Book Review: Mechanized Masterpieces 2: An American Anthology


Thanks so much for the review of our anthology!

Originally posted on Dancing with Fireflies:

 Sometimes I struggle to write a review. I sit on them far too long, as I did this one. It’s not that I didn’t like the book. But it is more that I really don’t know if I can put into proper words the many directions a book takes and not leave my readers feeling confused. Anthologies are difficult because you mix different styles of writers into one book and hope they flow well together. I read the complex and sometimes fantastic stories of Steampunk fantasy in the anthology Mechanized Masterpieces 2 – An American Anthology. There were moments I really enjoyed in the collection and other moments that I struggled to finish.

One of my favored authors, J. Aurel Guay, was featured with his piece A Princess of Jasoom.  Guay is a very talented writer and this way with words creates vibrant visions as you read through his tale.  His…

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A short story contest to share!

Originally posted on katemariecollins:

Solstice banner 2

First time authors have a hard time getting their first contract. Many of us have been there and it is discouraging to say the least. Solstice Publishing has published many first time authors and are actively seeking fresh new writers to add to our Solstice family. Many authors got their foot in the publishing door by writing short stories. This is a great way for authors to build their catalog while they work on their longer novels. At Solstice, we believe every book has a home. It may or may not be with us but we invite you to see if we’re the right home for your story.

Solstice Shadows publishes Fantasy, SciFi, Paranormal, Horror, and all sub-genres therein. If you have a short story that falls into one of these genres, we welcome you to read on and consider entering our short story contest.

Official Contest Information:

Solstice Shadows…

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Beyond Books Takeover Treasure Trail Question Eigh

My good friend Joanne Kershaw is doing a scavenger hunt to celebrate the release of the final chapter in her Vanguard trilogy and invited me to participate!  If you are not already on the trail, then start here:

Otherwise here’s my question!

Q8 What paranormal baddie was my first published short story about?

a) Ghosts/Spirits

b) Werewolves/Werekind

c) Vampires/Undead

Hint: Try the ‘Books’ tab above – look at the picture ;)

Now, go check out Jodi L. Milner at for question 9!Fated_Webkit_blurb-2

Tête-à-Tentacles (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)


Hey look, it’s me! And everyone’s favorite feisty inventor!

Originally posted on Ever On Word:

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Will Scarlet proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will steps back onto the bright, cozy set with a broad smile and wave.

“Now, as regular viewers will know, that announcement is usually Allyn-a-Dale’s to make. But our little minstrel friend’s decided to take a mental health day, whatever that’s supposed to mean. So for this episode, I’m flying solo. Jumping right into it then,” he says, leading by example by hopping into his armchair. “Here courtesy of author J. Aurel Guay, let’s give it up for today’s guest, Miss Elizabeth Carter!”

The young woman enters from the other side of the stage and takes a seat in the chair across from Will’s.

“Welcome, Miss Carter! Won’t you give us…

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FATED by Joanne Kershaw


My dear friend Joanne is celebrating the release of the final installment of her fantasy trilogy! She has been kind enough to allow me to share an excerpt from this exciting YA fantasy novel.



(Note from the author) – Elora gets a chance to explore her life beyond her friends and family in a new posting in Fated.  Her new commander, Marcus, asks her to share the events in Africa (at the end of Reflected).  This scene was interesting to write for me, to explore the sensations of being trapped in the power that consumed Elora at the end of the previous book. It was also exciting to explore the link between Elora and Zak. Enjoy!

The light. The power. It burns.
Save me! Save her! Siva? Mom?

Falling! Falling!

The arms. The arms that saved me. My eyes scoured the ground for him, for his body. Tendrils of fear squeezed my already exhausted heart and the threatened tears now fell furiously.

Then I realised where he must be.

I ran forward to the edge of the pit where the circle had been formed.

“Zak!” It was more a gasp than a word.

Lying at the bottom in a crumpled heap of blood and cloth was Zak.

“On the Spirits, no!” I couldn’t feel him within me. I pushed aside each person, forced out each voice, searched desperately for his mind.

There was nothing.

“NO!” I gasped as I tore myself from my own thoughts. Marcus rocked away from me, clearly shaken by everything he had seen. It had been mere seconds, such a lot to process in such a short space of time. Zak. All I wanted right here and right now was him. The need was core deep and binding. I leapt to my feet and stumbled as the blood pounded into my over-exhausted skull. Frantic, I looked around, needing to see Zak. Needing to be sure he was safe.


Return to Glory

Here's a little something I did a while back on a prompt from a friend

Return to Glory

by J. Aurel Guay

7597d920I wake from glory. The stale air greets me with an indifference that makes me wonder why I would ever leave the soft warmth of my sheets. The alarm rings again, and I remember why I must leave my refuge. The Dreamscape is gone, now it is time to pay the dues.

I manage to struggle through my routine. A bland breakfast of toast and black coffee are my only comfort. My allotment of water is barely enough to wash the sleep from my eyes, but it will have to be enough. 1 hour down, seventeen to go until I can see her again.

Down on the street I join the silent throng making their way on the same journey. Every face looks the same. Every eye so empty that I cannot bear it, I wonder what would happen if everyone took their plugs out, what would happen to the world.

I place my own plug to my temple.

The soothing effect is immediate, and a sigh escapes my lips as those thoughts fade into an oblivious calm brought by suggestive brainwaves and accompanying music. Amidst the soothing melody that primes my mind for the work ahead, the instructions for the day flow passively from my ear into my brain.

I board the monorail that will take me within a short walk of my post. They have a lot for me to do today, not that I will notice. Time matters little when they feed you a constant stream of consciousness control. I don’t care though, it is all worth it for the red haired beauty that awaits me back in the Dreamscape.

My stop approaches. Sixteen hours until I can be in her sweet virtual embrace. I reach for my briefcase beside me on the floor. The rail lurches suddenly. I feel the hard knock of someone’s head against mine and my plug falls out.

The noise suddenly stops. Disoriented I look around, fellow passengers stand ready to exit, oblivious to me and to one another. Anxiety starts to set in. Without being plugged in I’m not sure what to do. I am missing my instructions, a gaping void is left open where the artificial peace once reigned.

There! My missing plug lies only a foot away on the floor. Reaching for it desperately I collide with a stranger likewise trying to get the device, this time we are both knocked to the floor. Looking up my own dark eyes meet impossibly blue ones, framed in auburn hair. For a moment I forget all about the plug, about the dreamscape, everything. She tucks her stray lock behind her ear and smiles at me. She takes the plug from the monorail floor and hands it too me, then reaches for the second plug I had not seen.

It seems that I should say something; ‘Sorry for bumping you’, ‘I hope your plug is OK.’ Anything. It has been so long since I’ve talked to another living person the words will not come. She smiles again and a burst of energy flows through my chest. Such a feeling as I have only felt in the Dreamscape.

She hesitates a moment, then fits her plug back into her temple. Her eyes still vivid as ever, change subtly to  look through me in a faraway stare. I watch silently as she stands, straightens her grey pencil skirt and exits the monorail without another glance my way.

The chime sounds, I have only seconds before the door closes and I will have missed my stop. My plug is in and I’m exiting the monorail before I know what I am doing. The soothing peacefulness returns and I back to my routine. I am late, if I don’t move quickly they will cut my time in the Dreamscape, my time with Her.
My pace quickens as I move down the packed street. I pass a woman in a grey pencil skit. Her auburn hair and blue eyes seem somehow familiar, but I can’t place it through the thick melody and steady stream of sedating brainwaves. It doesn’t matter. I’ll be at my post soon, then just fifteen and a half more hours until I can return to glory.

Mechanized Masterpieces 2 Review (3.5/5)


Another Great Review of MMAA. Thanks so much Samantha!

Originally posted on LyonEditing:


Mechanized Masterpieces 2 was sent to me free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. The book is an extensive collection of short stories written in the sub-genre style of steampunk. Each story draws inspiration, in varying degrees, from classic pieces of American literature. These works have been completely re-imagined, and the authors had the substantial challenge of working within very specific parameters in order to produce a new work of art to counter the original.

Before I elaborate on my experience with the stories, I would like to address the very real likelihood that readers will be directly comparing these newer stories to their originals. Personally, I don’t find such comparisons helpful or relevant in any way – these writers aren’t attempting to compete with legends of literature. They are simply presenting an established work in a new light, using inspiration to create a brand new story. Given…

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