Grave Errors (Witch City Mystery 5) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

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Book Review: Grave Errors (Witch City Mystery 5) by Carol J. Perry | Cozy Mystery | Paranormal | Reading | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

I received a free paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Whose funeral will be next?

For residents of Salem, Massachusetts, the day after Halloween brings empty candy wrappers, sagging pumpkins, and a community-wide identity crisis. That is, until Lee Barrett s TV production class suggests extending the spooky season with the traditional Mexican celebration Dia de Los Muertos. But when the students discover not all of Salem s dead are resting in peace, the post-October blues don t seem so bad after all . . .

As if a series of haunting graveyard visits isn t disturbing enough, Lee and her policeman boyfriend connect the crime to an unsolved missing person case. Driven by a series of chilling psychic visions, Lee calls on her cleverest allies including her shrewd cat, O Ryan to go underground and dig up the evidence needed to put a lid on a cold case forever . . . before the latest headstone in town has her name on it!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I’m a fan of the cover. It really conveys what happens in the book and showcases some important points of the plot.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ve spent the summer reading through this series and happily picked up this next book right away.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This plot is certainly unique from the stories in the rest of the series. It’s a paranormal story so having a plot based on Day of the Dead and a cemetery is great. I loved every minute of it. While this kind of setting is a bit cliche, it certainly found a way to twist the cliche upside down.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I feel like I’ve talked about the characters so much lately since I’m reading and reviewing these books pretty much all at once. So, it’s no surprise that I enjoy the main characters still. It was great to get back to seeing Lee’s students again. They’re a great cast and Dorothy was a great addition.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is easy to read. You think you know the answer but things end up getting turned upside down. Still, it’s easy to follow along with. This is the type of mystery that intrigues you from the very beginning and you don’t want to put the book down until it’s over… yet, you want to savor it. The dialogue and description go hand in hand and is very well done.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

As always, this was another great mystery from Carol Perry. I’m eager to read on with the series.

Grave Errors (Witch City Mystery 5) by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“The empty candy wrappers have been swept from the streets, the carved pumpkins have gone soft, their jagged-toothed sagging crookedly.” -Carol J. Perry, Grave Errors

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 38 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a picture prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative writing prompt | sentence starter | first line | flash fiction | short story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the sentence above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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If You Can Dream It… [Guest Post]

Please help me welcome DreamItRealiseIt to my blog!

Guest Post: If you can dream it by DreamItRealiseIt | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

Dear valued reader,

I would like to speak directly to you to offer you advice and guidence from my own knowledge base and experience.

Writing is hard. Without a doubt.

Some days you are staring at a blank page for ages, hours even, and you can’t seem to gain ANY inspiration at all. On other days you write solidly for four hours without even a toilet or a drink/food break and it feels like you’ve been writing for only minutes! Then on a different day you may read something that you’ve already written and be so disgusted by it that you rip the page up right there and then. Trash. It is just trash.

It does not reflect your amazing writing ability at all. Or you may not even have the confidence to believe you have much writing ability. You may feel disillusioned and depressed… Let me tell you something my avid reader and aspiring writer – DO NOT EVER GIVE UP.

Why do you think you read, huh? To gain inspiration for your writing. People who read widely will without a doubt find the writing part easier than those who don’t. Other writers’ novels, short stories, and articles are great places to find inspiration for your own works. Remember those other writers all started somewhere.

And yes I appreciate when you first start out it is difficult to have confidence in your own writing. Maybe you wrote in secret and have never shown anyone your writing… perhaps you have shown people and they did not like it. Other peoples praise or criticism can affect your wish to be a published or established writer. But, and this is important, try not to let it affect you so much. So maybe someone didn’t like your work – who cares? Plenty of other readers will LOVE it, I promise you. Just make sure you always write, no matter what obstacles come in your way. And above all remember – If you can dream it… YOU can realise it.

Lots of love and hugs and support from someone who has been there.

PS. Never. Never. Never. Give up! Follow your dream at all costs!

Please let DreamItRealiseIt know in the comments below what you thought of her post! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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September And October 2018 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

2018 September & October Writing Contests | Writing Submissions | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

September 2018

Genre: Any – see website for list (Book must be self-published)
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: September 4, 2018
Entry Fee: $125
Prize: Grand – $5,000

Genre: Any – see website for list
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: September 14, 2018 (early-bird)
Entry Fee: $25
Prize: Grand – $2,500

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Mom Knows Best
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: September 30, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

October 2018

Genre: Poetry
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: October 1, 2018 (early-bird)
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: Grand – $1,000

Genre: Any – see website for list
Website: Writer’s Digest
Deadline: October 15, 2018
Entry Fee: $30
Prize: Grand – $2,500

Genre: Fiction (unpublished writers only)
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: October 31, 2018
Entry Fee: $18
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Life Lessons from the Dog
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: October 31, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes, but amount is not listed

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Your piece must have been rejected for publication or failed to win a prize at a literary competition in order to qualify.

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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September 2018 [Goals]

2018 September Goals | Blogging | Reading | Writing | RachelPoli.com

Reading

Summer is technically not over, but I’ll be going back to posting book reviews once a week on just Saturdays. I was going to list what books I plan on reading this month, but I’m not going to say because I know I’ll change my mind. Be sure to check back periodically on my Reading List to keep up. My Review Policy is also open for requests once again!

Writing

I’m working on the usual. Still editing my mystery novel as well as working on my next Wattpad novella. I’m also working on another project for my Patrons. Since school and work will be starting up for everyone else again in a couple of days, I’ll be able to get myself onto a regular schedule for writing and everything else. We’ll see how it goes.

Blogging

My posts for this month are just about done. I want to focus on getting my newsletter back up and running again. I’m also working on another big part for the blog that will (hopefully) be ready by the end of the month. Wish me luck while I figure that one out.

What are your plans for the month? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Blog Party Celebration

Blog Party September 2018 | Blogging | Creative Writing | WordPress | Blog Hop | Link Party | RachelPoli.com

A week ago, I posted a blog party invite as a heads-up to today. My birthday just passed and I’ve also reached 5,000 followers on the blog (which is now over 5,200 followers, which is unbelievable to me). So I decided to do a blog party to share the love and to connect with you all on a greater level!

Keep in mind, this is the first time I’ve done this. If all goes well and people respond to it well, I’d like to do this more often. I have a plan at least. We’ll see how it goes though.

But without further ado, here are the “rules,” so to speak:

In the comments below…

  • Introduce yourself and your blog name.
  • Share an interesting fact about yourself.
  • Link to one (1) blog post of yours – this can be your latest post, your favorite one, most popular, whatever. Just link to one and people can explore the rest of your blog from there.
  • Please be sure to check out blog posts from others. This is a way for all us to gain more exposure and meet new people. Please don’t just drop your link below and leave. Share the kindness and check out some other blogs as others will check out your blog.
  • Also, please feel free to respond to people in the comments and start conversations. By this, also check back on the post periodically to see if anyone has responded to your own comment.
  • Share this post around especially if you know any blogging friends who could use more exposure – the more the merrier!

And that’s about it. I’ll do my best to check out each and every one of your blogs for the day. Of course, while I’ll leave the comments open, I most likely won’t be checking blogs after this day is over. So get them in now!

Remember… one blog post and check out other blogs from people you don’t know. This is all about connecting.

Also, please feel free to mention in the comments what you think of this idea as a whole. Should I do more in the future? I guess we’ll see how many responses there are.

Again, thank you so much for 5,000 follows! I can’t believe my blog has come so far and that people care what I have to say. I’ve met so many wonderful people – bloggers, writers, gamers, friends – and I couldn’t be more proud. Thank you all so much.

Now let’s blog hop!

Happy connecting! Please share this post around for a chance for others to connect.

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Short Story Sunday 228: Union Academy [Part 1]

Short Story: Union Academy (Part 1) | Flash Fiction | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

“You have everything, right?”

“Well, if you forgot anything, just give us a call and we’ll bring it straight to you.”

“If you get homesick, call us and we’ll come get you.”

“Mary…”

Alex’s blue gaze shifted back and forth between her mother and father. Her mother, Mary, was worried and sad to see Alex leave. Her father, Andrew, was less than thrilled, but he was proud of her and excited she was able to get such an opportunity.

As Andrew tried to reassure Mary yet again that this was the best decision and that Alex had wanted this, Alex lost interest in the conversation. She looked over her shoulder.

The small family stood in front of Union Academy, a prestigious high school for the gifted. Alex wasn’t entirely sure why the school had chosen to give her a full scholarship to the school. Academics came naturally to her and she was a straight-A student. Her junior high school mentioned Union Academy to her parents. Apparently it was linked to all the prestigious universities.

Her parents had taken the brochure to be polite to her guidance counselor, but when Union Academy got in touch with them about a full scholarship, they weren’t in any position to say no.

It was a boarding school and while Alex was nervous to be away from her parents, she knew this was the best decision. They didn’t have a lot of money and this was a free ride. Not to mention that she would be able to basically get into any college she wanted to.

Alex looked around the campus. Today was move-in day, but there didn’t seem to be any parents around. She sighed suddenly feeling like the black sheep. She already knew she would be since it wasn’t often someone got a full scholarship. Her classmates were all going to come from rich backgrounds.

“Mom, Dad,” Alex whipped back around to face her parents. They stopped arguing in hushed whispers and turned to their daughter. “I, uh… I think I can take it from here.”

“What?” Mary looked appalled.

Alex shrugged. She noticed her father looking around and then he nodded. He understood what she meant.

“Mary, maybe we should let Alex check in on her own.” Andrew said gently. He put a hand on his wife’s shoulder. She stared at him in shock in response. “I’ll explain in the car.” He whispered.

Mary’s bottom lip jetted outward. Alex looked around quickly hoping no one was watching. The last thing she needed was her mother to start crying in the middle of campus.

It took a little convincing but Alex was able to get rid of her parents. After a long hug and a couple kisses goodbye and some reassuring to her mother that Alex would call later on that night Alex stood in the middle of the campus watching her parents get to the car and drive away.

Once her parents’ car was out of site, she turned around and looked up at Union Academy. She drew in a deep breath not realizing how big the building was up until now. She picked up her suitcases and she started walking towards the front door of the building.

When she crossed through the front doors of the main lobby she stood in the middle of the room in awe. She had seen many pictures of Union Academy on its website and in the brochures but she never expected it to be this fancy.

The main lobby looked as though it was a castle from a fairytale story. The tile flooring was gold and shiny from a new coat of wax the janitors had probably just done and there was a large crystal chandelier hanging right above her. She shattered wondering what would happen if the chandelier had fallen. Then she wondered if that had never happened before.

“Good afternoon, are you new here?”

Alex looked over her shoulder upon hearing a female voice. Sure enough there was a tall blonde woman standing right behind her. Alex nodded her head to the woman assuming she was talking to her.

“Are you a freshman?”  The woman asked and Alex nodded her head once more. The woman looked down at her clipboard and flip through some pages asking, “What’s your name?”

Alex cranes her neck to see what was on the clipboard, but the woman held it closer to her chest. “Alex Berry,” she said meekly.

The woman flipped back a few pages and scanned the list. Alex assumed it was some sort of attendance record that was listed in alphabetical order.

“Right,” the woman sighed, “I’ll show you to your room.”

Alex nodded her head once again, slightly intimidated by this woman, and she followed her through the lobby pushing her way through the many kids that were already flooding the room. It was hard to get by saying she was carrying all of her suitcases on her own. She was a little annoyed that the woman didn’t bother to ask if she needed help carrying anything.

Alex tried to stick close to the woman, who now that Alex thought about it, never introduced herself. There were so many people in the hallways, students and faculty alike, that it was hard for Alex to really take a good look around the place.

The woman led Alex over to an elevator and together they went up to the third floor. Alex stood in the back of the elevator, putting her bags down on the ground by her feet. She let out an exasperated sigh. She hadn’t realized how heavy her bags were until now. Her father was gracious enough to carry them for her earlier.

When they made it to the third floor, the elevator beeped and the doors opened up.

“Follow me,” she grunted.

With a heave and a hoe, Alex picked up her bags once again and staggered along behind. She stepped out into the hallway and was immediately forced into the wall. She looked over her shoulder, but whoever knocked her to the side was walking away as though nothing even happened. She rolled her eyes, picked up her bags again, but when she turned around, the woman was gone.

“Great…” she muttered.

Alex continued to walk down the hall in hopes that she would run into the woman again. She ended up making it to the end of the hall and sure enough, there was the woman staring at her clipboard.

“Excuse me?” Alex said. She put down one of the bags and was just about to poke the woman in her arm when she abruptly turned around.

“There you are,” she grunted. “This is your room, 3R. Quickly, now. I have many other freshmen to see and help.” She pulled a key out of her pocket and handed it to Alex, who took it.

She didn’t want to be with this woman any longer than she had to, so Alex quickly unlocked the door and stepped through the threshold.

Alex took a look around the room. It was smaller than she thought it would be, but it was much bigger than her bedroom back at home. When she looked over to the right, she noticed one reason why the room seemed so small. There was a second bed. On the website, she thought the dorm rooms were individual. She turned around and the woman shook her head.

“You’re on scholarship, honey. Your roommate should be along shortly.” With that, the woman left shutting the door behind her.

Alex tossed her bags onto the bare bed to the right. The room was empty, so she assumed her roommate didn’t know that this was her room yet. That meant Alex had first dibs on everything in the room. And she wanted to have the bed on the right side of the room. It was farthest away from the door and probably had the most chance of privacy. For what little privacy she was going to have.

After Alex had made her bed and began unpacking some clothes into one of the closets, the door opened up again. She turned around and there stood a young woman, around her age. She looked Alex up and down and then narrowed her eyes at her.

“Who are you?” She demanded.

“Alexis Berry, but you can call me Alex.” Alex forced a smile. She stepped forward with her hand stretched out to shake. “You must be my roommate.”

“Oh, no.” The girl stepped back shaking her head with disgust. “There is a mistake. You need to leave.”

Alex slowly brought her hand back down to her side not knowing what else to do with it. She wiped her hand on her jeans as the sweat in her palms started to build up. “I’m sorry, but one of the professors or someone brought me up here. She had a clipboard with my name on it and sure enough, this is my room.”

“Well, then there’s a mistake.” She snapped. “I’m supposed to be roommates with Kay.” She folded her arms across her chest and glared harshly at Alex. “I am going to go back down stairs and fix this. I suggest you pack up your things and follow me down stairs.”

Alex opened her mouth to protest, but the girl had already turned away and stormed off down the busy hall. Alex stood in the doorway to call to her, but she was already gone in the mass of people.

She sighed. School hadn’t even begun yet and she already knew this was going to be a long year.

Words: 1,604

I hope you enjoyed this part of the story! I was experimenting with something new. Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Murder Go Round (Witch City Mystery 4) By Carol J. Perry [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Murder Go Round (Witch City Mystery 4) by Carol J. Perry | Cozy Mystery | Paranormal | Fiction | Reading | RachelPoli.com

I received a free paperback copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

A killer takes a spin through Salem . . .

Lee Barrett has agreed to attend a storage auction with Aunt Ibby–even though she suspects the forgotten rooms will yield more junk than treasure. Her skepticism vanishes once the two win a bid on an overlooked locker and uncover a trove of beautiful curiosities, including a stunning wooden carousel horse with gentle eyes and fading paint. But just before Lee leaves the fairground relic at a local repair shop, the sight of a silver samovar awakens her psychic abilities and conjures visions of murder.

Lee prays the intrusive ESP episode was just a glimpse into the past–until her policeman boyfriend reports a dead man outside the repair shop. Apparently, the unknown victim had been hot on Lee’s trail since the auction. And with the horse found dismantled, it looks like he was up to no good. What’s the story behind the antique equine, and could a strange bubblegum-chewing woman with fiery hair have something to do with the crime? Guided by her gift and O’Ryan, her wise tabby cat, Lee’s set on catching the murderer . . . before she’s sent on the darkest ride of her life.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The cover is keeping with similar colors like the previous books. It really matches the series and the plot of the book well.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

This is a great series and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to read through it all.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Lee and her aunt Ibby find themselves in the middle of yet another murder once they buy a storage locker filled with antique goodies at an auction. A key piece is a carnival-like horse.

This is what I love about the plot of this book and the ones before it – they’re all unique and fun. The evidence isn’t exactly what it would seem and you don’t necessarily know what any of it has to do with the rest until more people talk. It’s a great story and mystery to figure out.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

As always, Lee, Aunt Ibby, Pete, and River are wonderful. I still think they’re a great cast of characters. There are always characters who you’re not sure about either which is always a thrill.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The author’s writing is as beautiful as ever. The dialogue is spot-on, each character having their own unique voice, the description of the people, places, and actions are all well done too. This book is almost at 400 pages but it’s a quick read. You can’t put it down.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This is yet another great mystery for the Witch City series. I’m looking forward to reading book five.

Murder Go Round (Witch City Mystery 4) by Carol J. Perry gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“Strangely enough, it makes me think of a carousel, going around and around, with none of the horses ever catching up with the one ahead of him.” -Carol J. Perry, Murder Go Round

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Picture Prompt 20 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a general prompt. Check out some great pieces by fellow writers:

Now onto this week’s writing prompt:

Creative Writing Prompt | Picture Prompt | Lake | Summer | Sunset | Silhouette | Flash Fiction | RachelPoli.com

Write a story based on the picture above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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August 2018 [Wrap Up]

August 2018 Wrap Up | Creative Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I was in a bit of a reading slump this month. I read a lot of quick stories such as craft books and comics. Reading is reading and it was all good, but I’m hoping to get back into the novel world soon enough. Time has escaped me this month so it was harder for me to keep up with the reading. You can check out my Reading List to see which books I’ve read and reviewed this month as well as check out my Goodreads to keep up with what I’m currently reading… though I have to update it. I’ve even gotten behind with that.

Writing

Writing proved to be difficult this month as well. I did a lot of planning and brainstorming for various projects, but overall time got away. I did a lot of socializing with friends and family and writing took a backseat. Not a bad thing, but I’m ready to get back into a routine.

Blogging

I kind of got out of my blogging routine as well. August was filled with real-life things going on so my virtual life was sort of non-existent. I made progress though and my posts for September are almost done. So that’s something.

Overall

August was a good month – not really work-wise, but it was a good month to get together with friends and family as well as reflect on everything else. We’ll see how September goes!

Posts To Remember

1. 6 Types of Conversations Your Characters Can Have
2. How Do You Write Internal Dialogue?
3. The Best Tip To Know About Writing Dialogue

How did August treat you? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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