Category Archives: Friday Ramblings

14 years….and it still seems surreal.

So, 14 years ago, I was sitting on the couch with my daughter, who had turned 4 months old that day. I turned on the news as I usually did and was immediately horrified by what I was seeing in front of me.

I tuned in after the first plane hit the World Trade Centre but before the second and I watched with terrible fear as that plane hit. I’ll be honest, the first thing I did was call my dad. Why? Because a few months before we had both read a Tom Clancy novel about a plane being flown into the Capitol Building and I was in such shock. I said “Dad, someone was reading that damn book.”

I never moved from in front of my TV that day. When the news came in from Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, I looked at my girl and wondered exactly what kind of world I had brought her into. And I cried, a lot. My whole family was nervous and scared and we called my brother, who was on his honeymoon in Washington state to get his ass home.

Over the next few days, we all watched as they desperately searched for someone (please God anyone) to be found in the rubble, but in the end, there were very few survivors after the fall.

Driving past the airport over the next couple of days was eerie, with all those planes sitting there and nothing coming and going. It made me wonder if the end of the world was coming far sooner than I ever thought possible.

At the fire hall in town the flag flew at half mast and the American Flag was up in the window for months afterward in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the US, and it brought tears to my eyes every time I saw it.

Did I mention that I’m Canadian? I live in the middle of the prairies. I couldn’t be much farther from New York City and still be on the same continent. But for a few months after September 11th, the whole world was brought closer as we reached out to help in any way that we could. As the flights landed and planes were grounded, stranded people were welcomed by small towns and big cities. Folks opened their homes and their hearts and their wallets and we all did our best in a situation that never occurred to us we could be in. Everyone thought that something so terrible could never happen in the United States. It was a false sense of security for so many people who not only live in the US but who depend on it’s seeming strength for reassurance.

I bought the People Magazine that came out a few weeks later and I still have it. My daughter took it to school a few years ago when they were discussing what happened in class. The photos seem like movies stills and the kids who look at them really can’t understand the scope of what happened and what was lost that day. So many lives were snuffed out for no reason that will ever make sense. We also lost our innocence that day. We believed that here in the western world that we were safe and protected here but if it can happen in NY it can happen anywhere.

Anyway, this post is just my thoughts and memories about what happened that day. I will never forget those people who died. The ones in the buildings and the planes. The ones who ran from danger and escaped and the police and firefighters who ran into danger and didn’t.

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Pride history, NHTD and all the news that is the news and a fic rec.

So, I’m trying to get better at blogging more so here I go.

First things first. South of me, in the US it’s National HIV Testing Day. It’s one of many ideas put into place to encourage everyone to know their status. I would like to point out that this is something that everyone should be aware of, not just the members of the gay community.

I know too many straight men and women who still think after 30 years of horror and education that they can’t get infected because they aren’t gay. It’s a stupid and arrogant way of thinking and it terrifies me that my daughter is growing up in a world where this kind of thinking still exists.

If you’re sexually active, it’s your responsibility to make sure you know your status and seriously people, it takes so little time to find out. There is a wealth of information out there on the internet about where to get checked and where to find help if the worst outcome is revealed. Show yourself and the people you care about some respect.

A couple more things while I’m on my soapbox. 45 years ago, on June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Riots broke out in NYC. People pushed too far finally pushed back and it was the very violent beginning of a whole community of people finally standing up for themselves. Today Pride is a time for celebrating how far we’ve come with equal rights, remembering those people who have fought for the rights of the LGTBQ community in the past and thinking about how far there still is to go. This weekend there are huge Pride events going on in NYC as well as many other cities across the country. In Toronto they are celebrating with World Pride and I wish I was there! If you’ve never been to Pride, go and check it out for yourself. It’s an amazing journey and if you let yourself see all the joy and love there, it will make you a different person. You can check out more on the Stonewall Riots here: http://www.thestonewallinnnyc.com/StonewallInnNYC/HISTORY.html

And if you’re still wondering why the issue of equality is important to me, I’d like to draw your attention to another, darker anniversary this week. On June 24th 1973, 32 members of the gay community lost their lives in the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans. While the best suspect was a patron who’d been thrown out earlier in the night, no one was ever charged and authorities made it perfectly clear that no one was really interested in solving the case. After all, no one important died. Yes, that was the attitude. It’s horrific and I’d like to think that it would be so different today but there is places where it wouldn’t be. Check out this article here for more information: http://www.back2stonewall.com/2014/06/june-24th-1973-orleans-upstairs-lounge-arson-attack-kills-32-people.html

So,I’m done with my soapbox now. If you’re still reading then here’s some more news that’s just all about me!

On July 1st my novel, All the Things I Didn’t See is being released in Italian by Dreamspinner Press. I am so excited about this! It’s already out in Spanish and I love that this is opening up my story to a whole new audience. I’m getting some amazing feedback already and I’m in a little bit of shock over the whole thing. If you’re interested, you can pre-order it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5234 I love the translated title Tutto quello che non vedevo. I wanna hear someone say it in Italian….

Other than that, my shifter story is coming along and I’m very happy about it. My inspiration seems to have found me again and I can’t wait to get this finished.

Now, for a fic rec…

This time I’m reccing The Colors of Romance by Ashavan Doyon. It’s a wonderful story about a young man who’s decided that love isn’t for him…only to have his world turned upside down by a secret admirer. I loved the romance of this story and the determination of the secret admirer to make Theo happy. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you guessing and make you smile you need to check this out. It’s available here at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4670 I encourage you to buy it there if you can because we authors get the most royalties from our publishers. Of course it’s available at Amazon and ARE as well.

And of course, you can get all my books at Dreamspinner here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_454

They are available at Amazon and ARE as well.

And here’s a photograph taken by a friend of mine. His sunsets are amazing and they always take me to another place….
tywallpaper10

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Pride, small towns and random thoughts….and a fic rec

Did you ever feel like your brain is running away without you? I have so much to think about these days but can’t seem to concentrate on anything and some days I’m honestly sure I’m losing my mind. But I haven’t blogged in too long so lets see if I can come up with something that makes sense.

I’m still overwhelmed with the success of Wrapped Up in Chains and I keep going and checking the sales just to make sure I didn’t imagine it all. I keep thinking that if you would have told me 5 years ago when I wrote my first fanfiction that one day I would not only be a published author but that I would have this kind of success, I would have though YOU were the crazy one.

I’m still working on my Shifter story. I need to come up with a name for the damn thing. I’ve been bouncing some ideas off some very patient friends of mine (thanks Ash and Lisa)but so far nothing has really stuck for me.

I am the worst at coming up with titles and character names. My daughter actually came up with the names of the main characters in Wrapped and I couldn’t have been more grateful. For me it’s sort of like chosing a present for someone. It has to jump out at me and say “yeah, this is meant to be” before I’m happy with it. I will keep thinking about it I guess, but I’d really like a title. I think it makes it more real for me and inspires me to finish the story more.

Hey, I never claimed to be the most logical thinker in the world.

What else is new? Well, Pride is coming up in a few weeks. As some of you know, I went to my first Pride last year and I was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing. I will hold those memories in my heart forever. I have never been anyplace where I was surrounded by such a feeling of joy and goodwill in my life. Strangers stopped me on the street to ask if I was having a good time, their smiles brighter than the sun and it was so amazing to see everyone’s happiness.

I’m hoping to take Meghan with me this year. The parade in Edmonton is family friendly and I think it’s something she will enjoy. With the help of her dad, Scott, I’m raising my girl to believe in equality for everyone and I’m proud to say she’s off to an excellent start. I want her to experience those feelings that I had last year, surrounded by the LGBT community and their friends, family and supporters. I want her to live in a different world than I grew up in when it comes to equality and I’m hoping she will be one of the people who helps change it.

Someday I’d like to attend Pride in San Francisco or New York…one of those bucket list kind of dreams…

Other than that, there’s nothing too exciting going on around here. It’s Devon Days this weekend and I’m looking forward to fireworks, a small town parade (I always cry when the bagpipers go by) and mini-donuts. Devon Days is something I’ve rarely missed since my first one in the mid-80’s, even when I didn’t live here. The fireworks are Friday night and you can be guaranteed that we all spend the day wondering if it’s going to rain or not because Mother Nature seems to love to mess with our little celebration.

Saturday morning is the parade and my family has had the same spot on main street staked out for the past 15 years. We all gather there with our coffees and lawn chairs to cheer on whichever kids are participating in the parade that year. At the end of the parade we all make sure we have money to drop into the boots the volunteer firefighters are walking around with, raising money for Muscular Dystrophy before wandering through the fair, watching the kids on the rides and enjoying our yearly treat of mini-donuts.

Except for 3 years ago when it snowed…but that made it memorable too.

It’s about as small town as it comes and some of my best memories of this place I live in revolve around Devon Days.

So there you go. The place I live is about 20 minutes from Edmonton, so I get to enjoy the safety and comfort of living somewhere I’m not afraid to let my daughter walk around on her own, but I’m close enough to partake of some of the best parts of the city as well.

Wow, I’m kinda random today, huh? I told you my brain is on overdrive.

Anyway, be on the lookout for a more focused blog a little closer to Pride. I’m gonna be reminding you all of the reasons I support equality and how you can do your part as well.

And now for my fic rec.

It’s actually a series that I want to rec to you today. The Guards of Folsom series by SJD Peterson is one I’ve fallen totally in love with. There are 4 books and a short side story in the series and I’m hoping for at least a few more. This author’s characters are smart, well-developed and compelling, drawing you in and never letting you go from beginning to end. Be warned if you’re considering it though, it revolves around the sub/Dom world and won’t be for everyone. But the books are brilliantly written and I’m betting you fall in love with every single character.

You can find it here at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=796 and you can also find them at Amazon, although I encourage you to buy from Dreamspinner as that means more money for authors.

And of course, you can find Wrapped Up in Chains and all my stories at Dreamspinner here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_454 and at Amazon as well.

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It has recently come to my attention….and a fic rec…

I just figured out that I may possibly have too much to do. It might be something I should have figured out a while ago, but I’m always a little behind.

I’m working on my shifter story (yes, Steve, Jen, Mom, Ty, Deanna and anyone else who’s waiting) and it’s coming along nicely plus I have a fandom thing on the go. All other writing has been put on the back burner for the moment because I only have so much writing time to go around.

I also recently volunteered to do some book reviews for a review blog run by a couple of friends of mine. Reviewing a book required reading it and while it’s a hardship (I can’t even type that with a straight face) I’m really enjoying the process. I think trying to figure out what to say about a story is helping me with my descriptive skills. Knowing that you like or don’t like a story and explaining why to someone else is two totally different things and as a writer who knows what it’s like to get bad reviews, I struggle to be critical and constructive at the same time. Saying “this story sucked” doesn’t really explain to people what the problem is.

I also hope that the people who wrote the stories I’m reviewing remember that my opinion is just that; my opinion. They shouldn’t take it as gospel and I hope they remember the good reviews they get as well. I never set out to deliberately hurt someone’s feelings, but I know it’s probably happening and I am sorry about that. My advice to any writer is don’t take the reviews too seriously. You’ll drive yourself insane that way. Also, I’ll remember those death threats…kidding, just kidding.

Also coming up? Two stories that I’m going to be editing…at the same time. Breaking Cupid’s Curse will be appearing in the Conversation Hearts Valentine Anthology coming in February and Wrapped Up in Chains is coming from Dreamspinner Press in April. I’m preparing to feel extra stupid as the mistakes I made are pointed out to me by not one, but two editors whom I’m sure will be shaking their heads and questioning the decision to publish me. Plus there is a cover for Wrapped Up in Chains that I have to decide on and I’m hoping my handsome friend really will pose for it. I have a feeling those eyes of his will sell a lot of books for me.

Plus Christmas is coming. Tomorrow we will be celebrating early with my sister and her kids because they are off to Disneyworld on the 20th. I’m not jealous of the whole amusement park thing. Standing in line for hours and scary rides aren’t my thing. But as I look out the window at the sidewalks that need to be shoveled and the weather forecast that doesn’t seem to get up over -15c, I am a little jealous of the warmer weather they are going to be enjoying. I know my oldest niece is totally looking forward to wearing a bikini in December.

Christmas is going to be quiet around here this year as all the family and long-time family friends who celebrate with us Christmas Eve are off with other parts of their family this year. My girl is going to be the only grandchild who will there for Christmas dinner and she’s planning on going to Uncle Steve’s in her pajamas Christmas morning so her and Aunty Jen can have a relaxing sort of day.

So, that’s what’s going on with me. And that’s not even all the stuff with my two jobs and you know, when I write it all down sometimes, it’s a little overwhelming! I can totally see how writers got the reputation for being alcoholics!

Oh, and just little reminder that there are a lot of young people out there who will be spending Christmas in less than ideal circumstances. If you can, please look into a charity in your community that helps homeless youth and help make their Christmas a little brighter. And please make sure it isn’t a charity that deliberately excludes LGBT kids. There’s more of them out there than you might think. You will never find me dropping another dime into a Salvation Army bucket ever again.

Now for my fic rec. Trusting Thomas is a wonderful story by KC Wells about a young man who needs to be rescued in more ways that one and the man who saves him. I love how the trust between the two characters takes time to build honestly and all the characters are very well written. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this authors “Collars and Cuffs” series.

Get it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4251

Or here: http://www.amazon.com/Trusting-Thomas-Collars-Cuffs-Wells-ebook/dp/B00FOGBM0M/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386947457&sr=1-2&keywords=trusting+thomas

And of course I’d be a poor writer if I didn’t give you my links: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Cindy%20Sutherland&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_454

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Life is full of disappointment…well no shit…

Sigh, got my very first rejection and while I’m not exactly happy about it, I figured it was coming. I submitted a story to my publisher for their Valentine Anthology but as they were only taking 7 stories, I wasn’t holding out much hope. I am extremely happy that my friend Ashavan Doyon will have his story included however, so please think about picking it up and checking it out when it arrives in February. I know I will.

Then I had to decide what to do with the story because I really like it. It’s called Breaking Cupid’s Curse (I’m terrible at coming up with titles) and after some debate, I submitted it to another publisher for their love day collection. I don’t know if I will have any more luck with them but at least I tried. And if they don’t take it, I will post it as a free story here or something.

I’m also happy that my shifter-fic is coming along nicely. It’s not flowing as quickly as I’d like but I’m putting it down to feeling a lot of pressure because I want it to be the best thing I’ve ever written. Most of that pressure is coming from me and sometimes that’s the worst kind of all.

I’ve found myself wanting to write little fandom one-shots lately. This happens when I’m struggling with something big I’m working on. It gives my brain a little break and stops me from focusing so hard on something that is driving me slowly out of my mind.

I’m seriously considering trying to save for GRL next year. That’s the GayRomLit retreat specifically for writers in the LGBT genre. There are workshops and fundraisers and it seems like a great time is had by all. It’s a great way for writers to meet one another and there is also functions for readers and fans to come and hang out with their favorite authors. It’s in Chicago next year and I would love the chance to go. The chance to learn from writers I admire would be a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

My health kick came to a screaming halt for the last few weeks because I managed to catch the horrible cold that’s been going around and for the first time in years, it decided to kick my asthma into high gear. It’s very difficult to get any kind of exercise when crossing the room causes you to almost hack up a lung. After being stubborn for the better part of a week, I finally had no choice but to go the hospital around 4am last Friday. It’s really quiet in my small town hospital at that of day, by the way.

20 minutes later, I had a shiny new inhaler and an oxygen high and I was on my way home. It’s funny how I didn’t realize how much I couldn’t breathe until I finally could.

And now of course, we have snow…and ice. I hate ice. Fortunately, a very generous family member (thanks Joanne) has offered me a treadmill so I will be able to get back on my exercise kick. Plus, one of my day home kids has a mom who’s a fitness trainer and has offered to show me some resistance exercises that I can do at home so I think I will take her up on that when she gets back from their vacation next week.

Oh, and to add to my stress, I’ve spent all week waiting for my dad to go up for knee surgery. He’s been in the hospital since Monday when he went to see a specialist and they decided to keep him. He finally went up this morning and trust me when I say it’s a good thing for everyone involved.

So, now I have a fic rec.

Dex in Blue by Amy Lane is the story of young men who work in the porn industry. It’s book 2 in her Johnnies series but it stands alone quite well.

David used to have a different future until fate came along and changed everything. Now he’s Dex, a top porn model and making a different, lonely life far from where…and who he used to be.

Then along comes his co-worker who needs a place to stay and David decides to help him out…and changes his whole life once again.

I like this story because of what it doesn’t do. It doesn’t vilify or put down people who work in porn. It shows them as human…real people who are mostly doing the best they can to get through life. It talks about second chances and forgiving yourself and it takes you on a hell of a ride along the way.

Give Dex and Kane a chance and they will make you smile.

Get it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3250 and here: http://www.amazon.com/Dex-Blue-Johnnies-Amy-Lane-ebook/dp/B009KB4YIY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1383923870&sr=1-1&keywords=dex+in+blue

And hey, while you’re at it, check out my stuff: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Cindy%20Sutherland&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

and here too: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_454

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A little of this…a pinch of that…some family and a fic rec!

Yeah, I know, I haven’t blogged for a while. Been really busy writing (and reading) and RL is as busy as ever! Man I could use a week of with nothing to do but clean my house and yard (and read).

My WIP is coming along and I’m proud to say its like nothing I’ve ever written before, starting with the fact that it’s a wolf-shifter story. Let me tell you, that makes me all kinds of nervous because there are some amazing writers out there who excel at shifter stories. M.D. Grimm and C. Cardeno come to mind as does Mary Calmes and Kim Fielding. Throw in M.A. Church, Poppy Dennison and Chris T. Kat and there is a whole lot of excellence to strtive for.

Then I had a friend remind me that there are certain rules for shifter stories that the author usually has to set for themselves. And the author that breaks their own rules is in for a hard time. Plus there seems to be set ideals within the genre the writers seem to fall back on. I’ve always been a rule breaker though.

I will post the prologue soon, just to give you all a taste.

Other than that, we are almost done with the Summerfest for my favorite fandom. I’m still involved in it and will probably continue to write fanfiction for it for as long as people will keep reading it. The wonderful friends I made there led me to submitting my first story for publication and I would never want to turn my back on them or let them down.

I’m still waiting to hear from Dreamspinner about my latest submission. God I hate this part so much. I’ve considered self-pubbing, like some of my amazing friends do, but I’ve come to realize that I count on the support of my publisher. And it’s not just the fact that they do my covers or that their edits always make my story better in every way.

I love my publisher. They make me feel like I’m part of something wonderful. I know I shouldn’t be writing this. It’s just asking for fate to kick me in the teeth and have them reject my manuscript, but it’s true. I never could have done this on my own and I think they totally earn their share of the profits from my writing.

The other Dreamspinner authors make me smile and I feel like part of a big family. Of course, they can be intimidating with their talent and their larger than life personalities, but they also give me something to aspire to, even if I’m not sure I can ever get there.

I would love to attend one of the author events. It looks like so much fun and I would give anything to put faces and voices (yes, I’m weird that way) to the names I see every day. Of course, I would be ridiculous. I’d fangirl all over them and they would probably question my sanity.

That’s okay, I do it all the time.

Attending a conference is one of those things that’s on my “someday, come hell or high water” list.

What else is going on? My sister is moving away. She’s found herself a wonderful man and is moving forward in her life and I’m really happy for her.

But I’m sad too. She is my best friend and one of my biggest supporters. I can’t imagine not being able to walk down the street and knock on her door. Dinner at least once a week is going to be a thing of the past and I’m honestly not sure how to deal with it.

She’s never lived more than 15 minutes away from me in almost 43 years and this is going to be hard as hell to deal with. Adding to my sadness is that her oldest girl is going with her. My nieces and nephews have always been bright shining stars in my life and this girl always makes me smile.

She’s funny and beautiful and smarter than she ever gives herself credit for. Her mouth is almost as big as her heart and I love it when she’s snarky and full of wit. She’s her mother’s daughter with all the confidence that my sister never had in herself but should have.

They are amazing, wonderful people whom I’m going to miss like crazy. I will miss movies and drinks with my sister and my nieces surprise drop in visits and I will probably cry a lot when they are gone. It’s only three hours away, but right now it feels like the other side of the world.

Luckily, I still have her son and other daughter here. My nephew has been a source of joy since I found out my sister was pregnant with him and I hope he knows that my door is always open whenever he needs it.

My other niece, well, it’s been amazing watching her grow and that last few years she seems to be really coming into her own. It’s true transformation that has been inspiring to watch.

And of course, my folks and my brother are still here and I’m incredibly lucky for that. I’m hoping to spend more time with my parents now that mom is retired and dad is semi-retired.

And my (way taller than me) little brother is my hero. Smart, wicked funny and good-hearted and he never lets me down. And his girlfriend is a fantastic person who’s become a really awesome friend and it makes me happy that she makes him smile. Her kids are pretty cool too, lol.

And I have my amazing daughter and my supportive husband so, while I will be sad, I also have things to be happy about.

Anyway, I guess I had more to say than I thought. This whole getting to know the author through her blog just got a little “in-depth” I guess. I hope you don’t mind.

And now for the fic rec portion of our program….

Phoenix Rising by Theo Fenraven is a wonderfully crafted fantasy story. The picture he managed to paint took my breath away and I fell hard for his characters. Artemis is a cop who is just starting to realize that he needs more in his life than just his job. When he meets Talis, he feels a pull like nothing he’s ever experienced before. Watching these two men find their way is nothing short of amazing.

Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Rising-ebook/dp/B008JQQCOK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377300374&sr=1-1&keywords=phoenix+rising+theo

And as always, you can find me here: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Cindy%20Sutherland&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

and at Dreamspinner: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=454

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Why do I do this to myself? And a fic rec too!

So, I work really hard, get myself down to one WIP that I should have finished long ago and what do I do? Start two more WIP’s, one for a challenge that hasn’t even been announced yet and a couple of stories for people’s birthday’s.

Don’t get me wrong, the birthday one’s I love to do. I ask my friends which fandom they want and I whip up a little one shot and that’s that.

But these others…they got into my brain and now they won’t get out. Picking the first, should have been done already story out of my brain is difficult when I have high school boys and an apocalypse rolling around as well. Yes, I did say apocalypse. See what I mean?

And I’m so excited to finish the first WIP because I really can’t wait to send it to my publisher. I think it’s a really good storyline and I hope they like it. I’m a little worried though, because it’s a little stuck between genre’s. It’s a BDSM lifestyle story with very little of the lifestyle in it because of one of the character’s situation. I’m concerned that it’s going to be too much for some folks but not enough for others. It’s a real quandary.

Wow, that just sounds confusing when I read it. Sigh…I guess it is.

And in two stories, I am stuck on the sex. Trying to make it interesting while moving the plot along. The one story needs the sex as part of the plot, the other, the sex is part of the gift. The things I do for the people I love.

Anyway, hoping to have something finished by the end of the weekend. Until then, I’m recommending this fic to keep you occupied! Have an excellent weekend folks.

The Rule of Sebastian by Shelter Somerset is an excellent mystery that will keep you guessing all the way through. I love a good who-done-it and this one has that little extra of a romance between two damaged people who need some companionship. If you want a story that will keep you guessing, then this is it.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3349

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