Sunday, August 19, 2018

The first bullet whizzed by my head

The first bullet whizzed by my head. I saw a flash of light but couldn’t make sense of what was happening even when the shell found a target behind me. I stood, frozen in place, on the front porch of the elegant private cottage Aunt Letty’s lawyer reserved for me. I hugged Marlowe who was barking fiercely and took a step backward into the foyer. Marlowe wriggled free and jumped to the floor. 
A hand holding a white Stetson whacked the porch light, shattering the fixture and the bulb. The owner of the Stetson bumped into me as he bounded indoors. That sent me sliding over the polished wood floor of my rustic chic suite. I yelped as I landed on my well-padded derriere. A barrage of bullets flew over my head. 
My heart raced as the shots sank into some surfaces and ricocheted off others. When I struggled to sit up, the stranger tackled me and forced me flat onto the floor. I fought to wrestle free. Marlowe snarled and pulled furiously at the man’s sleeve. 
“Stay down,” he said as he rolled off me. He shook his arm forcefully and Marlowe tumbled, end over end. Furious, I punched the man as he kicked the door shut with a firmly planted, exquisitely carved leather boot. In almost the same motion, he reached up and yanked the lamp off a table near the entry. As the room went dark, two bullets slammed into the heavy wooden front door and sent splinters flying. 
Moonlight streamed in through the sliding doors leading outside from the great room behind me. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see the shadowy figure straining to shove the sofa in front of the door. Marlowe had a grip on his pant leg, growling, and shaking his head as he tore at the fabric. 
Were Marlowe and I hostages? I wondered as my stomach roiled in terror. 
As my would-be captor peeked through the blinds he shut, I flipped over onto my belly and scrambled, crablike, toward the safety of my master suite. The door could be bolted from inside. I didn’t get far before he grabbed me and pressed me flat again, knocking the wind out of me. This time the bullets shattered glass and the maniac returned fire shooting at someone behind us. My heart sank realizing that he had a gun. 
In the distance, I could hear a siren blaring. As it drew closer, I heard shouts, and then footsteps. The footsteps came from the deck outside my bedroom. A minute or two later, tires screeched as a vehicle took off.
“I’ve told you, already—stay down.” When he rolled away, the intruder pulled a phone from a pocket. Then he handed Marlowe to me. “Take this and keep it quiet.” 
“Rikki,” he said almost immediately after he placed a call. “I’ve got a situation on my hands.” Those sirens blared now. I imagined them racing toward us up the long driveway leading from the roadway to the cottage. 
I considered making a run for it again while the madman spoke on the phone in a low voice. The sofa blocked the front door, but maybe I could escape out the sliding doors to the deck taking the same route the gunman had used. With my luck, running in the dark, I’d impale myself on an enormous shard of glass. A piece of glass might make a good weapon, though. With my free hand, I carefully explored the ground around me, searching for anything that I could use to hurt this guy. He hadn’t even flinched when I landed a blow earlier.
“How should I know? Hang on a second, and I’ll ask her.” No longer speaking in a whisper, his voice jolted me.
“My boss has a question for you.” The glow of light from his phone lit the space around him. He was leaning back on his haunches, squatting down like a catcher behind Homeplate. 
“Who wants you dead?”

Excerpt from Lily’s Homecoming Under Fire
By Anna Celeste Burke
Included in Love Under Fire


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Manes burning, tails flaring amidst a shower of sparks


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The two sconces, left and right of the chamber door, still hold the remnants, and the last glimmer of their flames. From time to time, an unsteady glow glances off the blade of Goliath’s sword. 
I have been lying here, under it, for ages, it seems. Even so, it is going to be a long wait till morning comes. I raise my head from the pillow and set the crown on my head, letting myself feel its weight—and my own vanity—one last time. 
It is then that I tell myself that there is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.
I unfurl the scroll and—without reading what is written in it—I scribble down my own thoughts. With waning strength I prop myself up, trying to catch a glimpse of what lies out there, beyond the sheer curtain that billows, time and again, over the far window. I strain my eyes, trying to detect a shape, a hint of color. 
Perhaps, before the edge of the sky starts turning pale, I will raise myself up, somehow. I will sneak out of the palace before the guards wake up, telling no one that I am heading off to a new adventure. This time, what I seek will be entirely different. 
It will be redemption. 
Before leaving this place I will take off this heavy thing, and let it roll into the corner. 
This crown does not define who I am. 
I will find my way out, away from here, out the gate and down the stairs, into the courtyard and beyond. There stands my golden chariot. Its design, which is of Hittite origin, is renowned for having four spokes, and for being pulled by a team of horses. Looking at it used to stir me into thinking that one day, when my time comes, I will ascend to heaven in it, leaving a blazing trail of fire beneath its wheels. 
That was such a lovely, awe-inspiring thought, especially when combined with another: I used to imagine my trusty soldier, Uriah the Hittite, standing there in the chariot. 
I could just see him, waiting for me to step in and take my place by his side before he lifts his whip, cracking it to ignite a sudden flash. Then the horses would bolt into flying away, manes burning, tails flaring amidst a shower of sparks.

David in A Peek at Bathsheba


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Friday, August 17, 2018

Support Pets for Vets

I am so excited for the upcoming release of my newest novel, Virtually Lace, in the Love Under Fire boxed set! Our pre-order link went live on Amazon on August 13th, and we hit #1 already, even as a pre-order! It's so exciting, and so great for our goal to raise money to rescue animals and pair them with veterans in need of companion pets.


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This collection of 21 new novellas are being offered for a limited time as a bundle, to support the nonprofit organization Pets for Vets. We're hoping to raise money for a cause that's important to all of us, while also sharing our stories with both current fans and new readers who find us via the box set.

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Tragedy of a Man and the Other Woman

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Aurora Dawn


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 A Tragedy of a Man and the Other Woman 

Overall  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    
5 out of 5 stars
Performance  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    
5 out of 5 stars
Story  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed: 08-07-18
This touching and often painful story chronicles the life of a young girl captivated by an older man who is obsessed by the wife he loved and lost to Alzheimers. Told as a first person memoir from the girl's point of view, this story has the same lyrical quality I've come to expect of Poznansky's work. Lenny, the broken and obsessive husband, Anita, the wife and Ben, Lenny's son by his first wife engage in the kind of psychological struggle only a family can, haunted always by the lingering ghost of his first wife Natasha.
This story, like most great dramas, isn't always easy to hear, but you'll find yourself unable to leave it alone and the gentle, compelling voice of narrator Heather Hogan makes it a listening pleasure.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

When Love Sparks Danger, get ready for an explosion!

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Judith Lucci – RUN for your life
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Fiona Quinn – Cold Red
Anna Celeste Burke – Lily's Homecoming Under Fire
Margaret A. Daly- Monsters in my Closet
Linda Watkins - The Witches of Storm Island, Book I: The Turning
Tamara Ferguson - Two Hearts Under Fire
Suzanne Jenkins - Running with Horses
Inge-Lise Goss – Diamonds and Lies
S.R. Mallery – Tender Enemies
Jinx Schwartz - Baja Get Away
Uvi Poznansky - Virtually Lace
Kathryn Knight - The Haunting of Hillwood Farm
Stephanie Queen - Ace Under Fire 
Casi McLean - Reign Of Fire
Valerie J. Clarizio – The Code Enforcer
Chris Patchell - Deception Bay
Aaron Paul Lazar - The Asylum: a Carmen Garcia romantic suspense novel
Alyssa Richards - Chasing Secrets
K.M. Hodge - Summer of '78
Pamela Fagan Hutchins - Buckle Bunny


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Friday, August 10, 2018

Does it excite the nerves, fire signals up there, between regions of her brain?


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She is looking out the window. 
Perhaps she is immersing herself in the grays and purples quivering there, on the other side of the glass, reaching a blur in the cold October sunlight. Perhaps, with great patience she is waiting there, waiting for the night, for the darkest hour, which is when her image may finally appear. It will come to the surface in front of her as if it were a sunken spirit, rising from the deep. Out of nowhere. 
For now she seems lost, searching for something—perhaps her reflection—in vain. 
I worry about mom, about the little things, which to someone else—someone who does not know her as I do—may seem trivial, insignificant. I worry she is missing her pearl earrings. I must find them for her. The little hole in her earlobe has shrunk away, turning somehow to flesh. 
In a whisper I say, “Mommy?” and wonder how the air vibrates over the tender membrane of her eardrum, how it changes into noise, how she gets it when pitch rises, when it falls. 
Can she sense the change? 
At what point does it translate, somehow, into meaning? By what path does it penetrate, going deeper? Does it excite the nerves, fire signals up there, between regions of her brain? Does it make some sense, at least at times? Is there any point in talking to her? Is she listening? Can she detect the thin sound—scratched like an old, overused vinyl record—which is coming faintly from behind, from the far end of this space? Can she understand the words? Is there sorrow in her? Is there hope?



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"There is an air of mystery about the book that runs from the beginning to the final pages, but that also draws the reader in and makes the book difficult to put down." 
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Make it all rise up in smoke


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The moment I come out of the bedroom—trying to forget what’s just happened between Ben and me—that’s the moment I see Lenny standing there, next to the entrance door. He takes a step forward to reach me, which alerts me at once to a threat, ‘cause I’ve seen him jealous before.
Me, I can tell how he must be feeling right now, ‘cause I’ve been there myself. From time to time, I would drive myself crazy thinking about him and Natasha, about her coming back here, or him going away with her. Then like, I would fly at him, with fire in my heart, crying that I hate, hate, hate him, and that I couldn't take his secrets no more, and whatever! And no matter what Lenny would say, I would end up going into a jealous rage. 
Rage, it can like, scorch everything around you, and make it all rise up in smoke, till you don’t hardly know who’s your friend and who—your enemy, so you can’t really trust no one. And most of all, you can’t trust the one you hold dear.  
At such moments I find that I miss being with my ma, who threw me out of her place long ago. I miss her, because inside—where no one else can see—I’m still a child, and because with her I’m at ease, and I don’t have to torture myself, and I don’t have doubts about nothing, ‘cause she makes things cut and dried, even if she has to slap me for it. 
So even though we’re married now, I don’t really feel I belong here, in this place. An outcast: that’s me. 
So I storm past him—but Lenny lays his hand on me. Grabbing me by the shoulder, he brings me to a standstill. 
Stop! Stop, Anita,” he says. “We have to talk.”
“Whatever,” I say, “I’m done talking,” even though we both reckon that like, the only thing I’ve swapped with him since this morning was my silence for his. 
And he goes, “Maybe you are—but I am not.”
And I don’t say nothing, ‘cause like, what’s the point? Between his son and me, I bet I know whose story he’s gonna believe.
And so he presses on, “There is something, Anita, something I must tell you.”
“What,” I say. “You leaving me again, Lenny?”

Anita in My Own Voice


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The complete series: 

Volume I: 
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Volume I & II, woven together: 
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"So much more could be said... but that would be robbing the reader of the joy of discoveries that Poznanasky accomplishes in this profound novel." 
Grady Harp, HALL OF FAME reviewer