Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Value of Challenges

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw When my kid went to bed, last night, I finally took a few minutes to reflect on everything that's happened in my life in the last few years. Although I often feel that my existence is a big, boring set of routines, and Spirit could really try a little harder to make blessings roll in a timely manner, last night I finally had to admit that things HAVE happened, and compared to five years ago, my world has changed a great deal. What I think triggered my reflection was a discussion about the state lottery. While we were sitting in the living room after dinner, my daughter asked me what I would do if I won such a staggering amount. My answer surprised her and slighly disappointed her. If I won a jackpot of 500 millions, I would probably set one million aside for each of my three kids, I would put away five to ten millions for retirement, I would take care of family and a few close friends, and then I would have fun with the rest. I don't think I would want to buy houses, yachts or cars, and clothes and shoes have never been at the top of my list of likes. What I would really like to do would be to play anonimous Santa, sharing that wealth anonimously with the unsuspecting needy. I have heard a few sweet stories in the last few years -- one of a woman who walked into a K-Mart close to Christmas and paid off all the toys on layaway in cash, and another of a woman who bought a foreclosed home just to give it back to the original owner who lost it after falling into hard times. How much fun would it be to do something like that?? My daughter didn't seem all that impressed with my choices. "Wow, Mom, you would give all that money away and you would only leave us, your own children, one million each?" I explained to her that life is more fun when you have goals you strive to achieve, and the journey is really what defines you as a person. Individual strengths don't usually come out until one needs to be strong, and one rarely tries hard to learn new strategies until challenges come along. A million would buy each of the kids a home and give them enough money for education and a good start. When everyone went to bed, I thought of how my philosophies apply to my own life, and how much I have learned by having to reinvent myself in the last few years. Writing has truly been the key to not only finding myself, but also to creating a new self. Of course, I wish someone could have come in, touched me with a magic wand and offered a shortcut to success, but if that had happened, I wouldn't have learned half as much. In the last five years, I have learned how to stand on my own two feet, I have learned how to do things I never thought possible, and I have been forced to get out of the safety of my shell and explore the world. Has it been easy? Not at all, but it has been fun and educational. If I look back at the shy person I was just five years ago, and the more confident individual I have become, I know all those efforts were not in vain. Life isn't just about discovering who we are by finding what we enjoy doing, but rather, it is an opportunity to reinvent the wheel if one is needed to travel smoothly. As I thought of all this, I was suddenly happy about the challenges I endured.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Week 23: THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP Author Sandra Carrington-Smith, The Book of Obeah and Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) . “The past few years have been full of high profile reads—50 Shades of Gray, Twilight, and more. Love them or hate them, you have to admit you have at least heard of them. As Independent Authors we all dare to dream we will be next, and well let’s face it, you never know ... right? With some hard work and the right marketing any one of us could be the next most talked about Author. With that thought I jumped on this Hop, what is a blog traffic hop? Well I didn’t know until I asked. Basically, it’s an Independent Authors game of tag. One author posts, and then tags five other authors, who each link back to them. Exponentially it is a marketing gold mine, and you my fair reader have hopefully just increased your to read list. Finding new and exciting authors you may never have found otherwise. Some of us are still writing, others are just being released. Either way, for you Fiction Lovers, a treasure trove awaits and I’d like to thank fellow Author Carol Marvell for tagging me to participate. Please check out Carol's website and books. Website: Buy Slave Trader here: Blog: Click the links to find out about Sandra Carrington-Smith’s books. Paranormal Thriller, The Book of Obeah: Supernatural thriller, Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery): Spiritual self-help, Housekeeping for the Soul: Website: “In this particular hop I and my fellow authors each in their perspective blogs have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current WIP (Works in Progress) as well as some goodies as to our process, from characters and inspirations to photographic/ cinematic eye candy! I hope you enjoy it! If this or any other items pique your interest, please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions.” HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS 1: What is the title of your book? The Book of Obeah 2: Where did the idea come from for the book? I am not too sure. I woke up one morning, back in 2006, with the name of the protagonist in mind. She told me her story and I just wrote it down. 3:What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal Thriller. 4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Morgan Freeman would be perfect for Elegba, the spirit of the Crossroads. Evan Rachel Wood would be wonderful in the role of Melody Bennet, the main protagonist. 5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? An emotional ride, steeped in the secrets of a southern Louisiana bayou. . 6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?. The Book of Obeah was traditionally published by OBooks and represented by the Krista Goering Literary Agency. Killer in Sight, my new novel that released in May 2012, is represented by Natalie Kimber at Sunrae Agency. 7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? A month, approximately. 8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? The Celestine Prophecy, The Skeleton Key. 9: Who or What inspired you to write this book? It was sudden and unexpected inspiration. I never turned back. 10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? The Book of Obeah offers a different take on voodoo, quite unparalleled by the traditional Hollywood version. The novel has been optioned for film, and production is scheduled to start in early summer 2012.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Living the Life of a Liberal Conservative

Can a conservative and a liberal peacefully cohabitate the same body? They certainly can -- I am the living proof of it. Before anyone ruffles their feathers, let me explain.

I was raised in a conservative family, and my parents made sure we children understood there was no tolerance, under our roof, for loose morals and teenage rebellion. Both my mother and father held a respectable place within their social circles, and were very clear about their views on life. To them, honor, hard work, faith and respect were huge on their list of priorities. Unbeknownst to me, their loving influence affected me more than I thought possible.

Like my parents, I also believe in solid morals and traditions, I am a fervid believer in the power of Spirit, and live my life according to the Golden Rule. These same values I try to impart to my children. In fact, I made a choice long ago to be a stay-at-home mom, to ensure that my kids would be raised by me, and would not be influenced by questionable views at such young ages. Thankfully, I married a great man who shares the same principals, so it has been fairly smooth sailing the whole twenty years we’ve been together.

Now, to the liberal part…

Although I live my life according to the views that have been passed down to me, I can’t bury my head under the sand and pretend that everybody is as privileged as I have been. I know there are people out there who have not had the advantage of growing up in a solid home; I know there are people that have only experienced hardship in their lives, simply because they were born on the wrong side of the tracks, or in countries ravaged by war and famine. And I know there are people who do rely on others before they can pick themselves up after they have fallen. Those people exist, so I feel that I have to keep my mind open and embrace the fact that if we hope to move forward within the process of human evolution, I have to be a part of accepting the beauty of diversity in the world. I believe wholeheartedly in self-responsibility, but I also believe in helping others out if they are in a position of not being able to help themselves -- at least temporarily.

I believe in preserving our environment, because we only have one Earth; it’s a bit controversial to state we have strong family values, and then not realize that saving our Earth is the very best gift we can give to our children and the generations that will come next, as they will have a healthy, beautiful planet to live on. Saving our planet ensures the survival of our own genes.

My stand on gay marriage? It shouldn’t be my stand, since I am not gay. I believe marriage is a union between two people who love each other, who pledge to support the other and commit to a relationship the rest of their lives. The old Testament might have implied that marriage is between man and woman, but then, Sacred Scriptures also teach that what God unites no man should dissolve; yet, good Christians divorce and get remarried every day, thus sinning in the eyes of God. As far as I am concerned, I prefer to let God make the call of judgment. Furthermore, I don’t believe that Church and State should walk hand in hand, and if a gay couple live together for a number of years, and have common property, they should have the same LEGAL rights as a couple who’s heterosexual. Of course, that’s my two cents, and I don’t expect anyone to agree with me, but please don’t throw in the Bible where it doesn’t belong.

Last but not least, I believe in equal freedom. If the government needs to stay out of an issue, then it needs to stay out of all of them – freedoms shouldn’t just be picked at random only because they benefit a selected few. And, if we believe in life at all costs, then we need to come up with a plan to support the life we promote. Being against both abortion and welfare simply cannot work. If children are forced to be born to mothers who can’t take care of them, physically or emotionally, we need a system that will ensure someone WILL take care of those children and they won’t be thrown from one foster home to another until they are of age. Adoption in our country could work, but it often fails because of high costs that force aspiring parents to go abroad to find children. We won’t even go as far as discussing the fact that many couple prefer to adopt babies, not older children who have been in the system for a while and/or might display emotional scars or erratic behavior.

I could go on and on, citing many examples, but I think everyone has pretty much gotten the picture. I am a core conservative who’s liberal at the edges, with no need for extremes. And thanks to that, I am enjoying the best of both worlds.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Are all Celebrities Jerks?

The more I read about celebrities, the more I realize not only that I will never be one, but also that I am good and happy with it. Why, you might ask? Let me explain...

As much as I would love to dazzle the world with my writing, and squeeze Morgan Freeman's hand as he prepares to accept an Oscar for a movie based on one of my stories (hey, one can still dream, right?), one of the things I enjoy most in life is to connect with people, especially readers.

Last year, a lovely young lady sent me a friend request on Facebook after reading one of my novels, The Book of Obeah, and when I accepted it and wrote on her wall to thank her, she wrote me back to let me know how surprised she was to get my note. Earlier tonight, another lady responded to an event invitation and expressed how cool it is to be able to talk to the writers in my group; not too long ago, she explained, she had a bad experience with an indie author who acted as though she was above everyone else. To me, such behavior is truly mind-boggling. Why would anyone NOT want to talk to the very same people who made them who they are??

Certainly, I understand why really big celebs can't talk to individual fans -- if they chose to respond to every person who tries to get in touch with them, they wouldn't have time to do anything else. But what about the smaller guys? Why should they be so distant? Years ago, I worked in a hotel downtown which housed many celebrities when they were in town. The thing that I found most comical was that the legends were friendly (David Crosby was a peach, and so was John Denver, may he rest in peace), while the small bands that were part of Lollapalooza were, for the most part, jerks. Napoleon Complex, anybody?

There almost seems to be a veil of mysticism surrounding artists in general, and many come to accept it as part of the job. Handsome actors, beautiful actresses, talented musicians, dancers and writers, weren't always demi-gods...there was a time when even the "untouchables" depended on the kindness of others to open the door. One thing is certain: Without people buying tickets, actors and directors would be scrubbing dishes in Hollywood, without good folks who enjoy music, singers wouldn't be able to charge a fortune for a concert ticket, and without readers, writers are NOTHING.

If being a celebrity means being superior and alienated, then I know that it is not what I want to be when I grow up, and if my books do well, I owe it all to the good people who decided to give my work a chance. The fact that you, the reader, support my dream and allow me to be who I am means the world to me, and puts YOU on a huge pedestal in my eyes. Never forget that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Great Little Gatsby

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to the great little Gatsby. A parody of a great classic, you say? No, not at all – the Gatsby I am talking about is a tiny little kitten, whose life had such a rocky start that he ended up at my door at the age of four weeks, with little fur on his body and nearly starving.

You see, Gatsby’s mother – a stray cat – was killed by a car, and she left behind five kittens that were barely three and a half weeks old. They were rescued by a kind lady, who was able to find homes for three and was left with two of the babies.
The first of those two babies, Karma, made her way to my house after my daughter’s friend brought her home and was told she couldn’t keep her. When she brought her to me, I had no idea how to take care of a cat so young, but a trip to Petsmart set me straight – I got back with cans of kitten milk, some kitten food, a litter box, and a bottle of Dawn dishwashing soap. Why the dishwashing soap, inquiring minds might wonder? Well, flea drops can only be used on cats eight weeks and older, but Dawn can be used at any age to give kittens a bath.

Giving Karma a bath was the beginning of the adventure….as soon as we got her wet, the poor little soul looked like a frightened sea monkey – all eyes and ears. Next came the feeding part, and alas, it wasn’t any easier. Karma was too small to eat cat food, so I went back to the grocery store and got some turkey and beef baby food. The baby food worked, and within a few days, Karma was ready to find a home. I started a Facebook campaign, and I’m pretty sure people on my friends list cringed each time I posted a new request, since I posted so many. Finally, Karma found a home with my son’s friend, whose mother instantly fell in love the moment she saw the kitten. A day or two after she went to her new home, I called to check on her, and the new mom told me the “baby” was already getting spoiled rotten…that same day, this wonderful lady bought fresh shrimp, boiled them, and minced them in tiny pieces for Karma to eat. Needless to say, I asked if she was also willing to adopt a 40-year-old daughter. She said no, so I’m still here fixing my own dinners.

The day after Karma left, my daughter’s friend called me and told me the lady who still had the last baby didn’t know what to do with him; he wasn’t eating and he was getting weaker by the day. Of course, I told her to bring him to my house. I didn’t know what I was going to do with him, but I had to give him a chance.

The little guy arrived, wrapped into a blue blanket and nearly furless. He was dirty and ridden with fleas, so I gave him a bath; actually two, since he still had fleas after the first one. At this point I had a clean kitten, but he was so weak, he could not even stand up or play. His eyes wouldn’t focus, and he barely meowed. When my vet came and weighed him, the next day, he was only eleven ounces! The vet was pretty sure that this kitten hadn’t eaten anything since his mother died, a week before. We started a round-the-clock regimen of baby food and kitten milk, and after a few days, he started coming around.

I found him a home, but three weeks later, the lady who adopted him developed allergies, and asked me to help her find a new place for him, so I got back on Facebook pleading, once again, to find this little guy a home. This time my campaign was short, and a family from St. Louis agreed to adopt him. The lady of the house happened to be visiting family in NC, so we arranged to meet to finalize the adoption. She chose the name Gatsby for him, and I think it fits him perfectly! His final destination will be St. Louis, so he has a few miles to burn before he can make it to his forever home, but one thing is for sure: Once he gets there, he will have the home of a cat’s dreams. With two loving adults and two happy children around, who will undoubtedly play with him all the time, what’s there not to love?

So, this is the story of the great little Gatsby, a kitten who started on low gear but is going to go far, all thanks to the love of wonderful humans who took one look at his little Yoda face and instantly made him a part of their family. Thank you.
And to my friends on Facebook who read the many posts, and were kind enough not to send me a box of chocolates laced with arsenic, I really appreciate you. Now that you know Gatsby’s story, I am sure you understand why I had to do it.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Review of KILLER IN SIGHT (A Tom Lackey Mystery) by Zak Johnson (Goodreads member)

Fans of John Connolly and Stephen King should enjoy this supernatural thriller that will raise the hair on your arms and put tears in your eyes, often at the same time. Carrington-Smith's empathy and feel for character also constantly brought Joseph Wambaugh's "Hollywood Station" to mind for her similar ability to seamlessly switch between multiple points of view without losing tension. This tension starts on page one, which finds you inside the panicked head of a victim fleeing a knife-wielding stalker through dark woods and continues apace up through the story's revelation. I appreciate a writer who isn't afraid of her passion, and Carrington-Smith is an artist who definitely goes all the way in several scenes dealing with death, sex and wounded souls. A very enjoyable debut.

Just to note: I won this book on Goodreads as a "First Read" giveaway

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Motive to Kill

Instant judgment is one of the building blocks of human nature, and an important part of our survival instinct. We judge everything – our own attitude, our flaws and strength, but mostly, the attitude, flaws, and overall behavior and choices of others. Of course, some actions we encounter are a natural trigger for instant judgment, and we don’t think twice before we point our finger toward the guilty party without even thinking about what might have motivated that person to act a certain way.
Judging from our point of perspective alone offers a limited view, and leaves us wondering why certain behaviors take place at all. Since early childhood, we are taught that our impulses should be kept under tight control, and we should never do or say anything that can offend or harm anyone around us. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way, egos get bruised, and perceptions shift, leading some people to act in ways that are condemnable by our society standards.
So, what could possibly motivate someone to behave in such a way that will attract unpleasant consequences? Are they unable to judge situations? Are they mentally impaired? Do they just not care at all? And if the latter is the right answer, why do they feel that way? History shows that most serial killers and psychopaths have a higher I.Q. than the average person, so obviously, intelligence is not a factor. Many criminals are also able to orchestrate their crimes with such finesse that they walk free for many years, so they can apparently think and judge. In a process of elimination, the answer to our question is down to the last possibility: Criminals don’t care. But why don’t they?
The human mind is an intricate maze, one that even the most skilled psychiatrists haven’t been able to fully explore. Each experience forms a different, unique pathway that can lead the mind to craft multiple “travel plans.” Most of us follow the beaten path, while others stray away and move against the current. Strangely enough, criminals whose brains have been picked, often share a common trait: Unhappy, abused childhoods. Many tell stories of abandonment, physical or emotional discomfort, and unease with their early environment in general.
When I wrote Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery), my goal was not only to write a thriller, but also to explore the reasons behind the killings. Stepping into the mind of a murderer is a brain-jolting experience, and it can open our eyes to the inner suffering of the perpetrators. I once read something that really caught my attention: “We are all victims of victims.” Such a simple statement speaks volumes, and it confirms that happy people don’t do things that will make others unhappy.
In Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery), a young woman is found murdered in a public park. When Detective Tom Lackey is assigned to the case, he realizes that things aren’t always as they seem, and in order to find the killer, he has to step outside the box and explore possibilities he never considered before.
What about you? Are you ready to walk the pathways of a killer’s mind? Like Tom Lackey, you might be surprised at what you will find.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Dear readers,

Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) will be available for FREE on Kindle on July 13 and 14 only! The free promotion will begin at 12:00 PST on July 13 and will end at 11:59 PST on July 14.

What can be more fun than to read a murder mystery on Friday the 13th?? Here's your chance to do it for free.

Click on this link to get to the book page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Win a Free, Autographed Copy of The Book of Obeah!

If you have enjoyed The Book of Obeah, and think your friends would like to read it as well, or if you haven't had a chance to get your hands on a copy yet, here's the opportunity to win a FREE autographed copy. The Goodreads giveaway starts tonight, July 11, and will go on for a month!¬if_t=like

Sunday, July 8, 2012

THE BOOK OF OBEAH -- A Review by Anne Petz (Apex, NC)

THE BOOK OF OBEAH -- A Review by Anne Petz "The Book of Obeah was the best novel I've read in many years. Ms. Carrington-Smith brings New Orleans to life, with all its shadowy inhabitants, exotic food, music, and hidden combination of Christian religion and African-Caribbean voodoo. In this page-turner mystery, her characters come to life, as the young female protagonist deals with her quest of learning the truth of her family's secrets, while trying to avoid those trying to permanently silence her. This is a story you will never forget."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Book giveaway on Goodreads! Enter today for your chance to win a copy of Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery)

If you are on Goodreads, you can enter for a chance to win a copy of Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Killer in Sight by Sandra Carrington-Smith

Killer in Sight

by Sandra Carrington-Smith

Giveaway ends July 11, 2012.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Join me at The Waffle and Pancake House in Garner, NC, this saturday, June 30th, from 8:00 am until 11:00 am. The address is: 3909 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, NC 27603 Purchase a book and eat breakfast on me! Coupons for a free breakfast will be distributed at the time of purchase. You can choose one of these items: -A big waffle and coffe -Pancakes and coffee -A sampler breakfast (eggs, bacon and grits) and coffee.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" -- The Play (A Review)

The human drama knows no boundaries of space and time, and nobody – young or old, rich or poor, man or woman – is ever completely immune to it. The Pollitts, a respected southern family who proudly owns a plush cotton plantation in 1950’s Mississippi, appear to have everything one can desire, money and power, but unfortunately, they cannot buy happiness. Maggie and Brick Pollitt carry the weight of a marriage wounded by guilt and poor choices; Big Daddy and Big Mama, the heads of the Pollitt dynasty, struggle to keep up appearances, but they are also trapped in a marriage devoid of love; Gooper and Mae Pollitt, Big Daddy’s eldest son and his wife, strive to win a place of leadership in the plantation and a corner in the old man’s heart. When the family comes together for Big Daddy’s 65th birthday, many truths hidden behind the gold-plated fa├žade of southern pleasantries finally explode for all to see, and many conflicts are brought to the surface to be cleansed and healed. The story, which was made popular by Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman, who starred in the 1958 blockbuster film Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, finds its origins in a play of the same name by Tennessee Williams. Before being landed by Taylor and Newman, the roles of Brick and Maggie were offered to Ben Gazzara, Elvis Presley, Lana Turner and Grace Kelly, who turned them down. The Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opened on March 24, 1955. The lives and conflicts the Pollitts endure in the play are set in a different era, but they easily apply to modern life, and the stage performance is as timely today as it was in the 1950’s when it was initially produced on stage. Lucky for me -- and for many other spectators who filled the audience seats -- this year’s production, brilliantly directed by Ira David Wood IV, was offered at Theater in the Park in Raleigh, NC. The whole play is breathtaking. Aside from the charming setting of a beautiful southern plantation, and a timeless storyline that offers a cocktail of daring topics such as homosexuality, sibling rivalry, resentment, and profound unease worn with a smile, what made the play truly enjoyable was the stellar performance the actors gave. My heart ached for Maggie, as she tried her best to shake her grieving husband from his guilt-ridden reverie and save him from the clutches of alcohol; I felt compassion for Big mama, doing all she could to preserve the image and the integrity of her family, and ultimately, I could almost taste the pain Gooper grew up with, knowing he would never match up to his brother in his parents’ eyes, no matter how desperately he tried. Sarah Bousquet and Rob Rainbolt dazzled the crowd with their spellbinding performance as they brought Maggie and Brick to life; Brook North and Erin Tito, in the roles of Gooper and Mae were brilliant; Bonnie Roe and John T. “Jack” Hall were awesome as plantation owners; Annabel Bloom and Noah Zevin were priceless as Dixie and Sonny, Gooper’s children; and finally, Mike Rumble in the role of reverend Tooker, Randy Jordan in the role of Doctor Baugh, Dempsey Bond in the role of Lacey, and JaCynthia Wallace in the role of Sookey, all delivered perfectly polished performances and likeable humor. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will come alive on stage again at Theater in the Park on Pullen Drive in Raleigh, NC, on June 23 at 7:30 pm and on June 24 – the final performance – at 3:00 pm.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Absolute Authority" by David Workman -- A Book Review

For someone who loves to read, there is no better treat than to stumble into a breathtaking plot impeccably delivered. Absolute Authority is just that, plain and simple – a spellbinding tale ripe with so many twists and turns that I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what would happen next. For the record, I don’t usually read spy thrillers, but there was something so compelling about the cover that I felt drawn to it immediately. I never regretted it. This book is so well written and suspenseful that Tom Clancy himself would be impressed by it, and the writing style is so clean and rich with visual expressions that it creates its own literary symphony. To my knowledge, this is the first novel Workman has released, but I certainly hope it won’t be his last. A page-turner, the ending of which will leave you speechless and begging for more. This book is available on and On Barnes&

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reviews and blurbs

Good morning everybody! Great news this morning...after struggling with some formatting issues, Killer in Sight is finally on its way to the printer. I can't wait to hold that baby in my hands! :-) So far, Killer is already available on Kindle for $.99 and it is downloadable for free in the Kindle Lending Library. These are some of the reviews it has earned: 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Suspense, May 23, 2012 P. Scarboro (Youngsville, NC USA) This review is from: Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) (Kindle Edition) I don't normally read murder suspense books but I couldn't put this one down. I feel like this must be exactly how the police go about solving a crime. Sandra Carrington-Smith gives the many characters personality and weaves them all so wonderfully into the mystery. From the first page I was hooked and couldn't decide on who did it until all was revealed. I particularly loved how she wove the super natural into the story without it becoming the main thrust; just like real life. 5.0 out of 5 stars Killer in Sight, May 22, 2012 M Johnson This review is from: Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) (Kindle Edition) This is an excellent book. From the first page, to the last, it will keep you in suspense. The twists and turns, will keep you guessing as to who committed the murder. Sandra Carrington -Smith made the story come to life. Kudos to her!! 5.0 out of 5 stars "Killer in Sight" | Book Review, May 21, 2012 Milena Rimassa - This review is from: Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) (Kindle Edition) Sandra Carrington-Smith's latest novel opens with a kaleidoscope of rapid-fire images that viscerally transport you through the last moments of a dying woman's life. Impossible to put down from word one, I had to - if only briefly - to get a glass of water, a slug of Scotch and make a call my own daughter, roughly the age of the book's victim, Tracey Newman. I also had to come back. Immediately. The same morbid curiosity that compels every one of us to rubberneck for glimpses of details at the scene of a horrific car wreck had me retrace Tracey's last jog in the North Carolina woods into the arms of her killer with a second reading of the first page. My ankles burned with her cuts. My stomach curdled as she observed her own impending demise depicted in the author's hyper-real montage of Tracey's final random thoughts, sensations and emotions. I strained to see the killer through her fading eyes and thought to myself, "Great set-up, Sandra, you really got me." Tracey was dead and the story begins. Ms. Carrington-Smith weaves together multiple back-stories that cannot be taken at face value. First, there is a love story between the detective handling Tracey's case and his long-time photographer girlfriend. Through their relationship, we peek into a complex and inspiring dynamic between these two people. Secretly, I couldn't help say a prayer that the detective would not be killed in the line of duty. Then, there is a universe of brilliantly crafted who-coulda-done-it characters. As the story unfolds, we learn that each has intersected with Tracey in unexpected ways. The author delves into universal themes ranging from the complexities of infidelity, abandonment, sexual orientation, victimization, redemption - and perfectly weaves each character's back story into the context of this murder/mystery. Magically, each character's demons are exorcized through their relationships with Tracey. Then, there is the author's unmistakable moniker - the other realm. In this book, Lily, a spirit stuck between this world and what lies beyond, holds the key to solving Tracey's murder. 5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Read - Hard to Put Down!, May 20, 2012 J. Wall "lens addict :)" (Eastern North Carolina) This review is from: Killer in Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery) (Kindle Edition) As a professional photographer, I found this story to be incredibly believable, and one I was unable to put down easily. Carrington-Smith's characters are so lifelike and have taken on personalities of their own. Without giving away too much, I will say that things are not always as they seem and some of the plot twists may shake you up a bit. I know they did me. This was a riveting story; you will find it appealing if you enjoy crime mysteries with a twist. Other reviews and blurbs... “Killer in Sight places ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances in a very believable way.” ~Tracy White, law enforcement officer. “A fast-paced, suspenseful ride. Carrington-Smith’s spellbinding words grab you from the start and don’t let go…” ~ Victoria Roder, author of Mystery Suspense Bolt Action. “Sandra Carrington-Smith turns the police procedural on its head with Killer in Sight. A must-read.” ~Donald Vaughn, Triangle Area Freelancers “With a cast of intriguing, complex characters and a plot full of twists and turns, Sandra Carrington-Smith serves up a murder mystery to be read from beginning to end in one sitting.”~ Deborah Marshall, 2011-2012 President of the Missouri Writers’ Guild “Sandra Carrington-Smith's “Killer in Sight" grabs you from the beginning and won't let go. It was a wild ride I thoroughly enjoyed. A must read.”~Regina Williams, Storyteller Magazine I hope you will be willing to give Killer in Sight a chance...:) HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY, EVERYBODY!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

KILLER IN SIGHT, A Tom Lackey Mystery -- An Editorial Book Review by Milena Rimassa

Sandra Carrington-Smith's latest novel opens with a kaleidoscope of rapid-fire images that viscerally transport you through the last moments of a dying woman's life. Impossible to put down from word one, I had to – if only briefly – to get a glass of water, a slug of Scotch and make a call my own daughter, roughly the age of the book's victim, Tracey Newman. I also had to come back. Immediately. The same morbid curiosity that compels every one of us to rubberneck for glimpses of details at the scene of a horrific car wreck had me retrace Tracey's last jog in the North Carolina woods into the arms of her killer with a second reading of the first page. My ankles burned with her cuts. My stomach curdled as she observed her own impending demise depicted in the author’s hyper-real montage of Tracey's final random thoughts, sensations and emotions. I strained to see the killer through her fading eyes and thought to myself, “Great set-up, Sandra, you really got me.” Tracey was dead and the story begins. Ms. Carrington-Smith weaves together multiple back-stories that cannot be taken at face value. First, there is a love story between the detective handling Tracey's case and his long-time photographer girlfriend. Through their relationship, we peek into a complex and inspiring dynamic between these two people. Secretly, I couldn't help say a prayer that the detective would not be killed in the line of duty. Then, there is a universe of brilliantly crafted who-coulda-done-it characters. As the story unfolds, we learn that each has intersected with Tracey in unexpected ways. The author delves into universal themes ranging from the complexities of infidelity, abandonment, sexual orientation, victimization, redemption – and perfectly weaves each character's back story into the context of this murder/mystery. Magically, each character’s demons are exorcized through their relationships with Tracey. Then, there is the author's unmistakable moniker – the other realm. In this book, Lily, a spirit stuck between this world and what lies beyond, holds the key to solving Tracey's murder. Enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Killer in Sight -- the trailer

10% of net sales from Killer in Sight to benefit

Good morning to all! I would like to invite you to watch the video trailer of my new novel, Killer in Sight. The book will be available in late May both as a paperback and as a digital download on Kindle, and it will also be part of the Kindle lending library. 10% of net sales will benefit, an organization whose focus is to fight world hunger and bring relief to disaster-stricken areas, so please help me spread the word by sharing the link with your friends and asking them to do the same. We can't save the whole world, but if we can help someone get a meal by simply reading a story and telling others about it, we all win. Thank you always for your continued support, and may God bless you and yours. Sandra

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Summer on Lake Tulaby" -- Book Review

When I first read the book description of Summer on Lake Tulaby, I was fairly sure I was going to enjoy the story, but it was a conclusion I could only draw on two facts: For one, I was already familiar with Susan Underdahl’s previous work and was a fan of her smooth, rich writing style. For seconds, Summer on Lake Tulaby was a murder mystery taking place in a small town, and in itself that combination promised delightful intrigue. The story starts at slow pace, and each character is so meticulously introduced that after a few pages I felt like I really knew all of them in person. Anyone I could imagine to meet in a sleepy town nestled around a frigid lake gradually entered the story and left a unique print. Through several chapters, I came to really know and see each of those people, not only from a physical standpoint, but also from the heavy emotions that bled through their daily actions. By the time I read half of the book and nobody had turned up dead yet, I wondered if maybe I was mistaken and this story wasn’t a murder mystery after all; I waited patiently, nonetheless delighted to read a book in which words cascaded as smoothly as soulful notes pouring out of a brassy saxophone. As I read, I found myself thinking of Susan Underdahl as the Louis Armstrong of the literary world. When the dead man showed up, I didn’t expect it at all, and I immediately went through the notes of different characters I had stored in my head, as my mind instantly shifted several gears in the desperate attempt to pinpoint the killer and restore the peace in Lake Tulaby and in the lives of those characters who were, by now, personal friends. Surprisingly, as I went through the list, each of them had a motive; each of them was ambiguous enough to be a murderer, and most of them had something to hide. From the time the victim is found, the story picks up considerable speed, and sudden, brilliant twists take the reader on a wild, unexpected ride. The end is breathtaking, and it was almost painful to read the last few pages because I knew my liaison with the characters was by now on borrowed time. Agatha Christy was the only writer I know of whose stories followed this very same model: All the characters were introduced at the beginning – the lives and vicissitudes of each person explained in minimum detail – then someone would turn up dead, and everyone was a suspect. In the end, in all the Agatha Christy’s stories I have read, the killer was always someone different than the person I would bet my money on, and her plots were always brilliant and intricate. Summer on Lake Tulaby was just like that, and I gasped when the identity of the murderer was revealed. Truly a fantastic read which will capture your heart before the mind has a chance to realize you are in for a real treat.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I'm back........:)

Good morning friends! First of all, let me apologize for having disappeared the way I did the last few months. Many of you have written to inquire, so I would like to reassure everyone that: 1)I haven't been kidnapped by UFOs, 2)I didn't run off to a tropical island (hmmm.....this one doesn't sound too bad...), and 3)I'm still alive, kicking and ready to write until my fingertips hurt. So, what happened to me, you might ask...? The last three months I have been completely absorbed into (obsessed about is actually a little closer to reality) a murder case currently unfolding in Italy. I have spent days and many nights talking to people, watching foreign TV shows and reading newspaper articles; while the case is still not resolved, I continue to follow it because it will be the meat and potatoes of a new novel I expect to release close to the holiday season. So, unless the doom-sayers are right and we won't see the light of day on December 22, 2012, expect to see a new novel, Shadows of a Tuscan Moon, right around that time. Since we brought up the subject of novels, I have a couple more announcements to make. First of all, there IS a sequel to The Book of Obeah. I know some of you have been waiting to see what other sort of trouble Melody Bennet will get herself into, so I hope you will be happy to know The Rosaries, volume two of the Crossroads series, will likely be ready by the end of summer 2012. But, since I am fully aware that the doggone days of summer are around the corner, and many of you enjoy reading while relaxing at the beach or by poolside, I have a surprise for you: Killer in Sight, my new psychological thriller, will be released within the next few weeks. I hope you will enjoy the story, tell your friends about it, and leave me some insight in the form of a review. Okay....I think I ran out of news, so I am going to wish you a good day and I look forward to talking to you more often once again. I miss my blogging days and I am ready to jump back in. Before I leave, I am going to post the short synopsis of Killer in Sight along with the first chapter, just to give you a taste of what's to come and find you ready for the upcoming birth. Take care, and happy reading! Killer in Sight -- Synopsis Tracey Newman is a young and beautiful professional who relocated to North Carolina from St. Louis, Missouri, for a job as a physician assistant. When her body is found in the woods of a park in Raleigh, NC, her case is assigned to Lieutenant Tom Lackey, a veteran detective from the Raleigh Police Department. With the help of Kathy Spencer, his longtime girlfriend, and his partner, Gene Parker, a grouchy but kind-hearted detective, Tom Lackey unravels a mystery laden with psychosis and unexpected revelations. While Tom is busy following the multiple clues pouring in from different directions, Kathy gets to work to prove her own theory: The last image viewed by the dying person can be lifted from the eyes of the victim to identify the murderer. Using her background in photography and her passion for iridology, Kathy enlists the help of Dr. Greer, the medical examiner, who allows her to take shots of Tracey’s eyes. Her findings are puzzling but they are soon supported by Alexis Howard, the dead girl’s ten-year-old half-sister who volunteers valuable information she claims was delivered to her by her imaginary friend Lily. As the investigation unfolds, Tom discovers that many people have a reason to want Tracey Newman dead. Could the killer be her best friend Shannon, or maybe one of Tracey’s ex-boyfriends? Or could it be Donald Russet, the married hospital administrator she had an affair with? Or could it even be Mary Townsend, Shannon’s violent lesbian lover who saw Tracey as a threat to her relationship? With multiple suspects floating up to the surface and skeletons yanked out of unlikely closets, Tom must rely on his methodical expertise and on Kathy’s insight to find the killer before tragedy strikes again. Chapter one Tracey Newman held her breath, afraid the man could hear her. He was close now—she couldn’t see him in the darkness of the stuffy room, but she could somehow detect his presence nearby. She closed her eyes, as if trying to delete this moment from her reality, and her nostrils picked up a pungent smell, but she couldn’t decide what it was or where it came from. It was a strange, earthy scent—a mixture of mildew and something else—slightly offset by the fragrance of honeysuckle that filtered in through the open door. Tracey shivered even though the temperature in the room was hot and the air was still, and she wanted to wrap her arms around herself in a gesture of comfort, but was too afraid to move. Where is he? Has he left? Her mind raced back to the last few days, and she thought of her family. Her mother had celebrated a birthday the previous weekend, and Tracey planned to fly home to St. Louis a week from today to surprise the whole family, especially her half-sister Alexis. It was hard for a physician assistant to get time off, and she had to sweet-talk the supervising doctor into allowing her to take five days of vacation. Now she wasn’t sure her travel plans were going to work out after all. This was so surreal! She quietly opened and closed her fists just to feel movement, to know that she wasn’t trapped in a nightmare. Unfortunately, she was awake and not at all sure she would still be breathing even a few minutes from now. The thought of dying made her head spin and her stomach tighten. Her ears were buzzing, and for a moment she thought she was going to faint. She could hear the sound of water dripping in the distance, but couldn’t determine if it was coming from inside the cabin or outside. It wasn’t raining when she came in, but the weather in North Carolina was crazy this time of year, and anything could be expected. March had left with a bang—violent storms and widespread power outages had dominated the greater part of the month—and April was already blistering hot, with temperatures that were a bit uncharacteristic so early in the season but quite welcome after the unusually cold winter. Rain was often elusive in this part of the country, and it usually showed up either on weekends when she and her friend Shannon planned to go kayaking, or when she washed her car. A creaking sound exploded in the silence of the room, and Tracey’s heart jumped to her throat. He was getting closer, she just knew it…what could she do now? She could remain hidden and hope he would not find her, or she could try to escape outside again. Maybe she would run into someone else out there, and she would be safe. “I know you are in here, Tracey. It’s not nice to hide.” Tracey did not respond, and swallowed hard to smother the deep scream which threatened to rise from her stomach. She could taste the salty, silent tears that ran unchecked down her face and over her lips. “You are just making this harder for yourself, Tracey. I promise it will be fast. You will barely feel a thing.” The man’s voice was sickeningly condescending and fatherly, and Tracey was so distraught and confused that she almost considered his words for a moment; but as she glimpsed reflected light from the blade of a knife, something else came over her. A primal scream erupted from her pounding chest and ripped through her throat, as she ran past the man toward the door. He lunged to grab her and slid on the floor, the knife landing with a metallic clunk on the wooden surface. Tracey ran outside, unsure of where to go. She had jogged through these woods dozens of times, but now the trees appeared to connect together, forming a black wall that spread out in all directions. It was barely dusk when she ran into the unlocked cabin looking for a place to hide, after she noticed she was being followed, and now it was pitch dark—how long had she been in there? Her mother had warned her often about jogging alone, but Tracey always brushed off her mother’s worried comments with a smile, believing in her heart that she could take care of herself. Maybe she should have listened. She could hear the man’s steps crunching leaves in his path, and his breathing was labored. Tracey wanted to turn around to see if he was behind her, but she couldn’t risk stopping. The eerie silk of a spider web touched her forehead, but even though she was terrified of spiders, she kept running blindly through the dense forest. The path was gone, and all the trees looked alike; menacing hands seemed to be reaching out in the night, to capture her and deliver her to the man who was after her. An owl hooted frighteningly nearby, as if to signal the man of her whereabouts, and Tracey tripped on a root poking from the ground but didn’t fall. Suddenly, she heard her name being called, and the voice was a familiar one…someone else was in the woods, someone who knew her! She thrust herself toward the voice, knowing her assailant was only steps behind and safety was near. She could feel branches scraping her ankles as she ran, but she was numb to pain. “Tracey! Where are you?” She could see a shadow in the woods, running toward her with a flashlight. She wasn’t at all certain who the person was, but she was happy someone else was there. Oh yes, thank you, God! Please watch over me. I’m coming… Tracey ran faster, nearly throwing herself into the arms of the person who had come to rescue her. Her body shook with deep sobs as she looked up, and her eyes registered surprise when she saw who it was. It didn’t matter. She tried to formulate words to convey what was happening. “He is coming after me! I don’t know why he is doing this! He has a knife!” Her voice was so shrill she almost couldn’t recognize it as being her own. “It’s going to be okay, Tracey. I’m here now, and I will take care of things.” Tracey nodded, and turned toward the man who was quickly approaching. He stopped and spoke, and his voice echoed in the stillness of the woods. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have let her get away. I screwed up.” Tracey shook her head, struggling to grasp what was happening, but when she turned to look at her rescuer, her eyes locked with the cold mouth of a revolver pointed at her. Words jammed in her throat, and her legs almost collapsed beneath her. “I’m sorry, Tracey. I didn’t want to be the one to do this, but you leave me no choice. Goodbye, Sweetheart.” Before Tracey could speak a word, even to ask why, the gun went off, and she fell into a heap on a bed of leaves. Before she died, she looked at the two people who were standing there—waiting for her to take her last breath—knowing she would never see anyone else again. Their features were photographed by her fading eyes, but sadly, nobody would ever see them.