If the Sun Spares Us by Brenda Marie Smith

If the Sun Spares Us by Brenda Marie Smith
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: post-apocalyptic thriller
Rated: 5 stars
Review by Rose

Two years ago, a solar pulse destroyed modern life. Bea Crenshaw organized her starving, suburban neighbors into a farming community. But now Bea’s gone, and her grandchildren must carry her legacy forward.

In the post-apocalyptic pressure cooker of Austin, Texas, 19-year-old Keno and his younger cousins struggle to ensure their community’s survival even as they’re forced to relocate to safer grounds. Northern Lights that don’t belong this far south grow increasingly intense, making Keno fear what harm the sun will cause next.

Even worse, a marauding militia called the Raiders is closing in, led by a deranged woman who preys on teenage boys. Despite Keno’s debilitating flashbacks from a firefight, he and his wife have a new baby to protect. Though Bea is dead, her spirit desperately searches for ways to shield her grandkids. When Raiders target two neighborhood members, the only hope lies in the community’s strength, Keno’s ingenuity, and the family’s fierce love for one another.

This is the third book in the Braving the Light series and picks up after the death of Bea, the family’s grandmother and matriarch who so ably prepared her family for an apocalypse she is sure is coming, even though she does not know how or when. You can read our five-star review of the second book here.

This third, and final, book of the trilogy does not disappoint. Once again, Ms. Smith presents us with a multi-generational story, told from the POVs of Keno, Milo, Mazie, and Bea. They are trying to relocate to a safer location, a move which causes dissension in the original camp. Add to that, they run into a paramilitary group which calls itself Raiders and is run by a deranged woman with a special affinity for luring in teenage boys.

Once again, it’s the characters and their relationships that really make this book. The characters come across as real people, with all their faults and foibles. They are mostly people who would want to sit down and have a cup of tea with.

The situations, also, ring true and is a future I could see all too well coming our way. The whole range of human emotions and human reactions are seen in the books, both good and bad.

I really recommend this series.

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The Joy of Spirit by Tania Kiaizadeh – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tania Kiaizadeh will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.”
– Walt Whitman

Care to reclaim your authentic, pure self?
This book will show you how to find your inner balance in life, by connecting to mindful moments to reclaim your true nature.

This book:
– is transformative in nature,
-will teach you to depend on yourself, as you hold a wealth of magic,
-will teach you how to shift perspective,
-is riddled with warm anecdotes to inspire you,
-will teach you how to live mindfully outside of yoga and meditation,
-will remind you that intention setting is key,
-will help you connect to your own spirit guides and the Angelic realm regardless of religious beliefs,
-will show you how to connect to your multidimensional self,
-will remind you that belief is at the core of spiritual realm,
-will have you connect to the frequency of love where actual magic begins.

In essence, shift your perspective to tap into this spiritual realm while on earth.


Becoming your own number one choice in life is walking the spiritual path successfully.

It is time to trim your existence from all the self-imposed drama. Your perception plays an important role in releasing yourself from all this commotion.

You are divinity in motion.

Walking this earth with a curious mind, willing to learn, to be challenged and to grow is the purpose of every soul…

Enjoy an Excerpt

The higher self, some believe it sits a few inches above your mind, while others, refer to it as the third eye. It has been my experience that it does not sit in one place but hovers around you. Your higher self is your all-knowing self. It holds the secrets of your existence in this life and the many lives before you and the many after you. Your higher self is the one constant that wraps around you. There is a reason we are being invited to meditate. With mental illness on the rise, meditation anchors one down. Mindful practices connect you with your heart’s centre, the magical gateway to your consciousness. Meditate, sit in silence, to connect to this wonder, this brilliance that has all the answers we seek, sitting quietly within. Start consulting with yourself. Start connecting with your inner wisdom. Quiet your mind long enough to hear this voice, this intelligent exchange, this insightful chat that will finally awaken the truth you seek.

While I continued using my journal to further discover this new endeavour, a few days later, I discovered my boardroom of helpers, who follow me around throughout this lifetime and assist when necessary. Imagine a boardroom of consultants looking after you, working 24/7 throughout each entire life. That is their assignment, to follow you as you navigate life’s trials and tribulations. My boardroom of helpers or councillors consisted of four. This varies for some. I continue to visualize them sitting around this oval table and looking at me, face to face. Their eyes are on me, as are the eyes of your very personal team of guides. Yes, they see you naked too, and everything in between! It took me a while to get over this one.

About the Author:Tania Kiaizadeh (Kia) was born in Teheran, Iran but in 1977, at the age of nine, she moved to Montreal with her family in order to avoid the political rumblings which gave way to the Iranian Coup d’état. With new beginnings in Montreal, adaptations to be made, she carved a life in North America. She received her Bachelor and Master of Education in Educational and Counselling Psychology, at McGill University. Since 1991, she has been working with her students in classrooms and in private practice, teaching them French as a second language, literature, history, as well executive functioning skills, while reminding them that they are limitless beings with gifts and capabilities that extend far beyond their imagination. It all starts with setting an intention and implicitly believing in yourself. Education, knowledge, self-improvement and self-empowerment paired with curiosity and her favourite aphorism, “leave no stone unturned,” define the fabric of her life. With Spirit nestled in stereo, she now has access to a crisp means of learning, which involves a great deal of hands-on, experiential learning.

She began writing her debut, prescriptive non-fiction, a spiritual self-help, after delving into the study of transformation, spirituality, intuition and manifestation. When she is not busy editing her second novel, a narrative memoir, she can be found walking in nature, connecting to her students, embracing her limitations in yoga, deeply breathing, having insightful exchanges with her family and friends, and just being. Since the summer of 2021, she has been sending free, monthly, distant energy healing to those in need, especially during this worldwide pandemic, where people are suffering in many different ways. Even with energy medicine, she proves to be most effective helping children. She continues to live in Montreal, Canada, and she can be found sharing her insight on Instagram.

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Books: From Idea to Final Draft by Sarah Dressler – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sarah Dressler will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Books: From Idea to Final Draft

If you’ve ever written, or read a book, you must know that a story goes through many versions before it’s ready to see the world. Your idea is like a baby plant. It needs tender care and nourishment to grow, that is the outline and first draft. Sometimes a plant doesn’t bear fruit for many years, this is like the revisions and edits.

It can take a really long time for a book to mature.

I’m sharing with you two excerpts from my novel Christmas Cove, about a writer from the big city out on her first assignment. When she arrives at the idyllic Christmas Cove, she finds the town… Christmasless. The first portion comes directly from the published novel, and the second one is how the same scene appeared in my first draft. Enjoy this little behind the scenes peek into the process of getting from idea to published book.

Excerpt from Christmas Cove:

Night came and went with another solid sleep. America looked at herself in the mirror, unable to believe what she had done, or what she had offered to do. Sure, she knew her reasons for wanting to bring back Christmas were purely in the interest of self-preservation. Wanting to succeed with her first article assignment was a huge driving factor, but the task at hand was so much bigger than anything she should have taken on. There was no denying her reign as the office elf, and she knew that if anyone had enough Christmas spirit to spread around, she did.

Now that the offer was out there, she would need to follow through. One way or another, she was getting her Christmas Cove experience, and an article drafted to prove it. Sure, she had enlisted Leo’s help, but if she had any real chance of success, they would need reinforcements. America checked her watch. Leo would be back any minute to pick her up. In the meantime, she pulled her coat back on and tidied her hastily twisted bun atop her head.
The pine tree, so generously given to her that previous morning by Leo, stood in its bare state beside her. There is nothing sadder than a Christmas tree with no lights. Except perhaps, she thought, one without ornaments too.
“This simply will not do,” America said.

Unrevised excerpt from the first draft of Christmas Cove:

America couldn’t believe what she had done, what she had offered to do. The task, now at hand, was so much bigger than anything she should have taken off. She loved Christmas, and there was no denying her reign as the office elf, but reviving an entire town’s Christmas spirit was above her pay grade.

Sure, she had enlisted Leo’s help, but if she had any chance of success, they would need reinforcements. America checked her watch. Leo would be back any minute to pick her up.

In the meantime, she pulled her coat back on and, looking in the round mirror by the sofa, she tidied her hastily twisted bun atop her head. The pine tree so generously gifted to her that morning by Leo, stood in its bare state beside her. There is nothing sadder than a Christmas tree with no lights, except perhaps, she thought, one without ornaments too.

“This will not do,” America said out loud and rushed to the bedroom.

With only three weeks left in December, travel editor, America Greene, arrives in the idyllic Christmas Cove to find it… Christmasless!

America needs a story, and fast, so she teams up with the town’s good-looking (and eligible) mayor, Leo, to light up Main Street and salvage her chance at being a full-time writer. The connection between them heats up, halls are decked, sleigh bells ring, and lights twinkle. Just when she thinks the holiday is saved, a nearby city threatens the future of Christmas Cove. With her heart, and career, hanging in the balance, she must learn that Christmas is much more than just a place on a map before time runs out.

About the Author:Sarah Dressler, originally from Florida, now calls the mountains of Colorado home. Beginning her writing career as an award winning fashion blogger, Sarah now writes fiction full time. She has spent her life traveling the world, first as the daughter of a US Air Force officer, and later as a military spouse. She enjoys sunset walks with her husband of nearly twenty years, and raising two very busy teenagers.

5 Prince Books Author Page | Instagram

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for November 29, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: Like or dislike true crime? Why?

Legacy of Evil by James Peyton – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A banished detective. A body drained of blood. Mexico’s vampires are all too human.

After graduating from Harvard, Artemas Salcido is determined to transform Mexico’s justice system and joins the federal police. He begins solving crimes committed by the rich and powerful and is banished to the village of Bustamante.

On a college field trip to Bustamante’s nearby caverns, the daughter of a US senator is brutally murdered. The FBI, the international media, and a Mexican hit squad tasked with making the problem go away descend on the village. When Mexico’s attorney general tells Artemas his career depends on his cooperation, Artemas realizes his life is at stake.

As other grisly murders occur, Artemas’s investigation uncovers an ancient blood cult connected to a powerful financial cabal that stretches from mediaeval Europe to Mexico’s most influential politicians and businessmen. When he disputes his violent colleagues’ bogus solution to the crime, Artemas is marked for death.

Can Artemas’s determination to bring fairness to Mexico’s justice system prevail against the overwhelming power of his government—or will it prove fatal …?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Once the handcuffs brushed his shirtsleeve, Artemas slid forward with the lighting speed he’d practiced hundreds of times in the dojo. A front snap kick connected with Raymundo’s pistol, sending it spinning toward the ceiling. Right foot midair, Artemas repeated the kick, driving his foot into the PGR man’s crotch with a satisfying thwack. As Raymundo gasped and bent over clutching himself, a third snap kick to his face lifted him off his feet and dumped him onto his back.

Artemas caught sight of the other man closing in from behind. He uncoiled his body and delivered a powerful reverse side kick to the man’s solar plexus, doubling him over. He followed up with a snap kick to the face. Like his colleague, the man landed on his back, choking and groaning with pain.

About the Author:

Award-winning author James Peyton’s intriguing settings and memorable characters in his thrillers come from his years of international work and travel. The first two editions of his four-part thriller Artemas Salcido series are now available on Amazon; Legacy of Evil and Terror Crossing, to be followed by La Buchona and Not For Sale. Peyton’s stand-alone adventure thriller, The Royal Fifth, was released in 2022. James has had five acclaimed books published on Mexican cooking, history, and culture. Peyton’s writing reflects a depth of understanding and a unique perspective that sets his work apart.

Goodreads | Website
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What Would I Tell a New Author? by Sumayyah Rafiq Haider – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The authors will award a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would I tell a new author?

There are a few pieces of advice that I’d give new authors, especially once who aim to self-publish their book.

One, whatever deadline they’ve set as their launch date? Aim to get everything done AT LEAST a whole week before that launch date. Don’t leave things up to the last 48 hours like. “I’ll upload the book on the last day.” It’s a lot better to finalize your draft as early as possible so that you have chances to address issues that come out after you’ve written the book. For example, if there’s any issue with the cover size or the print, you’ll have ample time to correct it. I strongly recommend knocking your writing out as quickly as you can so that you can focus on the things that come after that. The editing, advance readers and beta readers, cover finalization, publishing, etc.

Second, finalize your title and cover as early as possible. If you’re making the cover yourself, that’s awesome. But if you’re going to be working with someone who will make the cover? Best thing you can do is to define your vision and hand that over ASAP. Because it takes time to make a good cover and you’ll most likely go through a couple of different versions before you lock in something you’re happy with. Plus, if you’re going to be publishing on Amazon, there’s chances that there might be some sizing issues. So, you want to leave time in your schedule for those corrections.

Third, do outline things. I don’t mean that you sit down and create a whole roadmap or a bulleted list of “here’s all the things I need to include in my story.” I mean “outline” in the broadest sense of the word, which is to say, define what you want the book to be about. You need to set some boundaries and check points for the story. That way, even if the writing starts going out of bounds, you’ve got a way to evaluate your progress and determine what parts have to be cut.

Accelerate your marketing career by learning concrete strategies to reignite your creative spark and build a compelling case for your promotion to director. From creating a standout project portfolio to evaluating your skills to salary negotiation, networking, and interviewing best practices, this book equips ambitious marketing professionals with the tools necessary for long-term success.

Enjoy an Excerpt

As a marketing leader, you also play a vital role in elevating the standard of living. Thanks to government regulations, marketers cannot make false or misleading claims. This means that you help consumers make informed decisions on the basis of marketing. They can be made aware of major changes in ownership or products, what new features are being developed, and which brands to trust. This comes together to create brand value and loyalty towards trusted companies.

At a company level, organizations cannot survive without marketing. You cannot establish a business and expect people to find you. There is simply too much competition and information bombarding society. For businesses to survive and thrive, they have to develop effective marketing strategies. And for this, they need experienced professionals like you with highly creative mindsets.

But it is difficult to contribute in this way to an organization or society if you feel burned out, uncreative, or feel an inability to work at your full potential.

If you feel the same way then this book is for you.

I’m going to show you how to be at the forefront of driving demand, understanding consumer needs, and providing critical contributions to your career growth. And to get there, this book is going to help you address:

• Being underpaid
• Being dictated to
• Burn out
• Intellectual disengagement
• Uncertainty about what steps to take

About the Authors:Fatemah Mirza is a Certified Resume Master and a highly sought-after speaker and coach who helps ambitious job seekers find higher-paying, more fulfilling jobs. She’s been helping job seekers since 2010 when she founded CareerTuners, which is a small team of skilled professionals from various industries who specialize in providing professional resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and many more career-related services to help ambitious people land their dream jobs and achieve career goals.She has created free resources that have seen more than 160,000 downloads, helped hundreds of clients increase their pay, and built a network of more than 3000 recruiters.

Sumayyah Rafiq Haider is an experienced author and career mentor with a passion for helping individuals excel professionally. With an MBA in Human Resource Management and SHRM-CP certification, Sumayyah has assisted numerous clients in their job search, providing guidance on resume writing, LinkedIn optimization, cover letters, interview skills, and career direction.

Website | Instagram | Fatemah Mirza Amazon Author Page | Sumayyah Rafiq Haider Amazon Author Page

This book is available to read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

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Method to Madness by Thomas Grant Bruso – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Thomas Grant Bruso will be awarding $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five years ago, Jack Ballinger was a police officer.

He has since moved from the small upstate New York town of Black Falls for greener pastures and a peaceful life alone in the Green Mountain State. Time has changed Jack — he is no longer the man he used to be. A significant challenge for him has been the heartbreaking loss of his boyfriend, companion, and one true love, Steve.

Now alone, Jack has yet to deal rationally with the immediate changes of his new life. After losing his partner, Jack drank heavily to numb the pain and forget his life-changing loss. Now, he must find a way to move forward without Steve and the life he built for himself. Joining an Alcoholics Anonymous group helps quiet the voices that still keep him awake at night. But something much darker has followed him to his life in the quiet corners of Vermont.

When Jack thinks he has buried the scars of his past, a new nightmare emerges. How far will Jack go to end the imminent evil in his life and kill it for good?

Trigger warning: this story addresses suicide and suicidal ideation.

Enjoy an Excerpt

My work boots clipped across the newly polished floor, squeaking with each determined step toward the security guard’s office in the back of the mall. I didn’t usually get frightened, but after the week’s events of Jacob Adler’s murder and my recurring hallucinations, I was on guard twenty-four-seven. The wall I’d built after Steve died sent me into a tailspin. I lost my self-confidence to “live on — move on,” as Steve had put it. Getting out of bed was the most challenging part of the day, getting started. But not as difficult as being a suspect in somebody else’s murder.

I locked up in the office, hung my jacket on the wall peg along with my badge, fastened my uniform hat on top of my coat, and secured the building. I walked around the side of the shopping center to get to my truck, which was parked near the auto shop garage in the adjacent lot. My keys clanged against the side of my uniform work belt.

There was a crispness to the air as it gusted across my face.

When I reached my truck, I stopped and glanced at the imposing three-floor structure of the Rushford Shopping Mall. It had been a game-changer, I told myself. When my life was at its lowest, the job as mall security had saved me. Moving from upstate New York to Vermont and being hired at a stone’s throw distance from where everything had bottomed out of my life, life could not be better. I had to keep reminding myself that I was lucky. This was meant to be.

I was living. No – I was surviving the best way I knew how. The sharp gust of wind filled my eyes with a deep sadness.

I slipped my key into the driver’s side door. I jumped inside, cranking the station to a country song I knew Steve would roll his eyes at, but his enthusiastic expression brightened my mood. I sat in the quiet interior of my truck, my head falling against the headrest, my eyes closing to the welcoming solitude. I drummed my hands on the bottom of the steering wheel.

About the Author:
Thomas Grant Bruso knew he wanted to be a writer at an early age. He has been a voracious reader of genre fiction since childhood.

His literary inspirations are Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Jim Grimsley, Karin Fossum, and Joyce Carol Oates.

Bruso loves animals, reading books, and writing fiction, and prefers Sudoku to crossword puzzles.

In another life, he was a freelance writer and wrote for magazines and newspapers. In college, he won the Hermon H. Doh Sonnet Competition. Now, he writes and publishes fiction and reviews books for his hometown newspaper, The Press-Republican.

He lives in upstate New York.

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A. R. Grosjean – Interview and $0.99 Pre-order

Long and Short Reviews welcomes A.R. Grosjean who is celebrating the upcoming release of Hidden Agenda, available for pre-order for only $0.99.

She began writing as Amber Rigby because that was who she was. She thought that when she finally got published, that was the name she’d use so people would see the name and know it was her. That way, she could prove she did it when everyone else said she wouldn’t. When she finally got her first book traditionally published, she was married and her husband asked if she would use their last. So, she decided to use both her maiden and married names: Amber Rigby Grosjean, and she published a few books under that name.

“After a while, I decided the name was too long and it was a constant reminder of what my family put me through. So when I began publishing books myself, I shortened the name to A.R. Grosjean. So in a sense, it is my real name and a pen name at the same time. I only use this combination for the writing world. Otherwise, I’m just Amber Grosjean,” she said with a laugh.

Amber never really thought much about writing when she was a child, even though books where always around the house.

“My mother and little sister always had a book in their hands. I had turned 11 a few months prior. My grandparents, my little sister, and I were on a trip to see my uncle. Since the trip was going to take a few hours, my sister and I brought paper and pens to color and draw. On the way home, I was looking up at the clouds for an idea to draw and a story popped into my head instead,” she remembered. “I began writing as if it was something I’d done a thousand times before. The love that came with it stayed and has only grown since that summer day. To this day, I have no idea where the idea for that first story came from. It was like it was given to me to begin this long journey of being a writer—like it was my destiny.”

She continued, “There was something about creating something out of thin air that had me hooked. I considered myself a writer from that moment on. I couldn’t see into the future so I’m not sure how I knew that I’d be published someday. Maybe it was just hope that had me, but growing up I thought I did know I was a writer. I was writing a book or a story, so in my mind I was a writer. People kept telling me I wasn’t going to get published and I wasn’t a real writer. It was only a hobby, they would say. But I didn’t listen to them. I was too busy proving to them I was.”

To date, she has 23 books published, one coming out next month, and two still in the works. She has three favorites: 1. Fairytale’s Truth 2. Murder Through Time 3. Peterson Estate #1 Birth of a Witch.

Fairytale’s Truth: This is a children’s fantasy adventure. I used my first granddaughter as the MC. Her personality and some true events she’s done has been added to the story. It made her live forever. Of course, I did get permission from her parents before writing the story. My granddaughter had a rough beginning in her life and almost didn’t make it. She has a pacemaker. She’s seven now and has had that pacemaker for quite a few years (she was just over a year old). This is the first book in a series called Fairytale Adventures.

Murder Through Time. I love time travel and this story is probably my best written story. I love the detail and had so much fun moving through time. I thought it was interesting how one person could be killed multiple times and the reason for her murders was actually clever, I think. I can’t take credit for it, the character came up with it.

Peterson Estate: This was my original top favorite story because it had been with me since I was a kid. It was the first finished book I ever wrote and the third book that was traditionally published. Emily Peterson, the MC has been with me almost my entire life and has helped me through a lot of things growing up. I actually lost this story once and Emily kept coming to my dreams demanding I told her story. I rewrote it from memory which turned out making it even better!

One of the stories she’s currently working on is called A Mother’s Pain (women’s fiction/inspirationatl). There are a few true events in this story that happened to her, but she fictionalized it so there are also added elements that didn’t happen. Anna went through a lot as a young mother and wife. She struggles and she is forced to live with her parents twice (husband included). The second time around, her mother pushes her away and finds a way to be the children’s mother instead of Anna. Now Anna must find a way to become strong and fight for her children. This story will be dedicated to all struggling mothers.

“How do you come up with the titles to your books?” I asked.

“I begin with the idea for the story and think of something clever for the working title. Once the story is written, I may change the title or keep it. It just depends if I like the title or not. It also depends on how many other books use that title. I’ve learned that there are a lot of books that use the same titles. It may cause confusion when mine comes out. The title also has to say something about the book, the story within it. I always have something before the story is written. That gives me a chance to start sharing information about the book so I can begin the marketing phase.”

Amber has an entire room devoted to her writing, something she’s always wanted. Her desk in black and small with a shelf. On the desk is a lamp, a Nana mug with pens, a paperweight for decoration, a few pads of stickers, two planners (2023 and 2024), a notebook with all her stories’ notes, her laptop, and a lot of sticky notes. Around the desk, she has two bookshelves (one short, one tall) with books, cleaning supplies, bathroom stuff (because other things are in this space), more mugs that she doesn’t use for drinking, and various other things. There is also a printer, charging station, and drawers filled with whatnots and more pens.

“I have a lot of pens!” she said.

I asked her to share her most embarrassing moment.

“I was in the zone while writing one of my books and I reached a scene that was funny so I laughed. I had no idea my husband was standing over me, watching, until he said something. I jumped. Then we both laughed. I had to tell him what I was writing, and it made him laugh that I had laughed. At the time, I was in a room that didn’t have much light, and my desk wasn’t facing the door at the time. It was easy for him to sneak up on me anytime he wanted which caused me to move the desk,” she explained with a laugh. “Today, I have a room that is well-lit and the desk faces the door, sort of, so I can always see when someone enters the room through the corner of my eye, even when I’m in the zone. No more surprises! My husband has caught me yelling at my characters too, by the way.”

When Amber’s not writing, she likes watching TV shows or movies. She also enjoys crocheting and making clothes.

“I have made blankets for my grandchildren when they were born. And I made two stuffed animals. One was a bear for my granddaughter with a pacemaker to match hers and the other was a unicorn bear for my youngest daughter. I also like to doodle and make other crafts. And I like to play games online. Those are addictive. I do have a part-time job cleaning rooms for a hotel. My husband and I have gotten to know the owner and the manager there (we lived there for two years). My husband also does security for them. And I do other things like computer work and printing. I call myself the secretary,” she said with a laugh. “If the manager needs a form, I create it and print out copies he needs. I save the forms in case he needs more later: ‘No sitting on the steps’, ‘out of order’, the form they fill out when getting a room, etc. I’ve gotten creative on some of the signs I’ve made using pictures for a visual effect.”

I asked, “What would we find under your bed?”

“I thought this question was funny so I had to answer it. When my husband and I lived at the hotel, we didn’t have much space so we had to utilize every inch we could including the space under the bed. At the hotel, you would find out out-of-season clothes, extra food, and pans under the bed just because of the lack of space. Then we moved to the house and gained four rooms and a closet (living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and office). Now we don’t need the space under the bed as much so there isn’t much under it. But you will find a suitcase with my husband’s out-of-season clothes, an empty duffle bag to take our clothes to the laundromat, and Christmas stuff so our kids don’t see it. And maybe some dust.”

I was curious how Amber came up with her characters’ names.

“I’ve gone through a lot of different methods. First, I used only the names of people I knew or knew of. But that was making things harder on me,” she explained. “I bought a book called “Creating Characters” by Readers Digest and there was a section on character names. It said you could just make up the names based on personality, their job, or whatever. So I tried that when I wrote Murder Through Time. A last name—Guilnet (not guilty). When the narrator did this book, hearing the name being spoken sounded so cool. It sounded French and make it appear more real. I thought this concept was cool, but I didn’t want to overdo it. I also get some names online on a name builder site. That’s fun.”

Finally I asked Amber if she had a question for our readers.

“There is a fine line between the fantasy and science fiction, and sometimes I have to guess because the two ran side-by-side. You can have a story about witches and depending how the story is told and what’s in the story, it can be either/or, so it’s hard. All things in outer space is science fiction. Time travel is science fiction. That much I do know. Someone once said that science fiction is ‘it could be true but probably not’, but I believe Superman is science fiction, and I know it’s not possible for people to fly without any assistance. So that’s confusing. Maybe a reader on here could set me straight. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts on it.”

Two lives are forever changed when a virus sweeps the nation.

Thomas stole a serum, trying to better his life. When someone steals it from him, it leaves him questioning the people who hired him. What is the serum? Did he just help them release a deadly virus?

Rick was just a janitor. During the outbreak of a deadly virus, his wife speaks her mind and gets the two of them kidnapped. Now she’s dead.

Thomas and Rick separately search for answers. They join a group searching for the same thing as they are. The group knows who released the virus. Did this man do it? Or was it someone else? Why would someone intentionally release a deadly virus? And how does Ming and Rick play into this? Did Ming know the truth?

About the Author I was bullied my entire childhood and through high school. It ended when my family and I moved to Fort Wayne, IN during my junior year in high school. By then, my life and choices had already been affected. I tried to commit suicide when I was ten years old. I’m thankful today that it wasn’t successful. A year later, I discovered writing and knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I read everything on writing and did everything on my own, not knowing what I didn’t know. It took me twenty years to get my first book accepted by a traditional publisher. I’d say another ten years later, I changed my publishing routine to self-publishing and rewrote all of my books and changed my pen name to A.R. Grosjean, which is what I write under now. To this date, I have 23 books published in various genres including fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, thriller, mystery, children’s books, YA, and more.

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for November 22, 2023

Each Wednesday, Long and Short Reviews hosts a weekly “blog hop”. For more details on how to participate, please click here.

Today’s topic is: Memes that remind you of a favorite book, show or movie

What Thia Taught Me by K. M. Warfield – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. K. M. Warfield will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What Thia Taught Me

My thanks to Long and Short Reviews for hosting me!

One of the main characters in my Heroes of Avoch trilogy is named Thia. One of her biggest obstacles is herself. In ‘Scales and Stingers’, she has zero self-confidence. She’s not had an easy life, and it’s made her practically unable to trust anyone. She can’t take someone at their word; it must be backed up by actions.

She knows she’s good at what she does but refuses to step out of the shadows and be seen. It’s not the best life, but she knows what to expect. She’s not living, though. She’s existing, going through the motions, surviving. But that’s it.

I’ve had some problems. Undiagnosed and ignored PTSD led to depression and anxiety. In writing Thia’s journey, I found myself seeing the trap I fell into with my own life. I was raised to not talk about my achievements, not actually admit to anyone or myself that I could be good at something. I got very good at hiding behind sarcasm (something else Thia tends to do) and dreaming of things I knew I was capable of but terrified of going for them. By having Thia confront that in herself, grow past it, I started to believe I could.

One major step I took recently was realizing that this series is good. Not everyone will agree with me, but I know it matters. To me, to my friends whose characters I stole for the books. And I don’t feel guilty for saying it. I no longer feel the need to add some sort of self-deprecating comment after saying it. It’s okay to embrace what I’ve accomplished with the series, be excited for others to read it.

As Thia grew into her strength and sense of self, she took me along with her. Kicking and screaming at points, but I wasn’t exactly nice to her either. Facing our inner demons are rarely battles won without scars, though. I’m finally letting some of those heal instead of picking at them until they bleed. That’s Thia’s doing.

K. M. Warfield
Author – Heroes of Avoch trilogy

An ancient relic. Two solitary quests. A chance to prove one’s worth.

After an intense battle against the malicious Goddess, Lolc Aon, and freeing the Fallen citizens of Byd Cudd, Jinaari and Thia are presented with new challenges while in the public eye. Even though Thia has been granted nearly unlimited healing power through the God Keroys, many still doubt her because of her Fallen lineage. Jinaari does his best to support her, but his lessons are cut short after his sister is kidnapped.

Faced with life altering obstacles, will Jinaari keep his vow to protect Thia even from afar? Can Thia learn to trust herself and win over the public? Or will it be too late?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jinaari looked at his friend, “You and Pan kept all three of us alive, brought us back here. That’s plenty.”

Adam shrugged. “I know that’s what you needed us to do. It doesn’t feel like enough, though. You two do all the heavy lifting while we barely make a dent.”

“Stop that,” he stared at the warlock. “I couldn’t have gotten her away from Lolc Aon alone. Not in one piece. You kept that spider from getting her, too.”

“After I led her into the nest in the first place,” he grumbled.

“Hey, I told everyone to check the wall and she ended up falling into a pit because of it. That doesn’t matter. We’re a team. You and Caelynn know what to do so well that I don’t have to tell you. I trust it’s going to happen, and it does. Thia’s learned a lot since she first came to us. She trusts you and me. I don’t worry about anyone else dying because I know she won’t let it happen. She’s too damn stubborn.”

The blonde man nodded. “You’re right.”

“Of course I’m right,” Jinaari said as he sat back. “I’m glad you finally admit it.”

“You’re also arrogant, insufferable, and demanding,” Thia’s voice made him twist in his chair.

Caelynn stood next to her. The blue tint of her skin had faded. It wasn’t gone, but it wasn’t as prevalent as when they’d first come back. The bard’s face was tired, but happy.

“Everything okay?” he asked.

About the Author:Born in the late 1960’s, K. M. has lived most of her live in the Pacific NW. While she’s always been creative, she didn’t turn towards writing until 2008. Writing under the pen name of KateMarie Collins, she released several titles. In 2019, the decision was made to forge a new path with her books. The Heroes of Avoch series, along with a new pen name, is the end result.

When she’s not writing, she loves playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends, watching movies, and cuddling up with her cat. K. M. resides with her family in what she likes to refer to as ‘Seattle Suburbia’.

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