The Rainbow Reader - November 2013
Graduate school went by really fast for me. I have
a million memories, but little context in which
to anchor them. Days transformed into nights, weekdays
morphed into weekends, and holidays were dashed
and dotted with research, capstone projects, and
I met Abbie Hoffman one day, but I cant remember
if it was in the spring or the fall. I wandered
up the winding driveway to Al Gores home in
Carthage, Tennessee, before being chased away by
a maid wielding a Libman® broom, but I cant
tell you if I was wearing a winter coat or shorts
and a t-shirt. At one point, I even finished a half
marathon about four minutes behind a man carrying
a table, tablecloth, and romantic place setting
for two, complete with Champagne and two crystal
flutesthere might have been breadsticks, too...I
No matter how much context I lost during that
year, Im pretty confident, that last experience
happened on or about All Hallows Eve
And strange things happen when you get near Halloween.
Think back in your memory, and try to recall if
youve had any unexplained circumstances, heard
strange noises, or had conversations with people
who may or may not have existed. To this very day,
I swear that the deceased father of my oldest siblings
best friend stopped by to visit one night when I
was about four. He had gray hair, was wearing a
suit, and sat at the foot of my bed as he talked
about wishing he had more time. When I woke up my
mom to tell her about the visit, she said I was
just dreaming and that it was probably a bad idea
to eat salmon fritters with hot sauce so close to
I didnt agree with her about the just
dreaming part, because it felt mighty real.
However, I still fully support her concerns about
For Halloween this year, I selected the fast and
frisky little book of short stories, When the
Clock Strikes Thirteen published by Ylva Publishing.
This juicy compilation features seven paranormal
tales of ghosts, werewolves, vampires, otherworldly
beings, and whispering winds on high, written by
seven talented authors who understand the art and
poetry of romantic fiction. This collection features
a little bit of something for everyone, even those
who normally have a hard time with the willing suspension
of disbelief. In fact, some of the stories are so
sweet and well written, that you almost forget youre
reading the paranormal.
When The Clock Strikes Thirteen
features the stories and authors that follow.
Midnight Messages by Lois Cloarec Hart
Luce Sheppards life is in a blender, and she
cant find a way to sleep through the night.
After hearing someone crying through her open window,
Luce finds Keira Keller, a lost and distraught teen
running from a party gone wrong. Luce invites her
to stay the night, until she can contact a relative
to come get her. The young womans heart is
broken, but she somehow manages to help Luce find
a way change the way she looks at the future. Keira
is gone in the morning, but her visit heralds unexpected
events and spooky revelations.
This story is equal parts heart breaking and
triumphant. Keira Keller is every teenage girl,
but a very old soul. Her role in this story is short,
but in no way small. The story is beautifully written.
Batteries Not Included by L.T. Smith
Alex Stevens is a loner. And a workaholic.
Shes worked hard to build impenetrable walls
around her life and her heart. Until one October
night when things start going bump and bang in the
night. Enter one hot new neighbor, spooky noises,
dead little old ladies, and a pile of missing batteries,
and suddenly those walls start to crumble and fall.
L.T. Smith is back at it with this tongue-in-cheek
tale that features an accountant with a bread knife,
a super hot next-door neighbor, and a bevy of things
that go bump well into the night. I
loved the subtle nod to fingersmith,
it brought one of many, many big smiles to my face.
Lost and Found by Emma Weimann
Laura Sullivans brother just hooked up
with her girlfriend, and things feel pretty hopeless.
Hoping that peace and quiet will help calm her churning
soul, she flees to her late grandparents' cottage
in the woods. But rural Ireland is rife with wood
sprites, evil mists, giggling tinkerbells, and one
hot otherworldly woman that drives her to other
worlds, all night longand, somehow manages
to leave her with a gift that keeps on giving.
What happens when you take a nice girl from
a messed up family and plop her smack dab into the
middle of a rural Irish forest that shimmers from
the gleam in Peter Pans eye? She drinks bad
tea, stumbles into a menacing forest at dusk, and
hooks up with a red-headed, female spirit with a
great ass and magic fingers. Another well-written,
sweet story with a beautiful, happy ending.
Chrysalis by Joan Arling
Tara OHara is every bit the Little
Whirlwind her nickname implies. However, her
friends are not typical little girls. They talk
about the feeling of rising high, and how the taste
of the sea differs from that of a lake. They dance
a whirling dervish, and try to outrun the sun. And
then, in the still of the night, they come for her.
Almost every little girl has invisible friends,
but Taras friends are special. Theyre
her sisters, and she is drawn to them. This is a
gorgeous little story that stands out in the collection
of paranormal stories because of its uniqueness,
warmth, and utter poetry.
Sisters of the Moon by Diane Marina
Nicole is a dedicated nurse who has sacrificed
her love life for long hours. Her best friend Danni
finally talks her into having a little fun, and
the girls embark on a pre-Halloween pub-crawl and
ghost tour of Annapolis, Maryland. The girls hit
a few bars and get their fill of ghoulishly grisly
details of all the haunted buildings in the old
city before Nicole meets a beautiful stranger in
one of the pubs. Intrigued by the alluring woman,
Nicole returns to the pub only to learn that she
wasnt the first. The question is, will she
be the last?
This story spins a tale of ghosts, grisly murders,
and one womans quest to find the love of her
life. Danni is a horndog for the ages, and Nicole
just needs to find a good woman
one that doesnt kiss and disappear. Of all
the stories in the collection, this is the one that
could most easily be adapted into a long-form story.
Wolf Moon by Erzabet Bishop
Lindsay Portis loves a good Halloween party, but
shes ready to bean her best friend Jenna for
talking her into attending a combination monster/comic
convention at the Convention Center. Even worse,
they arrived separately, and shes been wandering
around the freaks and geeks forever looking for
her. Things go haywire from there when gunfire disrupts
the festive event, and Lindsay goes in search of
her missing friend. Enter detective and werewolf,
Taggert, who is trying to get a bead on the nasty
bank robbers who are threatening to blow up their
hostages. When the two women find themselves hiding
out in the same small room, the air begins to crackle
from the heat of their attraction. Can Lindsay give
in to this fierce and unexpected attraction? Can
Taggert get her pants back on in time to save the
Whats an all lesbian, all paranormal
book of short stories without at least one lust-filled
sex romp between a butch werewolf cop with handcuffs
and a redhead in a painted on t-shirt that accentuates
her soft globe breasts? Yep, nothin else to
Love Bites by R.G. Emanuelle
What happens when a woman suffering from too many
recent bitch slaps suddenly finds herself drawn
to New Orleans, sex with a woman, and daiquiris?
She gets a little too drunk, follows a smokin
hot woman home, and ends up with a craving for a
different kind of drink.
R.G. Emmanuelle flat out knows how to write
a short story. Love Bites is the first-person account
of a woman who figures out she needs a change in
her life long before she actually gets it. This
story is tightly written, smart, and sexy, and puts
a sharp exclamation point on the entire collection.
Most story collections published around Halloween
feature ghosts, werewolves, vampires, and other
creepy crawlies. Almost all of those intentionally
position themselves to scare you, and make you feel
just a little bit out of control, a little bit breathless.
However, Ylva Publishing and When The Clock
Strikes Thirteen take a different path, and
show the sweeter and sexier side of the unexplained.
Much to my surprise, I fell a little bit in love
with this quirky little collection of short stories.
And, I have no doubt that romantics across the board
will love it, as well
even if you dont
read paranormal, think vampires and werewolves are
ridiculous, or just get flat-out annoyed by short
My only compaint is that I was really holding
out for one of those zombie love stories