Friday, 24 October 2014

Halloween - do you dress up and celebrate or do you stay home and hide?

If you're from Australia, which I am, we don't celebrate Halloween. Or, if we do it it's typically a half-assed attempt that results in vows never to don a cape and hat and walk two streets for a solitary fun-sized Mars bar every again. The stores get in cobwebs and pumpkins and some parents will let their children wander around the neighbourhood to ask for candy. Do we get out houses egged if we have none? No. At least I hope not.

What happened last year was that I forgot all about Halloween until twilight set in and I saw a few ghouls wander into the street. My heart leapt up into my throat (don't you love that cliché) but it did exactly that. I had bought chocolates during the weekly shop but I'd eaten them already (as you do). So I raced into the kitchen and rummaged around the pantry. All I had was muesli bars.

Muesli bars. I kid you not. Kids were closing in on my house and all I could give them was a muesli bar.

I told myself this was acceptable because it contained chocolate chips. I tell myself every year to better prepare for next year. But I don't. I guess that is my wickedness coming out. I eat the goodies before the kids even set food in the street.

Still, there are plenty of people who will hold parties. I've organised a Halloween party once. We all agreed to wear costumes. We put fake headstones around the yard. Cobwebs, all the decorations. a few hours before the party one young couple knocked on the door and asked if a costume was mandatory.

Now I am a HUGE believer that if you have a fancy dress party it is NOT permissible to turn up out of costume. Most especially if you are the host as once happened to me. If it says on the invite that this is a pink party YOU WEAR PINK. You expect everyone to wear pink. You do not expect to walk into the door and see the host in a blue shirt and shirt.

So I told this young couple that costume was mandatory and they drove 20 minutes into the nearest town and picked up two costumes. The result of this was a 100% participation rate. I either have excellent influential skills or I put the fear of death into people. either way, 100% participation is more than satisfactory. We have a great time.

But, alas, in Australia Halloween is not something we anticipate. It is not something we regularly do. Some people might, but what we see on American TV is not what we do. Not sure if what we see on American TV is what American's do, but we go with what evidence is placed in front of us.

Do I like Halloween? Yes. Do I go all out and decorate  the house, dress up and do trick or treat? No.
Do I like space? Yes. Do I dress up as an astronaut when NASA launches a probe to Mars? No.

I've decided this Halloween I'll put on some music, maybe open a wine, maybe not eat the chocolate set aside for the odd trick or treater and I will get stuck into writing reviews.

I'll admit I'm guilty of reading a book, telling my reader friends if I loved or hated it, but I spend twelve hours a day at a computer that I'm always loathe to get onto Amazon, B&N, Goodreads etc and write reviews. so that is what I will do this year. I will sit at my desk of which I have a view to the street, and I will get stuck into writing more reviews of books I'd read this year.

What about you? Will you be celebrating Halloween or will you be setting aside this time to do that once a year chore?


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. The Bird With The Broken Wing reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Feedback reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings and the book trailer which features an original song performed by the author appeared on USA Today website. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

Contact information

Twitter    !/DLRichardson1

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Halloween reading list

Whether or not you're into Halloween, if you love reading creepy stories then it's a great time of the year to check out what you can add to your reading pile or see how many books you're read that others have read.

I love reading horror, ghost stories, science fiction, and with Halloween just around the corner I thought I'd put together a Halloween reading list of the books I've read. Doubtless I've missed many great reads off this list so feel free to comment with your favourite Halloween reads.

Poison in the Pond by D L Richardson

This is a story I wrote way back in 1996 when I first began writing. I was heavily in Koontz and King and wanted to write like them. Along the way I took a writing detour but I've had the chance to edit this and now it is a novella. It's creepy and dark and doesn't have a happy ending at all. If you like dark endings, you might enjoy this.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

Other Anne Rice novels to add. The Mummy, Lestat, Tales of the Body Thief.
Phantoms by Dean Koontz

Any other Koontz to add. Pretty much anything by Dean Koontz will suit you for a Halloween read. he's my favourite author. I've read so many of his books.
Fun House, Dragon Tears, Mr Midnight, Tick Tock, Intensity, Life Expectancy. Strangers. Shattered.
Except False Memory. I can't finish it.
Robocalypse by Daniel H Wilson
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Why have I put this dystopian fiction novel on this list. Because it's scary that we could end up doing this for real one day.

Cold Revenge by Catherine Cavendish
The Best of Robert Westrall Vol I and II
Shrike by Joe Connelly

The Hungry Moon by Ramsey Campbell

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
No Halloween read collection is complete without a Stephen King novel. As with Koontz, you can add many books to your reading pile. Though if you ask me Dean Koontz is the better of the two. But hush that's our little secret.
Other King books to read: Cell, The Stand, Carrie, The Shining, Nightmares and Dreamscapes.
 Except these books - these are crap. Gerald's Game. Needful Things.
How did I do? Is my list good or bad? Let me know your must reads this Halloween.


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. The Bird With The Broken Wing reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Feedback reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings and the book trailer which features an original song performed by the author appeared on USA Today website. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

Contact information

Twitter    !/DLRichardson1

Thursday, 16 October 2014

New release - Poison in the Pond by D L Richardson


If you've read my earlier works you'll notice they're young adult fiction. I didn't always write YA fiction. I sort of took a round the world trip with my writing. when I began writing I was heavily into books by Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Anne Rice. I wanted to write suspense/horror just like them. But all journeys have detours and side roads. My detour was into young adult fiction.

I've always loved reading and writing speculative fiction. As long as my writing has that element then I'm happy to write for teens or adults. Adults like to read my teen books and teens like to read my adult books. How this works is that I don't write sexual content. I'm okay with that too.

Anyway, in 1996 I write my second novel titled Poison in the Pond. It never got published. It got shelved in a drawer and I moved onto my next project. This story of a girl driven mad by a mad man has always intrigued me so I decided to edit it. The result is a novella which I've released today.

Poison in the Pond

Karen Malcolm escaped with her life after a week of being held hostage in her own home by a mad man named Cain. He got life behind bars and she got a new life as a future wife of Doctor Tyler Carlisle and mother of his young daughter Jess. But Karen won’t escape the nightmare that follows when Cain contacts her from prison to beg forgiveness. Instead she discovers that there are things in the dark that even the bag guys are afraid of, including Cain. When Karen is caught up in Cain's web of madness it places the life of her new daughter at risk because Cain doesn't come alone this time. Once more Karen will face her attacker. Yet this time the madness that he leaves behind is like poison in her veins.

It's a story of how one person's poison can affect another. If you let it. The original ending was different, it ended and everyone got their happily ever after. When I re-wrote the ending I didn't give it a happy ending. I'd love to hear if you prefer the happy ending or this one.

Available to buy from Amazon Kindle

I hope you enjoy reading, and look out for more titles for adults coming December and 2015. I'm currently taking a break from writing young adult fiction. On the cards for 2015 to 2017 are a sci-fi series and a dystopian trilogy. I hope you can stick around for this journey.



D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. The Bird With The Broken Wing reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Feedback reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings and the book trailer which features an original song performed by the author appeared on USA Today website. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

Contact information

Twitter    !/DLRichardson1


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

New YA release by Laura Diamond "The Zodiac Collector"

It's my pleasure to showcase the latest YA novel by Laura Diamond "The Zodiac Collector". Great for fans of star signs, fantasy, paranormal and YA fiction. Check it out.

For almost-16 year-old Anne Devans, the annual Renaissance 
Faire means three things—her dad spending weeks in the smithy, her bipolar mom doing some manic costume making, and another ruined birthday for her and her twin sister, Mary.

This year, Anne wants things to be different, and she’s going to do things her way.
On the eve of the Faire, Anne (along with a reluctant Mary) conjures up a spell that will make their 16th birthday party a whirlwind event. Little do they know that it’s a literal request.
After the mini tornado in their room subsides, the girls realize they’ve invoked the power of the Gemini Twins, Castor and Pollux. That’s the good news. The bad news is they also caught the attention of a sorceress named Zeena who has been collecting children born under each Zodiac Sign to enhance her power. Once she captures Anne and Mary, Gemini twins, the entire Zodiac—and the world—will be hers.
Anne leads the fight against Zeena, but her one-sided decisions could throw them into a world so far from home, even the Renaissance Faire would seem like a brilliant vacation. Between managing their new Zodiac powers, dodging their manic mother and trying to stop Zeena, they’ll get a 16th birthday they’ll never forget.
Book Details:
Young Adult Fantasy/Paranormal
Paperback, 328 pages
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Advance Praise:
"I knew this novel was promising when I read the blurb on Goodreads, and it far surpassed my expectations. A dystopian with mounting suspense, tons of conflict, and an interesting theme, this novel was hard to put down! Anything but predictable, Laura Diamond had me guessing what was going to happen next, throughout!” ~ April Wood, blogger of A Well Read Woman
Purchase Links:
Other links:
About the Author:

“Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. She’s a lucid dreamer, meaning she can direct her dreams while they’re happening. When she’s awake, she pens stories from her dreams and shares them with her readers. Laura has many published titles including the Pride Series (New Pride, Shifting Pride, soon to be re-released, and Tsavo Pride), the Endure Series (Endure and Evoke, soon to be re-released), The Zodiac Collector, a novella Sunset Moon in the Lore anthology, and several shorts stories. When she’s not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond–Lucid Dreamer, and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion.”
Find Laura Diamond on the Web:

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Dragon by James McCormick, win free pdf copy

It's my pleasure to welcome speculative fiction author James McCormick to my blog today. He is also giving one reader the chance to win a pdf copy of Dragon.

Comment to win a pdf copy of the book.

All you need to do is comment in the box below and one winner will be randomly selected.
DL: Hi James. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself.
James: I’m a college lecturer from the rainy city of Manchester, England and have been writing speculative fiction for over a decade and a half, mostly science fiction, horror and a little fantasy.
For me writing is all about escapism and imagination, the further a tale is from reality the more I enjoy it. Mostly I write short stories and novellas and have been fortunate enough to have had many of these published professionally. I also write short novels (40 000 to 60 000 words).
My first science fiction novel and my ‘baby’ is called Dragon. I wrote the first draft of it ten or so years ago and since then it steadily evolved into the version published in October 2013 by Class Act Books. I’ve had three other works published since then with one more (another Dragon novel) to come out in November of this year.
DL:  Can you give us some background to the novel.
James: Dragon grew out of two ill matched protagonists who'd been in my mind for a long time. One was a restless, reckless and neurotic elf and the other a taciturn, ill- tempered barbarian, think Conan without the brains or charm. Originally I planned to write a series of interlinking fantasy novellas following their adventures together.

The tone was to be comedic and I intended them to be a sort of comedy double act, the elf the clownish figure and the barbarian the straight man, the foil as it were. Well, the characters developed a life of their own and survived, as did the interlinking format to follow their adventures but somehow the story seemed to work better with a science fiction spin.

Because of this transition from fantasy to science fiction the novel took about a decade to fully evolve into its present manifestation. It does retain a strong fantasy element though and the two protagonists still travel around by Dragon, although a metallic one instead of the reptilian creature that existed in the original conception.

The final chapter "Relics" blurs the lines completely between the world of magic and gods and science as an ancient mystery is finally answered. Although it would be next to impossible to write an actual sequel the twenty year time span the novel occupies allows me a lot of scope to write further tales around the same characters.

I have a second novel, Dragon: Smuggler Tales coming out in November, a series of connected stories that take place in the year that elapses between chapters one and two of Dragon.
Dragon is an epic, action packed tale of adventure set amongst the political backdrop of an uneasy intergalactic cease fire. As worlds conspire against each other, Gax, an insane warlord stockpiles an arsenal of ancient technology in his attempt to rule known space. Two ill matched and reluctant heroes stand in his way; Sillow, a neurotic and cowardly Sylvan and Brok, a surly and ill tempered Herkulun warrior. After a chance meeting in a seedy, mobster owned casino the two find their fates interlinked as they are propelled into a series of hair raising adventures that takes them from wanted smugglers to agents of a peace keeping alliance. As war grows close once again Sillow and Brok realize it is they alone who must stop Gax and prevent Armageddon, a very tall order indeed for two unlikely heroes.
Read an extract below:
Chapter 1

The Legacy of Suleiman

Asmara was a small desert moon orbiting its gas giant parent at a distance just great enough to put it outside the planet’s radioactive reach. It was a cold, dusty little place, barely capable of supporting microbic life. Yet it did have one thing in its favor, its location. Asmara was in the gray zone, an area of space almost central to the six worlds. None dared lay claim to it and consequently it was free of all outside authority. That was why the crime syndicates built their Pleasure Dome there, and in the two decades after the Dark Age Wars it flourished.

It was here, at one of the casino tables, the last three players of a merciless card game studied their hands. Two of them, a human and a reptilian Tuolon, were far from happy, glaring angrily at the third player as he whistled out a tuneless melody. If Sillow had been human, he would have been judged to be no more than fourteen. He wasn’t; he was a Sylvan, and his childlike face and adolescent build were quite normal for his twenty-five years.

As he looked over his cards from beneath a shock of dark green hair, only his large eyes were visible. It was just as well, for his lips moved frantically as he mentally played through the possible scenarios.

Finally he gave a little nod and placed his cards face down. He took his cigar from the ashtray and began puffing heavily on it. The human, a skinny man with pockmarked features, ran a hand over two day’s stubble,

“Make your damn move,” he growled. “If you’ve got the goods, show them.”

Sillow shrugged. “Hey, give me a break Garrick,” he replied in his soft, musical voice. “You can’t rush something like this.”

He looked at his cards again, studying them as he blew smoke rings in the air. His little feet tapped all the while on the hard marble floor.

His fellow players regarded him with extreme irritation, and the human came to the decision the Sylvan was playing mind games with them. The truth though was far different. Sillow was scared and was trying to decide how best to safely extricate himself and the credits he needed from his present circumstances.

Although he couldn’t say why, he was certain now the Tuolon was a professional assassin here to kill him. His would be killer even blew his ship up to stop him escaping.

Since then the little Sylvan had been busy at the tables making the money he needed to get a freighter off the Dome. There was a royal summons to answer and he’d delayed too long already. The message was just one word, Suleiman.

“Okay, ready,” he finally announced. “You want to see this hand it’ll cost you…” he paused for effect, “six more credits.”

The human thought hard for a moment, shook his head then threw the chips into the pot in the middle of the table.

“Damn your pointy green ears,” he growled. “You take me on this hand and I lose the whole pay from my last haul.”

Sillow turned to the Tuolon. “What about you, En’n?” he asked, knowing his reptilian companion was more than out of his depth. The leathery area around the Tuolon’s eyes tightened and he opened his canine like jaws to reply. His physiology prevented him from forming Amalgam words, the common language used between the races. Instead he was forced to rely on the electronic collar at his neck.

“Not enough credits,” he answered in a synthesized voice, “but stay, watch.”

Sillow shook his head. “Sorry. You know the rules. You fold, you leave.” He waved his cigar towards the exit.


“Stay,” the reptile hissed.

“Can’t do that,” Sillow told him.

The Tuolon thrust a clawed finger at the Sylvan. “I do not take orders from a weak creature like you,”

Sillow blew a cloud of smoke directly at the huge reptile. “I’m afraid you’re going to have to.”

The Tuolon’s lip curled away from his razor teeth. “I will…”

“What?” Sillow asked, placing a shaking hand to his cigar as he feigned a calmness he didn’t feel. “You’ll kill me?”

The Tuolon’s anger was growing, Sillow realized; now was the moment to push him past his limited self-restraint.

“Get lost!” he said.

The human gasped, pushing his chair away from the table. The Tuolon got to his feet, his powerful frame shaking with fury. “I will kill you,” he hissed.

Sillow felt his heart beating like a jack hammer. He was ready to bolt at the reptile’s slightest move. A faint hum of a sentinel though told him his plan was working. The spherical droid appeared above them.

Sensors flashed as it monitored everything in its immediate environment, heart rate, respiration, hormonal skin level. Its three red optics trained on the Tuolon.

“You have indicated a desire to commit violence,” it stated in a cold, metallic voice. “Is this assessment correct?”

The reptile stared up at the black sphere. “Not correct,” he answered, nostrils flaring. “No threat.” His chest heaved as he answered.

“No threat here,” Sillow added, reaching over and giving the assassin a pat on the arm.

“My friend though was under the impression you can remain at the table even if you aren’t playing.”

“Negative,” the sentinel replied. It positioned itself in front of the Tuolon, laser banks flashing dangerously. “State your intention,” it ordered.“Do you wish to continue with your hand or fold?”

With a huge effort the Tuolon sat down. “Play,” he replied.

Sillow looked the reptile over. “What can you bet with?” he asked.

He leaned back, tapping a finger on his cheek. “You’re almost out credits. How about jewelry?” He looked at En’n’s simple animal hide armor, “no.” He frowned, then snapped his fingers. “I know,” he announced, pretending the idea had just come to him, “your ship.” The Tuolon gave a start.

Sillow took a puff on the cigar. “Yeah, I could really do with one, you see…” He fixed the Tuolon with a meaningful look. “Some scum bag blew mine up.”

“Do you agree to this wager?” the Sentinel asked in its emotionless voice.

Sillow watched En’n’s discomfort with satisfaction. The Tuolon, he knew, could not afford to lose his ship, but he could also not afford to let his prey out of his sight either. It was, after all, frustration with his elusive quarry which forced him to the card table in the first place.

The Tuolon nodded, fury burning in his black eyes. “Okay,” he said. “I bet.”

Sillow turned to the human. “You’re a witness to this right, Garrick?”

The man sighed. “Guess so,” he replied.

“I am also a witness to the wager,” the sentinel added. “If the Sylvan wins the hand, the docking bay computer will be informed the ship has a new owner.”

There was a pause, small lights flashing as the sentinel conveyed the message.


The man gave a shrug of his bony shoulders. “What the hell,” he groaned. He threw his cards down, four of a kind. The Tuolon gave a soft grunt then threw down a superior straight. The man let out a despairing cry and slumped back in his chair.

Sillow’s childlike face was unreadable. He shrugged and scratched his cheek in an absent minded way as he regarded the cards in front of him. “Oh, well,”he said after some moments, “guess that makes me the winner.” He flashed his reptilian opponent a smile then laid down a royal flush.

En’n froze, unblinking. His chest rose and fell dangerously, and his fists clenched so tightly his claws cut into his palms. The sentinel, Sillow knew, would be monitoring all this. It was time to push his adversary over the edge. He took a long draw on his cigar and blew a stream of smoke in his direction.

“Bad luck, En’n, and so long,” he said scooping the pile of credits towards him. He put them into the leather pouch around his waist.

“How do you say it in Tuolon? Ah, yes…” he finished putting the last of the credits away and leaned forward. “Ekarak,” he hissed in a bad imitation of the warrior farewell.

To the cold logic of the sentinel there was nothing provocative in these words, but Sillow knew such familiar language from one not of the Tuolon warrior caste would infuriate the reptile.

The assassin roared in fury and, forgetting all other considerations, swung at the Sylvan’s throat with his lethal claws. Sillow, however, with the quick reflexes of his race, backed out of range. En’n, his attempt frustrated, plunged into a berserker rage and began to swing out wildly in all directions.

Sillow pushed Garrick’s chair backwards, sending its occupant sprawling to the floor. En’n now lunged for

Sillow. Before he could close the distance though, the sentinel fired an energy bolt, sending the reptile crashing unconscious to the floor.

The black metallic body turned, a large optic focused on Sillow. “State your name and when you wish to depart.”

“Silla Low,” the Sylvan answered, “and I plan on leaving right now.”

A wave flickered over the sentinel as lights flashed on and off in succession. “I have made the arrangements. Take your winnings and depart.”

Sillow needed no prompting. He was about to leave when he caught the haunted, despairing expression on Garrick’s face. He reached into his pouch and pulled out a handful of credits, far more than the man was able to count.

“Tell you what,” he said, throwing them down onto the table. “I only stopped off at the Dome to pick up a fresh supply of cigars. How about you pick me up a couple months’ supply?”

The man, still flat on his back, managed a small nod.

Sillow wiped the sweat from his brow. “That should more than cover it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I really have to be somewhere.”
~ * ~

The Tuolon ship was a sleek craft, built like a needle with a power core capable of great speed. He could make it to Sylvan in less than a day in this thing. There were, however, two big problems. The first was a good, working knowledge of the Tuolon language was necessary to operate the complex controls, as opposed to the few phrases he knew. The second was it was a two man ship, possibly three. There was no way he could pilot this thing alone.

Sillow gave a soft curse as he ran the problem through his mercurial mind. He brought a small fist down on the control panel in frustration. He had no choice but to hawk it at a low enough price to make a quick sale. Doing so, however, would mean more delay and danger too. The assassin En’n might be safely locked up, but whoever he was working with wasn’t.

Decision made, he rushed out of the craft and headed off in the direction of the barter quarters. The portcullis like doors opened automatically and Sillow rushed through. Two Tuolons were waiting for him. Smaller in stature than En’n and clearly not the fearsome killer their master was, they were nevertheless a frightening sight, especially for the diminutive Sylvan. The doors slammed shut behind him.

“The master’s ship,” one of them rasped. “Return it to us.” The reptile made a motion for him to step back inside. “Only you have access,” he went on, “give us the codes.”

Sillow realized it was all over if he did. What could he do? He’d never learned to fight and had no idea how to use the compact staff he carried on his belt. Even if he did, he seriously doubted he could have taken these two on anyway. His only advantage was his speed, but to make it work he needed to get some space between them and him.

“Computer,” he said, turning his head to speak into the voice com, “this is Silla Low,” he took a deep breath, then “…help!”

A warning siren sounded in response to his cry. The Tuolons panicked. One reached out to grab him, lunging forward. Sillow timed his move carefully. He jumped up onto his larger opponent’s outstretched leg and somersaulted over him.

Before either of the Tuolons could react, Sillow was sprinting away down the corridor. “Help!” he screamed again, this time at the top of his voice,“somebody…anybody.”

The Tuolons turned and raced after him but soon realized keeping up with their quarry amongst the labyrinthine corridors would be no easy matter.

Sillow never slowed, even as he heard his pursuers’ footsteps growing fainter behind him. Eventually though, curiosity overcame terror and he chanced a look behind him. He should have looked ahead for it was then he ran into the wall.
Don't forget to comment for your chance to win a pdf copy of Dragon by James McCormick
Thank you James for dropping by. Keep in touch about the second book.
 D L Richardson