brainy and practical counterpoint to Arthur’s impulsive approach to life. The plot kept Lita guessing, and she could not wait to learn what was waiting in the lake. Contrary to the legends, Arthur’s fate was a delightful surprise.

For Gentle Readers who are fans of King Arthur stories, The Secret of Excalibur is a satisfying blend of the legend with a modern-day wizard. Be warned, because the real sword under the lake is nothing like the legend.

The Secret of Excalibur on Amazon US

The Secret of Excalibur on Amazon UK

The Secret of Excalibur on Goodreads

Sahara Foley on Goodreads

Sahara Foley website and blog

Try a Spell to Play With Her Hair

Lita takes Gentle Reader to the world of Clockpunk Wizard today, with an excerpt from her story, Old Bony Blue Eyes.

Mermaids Ride in Water Pearls
Mermaids Ride in Water Pearls

Young Wizard Kadmeion, his assistant Sir Bright, and their three wee fairies are travelling on the wizard’s airship through a region called the Water Pearls.

These floating globes of seawater carry marine creatures far above the ocean surface, and the spheres often catch in airship sails. A mermaid’s Water Pearl has tangled in a mooring line on the cabin roof. The magic-ravenous mermaid lured the wizard’s fairies near her with a glamour spell. She tried to catch and eat the magic-befuddled fey-folk. Bright heard their cries, intervened, and saved their three tiny shipmates. He then summoned the wizard to join them on the cabin roof.

“I’ve wanted to speak with the merfolk for some time,” Kadmeion said to the mermaid. “But eating my fairies is not the way to win my regard.”

Eating My Fairies is Not the Way to Win My Regard
Eating My Fairies is Not the Way to Win My Regard

Bright felt the itch of the mermaid’s renewed attraction spell. Izlyesende gasped, pinched the narfleet’s ear, and relaxed when Bright’s natural glamour resistance protected the three fairies. Izlyesende kissed the squeezed spot in apology. Bright’s ear tingled from the fairy’s magic.

“Stop it, Madam Mermaid,” Kadmeion said. “Your trick will not work on me.”

Her glamour spell trickled away. This mermaid was a colorless, almost translucent being. She turned around once in her bubble, tried unsuccessfully to push her Water Pearl away from its mooring to the cabin roof, then curled into a waiting stance.

“Will you hold my hand, Sir Wizard?”

“You would surely bite me if I allowed that.”

Magic Too Long Denied Has Made Us Greedy
Magic Too Long Denied Has Made Us Greedy

“Mer has poor magical fare,” she said.

“Is that why mermaids savage wizards that fall into the sea?”

“Magic too long denied has made us greedy.” She brushed away her floating cloud of white hair, and gave it an impatient glance.

If you want to woo her cooperation, Kadmeion, try a spell to play with her hair, Bright mind spoke.

Bright’s suggestion earned him a glance, then a nod from the wizard. Kadmeion turned back to the fussing mermaid, and sang this spell.

“Lovely mermaid encased in Water Pearl,
You grace my airship with hair unfurled.
Beautiful silver tresses
Replace land-lady’s dresses.
Your hair now obeys me. Undulate. Curl.”

Kadmeion lifted his hand and made a delicate swirling motion. The mermaid’s long hair lifted away from her face, and mimicked the wizard’s hand movement. He made her locks sway and swim to his whim. Kadmeion first twirled the long strands around her slim waist, and spun them atop her head in a confectionary arrangement of braids and sparkling magical bits.

By the time he finished the spell, the mermaid’s eyes glowed with pleasure. Her smile was now friendly instead of predatory.

(Old Bony Blue Eyes excerpt Copyright 2013 by Lita Burke. All rights reserved.)

Read more in Chapter 1

View the book trailer on YouTube

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon US

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Amazon UK

Old Bony Blue Eyes on Smashwords, Kobo and Goodreads

Review: Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions

Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions by Sharon Delarose is a nonfiction book about alien abduction that describes dream imagery and memories about visiting extraterrestrials.

Screen Memories are Repeated False Memories That Mask What Really Happened
Screen Memories are Repeated False Memories That Mask What Really Happened

This nonfiction book recounts the contents of a woman’s lifelong dream journal.

It details her experiences with repeated alien kidnappings. The book presents an analysis of re-occurring dreams and their common elements, and fits everything into a structure called “Screen Memories.” The Screen Memories are repeated false memories that mask what really happened to the author during alien visits. But even false memories have patterns, and this book peels back the mask.

Throughout the book, the author correlates empirical events from news media reports and dream journal entries. The writing style is matter-of-fact, has attention to detail, and shows organized thinking. Despite the fantastical subject area, the alien abduction accounts have a refreshing clinical factualness. The book’s painstaking correlation of the journal with media research produces a plausible Screen Memories theory.

Comradery With Other Abductees
Comradery With Other Abductees

Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions is an excellent treatment of a topic that polarizes people into believers or doubters.

Believers find reassurance that they share a sobering, and terrifying, comradery with other abductees. Doubters put it all into the “has a vivid imagination” bucket. This book does an excellent job of systematically analyzing the dreams and the related real events. Even though the author’s memories were masked by aliens, there is too much coincidence with real events to dismiss the journal entries. The book could convince the doubter there might be something alien going on, after all.

Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions is recommended for Gentle Readers who enjoy true accounts. Others that demand correlated facts to give credence to fantastical situations would enjoy the painstaking cross-referencing. No matter if Gentle Reader is an alien abduction believer or doubter, this book delivers treats for both camps.

Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions on Amazon US

Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions on Amazon UK

Alien Nightmares: Screen Memories of UFO Alien Abductions on Goodreads

Sharon Delarose on Goodreads

Studies in Phrenology and Obscure Languages

Lita takes Gentle Reader to the Clockpunk Wizard world today, with an excerpt from Ephraim’s Curious Device.

Young Wizard Kadmeion, and his half-elf assistant Sir Bright, have received a coded map. They must read the bespelled map, follow the decoded clues to a magical thingummy made by Wizard Ephraim, and return the device to Lord Hissalumieon.

They Put the Fragile Parchment on the Table
They Put the Fragile Parchment on the Table

They put the fragile parchment on the table. Bright did not recognize the diagram’s writing, but Kadmeion did. The wizard requested a reference book. Bright fetched the volume from Kadmeion’s library and opened it to the indicated page.

“Good and bad news,” Kadmeion said.

“Do tell.”

“It is written in an obscure magical language, but I can translate the map.”

“That’s encouraging. What is the bad news?”

“The map will take time to translate properly.”

“That’s no problem. What do you need?”

“A paper and writing quill for you to write the translation.”

“Why can’t you write it?”

Wizard Ephraim Bespelled the Map
Wizard Ephraim Bespelled the Map

“Ephraim bespelled the map so it couldn’t be copied,” Kadmeion said. “Then he used a bewitched alphabet so the reader would forget the words. So I’ll translate the letters, and you write them. Then we’ll read the message from your paper.”

“So you’re going to read a map that cannot be copied, and I’ll write your translation for the alphabet that cannot be remembered.”

“That’s correct.”

“Do they teach wizards to be this sneaky at the University?”

Phrenology is the Art of Measuring the Skull’s Dimensions
Phrenology is the Art of Measuring the Skull’s Dimensions

“Absolutely. It’s an upperclassman course called ‘Studies in Phrenology and Obscure Languages.’”

“Phrenology is the art of measuring the skull’s dimensions?” Bright asked.

“I’m impressed you knew that.”

“What do head sizes have to do with writing unclearly?”

“Not much. That was the intent.”

“What was the classwork like?” Bright asked.

“We learned the seven traditional ways to make written words unclear.”

“Seven? That many? Which was the most effective?”

The Spell Seals the Lips of the One Casting It
The Spell Seals the Lips of the One Casting It

“Poor grammar skills.”

Bright blinked. “Profound. I’m surprised this wasn’t a graduate class.”

“Another of the techniques was to make contradictory spells.”

“For example?”

“A spell that must be sung aloud, but it seals the lips of the one casting it.”

“How would you weave that spell?”

“That’s why wizard assistants are so useful. I would think loudly so you could hear me, and have you cast the spell in my stead.”

(Ephraim’s Curious Device excerpt Copyright 2012 by Lita Burke. All rights reserved.)

Ephraim’s Curious Device on Amazon US

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Review: The Bell Tower Suite

Friends Dared Him to Spend a Night in the Bell Tower Suite
Friends Dared Him to Spend a Night in the Bell Tower Suite

The Bell Tower Suite by James Field is a paranormal short story about a retired army officer who takes a dare and spends a ghost-filled night in a haunted house.

Retired Colonel Mortimer pays a visit to Sibyl. She is the housekeeper of a mansion that has a ghostly reputation. Two security guards, Alf and Bert, live in the nearby guardhouse.

His friends at the club dared the colonel to spend a night in the Bell Tower Suite. The colonel’s grandfather was a judge who stayed in the suite, and met his unfortunate end there by a revengeful convict. The no-nonsense Sibyl changes the bed linens, and instructs Alf and Bert to lock the colonel in the bell tower suite for the night.

Retired Colonel Mortimer Pays a Visit
Retired Colonel Mortimer Pays a Visit

During a nasty thunderstorm at midnight, the ghosts walk. The outcome is nothing like the four of them expected.

The Bell Tower Suite is a delightful little story that paints vivid characters in a short time. It tells a spooky story within a story, and wraps it together in a gothic-fused package.

James Field uses an expert touch and mixes in fun surprises concerning a cellar rat, and the security guards’ practical jokes. Gentle Readers who love gothic ghost stories would enjoy The Bell Tower Suite. This story is best read at night with a thunderstorm crashing outside. Be sure to lock the door, and watch out for the cellar rat.

The Bell Tower Suite on Amazon US

The Bell Tower Suite on Amazon UK

The Bell Tower Suite on Goodreads

James Field on Goodreads

James Field website

Praised by BookViral: Lita Burke’s Forever Boy

BookViral recently read Lita’s fantasy short story, Forever Boy, and spotlighted it with a lovely review.

A dog befriends a wizard
A dog befriends a wizard

In Forever Boy, a dog flees his cruel master, befriends a wizard, and discovers his shapeshifting magic.

It is the first story in Lita’s Clockpunk Wizard series, where wizards with ~twisty~ magic live on a plate-shaped ocean world. The wizards fly their fantastic airships between islands that float far above the sea.

An ode to the best in genre, this is one series you won’t want to miss and it is recommended without reservation. — BookViral

Book Viral discovers the next bestsellers, and they value discerning readers. BookViral spotlights authors who bring readers the most entertaining stories. Here is what the BookViral reviewer had to say about Forever Boy:

BookViral Spotlight on Forever Boy by Lita Burke

“A world beyond the familiar with curiosities and marvels that ensnare with intrigue from the very first page.

Yes, you will find the usual tropes, yet they feel surprisingly fresh and original. In part this is down to Burke’s acerbic prose, but the real treasure in this tale is…” read more of the BookViral review.

Forever Boy on Amazon US/UK, for Nook, and Kobo

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Read the BookViral review