Monthly Archives: October 2013

Book Excerpt from Waking up Dead


The Book Gazette is happy to host an excerpt today from “Waking up Dead”, a paranormal mystery novel by author Margo Bond Collins. Enjoy the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

“Hey,” I said, hurrying after the woman. “Wait up.”

“I know you’re not talking to me,” she said. She stared straight ahead and pushed her cart down the middle of the aisle toward housewares.

“I am talking to you. Look. I know this is really weird, but I need your help.”

“Well, I’m not talking to you. I don’t know what your problem is, but you can take it somewhere else.”

I wanted to reach out and grab her cart, to make her stop and talk to me, but of course I couldn’t. Which gave me an idea.

I scurried out in front of her, planting myself in her path.

“Move,” she said.

“Not until you hear me out. Please?”

She moved her cart to the left. I stepped out to intercept her. She moved to the right. So did I.

“You got some kind of death wish or something?” she asked.

I laughed and shook my head. “If only you knew.”

“I’ve got no time for this,” she said. And she slammed into me with her shopping cart.

At least, that’s what she planned to do.

The shopping cart, however, slid right through me. When it stopped, the basket had sliced cleanly through my midsection. The bottom rack merged with my ankles. From my perspective, it looked like two perfectly solid objects–me and the shopping cart–had melted together. I don’t know what she saw.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t good.

The woman’s eyes widened, then rolled up into her head as she slumped to the ground in a dead faint.

I bent down to try to wake her up, but no matter how hard I concentrated on making contact, I couldn’t even touch her.

I hate being a ghost.

About Waking up Dead

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Title: Waking Up Dead

Author: Margo Bond Collins

Genre: Paranormal Mystery

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up in Alabama?

Author Bio

MargoBondCollinsMargo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy, forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.


Twitter: @MargoBondCollin
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Book Trailer


Book Excerpt from The Legend of The Firewalker


The Book Gazette is happy to share a snippet with you from “The Legend of The Firewalker”, a YA paranormal fantasy novel. Enjoy!

Book Excerpt

Nathan raised his eyebrows and shrugged. He wasn’t even sure if he knew the story let alone anyone else. “Probably,” he replied, slowly.

Suddenly, Jonathan perked up; his tired blue eyes getting some life to them. “Nathan here has Cahokia ancestry,” he smiled and with a nod. “His mother’s tribe was a descendant of the Cahokia American Indians.”

Jonathan paused as if he was waiting for Nathan to say something. Nathan looked embarrassed as Samantha, Christina, and Eva Marie stared at him. Over the flames of the fire Nathan could see that Malick was looking at him too but Nathan wasn’t sure if he had heard what Jonathan had said. Most of the people around the fire, including Lafonda, were still having their own separate conversations.

Christina threw back her long brown hair and leaned in towards Nathan. “Is it true?” she asked.

Nathan answered slowly. He wasn’t too thrilled about the sudden attention. “Yes,” he said.

Both Christina and Eva Marie grinned at each other and then beamed at him. “That’s awesome,” they giggled in unison.

“Indeed, it is awesome,” added Jonathan, excitedly. “See, years ago, when they started excavating the caves and mounds in this area they found that almost every wall had the same symbols written on them. When the symbols were finally deciphered and the walls translated, they all included some aspect of the story about The Fallen Ones.”

He paused to reposition his glasses again. “Most scholars agree that the Legend of the Fallen Ones is a part of Cahokia mythology on how the world began; you know – their creation story.”

“This is exciting!” shrieked Eva Marie. “Tell us the story – or legend.”

“Does it involve any cute guys?” asked Christina enthusiastically.

Samantha, Christina, and Eva Marie looked at each other and laughed.

“Cute guys?” shouted Angela over the fire. “I have to hear this story. I’m in.”

Jonathan smiled as everyone around the fire including Lafonda, Erin, Alan, and Malick listened closely. “There really isn’t a Cahokia symbol for cute,” said Jonathan. “But the symbols tell a story about five angels that were created out of the heavens in the beginning and shared in the power with the creator of the heavens as givers of light.”

“Cute male angels,” said Angela. “I love it!”

He laughed. “Well, I don’t know how cute you will find them by the end of the story,” he grinned. “See, according to legend and the hieroglyphs found in the mounds and on cave walls, one of the five Angels of Light, as they are sometimes referred to, had a thirst for power and wanted dominance over all of the heavens.” He held up a page in his black and green spiral notebook. “The Cahokia Indians used this symbol quite frequently when talking about this angel.”

Nathan squinted and cocked his head a little. He was trying to make out the sketch in Jonathan’s notebook. After a few moments, he could see that he was staring at a drawing of a broken wing that was engulfed in flames and constricted by a serpent…

The Legend of The Firewalker

(RGB)LOTFW_BookCoverTitle: The Legend of the Firewalker

Author: Steve Bevil

Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy / Action Adventure

A black hooded figure suddenly appeared behind her. She gasped and her brown eyes grew wide. Nathan watched helplessly as a small trickle of blood fell from her mouth.

Other hooded figures appeared; their silver swords clutched upright against their chests. Nathan held tight to her lifeless body while trying to fight back the tears that swelled in his eyes. “No,” he cried. “No!”

Nineteen-year-old Nathan Urye is supposed to be having a relaxing summer as a camp counselor but ever since he started having nightmares about a beautiful girl being hunted by flesh-clawing monsters, his life has been anything but normal.

Soon, Nathan discovers that the sleepy college town of Cahokia Falls is far from ordinary when two unexplained deaths rock the town and campus. Who or what is behind the murders? Does it have anything to do with the newly-discovered cave symbol? And what about the spine-chilling campfire stories about ancient tribal beliefs and mystical legends?

For Nathan Urye, things just keep getting creepier and creepier, and now it appears that everyone at camp is in danger…

What the reviewers are saying…

“Starting with chapter one this book held my attention. The legends in the book told around the campfire gave me goose bumps and the supernatural creatures; Necrocritters, dark hooded guards with swords and red hooded priests added a lot of layers to this story. Not to mention the Fallen Ones!

At times I wasn’t sure how things would play out because there were so many challenges facing Nathan and his friends. I really enjoyed the climax of the book and could easily see this book adapted as a movie. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Nathan and his friends…but you have to read the book to see if they all make it out” ~Reviewer


“It’s terrific! I love your wise-cracking hero, who finds himself thrust into these bizarre circumstances with no real guide. And I love the set up of the supernatural world and these well-defined characters. The supernatural conflict and the relationships that took root here will be able to take you through book after book. That eerie, spirit realm where everything is gray except for the people – sound doesn’t behave as it should – and objects are frozen in place, is really imaginative and creepy. It’s got a strong cinematic feel and it creates tremendous atmosphere. In short, you’ve done some terrific world building here that’s highly imaginative and peopled with appealing, interesting characters we can care about.” ~Reviewer


Author Bio

(RGB)SteveBevil_FacebookSteve Bevil, the author of The Legend of the Firewalker series, recalls vividly as a child running to the library to check-out and read the latest The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. He started writing short stories at a young age, but never took writing seriously, and as an adult, would only write to jot down the many storylines and mystical characters he would often fantasize in his head.

It wasn’t until he was inspired by the story of author Stephanie Meyer, a stay-at-home mother of three and Christopher Paolini, the author of the Inheritance Cycle, that he entertained the idea of writing a book. Steve recalls sitting at his computer one day, after reading promotional emails announcing the latest books, daydreaming a dialogue between two people.

“It was just so Harry Potter-esque as far as the classic story of good versus evil. I just kept getting more and more detail; it was like the story wanted to be written, there were so many layers to it. I had first and last names, character back history, and everything. Immediately, I started writing.”

After months and months of developing the plot and writing, the end result was his first book in the series, The Legend of the Firewalker. The daydream, a dialogue between two of the main characters; Nathan Urye and Stephen Malick, ended up appearing in Chapters 11 and 16.

Steve Bevil graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Master’s degree in Communication. He is a native of Chicago, Illinois and when he isn’t writing, enjoys music, watching movies, fitness, and walks with his little Westie, Wyatt.

To learn more you can follow him on Twitter –
or visit his blog –
or find out news at his Facebook fan page:


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Book Excerpt The Mortician’s Wife


The Book Gazette is pleased to share an excerpt from “The Mortician’s Wife” today. This is a paranormal/horror novel written by Maralee Lowder. Have fun reading!

Book Excerpt

At the sound of breaking glass every single kid I’d gone trick-or-treating with scattered into the night. All, except for me. I’m the kind of person who freezes with fear.

When the rock shattered the window on the floor just above the funeral hall level a strong blast of nasty, hateful air gushed out of the broken window and headed right at me. It was so horrible knowing that each breath I took carried that awful stuff into my body. I gagged and threw my arms around like crazy, like if I tried hard enough I could make that disgusting scent go away.

That’s when I saw the old lady at the window. I really, really wanted to run away then but my body still wouldn’t let me go. Against my will, I gazed up at the woman. She was carrying what looked like an old fashioned oil lamp in one hand and what I figured was a piece of board, or maybe cardboard, in her other. She placed the lamp on a table, and then quickly set the board inside the window, covering up the hole the rock had created. The moment the board covered the broken glass the putrid odor disappeared. A huge surge of relief coursed through me and once again the air smelled of dry leaves and sweet evergreens.

 “I didn’t do it!” I called, knowing in my heart that even if she heard me, she wouldn’t believe me. But still, I had to try.

Yes, dear, I believe you.

I didn’t actually hear her words—they just seemed to pop into my mind all on their own. It should have seemed odd, but things like that had happened to me before so I pretty much took it for granted. What did startle me though, was that she didn’t seem angry at me.

With the only light coming from the kerosene lamp behind her, I can’t honestly say I could see that much of her face. Yet, I suddenly felt her sorrow. For the briefest of moments, I was inside of her, feeling the agony of her loneliness. I sensed a sadness too deep for a child of my age to fully comprehend.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered.

I know, dear, her gentle words came into my mind.

This was really something new to me. All my life I’d heard other people’s thoughts, but this was the first time someone else heard mine! I’d only whispered that I was sorry. There was no way she could have actually heard my words. And I was fairly certain it was way too dark on the street for her to read my lips.

Very gradually, the last semblance of fear left my body. The nasty air had cleared away completely now.

I couldn’t take my eyes off of her and, apparently, she couldn’t stop looking down at me. The two of us stood there for the longest time, although it probably wasn’t as long as it seemed. Our gazes seemed locked until she finally broke the spell.

You should go home now, little gypsy girl, her soft voice whispered into my mind. It’s late and your friends have left you all alone.

I started to run then, but I’d gone only a few feet before I stopped, turned and ran back. Reaching down into my heavy trick-or-treat bag, I grabbed a handful of candy. She was still at the window watching when I opened her mailbox and dropped the candy in. I gave her a farewell wave then headed home in earnest.

I had a few more Halloweens in my hometown, but I never spent any of them throwing rocks at the old mortuary’s windows.

The Mortician’s Wife

16237607Title: The Mortician’s Wife

Author: Maralee  Lowder

Genre: Horror, Paranormal

Horace Carpenter has it all…a lucrative business as the only mortician in town, a home he can be proud of and a reputation of being one of the most popular men in town.  Maybe he should be content with what he has.  But he wants more.

Ada Hawkins, the daughter of the town’s only physician has lived a sheltered yet, privileged life.  When she meets Horace at her 18th birthday party, the shy, physically plain girl is entranced by his good looks and suave manners.  In six months they are married, and in less than one week Ada suspects she has made the mistake of her life.

And that is where the story might have ended…should have ended.  Ada is to endure years of torment until her husband commits the most unforgivable act possible.  From that day forward she lives for one thing only, not just to end the torment, but to do it in the hateful way possible.

She achieves her goal, only to discover true evil does not die.

Author Bio

PhotoMaralee Lowder saw herself as strictly a writer of romance novels…until she discovered a haunted old mortuary. There was something about the place that simply would not let her go.  Was it really haunted?  Were the stories she’d heard true that when the last mortician’s wife died over fifty years before no one had ever removed her possessions?  That it remained exactly as it had been all those years ago?

As could be expected, her curiosity drove her to seek answers to those questions.  And what she saw when she was given a complete tour of the building, from the rooms on the first floor where the mortician did his work, all the way to the fourth floor apartment at the top of the building, inspired even more questions.

Being a writer of novels, rather than doing research on the actual last mortician’s wife, she chose instead to let her imagination take over, answering the question, why did she choose to stay all alone in the huge building all those years?  Was it haunted? And if it was haunted, who was doing the haunting, and why?

The answers to these questions are answered in Ms. Lowder’s fictional book, The Mortician’s Wife.  As happens so often in a writer’s life, more questions came after she had finished writing The Mortician’s Wife.  Some of the answers to those questions are answered in The Mortician’s Revenge, a sequel to The Mortician’s Wife that will available in October, 2013.

Ms. Lowder is currently busy asking herself more questions.




Book Excerpt from Hello! A Modern Love Story


The Book Gazette is hosting an excerpt today from “Hello! A Modern Love Story”, a contemporary romance novel. Enjoy the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

Excerpt 3 – Garden of Earthly Delights

Greg and Elise flew into Marseilles late afternoon in the middle of autumn.  From there, they took a fast train to Aix en Provence.  At their destination station,  the owners of the property they were renting picked them up and drove them to the house, in one of the small villages on the outskirts of Aix.

Benoit and Cecile were a genial couple in their early 40s, well-tanned, lean, and sturdy, with sun-bleached strands weaving through their thick mass of dark hair—chestnut brown on Benoit and brownish black on Cecile.  Cecile reminded Elise a little of Leah.  They found out later that Cecile’s family originated from Algeria and now lived in Toulouse, south west of Aix.

On the way to the village, Cecile invited them to dinner at their house in Aix that night.  But Elise was still not fully recovered from the accident.   She was exhausted and they had to decline.

“Maybe, tomorrow night?”  Cecile asked.  “We’re flexible.  We have your wedding to do this week, that’s all.  And you do not have many guests.  Some celebrations, we have as many as 500.”

“Not tomorrow, I’m afraid.  My son and my parents are arriving in the afternoon.  How about the evening after?”

“Oh, yes, of course.  I almost forgot.  They must all come, too, alors.”

“That is generous of you.  But wouldn’t we be imposing on you?”

“No, no.  I will put a bigger roast in my stone oven on the terrasse and more aubergines, courgettes, peppers, and tomatoes in a casserole next to it and you will have the best ratatouille you’ve ever tasted.  You know ratatouille?”

“Yes, I certainly do.  My mom is a good cook and tries all kinds of exotic dishes.  She loves Provençal cooking.”

“Then, she will like to see my beautiful oven and how to do a proper ratatouille.  The oven is almost as old as this farmhouse, you know, 17th century.”  Cecile smiled brightly.  “You will also taste a specialité of Aix, our calisson. small sweets made with layers of crunchy sugar on top, candied melon and orange and ground almonds and a little bit of very thin bread at the bottom.”

“Sounds decadent!”

“What does it mean—decad…?”

“Decadent.  In this case, it means sinfully good.”

“I will remember that word.  It is a good word.  Alors, tomorrow night?”

Elise glanced at Greg.  He nodded his agreement.  “All right, tomorrow night.”

“Benoit will come to take you to our house at about seven o’clock tomorrow evening.  It will be okay if I invite a few friends?  Greg has met them before.”

“Yes, I would like to meet them and Greg did tell me about having French friends—your friends, too—who he met at your dinners.”

“Yes, these are also his friends.”

Et, voila.  Chez vous,” Cecile said when they reached the house.  “For the next three weeks.”

Darkness had begun to descend and Benoit and Cecile took Greg and Elise through a quick tour of the house and the property it stood on.  The house was one of three stone buildings on a farm Benoit had inherited.  It had two bedrooms and a well-equipped kitchen in the living area.  The main building, at least three times as big, had five bedrooms.  A tiny cottage, set among the trees away from the other two, slept two people.

Benoit also owned the land surrounding the farm—planted with olive trees and grapevines.  The whole property, which belonged to several generations of Benoit’s family, had once grown olives for oil as well as rosemary, thyme and lavender for sachets and herbes de Provence, a mix of herbs the area was famous for.

Greg rented the whole property for a week to accommodate the wedding party, who were expected in the next two days.  The ceremony was scheduled a day after the arrival of Leah and her boyfriend, the last two guests.


Greg and Elise scanned the fields stretched across the little villages outside Aix en Provence.  The warm light of early morning intensified luscious shades of green on native plants, chestnut trees, and olive groves, lying in harmony with rolling rows of dazzling lavender, a little farther east.  All vegetation ended at the foot of a grey rugged mountain, where its march up the slopes was thwarted by the same lime-rich deposits that formed and shaped the mountain into a magnificent range.  A reddish cast glowed on the silvery triangular planes of its highest point.

In the modest-sized vineyard west of the house, grapevines had begun to turn golden and bunches of dark purple grapes, hanging on thick gnarled trunks, peeked out from under mottled leaves.  The weather was still warm and muggy and not much different from summer.  Steady, gentle breezes kept it comfortable and perfumed the air with the smoky floral sweetness of lavender, sometimes tinged with aromatic herbs, light, fresh, and grassy.

“What a dreamy place.  Thank you for bringing me here.  Such colors!  Such a majestic mountain!”

“Isn’t it?  Mont Sainte-Victoire.  It’s quite famous.  Painted over and over, from different angles, and in different lights by one of the world’s greatest painters.”

“Which one?

“Paul Cezanne.  They say he’s the most famous native of Aix en Provence.”

“He was from here?  I’ve seen a few of his paintings, in an art appreciation class; also, visits to museums Mom dragged us to.”

“His studio has been preserved.  I can take you to it, if you want.  I heard he trained as a lawyer, first.”

“Yes, I’d like to visit the studio sometime.  I like his still lifes.  They’re so intriguing, with catawampus tables.”

Her gaze swept across the landscape again.  She inhaled the fragrant breeze deeply.  “Can you imagine living here forever?”

“Honestly, no.  If olive oil or herbs and spices or wine had been my thing, maybe yes.  I love this place.  It’s so lush and beautiful and yields such wonderful things.  And it’s so serene.  I would like us to come back, again and again, in the future.  But only to visit.”

“Long ones?”

“Every once in a while.”

Greg and Elise were enjoying their first full day in the village.  The night before—exhausted from the long trip—they went to bed as soon as Benoit and Cecile left them.

They awoke several hours later, past midnight.  There was not much for anyone to do in the soundless, still darkness, disturbed, from time to time, by the occasional guttural hooting of owls.  They were both certain they would fall back to sleep, if they stayed wallowing in bed for a while.

But Elise sat up an hour later.  “I’m starved.  How early can we go out for croissants?”

“If I know Cecile, you don’t have to wait that long.  Maybe, there aren’t croissants.  They like to serve those within a few hours of baking.  But I bet we’ll find munchies in the refrigerator.”

They found apples in a basket on top of the kitchen counter.  The refrigerator was stocked with bottles of water, a carton of milk, sliced country ham, a round of soft cheese labeled ‘chaource,’ and a divided bowl of couscous and vegetables, with handwritten instructions on heating it in the microwave.  Two bottles of wine, red and white, stood waiting on the dining table.  Greg opened the red.

Elise munched on an apple between bites of cheese.  “A veritable feast in the middle of the night.”

“You should try the couscous and veggies.  Really good!  And with the ham and sips of wine—even better.”

“These are great, too.  The cheese is so creamy and rich, goes well with apple.  I’ll have some wine with the ham, but after my apple.”

When they finished eating, he poured the last drops of red wine equally in their glasses.  They lingered on their last glass, then returned to bed.

They fell asleep shortly thereafter.  They woke up again, at four in the morning.

About the Book

Hello! 3D coverTitle: Hello! A Modern Love Story

Author: EJourney

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Heartache and the specter of revenge follow when sparring partners spend the night together two days before he weds someone else.

A deliciously romantic romp with a good dose of realism and a twist of mystery.

A clash of wits, more than of wills, drives the love story in this modern-day pastiche of 19th-century romance novels by Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South) and Jane Austen.  The main protagonists deal with messy feelings and events that could happen to any of us:  The heroine, a bright young lawyer, confronts choices about career, abortion, and reactions of parents, friends, and men; while he, an alpha male, is haunted by past relationships, but with a sensitive, caring side that emerges as he woos the heroine.

Author Bio

EJourney is a flaneuse (an observer/wanderer) who writes about, and illustrates (oils, pastels, digital) what she sees and loves.   In a past life, with a now-dormant Ph.D., (University of Illinois), she researched, evaluated and developed mental health programs.

Writing was her first love and she wanted to be a journalist but her parents balked at that.  She was 15, malleable, and dependent on them for support, so she went into the social sciences, actually a compromise and preferable to chemistry, her parents’ choice.

EJourney’s first novel, Margaret of the North, is illustrated with digital “paintings” done on an iPad.

Her book website is: for articles on books and writing, some reviews, and interviews.

For her take on art, travel (mostly Paris where she has stayed for months), eating, and state of being as well as some of her paintings, her website is Journey on a Limb at .


book website:

Book Excerpt Just a Curtain


We’re hosting a snippet from literary fiction novel “Just a Curtain” today. We hope you enjoy the snippet!

Book Excerpt

          Two months later, the Friday before the last week of school, I’m out in front of Sylvie and Robby’s house just as dawn creeps over the foothills out east…

          I smack the horn again.

          “Sorry guys, it’s not my fault. Alice and Sylvie had a sleep-over and can’t get dressed without taking pictures!” Alice’s brother, Robby, announces as he pushes into the back seat next to Jeremy.

          “Ooh,” Regina giggles, “Maybe I should go and get…”

          I put a hand on her arm; “Whoa; they’re coming. We aren’t waiting for three girls to practice their drill-team moves.” Sure enough, Reggie looks from me to the house as Alice and Sylvie are just coming out the front door.

          “Meanie!” Regina pouts at me and in the same motion grins at her friends, “Let’s see the new uniforms!”

          Sylvie and Alice do modeling turns like they’re on a New York boutique runway or something, even though they’re actually on the gravel roadside, before getting in the back seat and squishing Jeremy and Robby against the far door. “Are these great! Or what!” Alice trills. It almost hurts my ears they squeal so high.

          Regina is going to be going through the tryouts for next year’s squad this afternoon, so she can’t pull her eyes from staring at the flattering uniforms her friends are wearing. “Mama said I should be able to fill out the bottom of the pyramid routine easy since I’m probably the strongest girl she’s ever seen!” she intimates to her girlfriends as if nobody else is in the car.

          I have to just roll my eyes. “If y’all put half as much time into your barrel-riding as you do spinning in front of mirrors…” I catch myself and give up that tack as they stare back at me like deer caught in the headlights. I shrug and just go back to staring at the road, thinking. I spend a lot of time just thinking nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as busy as ever with the ranch and school and all, but my mind is always working out some next project that I am sure I can arrange to make happen… if…

          “…Well it is High School after all!” Alice emphasizes about some item of arcane female importance. She and Sylvie are my age and in my class. We’ll be juniors and they aren’t letting Regina, as a soon-to-be incoming sophomore, forget that they know the ropes but will still stick by their best-est friend. Meanwhile Robby and Jeremy only stare at the ‘older’ girls and just imagine what the rarified life of the lofty high schoolers must really be like—even if they are: girls!

          “You guys better buckle up; we’re hitting the main road,” I remark as always when we reach the end of the county roads and make the last leg into town on the two-lane blacktop. There’s a murmuring of hrmphs and the sounds of buckles clicking into place. Then the high-pitched chittering conference commences all over again.

Just a Curtain

Curtain coverTitle: Just a curtain

Author: J.L. Lawson

Genre: Literary Fiction, Adventure, Coming of Age

“If you had virtually unlimited resources and a pristinely practicable imagination, and a knack for turning air into butter, what do you suppose you’d do next?”
—Tera Elphinstone, Drummond Group Director

Just A Curtain is the remarkable, fast-paced gateway to both The Elf series and the grander epic recorded in J. L. Lawson’s other works: The Donkey and The Wall trilogy and The Curious Voyages of the Anna Virginia Saga.

Just A Curtain chronicles the remarkable life and achievements of Dashiel Drummond and the capable group of people he gathers around him to make a change for the better in the world in which he finds himself. A coming of age story, orphaned at sixteen, he rises through the angst of adolescence to the challenge of fulfilling the promise of his potential—from ranch hand and welder to the pre-eminent global entrepreneur and builder of starships.

Author Bio

DSC04684I am a father, a grandfather and a “Came-to-Writing-Professionally-Late-in-Life” kinda guy. After rewarding careers as a Land Planner, Standards Engineer, Technical Writer/Graphic Designer, and as an Educator (High School and College Literature/Composition) I settled down at the laptop and began storytelling for a living. My wife and I live in the Cross-timbers country of North Texas and spend as much time seeing this amazing country, its National Parks and Forests, as we can manage.
My own journey has taken me both far afield and deep within. It is a journey, no doubt, similar in nature to many seekers’ travels who have come before me. However, an unconditional commitment to the work is the trait of only a handful of those who set their aim very high indeed, and then to find a guide who knows the way through this rarely known land, is without question what all others have equally sought. Some gave up the search, some became distracted by the lure of other interests, many became satisfied with the knowledge they had already gleaned from their initial searches. There is, in the end, only so much gold.


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Book Excerpt Trapped


We’re hosting a snippet from romantic suspense novel “Trapped” by author George Bernstein. Enjoy reading!

Book Snippet

Jackee lurches awake with a start—a mental “start”—since her body doesn’t have a flinch or twitch left in it. Her eyes just pop open. The portion of the bed supporting her head and upper body is elevated so she can see into the room.

Phil, tall and athletically slender, is leaning against the foot rail, a strange smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. Violet, wide-set eyes that should be filled with compassion instead send a momentary chill slithering down her spine.

“Hi, baby. Sleeping, weren’t you? How’re you doing? Oh, shit! There’s no way you can tell me, is there?”

Can he really be this insensitive? What’s with that smirk?

“Anyway, you’ll be coming home soon as the rooms are ready.” He perches on the side of the bed.

“I’m building a suite from the maid’s quarters. Paying a big premium for ‘em to work extra innings. Gonna make you as comfortable as possible. You’ve already met the live-in nurse and the therapist I’ve hired. Both highly recommended. The guy’s an ex-boxer, a real Appalachian hick, but they say he works magic.”

She blinks once. She’d thought of them earlier. The man is gigantic, craggy-featured with shoulders a yard wide, like some fabled Gothic warrior. Probably pretty good looking once. The mahogany-skinned woman is tiny as an elf… an unlikely pair.

He sat, somber amber eyes holding hers, as the little nurse studied her charts. Jackee caught snatches during their whispered huddle: “…not your usual…no recovery…but this is different.”

She sensed gentleness in this fierce-looking giant’s battered face, as he took her hand, explaining, in a soft Southern drawl, who they were and promising to return. Her husband apparently arranged exactly that.

“I’m fixing up two apartments over the garage,” Phil says. “The nurse’s room will connect to yours, and Charlene and the big lug’ll have separate digs over the cars. You can’t believe how complicated it was, getting water and sewer connections out there.

“Gotta sign on a new coach to care for the kids, too, with you on the sidelines. One big team, making life as easy for you as we can.”

Jackee fights back tears.

He still seems to care, taking charge of our lives. He’s been so preoccupied with his job these last few years.

She was always proud of his success at North Chicago Printing. He didn’t need to work. Daddy left them more money than they could ever spend. She had berated herself at her anger when Phil’s job kept him away from home so many evenings. They were grooming him as the company’s next president.

But after that horrible mishap last summer, almost losing his entire family, he was back home, loving and supportive. Even now, with her locked in this silent Hell, he’s taking care of everything. It isn’t going to be a picnic, and a lot of guys would bail out.  She blinks back resurgent tears, and he smiles again.


TRAPPED reduced cover 3Title: Trapped

Author: George A. Bernstein

Genre: Romantic Suspense

The darkness is still, silent. Jackee Maren’s heart pounds reverberating through her body as fear sears her veins. Someone’s coming. No way out. This time they will kill me. Her breath is short, her chest burns. Must run. Faster. Faster! Her eyes fly open, her heart still racing with blinding fear. Jackee breathes deeply with relief and stares at the ceiling desperately trying to calm herself. The same dream. Something, someone is watching… and waiting.


A tragic car accident leaves beautiful, vibrant Jackee Maren completely paralyzed, mentally alert but trapped in “Locked-in Syndrome,” able to move only her eyes. Jackee’s husband, Phil, is devastated and her two young boys left with nothing but a shell for a mother, but still, Jackee senses the foreboding of an evil presence and knows time is short.


Slowly, Jackee learns to communicate with her physical therapist, Kevin, by blinking her eyes. As evidence comes to light that her car accident was no accident, Jackee knows she must expose the person who wants her dead before they get a second chance.


While Jackee works her mind to put all the clues together, she discovers she has the ability to sense the thoughts of others, but she hides this talent from everyone but her sons, not knowing whom she can trust. By actively exercising her new psychic ability, Jackee finally learns who masterminded the accident but seems helpless to stop them from trying to kill her again.


Slowly a psychic plan forms to not only ensure her boys are safe forever, but to exact revenge on her would-be murderer. Jackee vows not to rest until this would-be-killer understands what it is to be TRAPPED! But she must hurry, with only a year to live.

Author Bio

GeorgeGeorge Bernstein is a youthful seventy-seven-year-old, with a B.A. from Northwestern University, now living in south Florida with Dolores, his wife of 54 years. He is the retired president of a publicly held Chicago company.
George’s main interest now is as a serious novelist. He has attended numerous writers’ conferences and seminars, including that of famous fiction agent, Donald Maass, and he has worked with independent editor, Dave King, all with the goal of improving his craft.
George’s first novel, Trapped, is published by TAG Publishers, after being a finalist in their Next Great American Novel contest. Dee Burks and her staff really love the story, and have put a lot of effort into comprehensive editing and revision suggestions, making Trapped the best it can be. Trapped was also a finalist at the 2012 Florida Writers Association RPLA fiction contest, and has since acquired over seventy 4 & 5-Star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

George has also recently released his 2nd novel, A 3rd Time to Die, which has been received with several 4 & 5-Star reviews. The most common comment for both novels is: “I couldn’t put it down.”