Rave Reviews Book Club “Springtime Book and Block Party!

RRBC Badges (2)

 

Welcome to my blog on this wonderful Rave Reviews Book Club ‘Springtime’ Book and Blog Block party tour! Coming to you today from my latest location; the beautiful rural township of Bathurst, in New South Wales: Australia.

BLOG IMAGES FOR CITY GIRL

Please leave a comment below today, April 21st, to be entered in the drawing to win one of these prizes!

1 (Ebook copy) of “Empty Chairs” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 1. #Memoir

1 (Ebook copy) of “Faint Echoes Of Laughter” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 2. #Memoir

1 (Ebook copy) of “Acts Beyond Redemption” (Unintended Consequences) Book 1 #Thriller #Suspense.

1 (Ebook copy) of “Acts Of Betrayal” (Unintended Consequences) Book 2. #Thriller #Suspense.

Total Prizes I’m gifting today = 4.

I do love a party! So, let’s have some party-time fun! I know just the woman to add a little ‘spice’ to the proceedings.  Meet Sheila Harrington one of the pivotal characters in my Thriller Suspense Novels “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts Of Betrayal”

Lets’ dress my little monster for the party … and we’ll make it formal, shall we?

Sheila ballgown by Michael costello

 

Ah, yes of course, we need a stunning location. What better setting than this  ballroom?  The occasion? The highly publicized Charity event of the season …The ‘Governors’ Black and White Ball’. Thrown with his accustomed panache by New York Governor (And Presidential Candidate) Damon Henderson. Sheila Harrington is as always his date.

Blog Black and White Ball 2

Sheila is tall for a woman, and the elegant Jimmi Choo shoes boost her height to just over six feet. She is both beautiful … and deadly. She adds more than just a mans’ heart to her little bag of collectables … she evicerates his spirit, and destroys his soul without hesitation, or remorse.

Love her or loathe her? Now that is the question. Whatever the decision, you may not forget her in a hurry.

Now relax,  kick your shoes off, and listen in to an (imaginary) conversation between the beautiful Sheila and her unseen ‘guest’… Let me see, what shall we name him? Ah, yes … Mr D Evil, will do nicely.

***

“You look bored, Mon bebe.” The voice was husky, inviting, deeply-timbered. Sheila shivered delightedly, then smiled.

” To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” She whispered.

“I grew bored, and there are brief moments when you actually manage to entertain me, Mon bébé. I’m loving the dress. Black becomes you.”

“Yes … it does.”

“Have you chosen your plaything for this evening as yet?”

Plaything? An interesting choice of word. That implies that I would gain some sort of pleasure from any interaction I pursue.”

“Do you not?”

“Only the fleeting recognition that any predator enjoys. It’s all in the game. Pleasure in and of itself is not something I actively seek.”

“Only because you have yet to experience it, Mon bebe. You have had ample time to select.  Does nothing here interest you?”

Sheila  surveyed the glittering, brittle, breakable, crowd, before answering. “There may be one that could conceivably brighten up my evening for a brief while.”

Her companion followed her gaze, “The overdressed woman with the irritatingly piercing voice, now holding court with your date?”

Sheila laughed, well aware that heads would turn, drawn by the infectious warmth of the sound. “Too easy! Clarissa Mainwearing was born ugly, and no matter what amount of her ‘old’ money she throws at it, or how distinguished her pedigree; that type of ugly just won’t go away. My beauty would make her a lap dog inside ten-minutes. Besides, Damon is undeniably mine to control.” She sighed,  “So … no. Guess again.”

Her companion settled back, smiling contentedly to himself.

“I could of course force you to choose the one I desire.”

“That would rob you of surprise.”

 He favored her with his cold smile, “Who then?”

Sheila again surveyed the room. Then having made her decision, and without needing to point, she began, “Tall, well defined muscles, even the Armani threads can’t disguise the fact that he has a wonderful body. He has the confidence to wear his hair long and in a ponytail. He has not had his back to a door or window all evening. His stance is loose, and non-threatening. He surveys the crowd without making eye contact, or conversing with anyone. He is trained. How well trained remains to be seen.”

“Hm … interesting choice. I’m pleased. How will you proceed?”

“I’ll dismantle his detachment.”

Her unseen companion surveyed the subject of the discussion again, more slowly. “I don’t believe you can do it as easily as you may think, ma petite.”

“Is that the sound of a gauntlet hitting the floor?”

“Consider it so.”

“Wonderful! Watch me.”

“Always.”

Sheila missed the comment, already walking slowly across the crowded room, and as always parting the crowd in her wake. The women not graced with beauty of their own gazed at her retreating back with envy, the men, with unbridled lust.

She approached, glancing at the handsome, disinterested face; then shuddered briefly as his gaze met her own. She stood next to him now, still silent, sipping her cocktail and observing the room. She waited for longer than most would find comfortable, before, finally, he spoke.

“Is there something you require?”

She slid her eyes slowly over his body; it was more the studied look of an artist recognizing a fine piece of artwork, than a simple flicker of flirtation, “Require? That’s doubtful. Perhaps I’m simply curious as to what type of gun is tucked into your waist band?”

His reaction pleased her, for only the momentary dilation of his pupils gave any indication that her remark had even been heard.

“Probably the same type you are carrying in your clutch-purse, Miss Harrington.” He smiled, gave a brief dismissive nod and turning his back on her, he walked away.

Sheila smiled, and her blue eyes flashed fire. ‘Touche.’

Mr D Evil smiled at the exchange. ‘You have now entered the eye of the cyclone, mes enfants. Now … do you enjoy … or destroy? The evening ahead took on a new color … and the color was red. ‘Game on.’  He was well pleased.

***

Now that was fun. Sheila Harrington is a complex woman. This little interaction barely touches on that complexity. But I sure hope that you enjoyed it.

Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Book 1)

ABR MADE BY SATAN new for JANUARY 2017 HIRED ASSASSIN

BLURB

Acts Beyond Redemption takes you on a twisted, deadly, journey.

Mike Matheson is head of a Special Task Force set up by the F.B.I to track down and apprehend the serial killers responsible for 18 brutal murders.

His team are exhausted, frustrated, and ready to burn out after almost five years and no leads.
Their nightmares are stripping them to the bone.

Finally, a break in the case hands them a suspect!

Sheila Harrington appears to have confessed to the horrific murders.

Sheila Harrington also looks set to become the wife of The Governor of New York, Damon Henderson; the man strongly favored to become the next President of The United States of America.

Eminent forensic psychologist Nigel Cantrell is called in to assist the team.

Yet nothing and no one could prepare them for what is to come.
Someone on the inside is deflecting their weary eyes away from an incomprehensible and shattering truth.

Who will be buried in the shattered remains of a country where freedom and honor are treasured above all things?

Just how far will those elected to protect and defend go, to keep the American dream alive?

Purchase ‘Acts Beyond Redemption’ on Amazon.com

 

Acts of Betrayal (Unintended Consequences Book 2)

 

ACTS OF BETRAYAL HENRY KISSINGER

BLURB

In this powerful sequel to Acts Beyond Redemption Nigel Cantrell is back, and he’s out for blood.

One of his team holds on precariously to life, with no guarantees of recovery.

Can those responsible drag him into a nightmare he will struggle to contain?

In a complex dual where oaths taken are forsaken, and promises made are broken beyond repair; he must seek the help of the only people he can trust, people who revere him … and, those that despise him.

Cantrell is efficient and deadly, but even he has ghosts in his past, demons that must be exorcised. And nothing is more demonic than the peril he must now face, as a one man’s maniacal thirst for revenge is uncovered.
A man so enormously powerful, with a hatred so intense, so extreme, that the possible demise of his own species means nothing to him.

He will dispense his revenge as his diseased mind sees fit.

Nigel Cantrell and his team do not have failure as an option.
The fate of their country and beyond now rests in their hands.
Can they prevent the final acts of betrayal?

Purchase ‘Acts Of Betrayal’ on Amazon.com

My non-fiction books are available as follows.

“Empty Chairs” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 1.

Empty Chairs available on Amazon.com

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 2.

“Faint Echoes of Laughter” on Amazon.com

“Still Sassy at Sixty” (Standing Tall and Fighting Back) Book 3. DUE FOR RELEASE OCTOBER 2017.

A very quick personal note. I have been hospitalized this week and just wanted to say a big thank you to the lovely folks that have taken a moment of their precious time and sent me such kind wishes for a speedy recovery. It endorses everything I’ve said about Rave Reviews Book Club being a family. Don’t be concerned my friends, it is a known health issue that caused my trip to ICU. I’m home now and will be back to my cantankerous ol’ self in no time. Hugs to you all. Soooz xo

 Don’t forget to stop in and check out the other tour stops at https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/rrbc-2017-springtime-book-blog-block-party/as the party goes on all month long!

Kangaroo they went thataway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Glimpses Across The Barricades” A Poetry collection in progress. “Unspoken” by S.Burke.

Sword of Damocles

Glimpses Across The Barricades

Unspoken

By

Suzanne Burke.

I thought of you today

When I was least prepared.

I thought I heard you say

Those precious words we’d never shared.

We had no need for talk

When our souls were intertwined.

We shared sweet laughter as we walked

Deep kisses, drugged, like wine…

Distance seemed to matter not,

For time was ours to own.

I recalled … and then forgot

That love should never breathe alone.

The safe harbor of your arms,

Where I could finally, safely, sleep

Led me to believe … that this precious time

Was forever ours to keep.

When did those church bells cease ringing

And spring flowers cease to bloom

When did The Sword of Damocles

Hang waiting in the room.

All those words we’d heard before

Recalled and distrusted …  by their deeds.

We were so wise, we knew, we swore …

Even as we began to bleed.

If those hands of fate should bring you again

Dressed in your armor to my door

Then ‘my knight’ I’ll hold you

and whisper words, I should’ve said before.

‘ti amo’

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“Arrival” Excerpt 2. My work-‘Under Construction’. A Paranormal Thriller.

Hello, and thanks for joining me again. I will be sharing one of my latest projects here with you each week. The installments are brief. I do hope you enjoy them.

If you like what you read, you can catch up with all previous excerpts here:

PREVIOUS EXCERPTS FROM ARRIVAL … HERE

 

ARRIVAL

By

S. Burke

Chapter 1 … Excerpt 2.

MIND CONTROL FOR TO BE CONTINUED PAGE ARRIVAL.

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Chapter 1 … Excerpt 2.

 

 

Diego rested his hand on the Glock, seeking comfort in the unrelentingly cold hardness of the metal.

He checked the CCTV image; uncertain if it were a trick of his mind that permitted him to visualize the shapes that waited there, as friend, and not foe.

Two people stood unmoving, both concealed by the dark hoodies that covered their heads and faces so successfully. The stance of one was tantalizingly familiar; yet Diego’s brain recognized it as an impossibility, even as the thought formed. ‘No … impossible!  No, no, no,  you’re dead’

He clicked the intercom open, and was not surprised when his voice quavered as he spoke, “What?”

“That’s no way to greet an old friend, Chicano!

“Santa Madre de Dios! No! I saw you die.”

The one who had spoken, raised both hands, then, slowly and with long-tapered fingers’, pushed back the hoodie. The perfect features worked themselves into a high-powered smile. “I decided that death was supremely overrated, Chicano! You know how I am when I make up my mind. Now open the fucking door, I need a drink!”

Diego Ortega made his choice, and with a hand that shook, he deactivated the explosive charge, his first-line of defense.  He opened the door; even as he clicked off the safety on the Glock, and stood ready to use it at point blank range if necessary.

“Weapons on the table. Both of you, now!” He said, surprising himself that he could speak at all.

“That’s the first smart thing you’ve said.” The un-hooded one replied, placing another Glock on the table.

“You!” Diego pointed his weapon at the shorter of the two, “The weapon, now!”

The second person slowly moved their right hand, and pulled a gun from beneath the hoodie. It was carefully laid alongside his companions.

Diego placed his gun barely inches from the face of the one he recognized, “The back-up. On the table. Make it fast.”

“Good call! So you do remember?” The left ankle was quickly revealed and a lethal knife was quickly removed from its sheath, to join the guns on the table.

“Hands behind you. Kneel on the floor.”

“You,” he pointed the gun at the second one, “Down.”

The two threats to his sanity were now cuffed. “Tell me what you want. Make it fast.”

“I want a drink, Chicano. You know what I like.”

“Still drinking Buds?” Diego smiled stiffly as he asked.

“I’ve never touched beer in my life. Nice try, Chicano. But no cigar! You disappoint me; I expected your wits to have remained sharper than this. I have my preferred drink of choice in my backpack; unless you happen to have a Twelve-year-old single malt scotch available?”

Diego heard clearly, “That is hardly a secret. You’ll need much more to convince me that you are who you appear to be. Much, more.”

“You whisper ‘Ti Amo’ when you orgasm.”

“I do that with anyone that satisfies me.”

“I’m tired of this bullshit, Chicano! You ask the damned questions. I want a drink while I wait.”

Diego was wavering, but held the gun ready. He racked his memory banks for something unique to his tormentor. “What did your mother say to you just before she died?”

The tormentor glared at him, not speaking, for a long, cold, moment. Then the words erupted like poisonous sores spewing puss.  “She said, ‘You were always the waste of a perfectly good fuck!’ Just before I shot her.”

Diego stood motionless for what felt an eternity, then, with tears pouring from his still disbelieving eyes, he moved behind the visitors and removed the cuffs.

“Querida. Mi amor preciouso!” He pulled the woman into his arms.

She laughed delightedly and kissed him. “Your accent thickens whenever you are passionate or afraid. Which is it now? ”

Diego looked in her green eyes, as his memories threatened to spiral out of control, “A mixture of both, Elizabeth. We need to talk. I have company coming, soon now. We will talk later.”

He turned his attention to her companion once more, “Your name?”

“His name is Javier.”

“Can he not speak for himself, Elizabeth?”

“No … he cannot. The Breed removed his tongue.”

Diego looked at the younger man, “I’m so sorry.”

” Why did they allow him to live? They usually complete the butchering process.”

The woman looked across at the young man. They shared an unspoken moment.

“It will take time to explain, Diego.”The woman looked into his eyes for a long moment. “These people you are expecting … . Do you trust them with our lives, Diego?”

To Be Continued …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Black Dog of Depression … Biting it back! In loving memory of Jamie. He deserves to be remembered.

April 1st 2017:

I have re-posted this to honor the memory of my dear friend ‘Jamie’. The anniversary of his passing is tomorrow. He finally gave up his struggle with life.  The pain is still raw, and all the ‘if only’s’ in this world add to that tally.  This post is confronting … because it needs to be.

depression 1

2016:

I find it hard to believe that 3 years have gone by since I wrote the post that follows.

Can it really have been that long?

Three years to the very day and hour. So much has happened in that time. Yet the same wonderful folks that offered me love and support back then are still in my life. How damned lucky I am.

If the reposting of this helps just one person understand the long term problems of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) then it’s well worth the time.

Here is the original post …

I will update my current situation at its end.

The “Black Dog” of Depression! Biting it Back.

2013:

Fighting back … and biting the ‘Black Dog’ of depression on the Ass. Great title for a blog post. Too easy.

If only it were that simple.

Most of you who have given me the honor of following my life through my books have commented on my strength. I have looked at those comments again and again recently, and I wonder … where is she, that feisty female?

Where did it go, that ‘strength’? Have I lost it? Or was it not strength at all?

Was it more likely my pig-headed determination after all, and not that inner resilience that one can draw on in times of great distress?

You know me well enough by now to know, that rightly or wrongly I have always been my most devastating when threatened.

What the hell happened to that?

There would be no point in even attempting to write this blog entry if I hadn’t decided at the outset to be honest.

Honesty does not always bathe us in an aura of golden light. It can be, and at times must be, clinically cold. It is, and I must be hypercritical of self if the point of the article is to make any sense at all.

So … let’s take a walk together, you and I. Hold my hand, (for I need it) and I’ll guide you through the past five months of my crazy life, in the hope that when we reach today, not only you, but I, will have a greater understanding of depression … and…the self destructive behavior that perpetuates the cycles of darkness when they begin.

This is not a prettied up version of events.

I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my daughter and 11 month old Grandson.

I have not walked out the door of the apartment for 18 weeks.

Where did the Summer go? When did the crisp green leaves of Summer change to the golden hues of Autumn and fall to the fast growing coldness of the ground beneath? When did the neighbor’s children stop playing ball in the parking lot, and shouting delighted cries of challenge from the pool in the warmth and never ending daylight of our Australian Summer? Where the hell did that time go? It’s lost to me now, I can’t recapture it or relive it, I can only mourn its passing.

When did my darling daughter’s face begin to carry that look of worry?

When did I cease to notice or even care that I hadn’t bathed or even brushed my hair in weeks? When did a few glasses of wine once a week or so become anesthesia to wash away my fear?

Blaming my deteriorating health would be convenient. And yes … my health is bad, very bad in fact. BUT … it has been heading this way for a very long time.

I had a choice to take preventative measures, not to cure, because it is not curable, but at the very least to have given me some sense of control over time spans and a measure of comfort. I refused to do so.

Am I weary of being on guard all the time?…Damned straight!

Am I weary of always being perceived as the tough woman that survived so much? Sure I am. But that is the person I chose to be.
I recognize the presence of fear again.

I have tasted the bitterness of it like bile in my mouth many times in my life.

Why now has it’s presence become so devastatingly present? Why at almost 60years of age am I like the small child I once was with no control of her life in a world gone mad?
Fear is a devastating task master, make no mistake. If you allow it the upper hand it will strip the flesh off your bones with no apologies. I am afraid to look in any mirror, for the ravages of time and ill health show me a face that should be serene … but is not.

I am afraid if the food in the cupboard runs down.

I am petrified if the bills mount up and I simply have to wait a week or two to begin clearing them.I am aware of the vulnerability of relying on a pension payable by a government that has no insight into what it feels like to be at their disposal.

I began to isolate.

Again.

I am comfortable in my isolation. That is the deadliness of it. I sit in the early hours of the morning, when my body craves sleep; I sit on the balcony, comforted by the darkness and the lack of necessity to communicate with neighbors who in the daylight hours may have looked up and smiled, or even raised a hand in friendly acknowledgement.

How dare they intrude. How dare they even notice me there? For surely if I sat still and unmoving I ceased to be visible to them … didn’t I?

Caring for my baby Grandson during the day is probably the only thing that gives me any semblance of normality. He demands as much love as I can give.
For my daughter and the little guy that love is and will remain unconditional, but how long can I expect her to watch me slowly self destructing? How long can she tolerate the worry?

My grandson and I spend our days laughing and interacting in play. I am not well enough to take him for walks in the park, or walks anywhere for that matter. Simply walking from my room to the kitchen robs me of breath. Physically I am simply unable to walk far at all. Convenient? Perhaps. Can that change? No. I can’t regain the loss of lung function. But I can and must regain the beginnings of life function.

Other events over the past six months have taken their toll.

Perhaps if everything had not come crashing down at once I would have dealt with it a little better.
Perhaps.
But everything did come at me at once and seemingly out of nowhere and all within a very short space of time.

A long term relationship that I treasured, ended. I hadn’t seen the signs, too caught up with everything else that needed my attention I guess. A poor excuse really, I could and should have seen the warning signs.

I didn’t.

Reason can’t substitute for feeling.

I now have a dear friend still, but no longer my lover.

It took me a while to recognize that the visits were less and less frequent, the phone calls that had once come every day just for the comfort of hearing my voice, suddenly became weekly, and then not at all.

Did I ever tell him that the only time I ever felt truly safe were those times in his arms? The times when I would simply lay there, listening to his breathing and know with absolute certainty that I could fall asleep, safe in the knowledge that he would awaken instantly if I moved. Safe in the knowledge that he would give his own life to protect me if I were under threat.

I miss him.
I shall always miss him.

My writing? What have I written in the past 10 months? Hah! I finished a work of fiction that had been hanging in the back roads of my consciousness for a long time. But it was only one chapter that needed doing.

I wrote 65,000 words of another piece that for reasons that don’t really matter a damn anymore have been relegated to the trash heap. Apart from that… zilch!

Until today.

I need to get this down, I need those of you that have suffered from depression to understand that whilst it is a lonely street you walk…many of us share that same welcome darkness.

Will I come out the other side of this hideous fog? Only time will tell.  Being here cloaked in the darkness of thought, feels safer than coming out of the damned fog and needing to deal with basic day to day necessities, I don’t want to shower for I would then need to look at my body and accept the deterioration.  Even recognizing intellectually what is happening  gives no guarantee that I can act on that recognition and do something about it.

Counseling … thanks but no thanks. It works wonderfully well for many many people and I am thankful for that. It just isn’t for me. I just don’t trust folks enough to go that road again.

I haven’t written a blog piece in six months. Today that stops. I realize that the only way back from the darkness is for me to switch on my inner pilot.
Consider it switched on.

Comment and kick me in the ass if you choose. This is going to take quite some time my friends. The damage runs deep. Hold me in your thoughts, comment as and how you will.

Soooz ain’t dead yet! She just smells that way.

Thanks for reading.

Now an update …

Today is June 29th 2016. I am still here! Color me amazed.

sunrise

I guess I always seem to find some muddle headed way of bouncing back. I think it likely that I am just too pig-headed and stubborn not to.

So where am I at now, where is my life as I sit  in my small office writing this?

I have restructured my life piece by piece in the last few years. I have taken the precious moments and lovingly moved them to the safe place in my mind, and there they remain unsullied by the external world.

I have rejoiced with my child and my grandson.  I have laughed more than I remember doing for such a long time.

I still isolate but not for as long or as often … baby steps.

I pulled my head out of my ass and re-published my books as an indie author after the publishing house that carried my books closed its doors.

I now use a wheelchair and it affords me the opportunity to get out into the daylight and suck in the air, with my loving daughter steering me determinedly from behind.

I have written two new books and have three more in progress.

All positive things.

I dragged myself back from the alcoholic haze and have been dry (Again) for over two years.

I have ceased to have contact with those that would relegate me to the easily dismissed pile in their lives.

I have lost two dear friends to suicide.

I have allowed myself to cry and to mourn.

I consider myself fortunate to have friends who stand by me.

For now … for today … I am happy.

If you know someone that suffers depression, if you suffer it yourself, reach out to those that can inform and assist you and hold true the belief that you are a human being worthy of being loved and respected.

April 1st 2017.

Thank you for making the time to read this post. Jamie deserves to be remembered,

Here are links that may assist you when the darkness threatens…

Beyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Depression Alliance U.K

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Thank you for being here.

BOOK REVIEW: “Subnormal” Book 1 of the ‘Subnormal’ series ‘Great Britain as a Dystopian Society’ by Stuart Kenyon.

book-cover-subnormal-by-stuart-kenyon

SYNOPSIS

Imagine a utopia where every person has a purpose and not a single life is wasted.

Britain has become a hive-like world, with even the weakest and most vulnerable playing their part in the nation’s transformation. Crime is low, employment high.

But all is not quite as it seems. Though the revolution was quiet and bloodless, countless lives have been torn apart before our very eyes. Whilst the silent majority are mysteriously duped into collaboration, dissenters are ignored or punished. Democracy, civil liberties and equality are replaced by corruption, discrimination and segregation.

Paul, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, knows slavery in the Zone is intrinsically unnatural. His first personal rebellion at Industrial Zone Four is crushed and he is forced to suffer alone for years in silence. Until his younger brother, Tommy, is also declared “subnormal” and sent to the Zone following an accident.

Allied with a handful of fellow Zoners and free-thinkers from the outside world, the brothers defy the powers-that-be. Can they beat the odds and restore to the British people a freedom few can remember?

BOOK REVIEW SUBNORMAL by STUART KENYON

MY REVIEW.🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 All it takes to be a classic!

I was recently fortunate enough to hear a radio interview with author Stuart Kenyon. His story,  and what prompted it, fascinated and moved me enough to purchase ‘Subnormal’. I am utterly delighted that I did so.

This is Dark Dystopian fiction at its absolute best. I’ve long held Aldous Huxleys’ ‘Brave New World’, and George Orwell’s classic Nineteen eighty-four ‘1984’, as the benchmark for Dystopian novels, and this book will now be added to that very short list.

Much has been said about the complexities and excellent plot development of ‘Subnormal’ and I agree that they are superbly crafted.

However I was more drawn to the depth of this authors characterizations. Author Stuart Kenyon allows us to absorb his characters, soaking them in like an aged piece of blotting paper, at times leaving us saturated and emotionally flayed.

He has a deep and abiding empathy with those that are wrongly perceived as too different, and therefore deemed as somehow threatening and suspected of being imperfect, or only partially constructed, and accordingly unfit to belong to the inner-sanctum of what is widely perceived as ‘normal’.

Author Stuart Kenyon invites us to feel them sweat; we are there with them as they begin the embryonic stage of defiance. We shake at their confusion, and tremble with their fear, such is his mastery of his chosen craft.

The plot moves ever faster as the ending moves closer. This book left me short of breath. Better yet, it made me think. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s gutsy, and the brilliant plot is terrifyingly possible.

Book 2 the ‘SUBNORMAL’  Great Britain as a Dystopian Society series is waiting, and I’m eagerly looking forward to reading it ‘SUPERNORMAL’

book-cover-stuart-kenyon-supernormal-book-2and Book 3 in the series is “Postnormal” book-cover-stuart-kenyon-postnormal-book-3

PURCHASE SUBNORMAL ON AMAZON.COM

 

BOOK REVIEW: “Waterlilies Over My Grave.” By Patricia A. Guthrie.

Patricia A. Guthrie’s “Waterlilies Over My Grave.” Has been selected by the ‘Rave Reviews Book Club’ as one of their “Books of The Month.” For October 2016.

Before I present my review, let’s learn a little more about Patricia.

patricia-guthrie-bio-pic

Patricia A. Guthrie, author, dog obedience trainer, horse lover and former singer-music teacher started writing seriously after she retired from teaching. After having several short stories published in Skyline Literary Magazine, Pat’s first novel “In the Arms of the Enemy” was released by Light Sword Publishing in September 2007. Tribute to her “ghost writers”: Four feisty collies who help her write at every opportunity.

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Water Lilies Over My Grave” is dedicated to those who have fallen into abusive relationships and have been forced to leave the homes and families they love and start over.

patricia-guthrie-waterlilies-over-my-grave-cover

After a nasty divorce, Psychologist, Annabelle O’Brien moves across country to take a job in the resort town of Lake Nager. Her ex-husband psychotic psychiatrist, Duncan Byrne, follows her with deadly intentions. Her only hope is a burn-out and hostile Detective, Mark Driscoll, who she’s recommended take a mandatory vacation. To the horror of both, he’s assigned to protect her.

After a series of attacks threaten her and two ladies who resemble Annie are murdered, a town is held hostage with fear, and Mark and Annie must work together to catch the killer before he catches them.

Water Lilies Over My Grave is a psychological suspense novel about relationships; good ones, bad ones and obsessive ones.

 MY REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A terrifyingly insightful look at an all too possible scenario.

Psychological suspense thrillers are one of my favorite genres to read.

It is rare however that I’ve found one that hits the mark of damaged people and relationships as well as author Patricia A. Guthrie has done with ‘Waterlilies Over My Grave’

At times, the characterizations and perceptions were so accurate it felt as though I were reading a memoir.

Meet, Psychologist, Annabelle O’Brien. An attractive woman trying desperately to normalize her life after a dreadful and damaging divorce. She moves across country to a small town, seeking peace and hoping to rebuild the remains of her shattered life.

Her ex-husband has revenge on his mind. Nothing short of Annabelle’s death will satisfy his psychotic need for vengeance.  The character of Duncan Byrne is brilliantly drawn. Delusional, narcissistic and sociopathic with years of training as a Psychiatrist under his belt he unleashes the fear in this reader with his every action.

The death of two women in the small community of Lake Nager has the entire town shaken. Small towns are meant to be safe, and these horrendous murders have the townsfolk drawing their shades and staying indoors after dark. The entire township is affected by the fear.

Annabelle needs help! She finds it in the reluctant and burned out detective assigned to investigate the murders. Mark Driscol resents the fact that Annabelle’s (Annie) assessment of him suggested he be forced to take a mandatory break, after he shoots a perpetrator. The guilt associated with the shooting is eating him alive.

The growing attraction between the two central characters doesn’t ease the tension it simply adds more layers to the already beautifully crafted characters.

The deranged ex-husband (Who I keep visualizing as Anthony Hopkins in his Hannibal Lecter portrayal) remains present in every scene, not physically, but the threat of what he’s capable of doing is palpable.

I hate spoilers in reviews, so I’m not about to tell you more of the storyline. What I will tell you is that this gem of a book is worthy of a read, and a re-read to catch some of the subtlety that this author is very apt at writing. Bravo Patricia.A Guthrie. I will be actively seeking out more of your work.

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PURCHASE ON AMAZON HERE

PATRICIA A. GUTHRIE’S AMAZON PAGE

PATRICIA ON TWITTER … @paguthrie1 

PATRICIA ON FACEBOOK

 

 

 

 

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The Black Dog of Depression … Biting it Back.

April 1st 2017:

I have re-posted this to honor the memory of my dear friend ‘Jamie’. The anniversary of his passing is tomorrow. He finally gave up his struggle with life.  The pain is still raw, and all the ‘if only’s’ in this world add to that tally.  This post is confronting … because it needs to be.

depression 1

2016:

I find it hard to believe that 3 years have gone by since I wrote the post that follows.

Can it really have been that long?

Three years to the very day and hour. So much has happened in that time. Yet the same wonderful folks that offered me love and support back then are still in my life. How damned lucky I am.

If the reposting of this helps just one person understand the long term problems of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) then it’s well worth the time.

Here is the original post …

I will update my current situation at its end.

The “Black Dog” of Depression! Biting it Back.

2013:

Fighting back … and biting the ‘Black Dog’ of depression on the Ass. Great title for a blog post. Too easy.

If only it were that simple.

Most of you who have given me the honor of following my life through my books have commented on my strength. I have looked at those comments again and again recently, and I wonder … where is she, that feisty female?

Where did it go, that ‘strength’? Have I lost it? Or was it not strength at all?

Was it more likely my pig-headed determination after all, and not that inner resilience that one can draw on in times of great distress?

You know me well enough by now to know, that rightly or wrongly I have always been my most devastating when threatened.

What the hell happened to that?

There would be no point in even attempting to write this blog entry if I hadn’t decided at the outset to be honest.

Honesty does not always bathe us in an aura of golden light. It can be, and at times must be, clinically cold. It is, and I must be hypercritical of self if the point of the article is to make any sense at all.

So … let’s take a walk together, you and I. Hold my hand, (for I need it) and I’ll guide you through the past five months of my crazy life, in the hope that when we reach today, not only you, but I, will have a greater understanding of depression … and…the self destructive behavior that perpetuates the cycles of darkness when they begin.

This is not a prettied up version of events.

I live in a small two-bedroom apartment with my daughter and 11 month old Grandson.

I have not walked out the door of the apartment for 18 weeks.

Where did the Summer go? When did the crisp green leaves of Summer change to the golden hues of Autumn and fall to the fast growing coldness of the ground beneath? When did the neighbor’s children stop playing ball in the parking lot, and shouting delighted cries of challenge from the pool in the warmth and never ending daylight of our Australian Summer? Where the hell did that time go? It’s lost to me now, I can’t recapture it or relive it, I can only mourn its passing.

When did my darling daughter’s face begin to carry that look of worry?

When did I cease to notice or even care that I hadn’t bathed or even brushed my hair in weeks? When did a few glasses of wine once a week or so become anesthesia to wash away my fear?

Blaming my deteriorating health would be convenient. And yes … my health is bad, very bad in fact. BUT … it has been heading this way for a very long time.

I had a choice to take preventative measures, not to cure, because it is not curable, but at the very least to have given me some sense of control over time spans and a measure of comfort. I refused to do so.

Am I weary of being on guard all the time?…Damned straight!

Am I weary of always being perceived as the tough woman that survived so much? Sure I am. But that is the person I chose to be.
I recognize the presence of fear again.

I have tasted the bitterness of it like bile in my mouth many times in my life.

Why now has it’s presence become so devastatingly present? Why at almost 60years of age am I like the small child I once was with no control of her life in a world gone mad?
Fear is a devastating task master, make no mistake. If you allow it the upper hand it will strip the flesh off your bones with no apologies. I am afraid to look in any mirror, for the ravages of time and ill health show me a face that should be serene … but is not.

I am afraid if the food in the cupboard runs down.

I am petrified if the bills mount up and I simply have to wait a week or two to begin clearing them.I am aware of the vulnerability of relying on a pension payable by a government that has no insight into what it feels like to be at their disposal.

I began to isolate.

Again.

I am comfortable in my isolation. That is the deadliness of it. I sit in the early hours of the morning, when my body craves sleep; I sit on the balcony, comforted by the darkness and the lack of necessity to communicate with neighbors who in the daylight hours may have looked up and smiled, or even raised a hand in friendly acknowledgement.

How dare they intrude. How dare they even notice me there? For surely if I sat still and unmoving I ceased to be visible to them … didn’t I?

Caring for my baby Grandson during the day is probably the only thing that gives me any semblance of normality. He demands as much love as I can give.
For my daughter and the little guy that love is and will remain unconditional, but how long can I expect her to watch me slowly self destructing? How long can she tolerate the worry?

My grandson and I spend our days laughing and interacting in play. I am not well enough to take him for walks in the park, or walks anywhere for that matter. Simply walking from my room to the kitchen robs me of breath. Physically I am simply unable to walk far at all. Convenient? Perhaps. Can that change? No. I can’t regain the loss of lung function. But I can and must regain the beginnings of life function.

Other events over the past six months have taken their toll.

Perhaps if everything had not come crashing down at once I would have dealt with it a little better.
Perhaps.
But everything did come at me at once and seemingly out of nowhere and all within a very short space of time.

A long term relationship that I treasured, ended. I hadn’t seen the signs, too caught up with everything else that needed my attention I guess. A poor excuse really, I could and should have seen the warning signs.

I didn’t.

Reason can’t substitute for feeling.

I now have a dear friend still, but no longer my lover.

It took me a while to recognize that the visits were less and less frequent, the phone calls that had once come every day just for the comfort of hearing my voice, suddenly became weekly, and then not at all.

Did I ever tell him that the only time I ever felt truly safe were those times in his arms? The times when I would simply lay there, listening to his breathing and know with absolute certainty that I could fall asleep, safe in the knowledge that he would awaken instantly if I moved. Safe in the knowledge that he would give his own life to protect me if I were under threat.

I miss him.
I shall always miss him.

My writing? What have I written in the past 10 months? Hah! I finished a work of fiction that had been hanging in the back roads of my consciousness for a long time. But it was only one chapter that needed doing.

I wrote 65,000 words of another piece that for reasons that don’t really matter a damn anymore have been relegated to the trash heap. Apart from that… zilch!

Until today.

I need to get this down, I need those of you that have suffered from depression to understand that whilst it is a lonely street you walk…many of us share that same welcome darkness.

Will I come out the other side of this hideous fog? Only time will tell.  Being here cloaked in the darkness of thought, feels safer than coming out of the damned fog and needing to deal with basic day to day necessities, I don’t want to shower for I would then need to look at my body and accept the deterioration.  Even recognizing intellectually what is happening  gives no guarantee that I can act on that recognition and do something about it.

Counseling … thanks but no thanks. It works wonderfully well for many many people and I am thankful for that. It just isn’t for me. I just don’t trust folks enough to go that road again.

I haven’t written a blog piece in six months. Today that stops. I realize that the only way back from the darkness is for me to switch on my inner pilot.
Consider it switched on.

Comment and kick me in the ass if you choose. This is going to take quite some time my friends. The damage runs deep. Hold me in your thoughts, comment as and how you will.

Soooz ain’t dead yet! She just smells that way.

Thanks for reading.

Now an update …

Today is June 29th 2016. I am still here! Color me amazed.

sunrise

I guess I always seem to find some muddle headed way of bouncing back. I think it likely that I am just too pig-headed and stubborn not to.

So where am I at now, where is my life as I sit  in my small office writing this?

I have restructured my life piece by piece in the last few years. I have taken the precious moments and lovingly moved them to the safe place in my mind, and there they remain unsullied by the external world.

I have rejoiced with my child and my grandson.  I have laughed more than I remember doing for such a long time.

I still isolate but not for as long or as often … baby steps.

I pulled my head out of my ass and re-published my books as an indie author after the publishing house that carried my books closed its doors.

I now use a wheelchair and it affords me the opportunity to get out into the daylight and suck in the air, with my loving daughter steering me determinedly from behind.

I have written two new books and have three more in progress.

All positive things.

I dragged myself back from the alcoholic haze and have been dry (Again) for over two years.

I have ceased to have contact with those that would relegate me to the easily dismissed pile in their lives.

I have lost two dear friends to suicide.

I have allowed myself to cry and to mourn.

I consider myself fortunate to have friends who stand by me.

For now … for today … I am happy.

If you know someone that suffers depression, if you suffer it yourself, reach out to those that can inform and assist you and hold true the belief that you are a human being worthy of being loved and respected.

April 1st 2017.

Thank you for making the time to read this post. Jamie deserves to be remembered,

Here are links that may assist you when the darkness threatens…

Beyond Blue Australia. Information and help

Depression Alliance U.K

Anxiety and Depression Assistance America

Thank you for being here.

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