Sunday 29 January 2023

Guest Post: A Shapeshifter Called Harper by Author Carol Browne...

You’re expecting to read about a shapeshifter called Harper now, I know, but it’s why this character is called Harper that is the reason for me writing this blog. The name was originally Tyler.

Tyler was the MC in a sci-fi novella entitled The Star Attraction, which I wrote in 2016. In May 2019, I was offered a contract for the book by my publisher. Said publisher closed down a few months later and that was that. Following this, I found myself dealing with a multitude of life problems, not to mention my other books and the demise of my third publisher. Hence, it was only in July 2022 that I found time to submit this book elsewhere (no verdict as yet!). Meanwhile, I am writing a sequel.

This week I saw a promo post on Facebook for a new release and, lo and behold, the male protagonist is a shapeshifter called Tyler. What are the odds? I might have been the first person to use this name in this way, but the other author got published so Tyler is damned and has morphed into Harper (which seems apt).

In this same week, a fellow author was distraught when she found that her latest manuscript, which she was about to send to her agent, has the same theme as another recently published book. I won’t reveal the theme, but it is such a novel, specific and original concept that it beggars belief that someone else came up with the very same idea. I hope she and her agent can find a way around this dilemma.

Last year I had an idea for a crime thriller, and I believed that the crime and the reason behind it was so outlandish and original that the chance of anyone else coming up with the idea was remote. More fool me. Yet another of those promo posts on Facebook was to show me the error of my ways as a concept I had deemed so unusual and unique was there for all to see in someone else’s stylish new book trailer. Meanwhile, as I toyed with the idea of an epic fantasy involving women with magic powers, I found that my story had already been given its marching orders by The Wheel of Time.

When there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s a challenge trying to create original concepts, and even more difficult to avoid accusations of plagiarism even though you had no idea that your ideas duplicated someone else’s. In the same way, it’s not possible to be aware of every book that has been, is being, or will be published. The fact that there’s no copyright on titles is a small crumb of comfort!

So, what is going on? Is it the Collective Unconscious that causes so many people to have the same ideas at the same time? How often does this happen to other authors and what do they do about it? Would any author reading this blog have changed Tyler to Harper or kept the original name? I’d love to know.

For now, my shapeshifter is called Harper. I lay claim to this in writing in the hope that there aren’t any other shapeshifters called Harper out there already! If there are and anyone has any objection to mine, speak now or forever hold your peace!

Once upon a time a little girl wrote a poem about a flower.
Impressed, her teacher pinned it to the wall and, in doing so, showed the child which path to follow.

Over the years poems and stories flowed from her pen like magic from a wizard’s wand.

She is much older now, a little wiser too, and she lives in rural Cambridgeshire, where there are many trees to hug.

But inside her still is that little girl who loved Nature and discovered the magic of words.

She hopes to live happily ever after.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter

Fantasy author Carol Browne is a published author who is currently seeking an agent.

Sunday 22 January 2023

Life Biting at You? Cookbook Author Sloane Taylor Offers a Little Comfort and a Big Taste of a Hot New Cookbook for Men...

There comes a time when everyone needs a little comfort food. Lovely hot soup with fresh bread and a glass of wine always does it for me. Maybe this recipe will do it for you, too.

Cream of Asparagus Soup
Photo Courtesy of Monovareni Pixabay
2 lbs. fresh asparagus
6 cups chicken stock
7 tbsp. butter
½ cup flour
3 tbsp. shallots or scallions, chopped fine
¼ cup dry sherry
2 egg yolks
¾ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, softened
White pepper to taste*

Slice off the asparagus tips and set aside. Trim off ¼ inch or so from the bottom ends of the stalks and discard. Chop the rest of the spears into ½ inch lengths.

Use a medium-sized saucepan to bring the chicken stock to a boil. Drop in the tips and lower temp to medium-low or soft boil. Cook tips until just tender, 5 – 8 minutes. Drain the stock into a bowl and spoon the tips into another one.

Melt 5 tablespoons of butter in a 4 -5 quart saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour. Lower heat and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Be careful not to let this roux brown or the soup will be bitter.

Remove pan from heat, let cool 30 seconds or so. Pour in stock. Stir constantly with a whisk to thoroughly blend the stock and roux. Return pan to moderate heat and stir until this soup base comes to a boil, thickens, and is smooth. Lower the temperature and simmer gently.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. When the foam subsides, stir in the stalks and shallots. Toss them in the butter over low heat for 4 minutes or so. You only want to soften them so don’t allow them to brown. Stir this mixture into the soup base, add sherry, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until asparagus is tender.

Purée soup in a blender or food processor. Pour into a strainer set over the pot. Stir with a spoon or spatula to extract soup from the pulp. Discard pulp.

Whisk the egg yolks into the cream. Stir in 5 tablespoons of hot soup at a time until you’ve added about ¾ cup. Reverse the process and slowly whisk the now-warm mixture into the soup.**

Bring soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the softened butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and season with pepper if necessary. Add the asparagus tips.

Serve from a tureen or in individual bowls.

This recipe makes 6 bowls.

*No need to buy white pepper if you don’t have it. Use black pepper only a little more as it is not as strong as white pepper.
**This may seem like extra work, but if you don’t do it the yolks and cream will curdle.

May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table!

Coming Soon: After two years in the making, and remaking, of over 130 finetuned recipes, Toque & Dagger Publishing are excited to announce the long-awaited men’s cookbook from kitchen maven Sloane Taylor. 

Here is a little to introduce you to this hot new cookbook that’s perfect for the King of the Kitchen and the New Guy in the Room.

Hey guys, ready to tie one on? An apron, that is…

  • Over 130 mouthwatering recipes to try, from soups and salads to main dishes and sides. Dessert is up to you—if you have room!
  • Cuisines to satisfy any craving, from comfort food to looks-fancy-but-easy-as-pie delights. Raid your own pantry and get fresh (ingredients) at the grocery.
  • Prep can be done in advance, but why rush? Make the prep part of the fun with your honey! (Matching aprons optional. Clothing is recommended, especially for sautéing!)
  • Menu suggestions provided or get adventurous and create your own unique meal—and a memory to savor.
  • Wine and beverage selections make you an instant pairing expert.
  • Bonus: Tips/tricks that will make everyone think you’re a kitchen genius.
  • Extra bonus: Sloane’s secret recipe for Super Bowl Chili!
  • All recipes are indexed so you can find what you need in a snap.
  • And come on, who doesn’t like sausage? (For breakfast! What were you thinking?)

Lunch, dinner—or breakfast the next morning, Sloane has you covered! Because the best times always start in the kitchen.

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website Stay in touch on BloggerTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor's cookbooks, Date Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available at all book vendors.

Sunday 15 January 2023

How I Got My Agent by YA Paranormal Author Leigh Goff...

Query Tracker was my go-to for the initial search for a literary agent that represented young adult fiction. I read through Lauren Bittrich’s information, visited her agency’s website, and did more research. With her editorial background and interest in YA, she seemed like a great fit for my new manuscript, WICKED SWEET. I sent her my query letter with the required first twenty-five pages attached. She replied two days later that she loved the sample pages and would be thrilled to read the full manuscript.

It’s easy to say I had a feeling she was the one, but I did. And fortunately for me, the stars were aligning. I immediately sent the full manuscript to her. Two days later, she sent another email requesting a meeting via Google Meet! I cried for ten crazy, happy minutes. After I composed myself, I did an internet search for what to do when you get the email for The Call.

Oh gosh, shouldn’t have done that. All of sudden there were posts and articles from other literary agents saying that just because an agent requests a meeting/phone call, it doesn’t mean she is going to make an offer. She might want the author to revise and resubmit. Was that really a possibility?

I deflated a bit, but my instincts kept telling me to get ready and I was optimistic. I wrote down a few questions I wanted to ask her and on the day of The Call, I had to calm my nerves. As the meeting started, my voice was a bit shaky answering her questions. But when the meeting neared the end, my nervousness had been replaced with excitement. She was fantastic and I wanted to work with her.

However, I still had other agents with my manuscript. I asked Lauren for ten days to get back to her and then I notified the other agents of the offer. After some back and forth with those ladies, I knew who I wanted to work with. It was Lauren. Day ten arrived. We emailed each other that morning and a few hours later, my representation was official.

For anyone interested, here is my query letter for Wicked Sweet.

Dear (Agent’s Name):

WICKED SWEET is a YA contemporary with magical elements that will appeal to fans of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and Heather Webber's Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. It is complete at 90,000 words.

New school. New town. New chance to fit in. There's nothing to connect sixteen-year-old Abigail to her family's witch history except Abigail, and in her remote Southern town where supernatural fears run high, an empathic talent and a girl-on-girl kiss are enough to let suspicions wreak havoc on her life.

As Abigail delves into a forbidden romance, she also finds herself irresistibly drawn to the local tale of a sixteen-year-old witch burned at the stake centuries earlier. Danger begins to find Abigail who's discovering the witch's story has dangerous parallels to her own, especially when an enemy is watching, waiting to toss a match. Together with her coven of diverse misfits who host wicked séances and haunted bonfires, they must overcome frenemies, small town fears, and uncover the deadly lies being hidden by a prominent anti-LGBT family in Whispering Point before history repeats itself. 

I am the author of three YA novels, KOUSH HOLLOW (The Parliament House, 2020), BEWITCHING HANNAH (Mirror World Publishing, 2017), DISENCHANTED (Mirror World Publishing, 2015). I am a member of SCBWI and I have my bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland. I am also descended from an accused witch from seventeenth century Virginia. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to your response.


Leigh Goff

(add your website)

Here's a glimpse at my first three novels. I hope they intrigue you.


Sixteen-year-old Sophie Goodchild from the wickedly wonderful town of Wethersfield, Connecticut struggles with her magic as she finds forbidden love along with a centuries-old true love curse. Here are a few spells, some spoken in Latin, from Disenchanted.


“Ictus.” Sophie hopes for a windstorm when she encounters a boy who should be her family enemy, but she’s love struck and only flower petals rain down on her and Alexavier.


“Verum.” Sophie casts this spell on the boy she thinks she must hate, but instead of him speaking the truth, a heart shape appears in the bark of a mulberry tree trunk behind him. The tree is significant in this story as it is in Pyramus and Thisbe. They are the ill-fated couple, like Romeo and Juliet, and they planned to meet under a mulberry tree.


Semper memoriam tui delebo Diamond”- She commands Judge Mather to forget about the rare red diamond used as a blood charm that has caused so much trouble.


When an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful Chesapeake witch and the impending death of another, sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald realizes she can no longer repress the magic that has taken away so much. There’s also the Grey witch’s Arundell Curse plaguing Hannah and her mysterious love interest, W.


“By the power of fire, I do summon and churn, and call thee forth to blaze and burn.” Hannah casts this spell, needing heat from her hands to burn through a seatbelt when she’s trapped in a fiery wreck.


Her frenemy, Arora, demonstrates her dark magic when she captures an insect and kills it with this spell, “By my command and desire, your pesky little death I require.”


The nefarious Emme using magic to fight with Hannah says, “For the trouble you have inflicted on me, double shall I inflict on you.” She snaps Hannah’s icy doppleganger statue in half and Hannah doubles over in agony.


As Jenna Ashby, the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior, is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive New Orleans social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow. She’s also cursed with her cold, narcissistic mother, Rayna, who’s ambitions are limitless.


In the excerpt below, Jenna is drawn to Voodoo priestess, Mama Ismay. She watches her create a mystical potion using bayou magic, but then Jenna is left with more questions than answers when she sees what’s in the mysterious aquarium.


Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Sunday 8 January 2023

Getting Back to Life with Author Emma Lane's Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese Casserole and Cozy Mystery Read...

Busy days we look for easy but tasty quick main dishes. This is a family recipe that is sure to please both parents and kids (or grandchildren). The young ones will love the mac & cheese and barely notice they are eating veggies. Easy to add side dishes to round out the meal without much fussing. Serve ice cream for dessert.

Quick & Easy Mac and Cheese Casserole 

1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
⅓ cup frozen green peas 
½ lb. ground beef
1 box mac & cheese
½ can cream of chicken soup

Melt butter in a frying pan. When the foam subsides, sauté onion, carrot, and peas until onion is translucent. Spoon mixture into a microwaveable dish. 

Use the same pan to fry ground beef until browned. Be sure to break meat into small pieces. Drain fat. 

Cook mac & cheese per package directions. 

Combine meat, mac & cheese with vegetables. Stir soup gently into mixture. (Save other half of soup for eggs next morning.) 

Warm casserole in microwave oven for two minutes or until steaming. Serve with green salad. 

This casserole dish may be prepared the day before and refrigerated for easy warm-up. 

Here are some tasty side options we enjoy with the casserole:

Pear Salad
Apple slices dotted with yogurt or sour cream
Apple sauce with cinnamon
Sliced melon
Green grapes   

I invite you to take a peek at one of my cozy mysteries under my pseudo name Janis Lane. I hope you like it.

A blizzard blows in big-city crimes which spill into the peaceful small town of Hubbard, New York, catching the attention of Detective Kevin Fowler and staff. What unusual acts engage the Secret Service with the local cops? A young man is found badly beaten in the heated greenhouse of the Young Family Plant Nursery. Early spring melt reveals a sinister vehicle with a deadly cargo, even as the master of the greenhouse welcomes part-time alumni.

Romance swirls, tumbles, and produces surprising changes among the group of friends at Buddy and Rita’s diner. Beverly hires a young, ambitious reporter to work at the growing newspaper and starts a new adventure of her own, while Kevin watches over the townspeople of Hubbard. The mystery of a toxic skunk is finally routed by troublesome out-of-towners. An unexpected wedding shocks everyone but the Young Family. Spring has arrived and May is in full bloom in the Western New York small-town Americana, as another beautiful bride walks toward the flower-laded bower under the approving eyes of a group of fond friends.


Emma Lane
is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane. 

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own. 

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sunday 1 January 2023

Dedications: The Gifts Authors Give…

Have you ever been gifted with a book dedication? You know what I mean. The small blurb at the beginning of every book that the author has decided to dedicate their entire book to? Trust me, it’s no small feat to choose the reader, friend or family member to immortalize on the pages of an author’s novel. In fact, it’s tough. Don’t mention you-know-who and his or hers nose gets out of joint. The hackles go up and it is fodder for every family holiday or get-together around the dinner table. Ugh. It takes a lot of thought and soul searching to pick the right person (or people—hey even pets) to share the author’s ink. Where am I going with this? Keep reading…

Imagine my surprise—no my shock—when my publisher dropped by to deliver her latest book, Uncommon at my doorstep. Back story: I adore Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred’s Ismera fantasy romance series, and when the third installment of their series hit the shelves this fall, I told them to snag me a signed copy. So they did. When I opened the book, my jaw dropped, and I blinked over and over again, as I read…

‘For Sharon, Because you love this world almost as much as we do, even when we are sometimes cruel to your favourite character’.

I promptly closed my mouth, and stared at Justine. “Really?” I asked her point blank. “This is the best gift!” She blushed of course, as authors do, then smiled and nodded. I rushed in for the huge hug. Doing something as thoughtful as dedicating your book to someone special raises your vibration so high, it’s hard to get grounded. I finally did fall back to earth, and thanked Justine profusely. When she left to go do other publishing duties, I checked the acknowledgements, and for the second time that day, my jaw dropped. I was also mentioned in the book’s acknowledgement section too. Wow. Just wow. Up went my vibration again, as I tingled all over. My day had been made all that sweeter.

I know many of you may find this article lackluster, but it’s anything but dull. A book dedication is a BIG deal to a reader. So authors, in the future when you’re ready to figure out who to dedicate your book to or write up the acknowledgements, give it some serious thought. You may bring a wallop of sunshine into someone’s life in an unexpected way. And that’s not nothing.

Speaking of unexpected, I’ve been diligently working on the third installment of Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. I’m not sure if I’m going to have it ready for publication in 2023 or 2024, but I thought I’d whet your appetite and share an excerpt with you. Hope it piques your interest!

Excerpt from Sticks and Stones:

“This isn’t fair! Life sucks!”

“If you think life sucks now, wait until you start shaving.”

Thane Berg knitted his fair brows and looked up at his so-called father; a man who had been a stranger to him for so long it was hard to tell whether they were from the same gene pool. Thane’s eyes were light blue. His father’s were dark brown. His skin was fair and freckled. His father’s was tan and rough. His hair was strawberry and straight. His father’s was curly and brown. Thane sighed. Nope. No resemblance, no mirror, no match. In Thane’s mind, this man was not his father.

Even Philip Berg’s attire couldn’t be more opposite. His plumber’s overalls—stained with the day’s work—clung to Phil like used toilet paper. Thane cringed and tugged at his red and white striped polo-style shirt, hoping Phil had at least washed his hands before preparing tonight’s supper. His nose wrinkled. He looked down at his bowl of mystery meat stew, and mashed what looked like potatoes and peas with his spoon, hoping to bring out some flavor.

“I started shaving last year,” Thane mumbled.

“Last year?” Phil laughed. “Didn’t you just turn fourteen in June?”

Thane banged the table with the palm of his hand. “Well maybe if you’d stayed straight instead of turning gay like you decided to five years ago, you’d know a hell of a lot more about what was going on in my life!”

Phil Berg winced as if he’d been stung by a swarm of wasps. He dropped his coffee cup, and it shattered across the hardwood flooring, sending ceramic bits rolling every-which-way.

A dog howled from outside the kitchen door. Thane jerked.

Phil rubbed his stubbly face and raked his curly hair. He slowly moved toward the side door, skirting around the bits of broken cup, and opened it. Even from his seat at the table, Thane could see the dog’s tail whipping wildly back and forth, back and forth, as if he had downed four tall energy drinks. The husky mix had been recently adopted from the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter as a present for him. Thane snorted. That was another thing his father didn’t know about him. He hated dogs. All dogs, but especially big dogs.

“Come here, Nobel, good boy.” Phil reached out to unlatch the dog’s rope from his collar, then stroked his big head.

Nobel whined, yipped, and ran straight to his food bowl. He wolfed it down as if it were his last meal.

“I want to go home, Phil,” Thane demanded, mashing his stew.

“You are home. And I’m Dad to you, not Phil.”

His voice was hard, unmoving, like he meant it.

Thane slouched. “Fairy Falls isn’t my home, it’s yours! Windsor is where I belong! If…if mom didn’t go on that stupid trip—”

“Your mother deserves that job promotion,” Phil cut in. “Writing is her passion, and when this opportunity from the newspaper came up for her, I advised her to take it. I told her it would give you and I some much needed time together.”

“Time together? I’m stuck here for a freaking year because of you! Did you even think of asking me?”

“Since I am your father, and I am still responsible for you, I didn’t see the point.”

Then, as Phil knelt down to pick up the fragments of his white mug, a sudden rage ambushed Thane. An electric jolt pierced through his body, and as he stared at this wanna-be dad, this out-of-the-closet, out-of-his-life misfit of a man, a stab of anger overrode his senses and infected his mind. Startled from this alien feeling, Thane inhaled fiercely, and as he did, a piece of porcelain flew up and punctured Phil’s right thumb.

“Oww! Son-of-a—” Phil started to curse, then stopped. Wincing, he dug the shard out and tossed it into the trash bin underneath the sink.

Shaken, Thane reached over and grabbed his can of orange pop. He guzzled it down in one gulp. Did what just happen, actually happen? Did I do that to Phil? Did I make that piece of cup move? Thane let out a loud, laborious belch. Hot gas bubbles burst in his nostrils and he cringed at the sensation.

His father scowled at him. “Don’t you have something to say?”

Thane pursed his lips. “I don’t see the point.”

Phil’s dark eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?”

Thane belched again. This one was slightly longer. “There. Excuse me.”

Phil shook his head. “I guess me and you are related after all.”

Thane’s face fell. “Huh?”

Phil grinned, turned around, and let thunder rip out of his back end. He waved his hand in the air. “Whew! That’s one that’ll make your eyes water!”

Thane smirked. “Don’t you have something to say?”

“How about, ‘I’ve missed you?’” a man blurted from behind Thane.

Thane jumped. He twisted in his seat to find a tall man leaning against the pine door frame. He was bulkier than his father, but just as tanned. His head was clean shaven, and his eyes were a shade of leafy green. He wore a uniform of a sort—a sky blue shirt with a company name stitched on it, and a pair of dark jeans. Thane squinted to read what was embroidered on his shirt. Cormack’s Crappers and Sanitation Service, he read. Thane rolled his eyes. Nice. Classy. Fairy Falls is looking better and better.

“Carter!” Phil opened his arms. “Of course I’ve missed you!”

Carter grinned and strode toward Thane’s father. Nobel barked, then growled. His ears went back, his hackles rose, his tail dropped. He looked like he was ready for a fight.

Carter backed off. “Whoa, where’d you get the mutt?”

“Nobel’s from the Animal Shelter. Meagan, a girl who works there, says he’s loyal and loves kids, so I figured he’d be a good match for Thane.”

“Nobel, eh? With a name like that you’d think he’d be pure bred. What is he? Husky? Doberman? Shepherd?”

Phil laughed. “All of the above I suppose, and maybe more. Whatever he is, he seems okay with it.”

Thane stared at Nobel for a few moments. His mix of brown, grey, and black fur had relaxed somewhat and his ears moved forward. He sniffed, whined, then looked directly at him. The dog’s light blue gaze struck Thane, penetrated him as if he were sitting on the chair completely naked. He shuddered as Nobel let out a yip and sauntered slowly over to him. His wet, cool nose poked Thane under the arm. He licked his elbow. Thane shuddered again. Maybe if I ignore the dog he’ll go lay down.

“Well, at least the dog seems to like Thane,” Carter said. He held out his hand and walked toward the kitchen table. “Hey, Thane, I’m Carter Cormack, your father’s—”

“Whatever,” Thane cut in, attempting to suppress his feelings, his voice, his emotions. “Don’t care. Don’t want to know the details.”

Nobel growled again. Carter withdrew his hand and backed off.

“Thane, that’s rude!” Phil shouted, wagging his finger.

Thane shrugged. “At least I didn’t growl at him.”

Nobel wagged his tail. He nudged Thane again, but he pushed the dog away.

“It’s okay, it’s no big deal, Phil. Thane just needs to get used to the idea of us, that’s all,” Carter said, winking at Thane’s father.

Intense heat flushed through Thane’s body. “Fine. Get used to this!” He hurled his bowl of stew at Cormack.

Splat! The stew hit the front of Carter’s uniform and rolled down the length of his pants to land on a pair of polished cowboy boots. The bowl, however, hit his prominent chin and rolled into the next room. Nobel barked. He bolted for the stew casualties strewn across the length of the floor.

“Thane!” Phil’s face reddened. “How dare you!”

Carter held up a hand. “Don’t, Phil! I’m fine. Your son needs time. It’s a big adjustment for him. I’ll let myself out. Call me later.”

Thane frowned, as Carter Cormack wiped any remnants of stew stuck to his shirt before he slowly backed out of the kitchen, with one eye on Nobel, and the other on Thane. He heard his father mutter something obscene before he went off after the man who—in Thane’s mind— was public enemy number one.

Thane strangled the spoon still in his hand. Thoughts of his father and Cormack embracing out of his sight, making up like couples do, entered his mind. His mother was supposed to be in his father’s arms, not this other man, this stranger, this home-wrecker. But no. The fantasy was gone. This was Thane’s reality. A broken reality.

Suddenly, that odd sensation returned inside him. Engulfing him, enraging him. Sweat blistered through his skin and ran down his face. What only could be described as an electric shot flowed through him again, making his hand shake and teeth rattle. Nobel whined and Thane glanced down at his hand. The spoon he was still holding bent backward in front of his eyes, almost melting in his grasp. Freaked, he threw it down on the table and pushed away. He stood, wiped his face roughly with the cloth napkin, and then dropped it on the floor. He knew he hadn’t imagined it. He couldn’t have. The evidence was laying on the table—bent, distorted, out of shape.

His stomach churned. What’s happening to me?

“I’ll call you tomorrow, Carter!” Thane heard his dad yell from outside.

Panicking, Thane lunged for the spoon and stared at it. As heavy footsteps entered the kitchen, Thane twirled around and hid the twisted spoon behind his back. His breathing steadied as his dad leaned into the door frame much as Cormack had earlier. He crossed his muscled arms over his big chest and stared at Thane. His face was stone, his jaw set. It was the perfect poker face if they’d been playing cards. But this was far from a card game, and Thane badly needed an ace up his sleeve.

Phil raised a dark brow. “What are you hiding behind your back?”

“Nothing,” Thane lied.

“If it’s nothing then show me.”

Thane twisted his lips. “No. I’m good.”

Phil sighed. “Well, I’m not. Look, Thane, at some point this year, you’re going to have to learn to trust me. I’m your father, and I love you despite what your opinion of my lifestyle is, which by the way is not a choice. I am who I am. I stand in my truth. My only hope is that someday you’ll come to understand this, and stand in your own truth.”

Thane bit down on his bottom lip. His father didn’t sound as mad as Thane thought he would be. In fact, he appeared quite calm despite what had occurred. A sudden jolt ran through him. The feeling wasn’t as intense as the last two times. It seemed different. Peaceful. Serene. True.


Roused from his thoughts, Thane stared at his father. “Well what?”

“What are you hiding behind your back?”

Thane shrugged. If he wasn’t going to get into trouble throwing stew at Cormack, then it was a sure bet he wouldn’t get into trouble for a bent spoon. He would just have to come up with a good fib on how he bent it.

Ideas rolled around in his head. Maybe I can somehow blame Nobel?


Jolted, Thane jumped, and swung his hand around to reveal the spoon.

“You were hiding...a spoon?”

Thane stared at the spoon too, his eyes wide.

It was straight. Back to normal. Perfect.

If you’ve never read my teen psychic mystery series, below are the books and links that are available for purchase so far:

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:


Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:


Thanks for stopping by to celebrate the first post of 2023! Authors, do you give a lot of thought when choosing who to dedicate your book to? Readers, have you ever had an author dedicate one of their books to you? If so, how did you respond? Would love to read your comments. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate you!