The judges for the competition are Veronica Castle, Lynne North and Clive West.

Carly McCracken, proprietor of Crimson Cloak will be keeping track of the lists, without judges knowing which story belongs to who.

* Veronica Castle is the chief editor of Crimson Cloak Publishing and loves stories with a good solid structure to them.

* Lynne North is an author of several books and Marketing Manager of Crimson Cloak Publishing.

* Clive West is a busy commercial writer as well as author of a number of books including the blockbuster white-collar crime story, The Road.

First Prize – $150 (this will be increased if there are a high number of entries so watch this space)
Second Prize – $100
Third Prize – $50
Runner Ups – Free entry into the next competition

Competition opening date – Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Competition closing date – Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Lower word limit (minimum) – 1,500
Upper word limit (maximum) – 3,000
Entries are welcome from all countries but must be written in English.

Please look carefully at the picture – there are several key features which stand out, these being:
•    The hooded rider
•    The horse with red eyes
•    The body hanging from the gibbet
•    The castle with its single tower
•    The high mountain in the background
•    The lake, sea, loch, or fjord (etc)

Image courtesy of Canstockphoto


CRIMSON TIMELINES BY 13 Crimson Cloak Publishing authors

Crimson Timelines (ebook)

Crimson Cloak Publishing Store– Crimson Timelines

Smashwords– Crimson Timelines

Crimson Timelines is an anthology of engaging stories weaving paths in time and the mind. Enjoy a stroll through the fourth dimension with these diverse authors. A great read with wide appeal.

  1. Stepping out of the Holocube by Janice Clark– A clever paradox story. 
  2. Life Within a Stone by Madeline Dow
  3. The Lighthouse by Glennyce Eckersley– A couple tour a fascinating lighthouse, only to later discover it has been in ruins for years  …
  4. Captain Tom’s Trophy Time Safaris by TW Embry– An escape to the past has unexpected consequences.
  5. Second Chance by Denna Holm– Gillian had longed for years to see her lost daughter and husband again. Could her prayers have been answered?
  6. The Certain Path by W.H. Matlack– An antiques expert stumbles upon a mysterious “watch” that appears to be able to turn back time …
  7. The Grass is Always Greener by Lynne North– One should be careful
    when transporting oneself to the past …
  8. The Man on the Beach by Rodney Page– A mysterious encounter proves life-affirming for a despairing man.
  9. The Tattoo by Esma Race– A window in time helps a mother to keep her promise.
  10. A Mother’s Love by P.J. Roscoe– Bittersweet memories of an often-absent parent.
    A story with a twist.
  11. Mail by Patrick Shanahan– Unravels the consequences of a late-delivered letter.
  12. Vladimir Lazorav is Missing by Patrick Shanahan
  13. In the presence of time by Sean Tate– Time is a mysterious thing, that catches up to us in the end …

You can learn more about these authors and other wonderful books here at Crimson Cloak Publishing.

CCP Store




EDO BLOOD by Don McCann

Edo Blood by [McCann, Don]

Amazon– Edo Blood

When a present-day student, on a field trip to Kagoshima, Japan, found an ancient scroll in an abandoned monastery, he unlocked a dark secret that had lain hidden for over 1400 years. As he followed what turned out to be a trail of scrolls all across Japan and China and back, he was shocked to find himself reading about a 16th century feudal lord named Mitsui Hamada—a woman!

Except there were no female feudal lords in 16th century Japan.

Mitsui’s dark history began with a vow of vengeance, then faded into a sweet promise of love. But that promise was torn asunder as that love was ripped from her grasp in one horrific moment. Plunged headlong back into her nightmare of revenge, her enemy’s destruction was the only thing that would satisfy her. At that moment, she embarked on a twisted journey which sent her fleeing her homeland in pursuit of ancient knowledge. At the end of Mitsui’s bloody journey waited an enemy more dangerous and powerful than she could ever imagine.

But, none of this was Mitsui’s secret.

Mitsui’s darkest secret—only told in the scrolls—was that she was a vampire. But, in this tale of blood and vengeance, Mitsui’s was not the only secret . . .



Wow! That about sums up my feelings about this novel. I had a real love-hate relationship going on while reading Edo Blood and actually fought with myself a bit over the stars afterward. I was almost ready to give it four stars, but then the truth is, I couldn’t put this story down, finding it completely captivating. Anything that gives me that kind of rush, the “I’ve got to finish this” deserves nothing less than five stars. So now I’ll get down to the review itself.

At the start of this story, Mitsui is a very young girl in 16th Century Japan, a male oriented society. Her father (a Samurai warrior) is a bully, who ends up raising another bully in Mitsui’s brother. But her brother attacks the wrong boy at school one day, one younger than him, and he is defeated, his father left humiliated. Shamed, their father sends his son to a monastery and then begins to devote his time to training his young daughter. He doesn’t do this because he loves her. He does it because he doesn’t have another son to train. Mitsui puts all the blame for what happened to her family on the shoulders of the boy who defeated her brother, not aware of the circumstances that initiated it. She is determined to train hard and become a strong enough warrior herself one day to kill this boy, vengeance all that matters to her.

Kenji is the young boy who defeated Mitsui’s older brother, but he doesn’t have any idea what happened to Mitsui’s brother or that she grows up hating him. Kenji is a smart young man devoted to his training. He eventually ends up being in charge of the Daimyo’s personal guard, a great honor for a young man.

The story mainly alternates between Kenji and Mitsui, both of them living separate lives, though we know they will eventually come together at some future point. Then we have the vampire element added in, which is completely different from any other type of vampire story I’ve ever read. I’ve held a lifelong fascination with vampires, be they the evil kind, the good kind, or even the sparkly types. Doesn’t matter, I like them all. But this story is unique, a little evil and a little something I can’t quite figure out. What I do know is that once I started reading, I had a tough time trying to put this book down, and it’s one of those rare stories that stays with you long after you finish it. I have a feeling most readers are going to be just as spellbound. Such a wonderful, realistic view of Japan. I can’t give it high enough praise.

So, why the conflict with stars? The author has a way of getting the reader straight inside the character’s head, a talent I wish more authors had. It allows us to experience it firsthand right along with the characters we’re following. Unfortunately, there are a few places where we go off on little side stories, such as with the father of Mitsui. It’s all wonderfully written, but it took me away from the two characters I wanted to know better, Kenji and Mitsui. As a standalone book I would probably have preferred these scenes to be cut. But, because this is a series, I’m assuming these extra bits of information will probably be needed for future books. Regardless, the story is awesome, with vivid descriptions that I swear takes us right to Japan and the era involved.

Am I going to buy the next one? You bet, can’t wait. If you like vampire stories, I’m willing to bet you’ll like this one too. If you like martial arts, you’re going to love this, vampires or not. The same if you enjoy the history of Japan and Samurai warriors. I feel the author either has firsthand experience living in Japan, or he did a bang up job studying Japan’s history before he put pen to paper. Either way, kudos, I’m impressed.



The Doom Murders (The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Book 1) by [O'Hare, Brian]

Amazon– The Doom Murders

Prominent figures in Belfast are being murdered. The bodies are left naked and posed in grotesquely distorted shapes. No clues are left at the forensically immaculate crime scenes except odd theatrical props and some random numbers and letters concealed at each scene by the killer. How are the victims linked? What is the connection between these killings, the bible, and a famous medieval painting of The Last Judgement?

The Doom Murders has been the recipient of three literary awards – The IDB Award in 2014; The New Apple Award, 2014, for Excellence in Independent Publishing; and the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards (Bronze Medal Winner).

“The Chief Inspector, Jim Sheehan, is drawn so deftly and with such genuineness, you can feel him breathing.” (Eugene Fournier, novelist and screenwriter, film and TV)

“The most subtle of clues are intricately interwoven into the story line, and even the most astute mystery buff is apt to miss them.” (Donna Cummins, Author of the Blacklick Valley Mystery Series)

“Incredibly addictive page turner.” (Meghan, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer)

“O’Hare leans toward the human side of his characters, imbuing them with a real world presence that is in turn witty and passionate.” (Roy.T James, for Readers’ Favorite)



I love mystery novels like this one even though I’m terrible at figuring out the clues given along the way. Authors like O’Hare make us think like a real detective as we follow along with the characters in the story. I have to admit that I didn’t connect the title with any sort of religious element, but it does hold a prominent place in the story. Important figures in Belfast are being murdered, the bodies left naked and posed in grotesque shapes. The scenes are forensically immaculate. Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team must figure out how these victims are linked, what is the connection between the killings, the Bible and the medieval painting The Last Judgement?

The character building was excellent here. I felt I had a real look into the minds of these people as they struggled through a difficult case, especially Sheehan. I noticed a few reviewers compared this piece to the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, but personally I thought this was much better. I couldn’t get through Brown’s novel, but had no problem here. It held my interest from start to finish. The scenes are also well described, brought to life in my mind. I like to picture myself there when I’m reading, much like playing a movie in my mind. If I’m not given enough from the author, it makes for a boring and dull story. That wasn’t a problem here.

Points I didn’t like so much. Okay, point. A tad slow to start, though I’d admit the beginning to most novels can be a bit hard to get into.  We need time and patience to get to know these characters and be given an idea of where the plot is taking us. I don’t dock points for a slow start. My stars are judged on how I feel after the first few chapters, whether or not I want to keep reading. Not a problem with this one. The Doom Murders held my interest from start to finish, and the end took me completely by surprise. I admit I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack when it comes to guessing murder mystery, but I’m willing to bet there are few out there who will guess this one.

And I’m not telling you. You’ll have to go out and buy your own copy if you want to learn.  Can’t wait to pick up my next novel by Brian O’Hare.

OBSIDIAN TEARS (Apparition Lake book two) by Doug and Daniel Lamoreux

Obsidian Tears (Apparition Lake Book 2) by [Lamoreux, Daniel D., Lamoreux, Doug]

Amazon– Obsidian Tears

New troubles are stacking up like cordwood for Chief Ranger Glenn Merrill, as Yellowstone’s existence is threatened by earth tremors and an imminent supervolcano. After a series of gruesome deaths claiming animals, tourists, and a ranger, it’s clear that something’s gone terribly wrong at the nation’s oldest national park.

But putting an end to these mysterious deaths is more than just the chief ranger’s job — it may be his end.

Obsidian Tears plunges Glenn, his Shoshone friend, an aggressive young seismologist and an Arapaho healer into a world of Indian mysticism. Will man and nature join forces, or risk losing all of humanity to an ancient evil?



So far I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Lamoreux, (And I think I’ve read them all) so I wasn’t surprised to find myself getting lost in this story as well. It is well written, fast paced, and full of tension throughout. I had a hard time trying to focus on my own work, my mind always drifting back to the story until I could turn that last page. This is the second in the Apparition Lake series and I loved it just as much as the first one. Interesting characters, intense action and Mother Nature. What better setting than Yellowstone National Park? Couldn’t really ask for more?

Troubles hits again for Chief Ranger Glenn Merrill, as Yellowstone’s existence is threatened by earth tremors and an imminent supervolcano. There are a series of gruesome deaths claiming animals, tourists, and a ranger, and it’s clear to Ranger Glenn that something’s gone terribly wrong at the nation’s oldest national park.

Obsidian Tears brings Ranger Glenn’s Shoshone friend Johnny Two Ravens back into the picture, and I have to admit he was one of my favorite characters from the first story. Man against nature, or man and nature joining forces against an ancient evil. You’ll have to read it yourself to find out.


Alien Manifesto: The Adventures of the Human Thomas Scott by [Embry, T.W.]

Amazon– Alien Manifesto

When orphaned ex-Navy S.E.A.L. Thomas Scott decides upon a life of crime, he does not expect to be recruited to join an elite Special Forces operation charged with stealing an alien artifact. Especially a mixed-species alien team headed by inter-galactic billionaire Snarth. The close-knit team soon becomes Tom’s family in more senses than one, which complicates matters when the mysterious artifact turns out to hold secrets that may plunge the whole of the known universe into a devastating war…



So I love a good sci-fi story, but many times I’ll get a little bit lost in the science part—especially if things don’t make perfect sense, it’ll go right over my head. That’s not the case with Alien Manifesto by T.W. Embry. He gave me the sci-fi fix I tend to crave but without the headache that usually goes along with it.

Ex. Navy S.E.A.L. Tom Scott is on the wrong side of the law when he suddenly finds himself recruited by an alien intergalactic billionaire named Snarth to join an elite special forces operation. He joins this mixed-species team, their first assignment to steal an alien artifact. This eventually leads them to a planet once ruled by a species called the Ones, (at one time the most feared alien force in all the known universes). With the Ones supposedly now extinct, they go to this planet in search of precious jewels, but find much more than they bargained for, all their lives placed in danger. Sound like a fun ride? You bet, and much more besides.

This is a super-fast-paced story, almost too fast for my personal taste, but sure to keep you on your toes from start to finish. A real page-turner if I ever came across one. I read this in two nights, and it would’ve been one if I hadn’t needed to fit my work in there somewhere. Never once did I feel the urge to skim, and being a writer and editor myself, this is saying a lot. Believe me, if the story lags, even a little, I skim.

So even though I grinned like a little kid through most of it, I give this story four over five stars because I did crave a little more depth from the characters, especially at the start. This is where that fast pace comes into play. By the end of this first story in the series though, I felt I had a good feel for all the characters involved: which included Tom, another human known as the Irishman, a feline assassin, an alien canine, a spider, and Snarth (their billionaire boss).

Here’s the deal. I finished this story and immediately fired up the kindle to go in search of the next novel in line by Embry. Should be enough said. Go out and pick up a copy for yourself. You won’t be sorry.


Soul of a Warrior (Immortal Warriors Book 1) by [Holm, Denna]

A handsome blond stranger shows up at Kimi Wicker’s place of work claiming to be her mate. But he also claims to be from another world. She does what any sane woman would do in her situation. She runs. Tagging along are her two best friends and a feisty tabby cat. No one could anticipate the second stranger showing up, one with a completely different agenda.

Kimi and her friends are abducted by the second man, a vampire, then tortured and abandoned on a hostile alien world. Given only the clothes on their back, they must now try to find a way back home again.

One man will do everything in his power to see Kimi and her friends are brought safely back home, even sacrifice his own life. The second man wants Kimi and her mate to suffer, alive, but forever out of reach of each other. Kimi and her friends must work together against astronomical odds for any hope of surviving this nightmare.

Latest review at Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting mix of genres, September 7, 2016
This review is from: Soul of a Warrior (Immortal Warriors) (Volume 1) (Paperback)
The book is about a character named Kimberly Wicker. She’s also known as Kimi Wicker. She works at a country western bar in Oregon. It has an interesting start being thrown into the supernatural elements rapidly in the first chapter with the introduction of vampires right away. These are introduced with a couple of strangers walking into her bar. The first of them ordered a water and nothing else. The second has an interesting mental exchange with Kimi in a telepathic almost exchange apparently imparting something to her. It’s hard to write an original concept these days and well to be honest this is certainly original. It combines several elements from different genres. I happened to enjoy it as I enjoy all the genres that were combined so for me this wasn’t a bad story at all. However others may not. It’s a bold and risky proposition anytime you combine multiple genre story arcs that usually aren’t found together. But in some cases like this one in my opinion it can turn out well done. Unlike many of the books on amazon there are next to no errors in grammar, formatting, and it’s a respectable length. Clearly the author takes pride in their work enough to do final clean ups and edits. This is refreshing. I suggest picking it up for yourself and deciding for yourself to be honest.
Denna Holm

A retired FEI competitor in dressage, she earned her United States Dressage Federation Bronze and Silver Medals.

After Denna retired from training and showing horses, she decided to try her hand at writing novels in paranormal and science fiction romance. She used the unique personalities of her many wonderful students to help bring life to her characters.

Denna and her husband Lee make their home in the beautiful State of Oregon with their two loyal German shepherds, one energetic border collie, and two very spoiled cats. Animals are given a special place in her novels, their offer of unconditional love a lifeline in this difficult world. Denna and Lee enjoy spending time camping and fishing with their children and grandchildren.

THE HAARP LETTERS by Anthony J. Gerst

The HAARP Letters: A Climate-Changing Reality by [Gerst, Anthony]

Amazon– The Haarp Letters

The story begins in Alaska near the HAARP Complex, one of five previously existing locations refitted as doomsday shelters in case of a Rapid Climate Changing event. Big Thunder was that event.

Around mid-century a long overdue earthquake at the northern periphery of the Mid-Atlantic-Ridge caused half of the pockmarked ice-sheet to cascade off Greenland and the following tsunami crashed global civilization. Two weeks later due to pressure being released on the island, the landmass jutted upwards releasing methane hydrates and other greenhouse gases, jettisoning most of the remaining ice. As a result, the thermal oceans currents shut down completely, creating the mid-latitude badlands and ushered in a paleolithic atmospheric/hydrological pattern.

After fighting their way north through the Badlands, Abram and the J-Squad rescue four lady scientists under fire from cannibalistic marauders. These scientists, who run the HAARP Complex, are tasked with assisting any survivors in rebuilding civilization. In their gratitude they invite the J-Squad to take up residence at the compound.

What follows is an adventure from combating marauders to starting a sustainable culture; the HAARP Letters deals with personal, civil and interpersonal dichotomies. A few issues this mismatched group confronts are the creation of an educational-based merit system, a disputed new religion, Doni Forever, based on Earth First principles, and the same old vices of greed and power lust, that have plagued mankind as once again these arise as civilization begins it journey toward a new purpose on Mother Earth.



Okay, everybody likes an end-of-the-world type story, right? The human race refusing to give up under astronomical odds placed against it. Imagine Hunger Games only better. Of the different scenarios I’ve come across in recent years, I have to say The HAARP Letters by Anthony J. Gerst is one of the best.  An environmental disaster on Earth leaves a militant group, refugees and scientists on a mission to re-establish civilization. They are thrown in together at the HAARP compound, besieged by violent, cannibalistic marauders. They plan to found a new Gaian religion, their goal to set up and care for the world’s remaining resources.

The story is told through a series of correspondence between Abram and his old friend Bill, another survivor living at a different bunker. The beginning is just a tad slow and I admit to struggling with some of the religious elements presented. But if you can put your own personal beliefs aside for the purpose of entertainment, this is a great novel. I worried at the start that a series of letters might be slow and dull, but it wasn’t, not even a little. The characters are instantly brought to life, and the setting brilliant and imaginative. You don’t feel as though you are reading a series of letters. Gerst expertly pulls you in, makes you feel for these people and the world they find themselves trying to survive in, and builds toward an ending that leaves you wanting more. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. The HAARP Letters is definitely one you’ll want to take a look at.

STORMHAVEN RISING by Eric Michael Craig

Stormhaven Rising (Atlas and the Winds Book 1) by [Craig, Eric Michael]

Stormhaven rising– Amazon

When a privately funded team of astronomers discover a large asteroid on a trajectory toward earth, their discovery sets civilization on a collision course with the unyielding wheel-work of the universe. The reality of physics, and the time frame from discovery to impact, pushes humanity into an almost impossible race against extinction.

Fearing panic, the US government chooses to keep the existence of the asteroid secret until it has launched a mitigation project. However Colton Taylor, the corporate sponsor for the detection program that made the discovery, also knows the truth. Throwing his technological empire into an independent strategy for survival, Taylor believes that Stormhaven’s secrets might just give humanity a chance.

Unfortunately, implementing his plan will put his knowledge of the looming disaster in the public eye, and the US government sees that as a serious threat to national security. They are willing to go to extraordinary means to contain that risk, but when he pushes out and forms an international alliance against them, the Administration finds hiding the truth is far less important than the fight for survival.

Some secrets are far too big to contain.

Stormhaven Rising is a visionary look at what happens when crossed purposes collide with hard reality on the precipice of doomsday.

Book One of Atlas and the Winds


Five out of five stars

Okay, you realistic sci-fi fanatics out there, you’re gonna love this one. I felt as though I’d been placed into the hands of a master science fiction storyteller. Real characters, (faults and all) plausible realistic plot, and exciting, descriptive setting.

A large asteroid is headed straight for earth, humans facing almost certain extinction if it hits. The government, not surprising, wants to keep the asteroid a secret, an attempt to hold off world-wide panic. But there are others, such as Colton Taylor, (a corporate sponsor for the detection program that made the asteroid discovery) who believe they have a plan that might give humans a chance to survive. But it means putting the disaster in the public eye and the government doesn’t want this.

There was a Bruce Willis movie made a while back that had this same type of plot disaster, but it had more of a comedic feel, at least in my opinion. This story sounds plausible and realistic from start to finish. I never once questioned the science involved, and no magic either. No abracadabra used to try to help explain futuristic scenarios. They discuss potential problems faced should they tried to blow up the asteroid, to attempts to somehow push it off course. I enjoy science fiction novel like this one, but often I’ll find myself feeling a bit lost, struggling to keep up with the science part, especially if it doesn’t make complete sense. Though there are technical issues galore here, I never once struggled to understand. You feel as though this asteroid is really headed our way and we need these people, real people, to come up with a way to help save us, the technology offered totally believable.

A well-deserved five out of five stars.



Amazon link– Love Potion #9

Grab you copy today. Available for pre-order at Amazon now. A great group of bestselling authors with awesome paranormal short stories. No cliffhangers, all with a happily ever after ending. You won’t want to miss out on this one!

Love’s Long Shadow by Ciara Knight

Sammy Lorre was cast from Heaven for conduct unbecoming an angel. Living in a demon-infested small town with no memory of her previous life, she faces never-ending purgatory until Boon saunters into her life with a promise of angelic love. But is he an angel from heaven or a minion from the underworld preying on her human emotions? To discover his true identity, she must risk eternal damnation and her heart.

The Owl and the Pussycat by Nancy Segovia

Cats and birds cannot mate, everyone knows that. However, Ophelia and Caesar prove them wrong, and the only question that remains is which will come first, the kitten or the egg.

Moon Dance by Althena Grayson

Two outcasts defy the traditions of the Otherworld to find an unlikely love in the tumultuous early 1970s amid second-wave feminism and the rebellious rock music club scene.

Sometimes Thorns are all Black by Danielle DeVor

A new re-telling of Sleeping Beauty with a splash of vampires, magic, and a hint of terror. Will the princess be saved? Will the bat brooch save the day?

Dark Warrior by Denna Holm

Jada is a lifelong avid bow hunter. Hunting takes on a whole new meaning when she becomes the hunted, the hunter a rogue werewolf.

Secret Heart of Lucie Blade by Diane J Reed

What happens when an ex-con mom uses tactics she learned in prison to help the principal of a run-down school raise cash for the PTA? Pure magic– and a romance that breaks all the rules….

The Misplaced by Jody A. Keeler

Crabby antisocial ghost hunter, Chris Abeyta has more ghosts than he can handle, an astral projecting witch and a possible love interest, and a smart-ass spirit guide. What could possibly go wrong?

Wolf at the Door

Billionaire werewolf Manfred O’Malley and Nadia Yevenko– mermaid and realtor: separated by prison and lies, thrown together by their son. Will vengeance keep them separated forever?

The Long Sleep by Phil Hore

When a werewolf discovers an ancient Japanese demon murdering the staff of an estate, can he save himself and the soul of a mysterious girl trapped there? Set in LA just after WW2, it appears that some horrors from the war may have been brought home in this latest Amun Galeas & Sebastian Vulk supernatural/historical adventure.

The Exquisite & Immaculate Grace of Carmen Espinoza by Rebecca Taylor

Through the Window Pain: Pleasure & Passion by Rosalie Redd

Despite her independent nature, when Celia’s biological clock strikes she must take a trip to The Windows to find a suitable male or risk losing her sanity. Mason has had his eye on the hardened Celia for quite some time, and when they are thrust together at The Window, what he desires most is within his grasp, if he can break down her defenses and show her the true passion in his heart.

Lunacy by Shawna Romkey

Detention, homework, werewolf slaying … what’s your Monday look like?

Only the Fallen by Tmonique Stephens

Banned from Heaven.

Escaped from Hell

They are UnHallowed.

Embracing Darkness by Yelena Casale and Tina Moss

When fallen angels and demons collide, Zoey and Rafe must put there faith in each other, not by running from the night, but by embracing darkness.

A few ARC copies are available if you are interested in offering a review. Drop me a line and I’ll see about getting you a copy.