Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Story by Doug Dahlgren, Author and Radio Talk Show Host

Many thanks to Doug Dahlgren, author The Son Series and host on The Doug Dahlgren Show on ArtistFirst Radio for sharing this Halloween story with us.
The Walk Home
© Doug Dahlgren
The question was less than a whisper.
 “Did you hear that?”
“No,” the younger girl shot back.
“What do you mean, no?” Her sister bristled, eyes glued to the edges of the road, “You had to have heard it.”
“No… I didn’t,” Julie looked only at her feet, clenched fists pumped at her sides. She had indeed heard the sound, whatever it was, but would not allow herself to admit it. “Just keep moving,” she yelled, her defiance of the situation reflected in her tone.
“Well… keep up then,” Elizabeth commanded. Being six years older than her sister, she felt responsible for her. Thirteen was the outer edge of grown-up, yet in her heart, she was still only a child. She’d known better than to wait so long to head home. Dad said to “leave before dark,” but they were both having such a good time at the party. The walk home would, only be a few minutes, she had convinced herself. In reality, it would take half an hour at least.
Rounding the curve of the road, they left any light from the party behind them. They were only seven-tenths of a mile from home, but there was nothing in between. Massive clouds hid what moon there was and the darkness was more than she had counted on. Should have listened to Dad, she thought.
It had been Dad’s idea to move to the country. They came just last spring and had enjoyed the summer in the clean air and open spaces. The people were nice, but they lived what now seemed like great distances from each other. Elizabeth’s friend, Mary Lou, had thrown the party. They had walked to and from her house many times, just not at night. And this night was dark.
There were no street lights or traffic for that matter. A passing car would be nice right now, Elizabeth told herself. But they were very alone.
Julie was afraid, Elizabeth could tell, but her sister would not let on. That included not admitting hearing the noise. Then there it was again, standing out against the other sounds of the night. She turned and caught Julie looking to her, but for only a second.
The sky or something in it was moving above them. Clouds perhaps, but the dark hid all except that feeling of motion. The wind blew in bursts that raked the ground on either side of the road with low hanging tree branches. Those limbs, though nearly bare, still swung across the tall grass and weeds before touching the dirt. The creaking wood of the tree branches was audible over the whoosh of the grasses. Yet the noise, that awful noise stalking them, rose above it all.
“Stay up with me, Julie. I heard it again and it’s closer.”
“No,” the little sister said, stomping her foot as she walked. “I don’t hear anything.” She sped up and reached out to grasp Elizabeth’s coat. “Are we close, yet?”
“I think so…”Elizabeth tried to be assuring, “I can’t see much. It’s really dark.”
“That I know,” Julie snapped back, her shell cracking just a bit. Julie loved her sister and trusted her above anyone. But she just couldn’t bring herself to say so. Unconsciously she tried her best to play counter to Elizabeth’s demeanor and that meant being perceived as “mean” from time to time. Though in her heart, she was anything but that.
The unnerving sound happened again. Elizabeth could not tell what it was or from where it was coming. A crackling noise that came in sets of two or three repetitions, then stopped. The older sister looked back towards the sound but saw only dark. A chill ran down her back as she looked forward again. Julie had pulled ahead of her and was walking faster.
“Still don’t hear it?” Elizabeth asked again.
“No,” came the defiant reply. “I told you, no.” Julie’s fists were in knots and she now held them up near her waist as she walked. Elizabeth could see through her sister’s pretenses most times and she clearly understood the fear in Julie’s voice.
The dirt road seemed to stretch forever in the dark. There were no other houses along this road, no porches, or porch lamps, nothing but darkness. Elizabeth tried not to look to either side very often. Old dry fields lay on the right side with waist-high grass that bent at the top when the wind wasn’t whipping it. A few oaks and maples lined that side and it was those limbs that could touch the ground when stirred.
 The left side had been a pecan orchard but the trees were mostly old and in bad shape. It was those gusts of wind through the orchard that would catch her attention and make her look in spite of her efforts not to, but that was not “the sound.”
 They pushed on, looking straight ahead and staying quiet as much as they could.
But staying quiet was not one of Julie’s best attributes. “Are you sure we haven’t passed the house?” she challenged.
Elizabeth looked at her with amazement and disgust, “No, silly. We have not passed the house.” I don’t think, she finished internally to herself.
The noise came again, closer still this time, sets of two and then a set of three. The last set being the loudest one. It was closer. Something was following them in the dark. The girls instinctively began to run.
“Liz-beth!” Julie cried out as she reached for her sister’s hand. Her big sister grabbed Julie’s hand and pulled her along as she ran. The noise seemed to speed up with them and got louder. But then it stopped.
They ran for several minutes, breathing hard and fighting back tears. They ran until they could not run any more. Slowing down but still moving, Elizabeth braced herself for the thing following them to catch up at any moment.
But the noise was not there. It had stopped back down the road. We must press on and get home, Elizabeth thought.
The older sister took a deep breath and jerked on Julie’s arm.
“Hey,” the younger complained. “Don’t pull on me like that.”
 But pull she did and within another minute they crested over a rise in the roadway and saw the lights. It was their house. All bright and shiny and Daddy was standing on the porch with a flashlight.
“Dad,” Elizabeth hollered.
Their father jumped from the porch and ran towards them. “Where have you two been?” he asked. “You should have been home twenty minutes ago.”
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” Elizabeth said, breathing in hard, deep breaths. “It’s my fault, I know.” She looked at Julie who was staring back down the road, back into the dark where the noise had been. “Do you hear it, now?” Elizabeth asked her.
“Hear what?” her father asked as he shined the flashlight into the darkness.
“Something followed us.” Then she added, “Julie was scared.”
“Was not…” The younger insisted and cocked her head to one side. “I didn’t even hear anything... it was you who was scared.”
Elizabeth shrugged her shoulders in disbelief. Her father took them both by the hand and led them up on the porch. That’s when they all heard it.
The noise crackled through the grass and became rhythmic and steady. It grew louder and faster as it came nearer.
“Eeeeck,” Julie screamed and jumped into her father’s arms. “That’s it, that’s it.”
Elizabeth looked at her, stunned by the acknowledgement. Taking her father’s flashlight, she turned to look toward the darkness and the noise. Her light shone high at first. In her mind the offending creature had to be big. But as it obviously came nearer she pointed the beam lower. And there it was.
A figure low, long, and sleek emerged from the edge of the field along the road. It began to leap in huge strides.
“Come here, Susie.” Elizabeth’s father called out behind her.
“Susie?” Elizabeth repeated with her mouth hanging open.
The family’s black lab took three more big jumps and was on the porch. She rubbed up against the father and then Elizabeth before approaching Julie with her tail wagging at full speed. Julie had nothing to say. Her eyes were wide but displayed no thought behind them. Her mouth, normally in gear, now hung open without a sound.
“She left right after you guys did earlier,” their father told them. “Guess she just followed you there…and then home.” He laughed under his breath and pulled the door open.
“I knew it was Susie all along.” Julie declared, having recovered from her stupor.
Elizabeth didn’t say a word that time. She fell to her knees and hugged her dog’s neck. Susie offered a huge kiss and Elizabeth could feel her own heart slowing down to normal.
They went inside where Mom had hot chocolate ready for the after the Halloween party celebration. 
Happy Halloween!

       Doug Dahlgren


About the author:



Doug Dahlgren is a familiar face to Book Talk. You can learn more about this amazing man, who writes political thrillers and promotes authors with his talk show on ArtistFirst Radio Network, by checking out two earlier posts on this blog.  If you are an author and would like to be featured on The Doug Dahlgren Show contact him via e-mail at .




Author Web     Amazon     The Doug Dahlgren Show 


Earlier Posts:


Monday, May 28, 2012  Doug Dahlgren "The Son: Silas Rising"


Monday, May 19, 2014  The Doug Dahlgren Show on ArtistFirst Radio Network - An Author Interview Site Hosted by Doug Dahlgren Monday Nights at 7PM


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Martha Conway "Thieving Forest"

Thieving Forest is available as a print and e-book at
"Conway's historical novel features prose as rich as its characters ... hypnotic." —Kirkus Reviews


About the book:

When a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin in June 1806 at the edge of Ohio’s Great Black Swamp, seventeen year old Susanna Quiner is the only left to rescue them. Thieving Forest is the story of her quest to find her sisters, and the parallel story of her sisters' new lives. All five sisters change so much in the five months that they are almost unrecognizable from the young women who argued over petty things on the morning of the kidnapping.

Thieving Forest follows five pioneer women and one man as they contend with starvation, slavery, betrayal, and love. It paints a startling new picture of life in frontier Ohio with its mix of European and Native American communities, along with compelling descriptions of their daily lives. Fast-paced, richly detailed, with a panoramic view of cultures and people, this is a story of a bygone era sure to enthrall and delight.

Paperback: 416 pages  (also available in e-format)
Publisher: Noontime  Books (August 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0991618505
ISBN-13: 978-0991618507

About the author:

Martha Conway

Martha Conway is the author of Thieving Forest and 12 Bliss Street, which was nominated for an Edgar Award. Her short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, The Mississippi Review, Folio, Epoch, and other journals. She is the recipient of a California Arts Council fellowship, and has taught fiction at UC Berkeley Extension and the Online Writers Studio at Stanford University. Born and raised in Ohio, she is one of seven sisters. She currently lives in San Francisco.

In Martha's Words:

Top Three Writing Tips

1. Make writing a habit. Doesn’t matter if it’s every day or certain days, but make a schedule and stick to it.

2. Find a group (or even one reader) that you trust, and regularly meet to discuss your work.

3. Take chances. You can always delete.

Learn more about Martha Conway on The Muffin. This post is part of the author's blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing and continues all month long. Check her scheduled stops by clicking here and scroll down the page.

Links:  Author Web        FaceBook            Twitter @marthamconway

               GoodReads            Amazon          Amazon Author Page       Pinterest

Monday, September 8, 2014

Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake: An Anthology. Spooky, Strange, and Haunting Tales In A Fictional Georgia Mountain Town

Buy On Kindle
 The Perfect Halloween Read!
An anthology of spooky, strange and haunting tales set in a fictional Georgia mountain town featuring the appearance of a ghost ship on Spirit Lake.

Gilded Dragonfly Books challenged nine great authors to write Halloween stories with a fictional setting for this anthology. The authors brain-stormed and came up with Spirit Lake in North Georgia, a quiet, quaint little town that hunkers on the shore of a lake with the same name. The unspoiled lake offers water sports and other entertainment, but hasn’t become commercialized to the point of being overcrowded or gaudy. Nice friendly people share Southern hospitality and friendship. Only this Halloween, the town’s favorite holiday, things happen to test the mettle of Spirit Lake’s residents. 

No two witnesses will give the same details of any incident, and none of our nine authors tell the tale the same way. In this anthology the authors share their versions of what happened, so sit back and enjoy each tale, and decide which one you would rather be caught up in this Halloween. 

Editors Mary Marvella, Melba Moon, and Jackie Rod hope you enjoy these stories.

Melba Moon, Mary Marvella, Jackie Rod, Jodi Vaughn, Georgiana Fields, Carol Ansardi, Nan Monroe, Yasmin Bakhtiari, and John Robinson. 

Authors and name of their story below. A few photos borrowed from Facebook.

Haunting Tales of Spirit Lake is rocking in the Kindle Store
Link here to buy your copy.
Mary Marvella, Editor for Gilded Dragonfly Books 
Author of Vivian's Secret Desire
Jackie Rod, Author of True Self
 Jodi Vaughn, Author of Stolen Voices
Carol Ansardi, Author End Of The World Bar
Melba Moon, Author The Third Princess Of The Inola
Georgiana Field, Author A Captain's Tale
Nan Monroe, Author Sybilla Disante And The Sepia World
Yasmin Bakhtiari, Author Mo Cuishle, Chuisle Mo Chroi, Pulse of My Heart
John Robinson, Author Best-Laid Plans
The perfect spooky gift for your friends for Halloween and a good read before you pull the covers over your head at night in bed! As always, please leave a review on Amazon if you loved this book!


Monday, August 4, 2014

Joseph M. Rinaldo, author Valerie's Retreat


Peek inside on Amazon!
About the book:
Trying to find happiness they happen to commit a little crime - make that a little felony, and dash out of the country. Now they're happy - mostly.


Valerie, a 40-ish Head Teller at a bank, has met Franco, 16 years younger and studying for a doctorate in archaeology. He is stunned yet eager to begin a relationship with this attractive "cougar", and they become lovers. Their lives begin to unravel when Valerie's female bisexual boss makes advances (and threats) toward Valerie and Franco is accused of the theft of an Incan artifact from a museum where he has been working part-time. Frustrated, under surveillance by the FBI, and seeing no way out of their dilemma, they decide to steal money from Valerie's bank and flee the country. They go to Peru to start a new life, but they find there the same type of corruption and threats. How can they escape their nightmares and make their dreams come true?
With a large cast of characters; two richly detailed descriptive settings; an intriguing look into the workings of the banking industry and the archeology field; riveting international political drama; and a steamy sex filled romance added into the mix, Valerie's Retreat takes the reader on one hell of a thrilling roller coaster ride that romantic thriller fans will appreciate. . . . Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Meet the author:
Joseph Rinaldo
Born in Illinois, I nevertheless spent most of my formative years in Kentucky. I attended The Ohio State University and am an avid Buckeyes fan. I currently work in finance, am married, and am the father of a wonderful young woman with Down syndrome.

I have written four novels that have been published. A Spy At Home, Hazardous Choices, A Mormon Massacre, and my newest release, Valerie's Retreat are currently available on Amazon.

The protagonist in Valerie's Retreat runs off with a man sixteen years her junior. My wife is sixteen years my senior, so many of our triumphs and trials have made their way into this book. Our relationship provided a good foundation for the two main characters’ lives together. The way his and her friends react to their age disparity also derives, at least in part, from my own experience.

For approximately one year I labored as a Head Teller at a bank. This employment history enabled me to create a believable bank robbery. The theft described in Valerie's Retreat is easy to conceive and execute, but leaves a very clear path to the perpetrator. That is why the characters had to immediately run. 

Valerie doesn't consider herself a "Cougar". Franco, her boyfriend, happened to attend the same church singles dance on the same night. They talked, talked some more, went on a date, and presto- they're boyfriend/girlfriend. That's how it happened with my wife and me. "Cougar" makes the women dating younger men seem somewhat predatory. That isn't the case at all with Valerie or my wife. For the record, my wife never considered robbing a bank either. Well, maybe considered, but never planned it out.
Pinterest      Twitter @jmrinaldo   


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Voices of the Sea by Bethany Masone Harar

 Available on Amazon and Kindle
The Perfect Young Adult Novel For Your Teen - But You Will Love It Too!
On Monday, July 28, Bethany Masone Harar kicked off her blog tour with WOW! Women On Writing on The Muffin. Read her wonderful interview there and check out the schedule of all her stops on this very special blog tour.  Book give-a-ways, interviews, a dog story, and more are featured along the way. Link here to go to The Muffin.


About The Book:

The Sirens of Pacific Grove, California are being exterminated, and seventeen-year-old Loralei Reines is their next target. Lora may look like a normal teenager, but her voice has the power to enchant and hypnotize men. Like the other Sirens in her clan, however, she keeps her true identity a secret to protect their species.
Lora's birthright as the next clan leader seems far off, until the Sons of Orpheus, a vicious cult determined to kill all Sirens on Earth, begin exterminating her people. When an unexpected tragedy occurs, Lora must take her place as Guardian of the Clan. 

Lora is determined to gain control of her skills to help her clan, but they are developing too slowly, until she meets Ryan, a human boy. When Ryan is near, Lora's abilities strengthen. She knows she shouldn't be with a human. Yet, she can't resist her attraction to him, or the surge in power she feels whenever they're together. 

And the Sirens are running out of time. If Lora can't unlock the secret to defeat the Sons of Orpheus, she, along with everyone she loves, will be annihilated.

Voices of the Sea includes a rich history of Sirens. Mythology and modern life come together in this beautifully written book that draws the reader in from the first chapter.
About The Author:

Bethany Masone Harar

Bethany Masone Harar graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English from James Madison University and a Masters in Secondary English Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has enjoyed teaching high school English ever since. As a teacher, Bethany is able to connect with the very audience for whom she writes, and this connection gives her insight into their interests. As a writer, she wants to make her readers gasp out loud, sigh with longing and identify with her characters.
Bethany also enjoys posting on her blog,, is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and is an avid follower of literary-driven social media.
She resides in Northern Virginia with her husband, two beautiful children, and her miniature poodle, Annie.


Author's Web

Author's Blog

Twitter: @bethhararwrites


Buy On Amazon

Barnes and Noble


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Have A Dog That Rules?" Writer With Dogs" Blog Wants To Share Your Story

Visit "Writer With Dogs" and find authors with great dog stories to share. If you are a writer and have a dog story I'd love to feature you on the blog!

I am blog crazy. Those who know me know I have way too many blogs! 

I also love to promote other writers, as I do here on Book Talk.

But I have my favorite blog that is all about dogs and have started something new on it.

My "Writer With Dogs" blog was started in 2010 and has hosted many rescue dog sites, dog stories, contests, and book reviews. This week I decided to change the format and revamped its look. I want to feature authors who have a dog in their book, live with a dog that rules at home, and others who have great dog stories to share.

I think this will be a lot of fun. Especially for me - the gal with six dogs! I love a book with a dog on the cover, a dog as a character in the book, and if you've rescued a dog  . . . . you know . . .
Please share the word with all your dog-loving friends. I am looking for authors who would like to be featured on "Writer With Dogs" blog. Check it out by linking here.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Grateful for Everything by Skip Johnson

Buy  - or peek inside to read an excerpt on Amazon

About the book:

We’ve all felt grateful for something in our lives. But what about feeling in some way grateful for everything that happens to us—whether good, bad, tragically unexpected or carefully planned? 

That’s the premise of Skip Johnson’s insightful guide, Grateful for Everything: Learning, Living, and Loving the Great Game of Life. Johnson’s book opens readers’ eyes to the possibility of finding peace, harmony and fulfillment through the simple, yet challenging, task of being thankful for everything in our lives.  

Drawing on his own experiences as a competitive tennis player and Master Pro, coach and business owner, Skip Johnson has mastered the art of “living and loving the great game of life.” He’s faced some tough challenges, but learned to embrace not only the harmonious times in life but also the ones that made him feel disappointed, worried and even grief-stricken. 

“This book is not a way to learn to be ‘happy’ about whatever happens to your life,” Johnson explains. “What we will explore is how to take the hand that we have been dealt, develop steps to become grateful for the lessons to be learned, and then begin to weave it all into a mosaic of life that resembles more of a great game to play, instead of a mire to be trudged through on a daily basis.” 

Johnson does not promise that difficult times will go away or that “hot emotions,” such as anger, frustration and fear, will disappear. What he does propose is that putting Grateful for Everything into action will create empowering tools to help people deal with these emotions.

Seven Lessons to be Learned from Reading
Grateful for Everything:
Learning, Living and Loving the Great Game of Life 

·       How to successfully see the game in life, as opposed to seeing life as a daily battle we must endure.
·     How developing a spirit of gratitude can open doors you never thought possible and allow you to make a difference in your community.
·    Which personality traits are keys to success and which are landmines to avoid in your journey.
·    Which types of words reinforce your optimistic view of the world.
·    Why some people have a powerful and attractive presence—and how you can too.
·    How to feel more fulfilled by using your gifts to help others feel more fulfilled.
·    How to “put it all together” in a way that is easy and effective.
About the author:
Skip Johnson


Skip Johnson is a Master Tennis Professional, a designation which less than 1% of 16,000 USPTA tennis pros in the world have earned. Johnson is also the VP of Operations for Gold’s Gym, a small chain of world championship, award-winning health clubs.

Johnson grew up in Carrollton, Ga., and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of West Georgia, where he received a variety of accolades, including conference tennis champion in singles and doubles.
He is also the founder of Georgia Tennis Workshops, which is the longest-running, independent, annual, high school tennis coaches’ workshop in the United States. Johnson has spoken to audiences throughout the country, from New York to California to Florida. Articles by and about him have also been published in more than 20 magazines focusing on tennis instruction, fitness and motivational topics. 
Johnson is a former Georgia Tennis Professional of the Year, a winner of the Georgia and Southern Tennis Association’s Educational Merit Awards, and one of the few recipients to ever be given the Golden Racquet Awards for tennis excellence and service by the USTA Southern and Georgia Chapters.
He lives in suburban Atlanta with his wife and four daughters. When not writing, speaking or playing "the great game of health club business," Johnson loves to read about and travel to new communities, cities and countries in search of different cultures, great experiences and amazing places to eat!
 What they are saying about the book: 

"This book makes you open your eyes on everything. Skip shares his wisdom and how we should be thankful for even the small things."

"This book can change your life, it's a MUST will help make sense of today's pressure packed world!"

"It's a amazing book about how to play the game of life."