Creating a Natural Character by Norm Harris – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norm Harris 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.

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Your goal is to craft relatable and vivid characters, but let’s exchange “character” for “living people.” Ernest Hemingway said, “When writing a novel, a writer should create living people, people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”

Creating a profile is a popular technique for developing genuine personas for your story. Sometimes your stories are born out of a person, while others begin with a plot shaping your person. A detailed profile will help shape a narrative and provide a handy reference point for their personality traits, backstory, goals, flaws, and challenges.

If you have done an excellent job trait building, your description of your person will bring him/her/it to life. I have lived with my fictional people for years. I thought I knew my protagonist Faydra pretty well. I recently learned something about her from a reviewer. “From the beginning, I connected with Faydra. She’s a flawed character who kicks butt on all levels, but her insecurities make me love her even more. No one relates to a perfect character.” I had not considered her “flawed” and “insecure.”

Your person will begin with a bundle of ideas and traits developed in your story outline. An example of a particular person or archetype can help narrow your focus. The personas in literature, mythology, and the human experience: are the hero, villain, lover, spirit, queen, and so on.

Our people profiles provide guidelines for their behaviors, emotions, and actions. For example, my Faydra is a lawyer/detective who is naturally curious, restless, and driven to push boundaries. She must be a Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Annalise Keating wrapped in one. You will want to layer characteristics and transform them from one to another as the storyline progresses. Adding an image to represent your character would be a good idea.

Once you’ve defined your person’s personality, you can begin to shape your person and make her an original. Create a bond between your readers, and work towards the desired outcome. Another example, again from a reviewer, “Arid Sea was a very intense and sad read that had me in tears on more than one occasion. I felt bad for Fay after she lost her memory, and some of the things that went on in Arid Sea just broke my heart.”

Create a backstory for your person. What is the journey she has taken up to this point? Her journey will allow you to examine her fears, weaknesses, and motivations. For my Faydra, being the daughter of a U.S. President, cursed her. She is never certain any of her accomplishments are of her own doing or because of her father’s famous influence.

Your person must have a personality that stretches beyond the story itself. She has to be bigger than life. Even somewhat flamboyant. What about her will a reader find attractive about her? Why is she different than anyone they know?

And let’s give her some quirks and faults while we are at it. She comes from an authentic grounding. She can be a bit extraordinary. In my Spider Green Series, Faydra is sometimes overconfident, impatient, and reckless. And she is sweet, intelligent, kind, generous, caring, and funny. These traits can add new dimensions to a hero and make them feel more relatable.

A believable character evolves as your story evolves. Just like real people, they adapt and respond to life’s events.

Consider where your person begins and how she changes along with developments in the story. We see Faydra overcoming obstacles by stepping back to gain a fresh perspective. Or when she decides to develop a friendship with a mob boss or an obnoxious CNN journalist. And in The Girl Who Knew Death, Faydra’s persona wins her the admiration of Azrael, The Angel of Death. Probably a hard thing to do?

Visual references and inspiration can help bring your character to life when writing a novel. It helps to have an image in your mind of how your person appears to you. Does she look like your aunt Jean? Jennifer Lawrence? or your lawyer, Sue Yu?

Do not give your person too much responsibility for the drama in your story. Begin to build your supporting cast who compliment and contrast the traits of your person. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My Faydra is so sweet she would not harm a spider, so I was tasked with creating a man so evil she had to kill him. While at the same time, justify her need to kill him in the reader’s minds as well. Again, to create an over-the-top despicable man was my challenge. Again, here is how a reviewer stated her feelings about this man, “I don’t think Faydra is prepared for Justine. I fear what is to come. He is a PIG…In her words, ’a perverted douchebag’, but I feel he is so much worse than that. Depraved and Dangerous.”

In the end, we have created your natural fictional person. Your friend! Did you have one of those imaginary friends when you were a child? When you start to make-believe with her, it will lead to the backstory and perhaps the story itself. Next, tell your spouse, partner, or real friend about your fictional person as if this is a new friend. Who is she? What does she like/dislike? What does she look like? Have a discussion about your person. What questions develop during your talk about your person? This conversation will help you know your person better and create this person in your mind as if they are real.

Fruit of a Poisonous Tree, Book 1

Navy SEALs, with the help of a former president’s daughter, hijack the Russian Guided Missile Cruiser Moskva to stop a North Korean missile crisis.

Navy JAG lawyer Faydra ‘Spider’ Green is the daughter of former President William Green. His power and influence plagues her every move and she contemplate if her achievements are from her own merits or his. Faydra is both nervous and eager as she undertakes her first homicide investigation —the brutal murder of a Navy SEAL. Faydra discovers the accused man, a Special Ops Marine war hero, may be innocent thanks to her astonishing deductive capabilities. The Navy is using her as a pawn in an intricate cover-up. Will Faydra play along or leak the cover-up?

Seasoned Navy Sea Captain Egan Fletcher struggles to balance his Navy career with raising a son alone after his wife died eight years ago. When the Navy purposefully pairs him with Faydra, the two embark on an adrenaline-laced adventure. The top-secret mission will propel them halfway around the world in an attempt to avert a catastrophic act of biological warfare.

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Puget Sound and the mystique of Asia, Faydra is a paradox: one minute she is pure as the driven snow and the next minute she thrusts herself into harm’s way, ignorant of the consequences. Determined to complete her mission at any cost, she defies logic and throws herself into dangerous situations. Will she succeed where everyone else has failed?

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree is book one in the riveting Spider Green Mystery Thriller series. If you enjoy razor-sharp dialogue, strong-willed characters, suspense, twists, and high-octane action, you’ll want to start reading this fast-paced adventure today.

Arid Sea, Book 2

Faydra “Spider” Green is a spirited Navy lawyer who wants nothing more than to do the right thing and see justice done. After reconciling with her father, former President William Green, Fay is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Alvin Joe, a retired admiral. He has vanished – seemingly into thin air – from his Florida home, along with secret files for a top-secret military weapon. Alongside her bubbly, quick-witted sister and a handsome, affable Sheriff, Fay sets out to track down Joe. But she soon finds herself embroiled in a deeper and far more sinister plot involving an unscrupulous corporation, the mafia, and a truly evil man who has his sights set on destroying her.

Deception Pass, Book 3

Faydra “Spider” Green has had a storied career as a Navy lawyer, all while juggling being the daughter of a former U.S. President. She has successfully navigated complex diplomatic situations, pulse-pounding legal investigations, and dangerous military missions, managing each time to save the day. But now, Fay finds herself faced with a task unlike anything she has ever tackled before: fierce mafioso Roman Justine, the man who had nearly cost Fay her life, has seemingly returned from the dead. Now, Justine, hellbent on revenge, poses a threat to Fay and national security. Fay will have to go to extraordinary lengths to stop him, even tampering with the bounds of time and space.

The Girl Who Knew Death, Book 4

Katrinka Lavrova is a young Russian espionage agent discovered by Russian Navy Captain Lavrov at the age of nineteen. Katrinka worked as both a spy and a sparrow since age thirteen to support her aged parents. Lavrov rescues the woman and becomes her guardian. Captain Lavrov introduces Katrinka to Fay. Fay asks Katrinka to help her steal the top-secret plans from Roman Justine’s office safe. Fay grows fond of Kat and offers her a fresh start in the United States. Katrinka dares to hope for a better life by accepting Fay’s offer.

Navy lawyer and former First Daughter Faydra (Fay) Green is no longer quite so haunted by the dark events of her recent past and is hoping for some well-deserved rest. But her world is once again turned upside down when a shocking secret about her adopted daughter, Katrinka (Kat), is revealed. But before Fay can help Kat make any decisions about her future, Kat is captured and thrown into an Egyptian prison. She manages to escape but must flee to safety across Europe, trying to stay one step ahead of several mysterious pursuers. Soon, Fay and Kat discover they are being chased by more than ordinary forces – Azrael, the Angel of Death, has taken a puzzling interest in their situation and a dangerous demon appears to be stalking Kat’s every move. It will take all of Fay’s strength and ingenuity to meet these and other challenges looming ahead of her, while Kat must ask herself what she truly wants out of life.

Enjoy an Excerpt from FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE

“The killer? But consider this,” Fay said. “Paul was a valuable piece of Navy property. A million-dollar investment. when you stop to consider all of the training those SEALs go through.”

“I see what ya mean, ma’am. It would be expensive to replace him. To kill him would be costly.”

“There would have to be a very compelling reason for someone to want to execute him,” Fay said. “An argument between Paul and Simon is not a compelling reason, given the circumstances. Otherwise, Simon would be in big trouble with whomever he reports to. And yet he doesn’t seem to be.”

“Yet, Sergeant Linn has a Get Out of Jail Free card,” Pearce said.

“Yes. The Navy knows why and how Paul died.”

“Sanctioned?”

“More than likely.”

“But why, ma’am, was Paul killed in such a demonstrative way? I mean, you’d think someone would just tag him and bag him and throw him in the trunk of a car. Takes him to a wreckin’ yard and then turns him and the car into scrap metal. Kind of like they did to Jimmy Hoffa.”

Fay wondered where Pearce came up with some of her facts. She felt tempted to ask but decided it would be better to just let it go for the time being. “I wondered about that too,” she continued. “Unless someone wanted to draw a certain amount of attention to his death. To set an example for others to see.”

“Like leavin’ a trail?”

“Accountants call it an audit trail. Paul was a man who lived his life in the shadows, a ‘shadow warrior,’ Towsley called him. But the way he died placed him center stage and in the spotlight.”

“I see what ya mean.”

“I do know my meeting with Andrew Lawrence the other night at the Pollywog was not an accident,” Fay said. “And I would have never interviewed Wu and De Vinsone unless someone allowed it to happen.”

“Admiral May?”

Fay nodded. “I did some checking on Admiral Brandon May, by the way.”

“And?”

“Nada. There are several Admirals named May. When I tried to access their records, all were classified. And no one was named Brandon May.”

“No surprise.” Pearce pondered for a moment and then said, “Interestin’.”

“Even more interesting, I did locate a V. B. May. A flag assigned to the Pentagon. His present assignment is classified, but his biography says he was, at one time, a Terminator.”

“NCIS!?” Pearce’s eyes widened in surprise. “You gotta be kiddin’!”

About the Author: Norm Harris’ first novel debuted on an Amazon bestseller list in 2002. It was a one-and-done, but now he’s back with a plan to publish a couple of sequels to that first mystery/thriller of days gone by. Except for time spent in military service, he is a second-generation Seattleite (that’s what they call those who dwell in the shadow of Mt. Rainier), with his legal beagle son, K-K, and five giant tropical fish. His upcoming release, Arid Sea, is the third book in what he hopes to be an award-winning Spider Green Mystery Story series.

Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy Fruit of the Poisonous Tree, Arid Sea, Deception Pass, and The Girl Who Knew Death from Amazon.

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Origin Story of Cloud Canyon by Rachel Kowert

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dr. Rachel Kowert PhD will be awarding a $75 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC or 1 copy each of the 3 Cloud Canyon books (available in November) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Origin Story

The initial inspiration for Tales from Cloud Canyon came to me in 2019 when my daughter was 4 years old. I was lucky enough to pick up about a hundred different paperback books at a garage sale of a former teacher and had started reading her a new book every night before bed. After a few weeks of this, I started to notice a theme: there were very few books with female protagonists and when there were, they were pigeonholed into a damsel in distress or only successfully navigated their challenges with the use of superpowers. While there is nothing wrong with a female superhero or a knight in shining armor, I wanted something different.

After a bit of digging, I realized there was a dramatic lack of representation in children’s literature. The Nielson 2018 book scan report found that of the top 100 best-selling children’s books, 1 in 5 did not feature a single female character, only 2 out of the top 100 featured a black, Asian, or minority ethnic character in a central role ( with 70% of the black, Asian, or ethnic characters were in non-speaking roles) and only 1 out of the top 100 featured a disabled child but they did not speak or have a key role.

Fueled with discontent, I called my friend who runs a small micro press and told her she needed to write or commission some books with strong female characters at the heart of them. She told me I should write them. At the time, this made me audibly laugh! However, after sitting with her words and fueled by her encouragement, I decided to open up my notes section in my phone and give it a try. In less than two weeks I had written what ended up becoming the first collection in the Tales from Cloud Canyon Universe: the 26 stories of Pragmatic Princess. In 2019, I successfully kickstarted these stories as the collection Pragmatic Princess: 26 Superb Stories of Self-Sufficiency and raised more than $25,000 in 30 days and earned an INDIES award for educational children’s picture books (so I guess I can write children’s books!)

Over the last few years, I have continued to write and expand the Cloud Canyon universe and am excited to announce that I am launching a second Kickstarter June 4 for a BRAND NEW collection of three topical short stories: Here, There, & Everywhere, Invisible Friends, and The Secret to Success. These stories were the ones that I felt were still missing from my children’s library.

As a mom and a psychologist, I feel like I had a unique perspective to bring when it came to crafting the actual building blocks of the stories. The fictional characters in childhood stories are some of our earliest teachers. We learn a range of things through the observation of these symbolic models, such as what is right and wrong, desirable and undesirable behavior, gender roles, norms, stereotypes, and more. The role of models is particularly influential in childhood as it can have a long lasting impact on intellectual, social, emotional and moral development. I am so proud of this new collection and hope you and your children find them inspiring too!


THE STORIES

Tales from Cloud Canyon is a series of character driven, topical short stories celebrating the everyday child, doing everyday things, with their everyday abilities designed for children aged 3+. Developed by a research psychologist and mom of 3, these stories were developed to be entertaining, educational, and celebrate the power of the everyday within our the beautiful, diverse world.

This Kickstarter collection features three topical short stories from the Cloud Canyon Universe: Here, There, & Everywhere, The Secret to Success, and Invisible Friends. Each of these titles are fully illustrated from artist Randall Hampton and are about 25 pages long.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE WRITING


The fictional characters in childhood stories are some of our earliest teachers. We learn a range of things through the observation of these symbolic models, such as what is right and wrong, a desirable and undesirable behavior, gender roles, norms, stereotypes, and more. The role of models is particularly influential in childhood as it can have a long lasting impact on development.

Each story in this collection was developed to not only be entertaining but educational as well, with the stories’ characters modeling a range of age-appropriate skills spanning four areas of human development: intellectual, social, emotional, and moral. The skills that are modeled within any particular story are displayed on the back cover of each book and explained in more detail on the last page of the book.

DIVERSITY, REPRESENTATION & INCLUSION


Tales from Cloud Canyon changes the narrative by reflecting and celebrating the beautiful and diverse reality of our world. The characters within the Cloud Canyon Universe were developed to represent a range of shapes, sizes, abilities and disabilities, and traditional and non-traditional families.

In the Cloud Canyon universe:


-More than half the characters are female

-More than half the characters come from an ethnic-minority background

-1 in 10 characters have a visible disability

-Characters come from traditional and non-traditional families

-Different body shapes are represented

-she/her, he/him, and they/them pronouns are represented

It was also equally important that these details were not the central theme of the stories themselves as our shape, level of ability, and what our family unit looks like are just some of the many parts of who we are and not necessarily the defining feature of our stories.



PRODUCTION AND RELEASE


All of the stories have been written and are currently being brought to life through the illustrative magic of Randall Hampton. The physical production of the books is expected to start in June 2022. Time from production to shipping is about 6 – 8 weeks (+/- 2-4 additional weeks due to COVID delays). Once Rachel receives the books, they will be shipped to backers. There is an expected arrival date of the books no later than November 2022.




Enjoy an Excerpt

Invisible Friends tells the story of Winnie and Yuna. On a playdate, Winnie finds Yuna is talking to strangers online and sharing personal information. which I know is an ever-present discussion in many homes. This story discusses the how’s and why’s of navigating online stranger danger.

Excerpt:

After a while, Yuna softly said to her friend,

“I’m sorry about earlier, down in the den

I just thought it would be fun to meet someone new.

I didn’t want to do something to upset you.”

Winnie smiled, “I know, it’s just I’ve seen the headlines,

We stay safe by not talking to strangers online.

You can’t see them, you don’t know who they really are,

and they don’t know you, it is all a bit bizarre.”

“It’s like when I venture off to play outside,

When I am online, all of the same rules apply.

I wouldn’t walk into a stranger’s house to chat,

Or invite the mailman inside to pet my cat.

If I don’t really know someone, I stay aware,

Of all the risks – I was upset because I care.”

“I like to make new friends, too, really I promise,

But you can’t tell if strangers are truly honest.

Online everyone’s invisible, it’s scary,

Because of that, it is best to remain wary.

With ‘invisible friends’ the risks are much greater.”

Winnie said she was a great de-escalator.


About the Author:

Dr. Rachel Kowert is a research psychologist, award-winning author and mom of three. In 2019, she launched her first Kickstarter project from the Cloud Canyon universe was a collection of female centered stories entitled Pragmatic Princess: 26 stories of self sufficiency and raised more than $25,000 in 30 days and won an INDIES award for educational children’s picture book.


ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Randall Hampton is an author, illustrator, husband and father of 3. He is the Creator of “The Little Game Master” series of books and considers himself a story teller above all else. When he is not spending time with family and friends, Randall enjoys reading, video games, music, and table top games of all sorts.

Amazon Author Page | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

Check out the Kickstarter Campaign and see how you can get the books.

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The Hardest Part of Writing by Tanith Davenport – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Tanith Davenport 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.

The hardest part about writing is… the beginning and the end

I could argue that every part of writing has its own challenges, but there are two in particular that I always dread. Starting a new story and, of course, writing the synopsis afterwards.

Beginning a new story is always a nightmare for me. Not only do I need to introduce the characters in a way that will grab people, I also have to come up with an introductory scene that works as a good hook. Do I open with dialogue? Description? A surprise? And I have never liked finding a way to physically describe my heroine. We’ve all seen the cliché where the heroine looks at herself in a mirror – I try to avoid that, but always struggle to find a decent opening for it.

And then there’s the synopsis. Blurbs are fine – they’re designed to sell the story quickly and without ruining the plot – but the whole point of a synopsis is that it gives the whole plot and yet still has to grab the reader. Sometimes I feel like the synopsis takes more preparation than the entire story. It can be a humbling experience, as you try to prune your story down to its basic components and then instantly convince yourself that it sounds like crap.

Fortunately the fun part – writing the rest of the story – usually makes up for the bookended suffering. And for me it’s all worth it when I get to see my new cover art. There’s nothing quite like seeing an amazing cover for your new book, and luckily Totally Bound have a great cover art team.

Maybe next time I’ll start the book in the middle and write the beginning later.

Amber Blake is fleeing a terrible betrayal in her past by touring with rock band Puppetmaster as a make-up artist with her best friend Elyse. Knowing the band is struggling, she hopes to use her make-up skills to reinvent their image, but when a member of the crew drops out, Amber finds herself asked to contribute in a different way – in the form of heated sexual conversations with hot lead singer Cassian Marsh to put him in top form before every concert.

Despite her past, Amber is unable to resist Cassian’s charm and raw energy, and enjoys knowing she can drive him wild with just her voice – but their increasingly passionate meetings leave her longing for more. Can she move past the betrayal she suffered – and can she convince a man as commitment-phobic as Cassian to break his no-dating rule and let her into his heart?

enjoy an Excerpt

The music changed to a darker, heavier track and Amber felt goosebumps rise on her skin. If You’re Cold. This was one of their best ones.

Watching Cassian perform was definitely the best part of her job. During the day she never allowed her gaze to linger on him—at night was a different matter. At night she could hide in the shadows, no longer having to deal with the masks they wore every day.

Cassian behind his mask was just so…real.

But she had had enough musician boyfriends to know getting involved with another would be a bad idea, even if the men of Puppetmaster hadn’t been perpetually unavailable. Nate’s relationship with Elyse was considered a blip. Cassian hadn’t had a girlfriend in years.

And Cassian, she knew, was well out of reach.

But, God, was he worth looking at.

His lean, muscular arms exposed by his leather waistcoat, his slim hips, the tattoos that decorated his taut stomach, tempting her to follow their lines with her tongue. The way his sweat glistened on his skin as he moved, catching her eye with every motion.

But Amber knew, even if it were possible, it would be a very, very bad idea.

And she had had enough bad ideas to last a lifetime.

About the Author Tanith Davenport began writing erotica at the age of 27 by way of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. Her debut novel “The Hand He Dealt” was released by Totally Bound in June 2011 and was shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award for 2012.

Tanith has had short stories published by Naughty Nights Press and House of Erotica. She loves to travel and dreams of one day taking a driving tour of the United States, preferably in a classic 1950s pink Cadillac Eldorado.

Tanith’s idea of heaven is an Indian head massage with a Mojito at her side.

Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Buy the book at Totally Bound or Amazon.

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For Better & For Worse by Quint Emm Ellis – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Quint Emm Ellis 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.

These ex-lovebirds are busy building a nest for one. But can she be convinced to make room for him, too?

Despite attending the same congregation and university, Ashe and Stephen’s circles had never seemed to cross.

One class project changed everything…for the better; until secrecy and youthful indiscretion pulled them apart.

Will an unexpectant reunion in their adult years allow Ashe and Stephen to rewrite a history riddled with regret and heartbreaking choices?

Enjoy an Excerpt

“It’s open, Dear. Come on in. We’re all in the backyard,” she heard an unfamiliar woman’s voice say over the doorbell’s integrated camera and intercom system.

“Oh,” she responded, bending down a bit to look into the camera as she resettled the pan in both hands. Unsure if the ghost that’d just occupied the device was still there, she decided to err on the side of caution and manners. “Thank you.”

Rebalancing her offering on one hand, she wrapped her free hand around the cool, metal door knob. The scent of bar-b-que, the sound of laughter and an overwhelming sense of home and comfort greeted her as she took her first steps inside the cozy home. Her shoulders relaxed as she continued to follow the sounds of something sizzling on the grill and of voices that felt both familiar and foreign.

“Ashe?”

Though Ashe paused, the hairs on her skin slowly stood on end.

That didn’t sound like Josiah or Liam. And yet, she recognized that man’s voice from somewhere. She tilted her head to one side, blinking through a fog of memory.

“Ashe,” the voice insisted.

Recognition rippled down Ashe’s spine; she knew who was standing just a few feet behind her.

And if she could have just kept walking, she would have; but her body betrayed her— turning of its own volition to meet the source.

The world became dull except for the man who carefully stood from his chair, tossing his book upon the seat’s cushion before striding toward Ashe. He stood in sharp contrast against the scenery that seemed to have become a blur. When he stopped, he was so close she could catch a faint whiff of soap intertwined with a husky, sweet aroma.

He changed colognes, came the wayward thought in Ashe’s mind.

About the Author:

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”
– Toni Morrison

Quint Emm Ellis enjoys penning plots centering around unabashedly nerdy, introverted, cinnamon-roll mantic, passionate, fallible women who happen to be black, who happen to be Christian, and who happen to love an uplifting and, possibly, inspirational story.

She enjoys listening to audio books, watching movies, finding great deals and spoiling her cat and dog rotten. Her dream is to be able to walk around in loose pajama pants all day and geek out while mastering niche crafts like music production, film editing and electro etching.

Website | BookBub | Author Amazon Page | Facebook

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The Rise of the Last Beast Kingdom by One Who Loves GOD – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Loves GOD will be awarding a $75 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.

Enslaved by a system of its own creation, humankind desperately seeks to free itself from the Beast. Lacking the knowledge, having refused the truth, all hope is gone…or is it?

Examining our history from creation to the present, this book provides insight as to why we are where we are today. Using the Hebrew Scriptures as its guide, we are taken from the cause of our plight to the ultimate ending. Although the Hebrew Scriptures are used, this is not a book supporting any major religion. There are only a few people in the world today who actually follow and obey the WORD of God – YeHoVaH. Most of the world follows man made religious practices. This book explains how this came about and how the present day systems evolved. This book provides a means for hope for the world, something surely needed now and especially in the coming days.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The archeological evidence which is currently being discovered support what we are told in the Bible. The site Tel Eridu currently known as Abu Shahrain has been identified as the ancient site of Eridu. The findings in chronological order are consistent with the biblical narrative – Founded by the strong leader of the period who introduced the worship of a new god, came to dominate the region, began the building of large temple-Tower of Babel-to a new deity which was abandoned, as was the area and surrounding areas were afterwards abandoned. Archeologists have noted these facts.

It has also been noted by the archeological studies that what is known as “the Uruk expansion” began at the time Eridu was abandoned – at the time YeHoVaH confused the Language and spread the peoples out of the areas they had settled before the confusion. Archeological findings indicate a period of rapid decay occurring after the Late Uruk expansion and the rise of the cities throughout the Mesopotamian region.

After the Confusion of Language, Eridu was abandoned for hundreds of years.

This coincided with the Uruk expansion. Archeologists have found the spread of the Uruk and its successor culture Jemdet Nasr spreading from lower Mesopotamia (Shinar) to areas throughout Mesopotamia and beyond.

The descendents of Noah continued to spread out across the globe after the Confusion of Language, spreading and developing various cultures as they went. As we are told in the Bible, the sons of Noah and their descendants each spread in different directions, although it must be understood that there was mixing of the various clans from the beginning. Erudu was later reestablished after the 750 years absence.

About the Author:

As a child in elementary school, only attending church on Easter, the author did not feel strange when getting down on their knees and praying to GOD. Entering high school, the pull to understand GOD became greater and greater. A study of various religious books began – the Bible, Islam, eastern religions and thoughts were all examined. After reading the Hebrew Bible and particularly Isaiah 56:7 – “I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”

The author determined that the GOD of the Hebrew Bible was in fact GOD. The author then began following the Hebrew traditions.

After earning an undergraduate degree from an Ivy League University and a law degree, the author began a successful law practice, joining the ranks of the millionaire’s club while living in Brentwood, CA near Beverly Hills. Life continued with marriage by a Rabbi and a family – until disaster hit. Business fell apart and bankruptcy left the author with nothing except faith in GOD which continued. A period of moving back and forth across the USA, 6 times in 8 years, finally resulted in settlement in the eastern USA. Upon finally deciding to stay in the east, one last trip was needed to the west by the author. During this trip, GOD brought an understanding to the author which changed everything and led to the writing of this book.

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Create Your Own Masterclass: Reading with a student’s eye by C.W. Allen – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C. W. Allen will be awarding $10 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.

Create Your Own Masterclass: Reading with a student’s eye

Learning from the masters is valuable. And therefore expensive.

In generations past, if you wanted to become a master painter, or brick mason, or carpenter, or anything else, there was exactly one way to go about achieving your goal: become an apprentice to a master of the trade, who would teach you everything they know (for the low, low price of years service.) While the Master/Apprentice study dynamic has largely been displaced by the collegiate system, the modern masters have turned to the internet. Do a quick search, and you’ll find that successful writers like Margaret Atwood, R.L. Stine, Judy Blume, James Patterson, and Neil Gaiman are willing to share the secrets of their craft in online Master Class offerings. Never having plunked down the cash for one of these courses myself, I can’t say that they’re not worth it, only that, like many struggling writers, I can’t afford them. Fortunately, if you’re willing to put in the work, there is a budget alternative: reading these authors’ published works for instruction, rather than entertainment.

Benjamin Franklin taught himself to write

You probably know Benjamin Franklin as a respected American statesman, inventor, publisher, and writer, but as a fourteen year old newspaper apprentice, young Ben realized his writing was lacking. He didn’t have a teacher, but he did have access to many of the preeminent printed materials of his day—magazines and newspapers. He started out by taking sentence-level notes of articles he liked, waiting a few days until he had forgotten the actual wording of the article, and then trying to write the article himself, based on the notes. He then compared his writing to the published article to see where he might improve.

In the beginning, he realized his limited vocabulary was holding him back. Once he worked to improve the variety of words at his command, he focused on his writing voice. Little by little, he got to where he sometimes preferred his own version of the article to the original. He also played with format, turning a prose source into a poem, then using the poem to recreate the prose.

It’s worth noting that in recreating the writing of others, Franklin was not attempting to claim these copies as his own original work—that would be plagiarism. But for purposes of study, rather than publication, he saw no harm in imitating the work of writers he admired.

What to look for in writers to study

To follow Franklin’s example, first you’ll need to select an author to study. Reading a wide variety of authors and genres is important. However, for in-depth study, it’s best to select a writer that addresses the technical details you’ll need to iron out in your own work in progress, so a successful writer with recent publications in your preferred genre is best. Studying Shakespeare or Dickens probably won’t clue you in to what the current publishing industry is looking for.

Go after the low-hanging fruit first: has this author given a TED Talk or interviews about their work, or written a blog or instructional book directed at aspiring writers? After you exhaust nonfiction sources, dive into their published works. Is there something about the writer’s voice you admire? What narrative perspective did they choose for each work, and why? How do they handle dialogue? If the narration is omniscient, how are characters’ thoughts represented? What’s compelling about the first sentence of the novel? Are character descriptions introduced immediately, or gradually? What about setting? Backstory? Is the story timeline chronological, or presented in some other order? Where do chapters end, and why? What makes you want to keep reading?

Poetry, nonfiction, journalism, and other formats

Novelists aren’t the only writers that can benefit from close reading of sample texts. Poets will want to look at perspective and voice as well, but also rhyme scheme, meter, and stanza and line breaks. Are there intentional changes to standard spelling or capitalization? Does the poem ever break its own established rhyme scheme or rhythm? In free verse, how are line breaks used?

Journalists and bloggers will want to pay special attention to headlines, as well as use of color, font, and formatting. What tone does the article take? Are most articles or essays from the same work consistent in tone, or is there some variety? And of course, you can look for mistakes to avoid as well as successes to emulate. Are important details ever left out? Is the length appropriate? Are you ever confused, bored, or irritated by something in the writing or formatting?

We may not be able to get direct tutoring from our favorite writers, but by studying their interviews and published works, you can get the next best thing.

For Zed and Tuesday, adjusting to life in modern-meets-medieval Falinnheim means normal is relative. Lots of kids deal with moving, starting new schools, and doing chores. But normally, those schools aren’t in underground bunkers full of secret agents, and the chore list doesn’t involve herding dodos. The one thing that hasn’t changed: all the adults treat them like they’re invisible.

When a security breach interrupts a school field trip, the siblings find themselves locked out of the Resistance base. With the adults trapped inside, it’s up to Tuesday, Zed, and their friends to save the day. And for once, being ignored and underestimated is coming in handy. After all, who would suspect a bunch of kids are capable of taking down the intruders that captured their families, let alone the murderous dictator that put them into hiding in the first place?

Turns out invisibility might just have its benefits.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Snowflakes the size of baseballs were falling outside, which was ironic, since baseball didn’t exist anymore.

Zed had never cared much for organized sports, so the loss of baseball wasn’t so horrible, in his opinion. He cared a great deal about snow, however. In his last house, he’d had a favorite windowsill in the upstairs hallway that was deep enough to sit in and read while looking out the window. Cloudy fall afternoons made for excellent reading weather, but an early morning snowfall was even better, because school might get canceled, and then he’d get to stay home and read as long as he liked. That was before the move, though. His new home had school too, of course, but no windowsills. You don’t need windowsills in a place with no windows.

His older sister Tuesday was not such a fan of the “organized” aspect of baseball—she’d had some unusual barriers to making friends in her last town, not least among them her name, and it’s tough to play baseball by yourself—but she did enjoy sports, because sports are something you can win. You can’t win at reading a book in a windowsill. And anyway, she reminded Zed, baseball technically still existed, somewhere. It’s just that no one else in Falinnheim had ever heard of it.

About the Author C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing.

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They Had Eyes of Silver by SE Davis – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. S E Davis will be awarding a $30 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.

A secret lineage. A family cursed. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.

Veterinarian Reina Kirke is exhausted. So, when her best friend suggests a European vacation, she doesn’t hesitate. A much-needed break and a chance to investigate her mysterious family tree sound perfect. Too bad she’s in no way prepared for what she finds. The fairytale town in Belgium hides family secrets grounded in the supernatural. Legends of werewolves and witches surround her, and a taboo love affair threatens to pull her into a danger she might not be able to handle.

What seems like a chance encounter with Blaise Woodward, a brooding hunk with his own secrets, sets up a sequence of events that could unravel both of their families as they realize their deep connection to each other is generations old. But only one thing is certain.

Their lives will never be the same…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Night belongs to nocturnal creatures. And sneaks.

Later that night, a large brawny wolf, black as midnight with eyes glinting with starlight, prowled within the shadows of the sleepy town. Darkness kissed the beast’s thick coat. His ears picked up soft laughter and conversations that drifted around him in the cool night from the nearby pub.

Her laughter.

Reina.

The wolf, Blaise, licked his lips, tasting the faint, achingly familiar scent of her on the night breeze.

A heavy weight crashed into him, and he rolled across the alley. Blaise found his feet and lunged at the shadowed figure that sat on his haunches, mere steps away, pink tongue lolling. The other wolf’s eyes glinted silver in the sliver of light slicing down from the streetlight.

Alek, Blaise thought, and snapped viciously at his cousin. He missed connecting with flesh on the other wolf on purpose.

In a fluid motion, fur and hide morphed into smooth skin, wolf into man. Alek shifted from the buttery tan wolf and into his human form, crouching naked against the brick building.

Following Alek’s lead, Blaise shifted quickly into his human shape and moved back into darkness’s cover, hunched over his knees, one hand reaching the ground. They could speak freely now. Their wolf forms possessed a limited form of mental communication. Intricate discussions were impossible without verbal speech, and so shifting into human form was necessary.

“Holt has fallen under the witch’s spell,” Alek said, his words jovial. He had never taken anything too serious.

Blaise growled, “She isn’t a witch, Alek.”

“I know. I know. No such thing as witches, ya right?” The blond man huffed, probably because a werewolf said witches didn’t exist.

About the Author: S E Davis is a veterinarian and advocate for werewolf health. She lives on the North Dakota prairie with her family and a Weimaraner who understands shifting into human form is not necessary for being part of the pack.

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I’ll Go the Lengths of Meself by Dr. Philip Earle – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dr. Philip Earle will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

“Guy’s life was a living adventure: he was a mariner and navigator of the first order, a character with the bravery of a Viking and the kindness of Robin Hood. Generous to a fault, he could never turn his back on someone in need, and would risk his life in a flash to save the life of another. He was like a godfather to the coastal people.
– Philip Earle

“Guy Earle commanded ships when he was a boy. He had the qualities admired by Newfoundlanders, and created maximum employment in the family business wherever he could. He was truly a Newfoundland hero.”
– Geoff Stirling, (1921–2013), founder, CJON-TV (NTV)

“Guy had a mind of his own. He was a terrific leader and he played hard to win at anything he did. He was quick to size up a situation and quick to take action. He never, ever accepted the word ‘can’t’; if it was possible, it had to be done.”
– Fred Earle (1924–1999), Guy’s brother and partner in business

“Skipper Guy could take charge on anything. He had no fear and believed in himself. He could make friends with the Queen, as they say, if he wanted, and get anything he wanted.”
– Fred Rossiter, (1905–1985), shipmate and friend of Guy.

“It must be a beautiful thing to know you saved someone’s life. Guy Earle saved me. I’ve had a long life, a successful business, and raised a family because of him. He was a great man.”
– Ed Wahlen, businessman and friend of Guy

“Guy Earle was the exemplification of courage in everything he did. His trade was with people and his warmth spread as widely as his countless business negotiations. He gave his life to his vision of the fishery; it was his gift to his homeland, a gift few men can claim to better.”
– Maurice Quinlan (1910–1983), co-founder, Quinlan Brothers Ltd

“Guy Earle was sent here by God to give to people.”
– Pasteur Harold Slade

“Captain Guy was a daring seafarer whose legendary adventures rivalled those of the heroes in such Hollywood films as Captain Blood, Down to The Sea in Ships, and Captains Courageous.”
– Gordon Lore, author

“There will never be another Guy Earle; there couldn’t be.”

Enjoy an Exclusive Exceprt

A little while later, I was alone in the pilot house, which was at the front of the deckhouse. Besides the compass, the wheel, and lots of steam heat, there was a talking brass pipe connected to the chart room, bridge, engine room and the skipper’s quarters. When you blew into the end of the open pipe, whistle plugs at the end of the other pipes sounded, letting others know that a message was being sent. This ensured communication between the skipper, the bridge and the wheelsman.

For the rest of the trip, I was alone on watch steering the Kyle. Alone at night with only the glow of the compass light on my face, I was in charge at the helm in a storm—it was incredible. She let me lead her and control her in the seas while all hands aboard, except for one man on the bridge, slept soundly in my care. Do you know what it’s like to be empowered over something so immense and to control it fully? It is a beautiful thing to experience! The thousand-ton Kyle responded to my every touch on the wheel during the storm and gave me a wonderful feeling of importance. That’s when I started singing to her …

I see her face in every place

Her lips kiss every breeze

Her loving arms reach out to me

to calm the stormy seas.

I didn’t know that someone had taken the plug out of the wheelhouse voice pipe, and the chief in the engine room, the mate in the chart room, and the Skipper in his bunk could hear me all night singing over the pipes. Imagine the Kyle on this one night long ago, crossing the gulf in a storm with a boy at the wheel, singing songs out of his heart to the sea and the ship he loved. All the while, the crew were laying in their bunks listening with a smile! A timeless moment.

About the Author: My father lived an exhilarating life. With I’ll Go the Length of Meself, my hope is to showcase his legacy as a great mariner, businessman, humanitarian, and exhibitionist, along with many other attributes. There will never be another Guy Earle, there couldn’t be. This is his story, and I’m proud to share it.

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The New Enchantress by Sunayna Prasad – Spotlight and Giveaway

This is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Sunayna Prasad 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. Click here to see our review.

Cursed by a sorcerer’s hex, Alyssa McCarthy finds herself in a fight she can’t afford to lose, or everything she knows will be lost!

After she finishes her final year of junior high, fourteen-year-old Alyssa faces an uncertain future in more ways than one when a sorcerer casts a hex that leaves her with involuntary magical powers that are too dangerous to remove.

Unable to control her newly gained abilities Alyssa’s end-of-middle-school sleepover ends in disaster when she knocks her friends unconscious when her powers go out of control. If Alyssa can’t learn to master her magic soon, she will be cursed to forget her loved ones and serve as the warlock’s slave for all of eternity.

Her only hope is to focus on controlling her emotions if she is to break the curse. However, the difficulties of adolescence, along with the perils and growing disasters she faces, make Alyssa struggle even more. From putting her friends’ lives at risk to losing their trust, she continues to fear what will become of her if she fails.

Will Alyssa be able to break the hex and become the enchantress that she was meant to be, or will she become enslaved to the sorcerer forever?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Alyssa played the video she’d made for the upcoming teen film festival. If she submitted it, she would earn five extra points to add to her 70 in math. That would allow her to drop the mandatory extra-help class for students with final scores less than a 75.

She watched the clip, experiencing watery eyes when she heard herself discussing losing her parents in a car crash when she was seven and other tragic events in her life. It concluded with how those times had shaped her into the person she was today, Friday, June 10th, 2011. She exported the project and would upload it to the festival’s site later. The deadline was not until Monday, 7 P.M. So, after this, she could focus on the end-of-middle-school sleepover that would happen today.

But the screen froze, and a small popup stated, “Cannot export file.”

“Huh?”

How could a two-month-old device encounter issues already? Alyssa had had to wait until her last birthday, in April, and needed to maintain good grades at school to get her own computer. She recalled what her godfather, Alex, had told her in February after her math substitute had informed him about her scores dropping. “Alyssa, if you don’t get your grades up in math, you might not earn that laptop.” He loved and cared for her like a daughter yet shared no blood relation to her family members. She’d lived with him since turning thirteen last year.

Her breathing caught at the popup—a new model should not have a virus already. But she told herself, I’m fourteen and am going to start high school this fall. I can fix this.

The computer turned itself off, closed itself, and crushed Alyssa’s fingers.

“Ow!” she cried.

The device slid off her lap and under her bed. She looked underneath it—without warning, dust blew onto her, covering her petite body.

She coughed as the soot settled. Then she brushed the dirt off her black shirt and its straps on her narrow shoulders, followed by her short shorts and skin. She shook bits out of her straight, pale-blonde hair, which fell a few inches below her hips.

She’d dealt with enough sorcery already, once last year in March and again this past fall. However, neither she nor anybody in her life possessed magic in their blood. From age eight until two springs ago, she’d believed that magic hadn’t existed.

She had interacted with a few magicians when dealing with supernatural situations that no one as young as she should have to experience.

She planned to find that idiot who just ruined her summer by stealing her laptop. A folded piece of paper appeared on her bed and seemed to include the word, laptop, so she read it.

Alyssa,

Your laptop is going to become a new brain-domination computer. The International Magic Control has disabled all the existing ones and has banned any magic from transforming enchanted technology into mind-managing devices. But your laptop is needed exclusively for my particular process.
Also, don’t remove your new magic powers. If you try, you might die.

Anonymous

The note vanished into thin air. Alyssa touched her forehead and breathed since wizardry shouldn’t work on standard technology. Possibilities advanced over time, but they still had numerous everlasting limits.

About the Author:Sunayna Prasad enjoys writing fantasy books for children, as well as cooking, creating artwork, watching online videos, and blogging. She has also written The Frights of Fiji and A Curse of Mayhem. She is passionate about modern-day life in fantasy stories, worldbuilding, and even humor. She is constantly brainstorming new ideas and using her creativity.

Sunayna graduated from college in 2017 and lives in New York.

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Murderous Interruptions by C.J. Carson – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. C.J. Carson will be awarding a $25 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.

The paranormal mystery The Veils of Parallel Times continues with “Murderous Interruptions”. Allie Callahan’s nemesis is a challenging and formidable adversary.

Travel with Allie as she finally accepts and embraces her ancestral gifts to stop her archenemy who would have her destroyed for his own lust of power. Explore the depths of her relationship with this rival in this life and beyond the veil.

Enjoy an Excerpt

I wasn’t traveling long when darkness settled over the woods, and the air became chilled and damp. I was getting nervous that I might not find my way back out of the woods in the dark. I stopped at a brook to give my horse a quick break and a cool drink. As I raked my fingers through his mane, something caught his attention. Nodding his head, he whinnied. When I looked up, I spotted a campfire in the distance. As I walked him in that direction, I found a heavyset elderly woman with long dark braids sitting at, and stoking the fire. Moving in for a closer look, she wore a dress made of brown suede and was wrapped in an animal skin blanket, shielding her from the cold.

I didn’t recognize her, but somehow, she was oddly familiar to me. Without speaking a word, she reached out, beckoning me. I could feel a connection that drew me in as I slid down from my horse and joined her. She opened the blanket and, as I sat down, she held me in her arms to warm me by the fire. I was suddenly in my youth again, swept up in warmth and safety I hadn’t felt for a very long time.

Raising her arm, the woman drew my attention to the flames, and as I stared into the blazing fire, I couldn’t pull my eyes away. It was as if it was speaking to me, its warmth drawing me in.

“This is your truth, my daughter of my daughter’s son. You are at your best and can do your work in this lifetime when you accept that you are one with the earth, fire, water, and elements. Only when you embrace them, can you move toward your true destiny. You are a rare spirit in that you are blessed with many gifts that you are yet to discover and recognize. Yours is not an easy path unless you embrace it. I am always here; you have only to think of me, and I will be in your thoughts to help you, as are all your ancestors.

“Little Bird, you have traveled and lived in many times and dimensions. Think of time as a path that runs horizontally, but many paths are layered, one on top of the other, in a horizontal pattern.

“You have the ability to move through them, not only in time, but from one dimension to another. It was the element of water in the stream that brought you to me. Keep your routes planted firmly into the earth, for that will ground you and keep you balanced. Tonight, I want you to look into the dancing flames and listen to them speak to you. It is past the time for you to begin to understand your truth, my dear. You do not have the luxury of putting it off any longer.”

Gazing into the flames, I saw visions of a young woman riding my white horse. As the horse moved up a hill and into a green meadow, the young girl was now a young woman. As I studied her, she looked nothing like me, but I felt like I was watching my memory unfold. She was riding on a horse with a knight that looked like he was from medieval times. As the horse reached the top of the meadow, I knew the woman in the vision was an image of me, and when the valiant knight turned to me, a chill coursed through my entire body. Although his face was unfamiliar, his deep blue eyes caught me off guard. Those eyes, those beautiful eyes. I would know them anywhere.

About the Author:

CJ Carson was inspired by a great story from a very early age. What brought her to this juncture in life and encouraged her to put pen to paper are the many rich experiences and opportunities of her life’s journey.

While working in the medical field, she explored energy work and became a Polarity Therapist and Reiki Therapist.

Exploring acting brought her into the theatre world both on the stage and behind the scenes.

Painting introduced her to a group of artists that shared her passion for bringing a scene to canvas.

Her love of singing allowed her to travel twice to Europe as a soloist with conductor Sonja Dahlgren Prior, who inspired her to do something, she never dreamed possible.

CJ Carson has always wanted to write. Now she is introducing to the world her second published book, “Murderous Interruptions,” from her trilogy, Veils of Parallel Times.

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