“Second Time’s the Charm”: Story published

Read my newest piece of microfiction, “Second Time’s the Charm,” for free on the Dark Moments online publication from Black Hare Press!

Theme: Coming of Age – with a twist.

Prepare to be mesmerized with “Crooked Grow the Trees”

“Whether you are an aggressive adolescent with no clue about why you do the destructive things you do; a veteran of social work trying to help people figure out why they do the destructive things they do; a salt-of-the-earth human being who would like to know more about how to turn suffering into acceptance and meaning; or a garden-variety reader who appreciates an eloquent, dot-connecting narrative that manages to be reflective and illuminating at the same time, this is a book that will change the way you think and keep you thinking.” – David Billings

Longing for a book that serves up more than a little suspense along with very meaningful messages for today’s world? Curl up with Carmel Hanes’s Crooked Grow the Trees, a finalist in the general/literary category of the 2018 IAN Book of the Year contest!

Keep scrolling for a description, excerpt, and more.

Crooked Grow the Trees by Carmel Hanes

This raw and thought-provoking fiction tackles the “why” behind the incomprehensible, as we meet likable youth who do unlikable things. In a world where not all prison walls are visible, the characters, young and old, struggle to overcome their pasts as they are caught in the turbulence of relationship conflict and a culture torn between punishing and helping.

A suspenseful read to a shocking conclusion, it is sure to spark strong reaction and lively debate. Realistic and believable characters, delicious prose, and a mesmerizing plot will keep you turning the pages.



Panic increasing at the sound of punched flesh and skull cracking against cement, Sophia pulled harder on any fabric she could grasp and pushed the person wearing it towards the nearest wall, procedure and policy of not touching the youth out the window in her need to get to Aiden. Behind her she could hear the shouts of teachers as they tried to herd the agitated youth back into the classrooms or at least against the walls.

The energy of those continuing to watch amplified. Quinn’s reputation was well known, and his peers knew that his entrance into the battle would be an even more impressive show. Not only was this far more entertaining than school, or daily life on the unit, but it allowed a momentary purge of buried frustration, a long-distance release of futility. It was intoxicating; a dangerous moment, infused with emotional lightning, making one feel energetically alive. Sophia knew better than to attempt to physically control two feuding teenage boys, so she turned her attention to the throng of on-lookers and Aiden.

“Back to class or line up on the wall!” she repeated in the loudest voice she could muster in her anxious state. “You know the procedure! Anyone not complying will face unit sanctions!”

It was a feeble attempt, she knew, but she couldn’t just stand there and do nothing. As she shouted at the crowd, she knelt down next to Aiden to check on the damage.

“Aiden?” she probed, “How are you doing? What hurts and how badly does it hurt?” She gingerly touched his arm while inspecting his bleeding face at closer range.

Aiden opened the eye that was now swelling shut, rousing himself to see who was talking. “Number 301 on ways it would piss me off to die. Having a trained monkey with half my IQ manage to crack my head open so my impressive brain spills out. Just doesn’t seem right, does it, Miss Sophia?” Vague hint of a wry smile moved his lips prior to a grimace of pain.

Slightly reassured that he could still speak and appeared mentally intact enough to conjure an insult, Sophia told Aiden to stay as he was while she turned her attention to the continuing conflict. Standing again, she renewed her attempt to guide students to the walls or classrooms. The first three boys scowled at the directions but complied, taking several steps away from where they had stood, turning to face the wall.

Buy now!

Crooked Grow the Trees is available on Amazon.

About the author

Carmel Hanes is a retired school psychologist who worked in public and correctional schools with students who experienced learning and behavioral challenges. She enjoys hiking through nature, in all its forms, with her husband of 38 years. Her debut novel was inspired by her work with injured souls, and the troubled world she sees around her.

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Find & follow Carmel here:

Post #2 of the holiday bookroll for participants in Indie Authors Monthly.

Ready for an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery? Then you need “A Stone’s Throw”!

“Tense, well-written with shades of Agatha Christie, Carver shows a more human side to Stone as we get to know the Inspector better.” – Carole P Roman on Goodreads

Alex R Carver is back with the latest book in his popular series, the Inspector Stone Mysteries! Available for pre-order right now (as of the time of this posting) and launching on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Keep scrolling for a description, excerpt, and more.

A Stone’s Throw by Alex R Carver

An Agatha Christie Style Murder Mystery
Inspector Stone Mysteries #5
A dead body really ruins your holiday.

During a much-needed break in Devon, Inspector Nathan Stone finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation when the wife of the owner of the hotel is found killed.

The last person to see her alive, he must contend with the suspicions of the local police.

The arrival of a storm that isolates the small village of Donningford from the outside world changes everything, however, and Nathan must take charge of the investigation.

A second murder drives home a frightening fact: Nathan, the other guests, and the hotel staff are sharing a roof with a hate-filled killer who will stop at nothing to exact revenge…and to prevent the police from discovering the truth.

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Jennifer entered the room on Nathan’s heels, though she had to stop almost immediately as Nathan halted, forcing her to lean around him so she could see the room. Her eyes were drawn to the bed and what it held but she immediately spun away, her stomach heaving as she fought the urge to throw up.

It wasn’t that she could see much, except for the handle of the knife and a small red stain, but the knowledge of what she wasn’t quite seeing was enough to make her nauseous.

“Is he…is he dead?” she asked in a hesitant voice, afraid that the mere act of talking would be enough to make her lose control.

Nathan could guess at the answer, based on what he could see, nonetheless he moved forward and shifted the pillow out of the way, so he could press his fingers to Jean Martin’s throat. A single touch was enough to confirm what his eyes had already told him; the chef had been dead for some time, hours, he could only guess at how many, but even being covered up hadn’t helped to keep his body warm. He was as cold as only a dead person could be.

“He’s dead,” he said with a sad nod as he looked down at the deceased man. He realised that it was irrational, but he couldn’t help feeling that the murder was his fault; if he had been cleverer and quicker he would have linked the tenderiser to Martin yesterday, and by doing so he could perhaps have prevented him being killed.

“Damn,” he swore briefly, venting his emotions before turning to Jennifer. “When you feel up to it, would you mind finding Constable Havers and bringing him here?”

Jennifer nodded weakly and left the room. She was glad to be away from the body of the man she had known for the past two years, but she didn’t think she would be able to forget the look on his face that had been revealed when the pillow was taken away. She stumbled down the passage towards the stairs, and as she did so she wondered how life could have changed so dramatically for her in such a short time.

Buy now!

A Stone’s Throw is available for just 99 cents (and the equivalent around the world) from your favorite ebook retailer. Just follow the link below and pick your preferred store:

About the author

After working in the clerical, warehouse and retail industries over the years, without gaining much satisfaction, Alex quit to follow his dream and become a full-time writer. Where There’s A Will is the first book in the Inspector Stone Mysteries series, with more books in the series to come, as well as titles in other genres in the pipeline.

His dream is to one day earn enough to travel, with a return to Egypt to visit the parts he missed before, and Macchu Picchu, top of his wish list of destinations.

When not writing, he is either playing a game or being distracted by Molly the Yorkie, who is greedy for both attention and whatever food is to be found.

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Find & follow Alex here:



Post #1 of the holiday bookroll for participants in Indie Authors Monthly.