Guest Post: The Most Influential Women in Van Gogh’s Life

By Giuseppe Cafiero

Though Vincent van Gogh never married, there were a number of women who influenced his life and art.

Perhaps the most important of these was his mistress, prostitute Clasina Maria Hoornik and with whom Vincent lived between 1882 and 1883 in The Hague, Holland. Known as ‘Sien’, she was the subject of a number of portraits by the artist, capturing the hardships of poverty, including one of his most celebrated drawings, Sorrow.

Sien was already the mother of two children and the cohabitation gave Vincent the feeling of a surrogate, but important, paternity. Sadly, the relationship was not approved by his peers or family and at his brother Theo’s urging, Vincent left Sien in 1883 to paint in Drenthe. It marked the end of the only domestic relationship that he would ever know. Sien married in 1901 but committed suicide only three years later, throwing herself into the  Schelde river – something she had foretold to Vincent many years before.

Augustine Roulin was another of the important women in van Gogh’s life. Her husband, a friend of Vincent during his time in Arles, France, has already sat for the artist and he would go on to paint all the Roulin family before his breakdown in 1889. He captured Augustine beautifully in a series of portraits which he entitled ‘La Berceuse’,  meaning “lullaby, or woman who rocks the cradle”.

Also in Arles, Vincent struck up an acquaintance with Madame Ginoux, who with her husband ran the Café de la Gare, where van Gogh lodged from May to September 1888 prior to moving into the Yellow House with Gauguin. Her sitting led to a group of portraits called L’Arlesienne (“the woman from Arles”), which display Vincent’s characteristic bold colours and sharp outlines.

One final woman who deserves mention is Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, the wife of Vincent’s brother, Theo. Van Gogh loved her deeply because she had given him a nephew, another substitute and consolation for not having children of his own. Her greatest contribution, however, came after her brother-in-law’s death in 1890. She played a key role in the growth of Vincent’s reputation through the editing and publishing of his and Theo’s correspondence, and the donations of his works to the first retrospective exhibitions.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity by Giuseppe Cafiero is out now as an audiobook on Amazon, and iTunes

About the Book

Title: Vincent Van Gogh: The Ambiguity of Insanity

Author: Giuseppe Cafiero

An abrasive itinerary of the presence of women, the landscape and obsession. Such are the internal paradigms that went through the compelling life of the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

Not flesh and blood women, but the woman as a guide: Mrs. Jones, the woman as a mother; Kee Vos; Christine Hoornik of Siena; Margot Begemann. The Portrait-women such as Augustine Roulin and Madame Ginoux. And then the backgrounds, endless, unforgettable in this genius’s works: Isleworth, Amsterdam, le Borinage, Arles, St. Remy, Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent his life trying to capture the colors, the atmosphere, the light.

The pain of finitude and his obsession with achieving redemption through art, with intimate and stormy religiosity, with brotherly love, with the French noon sun and, in short, with death. A hard-working and unwavering life where art interacted, in a painful gesture, with the iron will of a hand that never lost its way.

The life of a beloved and devoted man, silenced by the anguish and despair of creation, who could only find peacefulness when he found his own death.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity is a fictionalized biography and gripping novel of the life of the Nineteenth-Century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The author, Giuseppe Cafiero, draws a psychological portrait of the Post-Impressionist painter through the women that marked his life and the cities in which he lived.

Blog Tour: The Matter of The Crown

Guest Post: Art Crimes

Crime stories engage the most intelligent readers because they want to know who done it and they want the crime solved, while they devour every morsel of the story.   When a beautiful work of art is at the heart of the story, well then, we all fall in…hook line and sinker.   And usually, thank God, the work of art is not lost.   The protagonist rescues her canvas As a person schooled in the history of art and the law, and one who teaches future lawyers about the overlap, I know too much about art crime.  I love writing about it, however, because I love telling readers about the objects themselves.

Artworks are unique and always valuable in one way or another, so they attract both love and avarice   In the days of conquest by marching armies, from the Romans to Napoleon, there has been booty and loot.   Plenty of that hangs even now in the collections of private art lovers and museums all around the world.  There is another, related topic that is technical art theft.   This takes us, indirectly, to the topic of why people acquire masterpieces in the first place; it’s not always the pure love of fine art.

In my lifetime, the press has fallen in love with the subject of art theft because people love to read about it and it does sell copy.   It’s more than scandal, isn’t it?  There have been famous military moments, rich and famous people, eccentric people, gorgeous unique objects, all of which are the makings of exquisitely tantalizing stories. There is almost always a daredevil in the mix, sometimes a pirate or a jewel thief, to say nothing of an object that cannot do its own speaking.  Then there is the policeman in hot pursuit.

The Mona Lisa was stolen once.    And there are lists of famous and important works of art that have been missing for decades, even centuries.  Objects surface out of nowhere, too, for example the painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that sold very recently for about $450 million.  Edvard Munch’s paintings have been stolen over and over again, and one thief even left a note.  Everybody is aware of the horrible theft from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Lots and lots of drama.

One of my favorite films is the more recent version of The Thomas Crown Affair, although there are plenty of good films about art crime.  I encourage my students to watch them all because they are visual, like the objects in question, and because they spotlight the excitement that goes with this type of crime.   They begin with a work of art and the next thing you know, there’s a hot story.   Some people are drawn to write about it and I am one of those.

They amaze me, some of these crimes.  “They” say that a good story has to be credible.  Well, who is to challenge the credibility of a tale about a theft or a forgery of a work of art? As wild as some of these episodes have been, they have happened for ages.

The Matter of the Crown

The Crown of the Andes, one of the world’s most precious and beautiful sacred objects, has been stolen right off the stage at Satterling’s Auction House in New York City. Five pounds of magnificent baroque gold that ransomed the Inca Ruler Atahaulpa, and hundreds of perfect Colombian emeralds, all gone without a trace! Will this legendary treasure be destroyed for its gold and emeralds? One woman is dead and another one in hot pursuit.

Purchase from Amazon UK

About Linda Ferreri​

Linda Ferreri is a well-known art lawyer and author.  Her books include novels about the Crown of the Anes, a novella entitled The King of UNINI, and whimsical hand-illustrated iBooks.  She is known, also, for her drawings.   She divides her time between Italy and the United States, and lectures widely around the world about art and history.  Her next novel is in progress.




Guest Post Ultimate Tips on How to Become a Ghost Writer

Ultimate Tips on How to Become a Ghost Writer

There are people with important stories to tell. Their lives have been more exciting than most of us can imagine. Others haven’t had such adventurous lives, but have great minds full of ideas. The entire world inspires them to tell stories. Sometimes, however, the capacity for telling stories doesn’t correspond with a person’s writing skills. In such case, these people turn to ghostwriters, who can give form to their thoughts and put them in writing.

You would think that the ghostwriter is not that fortunate in this situation, but you’d be wrong. Ghostwriters get to do what they love – they write! This activity enables them to gain experience, write great stories, and earn money without going through all struggles that their own publications would impose.

Are you interested in ghost writing? We have a great guide for you today. Read these tips and you’ll be on your way to becoming a ghost writer.

Reasons to Consider Ghostwriting

  • You Make Good Money

According to the info by the Editorial Freelancer’s Association, ghostwriters earn $50-$60 per hour. That’s more than what fiction writers earn (between $40 and $50 per hour).

  • You Get an Advance Payment

If you decide to publish your own book, you’ll need to be very patient before you get funds from royalties. If this is your first book and the readers don’t know you, it will take some heavy marketing, which requires additional investments. Ghostwriting gets you the money right away.

  • You Won’t Be Emotionally Involved

When you’re writing your own stories, it’s hard to edit the work. That’s not the case with ghostwriting. You’re less emotionally involved with the work. You’re able to be objective and avoid potential flaws.

  • No Need for Marketing

Your name won’t be on the cover. Yes, the editing will need marketing, but you’ll be done with your job by that point.

  • You Get to Practice Your Writing Skills

Ghostwriting puts you outside your comfort zone. Through this experience, you’ll explore different styles and you’ll have to be disciplined with the way you do your work. In a way, ghostwriting makes you a better writer. You’ll be ready to give life to your own stories after a job like this.

  • You Get to Explore Unusual Topics

If your client has a fascinating story to tell, you get to explore topics you wouldn’t usually think of. This can be a really inspiring experience for you.

Things to Consider Before Becoming a Ghostwriter

  • You Need Some Experience in Writing

Ghostwriting is not for beginners. People with amazing stories are looking for great writers for their projects. They will check their portfolios. A ghostwriter has to demonstrate great capacity to write in different styles and voices. You’ll need to have your samples ready.

  • You Need Info on Publishing, Too

The client will probably ask for publishing advice. They see you as part of that industry. You’ll need to provide some guidance to your client regarding the best way to get the book out there.

  • It’s Not about You

It’s about the client. You have to find the voice that would suit their style and story. It’s not about what you like and how you’d tell it. It’s their story; you’re just the medium that tells it.

  • You’ll Be Your Own Manager

As a ghostwriter, you’re the boss of your own business. That’s a good thing, but it also imposes responsibilities. You have to take care of the contract. You’re the one who makes sure you get paid. You’ll be sending invoices. You have to recognize the moment and act when the client starts making inappropriate requirements that are not based on the contract.

  • Time Management Skills Are a Must

The client will expect you to meet deadlines. They won’t accept procrastination. You need advanced organization and time management skills, especially if you’re working on multiple projects at a time.

How to Find Clients for Ghostwriting

  • Get an Agent

Yes; even a ghostwriter might need an agent. If you’re a beginner at this, it will be hard to enter the industry without someone to represent you. You can get in touch with an agent through services like Literary Market Place, Publishers Marketplace, and Association of Authors’ Representatives.

  • Don’t Limit Yourself to Books Only

It’s not easy for beginners to land book ghostwriting deals. It’s better to start small. Autobiographies are not the only thing you can ghostwrite. You can also work on articles, blog posts, or even social media posts. One of the easiest and most productive ways to try ghostwriting is to become part of an academic writing service like EssayOnTime, BestDissertation, or SuperiorPapers.

  • Connect with Clients through Self-Publishing Platforms

Many people are looking for ghostwriters to tell their stories. However, they don’t have a connection with major publishers, so they usually turn to self-publishing. A self-publishing platform can recommend you for such a project.

  • Showcase Your Experience

Before someone hires you for their project, they will want to see proof that you’re up for the challenge. Showcase some of your work (written under your name) on a blog. Get some samples ready for the potential client to check out. Work on additional skills, such as social media marketing, which can be useful for this job.

  • Make Yourself Noticed

A ghostwriter should not be a complete ghost. Of course, they will act like a ghost when working for a client. However, they should still exist in the online world. You need social media presence and a blog, so you can attract people who are looking for ghostwriters. When you connect with a potential client, they will want to check you out. Your online reputation will influence their decision.

Ghostwriting can be a really rewarding profession. It’s not easy to get into that market, but it’s possible if you have what it takes. The above-listed tips will help you start this journey.

           Joan Selby is a content marketer, former teacher and fancy shoelover. A writer by day and reader by night. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Guest Post A Few Minor Adjustments

I’m hosting a guest post today by Cherie Kephart, author of “A Few Minor Adjustments”. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for taking the time to write a guest post for on here.

Healing Through Writing MemoirCherie Kephart

How do you heal through writing memoir? Writing a memoir is a restorative and soulful experience. By crafting a memoir, we learn how our experiences have shaped us, and we make a conscious choice to share this found wisdom with our readers. Memoir writing then becomes a healing experience that is a shared discovery.

Most memoirists, at one time or another, feel frozen, attempting to write about the deepest and most sacred parts of their lives. How do they deal with these foreboding and overwhelming feelings?

There is not one way to write a memoir, or one way to heal. There are multiple paths. Discovering what works best for you is important. In my case, I felt paralyzed while creating the beginning scenes in my memoir that dealt with the two times I almost died. Tears flowed instead of words. It felt too personal, and it was obvious I still had scars from those events. I struggled for months while the blank page haunted me. But I didn’t give up. Instead, I went deep within and asked for answers. One morning while meditating, I had the inspiration to write under a pseudonym: Maya. It was like a new open road I had just discovered. The streams pouring out of me were no longer tears, they were words. I could write about Maya, and it felt safe. I felt lighter, more connected to the story, and proud to help “Maya” with her journey.

But I didn’t keep the name Maya.

I reached a point where I was able to let go of the fear of speaking my truth, and embraced that people would read my story, my mistakes, my pain, and my struggles. It became a defining moment in my writing career, and life. Could I have started writing with my real name? No. I needed Maya to help me graduate to that space of comfort with my story and the gifts I was giving to myself and eventually to the world.

So what’s the bigger picture to writing a memoir? It’s not about names. Each writer has to choose whether a pseudonym is right for her or not. For me, it was a ladder to reach new heights. The essence of the story is what matters. Memoirs are about exposing both the dark and light of our lives, creating a profound conversation connecting our humanity.

We heal when we write memoir by owning our experiences and releasing them, not by being attached to our stories. It’s a sensitive arena, and sometimes difficult to navigate. Fundamentally, it’s about relinquishing the power your story has over you. By learning to let go of the story that is holding you back, you can craft the story you were meant to tell.

Through the craft of writing memoir, we evolve in our journey beyond what existed when we first embarked on this worthy, literary endeavor. I encourage you to enter the unwritten, write from a healing vantage point, healing for you, and for the world. It will be a transformative experience. It has been for me!


Press Release

San Diego Author Cherie Kephart

Empowers Those with Undiagnosed Illness in

Inspirational Memoir, A Few Minor Adjustments

Carlsbad, CA – San Diego author Cherie Kephart announces the release of her inspirational memoir, A Few Minor Adjustments (ISBN 978-1947127-01-2).  A Few Minor Adjustments won the Autobiography: Female Inspirational/Motivational category of the 2017 Bookvana Awards and the Best Unpublished Memoir Award at the 2017 San Diego Book Awards. It was also featured in the 2017 San Diego Annual Memoir Showcase and has been performed onstage at the Horton Grand Theater.

Cherie Kephart, a young woman who longed for adventure, traveled the world from the remote villages of Central Africa to the majestic coastlines of New Zealand until a mysterious illness thrust her to the precipice of death. The persistent health challenges led to years of suffering, during which her symptoms time and again were undiagnosed by well-meaning medical doctors and healers who were sometimes competent, sometimes careless, sometimes absurd, and always baffled. The anguish, the uncertainty, and the relentless pain would have caused many people to simply give up and end their lives—and Kephart came close.

Told with brutal honesty, astonishing wit, and a haunting vulnerability, A Few Minor Adjustments is an unforgettable memoir that will move readers with its fiercely inspirational account of one woman’s incredible journey to find life-saving answers. In the end, she finds much more than a diagnosis.

“I wrote this book to help others who are also on a journey of healing,” said Kephart. “Oftentimes people like me, who have undiagnosed illnesses, go years without help and without hope of ever finding a cure. We feel like outcasts, even within the sick community. I often felt lost, alone, and afraid, never knowing if I would ever find a diagnosis or heal. It’s frightening. I want people to know that if they are open and believe, they can heal in ways they never imagined possible, even without a clear diagnosis.”

A writer, editor, and poet, Cherie Kephart holds an M.A. in Medical and Cultural Anthropology, and has worked for many years as a scientific and technical writer. Her memoir, A Few Minor Adjustments, won the Autobiography: Female Inspirational/Motivational category of the 2017 Bookvana Awards and the Best Unpublished Memoir Award at the 2017 San Diego Book Awards. It was also featured in the 2017 San Diego Annual Memoir Showcase and has been performed onstage at the Horton Grand Theater. Kephart’s essays, stories, and poems have been featured in The San Diego Writers Ink Anthology, The San Diego Poetry Annual, the Oceanside Literary Art Walk, the Wild Lemon Project, and the Magee Park Poets Anthology. Kephart resides in San Diego and has been celebrated for her holistic approach to healing and her willingness to examine her life lessons in her writing.

For more information on the author or A Few Minor Adjustments, please visit

For further information, please contact:

Paula Margulies Communications

8145 Borzoi Way

San Diego, CA 92129


Guest Post and Giveaway The Sanguinarian Id

Guest Post

Creating artwork to go with my novel is a lengthy process, but it’s ultimately rewarding. By doing this, I can immerse my readers in my world to a whole new level, since it all comes out of my head directly to the paper. I’ve studied anatomy and physiology for years, practiced drawing out of medical books, and took classes in figure drawing, so I can make my monsters and characters to how I want. The process starts with the gesture drawing, in order to get the feel and movement of the scene. Since its in print, the majority of images must be in black and white, but I create them in color. After I make them, I convert it to grayscale, but I have a color and black and white version. I use pencil and paper to draw. I go over it in ink, until I get the contrast I want. I upload my work to the computer, and layer my pieces on top each other to create more depth. I calibrate the images in Photoshop to CMYK and the highest dpi at 1200 dpi. I place everything after in InDesign to format it to the demensions my publisher wants. When it’s done, I convert it to PDF format. When I create my images, I research drawings from different eras, manuscripts from different cultures, and other items to see the feel and texture of paper and ink strokes. Overall, the whole process is 30 percent research, 40 percent production, 20 percent do overs, and 10 percent formatting. I don’t settle on a illustration, until I feel its what captures the pinnacle emotion and excitement of the chapter. I love it all.


About the Book

Title: The Sanguinarian Id
Author: L.M. Labat
Artist: L.M. Labat
Genre: Horror, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Occult, Gothic Horror
Publisher: Night to Dawn Magazine & Books
She’s been beaten, stabbed, poisoned, and shot, but Hael refuses to die. In her pursuit for vengeance and her origin, the Dhampir Hael hunts down the madman responsible for her fateful transformation. As this half-vampire juggernauts her way through a world at war, Hael battles hordes of Nazi soldiers as she struggles to maintain her sanity. However, while Hael gathers knowledge on how to trap and kill her target, her adversary’s network is expanding at an exponential rate, as his sick obsession with Hael grows deeper. Will she have her revenge? Will she find her origin? Or, will she crumble beneath her own insidious bloodlust?

Author Bio

Born in 1993, L. M. Labat stems from New Orleans, Louisiana. From the struggles of a broken family and surviving life-threatening events, Labat found refuge within the arts while delving into the fields of medicine, psychology, and the occult. While combining illustration and literature, L. M. Labat was able to cope with endless nightmares as well as hone in on artistic techniques. From confronting the past to facing new shadows, this author gladly invites audiences into the horror of The Sanguinarian Id.


The Sanguinarian Id Website
Website Creator: L. M. Labat
Night to Dawn Magazine & Books Website:
Night to Dawn Magazine & Books Webiste
The Sanguinarian Id on Amazon
The Sanguinarian Id on B&N
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Guest Post: Why I Hate Love Triangles by Susan Mesler-Evans

I’m hosting Susan Mesler-Evans on my blog today with a post about love triangles! Welcome to my blog.

Why I Hate Love Triangles

Ah, the love triangle.

We’ve all seen it, over and over, in everything from books to movies to stage plays, and everything in between. It seems that when it comes to love, two’s company, but three’s a perfect plot device! I’ve always had a special hatred for needless, boring romantic subplots in fiction (especially YA), and nothing kills my love for a book faster than having to take a break from the actual plot to watch the lead and their love interest make googly eyes at each other. But my most-hated version of the needless romantic subplot is the love triangle, by far.

Now, I read primarily young adult fiction, I’m a loyal watcher of Riverdale (I don’t know why, either; it’s the worst show ever and I love it), and I grew up on soap operas. It’ll be a cold day in Hell before I get to escape the love triangle entirely.

For awhile, I’ve had trouble articulating why, exactly, I hate this plot device so much, but I think I’ve managed to break it down into five basic points.

It’s usually used as a cheap way to create tension.

Say you’re a writer, and you have a main couple. Let’s call them Alice and Bob. Alice and Bob are very happy together, and are totally perfect for each other. The fanbase loves them! But true love is just so… dull. There’s no angst, no drama, no tension! What’s a writer to do?

Wait, you know! You’ll introduce a rival for Bob’s affection, Claire! Now, Alice has someone to fight with and be jealous over, and Bob can angst over his torn heart. CREATIVE GENIUS.

…Yeah, the audience usually sees right through it. Most of the time, Claire will only be around for a book or two, or a season or two, cause some trouble, and then either get written off, or get randomly paired off with Danny. The audience knows almost right from the start that this won’t last, and that Alice and Bob’s relationship is in no real danger, so it’s hard to get invested.

There are so many other ways to create tension in a relationship! More realistic, less contrived ways. And there are plenty of ways to amp up the drama in a story without the threat of Alice and Bob breaking up on the horizon. It is possible to have an interesting story with two characters in a happy relationship. Shocking, but true.

The female characters involved usually get reduced to plot devices.

Now, despite the fact that my hypothetical people are called Alice, Bob, and Claire, a love triangle could easily exist between Albert, Betty, and Charlie. (It could also, hypothetically, exist between Albert, Bob, and Charlie, or Alice, Betty, and Claire, but it usually doesn’t.) But no matter whether the center of the triangle is male or female, the female characters involved tend to get the shaft.

If the love triangle is Alice/Bob/Claire, Alice and Claire are often reduced to “good girl vs. bad girl” stereotypes, and usually spend most of their pagetime together being catty and fighting over Bob, mooning over Bob, or talking to or about Bob. They don’t get to be their own characters — at least, not where a guy is involved. They’re usually pitted against each other, even when under circumstances that, in real life, would usually mean Alice and Claire would become friends, or at least learn to tolerate each other.

If the love triangle is Albert/Betty/Charlie, Betty will probably spend most of the book either being rescued constantly by the two gentlemen, or having to prove time and time again that she doesn’t need rescuing. There’s also an unfortunate tendency for her to be treated like a “prize” for the most worthy man to win. If Betty is the main character, she has a better shot at being a well-developed character in her own right, but if the main character is Albert or Charlie? No dice. Betty’s usually just “The Hero’s Girlfriend” or “The Damsel.” Sorry, Bets!

It usually makes the center of the triangle seem unsympathetic.

Yeah, if Bob spends an entire book (or movie, or season) trying to decide if he wants to be with Alice or Claire, chances are, the audience is going to wish Alice and Claire would tell him where to shove it. Relationships and emotions are messy, complicated things, not to be rushed into, but when a character takes too long to decide which (if either) of their prospective partners they want, it’s hard to sympathize. Not only does it get old fast, it also starts to feel like Bob is just stringing Alice and Claire along rather than making a decision or just being honest.

Depending on the plot of the overall story, it can also get annoying if Bob is angsting about whether he should choose Alice or Claire when there are much bigger issues to deal with. Your audience shouldn’t be shaking him and saying, “Who cares about your lonely soul? The world is ending.” It’s always annoying when romantic subplots distract from the more interest, more dramatic main plot, but the irritation is only intensified when you have multiple love interests in the mix.

This isn’t just restricted to the guys, by the way — female characters do it, too. No matter the genders of whoever’s involved, it’s just hard to be sympathetic towards someone whose biggest problem is, “Which of these insanely hot people who would do anything for me should I choose?”

It’s usually obvious how it’ll end.

“Wow, I wonder who will win Bob’s affections — Alice, the love interest who has been here for six seasons, or this new character Claire, who has no purpose in the plot other than to cause problems for Alice and Bob?” said absolutely no one ever.

One side effect of this trope being used a lot is that audiences are usually wise to how it’ll play out. The “nice” one usually gets the love interest. The one the audience has gotten to spend more time with usually gets the love interest. The one the writers have actually spent time developing usually gets the love interest. Sometimes a writer will try to change things up, by making Claire really likable and maybe even more compatible with Bob in some ways than Alice, or by having Alice turn out to not be so nice after all, but usually, all attempts at faking out the audience fall flat. This is why, if the love triangle ends with Alice and Claire dumping Bob, or Alice and Claire hooking up, it’s usually quite refreshing, as well as a genuine shock — deviances from the standard love triangle ending are that rare.

It’s done to death.

This is pretty self-explanatory, but by far my biggest gripe with the trope. It seems like 95% of YA fiction, 99% of television, and at least 70% of romantic films are contractually obligated to have a love triangle. After you’ve seen a couple dozen of them, it gets old! I get that, as a writer, you want to keep the audience on their toes, and throw a wrench into the happy couple’s happiness, bring a bit of excitement into it… but can we have something different, please?

Now, obviously, there are exceptions to every rule. Sometimes, a love triangle can be genuinely compelling and defy these problems. Sometimes, if the characters are likable enough, or if the writing is good enough, I can still find myself enjoying it. And, yeah, I know there’s no escape, so I may as well lean into it and try to have some fun with it.

But when you can’t read three books without tripping over one of these, it gets a tad frustrating. My favorite romances are the ones that just focus on the main couple, or, if there is a secondary love interest, shake up the formula a bit. Love triangles just bore me at best, make me give up on a book altogether at worst. And I know I’m not alone in this.

What about you?


Susan Mesler-Evans is a college student and book blogger, trying to get published. In the meantime, she produces reading and writing related content at Subscribe to her blog for book reviews, editorials, author interviews, and more!

Guest Post The Hunter

Writing Makes You Better

A title like that may sound a tad conceited, like writing “makes you better than everyone else around you”. That’s not the sentiment behind the title at all. Instead, it means that writing makes you (the writer) a better version of yourself.

(I’m a firm believer in Hemingway’s words: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” I strive to be a better man than I was yesterday, and the day before, and so on.)

There is a lot of research that illustrates how writing can make you a better person. Here are a few of my favorite ways:

  • Writing makes you happier. Writing is a form of art therapy. You express your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and beliefs onto a piece of paper. You’re no longer bottling them up or ignoring them, so you feel somehow “lighter” for getting them out. Creative and expressive writing can also help to motivate you. Putting the words “I will be more productive” on paper will oddly make you more productive. Call it self-motivation, positive vibes, good energy in the universe—either way, it works!
  • Writing makes you grateful. A lot of people keep journals as a way of tracking their daily activities, emotions, and feelings. They’re also a way to set goals and challenges, and have concrete evidence that you achieved those goals. You’ll find yourself more grateful for the good days, as well as for all the progress you’ve made in the past. This also goes for fiction writers. When you write about the obstacles your characters face, it makes you grateful that YOU don’t have to face those same obstacles. Life is suddenly brighter because your story has put it into perspective.
  • Writing makes you a more effective communicator. It’s easy to get lazy with your communication: emojis are pictures to convey your sentiment, texting slang and hashtags communicate your thoughts and feelings in fewer words, and you rarely get into deeper conversations over text or chat. But when you write, you HAVE to find the right word to communicate what you’re thinking or feeling. It forces you to think more, to try harder, and to work on your communication skills. Writing makes you more cohesive, coherent, and intelligent.
  • Writing is an outlet. Hold all those emotions in, and you’re eventually going to explode. Let them out, and they lose their grip on your mind and heart. Writing gives you a way to let all those emotions—positive and negative—out, clearing room in your psyche and emotions for other thoughts and feelings.
  • Writing can help you cope. If you’ve ever written a scene where a character rationalizes something, analyzes a problem, and finds a solution for it, you know how therapeutic it can be to go from A (problem) to Z (solution). You can come to terms with traumatic experiences by writing about them, and analyzing what you have written.

The truth is that writing taps into your psyche, your intellect, and your emotions. It helps you to access the deeper parts of yourself that may never or rarely see light. In the long run, it makes you a better person—better than you were yesterday!

Book Excerpt

 The Hunter peered out from behind the silent wagon. Good. No sign of Kellen or Graden. He’d have to keep an ear out for the caravan guards, but he should have plenty of time. The patrol had a lot of ground to cover.

Grunting, he shifted the heavy load on his shoulder and darted out from the row of shelters, hurrying toward the outcropping of boulders he’d chosen specifically for his task. He ducked behind the boulders and hurled his burden to the ground. A grunt and muffled cry came from the bundle, and something squirmed within.

He’s coming to. Good timing.

The Hunter pulled back the canvas, and moonlight shone on Rill’s pale, sweat-soaked face and wide eyes. Blood oozed from a wound on the bald man’s temple. The Hunter hadn’t bothered to be gentle.

“W-What?” Rill’s eyes darted around, and his gaze fell on the Hunter. “What is this?”

The Hunter struck the man hard. “Justice.”

Rill made to cry out, but the Hunter stuffed canvas into his mouth. “Ironic, isn’t it?” His fingers twitched a corner of the thick cloth. “You spend every waking hour stitching up canvas. Fitting that it will serve as your funeral shroud. There was more than enough of it around your area to wrap you up.”

The bald man’s eyes widened, and he mumbled something through the mouthful of fabric.

The Hunter shook his head. “Better you don’t speak. Nothing you say can change what’s coming. Best you die with a bit of dignity. Watcher knows you had little enough while you lived.”

Soulhunger, sensing blood, pounded louder in his mind, and the demon added its eager demands.

“I never understood men like you, knocking around your women.” He squatted on his haunches. “Just doesn’t make sense.”

Rill tried in vain to shout through his gag.

The Hunter narrowed his eyes. “Did you know there is a special hell reserved for your kind? Those who take advantage of the helpless.”

He slipped Soulhunger from its sheath, and held the glinting blade before Rill’s eyes. “You may tell yourself she belongs to you, you can do whatever you want.” He leaned forward, and his voice dropped to a low growl. “Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.”

Rill’s eyebrows shot up, and his expression turned pleading.

The Hunter shook his head. “Save your excuses for the Long Keeper. You’ll be with him soon enough.”

With a vicious smile, he drove Soulhunger through the canvas and into the man’s chest. The gag muffled Rill’s scream, but the dagger’s shriek echoed in his head with mind-numbing force. Soulhunger’s gem flared, red light bright in the darkness. The Hunter grunted as a finger of fire etched a line in his chest. Power coursed through him, setting his muscles twitching, flooding him with life, and pushing back the voices in his mind.

Slowly, the brilliance leaking from the gemstone faded to nothing, and Rill’s screams of agony and terror fell silent. The Hunter basked in the stillness of the night. A soothing breeze washed over him, the chill soothing the burning of his new scar. Glorious silence echoed in his head. The voices had been sated. He had peace, for a time.

He straightened and stared down at the bundled corpse. Perhaps the Long Keeper will have mercy on you.

An image flashed through his mind: a pitiful figure huddled at the entrance to Rill’s tent, covered in filthy rags and reeking of blood and coitus. Rill’s desire to punish Gwen had made it easier for the Hunter to slip in, knock the fat bastard out, wrap him in his own canvas, and slip out unnoticed. The man’s absence wouldn’t be discovered until morning. Few would care.

He took a deep breath, relishing the cool scents of the desert at night. He would wait a few minutes until he was certain Graden and Kellen had passed, then he would dispose of the body, bury the canvas, and slip back into camp. Without the voices shrieking and pleading in his mind, he might even be able to catch a few hours of undisturbed sleep before the morning breakfast bell.

Tonight would be a good night.

The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

The Hunter, legendary assassin of Voramis, has a purpose: protect Hailen, the boy he rescued from a demon in Malandria.

He joins a caravan in the hope of safe passage across the Advanat Desert. Yet he cannot outrun his enemies: the Illusionist Cleric on a holy mission to capture him, the bloodthirsty raiders out for blood and gold, and the Abiarazi, demons who masquerade as humans.

Every step north reveals who he was before becoming the Hunter, unlocking the truth about the woman who haunts his memories.

Fans of Joe Abercrombie, Brandon Sanderson, and Brent Weeks will love the Hunter…

About the Book

Title: The Last Bucelarii (Book 3): Gateway to the Past

Author: Andy Peloquin

Publication Date: March 31st, 2017

Paperback Price: 15.99

Digital Price: 3.99

Pages: 400



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Author Bio

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysterious

I am, first and foremost, a storyteller and an artist–words are my palette. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I love to explore the darker side of human nature through the filter of fantasy heroes, villains, and everything in between. I’m also a freelance writer, a book lover, and a guy who just loves to meet new people and spend hours talking about my fascination for the worlds I encounter in the pages of fantasy novels.

Fantasy provides us with an escape, a way to forget about our mundane problems and step into worlds where anything is possible. It transcends age, gender, religion, race, or lifestyle–it is our way of believing what cannot be, delving into the unknowable, and discovering hidden truths about ourselves and our world in a brand new way. Fiction at its very best!


Guest Post Eternal Darkness


By Tom Deady

I was thirteen when I picked up Salems Lot from one of those spinning wire book racks in a local Woolworths. Vampires in a small Maine town? Sounded good to me! I devoured that book, reading late into the night despite having school the next day. How could I go to sleep and leave the Glicks and Ben and Mark and the Marsten House? ‘Salem’s Lot felt like home to me. And so began my lifelong journey as a horror fan turned horror writer.

Forty years later, ‘Salems Lot remains one of my favorite novels. Others on that list include IT, Boys Life, and Summer of Night. It doesn’t take long to see the common thread that runs through these stories – aside from the great writing – is the small town setting. What is it about these stories that draw in so many?

Small town life is an interesting dichotomy. On one hand, everybody knows everybody, and there are often more social gatherings like farmers’ markets or parades for people to get together. There is a sense of community, more than that, a sense of comfort.

On the other hand, does anybody really know anybody? You trust your neighbors and those in positions of authority (mayors, police officers, even parents, etc), but should you? When everybody is worried about “what will the neighbors think?” you have to start to question what they’re up to behind closed doors.

There are many examples, in several horror stories, where the people you think you can trust are really the villain. Stephen King uses this concept often: Big Jim Rennie in Under the Dome and Frank Dodd in The Dead Zone come to mind. Another person of authority often used as a villain: a parent. It’s a special kind of terror when a person has nowhere to turn. After all, home is supposed to be a place you think of safety, comfort, shelter. A place where you can retreat when you need to. When your home is unsafe, there is no comfort. No safety. No protection.

Small town life can also mean isolation. Long stretches of tree-lined country roads are the only way in or out. Deserted houses on the outskirts of town. Lonely ponds or lakes or river beds. No public transportation to hop on, no heavily populated places to just blend into the crowd. Just you and your town, your home, and all your neighbors, good and bad. Throw in a blizzard, a washed out bridge, or a power failure, and then what do you do? Isolation is a powerful component of horror.

I recently reread Salems Lot and was not surprised to see it holds up against the test of time. Small towns may not be the same as they were forty years ago, and technology makes it difficult for anyone to ever feel isolated, but there are some things that never change. Growing up is always going to be hard: there will always be bullies and cliques and cool kids and misfits. The coming-of-age themes found in Salems Lot and the other books I mentioned isn’t a trope, it’s a fact of life.

Relationships, whether friendships or romances, are also difficult. For kids and adults. Ben and Susan in ‘Salem’s Lot, Bill Denbrough and Beverly Marsh from IT – the challenges are always there and seem magnified under the lens of a small town.

Reading Salems Lot as a young teen, I took comfort in knowing – even though it was fiction – that other people were facing the same struggles I was. Today, as a writer, I would like to be able to capture that same feeling and pass it along to my readers.

  I used small town settings in both Haven and Eternal Darkness, as well as a strong coming-of-age theme in each of the stories. If I’ve done it right, older readers will get a whiff of nostalgia, but maybe, just maybe, younger readers will find a nugget of hope to help them through their struggles. Either way, I hope I at least throw a few good scares into them!

Perfect For Fans of The Paperback Horror Days, Don’t Miss Eternal Darkness by Tom Deady!

Available For Pre-Order Now – Reserve Your Copy Today

Holliston, MA – January, 12, 2017 – Tom Deady, acclaimed author of Haven, is releasing another horror book, Eternal Darkness. For fans of old-school horror and character-driven stories with people you can identify with, this is sure to be a hit. Following the author’s debut novel Haven, Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness novel promises a deeper look at the secrets people hide from one another, and the malice right next door.

“First and foremost, that’s what Tom Deady is about as an author: story. And those are my favorite kinds of writers,” says Richard Chizmar, owner of Cemetery Dance and author of A Long December. “Tom understands this traditional school of writing very well, and if his first two novels are any indication of his focus and growth as an author, all of us readers are in for many more treats in the future. Tom Deady is a true storyteller, and I can offer no higher words of praise,” says Chizmar.

Something is killing the people of Bristol, Massachusetts. Do you dare to find out what? First, a young boy goes missing. Then, his abusive father is slaughtered. Next, his grieving mother burns in an unnatural fire. The only thing you know for sure? Something’s not right. Ben Harris and his best friends Richie and Jack know the stories. Now, they must separate truth from lore when they dig for answers. Who will survive and who will succumb to the eternal darkness?

If there are three things to know about Tom Deady’s Eternal Darkness it’s:

  • Someone Has Moved Into The Old Brewster Place
  • Something Is Killing People
  • Sometimes You Can’t Fight Your Own Destiny

“Tom Deady writes the type of novels that made me a fan of the genre decades ago – big, hefty books about regular folks fighting monsters against incredible odds,” says Pete Kahle, owner & founder of Bloodshot Books. “I’m ecstatic that we are able to debut Bloodshot Books’ line of original novels with Eternal Darkness. We need more authors like Tom,” says Kahle.

Perfect for fans of the paperback horror days. Richard Chizmar says, “It would be too easy to tell you that Eternal Darkness is reminiscent of early Stephen King. Sure, it features a small town New England setting, a large cast of colorful children sprinkled with a handful of flawed adults, and a monster straight out of your nightmares. If it sounds like I just described ‘Salem’s Lot or IT, there’s probably a good reason for that.”

Whether you are a fan of Haven looking for more, or new to Tom Deady’s work, Eternal Darkness from Bloodshot Books should be on your 2017 release radar. Pre-order your copy of Eternal Darkness on Amazon Kindle today:

About Tom Deady:

Tom Deady, born and raised in Malden, Massachusetts, is not far from the historic (and spooky) town of Salem. He has endured a career as an IT professional, but his dream has always been to be a writer.

Tom has a Masters Degree in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University, and is a member of both the Horror Writers Association and the New England Horror Writers.

Tom’s first novel, Haven, was released in 2016 by Cemetery Dance Publications.

His new release, Eternal Darkness will be published by Bloodshot Books.

As always, he is actively working on his next novel.

Blog Tour: A Knightsbridge Scandal

Guest Post: Is Flora Maguire a Suffragist?

A Knightsbridge Scandal is set in London in 1903, and during my research I couldn’t avoid that this was the year Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women’s Social and Political Union.

My knowledge of Suffragettes was restricted to stories of hunger strikes and Glynis John’s singing and wearing a, ‘Votes For Women’ banner in Mary Poppins – well maybe not quite as simplistic as that, but my facts were sketchy.

That the women who gathered in tea rooms planning to deface works of arts and eat vegetarian lunches to change the laws made by big bad government men was only half the story. There were two factions fighting for women’s rights; the Suffragists, or non-militant arm led by Millicent Garret Fawcett who had been campaigning to instigate change in parliament for women forty years before Emmeline Pankhurst threw her first brick through a window. Then there were the Suffragettes; Mrs Pankhurst’s more aggressive splinter group whose WSPU made the cause less acceptable to society and probably put the cause back years.

In the early 20th Century, it wasn’t only women who were denied the vote, but one in three of the male population did not qualify for the ballot either. Young men were happily conscripted to fight Britain’s wars, but had no vote unless they owned property or paid a minimum rent of £10 a year.

In fact ‘Votes For Women’ also fought for ladies who owned property, while those from the lower classes were excluded from their manifesto. The poor and indigent, men as well as women, weren’t seen as worthy of a vote in their own government.

The 1918 Representation of the People Act brought more than five million men over the age of 21 into the electorate without regard to property or class as well as over eight million women over 30; although the majority of these did not qualify for reasons of property ownership. It wasn’t until the 1928 Act that this changed.

So what are Flora Maguire’s views in this area?

Flora is a modern young woman who sees the need for change, but she isn’t the type to break with convention to the extent she’ll vandalise a work of art or chain herself to railings to make her point. I gave her a middle of the road view in that she admired Mrs Garrett Fawcett’s principles as the way forward, but regards Mrs Pankhurst and her radical ideas a step too far. Flora believes this behaviour might well persuade the male population that women were irresponsible, flighty creatures in need of control that the male population have always believed. How could women who chain themselves to railings be trusted with the responsibility of something as important as the vote?

Flora is also keenly aware that had she remained a governess and not married to a solicitor who owned property, she too would have been excluded from any legislation achieved by these women.

In A Knightsbridge Scandal Flora attends a National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society meeting and hears Miss Evelyn Sharp expound the new WSPU formed in Manchester. However like many of the audience, Flora isn’t at all happy with this new group who advocate a campaign of civil disobedience.

Flora therefore becomes a passive Suffragist, believing the whole of society needs to be more equal, not just wealthy, upper class ladies who preside over tea tables in drawing rooms.

I also included a scene where Flora is taken for tea at Prince’s Ice Rink where The Women’s Exhibition hosted by the Women’s Social and Political Union was held six years later in May 1909.

Maybe she’ll even meet her heroine one day.

Millcent Fawcett worked tirelessly until her seventies, but was only 56 when this book is set and living at 2 Gower Street, a house she lived in for almost 65 years. Years where she was involved in international women’s suffrage, the opening up university education to women, raising the age of consent, making horticulture a possible employment for women, criminalising incest, providing homes for middle-class working women, and even for offering a German ‘open-air treatment’ to tuberculosis sufferers.

An excellent Blog which provides varied information and some interesting stories on the Women’s Suffrage Movement is Elizabeth Crawford’s Women and Their Sphere:

Anita Davison

Anita’s earlier novels are set in 17th Century England, with a family saga set in Exeter during the Monmouth Rebellion and a biographical novel about Elizabeth Murray during the English Civil War in Surrey. Her fascination with the revival of cosy mysteries made her turn to the early 1900’s for inspiration where she found Flora Maguire lurking. The series of five novels was taken up for publication by Aria Fiction, a digital imprint of Head of Zeus Publishing.

Murder on the Minneapolis is available here [] and Murder at Cleeve Abbey can be pre-ordered here. []

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Twitter – @AnitaSDavison



About the book

1903 London is bustling and glamourous. With troubling secrets simmering and worrying signs of war Flora Maguire must solve a deadly mystery which leads right to the heart of the corridors of power.

Flora Maguire has escaped the country to enjoy some time in fashionable Knightsbridge, London. Extravagant shops, exuberant theatres and decadent restaurants mean 1903’s London is a thrilling adventure, but there are dark secrets threatening from the continent.

When the body of a London socialite, and leading light of the burgeoning women’s movement, is found outside The Grenadier public house, Flora can’t resist investigating.

Mysterious letters are discovered in the victim’s belongings, strange links to the foreign office and why do the clues keep coming back to the assassination of a Baltic king?

As Flora closes in on the killer, it soon becomes clear she is no longer safe in London, but will her husband Bunny be able to get to her before it’s too late?






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Book Tours: Guest Post and Giveaway Mothering Through Bipolar


Today’s guest is Rebecca Moore, the author of “Mothering Through Bipolar”, a memoir. She talks about why she started writing down her jounrey as a parent diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and why she writes the things she writes.

Why I Do What I do

Four years ago when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I made it my mission to reach out to other parents who were struggling with the same illness. At the time, my illness consumed me and there were many days I couldn’t get out of bed. I needed to find support from other parents and find out how they coped when the symptoms returned and they found themselves unable to push through those hard times. I needed suggestions, advice, but more importantly, I needed a support network.

A year passed and I found no other parent that had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I scoured the internet for hours, even losing sleep during my search, trying to locate just one support group to help me get through.

I finally had enough and decided to start my own blog, writing about the coping techniques I found to be helpful and writing about my daily life as a mother with Bipolar Disorder trying to raise a family of seven children. Not an easy task when my youngest child was just a year old herself.

But soon enough I had parents searching me out. I was speaking out about my illness, I wasn’t hiding it. I wanted the world to know that moms can have a mental illness and still be great parents. I wanted to be a positive influence on mental health in general.

The media had reported way too many horror stories of moms taking their own lives and the lives of their children. As a society, our first reactions are, “How can a mother do that to her own children?”

The truth of the matter is, if we didn’t stigmatize against mental illness as much as we do, then maybe those moms would have felt safe enough to reach out to other family members, psychiatrists and therapists and be honest about how they are feeling without fear of judgement or worse, losing their children because of having a mental illness.

Pregnancy and the change in hormones that comes with it can change our mental status. We find ourselves having thoughts about harming ourselves or harming our children and these thoughts come out of nowhere. They envelope us in their darkness and with no place to turn for help sometimes we act on what our brains are telling us to do.

But there is a solution to this. We can make it safe for moms and dads alike to reach out for help without judgement. We should be able to tell our doctors that we are having thoughts of suicide or worse without fear that we’ll lose our children. We should be commended for taking that step of strength and asking for help.

And that is why I write about my illness, that is why I wrote “Mothering Through Bipolar” and that is why I do what I do. I don’t want parents to feel as though they have to hide behind a curtain and not be able to reach out for the help they so desperately need.

I was one of those moms who had those scary, dark thoughts. Had I not reached out, I would not be here today to help raise awareness about mental illness.

About the Book

CoverTitle: Mothering Through Bipolar

Author: Rebecca Moore

Genre: Memoir

Mothering Through Bipolar is Rebecca’s journey of living with Bipolar Disorder while raising a family of seven children. She takes her readers on an adventure through depression, mania, legal issues, relationship problems and other difficulties. Rebecca offers her readers encouragement, comfort and support; always with a message of hope.

Author Bio

Author PhotoRebecca Moore has been diagnosed with everything from Postpartum Depression to Bipolar Disorder. Rebecca enjoys writing about surviving her journey through mental health and likes to help others who have been there as well. She is a strong Mental Health Advocate for parents living with mental illness. Rebecca is also the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Bipolar Parenting Foundation. She also runs a column on PsychCentral called Bipolar Parenting. Rebecca lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and seven children.

“We must break down the wall of shame society has built for us” – Rebecca Moore in Mothering Through Bipolar



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