Sunday, September 25, 2016

Book Review of ANGEL IN THE SHADOWS by: Amy Deason

Today on Carly's View I welcome writer Amy Deason, author of ANGEL IN THE SHADOWS.

Amy married her soul mate, Shaun, in the summer of 2011 and although they found each other a little later in life, they couldn't be happier. Between them, they have three wonderful children, Hailey, James, and Payge. Amy has been reading and writing since before she can remember. ANGEL IN THE SHADOWS is published with Soul Mate Publishing.


Amy's debut novel, is riveting. The chemistry between Madison and Sean is sexy. The suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. At times, you will be downright freaked out. This book had me hooked from the first page. 

Madison Sinclair is a photographer trying to make a name for herself. On the advice of her friend, she tried her luck at a charity function hosted by Vance Goldston. Without giving anything away, lets just say Madison took a photo at the right place, but the wrong time. The result is Madison's life is in danger and Seth is the one who will save her. There is violence in the book, but nothing over the top. 

All in all, I found this book to be a great romantic suspense story, well written, and evoked emotions of love, hate, and envy. Amy's characters come alive on the page and take you along for the ride. I look forward to reading more books by Amy in the future.


      Making her voice as strong and determined as she could, she looked at him and said, “I have a right to know what is going on.”

      He didn’t even look in her direction. “Your rights end when and where I say they do. Don’t push me too far Miss Sinclair. You won’t like the result,” he warned. 

      This guy was really beginning to piss her off. “Damn you! Tell me what the hell is going on!”

       A ghost of a smile crossed his soft lips, drawing her attention to them. He remembered how they felt on hers. She shoved that away before the annoying lust could distract her from her plan of action.

      “Damn me? Sorry to ruin your little tirade but I’ve been damned for a very long time. Nothing you can say or do can make it worse,” Seth’s voice was low and quiet, reflective. 

      She must have imagined the small amount of emotion in his voice. But real or not, it cooled some of her anger, making her wonder again just who the hell this guy was. Definitely not the self-effacing personal assistant she had taken him for just yesterday. But as intriguing as that question may be, she had no intentions to stick around and find out the answer. There was the saying about curiosity killing the cat and as curious as she was, learning that particular bit information was not something she was willing to die for. Maybe if she could open the door and jump out. But he was going so fast. He didn’t slow down much as he took the corners but maybe that small change in speed would make the difference between getting injured and being killed. At this point, she didn’t think she had much to lose by trying. Furtively, she reached over and gripped the door handle, waiting for the next turn.

     “Don’t think you can try jumping out when I slow down. You really don’t want to make me angrier than I am now.” Seth’s voice was calm and soft, not betraying any emotion but she had enough sense to be afraid. Releasing the door handle, she crossed her arms over her chest, her hands balled into tight fists. Man, she wanted to just sock him!

     Beside her, Seth shrugged indifferently. “Then again, maybe you should jump out. Though it would probably be suicide. I’m not sure how you feel about dying but at least I wouldn’t have to save you again.”

     “I never asked you to save me. You did that on your own,” Madison replied heatedly.

    “My mistake. Next time, I’ll just let them have you.”

    “Next time? Who says there’s going to be a next time?”

    Another uncaring shrug of his strong shoulders. “Just call it an educated guess.”

    Scowling, she asked, “Why even take the time to save me? You’re just going to kill me.”

    “I never said I was going to kill you.”

    “No, but you didn’t say you weren’t either.”

    “Touché” He turned to her with a small, tight lipped smile.

   “Why don’t you just tell me what is going on?” 

   He sighed, exasperated. “If I tell you anything, you’re as good as dead.” 

   His threat was ominous but she sensed he was telling her the truth this time. Considering the circumstances, that fact wasn’t exactly encouraging. But maybe his honesty would continue for a while longer. 

   “I’m probably a dead woman anyway so there’s really no harm in satisfying my curiosity is there? Consider it a last request.” Madison tried to sound brave and add some humor to her situation. As long as she could remain lighthearted, she would be able to keep her wits about her so maybe she could get out of this thing alive.

   “I applaud you for your attempt at levity. But believe it or not, this situation is not funny in the least and it’s not my intention to see you dead, Miss Sinclair.”

    She twisted in the seat, facing him, one eyebrow raised questioningly. “No? Then just what are your intentions Mr. Reynolds?” 

    “I really can’t tell you. You’re just going to have to trust me.”

    “I don’t think so.” 

    “You know,” he replied lightly, “if you would have trusted me in the first place, your friend would still be alive.” 



Thursday, September 15, 2016


Dealing with Dialogue Tags

Glancing back at some of my earlier work, I cringe at my use of “said bookisms” such as roared, admonished, exclaimed, queried, and hissed. I was trying to avoid overusing the word “said” and searched for suitable alternatives. I realize now that substituting those words made it sound like I enjoyed using my thesaurus. Instead, I was annoying the reader and drawing attention away from the dialogue.

From different workshop facilitators, I’ve learned that I don’t have to interpret the dialogue, or worse, tell the reader how the words are said. If the dialogue is strong enough, “he said” and “she said” will do. Like other parts of speech—the, is, and, but—that are used several times on each page, “said” is invisible and allows the reader to concentrate on the action and dialogue.  To add variety, I insert action tags and internal dialogue within blocks of dialogue.

Here’s an example from my novel, A Season for Killing Blondes:

Carlo cleared his throat. He was ready to get down to business. Police business. “It appears that Carrie Ann was your first client. You haven’t opened this office for business yet. How did that happen?”

My heart raced as I spoke. “After Sofia and my mother left…I’m not certain about the time…um…I…I heard a knock at the front window. I looked up and saw Carrie Ann. Hadn’t seen her in ages.” I paused and then added, “Still wearing the same pageboy hair style and that blonde color—”

Carlo waved his hand. “Stick to the facts, please.”

I felt myself reddening as those piercing blue eyes bored right through me. “Oh, sorry. Um, I let Carrie Ann in.”

“And?” Carlo said when I hesitated.

I shrugged. “We just talked for a while, then, uh…” I closed my eyes and tried to recall the conversation. But nothing concrete came to mind, only Carrie Ann’s infectious laugh and bubbly compliments about the decorating scheme. When I opened my eyes, the other officer offered me a water bottle. I thanked him and gulped down half the contents.“You scheduled her for a session tomorrow morning,” Carlo said as he held up my appointment book. “Carrie Ann is…was considered one of the best interior designers in town. Why would she need counseling from you?” His dark brows drew together in a suspicious frown. “Were you planning to tell her to give it up?”

“For your information, Detective, career counselors don’t tell people what to do with their lives. We provide a sympathetic ear and help them gather all the relevant facts before making their final decisions.” I knew that I was using my teacher voice, but I didn’t care one bit. I was passionate about my new business, and I didn’t want people getting the wrong impression about career counseling. I caught a glimpse of the other officer wiggling his eyebrows and trying to suppress a laugh. If Magnum was anything like some of my former students, he would mimic me afterward and tease Carlo about being reprimanded.
Carlo grunted and waved his hand again.


Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends. As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

Check out the book trailer here:

Buy Links:

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Want to know more about Joanne?

In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement and decided to launch a second career that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Welcome Dawn Ireland, author of HIGHLAND YEARNING

Carly's View welcomes author Dawn Ireland. 

“Once Upon a Time” are four of Dawn’s favorite words, because she never knows where they will lead. She writes stories to remind herself that even though things may seem bleak, there is always the possibility of a “Happily Ever After.” If along the way she makes readers smile, cry or see the magic in their everyday lives, then she’s done her job.
Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England and the Highlands – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.  
Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?
When she’s not writing, Dawn may be found singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. She lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats.
Dawn hopes you’ll read her books, and together you’ll bring to life characters that aren’t perfect, but have a story to tell.

Visit Dawn’s website at:

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alone marry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman Caden’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own? 

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?

Highland Yearning-Excerpt
Caden turned to his cousin. “We’ll search the windows above. By now the coward has fled, but we may yet find something to unmask our would-be assassin. Then we’ll attend to your urgent matter.”
He drew Ariel aside far enough that Ian couldn’t hear them. His expression screamed, I’d rather fight a dozen well-armed warriors than be in debt to a Sutherland. “Thank you for . . .” He simply stared at her.
“Saving your life?” She waited. Nothing. “Kissing you?” She raised her eyebrows. “Just trying to fill in the blank here.”
He blanched, but then heat filled his eyes. “Aye.”
“Well, one of us had to take the bull by the horns.” Okay, best not to dwell on that image. “I mean, I was curious. I wanted to kiss you. No big deal. It was just a kiss.”
“Will you stop agreeing with me.”
His smile was genuine and she felt it to the tips of her toes. Good heavens, the man had charisma.
“I’ve nae had a woman who wanted me to disagree with her.”
“Well, I’m not like most women.” That was true enough. She’d never done the ‘let’s talk about boys, clothes and makeup thing’ with a group of girls. Somehow, she’d never fit in.
He smiled down at her. “Aye.”
“There you go, agreeing again.”
“Perhaps it’s because you make yourself so agreeable.”
She couldn’t contain the laughter that burst from her lips. “Really?” The word came out between gasps. “Oh, I wish you could have been there to tell my teachers. Not that they’d believe you. They thought I questioned everything.”
“Then they didn’t ken you.” His brows drew together. “I believe the stone was meant for me, but just in case, I want you to take care.
Her laughter died. “Why would anyone want to kill me?”
“Have you offended anyone aside from Ranald, the Countess or Robertson since I met you?”
“I don’t-So, I speak my mind. Is there a law against that in this century?”
“No. And I prefer plain speaking, but I’m nae most men.”

“No, you’re 
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Grandma’s Potted Meat

My grandparents immigrated to Altoona, PA from Dundee, Scotland. I was only about five or six when grandma died, but I still remember one dish she made on a regular basis, potted meat. Now it may not sound appetizing, but it was a ground meat, set in gelatin and seasoned with herbs. I loved it, almost as much as I loved her shortbread.

Later in life my Aunt May said she would share the shortbread recipe with me, but not until she could be there to watch me make it properly. We started with a pound of softened butter (Yes, I said a pound of butter.), then worked in the dry ingredients, including the small amount of rice flour. (It’s the rice flour that gives the shortbread its grainy texture.) You divide the dough into four sections, roll it into long tubes, flatten it, cut it into finger strips, then prick the tops with a fork. You shouldn’t make this on a humid day, and the cookies are best stored in a tin to keep out moisture. (I’ll be putting the recipe in my next newsletter, so if you’re interested, visit my website and sign up.)

Shortbread is a cookie we all recognize, but I started thinking about all the food Americans would have trouble ordering if we went into a restaurant in Great Britain.  Would you know what Clapshot or Spotted Dick are? (Yes, they sound like diseases to me as well.) To help you recognize what you might be eating, I’ve put together a match-up of British dishes. Give it a try, but if you get frustrated, I’ll have the answers on my website.

British Food Match Up

  1. Toad In The Hole
  2. Sarnies
  3. Tipsy Laird
  4. Howtowie
  5. Cawl (Scouse)
  6. Black Bun
  7. Fatty Cutty
  8. Clootie Dumplings
  9. Crappit Heid
  10. Spotted Dick
  11. Devils on Horseback
  12. Finnan Haddies
  13. Boxty
  14. Strippit Baws
  15. Welsh Rarebit
  16. Tablet
  17. Colcannon
  18. Rumbledethumps
  19. Clapshot
  20. Neeps and Tatties
  21. Cranachan
  22. Black Pudding

 _____A kind of fish haggis - haddock or cod liver and roe etc., mixed with oatmeal and onion, stuffed into haddock heads, then simmered in water.
_____ Smoked haddocks
_____ 'Boilins' or round boiled sweets - with stripes! Suckable spheres that are usually aniseed flavour. Hard candy that breaks the teeth and are quite popular in the sweetie jar shops that still exist in Scottish towns. 
_____ Root vegetables done together in one pot with lamb or beef
_____ British pudding made with suet or mutton fat. A pastry is created to which is added dried fruit or raisins, then it is boiled or steamed in a muslin cloth, and generally served with a custard sauce.
_____A dessert made with flour, breadcrumbs, sultanas/currants, suet, sugar and spice with some milk to bind it. On occasion, golden syrup or treacle is added, then mixed into a dough and wrapped in a floured cloth and simmered in water, the dried in an oven or before the fire.
_____ Sausages cooked in what is in essence Yorkshire Pudding.
_____ Hot appetizer in which bacon is wrapped around dried fruit, usually pitted dates, then served on toast with watercress.
_____ Irish potato pancake with finely grated raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg.
_____ Irish dish that is mainly mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
_____A sandwich
 _____Cheese sauce poured over toasted bread.
_____A traditional side or main dish from the Scottish Borders made of potato, cabbage and onion.
_____A dessert made using whipped cream (or crowdie if you want to be truly authentic), honey, fresh raspberries, and toasted oatmeal usually soaked overnight in a little bit of whisky. More whisky is added to the finished product which is then put in dessert glasses.
_____A young chicken stuffed with skirlie (oats), cooked and served with drappit (dropped or poached eggs) and spinach.
_____Swede turnips and potatoes, mashed with chives and butter, then add seasoning to taste.
_____A Scottish twist on a trifle, using Scottish raspberries and whisky instead of sherry.
_____Blood sausage.
_____Turnips and potatoes.
_____A cake encased in pastry.
_____A Scottish scone, usually with currants or sultanas.
_____Sweet, Scottish, fudge-like candy.

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