Lest we forget

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On this day in 1918, the guns finally stopped at the end of the bloodiest war humankind had yet seen.

The First World War changed the way we think about war and the people who had to fight them. That meant it changed the way we talk and write about the experiences of the people in it.

In 1915, Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a physician with the 1st Brigade of the Canadian Field Army wrote In Flanders Fields after the death of his friend at the Second Battle of Ypres. It has become the most quoted poem about war around the world.

For Remembrance Day, also called Armistice Day and Veterans Day, BestSelling Reads presents this poem.

Lest we forget.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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Thursday teaser: What Had to be Done

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The new young adult novel by USA bestselling author

DelSheree Gladden

I lose my train of thought when my pool cue is suddenly yanked out of my hand. I whip around to find a tall, not-at-all-lanky frame and set of blue eyes staring down at me. The combative set of his jaw is surprising and a little upsetting. Suddenly, I remember Carlos’s warning.

Tamping down my fear, I hop down from the pool table where I’d been sitting. I land a scant few inches away from him. He dwarfs me by about six inches, but that doesn’t stop me from glaring at him.

“I wasn’t finished with that.”

“Sure looked like you were.”

“Looks can be deceiving,” I say, almost choking on the words. “Take you for instance…tall and built as you are, I would have pegged you for someone willing to look out for a girl new to town, not one who goes around snatching pool cues out of their hands and making them want to slap you.”

“What does you being new to town have to do with anything?”

I snatch the pool cue out of his hand and stamp it down on the ground. Thankfully, he is still focused on my eyes and not on my shaking hand. I do not want to start off my tenure here in Santa Fe as the class weenie. “Generally, new arrivals like me come to a party to make friends, not a hit list.”

“Maybe I’m not interested in friends.”

“I doubt that,” I say.

“Why?”

“Because you wouldn’t have come over here and barged in if you didn’t want to know who I was.”

In a flash, his pushy demeanor disappears. A grin replaces his scowl. “Wrong again. I already know who you are, Anna Elizondo.”

“Then why did you come over here, Dave?”

He laughs at the fact that I know who he is as well. He must realize Carlos warned me about him. The merriment in his expression folds quickly. “I came over here because I’ve heard some not so nice things about you, but you look too sweet and innocent for them to be true.”

Surely Carlos wouldn’t say horrible things about me to his friends. Is that why he disappeared so quickly?

“Who told you about me?”

“You don’t know?” Dave asks. “Didn’t Carlos tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

Photo by Santiago Steinkamp on Unsplash

He doesn’t answer. What he does is turn around and call out to someone. When he turns back, all of my false bravado falls away when I see who’s coming toward me. In three years, he’s grown nearly a foot. I can see the same honey-colored eyes I looked into almost every day for years, but never before have I seen such brazen anger in them.

“Felix,” Dave drawls, “look who’s here. It’s your favorite person. Say hi to Anna.”

In front of Dave, I stood my ground. In the face of Felix’s frozen glare, I wilt like flowers in July. My hand shakes to the point that the pool cue I’m holding clatters to the ground. I can’t stop staring at him. The same lips I wanted to kiss a thousand times curl up in a sneer. His hands held mine so many times, the touch always strong but gentle. Now, both of his hands are balled up at his sides.

I haven’t cried since my mom died, but I feel a tear slip down my cheek.

“Felix.”

The single word slips out unbidden. He flinches as if my voice were acid.

“What are you doing here?” he demands.

“I…I live here,” I say weakly. “What are you doing here?”

He half turns. For a moment I think he’s going to walk away from me like I did him three years ago. He almost does. Before his face vanishes completely, he snaps back around. “I spend summers with Carlos’s family. He’s a real friend, unlike other people.”

After his attack, he waves me off and walks away. Dave, who called Felix over in the first place, looks stunned by Felix’s reaction. He watches his friend storm off with a frown.

“Well,” Dave says, “I guess Carlos didn’t tell Felix you’d be here, either.” He walks away after him.

I’m too shocked to move. Lacey comes around the pool table to stand next to me.

“I’m gonna make a wild guess and say Felix is the friend you crushed.”

I swipe at my eyes to brush away the evidence of my betrayal. What I did to Felix…crushed is putting it mildly.

What Had to be Done

Everyone has bad days. Anna Elizondo is going on three years of bad days.

It started with her mother’s illness and eventual death, continued with a decision that ruined a friendship, and culminated in her father announcing they were broke and moving away right before her senior year of high school.

Maybe a fresh start will turn things around. Or maybe it will put her face to face with her former best friend, Felix, and the hatred in he still carries for her.

The only bright spot in Anna’s move to Santa Fe is meeting her new swim coach, a long-time hero who has big plans for her athletic career. The pool is her refuge, but she can’t hide there forever. Living in a small town makes it impossible to stay out of Felix’s way, and unlikely their history will remain just between them for long. If Anna can’t find a way to make things at least tolerable with Felix, it’s going to be a very long summer.

Get it from:

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

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Momentous Monday: Two brand-new titles from BestSelling Reads

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That’s right! There are two new titles available right now from two of your favorite BestSelling Reads authors. Don’t wait—these would make perfect gifts for the avid readers on your list.

Wicked Truth: Cursed Coven 

by Corinne O’Flynn 

When Ivy Winter meets Anton Stavros, “star-crossed lovers” seems like child’s play.

I used to be fine with the idea of an arranged marriage. As a “Winter Witch”, it’s important to marry well and preserve the family’s magical line. But that all goes out the window when my cat, Mr. Burroughs, decides a random dude in the park is the catnip he’s always dreamed of. Anton Stavros is the only person Mr. Burroughs has ever liked besides me, and seeing them together ignites unexpected fire inside my body. He’s tall, dark, wickedly handsome, and absolutely off-limits to someone like me.

So why do I keep saying yes to him?

After dodging my would-be suitor, it feels like a sign when Anton is waiting for me at my door. The ‘yes’ comes easy and I find myself falling into his dreamy eyes and muscled arms. But morning brings reality like a wrecking ball, decimating any fantasy I had of me and Anton. Between my family and my legacy, there’s no hope for us.

When a dark curse makes me realize what I want is more important than what’s expected, I have to make a choice. Do I defy my family for a man I barely know? Or do I follow the path laid out for me from birth? Is it already too late?

Get it from Amazon.

What Had To Be Done

By DelSheree Gladden

Everyone has bad days. Anna Elizondo is going on three years of bad days.

It started with her mother’s illness and eventual death, continued with a decision that ruined a friendship, and culminated in her father announcing they were broke and moving away right before her senior year of high school.

Maybe a fresh start will turn things around.

Or maybe it will put her face to face with her former best friend Felix and the hatred in he still carries for her.

The only bright spot in Anna’s move to Santa Fe is meeting her new swim coach, a long-time hero who has big plans for her athletic career. The pool is her refuge, but she can’t hide there forever. Living in a small town makes it impossible to stay out of Felix’s way, and unlikely their history will remain just between them for long. If Anna can’t find a way to make things at least tolerable with Felix, it’s going to be a very long summer.

Read more on the author’s website.

Get it from Amazon.

Subscribe for up-to-date news

Just hit the Subscribe button to the right to stay informed about new releases and announcements from all our members—and get a free book in the process!

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Haunted day, haunted reading

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Spooky lines for Hallowe’en

In the spirit of the day—or night—of All Hallow’s Eve, the day when the veil between this world and the … other one … thins, your favorite BestSelling authors offer some haunted and haunting passages from their books.

From Lonely Night to Die

By Caleb Pirtle III

Sand took a deep breath and looked down at the corpse lying inside the pine box coffin.

A choir in the balcony sang Softly and Tenderly softly and tenderly.

No one was crying.

Maybe no one was there.

He recognized the deceased immediately.

Sand was staring down at his own face.

The corpse winked.

From The Devil of Light

By Gae-Lynn Woods

He’d first killed for the old man in the autumn. Fresh from prison, he was toying with but unable to fully grasp the idea of living a clean life. He honored no particular religion, but somehow knew that God had created each man for a purpose. And try as he might, he couldn’t find a purpose for which he was better suited than killing.

Hitch climbed behind the wheel and with a low growl from the engine, slowly reversed the pickup beneath the motionless form suspended between heaven and earth, catching the young body just at the shoulders. When he glanced in the rearview mirror at the dead man’s legs, bound together and pointing toward the stars, his soul sang with satisfaction. Death was his purpose, and no one was better at it than him.

From Return of the Ascendant

By Raine Thomas

Swallowing her rising fear, Kyra almost broke into a run as she reached the last twenty feet of darkness. Her eyes didn’t move from the gloomy bushes. Every instinct in her told her to run.

Just as she neared the halo of light cast by the closest lamppost, it went out. She staggered to a halt.

That was when the darkness moved.

From The Ghost Host

By DelSheree Gladden

I shut myself down to outside influences as best I can, but the ghost’s creeping, freaky cold inches its way under my skin, through my body and into my mind, and there’s nothing I can do to stop from lifting my finger to the wall of the frost-covered stall.

From Things That Are Just True (Dead Night anthology)

By Corinne O’Flynn

And that’s when I saw it.

The darkness slithered right up out of the grave. It spread across the too-green sheet of fake grass covering the dirt pile they would later dump on top of Grandpa’s coffin and tamp down flat. Eventually real grass would grow over it, leaving the world to think that Grandpa had always lived right there in his hole.

The darkness pooled like a smoky black cloud for a moment near the base of the dirt pile and then it moved in my direction. I remember holding my breath as it slinked across the top of the tidy neighboring graves, snaked unseen through the legs of the mourners, and covered a patch of dandelions as it coiled up over the tips of my newly shined shoes. One of my laces had come undone, and as my feet turned icy I worried if my untied laces had acted like an invitation, an open door to let the darkness get inside.

From Motive

The upcoming book by Alan McDermott

Scott was breathing heavily, like he’d run a marathon in record time.  He tried to push himself out of the seat, but he couldn’t move.  He looked down and saw that his hands were gripping the arms of the chair, and the more he tried to push up, the tighter he held on.  Scott attempted to stand, but his legs wouldn’t obey his command.

Still they came closer.

Scott was in a panic, thrashing as much as he could but making no progress.  It was as if his limbs were strapped to the chair by some unseen, unbreakable force.

From The Bonding Blade

By M.L. Doyle

I inhaled the fresh scent of sage coming from Quincy’s ritual altar. Rashid shook the sage bundle to blow out the flames, then blew on the embers until they glowed red. His lips moved as he silently mumbled an incantation and waved the bundle over his head, walking around the sofa where Quincy lay. He circled the sofa several times, then lay the still smoldering sage in a silver bowl on the altar.  

From Once Upon a [Fallen] Time

By Samreen Ahsan

I placed my forehead on the mirror, hoping to see her beautiful eyes.

I didn’t see her. The beast was mounting in its own abhorrent self, staring back at me.

My heart started ramming in my ears again. I couldn’t hold on anymore, so I screamed. “Who the hell are you?” I yelled, grabbing the frame viciously, hoping she was still there waiting for me.

Within a few heartbeats, the beast turned into a beautiful woman who was again sending me her warmth through her angelic eyes.

“You came back. Thank you.” I could see the desire burning in her eyes—her gaze pulling me toward her. Falling for her was inevitable.

My breath faltered. She was able to touch me deeply again…without even touching me.

From The Bones of the Earth

By Scott Bury

It was hard to make out at first what he saw in the moonlight, but when his foot struck something that rolled, understanding hit him like a cold wave. It was a severed head; the Avar helmet rolled off it and continued a short distance before it fell over in the grass.

Javor was surrounded by the dismembered bodies of the whole troop. Ten heavily armoured men had been literally torn apart—maybe more. They may have had friends. Everywhere he looked there were legs, arms, torso, heads.

From The Dark

By David C. Cassidy

Something had invaded his flesh. His skin was raw, burned away. Shredded strips dangled limply along his neck. He picked them off, and what he saw next horrified more than the wounds themselves.

Scores of small punctures marked his throat. They ran red, but for how long they’d bleed that color he couldn’t know. If he was pissing green, he might start bleeding the same.

He leaned close to the mirror.

Things—things—were moving under his skin. Crawling.

Feel a tingle down your spine? Check out the books by clicking on the titles.

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Horror Family Style

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Hallowe’en musings

By M.L. Doyle

My siblings and I have always enjoyed having the bejesus scared out of us.

Our mother sometimes worked a swing shift. Our dad worked odd hours so we never really knew when or if he’d be home. By the time my older sister was about 12, my middle sister, my brother who was the youngest, and myself – all of us about two years apart from the next one — were pretty much on our own after school, living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, casseroles warmed in the oven (there weren’t any microwaves back then), or stovetop cooked cans of tomato soup.

Growing up in Minnesota, there are many days when it’s just too dang cold to go outside. While alone in the house, our most favorite thing to do was to watch scary movies. Of course this is before VCRs, or DVRs or even cable. We had five measly channels to choose from, but somehow, we were able to find movies that scratched that horror itch. On Sundays, when the weekly listings came out, we would go on a search making note of any movies that might make us scream in terror and then plan all activities around it.

Dracula, The Werewolf, The Blob, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Monster from the Surf, Godzilla, The Creature From the Black Lagoon. We’d sit side by side on the sofa, a shared blanket clutched to our chins, looking forward to the thing that would make us jump and scream.

As we grew older, the fright somehow changed to hilarity. By the time The War of the Gargantuas,  came out, we were ready to laugh, and laugh hard. The story is about two Godzilla-sized creatures, hairy and monstrous looking, who rise from the sea, one good and one evil. At one point in the film, a woman is in a rooftop lounge singing a song that includes the line, “… the wooooords get stuck in my throat.” She repeats the line over and over. “The wooooords get stuck in my throat.”

Then one of the Gargantuas picks her up, eat her and spit out her clothes. To this day, all we have to do is sing that line and we all crack up.  

As we grew older, our tastes developed and the reruns of The Mummy, or the Three Stooges or Charlie Chan versions of those films didn’t interest us anymore. We wanted the truly scary films, like The Thing. That Artic mission, the discovery of the space ship under the ice, the isolation, the killer vegetable and the dry wit and snappy dialogue, had all the makings of a classic. The remakes have never lived up to the original black and white.

Another favorite starts with a little blond girl, obviously in shock and standing alone in the debris of her destroyed home, clutching a stuffed animal. Someone asks her what happened. All she can do is scream THEM! Those giant ants were no joke. 

Alfred Hitchcock rocked our world. The Birds, Rear Window, even his TV show became a favorite. My brother had to work hard to convince me to watch Halloween. I don’t know why I ever hesitated. Then I started reading Stephen King –Carrie, Cujo, It—I couldn’t put them down. Since we’d always had dogs and cats for pets, Pet Sematery was particularly horrifying for me.

One Saturday morning, I got up early to find my older sister sitting at the kitchen table, her eyes bloodshot, her hands clenched in front of her. She looked like she hadn’t slept all night. I asked her what was wrong. She said she’d been to a movie the night before with some friends. “The Exorcist,” she said, then refused to say more. She’d seen it the first night it was released. I think she’s still scared from it.

We’ve never really grown out of our love of fear. Several years ago, I went home to Minneapolis just so I could go with my siblings and a few friends to a place called Scream Town. The massive, outdoor park had five different themed areas, darkened and filled with things and people that jumped out at you. We were, by far, the most senior people at the theme park, all of us in our late 50s and early 60s. We didn’t care. It may be our age that made so much of it hilarious.

From Scream Town, Minnesota

In one room, you had to walk through a space with what looked like bodies wrapped in plastic, hanging from the ceiling. They were so numerous, you had to bump and bang your way through this horror, the “bodies” swinging sickeningly. We clutched each other, heads ducked, stumbling around in the dark, and laughing our asses off, screaming too.

In another place, you rounded a corner to come face to face with a man in a glass-encased electric chair. The red light in the small booth where he sat cast a horrific, shadowy glow over him. The rubbery, trembling and smoking dummy, wrapped in a straightjacket, its mouth gapping open with chilling screams piped out of the box, was so life-like he was fascinating.

We made our brother go first, hanging onto his jacket while we made our way through the corn maze, then stood fascinated at the sight of a cow suspended in air as if it was being sucked up by a UFO. Scream Town does not skimp on the props or makeup.

Now, every year when Halloween rolls around, I think about Scream Town and think about my family and consider flying home for the holiday where we have every excuse to act ridiculous, scream at the top of our lungs and laugh until our bellies hurt.

M.L. Doyle, military mystery, erotica and urban fantasy

M.L. Doyle

calls on her years of serving as an Army Reservist to write about women in combat boots. She co-authored the memoirs of two brave soldiers to ensure their stories keep their proper place in history. Her work with Spec. (Ret) Shoshana Johnson, an African-American POW of the Iraq War, was finalist in the NAACP Image Award. She also co-authored with Brig. Gen (Ret.) Julia Cleckley the story of her rise through Army ranks from humble beginnings and despite great personal tragedy.

Mary has written the three-book Master Sergeant Harper mystery series, and Limited Partnerships, a four-novella erotic romance series. Her latest release, The Bonding Blade, is the second book in her Desert Goddess urban fantasy series.

Mary’s essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in The War Horse, The Wrath-Bearing Tree, The Goodman project and O-Dark Thirty.

Check her out on Facebook.com, or Twitter @mldoyleauthor, and you can read excerpts of all of her work on her website at www.mldoyleauthor.com.

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Thursday teaser: Things That Are Just True

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A frightful fragment from

Corinne O’Flynn

I was nine years old when the darkness claimed my daddy. I watched it happen with my own two eyes. I know what you’re thinking; I can see it in your face. But you can file that under the heading of Things That Are Just True.

It happened right over there, just across the other side of the cemetery. It was summertime and that magnolia tree was in full bloom. You can’t tell it now, what with it being winter and all, but believe me when I say the smell of those flowers filled the air so thick it was as if the good Lord above had thrown open the Pearly Gates to welcome my grandpa, spilling the heavenly scent over his funeral like a blanket. I was just a kid back then, but God as my witness; I will never forget the smell of the flowers on that tree. 

The funeral ended and everyone milled around—tossing flowers into the grave, and giving my daddy condolences as he stared down at my grandfather’s coffin. Most people shook hands with the pastor from the next town over who had come to stand in for my father, who was a pastor himself but wasn’t expected to preside over his own daddy’s funeral. I was a shy child then, so I hung back, content to watch from a distance instead of being in the thick of any activity. 

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

And that’s when I saw it. 

The darkness slithered right up out of the grave. It spread across the too-green sheet of fake grass covering the dirt pile they would later dump on top of Grandpa’s coffin and tamp down flat. Eventually real grass would grow over it, leaving the world to think that Grandpa had always lived right there in his hole.

The darkness pooled like a smoky black cloud for a moment near the base of the dirt pile and then it moved in my direction. I remember holding my breath as it slinked across the top of the tidy neighboring graves, snaked unseen through the legs of the mourners, and covered a patch of dandelions as it coiled up over the tips of my newly shined shoes. One of my laces had come undone, and as my feet turned icy I worried if my untied laces had acted like an invitation, an open door to let the darkness get inside.

The night before, my daddy had shown me how to polish my leather shoes. He seemed nervous and a little distracted but soon fell into the familiar rhythm of daubing and buffing, daubing and buffing. I sat across the kitchen table from him, each of us with a shoe over one hand and an oily brush in the other. He showed me how to rub the black polish into the leather and buff it with a rag until it gleamed. The air in the room had filled with the tangy smell of gasoline and wax that was both delicious and sickening as he explained the procedure and told me with a wink to file that under the heading of Things Every Man Should Know.

The mourners continued to disperse from the graveside as the darkness wafted away from my cold, cold feet and found its way to my daddy. I watched and waited for it to pool around his shiny black shoes and turn his toes icy before moving on to someone else. 

But instead, it stopped. 

Then the darkness just seeped right up into him as if his feet were a thirsty sponge and the darkness was a cool, wet puddle. 

My father turned to me at that moment and smiled. It was a good smile, a real one with kindness and truth. But it was his eyes that stopped me cold. The dad-ness had gone from his eyes, replaced by something not-my-daddy.

Sometimes, when the light shines through glass just right, it breaks into slices of color so bright and pure you could almost forget about the darkness. And sometimes the darkness is so strong it conceals the true nature of everything so completely you could forget the light even exists. That was the kind of darkness I had felt in my feet back then and had seen in my daddy’s eyes when he smiled at me all those years ago. You can file that under the heading of Things I’ve Never Told Anyone.

About the story 

Believe it or not, the genesis of this story came from a real event. While the true story did not entail a seeping darkness creeping from the grave nor any missing persons, it did have to do with an evil spirit that possessed someone, and impacted their family in disturbing ways. Of course, my mind exploded with the possibilities of how to develop this as a fictional story, and thus Things That are Just True was born.

Where to get it

Readers can get this story for free by subscribing to my newsletter (they actually get three stories, and this is the third) or they can grab it online in the anthology Dead Night: Four Fits of Fear

Corinne O’Flynn

Corinne O’Flynn, romantic fantasy

is a productivity geek, graphic designer, ghostwriter, and the author of an ever-growing list of fantasy and mystery novels and short stories.

Married, raising four kids, she is the founder and executive director of a non-profit organization, and a professional napper. She also serves on the board for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW).

You can check out all of her books on her website or on Amazon.

Anyone interested in staying connected can sign up for her emailsWhether you’re a fan of mystery or fantasy stories, or a fellow busy human looking for ways to build your own productivity systems, Corinne O’Flynn invites you to join her as she shares what she learns on her adventures.

“I believe in doing things with intention, and making sure those intentions are good. :)”

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