‘Mystic Desire’: A Review

I signed on with Black Velvet Seductions (a romance publishing company) a couple of months back…

 Of course, the first thing you do when you land a gig with a new publisher is get to know your co-workers. (Seriously, I wasn’t born yesterday. That’s just common sense. If our publisher sinks, we all go down. If we all work to promote our publisher, we all win!)

So I picked up a copy of ‘Mystic Desire’, an anthology of supernatural tales that features most of BVS’ authors.

Whoa…!

Just… wow

Okay, some of these stories REALLY made me blush. But the diversity of subject matter/writing styles makes this book an EPIC collection!!!

So here, my dear readers, is my story-by-story review of ‘Mystic Desire’…

The Sweetest Magic of All by Alice Renaud – Witches are the backbone of many supernatural tales; everyone knows this. So to tackle such tried-and-true subject matter leaves one at risk of seeming trite… but Alice Renaud is anything but trite! Her heroine Sapphire is a genuinely sweet, vulnerable character, and her saga is truly one to savor.

Bewitching the Wolf by Zia Westfield – Like witches, werewolves are also the stock of supernatural fiction. If you’re gonna tackle the werewolf myth, you’d better know what you’re doing. Zia Westfield knows exactly what she’s doing! (I especially enjoyed her character Oggie, the drunken leprechaun. Very often, it’s the supporting cast that makes the story.)

An Awareness of Evil by Dee S. Knight – Psychics. A modern addition to supernatural archetypes, and a powerful one. This story would make a great ‘true crime’ TV special! Its twist ending is straight-up Alfred Hitchcock.

Love that Binds by Carol Schoenig – Sometimes it’s the unanswered questions that are the most intriguing. Is Ianthee a witch? Is she not? Honestly, do we really need to answer that question? The over-arching air of un-explained mystery really makes this one stand out.

Dream Catcher by Callie Carmen – This tale shines by virtue of its very unique subject matter: The Native American ‘dream catcher’ myth. Normally when you think ‘supernatural fiction’, you think werewolves, vampires, etc… but Callie took a completely different tack on the genre, and she nailed it. What really makes Callie’s tale stand out – even more so than her subject matter – is her writing style. Supernatural stories usually do – and should – have an ethereal, dream-like feel about them; they come across as kind of off-kilter. ‘Dream Catcher’, on the other hand, feels very, very real… like this is a story that might actually have happened.  

Life Saving by Anne Krist – I have to admit, this story was my favorite. Not because Anne is any more – or less – talented than the other BVS writers, but because her story was reminiscent of another writer whose work I have always held near and dear. Her tale is straight outta Ray Bradbury’s playbook! (And anyone who knows me knows that’s high praise!)

Unconditional Lust by Breanna Hayse – This one vividly captures the tension of sailing the high seas, and the fear of being pulled into the depths by unseen monsters. Except these monsters have an agenda, and they’re here to tell you that there are worse fates to suffer than death…

The Mortal Vampire by Suzanne Smith – What can I say? Real vampires are not supposed to ‘sparkle’! Suzanne’s vampire doesn’t sparkle; he’s terrifying, and intense. Suzanne’s writing is right up there with Anne Rice and Bram Stoker’s, in my book.

Love from the Mist by Patricia Elliot – Water Sprites? Who thinks of a water sprite when asked to write a supernatural tale? Patricia did, apparently, and thus her contribution is truly unique. Her tale begins with a pulse-pounding action scene, and ends on a sweet note. It’s a breath-taking narrative, one that earns ‘bonus points’ by virtue of its sheer originality.

Love’s Ghost by R.M. Olivia – The sad, mournful characters really brought this story to life; it has echoes of Edgar Allan Poe all over it. (And I don’t compare writers to Poe lightly; you gotta earn that praise from me!)

Love Knows No Apocalypse by Patricia Elliott – George Romero, eat your heart out! This one’s an imaginative, character-driven story set in a familiar dystopian setting. It’s challenging to bring your leading lady to life when her supporting cast consists of brain-munching zombies, but Patricia figured out how. She’s quite an original voice on the modern writing scene!

Calling All Angels by Lora Logan – A tale of celestial beings set in a deceptively picturesque setting… and therein lies the story’s brilliance; it’s the odd juxtaposition of characters and scenery that makes the story shine. (‘Calling All Angels’ reminded me of the years during which I lived in New York’s Adirondack Mountains.)

The Anniversary by Richard Savage – Certainly the most edgy tale in the entire collection. It made me uncomfortable, and yet totally captured my interest! Richard delves deep into the admittedly-skewed psychology of his characters, and succeeds in telling a very, very unnerving story! I really liked that he didn’t reveal what was really going on until the very, very end; that lingering plot-tease kept me on the edge of my seat.

Through the Veil by Jan Selbourne – Is this a ghost story? Historical fiction? Hell, do we really need to answer those questions? Sometimes using deliberate ambiguity is the best way to tell a story. One doesn’t always need to have one’s curiosity satisfied; sometimes, ya just gotta meet the story on its own terms!

And that’s my review. S’all I have to say. But I will end my review with this comment: Many of the world’s publishing companies have guidelines that are so strict that they leave no room for individual creativity; their books are so market-driven that they’re… sterile.

Stifling, market-driven guidelines suppress individual creativity, and inevitably make for forgettable fiction.

Black Velvet Seductions…? Here are their guidelines: Gotta be a love story. Gotta have a happy ending. No perverts, please, and other’n that…

TELL US AN AWESOME STORY!!!

Those broad guidelines are, in my opinion, why Black Velvet Seductions produces excellent literature. I am grateful beyond words to have been invited into their circle. Thank all of you wonderful writers for taking me on board; I am honored to work alongside such fine storytellers.

Here’s to a bright future for us all!

To order ‘Mystic Desire’, use this link for Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mystic-Desire-Breanna-Hayse-ebook/dp/B07WPQX7HQ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=mystic+desire&qid=1598052789&sr=8-1

Or this one for Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mystic-desire-alice-renaud/1133817315?ean=9781912768578

20 thoughts on “‘Mystic Desire’: A Review

  1. Thank you for the wonderful review! I’m so glad you liked The Mortal Vampire. Being in the same company as Anne Rice and Bram Stoker is more than I could ever hope for. I must admit, my head is a little swollen now. Lol. All of the stories in the Mystic Desire Anthology were so good, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. Kudos to Ric Savage for allowing each writer at BVS to express ourselves in our own unique way.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Virginia for this great review! I’m glad you liked my story. I loved every story in the book though if I had to pick one favourite it would be “Love knows no apocalypse”. Great title for a start!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Virginia,
    That was a wonderful review. Thank you so much for taking the time to do one on each story. I am going to add this to my website. I agree BVS is full of so many talented authors and Mystic Desire proves it. You are right; we are lucky that Richard Savage at Black Velvet Seductions lets are imaginations run wild.

    It’s funny, my husband kind of said the same thing you did about Dreamcatcher. He felt like it needed to be made into a movie because the storyline is believable like it could really happen. I’m looking forward to reading your Desire Me Again Anthology story. A little bird told me it is an excellent story.

    No way you grew up in the Adirondack Mountains, too. My favorite place in the world so far is the Great Sacandaga Lake. Small world.
    Callie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Virginia, first, thanks for doing a review of each story! They’re all so different that a general “This is a good anthology about paranormal romance” just doesn’t do it. You’ve given readers an idea of the diverse topics BVS authors write when it comes to the paranormal. Second, I agree with you about Ric’s guidelines for the anthologies–broad enough to let our creativity soar.

    Last, thanks so much for your comments about Life Saving and An Awareness of Evil! You’ve made my day!

    Like

  5. Fantastic review! I finished reading Mystic Desire recently and loved the diverse stories, all of them hooked me, leaving me wanting more. I am looking forward to reading the next anthology by Black Velvet Seductions.

    Like

  6. Thank you for reviewing all the stories in the Mystic Desire Anthology. It is certainly exciting to be a part of such a talented group of authors. ❤

    Like

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