November 12, 2014

Conall MacKay Is Haunted By A Ghostly Beauty In This Paranormal Erotic Romance; His Cemetary Doll by Brantwijn Serrah

There's a woman in the graveyard.


Conall Mackay never put stock in ghost stories. Not even after thirteen years serving as the cemetery keeper in the village of Whitetail Knoll. But things change. Now, his daughter is dreaming of a figure among the tombstones. The grounds are overrun by dark thorns almost faster than Con can clear them. White fog and gray ribbons creep up on him in the night, and a voiceless beauty beckons him from the darkest corners of the graves. 

When the world he knows starts to unravel, Conall might finally be forced to believe.

Book Trailer:


He hadn't slept long before he heard sounds from down in the kitchen below.

"Shyla!" he called gruffly. "Weren't you heading into town?"

No answer came from below, but the sounds of pots clanging told him his daughter toyed about down there. Perhaps she'd decided not to leave him after all and taken it into her head to now re-organize the house, since he'd so clearly wanted her to stay out of the cemetery. With a low groan, Conall rolled out of bed and stepped out into the hall.

"Shyla!" he called again, coming to the head of the stairs. If she had stayed home, she could at least do it without making a lot of noise.

"Shyla, I—"

He staggered then, as the hallway dimmed. Afternoon light flickered strangely, lightning cracking a dismal sky outside, and in the space of time afterward everything else darkened. Conall darted a glance around him as the house fell into shadow.

From the top of the stairwell, he saw the first whispering tendrils of white fog.

The heat of adrenaline shot through his limbs. Conall stumbled back into his bedroom, even as the fog pursued. His gaze shot to the window as the last gray light of day faded away and eerie darkness replaced it, like an eclipse sliding over the sun. 

More cold mists veiled the glass, dancing and floating. Trembling overtook him as he spun to find another escape.

He froze, finding himself face-to-face with the broken mask of the cemetery doll.

"You—" he gasped. His breath came out white as the fog enveloped them both, leaving a space of mere inches between them, so he could still see her expressionless face. Gray ribbons wound and curled through the air around him.

"Who are you?" he asked.

The doll stared up at him. He sensed her searching, looking into his eyes even though hers remained covered. She held him there with her unseen gaze, until her cool, cold hand came up to touch his bare chest.

Conall let out a low breath. He closed his eyes, and a shudder of strange ease rippled through his body. The cool pads of her fingers ran down his sternum, to his navel. The silky ribbons brushed along his side.

Then he noticed her other hand. She lifted it up, to her own chest, and she held something tightly in her fingers: Shyla's stuffed dog.

"I made that...for my daughter," he whispered. The woman with the broken mask tilted her head down toward the small toy, studying it. For a fraction of a second, her fingers appeared to tighten around it. She returned her gaze to him, then, and the toy fell from her grip into the fog, forgotten.

"Wait—" he said, but she brought her other hand up to his chest to join the first, and he recognized eagerness in the way she pressed her icy skin against his. Her face tilted to him, and then came her lips again, ivory and flawless.

"I—" Conall breathed. "I...don't understand..."

Her fingers slid up, around his neck, but he pulled away.

"No, this...this can't real. I'm asleep. I must be."

Gray ribbons danced, pulling him back to her, and she stroked his face. He sucked in a breath at her touch and found his own hand coming up to brush hers.

"You're so cold," he said. "Like stone...but..."

Her cool touch thrilled him; it made his skin tingle and the heat of his own body sing. Her perfect flesh did, in fact, prove soft under his hands, as if the contact with his worn calluses infused cold ivory with yearning. She caressed his cheek, and Conall leaned into it. Before he could stop himself, he bowed his head to her and kissed her frozen lips.


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Breathless Press:

Behind every good book is a gracious author.

There have been a number of horror stories going around lately about author meltdowns when bad reviews come in. Who doesn't love a good internet meltdown, right? As one of those Indie authors working hard to be discovered, though, I can say that every time one author throws a "Why-don't-you-get-me?" hissy fit, it makes everything a little bit harder for the rest of us. It goes beyond mere unprofessionalism, too: it's just plain rude.
Authors, remember:

1. Reviewers are our Friends.  If you're an indie or self-published author, you should sure as hell know how important reviews are to your success. Follow the logic train with me here...this means reviewers are important to your success. These days, reviewers can and often do put more effort into their job than simply posting a few stars on Amazon or Goodreads. Lots of them are bloggers, too, and they are offering more exposure to the authors they list. There's no way around it: reviewers are a major part of our dream, too.

2. Reviewers are Volunteers. Every reviewer I've ever dealt with has volunteered to read my work. No one is paying them for their time. They do this because they like to read, and they recognize that indie authors especially need readers to spread the word.  Take a minute and think about how long it takes you to read a book the length of one of your own. With my schedule, I'm lucky to carve out half an hour of my own free time to enjoy a book, and that's without committing myself to anyone. Reviewers invest time in our books, and they don't have to. They choose to. So when they take time to invest themselves in your book, remember what that means.

3. Reviewers Have Minds of Their Own. And opinions, too. And they're allowed to have them. Reviewers may volunteer to read a book, but that doesn't obligate them to like it. They are allowed to form their own thoughts about it.  If you picked up a new book in the store, would you feel obligated to cater your opinion to the feelings of the author? Do you hold your tongue if you read something you really don't like? If you don't, or if you don't expect other readers to do so, don't expect reviewers to do it either. They are allowed to have opinions.

4. Authors are Not Entitled to Praise. Go look up your absolute favorite book. It's got some bad reviews, believe me. All books do. Even the best authors in the world—the ones making millions—are not universally loved. Why would anyone be? Any author who can't live with that is living in a fantasy, and definitely not ready to be publishing. And that isn't the fault of the reviewer.

5. When an Author Abuses a Reviewer, They Abuse Us All. I am always saddened when I see a reviewer comment that they won't review Indie or Self-pub because too many authors throw tantrums over honest reviews. That is a shame on so many levels. I can't blame them, though: if they've been harassed by a disgruntled author for the crime of expressing their honest opinions, it's no wonder they feel abused. Then they start losing joy in what they've volunteered to do, and stop volunteering. Then other authors lose out on the chance to share with them.

It's never fun to receive a bad review, and believe me, I've been there. I've received the painful review that pointed out every weakness in my baby, and some weaknesses I very much disagreed with. I've had reviewers start off their critiques by saying they never liked vampires or romance to begin with and I've wondered why they'd ask to volunteer my work at all. I've had criticism that I failed to capture the setting of feudal Japan when the book wasn't set in feudal Japan in the first place. I've had my frustrations with reviews that didn't seem to be fair and ones that exposed my deepest insecurities for everyone to see.

It's part of being a writer. Part of being a good writer, a gracious writer, is holding your tongue when you might want to argue or complain, because you have the humility and maturity to understand not every opinion is going to go in your favor—and that's okay. 

I call upon indie and self-pubbed writers: respect your reviewers, no matter how many stars they give you. Remember to honor their time and their opinion, without letting hurt feelings make you forget your decorum.  There are many, many ways to learn to cope with bad reviews and frustrating views.  You surely have a friend or two, to whom you can vent your honest feelings without fear, and that's okay. When it comes to your professional response, however, practice grace and temperance, and remember reviewers are more than one or two poor reviews...they are part of our industry, some of our biggest fans, and one of the most powerful supporters we have, in our profession.

So remember to always be gracious and kind, and thankful for the time and investment they put in, regardless whether they give us praise in the end. Reviewers are part of the lifeblood of the indie and self-publishing worlds, and deserve the same liberties to love, hate, and give their honest feelings on our works.

About the Author:       

When she isn't visiting the worlds of immortals, demons, dragons and goblins, Brantwijn fills her time with artistic endeavors: sketching, painting, customizing My Little Ponies and sewing plushies for friends. She can't handle coffee unless there's enough cream and sugar to make it a milkshake, but try and sweeten her tea and she will never forgive you. She moonlights as a futon for four lazy cats, loves tabletop role-play games, and can spend hours watching Futurama, Claymore or Buffy the Vampire Slayer while she writes or draws.

In addition to her novels, Brantwijn has had several stories published in anthologies by Breathless Press, including the 2013 Crimson Anthology and 2014 Ravaged Anthology.  She's also had a short story published in the Cleiss Press Big Book of Orgasm and the anthology Coming Together Through The Storm

She hopes to have several more tales to tell as time goes on.  She has author pages on GoodReads and Amazon, and loves to see reader comments on her work. 

Her short stories occasionally pop up at Foreplay and Fangs, her blog at

Author Sites:

Brantwijn's Facebook: 

Foreplay and Fangs Supernatural Romance: 

Brantwijn's Foreplay and Fangs blog: 

Twitter: @Brantwijn 

Amazon Author Page: 

Goodreads Author Page:

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