Exiles by L.J. Ambrosio – Launch Day and Giveaway


Welcome to the Launch Day Book Blast for EXILES, a Literary Fiction/Coming of Age by L.J. Ambrosio, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC, an autographed copy of the book, or a dragonfly necklace to three randomly drawn winners. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In this final chapter, Ron’s story concludes from Reflections on the Boulevard (2023). Michael’s wish was for Ron to exile himself in the heart of Paris with its beautiful culture and citizens as they protest and fight for the soul of the city. Ron’s journey is met with life-affirming friendships and lessons along the way. The final book in the Reflections of Michael Trilogy, which started with A Reservoir Man (2022).

Enjoy an Excerpt

A cool autumn breeze, in the twilight, wrapped around our exile who sat on a bench in front of a bookstore that resembled a place we might find in a Tolkien novel. On this street, rue de la Buccheri, was the bookstore Shakespeare and Company. The store itself was famous for housing the books of many great literary artists on their shelves. They also supported any young or old artistic vagabonds by allowing them to sleep in the aisles of the bookstore on makeshift beds when finding themselves homeless.

Ron, who managed the store, sat on this bench every evening thinking of Michael. Ron thought of things he remembered and how much he learnt from Michael. He felt the emptiness in his soul, yearning to have that connection just one more time. He had lived in Paris for six years now, a brief time for an exile, yet he was free from a society drowning in untruths; his refuge was the bookstore.

Just like every night, as Ron prepared to close the store, he occasionally checked the front of the store, looking for his friend. Then, he noticed another young man still looking at books on the outside shelves.

Ron moved outside to get a closer look at the late customer under the guise of moving the outdoor book bins back inside. He suddenly noticed that the young man was putting a book down his pants.

Ron raised his voice and shouted for the thief to put the book back on the shelf. The young man, caught in the act, ran away.

The young man sprinted and tripped while running past the café. In this stumble, he decided to turn the corner and make his way rapidly toward la Seine.

About the Author:

Louis J. Ambrosio ran one of the most nurturing bi-coastal talent agencies in Los Angeles and New York. He started his career as a theatrical producer, running two major regional theaters for eight seasons. Ambrosio taught at 7 Universities. Ambrosio also distinguished himself as an award-winning film producer and novelist over the course of his impressive career.

My Ideal Writing Space by Heather G. Marshall – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Heather G. Marshall will award a randomly drawn winner a $20 Amazon/BN GC. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

My Ideal Writing Space

A little whitewashed cottage on a hillside—hills rise behind it and, below is the sea, not far away. There’s a fire in the fireplace and the desk of my dreams is in front of it. It’s really a sturdy wood table in the kitchen so I’m not far from a steaming pot of tea and a snack when I want them. And the hills outside are there for when I need to get up and away from the desk, stretch my legs, clear out my mind. Often, when I come to a stuck place in writing, movement helps—a walk or run gets the wheels turning again and the solution to the conundrum appears. And I find windswept hillsides and the sway of the sea soothing to the soul, places where I can open to whatever might arrive on the page. I’ve had the great joy of being in, and writing in, such spaces from time to time in my life.

Although I will write whenever time is available, which is far more often now than ever before in my life, and for which I’m grateful, I prefer to write at the edges of day—the very early hours of the morning until the sun rises, or from dusk until dark. I prefer candlelight. Something about the gentle light allows me to dive into whatever I’m writing. My regular writing space has the desk and the candles, and it’s near the kitchen, so I’m almost there. I don’t have the hills, but the sea is a short walk away, and I’m also grateful that my life has brought me to this place.

An email from a stranger tells Alison Earley that her natural father, whom she has known for only six years, has died suddenly. What begins as a short trip back to Scotland for a funeral soon becomes a journey that puts adoption, sexuality, and identity on a collision course as Alison finds herself caught between the life and family she has so carefully constructed on one continent and the family from which she was taken on another.

Shunned by her father’s family, reunited with her natural mother, and reconnected with a long-lost love, Alison finds herself trying to shepherd her youngest child towards college while questioning everything she thought she knew about herself.

When her natural mother uncovers a series of letters written to Alison from the grandmother she never knew, resurrecting stories of generations of women–stories long buried by patriarchal rule–Alison realizes that she must find the courage to face and reveal the secrets of her own past. At what cost, though? And who and what will be left in the aftermath?

When the Ocean Flies explores the pain of separation and abuse, and the power of love to heal even over huge gaps in time and geographical distance.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Blue microfiche, the image yellowed. Alison perched on the edge of the chair. There was her name. Not her name, now. Not Alison. The one she started with: Jayne. Jayne Kerr. The handwriting small and neat. Mother’s name: Mary MacGilavry Kerr.


And Mary.

The tight signature at the bottom: her mother’s signature. She lifted one hand to the screen. Her chest clenched. She pulled her notebook from her bag, copied the name, as though she was likely to forget. Father’s name ______________.

Heat. Red cheeks in this gray basement. She wished she were stoat, or beaver, water creature, able to dive down. Cool, dark water. She held her breath. Held her tears. Who are these people? This Mary? This Jayne? Who am I? Jayne and Alison, like two separate people, with two separate lines of possibility, one body. No father. She couldn’t look at it a second longer.

She pushed the chair back, suddenly taken by the need to burst up, out, back to light and air.

About the Author:Heather G. Marshall is an adoptee, author, speaker, teacher, coach, and traveler. Her short fiction has been published in a variety of journals, including Black Middens: New Writing Scotland, and Quarried, an anthology of the best of three decades of Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel. Her first novel, The Thorn Tree, released in 2014 (MP Publishing). Her TED talk, “Letting Go of Expectations,” centers around her adoption and reunion. Her second novel, When the Ocean Flies, released in February 2024 (Vine Leaves Press). In her writing, Heather explores family, adoption, women (especially older ones), the natural environment, and how these intersect. When she isn’t writing, she likes to hike, travel, practice yoga and meditation, do a wee bit of knitting, and, of course, read. Originally from Scotland, Heather is currently based in Massachusetts.

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Buy the book at Bookshot.org, Amazon, Waterstones, or Barnes and Noble.

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Exiles by L.J. Ambrosio – Cover Reveal and Giveaway



Welcome to the cover reveal of EXILES, a Literary Fiction/Coming of Age novel by L.J. Ambrosio. The author will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC, an autographed copy of the book, or a dragonfly necklace to three randomly drawn winners. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

In this final chapter, Ron’s story concludes from Reflections on the Boulevard (2023). Michael’s wish was for Ron to exile himself in the heart of Paris with its beautiful culture and citizens as they protest and fight for the soul of the city. Ron’s journey is met with life-affirming friendships and lessons along the way. The final book in the Reflections of Michael Trilogy, which started with A Reservoir Man (2022).

About the Author: Louis J. Ambrosio ran one of the most nurturing bi-coastal talent agencies in Los Angeles and New York. He started his career as a theatrical producer, running two major regional theaters for eight seasons. Ambrosio taught at 7 Universities. Ambrosio also distinguished himself as an award-winning film producer and novelist over the course of his impressive career.

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On the Threshold by M. Laszlo – Interview and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What are your favorite TV shows?
Honestly, none. Nothing compares to watching old movies late at night.

What is your favorite meal?
Fish and chips. The best fish to batter in that way would be either haddock or rock salmon. Also, all the great British writers and artists and musicians tend to love fish and chips. Two things to remember, too, if you want your battered fish to taste just right: tartar sauce and malt vinegar.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
The series would be worthwhile only if a certain significant theme happened to be the thing that served to bind the individual works together. For example, it would be great to write a trilogy about the various aspects of academia. This is because virtually nothing in a person’s life could ever be more fundamental than the educational process itself.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so, who?
No writer really deserves to be idolized. On the other hand, a great writer can teach us something about some aspect of the phenomenological world. Also, just about any writer could hypothetically make the reader think and discover something or come to some understanding or epiphany. For example, it could be that Nietzsche or some other famous figure like that fulfills the purpose. Or, it could be that a well-written comic book or obscure graphic novel triggers a big breakthrough. That’s why there’s no good reason to be too judgmental with regard to books or anything else in the world.

How did you come up for the title of this book?
I pinched the title from the name of an obscure, nineteenth century poem by Amy Levy. In the poem, she describes a dream in which she envisioned the death of someone near and dear to her. Similarly, my novel tells of a chap with a dreamlike relationship to a deathly projection of energy originating in his very own unconscious. Somehow Amy Levy’s title just seemed right for my work. She was a nice person, too, and a good friend to Oscar Wilde.

Obsessed with learning the origins of the cosmos, the actual meaning of life, and the true purpose of civilization, a fine Scotsman named Fingal T. Smyth dedicates himself to the study of Plato’s most extraordinary ideas. Convinced of Plato’s belief that humankind possesses any and all innate knowledge deep within the collective unconscious mind, Fingal soon conducts a series of bold, pioneering occult-science experiments by which to resolve the riddle of the universe once and for all. However, Fingal forgets how violent and perilous the animal impulses that reside in the deepest recesses of the unconscious mind. And when Fingal unleashes a mysterious avatar of his innate knowledge, the entity appears as a burning man and immediately seeks to manipulate innocent and unsuspecting people everywhere into immolating themselves. Now, with little hope of returning the fiery figure into his being, Fingal must capture his nemesis before it destroys the world.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Autumn, 1907: late one morning, some kind of torrid, invisible beast seemed to wrap itself all around Fingal T. Smyth’s body. Each one of his toes twitching fiercely, he exited the castle and scanned the distant, Scottish Highlands. Go back where you came from. As the entity wrapped itself tighter all about his person, Fingal blinked back his tears. I’m melting, I am. Aye, it’s the heat of fusion.

Gradually, the beast’s heartbeat became audible—each pulsation. At the same time, too, the illusory heat of transformation emitted an odor as of oven-roasted peppercorns dissolving in a cup of burnt coffee.

Over by the gatehouse, Fräulein Wunderwaffe appeared—the little German girl wearing a plain-sewn robe and square-crown bowler. In that moment, she no longer seemed to be a sickly child of seven years: her inscrutable expression resembled that of a wise, indifferent cat.

Perhaps even some kind of lioness. Fingal cringed, and he recalled a fragment of conversation from three weeks earlier.

“She suffers from a most unnatural pathology, an anguished, maniacal obsession with cats,” Doktor Hubertus Pflug had explained. “Ever since the poor girl was a baby, she has always regarded it her fate to one day metamorphose into a glorious panther, for she believes herself to be ein Gestaltwandler. Do you know this word? It means shapeshifter and refers to someone who possesses the power to take the form of anything in nature.”

The heat radiated up and down Fingal’s spine now, and his thoughts turned back to the present. Aye, it’s a change of phase. I’m melting into a chemical compound. Despite all, he greeted the girl and willed himself to flash a grin.

About the Author:


M. Laszlo is an aging recluse who lives in Bath, Ohio. Rumor holds that his pseudonym is a reference to Victor Laszlo, a character in the classic film Casablanca. On the Threshold is his first release with the acclaimed, Australian hybrid house AIA Publishing. Oddly, M. Laszlo insists that his latest work, On the Threshold, does in fact provide the correct answer to the riddle of the universe.

Buy the book at the publishers.

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How I Handled the Research for the Book by Lisa Fellinger – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Lisa Fellinger will award a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

How I Handled the Research for the Book

The Serendipity of Catastrophe revolves around a month-long trip to Europe. But when I first started writing this manuscript, I’d never been to Europe and it wasn’t within my means to be able to do so. Doubt crept in as I started drafting—how could I possibly expect to write a story taking place mostly in places I’d never been? How would I get the details right, and wouldn’t my readers call me out for being a fraud?

So, I turned to my trusty friend, Google, and asked how I could write a book set overseas when I’d never, in fact, been there, and I found a lot of other writers sharing their experiences of writing books set in countries or cities they’d never visited. I purchased guidebooks for the countries I initially intended to have my characters visit and flipped through them with Anita and Victor in mind. What kinds of places in these books would excite them? What places would they skip? I utilized Google Maps to find out where landmarks were in relation to one another and learned how incredible a resource Street View is.

But after I’d completed my first draft, my husband and I decided to take a Mediterranean cruise. The price fit within our budget and not only would we get to travel to Europe, but I’d also get to visit some European cities in real life. I decided to change a couple of the cities visited in The Serendipity of Catastrophe so they aligned with cities we’d visit on our cruise so I could incorporate my own experiences into the book. The cruise we booked left out of either Barcelona or Rome, but since Barcelona was significantly cheaper to fly in and out of, that was the city we decided to port from. And I’m so incredibly glad we did. Barcelona wouldn’t have even been a city I considered for Anita and Carrie’s trip at all, but after visiting, I love that I had the opportunity to experience that city and to give it such an important role in my book.

A couple years later, we again had the opportunity to travel overseas and decided on Paris. While I had kept Paris as one of the cities visited, I still hadn’t seen it in person, so this trip again gave me the opportunity to bring life experiences into the story.

While I know of writers who plan research trips for the places in their books, I decided against using these trips specifically as research trips. After all, while it was convenient for my story that we’d decided to travel to these places, the main purpose of our trips was to experience the cities and enjoy a nice vacation together. Instead, I focused on simply soaking in each city and allowing myself to have a wonderful vacation there. And then when I returned and worked back through my manuscript, bits and pieces of my experiences crept in. The smells of freshly baked bread and outdoor cafes overrun with cigarette smoke in Paris found their way into the story. My own thoughts upon seeing the Sagrada Familia and the Eiffel Tower for the first time informed the way Anita and Carrie both saw these landmarks. A quirky bakery and an authentic Mexican restaurant in Barcelona became settings for conversations between my characters. Small little things found their way into the story that I wouldn’t have been able to think of on my own, nor could I have discovered via Google, and I believe the story feels richer and more authentic thanks to these experiences.

Could I have written this book without visiting the actual cities? Absolutely. I still haven’t been to London even though the city features prominently in the story. But I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to explore these cities and then carry those experiences over into my writing. When people talk about writing what you know, this is what they mean. I may not have lived through Anita or Carrie’s exact circumstances but bringing in my own experiences of visiting these cities helped create a solid foundation for my characters’ stories to unfold. And this is exactly why I tell writers that living and enjoying your life is just as important for your development as a writer as the time spent at your computer—the time we spend fully living and immersing ourselves in life is time invested in building our bank of material to write about.

A mother defeated by anxiety. A daughter determined not to become her mother. Can one month in Europe reunite them?

Anita Lorello is paralyzed by grief. When her husband dies in an accident the night before a long-awaited retirement trip, she’s devastated by the loss of her partner and once again shelves her dream to finally visit Europe. But when her estranged daughter agrees to accompany her nearly a year later, Anita is eager for the opportunity to repair their relationship.

Carrie Lorello’s life is crumbling. After a night of clouded judgment ends in her being fired, her mother’s offer of a one-month paid vacation seems like her best option. But she refuses to get caught up in her mother’s irrational worries and critical comments, and under no circumstances is she to learn what a failure Carrie’s proven to be.

Desperate not to lose her daughter again, Anita fights to conquer her anxiety and become the mother Carrie always wanted. But as Carrie’s life grows more and more complicated, her mother is the last person she wants to confide in.

Without anyone else to hold them together, can Anita and Carrie overcome their differences, or will the secrets between them derail their trip and destroy their relationship for good?

The Serendipity of Catastrophe is an emotionally compelling work of women’s fiction. If you enjoy travel stories, complex mother-daughter relationships, and lovably flawed characters, you’ll love this hopeful story of resilience and second chances.

Enjoy an Excerpt

They ultimately decided on Paris as their first of many adventures, but before they put down a deposit with the travel agent, Anita learned she was pregnant once again. Instead of planning visits to Notre Dame and the Louvre, her focus turned back to baby strollers and car seats, onesies and sleep training theory. Paris would always be there.

But all these years later, Anita barely knew that daughter. With Victor gone, her link to Carrie disappeared. Her phone calls home were infrequent and short, and she never shared anything about her life other than the most basic facts. Anita hadn’t pressed her for more, desperate not to widen the fissures in their relationship further, yet perhaps she’d inadvertently done just that.

As much as the thought of never seeing Europe devastated Anita, the thought of losing her daughter completely crushed her heart. A month together in Europe was likely Carrie’s worst nightmare, but if by some miracle her daughter agreed to the trip, she couldn’t think of a better opportunity to improve their relationship, to prove she could be the mother she’d always intended to be.

She rose and went back into the kitchen for the phone, the London travel guide still in hand. Meredith was right. Worst-case scenario, Carrie would say no. In fact, it was almost guaranteed she would.

Anita drew a deep breath, trying to keep her hope in check. She punched in Carrie’s cell phone number and prepared for her daughter to turn her down.

But what if she said yes?

About the Author: Lisa Fellinger writes contemporary women’s fiction with lovably flawed, relatable characters. When she’s not writing her own stories, she’s helping others achieve their writing dreams as a book coach and developmental editor. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, son, and fur babies.

Website: www.lisafellingerauthor.com
Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/ml6kpq
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisafellingerauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lisafellinger_author/

About the Author: Lisa Fellinger writes contemporary women’s fiction with lovably flawed, relatable characters. When she’s not writing her own stories, she’s helping others achieve their writing dreams as a book coach and developmental editor. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, son, and fur babies.

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Picasso’s Lovers by Jeanne Macken – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

You know Pablo Picasso. Now meet the women behind the masterpieces. The women of Picasso’s life are glamorous and elusive, existing in the shadow of his fame – until, in the 1950’s, aspiring journalist Alana Olsen determines to bring one into the light and discovers a past complicated by secrets and intrique.

Enjoy an Excerpt

People used to say of my lover that he lived only for art, that women and politics did not matter to him the way his art mattered. But people change. When Franco and Hitler destroyed that Spanish town, Guernica, Pablo Picasso changed. You cannot look at that painting, at the screaming mothers and violence and think, this is a man who does not care about people and politics.

I have seen how his face changes when he speaks of Francoise, the woman who is leaving him.

“I think it will be a fine day,” I said. “But come back to bed, Pablo. It is still early.” I smoothed and pattered the rumpled sheet that was still damp from our little bacchanal…

Pablo returns his gaze to his own image in the mirror and studies it, drawing the razor through the white foam on his cheek and making a curve, olive flesh showing through a white background. Another work of art…

He throws a towel at me. “Get up. The car will be here soon.”

“Lisen to you, my love. A car. A chauffeur. I remember when you had holes in your boots, when you were my young love.”

“That was long ago.”

About the Author:

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels, including The Last Collection, which has been translated into five languages, and The Beautiful American, which won a CNY award for fiction. She has taught in the MFA Creative Writing program at Goddard College and won journalism awards, and is currently at work on her next novel.

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My take on Critique Groups by Lisa Ard – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

My take on critique groups

Critique groups are invaluable, but that doesn’t mean every critique group is valuable to every writer. If you’re committed to producing your best work, then be choosy when looking for a critique group. Consider the following tips for the best experience:

1. Work with other writers that write in the genre you write in.

Publishing expectations vary depending on the genre you work in. For instance, picture books have a particular page count and structure that stem from printing and book production. Young adult fantasy will have a longer word count than novellas, memoirs, or other forms of fiction. Non-fiction is a different beast altogether. Length is only one of the attributes that differ by genre. Critiquing within the same genre ensures that all writing partners are working toward the same goals.

2. Join the right size group

Each critique member will bring a unique perspective on your work. One person will hone in on the voice in your work. Another will have opinions on the point of view. Another might be expert in spotting showing vs. telling. You want enough helpers to round out the critique, but not too many that you’re infrequently up for review. What’s the right amount? That depends on the group composition, the operating rules of the group, and your expectations. As a general rule of thumb, I’d suggest 4-6 writers.

3. Be open to constructive criticism

Develop a thick skin. Whether you’re submitting an early-stage or polished piece, you’re looking to make it even better, which means someone’s going to tell you what’s not working. Remember that good critique partners want you to succeed. When you receive critique, you should leave inspired to get back to work–because you now know how to improve the submission.

4. Adopt a set of guidelines

Decide together how often each person submits for critique, an acceptable word count, how polished it needs to be, etc. Agree on a format for offering critique. My group likes the Oreo approach: start with what you like, outline ways to improve the piece, and wrap up with encouraging remarks. Another way to say that is: commendations, recommendations, and encouragement.

5. Be clear about the type of input you’d like

Help your critique partners help you by stating what you’re looking for. That might mean asking: Is the story arc apparent? How’s pacing? Do you care about this character? Is there too much backstory? Also be clear on what you don’t want. For example, when submitting an early draft, you might not care about punctuation or detailed line edits.

6. Take what you like, and leave the rest.

Listen for the consensus of the group. If everyone says you need to lighten up the backstory, believe it. If multiple people point out improving the piece by using more active (rather than passive) verbs, consider it. In the end, it’s your work, and you decide what changes you make and what you leave behind.

The 19th century women’s rights movement and the rise of public education intertwine with one woman’s story of struggle, perseverance, and love.

When her father dies and the family inn falls to ruin in 1882, western North Carolina, thirty-year-old Alice Harris is compelled to marry Jasper Carter, a Civil War veteran twice her age. Far from home and a stranger in a new family, Alice remakes herself. She learns to farm tobacco, mothers her stepson, and comes to love her husband.
However, Alice uncovers pending trouble with the family’s land holdings, which threatens their livelihood on the farm. The growth in Asheville promises a different future—one of manufacturing, transportation, tourism, and wealth. Alice believes this future demands an education and she rebels against the limited rural instruction. She joins forces with other women campaigning for Asheville’s first public schools. Her actions spark the rebuke of the Carter men.

Tragedy strikes and Alice’s newfound security is ripped away. The family challenges her property rights and files for guardianship of her stepson. Battered but determined, Alice turns to the law—and a friendly court clerk—to fight for her independence. Will Alice lose everything? Not if she can help it.

Lisa Ard’s debut historical fiction novel will resonate with readers for its parallels, between then and now, on women’s rights, inequality, and racism.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The dressmaker probably saw every kind of bride—joyful, nervous, excited, even frightened, yet rarely two sisters on the same day and seldom ones of our advanced age. At thirty years old, I’d long since abandoned the idea of marriage. The War had ended when I was thirteen and with battlefields turned to cemeteries, the marriage prospects in the South had dimmed considerably. I didn’t favor the title spinster, but I valued my independence. Especially now, as it slipped from my grasp.

“Shorter, Miss Harris?” Miss Shackton asked. “You might wear it after the wedding.”

“Yes, thank you. It’ll make a fine church dress.” My cheeks warmed at the suggestion for thrift. My thoughts thundered over my family’s losses. A hastily arranged marriage to a man I barely knew was my only option.

While Miss Shackton circled to pin the dress’s hem, my eyes swept the neatly kept shop. It was narrow, not two wagons’ breadth across with a front counter crafted from a rich, dark slab of wood laid on top of postmaster shelving. The many nooks and crannies held the dressmaker’s tools of the trade: threads, spools, pin cushions, bolts of fabric, scissors, and more. The orderliness soothed me.

“I’m almost finished here. Be with you in a minute,” Miss Shackton announced to my sister.

Jennie slumped on a faded settee and dabbed her eyes with a damp handkerchief. She’d always been delicate and our rushed marriages, and that of our two sisters, Louise and Ina, didn’t help.

About the Author Lisa Ard is the author of the new historical fiction novel Brighter Than Her Fears, which is based on her great-great-grandmother’s experience in 19th century western North Carolina. Her previously published children’s books include Fright Flight, Dream Team, and the Kay Snow award finalist Saving Halloween. When not writing, Lisa enjoys reading, hiking, golfing and sharing her love of history as a bike tour docent with the Palm Springs Historical Society. She and her husband live (and golf) in both Palm Springs and Portland, Oregon.

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What Scares Me the Most as an Author by Traci Wooden-Carlisle – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Traci Wooden-Carlisle and D. Tina Batten will be awarding $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.

What Scares Me the Most as an Author
As an author, what scares me the most is taking full responsibility for my work and not being able to piece one thought with another to finish a message.

Let me explain.

I consider my writing a ministry. I see it as a collaboration between me and God where He gives me a message to express through my characters or a way to express a subject with a different perspective, and it is my job to listen to Him while guiding the character’s dialogue or interaction to relay that message in the story.

If I deviate or start filling in pieces just because I think they should be there, then I will have to take full responsibility for the message that is conveyed. That burden is too heavy because I am too afraid of getting the message wrong.

As long as I deliver God’s message as He intends, I’m okay with both good or not-so-good reviews. When readers share their feelings, thoughts and yearning to draw closer to God when reading my books, it makes it all worth it.

I began to have problems with my sight when I was six and it took a couple of years before I was properly diagnosed. In the meantime, I went through private tutoring in phonics, reading comprehension and grammar because my parents believed I had a reading, not seeing problem. I ended up reading at the 9th grade level in the 3rd grade and became a voracious reader. When I couldn’t read, I would write myself stories and have done so since I was eight. I absolutely love my imagination and the ability to find the right word to relay what I see in my imagination. I love the stories and thoughts I am able to piece together from one idea. I would truly feel like I have lost a huge part of me if I could no longer take one idea and weave it into a story.

The first novel I published started with me writing a story to myself. It wasn’t until I reached the seventh chapter that I realized that I might have to share it with others.

There is a thin line between the natural and the spiritual realm.

Ms. V., a humble servant of the Lord, has been placed on assignment at Center of Hope Christian Academy.

By day, she serves as a trusted counselor for students, giving them a safe haven to pour out their innermost feelings while providing professional and honest truth wrapped in a firm kindness and love that inevitably draws them closer to Jesus. Not to be outdone, the faculty also bends her ear from time to time.

By night, Ms. V. enters the spiritual realm and takes her place on the battlefield as one of God’s faithful prayer warriors. She wields her whispering sword, slicing through the enemy’s plans to bind the precious hearts under her charge.

Her assignment’s burden on her physical body is taxing, but can she withstand the strain and remain victorious?

Saving souls is her true mission, but at what cost?

Readers are in for a journey of spiritual intrigue and biblical insight as they experience the ramifications of each character’s life-altering decision.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The mist settling over the earth was about five inches high. It nearly obscured the ground in front of her as far as her eyes could see. She was reminded of mud-covered battlefields with little to shield one from enemy fire.

The clouds hung low, making the whole scene look like something out of an apocalyptic dream. The fallow ground before her was vast. It was a wasteland, offering only the promise that nothing would ever grow there again. The desolation could have gone on forever, except for the demonic presence that lined itself up like a dirty barrier of windows used to dim and conceal what was on the other side.

She felt them, though. She felt each and every one of the children held in bondage on the other side of that transparent demonic force. The thought brought to mind a scripture, and she looked down at the writing on the sword in her hand. She could have spent time thinking about how odd it was that she didn’t remember taking a sword with her, but there were more pressing matters, and she was happy to have the weapon to wield.

She began reading the inscribed scripture out loud, her voice ringing across the barren land slick with mud. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,”

As the words left her lips, they solidified in the atmosphere, charging toward their mark like a spear. They reached the barrier, causing it to shift and ripple but not tear.

About the Authors:

D. “Tina” Batten is a loving mother, wife, sister, daughter and Mima to her grandchildren. She is a gifted visual storyteller who is passionate about bringing encouraging messages of inspiration and hope to the world.
Tina Batten, a writer for over eighteen years of various dramatic works of performing art via stage, and film, encompasses unique ways of creating fascinating story concepts that touch the heart of most who view or read her work. She is both honored and thrilled to have teamed up with long-time friend, sister in the gospel and co-author Tracy on this phenomenal collaborative book project. With such a humble heart and desire to bring people together in love and unity, Tina Batten will continue her work as a visual storyteller spreading the good news of Jesus Christ one project after the other.

As Always, D. “Tina” Batten gives God All the Glory!

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Traci Wooden-Carlisle began writing to publish in 2011 and enjoys writing stories that provoke thought and evoke emotions. Her desire is to draw readers into the lives of her characters and share messages of God’s love, His faithfulness and peace. The messages in her books speak to her way before they speak to her readers.

Traci lives in San Diego with her husband, David. When she isn’t writing she does some light traveling or assists people with their physical fitness, creates graphics, designs pretty things for her jewelry business and swag for authors.

You can find her on the following social media platforms.

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Sam Time by Donna Balon – Q&A and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Are the experiences in this book based on someone you know?

My grandmother told me about her experience riding in a horse drawn carriage. The horse sometimes took a bathroom break in the middle of a busy cobblestone road to my grandmother’s embarrassment. I created a similar chapter scene that takes place in New York City.

How did you come up with the name of your publishing company?

I thought about it for weeks. The difficulty was finding a term that wasn’t already used with “press,” “publish,” or “media”. I searched for Latin words, star names, elements, and precious metals. Everything was taken. Because I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, I often thought of Desert “something”. “Moon” and “Foothills” and so many other words were taken. Then “day” popped into my head. Desert Day Press sings.

What is your favorite and least favorite punctuation?

I like the em dash—for emphasis. The comma is a troublesome child, but I respect it. My least favorite is the ellipsis. It’s often misused in casual writing. It implies incompleteness and laziness.

How do you select books to read?

Friends in book clubs, podcasts, and editorial suggestions by bloggers.

When do you like to write and for how long?

I’m a morning person for doing anything. But writing often spills into the afternoon. I don’t write based on a fixed time. Rather I stop when I’m satisfied I’ve completed enough for one day.

When her fiancé is away on business, lonely Samantha Hunter despairs and absorbs herself in historical research. Her nighttime dreams being so vivid, Samantha believes she’s traveling to a past century. As she navigates the Victorian era rules of dos and even more don’ts, she charms Ulysses S Grant while struggling to maintain her present-day romance.

Enjoy an Excerpt

During the night, Samantha had a vivid dream. She was in a rural town wearing her Victorian-style dress. The weather was cool so she wrapped the crocheted afghan around her shoulders. And her sockless feet were cold in her slip-on shoes.

The few men she saw were in worn, soiled work clothes and walked with purpose. The so-called roadways were not paved but dirt paths. No cars or trucks, but horses and carts. A few wooden one-story buildings scattered here and there.

This must be a dream in which the clock has been turned back, Samantha thought. But where am I?

She strolled, aware she had not seen any other women. Pulling the afghan around herself snugly, she walked with her head tilted down to avoid catching the eye of any man in whatever this place was, glancing up often to learn more of her surroundings.

Then two women hurried toward her, each carrying a wooden bucket of water. Their cotton dresses hung to their ankles, with full skirts gathered at the waist of fitted bodices. Plain white cotton bonnets covered their heads, and shawls were wrapped around their shoulders. They looked at Samantha disapprovingly. Her dress was too fancy for this rural town. Moreover, she wasn’t wearing a bonnet or hat; a bare head was a means of solicitation by prostitutes. She hugged her body with the afghan, which served as a shawl to hide her uncorseted torso.

The dream seemed authentic. Despite her uneasiness, she thought, Enjoy the dream. If I don’t like it, I’ll wake myself up.

Around a corner, she spotted a few men in uniform. Soldiers. Maybe the army. This might be a small town next to an army fort, Samantha guessed. Still, not a good place for a woman.

About the Author: Author Donna Balon debuts Sam Time, a novel well-researched and professionally edited by quality talent from the publishing industry. Donna resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her husband.

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Winter Blogfest: Rachel Corsini

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook prize. 


A Wonderful Chaos by Rachel Corsini

Boisterous laughter. Swirls of cigar smoke rising to the ceiling. Endless platters of food. Seven fishes. Linguini with white clam sauce. Insalate di mare. Fried calamari. An endless conveyor belt filled our bellies and hearts with joy. The table fit to bursting with family. Loud. Wonderful. Drinking wine.  

My grandfather at the head of the table. My grandma in the kitchen laughing with my mom and my aunts. Helping to fill serving platters. There was always so much food. My grandma fed us all, filling us fit to bursting with her love.

At midnight, a creak on the stairs. Black boots. Fluffy white cuffs. Red velvet pants. Santa at Grandma’s house? I was on his knee in an instant. Squinting eyes looking into his brown ones. Hmm, he seemed familiar. A smile I’d seen many times. There were presents in his giant sack. He pulled one out and placed it in my hands. It was something I wished for. That I’d placed on my list.

I kissed Santa’s cheek and he hugged me before lifting me off his knee. I went to go see what my present was.

“Hmm, I wonder where that Uncle Joe is?” Santa said. My family burst into laughter. It was my cousin’s turn. After each gift, “hmm, I wonder where that Uncle Joe is?

Espresso poured. Cannolis on the table. Stufoli. Cheesecake. An assortment of Italian Christmas cookies: fig, lemon, Pignoli nut. Summoned by Sambuca, Uncle Joe reappeared, and Santa was gone. More laughter while sipping from gold filigree cups.

Us, the kids, curled up on the plastic covered sofa, clutching our precious presents, eyes drifting shut to the sounds of our family talking well into the hours of the morning.

Christmas Eve. A wonderful chaos. A moment as precious as a heartbeat.

When a career-ending injury and a messy breakup send prima ballerina Daniela Verdi back to Queens, New York, she fills her days with countless distractions: meaningless sex, pinot grigio, and video games.

It takes a chance meeting with her brother’s best friend, Vincent LaBate, for her to remember who she was before the stage lights and distractions of the Upper West Side. She’s convinced that Vincent could never love a girl like her: broken, insecure, and stumbling her way through life. What Daniela didn’t count on is that Vincent is as scarred as she is after divorcing his cheating wife and going through an equally messy child custody fight. Soon enough, old vulnerabilities rear their ugly heads, opening a crack in Daniela’s perfectly imperfect romance.

As Daniela and Vincent’s relationship develops, will Daniela learn to accept that a dream life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

After declaring herself a pretty pink princess during her first ballet class, Rachel dreamt of sugarplums and began pirouetting her way through life. While studying to become a ballerina, she compulsively read books under her covers by flashlight and scribbled in spiral-bound notebooks. The urge to tell stories culminated in her graduation from Columbia College Chicago with a B.F.A. in fiction writing.

Never one to keep her feet on the ground, she traveled the world from Prague to Cape Town. Once settled back in Queens, she dabbled in journalism before working as an Editorial Assistant for a medical publisher. Seeking a more fulfilling career, she earned her MAT from Queens College and currently works as an English teacher in an alternative program in NYC.

Rachel spends her time sipping coffee, trying to cook, and practicing her pirouettes. She currently resides in Freeport, Long Island.

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