Thursday, 25 April 2013

Elizabeth Delisi: The Midnight Zone

Elizabeth Delisi releases her newest book today, The Midnight Zone. This is a speculative collection of psychological thrillers, suspense stories, and tales of curiosity. On a similar theme to the old Twilight Zone series, The Midnight Zone is sure to make you sit up in your chair.

This collection includes fourteen stories -- The Doctor’s Story, Time Is Up, The Handbook, The Judgment Stone, Pen Pals, The Perfect Housewife, Star Light, Star Bright, The Gathering, Mirror, Mirror, Snow Spirits, Music Man, Curiosity Killed the FPS Man, Jury of One, and The Last Married Couple.

Here's the excerpt from Mirror, Mirror

Cassie opened her compact and peered into the round mirror. Her nose looked a little shiny. As she reached for the powder puff, a movement in the mirror caught her eye. She saw the waiter bringing a drink to the woman at the table in back of her. Served in a pineapple, it had two gaudy red paper parasols and a large pink straw sticking out of the top. Cassie watched, amused, the puff arrested in its journey to her nose.

Suddenly, the waiter tripped. The pineapple slid down the length of the steeply-tilting tray to land, upside-down, in the woman’s lap.

“Oh!” Cassie gasped.

“What?” Laura asked.

“Did you see the waiter spill a drink all over that poor woman?”

Laura twisted in her chair. “No. Where?”

“Right behind me.” Cassie turned around. The table was empty. “I guess she already left. Maybe she went to the ladies’ room to clean up.”

“I didn’t see any woman at that table,” Laura said. “Are you sure?”

“I saw it in my mirror.” Cassie held up her compact.

“Ooh, let me see!” Laura reached for it. “This is lovely! Where did you get it?”

“I found it last week in an antique store on the Cape,” Cassie said. “It was a funny little shop, full of all sorts of peculiar things. I liked the compact so much that I went back the next day to look for another one; but I couldn’t find the place again.” She shrugged.

Laura rubbed her fingers over the engraved gold case, then opened it. “Here’s your problem. This old mirror is so cloudy, it’s no wonder you’re seeing things.” She snapped it shut and handed it back.

“Here comes our lunch.” Laura pointed to a waiter carrying a full tray. Diverted, Cassie forgot all about what she’d seen in the mirror.

An hour later, the two friends finished their meal. On her way out, absorbed in paying the check, Cassie didn’t notice a waiter spilling an entire pineapple full of liquor on a woman who had just been seated.

• • •

Elizabeth Delisi wanted to be a writer since she was in first grade, and probably would have written in the womb if she could have convinced her mother to swallow a pencil. But life hasn't always gone the way she planned, and on her road to publication she worked as a motel maid, waitress, secretary, administrative aide, substitute teacher, and newspaper reporter.

Elizabeth is a multi-published, award-winning author of romance, mystery and suspense. Her time-travel romance set in ancient Egypt, Lady of the Two Lands, won a Bloody Dagger Award and was a Golden Rose Award nominee. Her romantic suspense novel, Since All is Passing was an EPPIE Award finalist and Bloody Dagger Award finalist. Fatal Fortune was a Word Museum Reviewer’s Choice Masterpiece. Elizabeth's contemporary romance novella The Heart of the Matter is featured in the Valentine's Day-themed anthology Cupid's Capers and was an EPPIE Award finalist. A Carol of Love is part of Holiday Hearts anthology and an EPPIE Award finalist. A Cup of Christmas Charm is part of Holiday Hearts 2 anthology and was also an EPPIE Award finalist.

Elizabeth is an instructor for Writer’s Digest University. She has taught Creative Writing at the community college level, has worked as a copyeditor for several small publishers, and edits for individuals. She holds a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing major from St. Leo University.

Elizabeth is currently at work on Deadly Destiny and Perilous Prediction, the sequels to Fatal Fortune, and Knit A Spell, a paranormal romance.

Elizabeth lives in New Hampshire with her husband and feisty parakeet. She enjoys hearing from her readers.

Find Elizabeth online at --

Elizabeth Delisi
The World According to Liz
Tirgearr Publishing

Get your copy of The Midnight Zone here
• • •

Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of The Midnight Zone today to one lucky commenter. Leave Elizabeth a message with your email address, or ask her a question, and be automatically entered into the random drawing.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

David Toft: The Cycles Turn

Please welcome David Toft to Heart of Fiction today. David hails from Bradford in England, but today makes his home in south Dublin in Ireland.

Don't let David's calm demeanor fool you. He's a prolific writer, having published six titles so far, including End Game (2009), A Gift of Butterflies (4/09), A Legacy of Butterflies (7/09), A Betrayal of Butterflies (3/11), Soul Farm (7/11), and Ishtal (2/12).

Today marks the publication of David's seventh title, The Cycles Turn, book one of The Kyklos Trilogy.

Augustus Braithwaite is the headmaster at an English boys' school, Dunsmore School for Boys. The school is on a break, most students have gone home, but Augustus and a handful of school staff are still in residence. This story opens with a gruesome discovery -- a cat has been crucified in the chapel. Augustus is suddenly plunged into a world he didn't know existed, a world paralleling the only one he's ever known, a world where witches and demons live. A world where a magical cycle is about to turn. With his closest allies, Augustus travels from Dunsmore in England across the sea to Ireland to the remote western island of Inishbofin to confront the evil that waits there.

I swear, after reading The Cycles Turn, readers won't be able to view this real island the same. This
Inishbofin Island, Ireland
story is full of action and excitement, and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Before we get to the excerpt, I've had a brief chat with David to find out what life is like in his world, away from parallel worlds and the dark corners of his imagination.

Welcome, David. Readers really enjoy learning more about their favorite authors, so thanks for taking some time out of your busy day to have a chat.

Will you please describe your writing space? With such vivid tales, I don't imagine you locked away in a cramped writer's cave.

I usually hand write and type things up later, so my writing space can be anywhere – on the bus to and from work, at a corner table of any pub I happen to be in, or wherever I’m waiting for Mary while she’s shopping or at the gym.

I see I was right about the cave. I'm guessing your daily routine is very flexible. How do you schedule your writing time with your work schedule? Do you have a routine?

Almost twenty years ago I tweaked my alarm clock back two hours to give myself some extra writing time. I’ve kept that discipline ever since, using that precious two hours to type up and edit whatever I managed to scribble down in my notebook on the previous day.

Wow! Twenty years? That takes real dedication. Sounds like you treat your writing time like a job with set hours. With such full days working and writing, what do you enjoy doing when you're not writing?

I read, of course, but probably not enough, and I like to spend some time (some would say too much time) in my local pub. All of life is there, so I log it as research.

Luckily my day job is fairly physical so I don’t have to worry about wasting valuable writing time trying to keep fit and pretending that I enjoy it.

LOL I love that . . . pub time as research. I'll have to remember that one. Thanks for chatting with us, David. Best of luck with The Cycles Turn. It's a great story and one I'm sure the readers will love.

Now, let's get to that excerpt --

• • •

The discovery of a crucified cat in the chapel of his school plunges headmaster Augustus Braithwaite into a battle against forces, and worlds, he previously didn’t know existed.

Augustus acquires an ally in Sharna, a young woman he rescued from execution in her own world, and they return to his school to confront the power head on.

Only one of their enemies, teacher Edward Braine, horribly disfigured but still maliciously strong, survives. Together they track him across Ireland to a final confrontation on the island of Inishbofin.

Inside the single wooden door, a small stone porch barely a yard and a half long led to another door, less solid than the first and also hanging open. Augustus stopped, assaulted by a strange smell emanating from inside. He often stopped at that specific spot, particularly in the summer months when, after basking in the scents of honeysuckle or roses or freshly cut grass, he entered the porch and the lack of any smell at all struck him. It was as though the air of the natural world dare not encroach into the world of the spiritual beyond the iron studded outer door. This new smell was faintly, but repugnantly, sweet.

In the gloomy body of the building across the backs of twelve rows of wooden pews and a small, unadorned altar table, the brilliant whiteness of the cat’s fur stood out like a single tooth in the centre of a gaping mouth. It was hanging upside down, crucified on an inverted cross and slit open from groin to throat. Its head was invisible beneath a coat of congealed blood. The blood, in spilling onto the table and from there onto the stone flags of the floor, was undoubtedly the source of the smell. That smell clogged in Augustus’s nostrils and caused him to gulp back the urge to vomit.

Witchcraft. Satanists. Augustus’s head began to spin. His vision fogged. He did not realise that he had stumbled until he felt Gimbel’s strong fingers grip onto his right elbow.

“You all right, headmaster?” There was mockery in the gardener’s tone.

“Fine now, yes. Thank you, Gimbel.” Regaining his composure, Augustus pulled his arm free and moved around the rows of pews toward the front of the chapel.

At the end of the front row of seats he stopped. A scattering of cigarette butts littered the floor at his feet. Crouching, he picked one up and examined it. It was a filter tip; most of them were. Three were white rather than brown. Discarding the first, he picked up one of those between thumb and index finger. It was hand-rolled with a makeshift cardboard filter. He raised the blackened end to his nose and sniffed. Even decades after his student days, the aroma was unmistakable. Perhaps the sickly sweet smell that had assailed his senses in the porch was not due entirely to spilled blood.

In isolation, the discarded cigarette ends would have angered him. In context with the sacrifice though, they were almost comforting. Genuine practitioners of the dark arts would hardly have stood around smoking. That left the boys. He let out a long sigh. There was always something.

Gimbel had walked the length of the chapel along the opposite wall to the headmaster. He now took an exaggerated stride over the stream of drying blood. It struck Augustus that there seemed to be an awful lot of blood for one cat, but the thought was lost in his need to stand before the gardener was in a position to be looking down at him. Gimbel had that effect. Even when being irreproachably polite, the gardener gave the impression that violent mutiny bubbled just below the surface.

“Never heard of the like,” Gimbel said, scratching his head. “Not at Dunsmore. At Arlington, years ago, there was rumours, witches covens, satanic masses, all sorts of unholy goings on.”

 Arlington was another school for boys and less than seven miles away across the dales. Augustus was a friend of Alex Matthews, the headmaster there, an ex-military bull of a man.

“How many years ago?”

“Eighteen,” Gimbel replied, without hesitation. “1966 it were.”

That long ago, no connection there then.

• • •

Born in Bradford England, David Toft gained a degree in Education before going on to work in London and Warwickshire. He now lives in South County Dublin, Ireland with his wife, Mary.

David has been writing adult fantasy and paranormal fiction for over twenty years.

Find David online at --

Tirgearr Publishing

• • •

Tirgearr Publishing is giving away a copy of The Cycles Turn today to one lucky commenter. Leave David a message or ask him a question and be automatically entered into the random drawing.