Monday, December 3, 2012

'Designs Series' by Dale Mayer Book Barrage

Dangerous Designs (Designs #1)
by Dale Mayer

Published by Valley Publishing (Indie)
Length: 200 pages (eBook format)
YA Fantasy Romance
Contains elements of action and adventure
Heat Level: Sweet


Drawing is her world...but when her new pencil comes alive, it's his world too.

Her... Storey Dalton is seventeen and now boyfriendless after being dumped via Facebook. Drawing is her escape. It's like as soon as she gets down one image, a dozen more are pressing in on her. Then she realizes her pictures are almost drawing themselves...or is it that her new pencil is alive?

Him... Eric Jordan is a new Ranger and the only son of the Councilman to his world. He's crossed the veil between dimensions to retrieve a lost stylus. But Storey is already experimenting with her new pencil and what her drawings can do - like open portals.

It... The stylus is a soul-bound intelligence from Eric's dimension on Earth and uses Storey's unsuspecting mind to seek its way home, giving her an unbelievable power. She unwittingly opens a third dimension, one that held a dangerous predatory species banished from Eric's world centuries ago, releasing these animals into both dimensions.

Them... Once in Eric's homeland, Storey is blamed for the calamity sentenced to death. When she escapes, Eric is ordered to bring her back or face that same death penalty. With nothing to lose, can they work together across dimensions to save both their worlds?

Read an excerpt:
"Storey, is that you, honey?"

Her mother knocked on the door and pushed it open, the light from the hallway lighting the few silver strands in her otherwise brown hair. "Can't you sleep?"

"Sorry if I woke you." Storey sat up, brushing her own jet black hair back off her face. "Just a bad dream."

"That's because you didn't have any dinner. I checked up on you after the meeting finished. You'd fallen asleep." Her mother's fingers twisted around a dangling lock of hair as she stepped into the room. She bit her lip. "Storey, you have to eat. You're already skinny enough."

Bone rack is what a jock had called her last month. Looking down, Storey realized they could be right. Her hip bones stuck out to match her big elbows. And her body had developed to the point where she barely missed the skinny scarecrow look. Too bad. She might have been able to make that work.

"I'm eating, Mom. They had pizza in class today, so I didn't need my lunch. Ate that on the way home." That was a lie. Still, she had more important things to worry about than food.

Relief washed over her mom's pretty face. "Oh, I'm so glad to hear that. Sometimes I worry about you."

Sometimes? Didn't she mean all the time? Was that normal for moms? Then again, there was a world of difference between normal and her mother.

"What time is it?" Storey looked out the window. Blackness stared back.

"It's just a little after midnight. Please get into your pajamas. You don't want to be sleeping in those jeans." She backed up to the open door. "If you're all right, I'll say good night. It is witching hour, after all." With a carefree grin, her mom closed the door.

Witching hour. Right. Only in her house. Sighing at her mother's antics, Storey collapsed down on her covers and fell into a light, troubled sleep.


She sighed. "What now, Mom?"

No answer. She sat up and glanced at the closed door. Weird. She could've sworn she'd heard someone calling her. Lying down again, she pulled her blankets over top, not bothering to get changed into her nightclothes.


She bolted upright. That's it. Who the hell was playing games with her?


Throwing back the blankets, Storey knelt on her bed. "Who said that?" she hissed into the early morning air. Not trusting the gloomy light, she flicked her bedside lamp on, quickly scanning the room. Empty. "I am so losing it. This is nuts."

Her gaze landed on the backpack on her floor. Her eyes widened. Oh no.

"No, no. Hell, no." She shook her head, slowly at first then more wildly. "This can't be happening. It's a picture. Nothing more. Nothing less. I created you. I can destroy you."

That's exactly what she was going to do. She dragged the backpack onto her bed and opened it. The knot defied her first and second attempts, before she managed to pull the laces apart and yank out her sketchpad. "I don't know what's going on here, but enough is enough."

She flipped to the last page she'd been working on and grabbed it at the top left and pulled. It wouldn't tear off. She tightened her grip and tried again. It refused to budge. Scared now, she threw it on the floor and in a fit of defiance, she jumped on it.

And fell through the picture, through the floor even.

She went right through the doorway in her picture.
**My thoughts**
This is my second series by Dale Mayer, and I have to say I wasn't disappointed! This first book grabbed my attention from the very beginning. The basic premise isn't new - drawing a picture and accidentally falling into a portal that takes her to a different dimension. But Dale Mayer has created a whole slew of other creatures and beings that I have never even heard of before this. Her imagination is a vibrant one!

This book doesn't have quite as much action in it, like the other series I read (Family Blood Ties). However, the pages do keep turning as Storey finds out more about herself and the mysteries of Eric's world. The girl who was considered a loser by her peers has the chance to grow into herself and her abilities and can finally do some good.

I would love to see this turned into some kind of a movie, because I think the visuals described lend themselves to it. I can just picture Storey's hand flying across the paper and the images appearing, both as real-life action and some animation.

This book ends with a cliffhanger, which seems to be Dale Mayer's M.O. in her series. I'm so glad I had the second book immediately on hand!

Read others' reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars – “A Wonderful Read!”
From beginning to end, Dale Mayer drags the reader on a journey that ends on a cliff! From the beginning, the reader is immediately engaged in the life of Storey Dalton, a teen aged girl who finds herself boyfriend-less and back on the fringes of the social ladder after her boyfriend moves away. Storey's passion is drawing and when she stumbles up a strange pencil in the woods, Storey's life is transformed as she comes to realize the pencil is not ordinary and is leading her to draw things she has never drawn or seen before.

Eric Jordan is sent from another dimension to retrieve the stylus (the pencil), left behind by a scientist. After discovering Storey has the stylus and is quickly bonding with it, Eric has to figure out a way to retrieve the object with hurting her. They soon find themselves in the middle of a dimensional war and a struggle to save both of their worlds.

The novel is a reflection of our modern society and it's treatment of those who are different without being a moral brick to the head. Storey's compassion and tenacity are wonderful to see and I loved the way she influenced others to open their eyes and see their world. The cliffhanger the author placed at the end left me stunned! My understanding is the next novel picks up where this one leaves off. I'm ready to pick up the next one (Book 2) to see what happens next!”--Kmoaton

5.0 out of 5 stars – “Fabulous start to a new series!”
Holy Hannah! Are you trying to kill me, Dale Mayer? Are you?!? You must delight in putting your heroines into horribly taxing situations and then leaving them there like so much baggage! I have to admit that I liked the story before but leaving poor Storey in the lurch she was left in made me gasp and jump online to hunt down when the next book would be available. *curls into a little fetal ball and rocks*

So, in case you couldn't figure it out, this book ends on a pretty hefty cliffhanger. I mean, there are cliffhangers and then there are cliffhangers. This one is the second. This is one that blindsided me. I thought everything was working out and we'd get some happy time before jumping into the next part of the story. Alas, no. Am I salivating to know what happens? Indeed I am.

*deep breath* I liked this book. I liked it quite a lot. I thought Storey was an interesting character. I liked that she thought outside the box. I liked that her questioning of things made Eric begin to question things. I liked that the bad guys aren't all black and white. I have no clue how things are going to play out in the next book and that's kind of a neat feeling. On top of the imminent peril our heroine is in, there are a lot of things that Storey unwittingly did as she was learning to use the stylus that she'll have to figure out how to undo.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the next book.”--Kelly Rubidoux

5.0 out of 5 stars – “A unique, wonderful book in a new amazing YA series!”
I think the main character, Storey, may be one of my favorite female leads ever. This girl showed almost no weakness; she was strong, determined, and remained calm in the face of danger. Instead of acting helpless and uncertain, she took charge of pretty much every situation, not afraid of her abilities with the stylus. She only yearned to learn more about what she could do with it. I think Eric was a great match for her - even when things seemed hopeless and the council members in his dimension wanted her dead, he stayed by her side and believed in her. When the book starts out, Eric insists that his world is so much more superior and simply believes in everything he's been told. He really shows growth when he stands up to his father and the rest of the council on Storey's behalf, arguing that she didn't know the repercussions of picking up the stylus (which she thought was just an old pencil).

I absolutely loved the characters, they were multi-dimensional and it was easy to see them grow as the story progressed. I really enjoyed the entire story line, it felt really fresh and unique and the entire book flowed extremely well. I literally could not put it down!

I don't have much bad to say about this book. I would have liked to know more about Eric and his world. From what I can gather it is much like our world, only more advanced since they studied us for many years and learned from our technology. I would have just liked more descriptions about the other dimension (both Eric's and the one where the enemies, Louer's, exist).

Romance Sizzle or Fizzle? : I would have to say sizzle! It was a slow moving relationship, with Storey more wary of Eric in the beginning than anything, wondering why he was so interested in her and her "pencil". As she learns about the stylus and the other dimensions, she realizes she needs Eric in order to survive and decides to work with him to try and fix everything. The more time they spend together, the more they are drawn to each other. Their first kiss caught Storey completely off-guard, but that's all it took for her to realize that maybe she has more feelings for Eric than she thought.

I found this book to be extremely unique. It involved different dimensions, a stylus that is capable of almost anything, and an enemy that, although terrifying, has a tortured past. It was definitely a very refreshing, new YA read.

This book was so different than any I've read lately and it had me hooked from the beginning. There was a nice balance of action, discovery, and mystery, with a nice bit of romance in there as well. The ending will leave you reeling and I guarantee you'll be saying "I need book two NOW!"--Jamie (Bookerella)

Buy links: Kindle \ Paperback 

Deadly Designs (Designs #2)
by Dale Mayer

Published by Valley Publishing (Indie)
Length: 200 pages (eBook format)
YA Fantasy Romance
Contains elements of action and adventure
Heat Level: Sweet


Drawing is her world...but when she's banished to a deadly new world and needs help, it's his world too.

Her... Storey Dalton wants to go home - but something goes terrifyingly wrong and she ends up in her worst nightmare. There's no escape...not without Eric or her stylus. Then she finds someone who needs rescuing even more than she does...

Him... Eric Jordan races to save Storey, only to realize a close family member has betrayed them both. Now the enemy is closing in on him. When he meets up with Storey, he knows her plans are a bad idea, but she won't be dissuaded...and it could be their only way of staying alive.

It... The stylus, now bonded to Storey's artistic soul, is determined to survive this new chaos - against all odds. But damaged from a prolonged separation, he can't help Story or Eric - without making things worse.

Them... Storey is determined to make things right. Eric is determined to help her. Neither counts the personal cost, until their very lives are in danger.

Read an excerpt:

Closing her eyes she called out to the stylus in a soft whisper. "Are you there?"

A buzz answered her. Stronger, clearer, but still indistinct because she had no way to write down the answers. She grabbed her zipper pull and held it against what must be a seat butted up against the side of the table and asked again.

Slowly her hand moved. Yes.

Oh thank heavens for that.

"Where are you?"

Don't know.

Of course it didn't. Neither did she. was a computer-like thingy so maybe it could send out a beacon. Transmitting is what she thought it was called. Or something like that. She didn't know much about computers except to use one to get onto the Internet.

"Can you send out a signal, a noise to let me know where you are?"

Instantly, there was an odd ring tone going off in her head. Or in the air? No, surely not. She spun around looking for the source. There, in the cupboards. She raced toward the spot, scared to alert whoever was in the other room to her presence. There were deep shelves inside. She quickly searched them. The stylus just looked like an old carpenter's pencil. Dull and dark, it was hard to see in the dark.

The noise was definitely louder here. Excited, she dropped to her knees and checked the bottom spaces. Maybe it had been dropped.

The noise increased to almost deafening now. A good sign. She rummaged through items that made her happy as they were almost recognizable. A ball, maybe a bat? A bunch of toys like a ball on string or wire and a wooden post. Like a child's closet. Off to one side were tablets of some kind. Maybe for writing on, like miniature chalkboards. Even chalk would be a huge help. She should have had some in her backpack – if and when she ever found it. She moved to the next cubby hole and the music in her head changed from a weird ring tone to an almost soothing lullaby.

"Does that mean I'm almost there, Stylus?"

The lullaby increased in volume. It increased so much, she could hardly stand it. She shoved her hand into the jumbled mess and closed around a half dozen objects.

She touched something that made her fingers tingle.

The lullaby came to a dead stop.

Warmth shot up her arm. She withdrew her handful until she could see what she'd snagged clearly.

Her stylus!

Joy shot through her. She was saved.

And then she took another look and stopped. How could this be possible?

There, clutched in her fingers, were three pencils that could have all been styluses. And maybe they were? Who would have stashed these in here, lost and forgotten gems that could have saved these people so much hardship?

She didn't know that they were styluses, but as she studied each one, the magical lettering shone on the side of each one. Unbelievable. Did they have souls attached to them too?

And if there were three, what was the chance there were more?

It was important to find every one. She didn't know how she knew that, but she did. Tucking those three securely into her pocket, she dove into the bottom of the cupboard and sorted through the mess. And found two more. Unbelievable. Now she didn't dare leave any behind. There were people in there, after all.

She felt responsible for getting them to safety, too. Knowing she didn't have the time to spare, but unable to help herself, she went back in for a third and final time, she found one more, really old looking one jammed into the joinery at the very back. Six styluses. Pulling back slightly, a wary eye to the open door, she moved over and checked every cupboard, as fast and as systematically as she could in order to not miss one. Ten panicked minutes later, she had a broken one in her hand. No others though. She'd searched every shelf. Now to safety.

She ran across the room and back into the open doorway from where she'd entered.

Just as she hit the safety of the darkness, she heard a loud grunt behind her.

**My thoughts**

Yet another installment to keep me hooked from cover to cover and to end with another cliffhanger! Storey's life just gets more and more interesting as she becomes more deeply entwined in the other world. Her relationship with Eric continues to strengthen and she is forced to find even more strength within herself. I also love how the stylus itself becomes even more of its own character. I'm ready for the next book!

Reviews from others:

5.0 out of 5 stars – “Wow!”
Dale has done it again with this adventure. I really liked that she inserted the last chapter of the previous book 'Dangerous Designs' to bring you back into the story. The world she built, the characters, the motives, all ring true. She has a fantastic imagination. I can't wait for the next book to come out.”--Donna Caubarreaux
 Buy links: Kindle

About the Author:

Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She's best known for her Psychic Visions series. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in several different genres. To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series . All her books are available in print format as well.

Visit Dale online at:

Psychic Vision Series
Garden of Sorrow - Out December 1, 2012

Single Title Romantic Suspense/thrillers

It'sa Dog's Life- romantic comedy

Young Adult Books

Non-Fiction Books
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