New Anthology Releases

New Anthology Releases

I am proud to announce that two of my stories are featured in the newly released anthologies, REALMS OF FANTASTIC STORIES and PROJECT 9, Vol. 2 by Solstice Publishing. I am including the blurbs and titles of my stories below as well as the links to the anthologies. I am also listing my social media links for those who would like to follow me, as well as information about my Cobble Cove mystery series. The second book, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE, will be published this fall.



available on Kindle Unlimited and will also be released in paperback. My story will be a Kindle Short, as well.

A familiar poem to many pet lovers describes a place called Rainbow Bridge where pets go when they pass on and where their beloved human eventually joins them.  If you have ever lost a special animal companion and wondered if Rainbow Bridge actually exists and what it’s like, the answer is imagined in “The Path to Rainbow Bridge.”

This story, told from the cats’ point of view, takes place during preparations for an incoming resident – a woman named Kate’s elderly Siamese. The cat’s Kate has bonded with throughout her life also reside on Rainbow Bridge and are happy to welcome the new member of their fur family. However, a big surprise awaits one of them after the new cat arrives.

DEADLINE (from the Science Fiction anthology, PROJECT 9)


available on Kindle Unlimited and will also be released in paperback. My story will be a Kindle Short, as well.

When college student Susan Shaffer wakes up on the wrong side of the bed in her dorm room, strange things begin to happen. Time seems to shift and draw her into an imaginary deadline that would rival those of the stories she writes for the student paper. Unable to face horrible news that she can’t remember happening, she traces the events of the last few days. Discovering the awful truth of why these hours are a blank, she must meet a deadline that is truly deadly.


Here’s the blurb for my first Cobble Cove mystery, A STONE’S THROW:

Widowed librarian Alicia Fairmont needs answers…

After her husband is killed in a hit and run accident, Alicia travels upstate to his hometown of Cobble Cove, New York, hoping to locate his estranged family and shed light on his mysterious past. Anticipating staying only a weekend, her visit is extended when she accepts a job at the town’s library.

Secrets stretch decades into the past…

Assisted by handsome newspaper publisher and aspiring novelist, John McKinney, Alicia discovers a connection between her absent in-laws and a secret John’s father has kept for over sixty years. But her investigation is interrupted when she receives word her house has burned and arson is suspected, sending her rushing back to Long Island, accompanied by John.

Back in Cobble Cove, cryptic clues are uncovered…

When Alicia returns, she finds a strange diary, confiscated letters, and a digital audio device containing a recording made the day her husband was killed. Anonymous notes warn Alicia to leave town, but she can’t turn her back on the mystery—or her attraction to John. As the pieces begin to fall into place, evidence points to John’s involvement in her husband’s accident.

The past and present threaten to collide, and Alicia confronts her fears…

Has she fallen in love with her husband’s killer?

Buy links for A STONE’S THROW:

Amazon U.S.:

Amazon Australia:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon U.K.:


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To kill or not to kill, that is this writer’s question


“In writing, you must kill your darlings.” –William Faulkner


Even though I am perfectly aware of the true meaning of William Faulkner’s words now, as a second language learner I took them very literally for a very long time. It was not easy. I did not want to kill my little darlings (which I at the time took to be my characters). I wanted to write happy-go-lucky stories with happy endings and pretty bows on top. I hate violence so why would I inflict it on my darling characters? It just didn’t make sense to me.

Growing up in to my teens and early twenties I was an avid reader of mysteries (thanks Dad) and these writers definitely killed a lot of their darlings…so should I? Would that put a little more grit and a little less fluff into my stories?


When I started writing The Hawk, a historic/paranormal romance years ago I decided I was going to kill…something. It didn’t take me long to figure out I was not going to be able to kill anything major in the story. In fact I couldn’t even get myself to kill an animal much less a human being. So I compromised. I thought, “Since I can’t bring myself to killing them, maybe I’ll just hurt them a little bit.” I did. I put an arrow through my main character’s leg and had him bleed to near-death. After that I was on a roll. Poor Hawk went on to suffer from terrible hallucinations that crippled him physically and emotionally. In my next novel, In Her Eyes, I put the poor guy through hell and back, victim of a race crime. I was getting the hang of this even though I had changed the old adage to “In writing, you must torture your darlings”.

Neither of the two aforementioned novels ever saw the light of day. They are still in my drawer, half-typed, half-handwritten manuscripts that I may (or not) resurrect someday.


Of course in the meantime I learned the true meaning of that advice and I do indeed spend a lot of my revising/editing time “killing my darlings”, but ever since my second-language blooper I have stuck to the idea that my darlings must suffer…at least a little bit.

In We Will Always Have the Closet, both the female MC and the male go through some scary, life-threatening events. In my upcoming novel, Desert Jewel, I outdid myself and put my poor male MC through hell. In Loved You Always (out for adoption right now) both MCs have their lives turned upside down in more ways than one. And in my WIP, a dystopian romance (yes, it’s a thing)…well, I think the genre says it all.

One thing hasn’t changed. I still wrap all my novels in a pretty bow of hope and promises of a better, very happy future. Do you kill your darlings?pexels-photo-14117

EXTINCT by Samie Sands

EXTINCT by Samie Sands
AM13 Outbreak Series, #3

Release Date: May 31, 2016
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
~*~ SYNOPSIS ~*~
Writing books about the horrors of the zombie apocalypse is one thing—but Georgie Blake can’t believe it has become her reality…
She never expected her fictional stories of blood, death, and the consumption of human flesh to jump off the page into the real world. She certainly didn’t think she’d survive this long if they had. As a shy novelist, she was sure she’d be one of the first to die.
Safe in the Sanctuary, Georgie holds on to hope for a cure…
But that’s not all she holds on to. The government has promised the people of the Sanctuary that they can return home. The rumours are rife that there is an antidote on the horizon. But even if not, the infected are dying out, throwing the treacherous AM13 virus to the brink of extinction. If the infection dies out, this horrible nightmare Georgie is living in will be a distant memory.
Until everything that’s right goes terribly wrong…
Soon after meeting some new friends in the Sanctuary, Georgie learns she’s going to have to face the monsters outside the walls if she wants to return to her old life. But for a scared, introverted bookworm, it may be too much to consider…
Will Georgina conquer her fears of the dead to return home, or will she be one of the countless others who have gone Extinct?
~*~ PURCHASE ~*~
~*~ AM13 Outbreak Series ~*~
Bok Covers
Samie Sands is a 30 year old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing.
She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She has also had a number of her short stories included in some very successful anthologies.
She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures. To follow Samie’s work, please check out her website

A Tribute




Marty Bell  1943-2015

It’s hard to talk about someone who just passed on to the great beyond. Images of what they were before they became just an empty shell and what they meant to those around them fight with the knowledge they are no longer around. When my dad passed away very suddenly (he literally got up in the morning, dropped and died) about 15 years ago, I was torn between accepting it and irrationally fighting reality. For me, my dad was still alive and will always be. He lives in my heart and my memory. Isn’t that what we all want? To leave a part of us behind when we depart from this world for good?

If this is true then my mother-in-law, Marty, who just passed away a couple days ago, will be alive for a long time. She has nine children, all of whom love her dearly.  Six siblings will hold her in their hearts as well. Then, there are all others—family and friends—whose lives she touched one way or another. Just like my dad, who was the original Santa Claus, Marty will live on in each Christmas ornament we put on the tree, on each Christmas carol we sing, in each gift we unwrap.

She will be missed by many and remembered by even more. You were part of my life for the past thirty years and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated how you welcomed me, a foreign stranger, into your family all those years ago. May you have all the peace you deserve next to your loving husband up where time has lost its meaning and worries are a thing of the past. I’m sure you will be teaching the angels to dance the Whip Nana and a song or two. We love you.

My husband slightly changed a poem by Christy Ann Martine to read during the funeral mass for his mom. Here’s his version:

“She’s in the sun, the wind, the rain.

She’s in the air that we breathe.

With every breath we take,

she paints a picture of hope and cheer.

There’s no more pain, no more fear.

You’ll see her in the clouds above,

hear her whisper words of love.

They are together once again,

bragging proudly about all of us to the end.”

My best friend

Was it Mark Twain that said, “the more I get to know people, the more I like dogs”? I sympathize with him. I have lived over a half a century and I am here to tell you that I can claim without any trepidation that my best friend ever was my dog.

I lost my friend early this morning to congestive heart failure. He was a 12 year old black dachshund called Shorty. Like humans he was not perfect but he was definitely my best friend. He was there for me through thick and thin never asking for anything in return other than a cuddle. No matter what happened during the day, he was always happy to see me.

Nobody, no matter how big or strong, could get close to me without his approval. He might have been small but he did not lack courage and spunk. He was always my protector that I needed one or not.

Through the years our bond grew so strong I could literally understand what he was “telling” me. I knew when he wanted water, when he needed a walk, or if he was in the mood for a treat. I also knew he was hurting badly last night and that it was the end of the road for us. I had been preparing myself mentally for this throughout a long and expensive series of hospitalizations for the past few months. He always seemed to spring back but not this time…

He died in my arms in the middle of the night and I haven’t been able to stop crying since. He was more than a pet. He was one of my children and I will miss him more than I can put into words. I love you, sweetheart.

Dancing with the angels

It is a fact well-known that dancing is good for the soul. I totally subscribe to this belief. I have been dancing since I was a toddler and no therapy in the world is more effective than a few turns around the dance floor.

My aunt Lucilia is a perfect example that dance is the cure for all evils. She had a tough life; born poor and prone to bouts of severe asthma. After marrying my uncle she gave birth to a baby girl. A couple years later they both got struck by a train. She survived, the baby didn’t. My cousin, the only boy in  a family of females, came next. He is just slightly younger than me and we grew up together, living across the street from each other. My aunt got pregnant many times after that. She lost the baby girls every time after carrying them to term. She cleaned the skyscraper she lived in, washing the marble stairs from ground to the tenth floor on her knees with a rag and a bucket. She also washed clothes for working people, ironed and did alterations and other sewing services to make extra money to keep her family fed. In her middle years she was abandoned by her husband and left alone to finish bringing up her teenage son. Through it all one thing kept her going; dancing.

She passed away a couple days ago from complications from an infection. She was 80 years old. She still cleaned her building every day. She still washed and ironed clothes for others. She still let out and hemmed pants. And to get her going without giving in to exhaustion or desperation she still went dancing every weekend.

I hadn’t seen her in a few years living on the other side of the pond as I do but I will always remember her as a dancer. No matter how exhausted, how drained she was she never, ever stopped dancing. In fact, I bet she is dancing with the angels right now.

Rest in peace tia Lucilia. May the afterlife be full of music and bailaricos* and may your pain be gone forever.

*dance party

We Remember

For the Fallen by Robert Laurence Binyon (excerpt)

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

My Super Aunt

The Komen Race for the Cure took place in D.C. today and it got me thinking about someone I cared about and lost some years ago. My dad had only one younger brother who had married my mom’s best friend and moved right across the street from us when my sister and I were kids. My cousin, only a little over a month younger than me, was more like my sister growing up. They moved to a different country when I was about 10 years old. It was devastating; I was not only losing a sister but I was also losing my favorite aunt. A lifetime has passed and contact has been rather sporadic most of the time but the bond is still there. This is for you, tia Filomena.

When I married an American and moved to the US I was very much alone; I didn’t know anyone, had no family around, I didn’t even have a car to go places when my husband was not at work. To top it all we couldn’t afford the exorbitant phone rates they charged back then when calling Europe, so I had to ration calls to my family across the Atlantic. However, calls to our Northern neighbors were pretty affordable, so my lifeline became my aunt. We called each other at least once a week and she just made my day with her laughter and positive life outlook. She never seemed to be depressed and she had a knack to find the silver lining in every situation, no matter how bad. I was often driven to tears when talking to her; tears of laughter, not sadness. She made me feel less lonely, less isolated.

I was heartbroken to find out later that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. In her typical optimistic way, she fought it with all her might and she beat it. At least, that’s what everybody thought. Imagine everyone’s shock when the doctors found the cancer had sneaked into another part of her body a mere few months later. I can’t imagine what my cousin went through and unfortunately I was not in constant contact with my aunt anymore. This cancer seemed to have done what nothing else ever succeeded in doing; silencing her good humor, her joy for life and for everything around her. She stopped calling, she stopped coming to the phone. One day, she was taken from this earth and from all that loved her. Gone but not forgotten…

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day here in the US. Filomena was an amazing mom, grandmother and super-aunt, being there for me when I needed the comfort and assurance of a familiar and loved voice. I miss you, tia, I miss you a lot.

The Angel

The rain fell incessantly over the land as if trying to wash away all the sin and pain in the world. People walked under umbrellas and ducked under trees trying to stay dry as they visited the gravesites of their departed loved ones. Some had tears that rolled down their cheeks and mixed with the water from the skies above. Others kept their eyes on the ground as if afraid to face the harsh reality of a lost loved one. Still others chatted amiably but quietly as they avoided mud and puddles on the saturated grounds. Flowers adorned the arms of some, others walked empty-handed. One carried a teddy bear and a heart-shaped cushion. Those would be soaked before the turn of the hour, she noted with a heavy heart. Death was not kind for the living or the inanimate objects that adorned their tombstones. Even flowers lost their petals and drooped piteously like overwrought souls pining for the dead.

Gracefully and serene she sat, a faint smile on her lips, a slight tilt of the head. The rain didn’t bother her even though she hoped, for the sake of the living, that it would stop. Her white dress fell to the ground in a cascade of folds, forever frozen in time, wet but never soaked, lifelike but not alive. Her right hand held a bouquet of blushing roses to her lap and the left touched the black cold stone with such tenderness those who walked by had to look twice to make sure they had not seen her move. Behind her two white wings unfolded, sheltering her body from the wind and framing her beauty with haunting grace. The Angel – for so was she known to all who visited the graveyard – had not been there long but she reigned over the quiet bleakness of the place and there was not a single patron that wouldn’t stop for a minute or two to admire the beauty of her lines, the serenity she inspired. A tragedy had summoned her there, commissioned by the surviving members of a family decimated in a terrible fire. Now, she sat on their graves, guarding them and offering them the company the living couldn’t afford to give.

Passersby think of her a stone monument to the love a family felt for those who had so tragically lost their lives; but she was so much more. For beneath all that pristine white and coldness of stone, there was a heart beating; a heart that beat to the sound of grieving humans and restless souls; a heart so full of love, she was willing to waste away her days watching over the dead. Death was lonely at first. As loved ones stream away from the burial site, there is a moment when heart-wrenching loneliness strikes. For those single moments the Angel waits, ready to comfort both those who leave and those who can’t. One day her spirit will leave that body of stone and alight somewhere else where she will once again comfort the dead and the living.

As the sun goes down on a dreary day and the mourners hurry to leave the realm of the dead into their brighter side of life, there she remains quiet and beautiful watching over those who are left behind.

On the subject of death

Once in a while we are reminded of just how mortal we are. Nothing brings that fact closer to home than when someone you love passes through to that mysterious realm of the after-death. I don’t normally talk about this, much preferring to talk about things that bring us happiness; but the fact remain that death is as much part of living as it is being born or having children. As sad and final as it is we have no choice but to accept the inevitability of it all and make peace with it.

I haven’t been around when those I love have died. Living across an ocean makes it harder but it also makes it easier for me to come to terms with those losses. When my uncle, and shortly after my aunt (the matriarch of my family and my namesake) died I was away working in the islands. I couldn’t even make it to the funerals. My grandma Alice was the next one to go and I was by then in the US, with the Atlantic Ocean between us and no money for a plane ticket. My best friend Mizé took her own life just as I was getting ready to give birth to my first child. Since then I lost my other grandparents and my favorite aunt Filomena. And more painfully, I lost my dad.

I couldn’t make it to any of their funerals but I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I am glad I have only the good memories of them to sustain me. I am glad that my last memory of my dad is not of his lifeless body but of the hug I gave him at the airport the last time he had flown here to see me. I am glad that my last memory of my wonderful aunt is of her laughter over the phone as we exchanged the news.

I am reminded of these sad events now as my father-in-law fights a losing battle to hang on to life. I can only imagine the pain and sense of helplessness his kids (my husband included) must be feeling watching their dad slip away. I can only hope they will be able to escape that image and remember rather what he used to be like a month ago, a year ago, ten years ago… I hope they can remember his laughing face just as I remember my dad’s and be at peace.

After all, we never really die. We go on for much longer than our life spans; in the memories of those who knew and loved us, in the genetic make-up of our off-spring, in what we accomplished while on this earth.  It is life at its most basic, beginnings and endings in a never ending cycle. My advice is to make it count!