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Lachesis Publishing Book Reviews: Sisters of Spirit by Annette Blair, Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Lynn Jenssen #amreading

Lachesis Publishing Anthology
Lachesis Publishing Anthology

Sisters of Spirit Anthology

Reviewed by Charlotte Daly

This is truly an amazing collection of stories written by authors whose talent is mind-boggling. As an author myself, I know how difficult it is to devise a well-crafted book. How much harder must it be to coordinate with three other authors on interconnected tales!

The Prologue by Annette Blair whet my appetite by laying out a truly unique premise: the legend of the Sisters of Spirit. Four unrelated women wash up on a beach and, bonded by their mutual support, consider themselves sisters. They respond to calls for help – an “SOS” sent out by women in difficult situations. The magical quality of this setup hooked me from the first pages – what woman doesn’t have friends who they consider sisters?

Each story that follows spotlights a different woman with their own unique dilemmas. In New View, by Lynn Jenssen, Marina Simms is facing what she feels is a breakdown of her seven-year marriage. In Identity, by Christine Mazurk, Bryce Evans has shed a large amount of weight, but not the heavy burdens in her life after she meets a successful personal trainer with his own heavy burden. In Shaman’s Shell, by Jeanine Duval Spikes, Clara O’Keefe’s discovery of a mysterious necklace leads her to working with an archeologist, one whom she feels drawn to, but does not know if she can trust. Finally, in Moving Pictures by Annette Blair, Anastasia Jones is at a low point in her life when she discovers a camera, and decides to try to return it to its owner. This leads her to a job and challenging relationship with a man who is as emotionless as a robot. Anastasia decides to break the man’s icy armor.

In this last story, all four women come together. Events that occurred in the other stories are woven together, leading to a wonderful realization: all were all going through their changes simultaneously. Each woman’s journey is expertly braided together, making me truly believe in the power of Sisters of Spirit.

A wonderful read by extremely talented authors, I highly recommend this book. I already have several “sisters” to whom I will be gifting this inspiring work.

You can purchase the Sisters of Spirit Anthology at Lachesis Publishing and on, on Kobo, on Barnes and Noble and on itunes (iBooks).

Connect with Lynn Jenssen, Christine Mazurk, Jeanine Duval Spikes and Annette Blair on facebook.

Follow Lachesis Publishing on twitter and like our facebook page.



authors, blog post, contemporary romance, Critique Groups, historical romance, Lachesis Author Guest Blog, Lachesis authors, Lachesis Blog, paranormal romance, regency historical romance, Regency Romance, romance fiction, romance hero, romance novels, Writer Critique Groups, writing craft, Writing Critique Groups, Writing good dialogue, writing inspiration

The good, the bad, and the ugly truth about writer critique groups by Patricia Grasso (historical romance author)


The good news is you joined a critique group. The bad news is you joined a critique group. Critique groups can help make your publishing dreams come true, or they can become your worst nightmare.

Some critique groups have seen all their members published by the Big 5 NY publishers. Others have ended in cat fights. Even worse, some groups have harmed an aspiring author’s confidence and set their careers back.

No critique group is better than a bad critique group.

The Golden Rule is: Leave your ego home and take your manners with you.


The following are common sense suggestions for successful critique groups. The members must trust each other. Those critiquing must give honest reactions. Politely, of course. The writer must feel free to disregard those reactions.

Do not stay in a critique group that is not helping your writing improve. Do not stay in a critique group whose members are nasty and critical. If someone is not adhering to the agreed-upon rules, the person should be asked to leave the group.

The members must agree on practical items. How many times will they meet per month? Where will they meet? Will they bring pages or send electronically? How many pages will be critiqued?


Ideally, critique groups should have 4 or 5 members. The group needs a facilitator to keep the group on track. That means keeping the group working instead of socializing.

Do not expect all praise. The members should tell you what did and did not work for them. Members may offer suggestions and alternate views about something. That is their opinion.

There is no correct answer in writing. We only have what works and what doesn’t work. You take what you want and trash the rest.

This is a tough one. Only one person speaks at a time. No interruptions are allowed. When the member critiquing is finished, the next one speaks. Meanwhile, the writer is taking notes on what is said. That prevents the writer from debating or explaining.

critiques-t-shirtRecently, I critiqued chapter one and a synopsis for Lachesis author Claire Gem. I’ve attached her blog on this experience. Every writer who puts her work out there for critiquing should have as good an experience as Claire Gem.

The following excerpt is from Claire Gem’s blog (Claire Gem aka Charlotte Daly – is also a Lachesis Publishing author. Her upcoming release with Lachesis is the contemporary romance “Memories of You”:

It’s really hard for writers to put our work out there, open it up to criticism from not only the public but also from fellow writers. .

Those criticisms you hear whizzing by your ears are not always projectiles of ill intent. Sometimes, they are sacred offerings. Nuggets of pure gold.


I had a 30-minute, private chat with best-selling historical romance author, Patricia Grasso, after our regional RWA meeting. This was a planned consultation following a sequence of emails. Basically, I asked for her help on my struggling work-in-progress. Pat was hesitant to share her “lots to say” about my synopsis and first chapter. She didn’t want me sad or angry. After assuring her I would be fine, she agreed to sit down with me after the meeting.

I went with some trepidation. As soon as we sat down, she said, “You can use all, some or none of my suggestions. The book is yours so you make the final call.”

Pat criticized my POV switches, highlighting the fact they were confusing to the reader. She suggested some major plot changes that I may or may not use. She pointed out chunks of backstory that need “to go.”

Image: 296 × 211Search by image
Image: 296 × 211Search by image

“You remember that fairy tale where the little kid drops bread crumbs to mark his trail in the forest?” she asked.

“Hansel and Gretel.” I said

“That’s how you add your backstory,” she said. “A few crumbs at a time.”

She questioned my heroe’s flaw. “Have you ever read a romance with a hero with this particular flaw?”

ColdHeartedRake“Yes, I just finished a book by Lisa Kleypas and the hero had that flaw,” I replied.

Pat regarded me for a moment and then said, “You aren’t Lisa Kleypas ”.

What I had anticipated as critical stones thrown on my work-in-progress began to sparkle like gems. I realized this wasn’t an annihilation of my work. It was a diagnosis, by an experienced veteran of the romance genre, with a suggested plan of treatment.

“Here I love these lines,” she said, pointing to two sentences on the page. “You have a flair for comedy. You need to play these up.”

“I write contemporary romance with ghosts,” I said. “Where is there room for comedy?”


“There are no rules that say you can’t have humor in contemporary, even if there are ghosts.” Pat sat back in her chair, tapping the pages. “This is your strength, the part of your voice you need to emphasize. Play up your strengths, down play your weaknesses.”

Pat’s comment couldn’t have come at a better time. I almost heard the tumblers click into place inside my head. Breakthrough. . .


Enchanting the Duke by Patricia GrassoPatricia Grasso is the author of eighteen historical romances including the Douglas Series which follows the love stories of the amazing Douglas sisters (Angelica, Samantha and Victoria) in Regency London and the Lords of Stratford Series, Regency historical romances with a fairy-tale twist about the aristocratic families in Stratford-on-Avon. 

Patricia Grasso‘s latest release is Enchanting the Duke. You can purchase it at Lachesis Publishing or on amazon, BN nook, or kobo

Connect with Patricia Grasso online on her web site and on facebook

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