Review: Lullaby of Flames

Finished 4/9/2020

I went in completely blind on this short story, which is how I prefer to experience a story to be honest, so I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t expect our teenage lead, Cori, to fall down a pit into Hell.

This story took a number of unexpected twists and turns, and had a number of characters I really enjoyed, such as Rigel and Lilith. Cori was great from beginning to end though despite her big mistake, and speaking of, wow this ending!

Candace Robinson’s stories are always so creative and this was no exception. I seriously don’t know how she dreams up these stories, but I’m here for them!

This is a great read for fans of the 80s films of Legend or Labyrinth! Especially if you enjoy being taken by surprise.

My Rating: 5/5 stars… that ending!

Review: Zombie Road

Finished: 4/5/2020

I love dystopian novels and I enjoy zombie books, so I knew I would probably enjoy Zombie Road, the first book in Simpson’s intense Convoy of Carnage series. We follow a group of truckers at a truck stop in Nevada and watch how they revert back to their military origins when a zombie outbreak takes out most of the world in a 24-hour period.

This book is hard to put down once you start. As you switch from Gunny and his friends in a truck stop in Nevada, to his wife stuck in an upper floor of her office in downtown Atlanta, and to their son trapped in detention in High School, the intensity is ramps up quickly. Simpson has an incredible hand for action and for mixing undeniable humor in his worlds.

These chapters are short and sweet which keeps the pacing flowing smooth and maintains a high level of action throughout. I was reminded of George R. R. Martin in how I hated switching away from a perspective, but by the end of the chapter I was invested in this new character and didn’t want to switch from them. He has an incredible way of defining characters and coming up with nicknames for them that stay true to their character throughout the story. His pacing is so great though that at almost 400 pages long, I had no idea each page flew past so quickly because I was so engrossed in the world.

An excellent starter in a series that is going on seven installments right now. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in his series!

In real life, Simpson is a truck driver, and as you read this he’s probably running urgent equipment and supplies across the country to hospitals and doctors who are in dire need right now. He’s a true hero.

My rating: 5/5 zombie head shots!

Happy Release Day to Broken!

Wow, we are finally here, Broken, Book 2 of the Stolen series is now out in the world and I’m so excited (and nervous)!

We left Shaleigh off at a bit of a cliffhanger in a place that is definitely hostile and with an uncertain future. In Broken, things get darker as we follow both Shaleigh and Colin as they try to survive.

My publisher, Parliament House Press, has decided to lower the cost of all its ebooks to help support those who are struggling due to the coronavirus, and that includes both Stolen and Broken. Both books can be obtained for the low price of $0.99 right now. We all need books and the arts in general to help us through this difficult time right now, and all of the authors agreed that we wanted to help in any small way we could.

I hope you enjoy Broken! Stay safe out there and escape into a good book for a while. It’s certainly helped me lately.

Where to Find Stolen and Broken:

Stolen – Amazon

Broken – Amazon

Broken Paperback – The Parliament House

An Early Peek at Broken

We’re only two days away from the release of Broken, Book 2 of the best-selling Stolen series! I’m so thrilled to be able to share with you an early peek of the first two chapters of Broken.

Find out what happens with Shaleigh, Teagan, Mawr, and Colin. Experience the adventure. Beware the madness.

Read the First Two Chapters of Broken Now!

Also I’ll be doing a live chat tomorrow on Twitter! I always enjoy these cause it’s a fun and easy way to answer questions that readers and aspiring writers might have.

Join me Monday (4/6) on Twitter at 3 PM EST for a live chat. Make sure you follow the hashtag: #ParliamentWitchingHour to make sure you don’t miss anything!

Happy Release Day to Masks!

I’m so thrilled to announce the release of the much anticipated anthology, Masks, filled with tales about Mardi Gras and New Orleans. This has been in the making since last year and it’s so rewarding to see the book finally in reader hands!

My short story including in this anthology is titled “La Femme en Rouge” and features a trans woman struggling to find acceptance with her father. It’s a suspense-filled tale that features tarot readings, mysterious encounters, and a washboard band.

There were really several factors of my life that inspired this piece. I have several friends in the LGBT community, and have witnessed first hand the kind of pain and bigotry they face for coming out to family and friends. I admire the bravery these people have in order to be who they know they are. I wanted to explore this with Josie. I wanted the reader to walk beside her and feel her struggles, her confusion, and her fear. I wanted to make this story feel personal.

That’s really a mantra I’ve carried in many of my stories lately. I’ve worked hard to write stories that get under the skin, so to speak. When Filles Vertes Press asked me if I wanted to write about Mardi Gras, I instantly knew I had to say yes because I wanted an excuse to write about New Orleans. That place lingers with you long after you’ve left it.

Back in 2000, I joined a bunch of internet friends I had never met or even seen in person and traveled to New Orleans with them around Halloween. I was a senior in High School at the time and was on the verge of burning out from stress. This was a cathartic time for me. We went ghost hunting, we dressed up like vampires, we experienced Bourbon Street. I wasn’t nearly as confident in myself as I am now, and that time seems almost surreal.

One of my friends was the only one of us who could speak fluent Creole and she was our negotiator and our representative as we navigated the enormous city. At one point we had to switch hotels because the first one we went to was so haunted that all of us had nightmares and couldn’t bring ourselves to stay. Our Creole speaking friend was the only one who could negotiate with the manager to get us moved. She was tough, quiet, and had the best acidic comebacks of the group.

As I began writing books and short stories, she remained my champion over the years. She always encouraged me to continue and demanded to get to beta read my first horror book when I got it put together. She loved reading horror, and she had the kind of personality that she would be honest with me if there were problems. I worked hard on my writing, preparing to send her my first horror book that she was excited to read.

A few years back, I learned that she had died of an illness she had fought for years without telling hardly any of us. That was the kind of person she was. She didn’t like to let on that she was struggling, and she didn’t want people to worry over her. That was her choice.

When this anthology offer came up, I leapt at it because I knew she would have loved it. She loved New Orleans. She posted about it constantly, knowing the streets better than she knew her own hometown. She never got the chance to live there, but she visited every chance she could.

This story is dedicated to her, because she knew the potential I had and she always encouraged me even when she probably feared for herself. Her love of New Orleans is weaved into the story of “La Femme en Rouge”, and I like to think she would have appreciated my attention to detail. She would have flipped at being able to read an entire anthology about Mardi Gras.

Masks is now available at Filles Vertes Publishing, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.