I've received this books as a gift, and I'm glad I got it!

It offered me the opportunity of a virtual trip to NY. The story is set in Manhattan, and the author guides the readers among many landmarks as the story of Charlie&Charlie develops.


Exactly. Let's read the summary: 

Twenty-five year old Charlotte Charlie Barrow is caught between her old life, and the one she is beginning to build, when she crosses paths with a handsome stranger on the subway. Not looking for romance, she closes her heart off to the possibilities of love. With a knack for mishaps, Charlie maintains her sense of humor while befriending the kind stranger who seems to
be there at all the right times.

New York freelance writer, Charlie Adams, is forging his own path beyond the expectations of the society circles of his childhood. Rejecting family money, and fast-lane friends, he is snubbed by his family as he follows his own compass to a life more extraordinary.

Their chemistry is palpable as they balance precariously on the line that divides them as friends or more.
Charlotte Barrows and Charles Adams share the same nickname. They meet by chance, and an immediate attraction sparks between them; but it will take some time for it to blossom. As S.L. Scott says,

“It's the little things that make up your life. The bigger events just connect them.”

Charlie and Charlie will get to know each other better after some other meetings. One of them stands out: on an afternoon, they meet while both of them are going to the funeral of a person who was fundamental in their past – a former fiancée for Charlotte, and an aunt for Charles. They will support each other, and it will be a window on their troubled past.
Purchase the book! It's available at a special price! http://www.amazon.com/Naturally-Charlie-ebook/dp/B00DJUI1OK/ref=sr_1_2_title_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372274249&sr=1-2

I really enjoyed the way the main characters become friends. They begin to spend their Saturdays together, sharing some hours of relax (and delicious baking goods), and it will give them the opportunity to help each other to grow up and face the things that still make their lives complicated. After a long way, they'll be ready to make the right choices for their future.

The story is very well written. It's the first novel by S.L. Scott, and I wish her all the best on her new projects!

- Raum

About the Author [http://slscottauthor.com/]

S.L. Scott is a former high-tech account manager with a journalism degree pursuing her passion for telling stories. She spends her days escaping into her characters and letting them lead her on their adventures.

Live music shows, harvesting jalapenos and eating homemade guacamole are her obsessions she calls hobbies.

Scott lives in the beautiful Texas Hill Country of Austin with her husband, two young sons, two Papillons and a bowl full of Sea Monkeys.

She welcomes your notes at sl@slscottauthor.com.


Divine Temptation is a new contemporary romance by Nicki Elson.
Camilla wrote a terrific review. Enjoy!

Divine Temptation, published by Omnific


A demonic creature lands on this Earth and morphs into a human form. He has plans and they are surely evil.

In the meantime life goes on normally all over the world and particularly in Prairie Oaks, in Chicago suburbia. There the reader will meet Maggie, a divorcee with two kids to raise. She is a devout Catholic, and works part time for the parish, whose school is attended by her children. A somewhat gray existence, with no romantic interests. She tried to go wild for a while, but she wasn’t cut out for it. Her relationship with her ex husband, Carl, is no longer bitter: they are friends and he is a good dad. Maggie takes it in her stride that he has a new girlfriend (not the one he was unfaithful with originally); after all it was Maggie herself who decided that they weren’t going to try and patch up their marriage, as he had begged her. And, if she was completely sincere with herself, in their failure as a couple she had her own responsibilities.

Then her parish receives the visit of a high-ranking prelate sent from Rome: evidently they are under scrutiny by the powers that be and there is a lot of nervousness. Plus, has the visitor a hidden agenda? For sure he has a little too much interest in devils, damned souls and exorcisms. 

During this period of unrest Maggie starts feeling a presence: eventually she can see him. He is an angel! Maggie’s interaction with the supernatural creature is one of the most fascinating things in the book and a credit to the author. It is not easy to imagine angels in a way that is at the same time credible and respectful, but Elson manages it. God’s messengers apparently have no names but those we give them, and Maggie calls her own Evan

He too doesn’t understand completely what is happening to him, but he believes to have been summoned to her side to help her, and he does, offering her calm and serenity. His charm and beauty are undeniable, however, and after a while, impossible as it is, Maggie starts to wonder if maybe…

They’d stopped walking and stood staring at each other, with Maggie reading in Evan’s expression something between controlled lust and mild fear — yearning. Before her imagination traveled too far down the path that the angel had just told her was closed, she returned her focus to the spots of light and resumed walking. 

“Don’t worry, I’m not entertaining ideas. I’m obviously not in any emotional shape to get involved with a human man right now, much less a divine one. Besides, for all I know you’ve already got someone up in those not-clouds.” 

She stopped abruptly and jerked her attention back to him. “Do you?” 

“Do I what?” 

“Have a wife or something in Heaven?” 

“There isn’t marriage or anything of the like in my Father’s kingdom.” 

“Ah yes, that’s right.” She let out a sardonic grunt. “Poetic, isn’t it?” 

“There is something poetic about a happy earthly marriage too. The freedom and felicity in Heaven is ideal, but it doesn’t diminish the beauty of a well-matched earthly husband and wife.” 

“So heavenly beings don’t yearn for companionship the way humans do? You’re okay being solitary forever?” 

“We’re not solitary. We’re all one. I don’t long for companionship because I have it, fully. Humans are only ever able to satisfy a part of each other’s need for intimacy. Only the Lord can satisfy it completely. Even the best matched husbands and wives leave gaps of need in one another. Humans seek to fill those gaps through children, friends — ” 

While Maggie struggles with her confused feelings – her husband is not completely out of the picture as she thought and, prompted by her confessor, she dates briefly another guy - dark clouds seem to gather around her. Here and there the supernatural surfaces and seems to be affecting what was so normal and mundane before. Places are haunted and even children are affected. 

Plus, the reader knows that a malicious non human stalker has targeted Maggie for some horrible purpose…. To tell you more would be spoiling the story, which I highly recommend. 

Divine Temptation is a romance, but also a serious spiritual quest. Stories with angels make me often uneasy but not this one. It made me reflect on values we take for granted and which deserve more attention. The dialogues between Maggie and Evan are truly extraordinary. This is the second book by Nicki Elson. Three Daves was a delightful college romp; here she reaches new highs giving you a story you won’t forget easily. 

- Camilla

 Divine Temptation is available in Paperback, Kindle, and Nook

Nicki Elson (http://nickielson.com/)-- Writing wasn't something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs.
Nicki writes with two goals in mind: #1 to keep the characters realistic, even when their circumstances are anything but, and #2 to make the reader feel.


After Edward's backstory, in the new chapter you're getting more about Bella's past. Chapter 12 is now available: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8955111/12/

Claude Oscar Monet, "Cliff Walk at Pourville"
Camilla's short poem (SatinCoveredSteel helped to translate it):

La sua mamma, strana sorte,
un “copione” mise a morte;
la realtà di tanto orrore
ora a Bella spezza il cuore.

Her mother, his words make plain,
by a copycat was slain.
Such a terrible disclosure,
causes Bella’s heart to shatter.

The new chapter is due to be posted in two weeks.
Reviewers get a little gift.

Chicago - Art Institute


This review has been posted on RobAttack, where you can find many fabulous recs! Go read the full post:

"Variety is the Spice of Life"

If you're in the mood for a Vampward (excellent!) story, pay special attention to The Decision by Windchymes.

*Review by Raum*

*Made by Jaime Arkin*
Made by Jaime Arkin

The Decision ~ Edward made a decision after that second biology lesson. Two years later that decision is challenged.

Rated: Fiction M - English – Romance – Edward & Bella – Chapters: 9 – Words: 96,613 – Reviews: 2,382 - Favs: 2,325 – Follows: 1,770 – Updated: 10-15-11 – Published: 03-05-11 – Status: Complete – id: 6797418

Don’t miss it because…

I could list many reasons why The Decision is one of my favorite fics. I’ve reread it several times, and every time I end up savoring each word and noticing new details. I’m going to give you just five reasons why you can’t miss this story; feel free to add yours!

1. Edward 

I know, Edward Cullen is always a good reason! This story features an amazing Vampward — sweet without being sappy, mature without being a controlling jerk. Vampires are supposed to be unchanging, but in Windchymes’ stories they do change. Edward is open to discussing his beliefs with Bella, and chapter by chapter his views on his soul–and on Bella’s choice to become a vampire–change. This takes us to the second reason…

2. Characters

The Decision features the Cullen coven, other canon vampires (we meet Tanya, and traditional vamps), but also a bunch of great original characters. Each of them is well developed. Forget the clichés. Forget a Bella who spends her time just taking care of her parents, or a brooding Edward. Both Edward and Bella make–or have already made–new experiences in this story. They talk about the places they’ve visited and the ones they’d like to discover, they have many interests and projects. Edward and Bella work wonderfully well together, but they’re capable of being apart as well. I absolutely love the way the author shows how the characters’ psychology change as the story progresses.In Chapter 2, we read:

Edward breathed in her scent and let his throat burn while his heart rejoiced. She was here.Of course he had called for her, and as they’d set off from her front door he had wanted to offer her his arm. And if it had been 1918 he would have. But it wasn’t 1918.
So they walked side by side, talking about her new history assignment and his transfer, while they both balled their hands tightly in their pockets.They sat on the grass by the lagoon and Edward showed off, skimming stones perfectly across the surface of the water, making them bounce and dance.
“Impressive,” Bella smirked and Edward smiled.
“There’s a lake in Switzerland, in the Bernese Alps, that’s perfectly still,” he said. “It has perfect reflection and they say if you skim stones across it, it looks like glass breaking.” Edward actually knew this because he’d done it.
Bella smiled. “That sounds beautiful,” she said. “I saw a lake like that in France. I tried skimming, but my stone just sank.”
It took a fraction of a second for Edward to realise what Bella had just said. “You’ve been to France?”
“Uh huh.”
“Between graduation and starting college.” She had been sitting with her legs curled under her, but she stretched out now, leaning back on her hands. She tilted her head to look at the sky and extended her neck as she did so. She breathed deeply. And while part of Edward’s mind was still absorbing the fact she’d been to France, another part marvelled that she felt comfortable enough with him to expose herself that way. Even unwittingly.
She made another shift, changing her position and curling her legs beneath her again, the opposite way this time. Her movement broke Edward’s gaze. Now he stared at her profile, her eyes downcast as she plucked at the grass, and he focussed on what she’d just said.
He had questions, so many questions, and he didn’t know where to start. So he summed it up in two words.
“Tell me?”
3. Travels

I mentioned that Edward and Bella have many travel experiences to share in this story; it’s well researched, and the places where it’s set play a role in it. The main part of the story is set in Chicago, and you’ll be able to discover many of its important landmarks. Some European cities are mentioned, and the characters will become your guides, making you see those places through their eyes, sharing their emotions. A part of the story is set in Greece, and it makes it an ideal reading for the summer. But I can’t tell you more…

4. Writing

The writing is elegant, smooth, and captivating. Every word is like a gem, carefully chosen and with many facets to discover. I love the way the author describes objects that play a role in the story–a certain purple cashmere blanket, for example–and the way the characters voice their feelings. Windchymes’ words will stay with you.

5. Angst-free

This story has a good plot, and it’s very well told. There are moments when you’ll be worried for the characters, or when you’ll be afraid, but there’s no angst-for-angst’s-sake. This is another reason why I’m sure it will be a great fic for the holidays.

- Raum


Windchymes is now a published original fiction author under name Suzanne Carroll, with her books, The Thunderstorm, and Over the Edge. Congratulations to her!


I was writing a review for The Brandons by jmolly and was looking for some images with Alice and Jasper.
When I saw this stunning image by Alicexz on Deviantart, I thought it was perfect for the story.

I've just added the title, the author, and two references to events mentioned in the story.

banner by Raum for The Brandons, by jmolly - the story is complete!

What about the review?

It's ready and will be posted tomorrow on... *surprise*. Stay tuned!

- Raum

June 14: the review is now available on RobAttack!


Alexandra Allred, the fabulous author of Damaged Goods and White Trash, has prepared an amazing lesson for today's writing lab. Dear readers, I must warn you: it's hilarious!


You Have to See It to Believe It!
Alexandra Allred

You have to see your scene.

At least, that’s how I write.

I was standing at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, trying to determine where in the hell my suitcase was. I had put all the appropriate tags on it when we departed Dallas/Fort Worth the day before but now, standing in the massive Frankfurt airport, no one seemed to know where my suitcase was.

This was a huge problem as we were trying to make the connecting flight on Air Tunisia (Author’s Note: No sane person should attempt this. Air Tunisia does not have the traditional drink carts that serve up refreshing cokes or iced waters or little cute bottles of vodka. No. On this airline, excessively clothed stewardesses peddle cigarette cartons and everyone smokes!) but because of security in the Frankfort airport, I needed to identify my luggage before making the last leg of my journey.

(Author’s Note: It was not so much a journey as it was an exercise in torture for a crime I had apparently committed in a previous lifetime and my father, the purchaser of my ticket to hell, had undoubtedly been put in charge of seeing that I pay my dues).

I implored the woman behind the counter to look again. And again.  But she only shook her head and said something in Arabic which translates literally to, “Only God knows,” and she looked to the ceiling.  So, I looked to the ceiling, waited and then said, “Okay, see, that doesn’t help me.  Where is my luggage?”

I am getting panicked.

My sister and I are standing in the Air Tunisia wing of the airport which, for those of you who do not understand, this means we’re standing in an area where we’re the only two females who have skin on our forearms and face showing.  If I don’t get my luggage I am out of clothes and if I’m out clothes this means I will be buying clothes in Tunis and I really don’t think they have an Old Navy there so I am getting mighty worried.

(Author’s Note:  They didn’t have an Old Navy or even a Walmart in Tunis, nor did they ever find my luggage so I had to wear my grandmother’s clothing while I was there.  This is important to note because my grandmother only wore polyester pants and while her lean, little 80 year old legs sported polyester rather nicely, my rounded thunder-thighs caused the fabric, already stretched to near exhaustion, to make strange skritchy noises while I walked.  For the first few days I would walk, then stop, look around and ask, “Did you hear that?”  I thought something was following us! Was it death? Was it the spirit of the aforementioned crime victim from my previous life that I was most assuredly involved in come to seek vengeance upon me?  But my Nana just laughed and said, no, it was just my chubby little legs and then she tried to convince me to wear her sweater vest. But I digress.)

So determined, i.e., terrified was I, I continued to demand to know the location of my luggage.  Finally, another desk attendant took pity on me and ran a trace on my bag number.

“Ah,” she said at last.  “I have found your bag.”

“Fantastic!  Where is it?”

“It’s in Baghdad.”

My sister and I then spoke in unison.  “Baghdad!  What’s it doing in Baghdad?”

But …

Before she ever answered, I saw it.  I could see it so clearly. There, perched on a faraway sand dune. It lay on its side, its soft brown leather baking in the dessert sun, while three dark figures crouched over it.  Women in burkas cautiously ran their hands along the curious box until, at last, one brave woman caught the zipper and began to slowly open my suitcase.  Somewhere in the distance, a camel stood, unimpressed with my unmentionable.  But as the women slowly began to pull out my shirts and nightie, my Led Zeppelin t-shirt and Winnie-the-Pooh boxers, they let out a chorus of, “ooooooh” and “ahhhhhhh’s.”  I raised my hand to my sister to silence her.

“It’s gone,” I told her.  “It’s gone.”

And somehow I knew it was only a matter of time before I would write about this, even laugh about it, but only after the sting of having a Tunisian goat herder laugh at the sweater vest Nana made me wear had gone.

(Author’s Note: This would begin my unnatural infatuation with goats and/or the need to dispel the fear that goats laugh at me.)

Okay. Goats, Pooh Bear boxers and skritchy noises aside, you do not have to have been in the place that you write about. That’s the beautiful thing about writing.  A picture – a single picture, can burn so brilliantly in your mind that you could write an entire book about it.  But you have to see it.  When you close your eyes, you have to see that image. When you can own the dew on grass, feel the heat from the sand, almost reach out and touch a tree, you can write about it. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a 3rd grader attempting your first storybook, the principles are the same. See it, believe it and so will I.

For next time: How Fainting Goats became pivotal characters in my book, White Trash, and why White Trash needs to be turned into a movie because of the Fainting Goats!


Thanks, Alex!

Dear readers, your comments are welcome. If you're curious about Alex Allred's novels, they're available!


Emergency Beta Service (EBS) is an excellent service for writers. They provide quick answers to any grammar and fiction writing related questions.

Their team is extremely talented. If you want to become one of their betas, or one of their managers, there are some positions open!

If editing is your passion and you want to work with many writers, don't miss this chance!


Are you a writer? Don't miss the "Writing Resources" section on EBS's website:  


If you're among the many readers who have enjoyed Damaged Goods (by the same author), you already know how faultlessly Alex Allred can bring small Texan communities to life. When you finish reading her books, it seems you have actually lived there.

With her new novel, White Trash, Allred takes us to Granby, the place to which Thia (Theresa) Franks had vowed never to return. Thia's promising career crashed, and she's single again, with a baby to raise; so she has to come back and live with her mother, accepting her and her aunt's help. Thia has to settle for a modest job in the local newspaper and come to terms with failure.

Through her eyes, we see her fellow citizens live and act, and we're told of their quirks and small (and big) lunacies.

"She was the Paris Hilton of Granby. Talk about trash."

Thia’s schoolmates have grown, and some of them made a mess of their life; older people are set in their ways and gossip is rampant, as it always was.

"There was no telling if they were ever good girls, but boredom and the disease of little expectation had rotted them both to where all one could expect was when the next would be expecting."

Alex Allred certainly doesn’t put on rosy glasses when describing the community under her scrutiny: even a thriving weapon smuggling business is going on.

Are there any nice things in Granby?
Yes. It's a safe community – or so it looks – and it has a solidarity that transcends petty feelings and prejudices. So Thia is warming up to her hometown, until tragedy strikes and the plot turns to mystery. James Otis – a young black man who was picking up his life after the end of a career in sports and some wild years – is brutally murdered after his graduation party.

White Trash's shocking storyline is based on real people and true events in a small rural town in Texas. The novel has a hilarious cast, but after the murder everyone is being watched, and everyone is being judged.

What a non-American reviewer really appreciates about this book is that it dispels a lot of ideas and misconceptions on white and black people relations, particularly in Southern US. For instance, the graduation party connected with the murder was a mixed one, and the atmosphere there appeared to be completely relaxed.

But, why did James Otis die in such a gruesome way? Speculation is overflowing: theory after theory accumulate, from a revamping of the Ku Klux Klan hating that a black boy was making it good, to more private reasons. The answer, when it comes, will be a surprise. The reasons of James’s death spring from a distant past, from events that can happen (and do happen, unfortunately) in any community and on any latitude, without anything to do with the skin color.

At the end of the story the community will be at peace again – the mystery solved, the bereaved consoled. We see Thia at her aunt’s surprising wedding, and – who knows? – maybe there's a romance in store for her, too.
Camilla and Raum

Alexandra Allred’s writing career began following a stint on the US women’s bobsled team. After being named “Athlete of the Year” by the United States Olympic Committee, she became an adventure writer. While writing for a variety of national publications, she test drove the Volvo Gravity Car, donned a dog attack suit, played professional women’s football, and even outran a beefalo mix (that’s a buffalo/cow mix to you city folk).

She turned to fiction writing using her rural Texas homestead as fodder for storytelling. When not writing, she lobbies for healthy children. Allred lives outside Dallas, Texas, with her husband, children, and a plethora of animals.

Ways to connect with the author:

Twitter: @alexandraallred

White Trash is available on Amazon, B&N.com, Kobo, iTunes, and The Writer's Coffee Shop website.

White Trash summary:
It all started when someone called an African American toddler "cute little niglet." White Trash was created in tribute to this unknown child. It has a hilarious cast and shocking storyline based on real people and true events in a small rural town in Texas. When Thia Franks returns to her home of Granby, Texas, the very place to which she’d vowed never to return, Granby’s worst and best elements force the new single mother to face both her past and her destiny. At first, it seems that nothing has changed: Chester Kennedy’s goats continue to run rampant through the town, Officer Tina Wolfe stands accused of racial profiling the growing Hispanic community, Thia’s gun-wielding neighbor believes a squirrel has it in for her, and the town’s local newspaper owner prints only what she believes the citizens should know. But when a young black man—an upstanding and popular citizen of the small, east-central Texas town—is brutally murdered, everything changes. Everyone is being watched. Everyone is being judged.
White Trash is a fast-paced, laugh-out-loud book that also serves as a bitter social commentary on American hypocrisies and prejudices. As Thia Franks comes to terms with the murder, and the small police department works the biggest whodunit in Granby history, a startling underworld of domestic abuse, gunrunning, drug use, illicit sex, and child molestation is revealed. While the murder is horrendous and some of the citizens of Granby are appalling, many stand up for what is right, and the total package is endearing. You’ll want to read White Trash more than once in order to capture all of the tale’s insights as it neatly summarizes the reality of every American small town peopled with neighbors you can’t get away from, you can’t stop talking about, and you may not want to leave.


English poems, classical music, and Edward's backstory are ready for you. Chapter 11 is now available: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8955111/11/

Camilla's short poem (SatinCoveredSteel helped to translate it):

Mentre il padre a pesca è andato
alla figlia il suo passato
vuole Edward tutto dire
prima di dover morire.

While the father’s fishing,
Edward is wishing
to tell the daughter of his past,
before it’s time to die at last.

The new chapter is due to be posted in two weeks.
Reviewers get a little gift.

J. S. Bach, Matthaeus Passion - Erbarme Dich

Fancy, by John Keats (read by Michael Sheen)

Follow me on Twitter!