Moon Life by Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian – 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 banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Check out the TV interview Hank Fabian did recently.

Who in your past would you apologize to?

Hank and Marlene would apologize to the Benedictine nuns who were our elementary school teachers and whose spiritual development was no doubt interrupted by having to teach unruly children.

What kind of mythical/paranormal pet would you like to have?

We would both like an abysmus for a pet. What’s that, you say? It’s an enormous, serpentine marine creature with wing-like fins and a mouthful of pointy teeth. Watch for our next book, “Trouble on Moon 21.”

How do you keep your writing different from others who write in your genre?

Our writing is based as much as possible on hard science, not magic, and we strive to make the science as comprehensible as possible so the average person can understand it.

What is the best and worst advice you received as a writer?

Oscar Wilde said, “Having your dreams come true is the best thing that can happen to you and the worst thing that can happen to you.” Thinking that publishing a book as an end result is terrible advice since it is actually the beginning of another long process. But using social media for marketing has been good advice so far.

Are any events in your book based on events in your own life?

Yes, some of our protagonist Charlie’s experiences are based on real life frustrations, particularly dealing with bureaucracy and in Hank’s case, running trial and error experiments that end in futility.

It is the year 2051 and the International Space Institute has just sent two rival astrobiologists to search for extraterrestrial life on Europa, the mysterious ice moon of Jupiter. What they encounter could not only revolutionize science, it might make one of them the most famous person on Earth. Or does the Universe have other plans?

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Charlie found himself drifting on a cosmic wind toward a mound of skulls that looked curiously familiar. His pain had vanished, but he felt disoriented. The skulls appeared to be gigantic but he couldn’t be sure if they were large or if he had become exceedingly small. A swift, turbulent wind carried him into one of the skulls, through the orbit of an eye then its optic canal.

A dazzling light appeared before him, gradually fading into an aerial view of Sleeping Woman Mountain. Now he discovered he was a mere speck riding between what he perceived to be two enormous insect eyes. He immediately thought of the Ngala totem and concluded these were the eyes of a dragonfly.

Rainforest shadows parted below him to reveal the ruins of his former camp filled with soldiers lounging casually near the bloodstone, the site of Gnesh’s murder. Their arrogance fueled Charlie’s rage.

On his command, thousands of wasps flew out of the forest and descended on the soldiers.

The men screamed as the insects stung them. They swatted at the horde, firing their weapons uselessly. Desperate to escape the swarm, they dived into the river where they met a pack of hungry crocodiles. The waters ran red with blood.

Now Charlie saw Prime Minister Jahuara’s distinctive helicopter appear, hovering above the carnage. Charlie directed his dragonfly into the cockpit. The insect buzzed up to the head of the prime minister sitting at the helicopter’s controls, repeatedly biting the tyrant’s eyes with its great mandibles. Jahuara tried to swat it away but the dragonfly was too quick. He shrieked in pain as blood flowed from his sockets.

Flying blind, he lost control and the helicopter plummeted into the trees. Charlie and the dragonfly escaped the craft in time to watch it explode in a mass of flames.

Charlie found himself drifting above the forest canopy. He turned his gaze toward the black sky shimmering with starlight. One by one, stars fell from the night like droplets of a celestial mist. The Pleiades constellation was the last to fall. Merope lingered for a moment, then disappeared into the darkness. A feeling of immense tranquility settled over him as he relished the embrace of this sacred void.

The world was back in balance. He closed his eyes…and succumbed to peace.

About the Authors:The family that writes together stays together, so siblings Marlene Fabian Stiles and Hank Fabian co-authored a science fiction adventure that explores Jupiter’s moon Europa as two rival astrobiologists race to be the first to find extraterrestrial life. This discovery should ensure the winner fame and fortune, but the Universe has other plans.

Hank is the guy walking around with a long lens camera and binoculars, a tourist of the world fascinated by every creature that moves and every plant that grows. He teaches biology and helped devise a college genetics program. As a scientist he likes to work with facts, so there’s a possibility that the creatures he’s created actually exist!

Marlene is the president of a nonprofit, The I Will Projects, dedicated to advancing educational venues that include a middle school aquaponics program in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club which received a NASA grant. She writes in multiple genres and also has published “Elderchild,” an Alzheimer’s narrative written in the first person. She shares Hank’s love of the natural world and is dazzled by the interconnectivity of all living things.

Goodreads – Marlene Fabian Stiles |
Goodreads – Hank Fabian | Amazon Author Page

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Writing Intimate Scenes for the Worlds of Fire Series by Deborah A. Bailey – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Deborah A. Bailey will be awarding a $40 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.

Writing Intimate Scenes for the Worlds of Fire Series

Writing intimate scenes can be tricky at times. There’s something for everyone – from high heat to sweet. But each story should have scenes that are a fit for that type of story and the characters.

As I’m writing scenes for the novellas in my Worlds of Fire romantic fantasy series, I’m realizing that I can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Each story has its own mood, and the intimate scenes have to reflect that.
The scenes have to make sense in the context of the stories. Since each novella features a different couple, I had a different way of presenting those scenes.

In the first novella published, Blood Red Moon, the story is told in first person. Avani, the narrator, is expressing her feelings about being reunited with the hero, Derek. Her thoughts about his being a vampire (the Vampire Lord, actually) are front and center.

Avani describes her intimacy with Derek, and she describes what happens when he bites her. Since he is a vampire their love scenes are more intense. But at the same time, since it is first-person, I could only describe what she was experiencing –and her interpretation of what Derek was experiencing.

Metamorphosis is in third person POV and alternates between Asira and Jaydon. Their love story happens while a conspiracy is unfolding at their Alchemist university. They don’t have their first intimate scene until later in the story (for various reasons I won’t reveal because – spoilers!).

I wanted the scene to be romantic and sensual as opposed to intense. Jaydon is a bit of a nerd and Asira is just discovering what it is to be deeply in love. Their intimacy is playful and shows their way of interacting with each other.

Writing intimate scenes can be a big challenge for authors. Should there be a lot of detail? How soon should the “big moment” happen? I think it all depends on knowing your characters and understanding the purpose of the scenes. The most important thing is to make the actions (and the emotions) feel natural.

On the Floating World when two Alchemists fall in love it can be…complicated.

Asira is a member of a high-ranking family of Alchemists who exert control over the libraries that store magical texts. Jaydon, an unconventional but powerful teacher of transmutation at the university, is from a gargoyle shifter group known as the Gigun.

Asira finds Jaydon frustrating and too fascinating for her own good. But she desperately needs his help when she becomes the target of a classmate’s dangerous use of forbidden magic. With Jaydon’s assistance, the two of them uncover a conspiracy that threatens the well-ordered world of the Alchemists.

Struggling with his growing attraction to her, Jaydon is called on to use his knowledge of the magical Books of Fire to determine Asira’s fate. And depending on what secrets the books reveal, he may be forced to make a life-altering decision that will either bind them together… or permanently force them apart.

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Jaydon picked up his stylus and shoved it behind his ear. Continuing to study her, his brows furrowed as though he was having an internal conversation. Thinking things over with himself and not sharing his conclusions with her.

Sure, she was used to intense stares from the magisters. They used them as an intimidation tactic. It was part of their mystery to be imperious and detached, to only associate with others on their level or from a specific Order. You were either in the Court hierarchy or you weren’t. Even the most advanced students didn’t have that kind of clout, no matter what Aurum family they belonged to.

“Are you sure you don’t want to see my papers on the topic?” Sitting there while he watched her was unnerving. Not that he was bad to look at, because he wasn’t. His features were finely sculpted, and his wavy shoulder-length black hair framed his face so that his almond-shaped eyes and full lips were accentuated.

He shook his head in response to her question, his gaze still fixed on her.
A noise outside caught her attention. There was chirping coming from the open sliding glass door that led to the balcony. Another perk of magister mentors. Private offices and balconies overlooking the spice gardens.

“Come in.”

A small yellow bird flew in and perched on a shelf above one of the desks. It chirped and then turned its head to study her. Another chirp, then a turn of the head to the left and to the right.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“Nice bird.”

“No, I was asking her.”

“You were what?” She looked at him, then at the bird again, then at him. “Does she talk?”

“Yes.”

“What does she say?” She would go along with it for now. She’d be done and then hopefully get picked by a mentor who was more serious and less messy.

About the Author:Deborah A Bailey’s Romantic Fantasy, Science Fiction and Paranormal Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales.

Visit her site https://AuthorDebBailey.com for more information and subscribe to the newsletter here so you’ll be the first to find out about giveaways, book launches and sneak peeks.

Note: This book will be on sale for $1.99 during the tour.

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Things to Know if You’re New to Writing by Jonathan Weeks – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jonathan Weeks will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU’RE NEW TO WRITING

–When you consider the time it takes to develop, write and edit a manuscript then figure in the time spent on the submissions process, your pay rate usually comes out to less than $1 per hour once you have actually signed a contract. It’s best to write for the sheer joy of expressing your ideas as opposed to the prospect of getting rich.

–Anyone who writes is technically a writer. But not everyone who submits their work will end up being published. Rejection is intrinsic to writing. It’s a rough business. As writers, we take risks and put ourselves out there only to have our ideas shot down time and time again. Embrace the process. Learn from it. Don’t ever take it personally.

–The submissions process is a lot like playing the lottery. You can’t win if you don’t play. If your aim as a writer is to get published, then the only way you can completely fail is to stop writing. As long as you’re still churning out words and ideas, you are still in the game.

–Self-publishing is a sure-fire way to get your words in print. But if you don’t have connections and marketing skills, you won’t sell many books. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. Kindle Direct Publishing is an attractive option to many. There are over 12 million books currently on Kindle. A majority of the self-published ones will sell less than 100 copies. If you intend to self-publish, make sure you have a realistic marketing plan.

–Know your audience. You can’t write in a vacuum. You should be reading other people’s work and paying attention to what types of books are selling. The tastes of readers change over time. Follow the trends. Adapt your work to fit the current climate. More than 70 percent of adults still read books. There’s a large audience out there. You just need to know how to grab their attention.

In the 1950s, America entered the television age. And Mickey Mantle, a country boy from Commerce, Oklahoma, was made for the moment. Signed by the New York Yankees as a teenager, he made his major league debut in 1951 as a right fielder alongside Joe DiMaggio. When DiMaggio retired at the end of the season, Mantle inherited not only Joltin’ Joe’s position in centerfield but also his stature as the face of the franchise. His boyish good looks, breathtaking power from both sides of the plate, and blazing speed on the basepaths made him an instant superstar. He won league MVP three times, came in second three times, was a 16-time All-Star, a Triple Crown winner in 1956, and a seven-time World Series champion.

Mickey Mantle’s career was the stuff of legend and in this book, Jonathan Weeks tells us why. Mantle’s extraordinary (and at times incredible) tales carry readers on an enthralling journey through the life of one of the most celebrated sports figures of the twentieth century.

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THE SPOOK LIGHT

For more than a century, residents of the Tri-State Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas area have talked about a paranormal phenomenon known as the “Spook Light.” The light has been described by witnesses as an orb of fire about the size of a baseball or basketball. It flickers, dances, and spins—typically in an east to west pattern—while hovering above the treetops. When observers attempt to walk or drive toward it, it disappears.

According to popular legend, the “Spook Light” was first observed by Native Americans along the infamous “Trail of Tears” in 1836. Since then, a number of ghostly stories have circulated regarding its origin. One of the oldest tales centers around a Quapaw Indian maiden and her lover, who leaped to their deaths after the girl’s father forbade them from marrying. Another oft-told yarn involves the spirit of an Osage tribal chief who lost his head in battle and continues to search for it by lantern-light.

The “Spook Light” is commonly seen along a desolate stretch of road near the town of Quapaw, which is located just six miles from Mantle’s hometown of Commerce. The Yankee slugger grew up with these campfire tales and, like many teenagers of the era, enjoyed the associated benefits. By the time he was in high school, the deserted route known as Spooklight Road (or “The Devil’s Promenade” to some) had become a popular make-out spot. In his 1985 autobiography, Mantle remarked, “If you happened to be waiting at the Spook Light and you happened to have a girl with you, it was a pretty good place for necking.” Mantle’s first social outing with his future wife, Merlyn, was a triple date to Spooklight Road. The youngsters piled into Mantle’s 1947 Fleetline Chevy, which he had purchased with his Yankee signing bonus. Though Mantle was paired with another girl that night, he ended up asking Merlyn out on a date after he “struck out” with her friend.

The “Spook Light” continues to be an enduring legend despite scientific research conducted during Mantle’s teen years. In 1945, it was proposed that the phenomenon was caused by the refraction of vehicle headlights over a range of western hills. The following year, an Army Major named Thomas Sheard stationed a vehicle in the region he believed the so-called “Spook Light” was emanating from. He instructed the driver to flash the vehicle’s headlights at a designated time after dark. Observers in the vicinity of Spook Light Road were able to see the flashes. In 1965, Popular Mechanics magazine recruited professors from the University of Arkansas to investigate even further. They confirmed that distant headlights on Route 66 were being distorted by waves of heat, producing the phenomenon.

Those who still cling to paranormal explanations maintain that the “Spook Light” was seen long before the invention of automobiles and is, therefore, an unrelated phenomenon. The first verified written account of the eerie spectacle didn’t appear until 1935. Multiple sources have claimed that a booklet on the topic was released in the 1880s, but concrete evidence of it has not been uncovered. Detailed information about the ethereal orb—complete with driving directions to Spook Light Road—appear on the Joplin, Missouri official website.

About the Author: Jonathan Weeks spent most of his life in the Capital District region of New York State. He earned a degree in psychology from SUNY Albany and currently works in the mental health field. He has written several sports biographies and two novels, one of which was a posthumous collaboration with his father.

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Icarus Over Collins by Hector Duarte, Jr. – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Hector Duarte, Jr. will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After her friend Sandy Mangual tragically falls to his death, Bailey Cohen discovers images of his grisly corpse have been uploaded and shared through social media, by someone very close to her.

Fed up, in a stagnant relationship with an emotionally-abusive boyfriend, Bailey enlists the help of quiet, unnoticed, underappreciated Bernardo Castillo, who works the luxury Miami Beach high rise in which she stays.

Bernardo will have to dredge up the shady past he’s long worked to tamp down in order to set off on a journey of vengeance that will reshape and morph each person engulfed along its way.

Icarus Over Collins is a short, punchy revenge story as cracked and slivered as hot Miami pavement.

Tras la trágica caída accidental de su amigo, Bailey Cohen descubre que imágenes del cadáver han sido clandestinamente descargadas a redes sociales. Por alguien muy cercana.

Bailey contara con la ayuda de Bernardo Castillo, empleado del condominio lujoso en Miami Beach cuya Bailey habita.

En nombre de su amigo fallecido, Bernardo y Bailey tendrán que excavar sus pasados umbríos en camino hacia la venganza. Un viaje que reformara a todos envueltos.

Icarus Over Collins es un cuento de venganza tan caluroso y rajado como las aceras bordeando todo Miami.

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We’re actually talking about it.

Conspiring voices confirm and finalize the plot in a whirring background buzz as I look across the street to Las Brisas. Gabe’s window is closed. Has been the last two days. Why the fuck do I keep checking?

I’m listening but there’s a persistent hum in my ears. Like I’m stuck inside a tunnel with a persistent buzz. Might be my conscience, Amaury Sambrano tapping my shoulder from beyond the grave, nudging me forward, yelling at me to quit acting like such a scared baby.

I ticked all the boxes after high school. College, check. Bachelor’s degree, check. Moving out of my folks’, check. Established independence, check. Nothing shook Amaury’s ghost off my back.

I had a good gig on my own. A steady part-time in the evenings while I built a client list during the day. A small efficiency way out west, a stone’s throw from The Miccosukee reservation. I loved it, every night crossing from the glitz and glamor of the beach to settle in The Everglades’ quiet swampiness.

About the Author:Hector Duarte, Jr. is a writer/educator out of Miami, Fl, where he lives with his wife, son, and cat. His fiction has been published widely online and in print, like the recent anthologies Pa Que Tu Lo Sepas: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico, and Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4: Recoil. In September of 2018, Shotgun Honey Books published his full-length short story collection Desperate Times Call. He welcomes you to follow him on Twitter.

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SPARK Your Goals! by Azim Jamal – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Azim Jamal 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.

SPARK Your Goals!

In Part 3 of my new book, SPARK: Journey from Success to Significance, I cover the “A” in SPARK, or the concept of Attraction and the important part it plays in our quest to fully ignite our inner SPARK.

In short, the foundation of Attraction is Attention to goals.

It is said Success and Significance are the only goals one needs, and everything else is but a wish list. A person with average ability but crystal-clear goals will do better than a highly intelligent individual with no clarity around his or her ambitions.

It is important to not only have clarity in your goals, but to also know what the purpose is behind each goal. In Part 2 of the book, I cover how Purpose is a valuable ingredient in defining one’s path to Significance.

Purpose brings clarity and focus, and answers the question: Why do you want what you want? Purpose is an anchor. It helps with alignment and is an energy driver. If the ‘Why’ is not strong, the ‘How’ becomes difficult.

And once your efforts are aligned with a higher purpose, your work becomes a way of connecting to your spirit. You are able to remain effective, work with integrity and focus, and be a source of inspiration to those around you.

Purpose and Attraction are key connectors in our pursuit for Significance!

Along the way, you are bound to face some obstacles and hurdles. These obstacles can be internal or external. Encountering difficult people; facing economic downturns, and inhospitable work environments are just a few examples that constitute external obstacles. While the internal obstacles are your own prejudices, fears, lack of self-discipline or focus.

However, obstacles have the power to affect you only when you take your eye off your key goals. In fact, obstacles should act as mediums for opportunities that create breakthroughs. This aspect of Resilience is the “R” in SPARK and covered in Part 4 of the book.

As a simple example, in professional sports, scoring more than the opponent and winning the game is the key goal – the main objective. This usually requires getting past an opponent or defenders (the obstacles). If we have clear focus on the goal, we will find a way to get past the defenders. Such is the case in our professional life. When we find that things are getting unmanageable (the obstacles), we can break our tasks into smaller pieces (clear focus). Our goals can be semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. We can even further break down our weekly goals into daily achievements, albeit small ones. In the end, the alignment of our daily actions with our goals is the secret sauce to moving past obstacles and achieving our objectives.

So, where to begin? First, it is important to ask yourself, are you serious about your business, work, clients, finance, professional growth, personal brand or any ambition you wish to achieve?

Then, look at your actions and you will know whether you have really been serious about your goals. If there is any slack whatsoever, begin today to align your daily actions with these goals!

Here are some steps to empower and bring your goals to fruition:

● Develop a Personal Mission Statement – If you were to pick one thing you must do in your life, what would you choose? Turn that into your personal mission statement.
● Align your corporate or professional mission with your personal mission.
● Create excitement and meaning in your current work.
● Discuss with your employer, team or board how to create a mutually beneficial scenario. If and when necessary, do not hesitate to make a change that connects your work back to your purpose.
● Keep stretching your goals. This will keep you energized and expand your potential. If you are working as part of a team or group, involve as many people as possible in goal-setting exercises. This is a sure-fire way to stimulate an understanding and respect for personal, as well as collective goals. This is ultimately what creates ownership.
● At any and all points where you experience great moments of happiness, STOP and allow yourself to completely and fully experience that moment. Feel the moment, stay with the moment, and ask yourself, “What has made me this happy?”. Maybe, just maybe, you have potentially stumbled into something that connects you with your calling!

Goal setting is powerful, especially if the purpose is strong and there is alignment between your personal and professional goals, as well as between your goals and your actions.

I humbly, but with confidence, share that these simple principles and steps will be the SPARK you need, and will lead you to your life of Significance!

In a world vigorously chasing classic ideals of success, find your spark and become significant.

Your journey starts here.

Meet Steve, a hotshot lawyer fighting to climb the corporate ladder in this inspiring fable. His life transforms seemingly overnight as he is sent to India for a task he considers pointless. But things quickly fall apart. Steve, forced to reconsider his path, realizes that the curveball life has thrown at him is an opportunity to find his true purpose. This spiritual odyssey is about to transform him beyond his wildest dreams.

A powerful lesson follows each chapter, making up the SPARK that transforms Steve’s life: Selflessness, Purpose, Attraction, Resilience and Knowing.

This SPARK is hidden within you too. It may be dormant now, but awakening to it will catapult you from the “Present You” to the “Best You.” It’s time to light up your SPARK today.

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“What are you missing in your life?” I’ve put that question to successful leaders all over the world. Not surprisingly, I often hear similar answers: purpose, fulfillment, happiness, balance and the like. What I’ve found is that many of us resign ourselves to vigorously chasing classic ideals of success without realizing that it is, in fact, “significance” that we seek. The truth is, no matter your age, position or status, connecting your daily functions with authentic intentions and values is imperative. Otherwise, we are simply hamsters on a wheel—covering miles and miles in distance, yet never truly moving forward towards our desired destinations. Sure, there is some physical benefit from such rooted motion. But over time, it has a negative effect on matters of the heart and mind, creating a domino effect that has ongoing ramifications for our own lives and society at large. The subtitle of this book, “Journey from Success to Significance,” was borne from my own expeditions and explorations, all of which helped me form a steadfast belief: that we are all destined, by our very nature, to be explorers— pioneers who intrinsically understand that it is the journey, and not the destination, that matters. It is the twists and turns of life that guide our principles. What I wish for you to discover is that a life of significance is not some unattainable, pie-in-the-sky dream. Rather, it is a genuine pursuit that begins with a simple acknowledgment and appreciation of what already lies within you: Natural traits fuelled by a SPARK!

About the Author:Azim Jamal is one of the finest inspirational life-altering personalities with a global following. He is the CEO and founder of Corporate Sufi Worldwide, whose mission is to inspire individuals and corporations to unleash the power within and find harmony between Business, Balance and Beyond.

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The Spirit of Harriet Tubman by Spring Washam – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Spring Washam will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, who was called the Moses of her people, is rising again, and we can call forth her spirit to embody incredible strength and unwavering courage. Combining direct transmissions of Harriet’s message with insightful explorations of her life and legacy, this extraordinary book gives us support and inspiration to deepen our roots of resilience and become powerful conductors of love and truth in our own lives.

We can learn how to remain fearless in the face of hatred and confusion. And through Harriet Tubman’s guidance, we will learn how to meet the challenges of this moment with a compassionate heart.

Spring’s previous works have been praised by Publishers Weekly as “bring[ing] considerable gifts for conveying her vision of personal change and offer[ing] vivid, inspiring testimony to the power of Buddhism.” And now, she inspires a new generation of activists to carry her message and her work forward.

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One day while meditating in my tree house, it dawned on me that others might be interested in Harriet and maybe others were having a similar experience to mine. As I shared my story, my friend Joselyn encouraged me to teach a class on the Dharma of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. So, I did. I organized a Zoom class to meet on five straight Sunday mornings. I had no idea if this would interest anyone, but I felt it was important for me to share Harriet’s courageous spirit with others. I posted a flyer on the Internet and sent it to my mailing list, and within a week and a half, hundreds of people had registered. These people were clearly interested in Harriet Tubman’s life and how it intersected with the Dharma; my beloved assistant and I were flooded with e-mails from all over the world. I was awestruck and excited. Who would have imagined there were so many people as passionate about Harriet as I was!

Our Sunday online classes were overflowing with spiritual teachings, guided meditations, and gospel music. I shared the inspiring stories I was learning about Harriet and her Underground Railroad allies. I was bringing hope and inspiration to others, and to myself. I got to speak a lot, but so did others. There were so many wise people present, and I called on many of them to share their wisdom and experiences. What started out as a five-week class became a five-month “Church of Harriet Tubman” journey, and it carried us through the presidential election of 2020. Hundreds of people from all around the world brought their open hearts to our Sunday services, and during those two hours together, we laughed, cried, prayed up a storm, and then we danced. So many of us felt this deep connection with Harriet and were also feeling her magic and her power in our daily lives. We uplifted one another so much that we all cried when it ended. It was a multicultural, interfaith, intergenerational, international community. Those two hours each week for five months were beautiful, and downright holy.

About the Author: Spring Washam is a well-known meditation and dharma teacher based in Oakland, California. She is a founding member and core teacher at the East Bay Meditation Center located in downtown Oakland. She is the founder of Lotus Vine Journeys, an organization that blends indigenous healing practices with Buddhist wisdom. She was trained by Jack Kornfield and has studied numerous meditation practices and Buddhist philosophy since 1997. She is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council. In addition to being a teacher, she is also a healer, facilitator, spiritual activist, and writer. Spring is considered a pioneer in bringing mindfulness-based healing practices into diverse communities. She has studied indigenous healing practices and shamanic practices for over a decade. She has practiced and studied under some of the most preeminent meditation masters in both the Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism. She currently travels and teaches workshops, classes, and retreats worldwide.

For more information on Spring Washam, or to follow her social media for event updates, inspiring quotes, and images.

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The File by Gary Born – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gary Born will be awarding a $20 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.

Debut author Gary Born erupts into the literary scene with a nail-biting thriller centered on international espionage in “The File.” Leaning into his experience as a preeminent international lawyer, Born weaves an exciting tale that spans Africa, the Middle East and Europe in a relentless pursuit of WWII Nazi intel that will enthrall the reader from the first page.

Enter Sara West, a tenacious botany graduate student on a scientific expedition in the heart of the African jungle. During her research, she stumbles upon a cache of WWII Nazi files in the wreck of a German bomber hidden deep within the jungle. Those hidden files reveal the location of a multibillion-dollar war chest, secretly deposited by the Nazis in numbered Swiss bank accounts at the end of WWII. But Sara isn’t the only one interested in the war chest. Former KGB agent Ivan Petronov and Franklin Kerrington III, deputy director of the CIA, both have deeply personal reasons for acquiring the files Sara has found.

With two dangerous men — and their teams of hit men — on her trail, will Sara be able to escape the jungle alive?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):

Excerpt One:

She spent the afternoon in the car, trying to make sense of the past four weeks. She still hadn’t fully digested what had happened. She wondered if she ever would. Her life had been ordered and comfortable — a fiancé and a promising career. She had been a relatively normal, well-adjusted graduate student, with a predictable, reasonably settled life. Exotic treks in obscure jungles were a little out of the ordinary, but tenure at a good university, marriage and kids lay reliably ahead. And she had been happy. Or at least content.

That was all gone now. Two teams of trained killers were probably still hunting her, willing to stop at nothing to get their hands on the files that she had found in the jungle. She was having tea with another killer in the middle of the Libyan desert, and she was about to be smuggled into Italy by yet other killers. And, truth be told, she was not that different from any of these men, not anymore, as her bamboo spears and the grenades had revealed.

She realized, with a sort of clinical detachment, that she didn’t know herself anymore, that she didn’t really know who she had been or who she had become. Which of the people was really her — the geeky botanist and happy girlfriend, the terrified victim, running for her life, or the killer with the bamboo spears and machete? She wasn’t sure anymore.

About the Author:Gary Born is widely regarded as the world’s preeminent authority on international commercial arbitration and international litigation. He has been ranked for more than 20 years as one of the world’s leading international arbitration advocates and authors. “The File” is his debut novel. Connect with Gary on LinkedIn.

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The Best Vacation I Ever Had by Chad L.E. McGhie – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Chad L.E McGhie will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Best Vacation I Ever Had

As kids, my brother and I were fortunate to go on many trips, and not always with our parents. The best vacation I ever had was whenever my grandparents drove my brother and I down to Disneyland. We left from Drayton Valley, Alberta, the small town that we grew up in, and I got to sit in the front seat for most of the trip down the midwestern United States. While a lot of it was fleeting, the lights and deserts of Las Vegas remain ingrained in my mind, with the tall buildings of Salt Lake City around them. And then, the images of California are fond memories, and I realize now how blessed and lucky I was to have gotten to go. Disneyland did not disappoint: from the moment we arrived, I became lost in the lights, splendor, and delight that surrounded us at every corner. Shops full of candy and merchandise, our favorite characters greeted us, and we even got to see the parade down mainstreet. Rides and music were everywhere, seemingly arrayed in an endless tapestry of entertainment: the Disneyland Hotel was just as magical, with Goofy’s Kitchen providing laughs and joy in abundance – even if the food was not as inspiring. Splash Mountain was my favorite ride, and I had to chuckle to myself whenever Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson posted a picture of him on it recently to his Instagram. It made me recall the vacation we took again, and how long ago that magical journey was, and just what kind of energy that we were immersed in. Life is a funny ride, and it was a good reminder to make sure to set time aside to enjoy my own family more. There were many great vacations, but the trip to Disneyland was something that is rare and difficult to mimic without the proper resources. We even got to Universal Studios, which was a huge treat, despite the rain that was pounding California that day. If I could go and relive it again, I would in a heartbeat. Writing about my favorite vacation again now, even, seems like a dream, as if it were a lost memory that hardly seems real.

Not all fires are welcoming.

After decades of war, this had never been more true for the neighboring kingdoms of Tristren and Zemotze. Locked in a tense armistice, there was a promise of a treaty in the air. However, as the Blademage Volgare flees from his enemies, he can see through the wall of deception that clouds the land.

Meanwhile, in the bustling city of Brigandee, the shadow of the weapon known as the Tragik has crept in closer than comfortable. The young man named Hinro Gaskette lives a simple life, expecting little other than to be a soldier like his father before him.

Those expectations are shattered, however, when tragedy awakens a nightmarish power from within . . .

Enjoy an Excerpt

“You humans come with all sorts of trickery. Elves are no different – I am a lover of riches, but an even larger admirer of strength. To you, it seems that the Zemotze are merely power hungry. But, their mission is to establish dominance in the world that is supposed to be in place…it seems necessary, no? The world is weak, Volgare, and the Zemotze only seek to make it stronger. The time of Tristren is over. Your armies, your monarchy…and even your weapons have fallen to them.”

Volgare tried to pull himself free, but was surprised to have a shock of lightning run through him as he did. The sting lasted for merely a second, but it was strong. He breathed slowly to relieve the pain.

A laugh came now from the cold voice. He knelt down beside Volgare, his breath becoming profound to the ear. “You tell me where the rest of your bloodline lives, and you may just be fortunate enough to leave this barn once again.”

“I am the last,” Volgare replied, voice raspy now. A foot met his stomach, and the earth met his face once again. “Deceit will only bring death – not like that is avoidable in the broad picture. Even now, my master’s army marches south through your lands. It is already over, Volgare.”

Swallowing, Volgare only breathed heavily, praying that the assassin’s words were false.

Leaning so close Volgare could smell his breath, the elf whispered. “We can end this peacefully…you could put your bloodline to a well placed, and even applauded…use.”

About the Author:Chad L.E McGhie, also known as Chad W. McGhie, is a diverse and exciting entertainer from Alberta, Canada. A father of five, author, and hip-hop musican, his life is full of adventure and excitement that he only hopes translates into his creative works. Whether you are enjoying his music, attending a performance, or now reading his novels, Chad L.E McGhie aims to please his audiences wherever they may be.

You can find Chad L.E McGhie on YouTube, streaming platforms, most social media websites, as well as his website.

Chad sincerely hopes you enjoy the journey that is Legend of the Tragik, and thanks you for coming along.

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My Ideal Writing Space by Barb Jones – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will award a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner and a signed copy of the book to another randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. Please note that this book is being made into a movie. Filming begins in May 2023.

My Ideal Writing Space

I believe for an author, the ideal writing space should be a space where they can truly be free and creative. I have heard many authors say how much they need peace and quiet, while others may need a room free of distractions. As for me, I can’t write in those settings. I will write anywhere a thought comes to mind – the grocery store, the gym, at home, on a date, you name it.

But what is my ideal writing space? As I write this, I am actually chuckling about all the places where I am most comfortable writing. My ideal space is where I can blast my music loud (without scaring my cat) and with chocolate! With hard rock, I can pump out a lot of chapters in one sitting without needing a break. If I need to take a break, I simply walk over to my indoor gym and lift weights before going back to writing. Some have called me an undisciplined writer because of my ideal environment but the music and being able to lift weights in between several chapters at a time, allows my creativity to flourish.

I’ve wondered about my ideal writing space at times. By talking to friends and of course to my mom (I’m very close to her) about this, I learned that my brain just doesn’t shut off. When I heard that, I realized how true it was. My ideal space for studying for school was always where the loud noises were in the house or where I could do pushups, or anything physical. When I became a homeowner years ago, I always had to make sure I had a place for working out and letting my neighbors know that there will always be loud music because I am just that kind of writer. And it’s where my creativity soars into places imaginable and where I can create characters my readers can relate to.

Birthright. Protector. Heaven. Hell.

A lone demon hunter, his true birthright unknown, roams the streets of Los Angeles while killing demons to prevent atrocities against the world. As the son of Asmodeus, Sully is a hunter feared by both demons and angels. His world was not the same once he walked into a bar and offered to help Mick, a gothic bartender.

Mick worried about her missing friend until the day she met Sully. The minute he walked into her bar and offered his help, her world changed. Secrets of her destiny unlocked, and he was at her side everywhere she turned. Friend. Protector.

Can they live with the secrets that are revealed to them? Will they survive the chase for the truth between Heaven and Hell?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Demon hunter.”

“Prick,” was all John had to say before the demon made the first strike.

As the demon punched John in the side of his face, he shook off the initial shock. Tasting a drop of blood from the corner of his mouth, John cocked his head to the left and then to the right while flexing his neck muscles. Before the demon could land a second blow, John pulled out his blade. The blade was black, cut uniquely, and the hilt bore symbols that were not known to many outside the inner circle of Hell. As he angled the blade to hit the light a bit more, the demon’s eyes grew narrow.

John realized the demon was more afraid of the blade than him. He used that fear against the demon. He waved the blade, taunting his enemy. Tossing the blade from hand-to-hand excited John before the kill while he watched the demon’s fear grow.

“You smell of Asteroth. What does he want with me? Do you like my toy? Want to play with it, prick?”

“Too many questions, hunter. Asteroth wants your head; then again, don’t we all?” The demon snickered while shifting in his stance. “This body, do you like it, hunter? I thought it would be capable of killing you. This body is strong, hunter. Strong enough to kill you.” The demon shifted in the body he possessed and then went to move closer to John.

About the AuthorBarb Jones is an author of paranormal romance and horror for adults, including her best selling series Blood Prophecy and her newest series, Heaven and Hell. She was born and raised in Hawaii, where her love for the supernatural began. When not writing, she is not only an IT professional but a mother of two highly gifted young adults, who are her inspiration. She can be found haunting bookstores, enjoying ghost tours, traveling, chatting with her readers, and baking. You can chat with Barb on Instagram at @thebloodprophecy or check out her website at www.thebloodprophecy.com.

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Broken by J.B. Knowles – Spotlight and Giveaway

Long and Short Reviews welcomes J.B. Knowles who is celebrating the recent release of Broken, the first book in the Oathtaker series. Enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post for a chance to wn a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

After countless battles as an Oathtaker, Katya is about to face her hardest fight—one for her mind and soul.

Katya Greenleaf has given herself over to the thrill of combat countless times during her years as an Oathtaker. Alongside her mentor Shira, she has sought out evil—pirates, slavers, dark mages and demon hordes. Occasionally, she finds comfort in the company of other females she encounters in her travels, and despite her mother’s best efforts, she has no desire to settle for a traditional elven life and family.

After decades of taking joy from the fight, no matter the odds, Katya leads a group of Oathtakers into a disastrous battle, one which costs the lives of everyone around her, including Shira. Katya survives, but with neither body nor spirit intact, haunted by her life of violence and death in the name of her Oath.

Now, the red-haired warrior will find her greatest challenge in a battle against a different sort of demon—ones that live in her mind and haunt her sleep.

As she heals, Katya is reminded that there is more to life than blood and iron by a compelling human named Lili, who not only catches Katya’s interest, but forces her to re-think her life and her mission.

With Lili at her side, her beloved falcon Fayne on her shoulder and healers encouraging her, Katya sets out to re-discover the warrior she once was and finally confront the truths of what happened the day the world collapsed around her.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and the death of a minor character.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The swamp went against everything Katya had ever learned about choosing a battlefield.

She stood in freezing knee-high water surrounded by small islands of reed-covered sand. Thick mist hung in the air, limiting her vision and rendering her favoured weapon, a crossbow, useless.

The fog was freezing and damp, and despite the enchantments on the leather armour she wore, a chill was creeping into her bones. In that, Katya wasn’t alone. The other members of her party were also complaining about the wet and frosty surroundings.

The swirling mist made sounds duller and flatter, but with her better-than-human hearing, Katya could hear the clicks and whistles that made up the language of the lizard men that were closing in on them. They were savage and bloodthirsty creatures, given to torture and enslaving defeated enemies, fighting to the last with massive clubs of wood and jagged stone axes.

Today it was Katya’s job to lead the fight against this party of lizard men, sending a message from local merchants and crafters’ guilds that it was time the lizards put a halt to their destruction of trade missions and killing of travelling merchants passing through the area, and that their immediate departure from the swamp would be appreciated.

The responsibility weighed on Katya, despite her eagerness to mix it up, and because of this, she was not happy with what was going to be a horrible place for a stand-up fight.

Still, neither weather nor terrain mattered to Katya. Oathtakers didn’t just head into battle when the skies were sunny and pleasant. Dead enemies were dead no matter where their bodies ended up.

The mist beside her parted and Shira appeared, his beard caked with frost. Katya knew her own long hair looked the same, even though she wore it tied back. Function over form was the warrior’s way.

The old ranger gestured with his chin towards the swamp.

“Ugly spot.”

“I’ve seen worse. That garbage pit on the coast? Blah.”

Shira laughed. “I’ll never forget that smell. Nor the rats.”

Katya suppressed the shudder that rolled up her back. Gods, the rats, she remembered. Vile and voracious monsters that had wiped out all the wild animals in a huge area around the garbage dump. When they had moved on to livestock, the farmers in the area were desperate for help. The Oathtakers had answered the call.

The rats had been the same size as large dogs, with yellow eyes and even yellower teeth—one of them had bitten straight through a party member’s leather gauntlet. When all was said and done, everyone in the fray had ended up with scratches and bites from the filthy beasts that needed to be well-cleaned before infection set in.

Their foul bloodstains never had come off Katya’s armour completely, no matter how often she scrubbed them.

“I think the lizards will give them a run for their money today.”

Shira’s face took on the more serious look that Katya was accustomed to—his war-face. “They may, aye. What did our friend in the sky say?”

Katya looked up, straining to see. “I haven’t talked to her yet. Do you want me to call her in?”

“May as well. She’ll have seen all she can by now. No sense in letting her freeze.”

Katya nodded. She pursed her lips and whistled, making an odd yet pleasant musical sound, then waited.

In a few seconds, a dark shadow, one of Katya’s most valuable weapons and allies, plummeted out of the misty sky.

About the Author J.B. Knowles has been a lifelong lover of works of fantasy, first creating Katya and the Greenleaf family in high school as roleplaying characters.

After a long career in the fields of justice and mental health, J.B. finally had a chance to build a full world on paper for Katya and to breathe new life into adventures started over thirty years ago.

J.B. is married and has two sons and three dogs who all share an stately old farmhouse in a quiet corner of Canada.

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