Shadows in the Night by Thomas Grant Bruso – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Thomas Grant Bruso will be awarding 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.

Sequel to Past Sins

Jack Ballinger has seen a lot of horrible things in the six years he’s been a police officer, disturbing images he wishes he could erase from his memory forever. Crime scenes, dead bodies, and the death of his parents dredge up an unsettling time from his past, a tortured childhood he does not want to revisit. But Jack must confront a new waking nightmare that sends him spiraling out of control, down a rabbit hole of indescribable terrors, questioning his existence as a human being, cop, and partner.

Struggling with budget cuts and constantly changing policies within the police department, a cantankerous new police chief, eccentric colleagues, and his on-again/off-again relationship with his boyfriend Steve, Jack must confront an evil entity from a previous life. Grappling with old demons is just the beginning. How long will Jack keep running from the horrors of his past and finally face his fears?

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When I step out into the bedroom, dripping water from the shower, I freeze, my heartbeat pulses at the sight of the bedroom door cracked open. “Hello?”

Silence.



Between the balcony doors and the east-side windows, the far corner of the room is empty.

No ghosts or visitors. There is nowhere to hide in this wide-open space.

I walk over to the nightstand where I keep my pistol. I look over my shoulder at the clamoring noise of the construction crew setting up their monstrous machines out on the street. Large yellow Cat loaders and pavers growl to life.

I leave a puddle of water behind me when I reach the dresser and pull out my gun. A noise out in the hallway draws my attention to the open door. I unlock the safety and aim the pistol at my side. I amble to the apartment door, my pulse quickening. I must have forgotten to lock it after Steve left last night, I think.

I stare around the small kitchen: nothing, nobody, but a scattering of spilled coffee beans on the floor. Lifting the gun out in front of me, I walk to the door. A stale, warm, musty smell wafts into the room. I stare out into the dark hallway.

Empty.

My grip tightens on the gun.

My skin bristles in the cool, clammy air.

I raise my gun and step out into the hall, pointing the pistol left, then right, down the long corridor. Vacant. I take a deep breath and lean against the doorframe.


The stairwell door creaks open at the end of the hall. I straighten my shoulders, pointing the pistol into the dark.

I wait.

“Hello?”

No answer.

The door opens again, its hinges groaning.


I turn to glance behind me in the dark at the two other apartments.

Doors closed.

I stay on the left side of the hall in case somebody is in the stairwell.

I meander down the corridor, moving slowly and turning once to check over my shoulder. I hear noises in the dark, but I don’t see anything. The building settles and shifts in the wind. Forcing myself to keep moving, I slink against the length of the wall to the last door on the floor.

I stop. Wait. Listen.

Alarming stillness.

Machinery clangs outside, and the construction workers’ voices echo like trapped spirits in the apartment walls. I clench the gun’s handle and my index finger grazes the trigger.

Creak.

The exit door swings open, and clangs shut. I jump back a few inches. Stare at the door. Shuffle forward, yell out, “Hello?” and wedge my foot between the doorjamb. I fling the door open with my hand.



The stairwell is empty. I walk onto the top landing and point the gun behind the door. Clear.



I stare over the edge of the staircase, three stories down. Sunlight streams into the open space below from one of the stairwell doors. I hear muffled voices, people talking, the noise of machinery reverberating off the walls and drifting up the stairwells.


I am overreacting, I tell myself, and letting out a deep sigh. I yell down the stairs for somebody to close the door. No response.


I head back into the hallway, muttering obscenities at myself for acting foolish. When I am back inside my apartment, I lock the door. Before I pour coffee, I retrace my steps across the entire 400-square inch area, checking locks and windows, looking behind doors.


I lock the balcony doors, drawing curtains and drowning out the jackhammering sounds coming from outside. As I close the left-sided drapes, something on the balcony catches my eye and sends me into another dizzying tailspin.


Fear settles in my chest like angry bees buzzing. My heart races. My nightmares return at the sight of partial muddy footprints leading over the edge of the balcony.

About the Author

Thomas Grant Bruso knew at an early age he wanted to be a writer. He has been a voracious reader of genre fiction since he was a kid.

His literary inspirations are Ray Bradbury, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Ellen Hart, Jim Grimsley, Karin Fossum, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Connolly.
Bruso loves animals, book-reading, writing fiction, prefers Sudoku to crossword puzzles.



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



He lives in upstate New York.

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Wild Salvation by Alfred Stifsim – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Alfred Stifsim 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.

Johnson is accused of assaulting a white woman, a deadly charge for a black man in 1876. Knowing he’ll be lynched if he stays in St. Andrews, Indiana, Johnson flees to the grassy plains of Kansas looking for the freedom unavailable to him back East. What Johnson doesn’t know is that the woman’s father is a powerful businessman determined to track him down. For a man on the run, the West seems like the perfect place for someone withdrawn like Johnson to become a new person, until a top Pinkerton agent named Cole Charles comes into town hunting outlaws.

When Cole Charles discovers Johnson is a wanted man, Johnson has no choice but to flee again. This time he escapes to Fort Worth, Texas, where he meets a rowdy woman named Eddie who is quick with a joke and even quicker with her pistol. Despite his lack of experience, Eddie hires Johnson to be a wrangler on a cattle drive made up of other black cowboys headed to Wyoming. With Cole Charles on his trail, the cattle drive will take Johnson further than he ever imagined and force him to confront his greatest fear when he comes face to face with Cole Charles himself.

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The front of the jail building was covered with wanted posters, some of them so faded it was hard to discern who was wanted and why. As Johnson pulled up with Rex sitting beside him in the driver’s seat, the picture of Jester Wells glared at them. There was a deep scar on his cheek and his arrogant smirk dared them to chase after the $250 reward. The grey clouds still hung low in the sky, threatening the return of rain at any moment. The wind picked up, blowing cool air through the town. The front door of the jail opened as Cole Charles and the marshal exited the building, rifles in hand.

“We better make this quick!” Burt yelled out the window of the coach, “I’m sure Bradley is in a hurry to get back to his cards.” To his surprise the marshal didn’t respond, opening the door to the coach and taking the furthest window seat at the back. He stared out as if he were riding off to his doom.

“What’s got into him?” Burt asked, gesturing to the marshal as Cole Charles walked past.

“I couldn’t tell you. Marshal Bradley has been real quiet ever since we got back,” he replied. He turned and walked to the driver’s seat to address Johnson, “The plan is simple. Drive east along the road, hopefully we pose an easy enough target, drawing Wells’ attention. Not too fast, the idea is to make them think you’re surrendering. We’ll be in the back lying in wait.” He turned to Rex. “Mr. Bowen you’re with us,” Cole Charles said, signaling for him to join the other men in the coach. “Remember Mr. Johnson, if things go badly, you’re on your own.” His cold eyes burned into Johnson as he said it, almost as if he wished it to happen. Then he turned and climbed into the coach.

About the Author: Alfred Stifsim is a member of Western Writers of America and has published several short stories about the American West. “The Bastard of the Black Hills,” won second prize in ropeandwire.com’s 2019 short story contest, and “Max and Sherri” was included in Cowboy Jamboree Magazine’s Fall 2020 issue. His short story about Eddie, “A Night Out with the Cowboys,” was published by Close to the Bone (UK) in August 2021.
Alfred Stifsim graduated from IUPUI with a bachelor’s in American History (2014, Indianapolis). From there he worked as an interpretive naturalist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources before transitioning to park maintenance. He is currently an electrician with IBEW 481 in Indianapolis.

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Jimmy by Megan Slayer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Megan will be awarding a prize pack featuring a bracelet and necklace made by the author to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

I call on the fates to bring my love to me. As I will it, so mote it be…

What if those simple words plus a name on a scroll could guarantee true love? Karey’s determined to find out if the spell, Summon a Bad Boy, works, and she knows just who she’s going to ask for. Jimmy McCreadie. The tattooed man makes her weak in the knees — he’s every naughty desire she’s had come to life. She’s nothing like the women he dates, and far too shy for her own good, but she’s not giving up.

Mix a bad boy with some magic and have faith. Anything’s possible. Karey’s desire just might come true.

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“I want a bad boy, but not one that will do me harm. Those guys looked scary — not in a good way.”

“Agreed.” Sarah thumped her spoon on the table. “And I have a suggestion.”

Karey sat up straighter and paid more attention. Instead of their normal grumbling, someone had a plan? Good. “What is it?”

Karey admired her friends. Nikki was the sexy one. She could walk into any establishment and have men falling at her feet. They seemed to love her tall, slender appearance and deep brown eyes. Then there was Mandy. She embodied sweet-natured and cute. At just over five feet tall, Mandy was the sprite of the group. She laughed easily and smiled a lot. Natalie could be moody, but she knew how to play nearly any sport — and usually better than her male counterparts. Karey loved cheering her on at the local baseball games. Sarah was the born leader and the pushiest of the five. Her intelligence could be a hindrance or an asset, depending on how she used it. Most people saw her as pushy, but she could organize and plan like no other.

Karey sometimes wondered how she fit in with these fantastic women. She was smart, but not hyper intelligent. She loved books and observing but tended not to talk much.

“The plan?” Natalie checked her watch. “I’m late for a game.”

“Tonight, we meet at my place. I’ve found a spell that guarantees we’ll find our perfect man within the next seven days.” Sarah smiled and narrowed her eyes in triumph. “All we have to do is write down exactly what we want on a scroll, say the words of the spell, and toss the scroll into the fire. What do you think?”

“It’s guaranteed to work?” Karey didn’t believe it.

“Really?” Mandy toyed with her water glass. “You’ve had can’t-miss plans before that were duds.”

“I know, but this one is really guaranteed.” Sarah nodded. “If you’re in, be at my house at nine. I’ll have the scrolls ready.”

“You’re sure this works?” Karey asked again. “You don’t seem to have all the details.”

“Hey, where I found it says it’s foolproof.” Sarah shrugged and toyed with her scroll. “I might not have all the details, but it’s just a spell. For all we know, it won’t work. Do we really need every last piece of minutia? No.”

“Right.” Karey sighed. What did she have to lose? She lived alone, didn’t go out much, and only met people at the store. If a spell could work, then why not give it a try? If nothing else, she’d have an adventure.

Right?

About the Author:

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on Amazon.com.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

Irresistible by Darby Burke – 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 $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What would we find under your bed?

Duchess, the cat we’ve had the longest (she’s 11). She’s the sweetest cat—half-Bengal and very talkative.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

This is a tough question! Getting stuck in traffic as freezing rain started ranks right up there. I turned around to go home, but it was too late. I slid down a hill and hit the curb. My car went up onto it and my axel got bent. That was pretty terrifying.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Often! I sometimes create a specific playlist for a book. I also have play lists for certain kinds of scenes. Yes, I have a love scene play list, and it includes several Depeche Mode and Dave Matthews Band Songs songs.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?

I’d like to work on a secret project that’s been percolating in my brain for the past six to nine months. It’s still baking, but hopefully by next year, I’ll be ready to write it.

How long did it take you to write this book?

It felt like forever, lol. It took me six weeks to draft, which is surprising now that I go back and look. After that, it’s another two months of rounds of editing.

Jessamine Goodfellow has spent six Seasons avoiding the parson’s trap, and spinsterhood is finally within her grasp. A brilliant scholar, she longs for adventure and new experiences, things her family frowns upon. Presented with the opportunity to use her puzzle-solving talent on a secret mission for the Foreign Office, Jess eagerly accepts. Even when it means posing as the wife of a scorchingly attractive Scotsman who she must also covertly investigate as a possible double agent.

Lord Dougal MacNair, the new Viscount Fallin, has always completed his assignments for the Foreign Office alone. Now he’s saddled with an overly enthusiastic amateur partner. She possesses a remarkable intellect, but something about her isn’t quite right, and after two failed missions, Dougal is certain someone is working against him. Battling their secret suspicions, Dougal and Jess dive deep into their cover as a married couple, which arouses temptations they find irresistible. Danger is all around them, but it’s their hearts that may be the most imperiled.

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“Tell me why I’ve hurried back.”

“A mission to the Dorset coast. You leave in a week.”

Dougal frowned. “If I don’t leave for a week, why am I here now?”

Lucien hesitated the barest moment. “Because you need time to prepare with your partner.”

“My what?”

Voices in the hall interrupted further conversation because a moment later, Lucien’s butler announced the arrival of Lady Pickering and Miss Jessamine Goodfellow. Dougal was very familiar with Lady Pickering, but the other white woman was unknown to him. Taller than most ladies, Miss Goodfellow possessed vivid cobalt eyes that assessed him with a keen curiosity. Indeed, her unabashed attention could only mean one thing—that she was to be his partner.

Lady Pickering moved her vigilant gaze toward him. “I’m pleased you could arrive so quickly, Lord Fallin. I do apologize that you were called away at this time.”

Dougal inclined his head. “I am always eager to serve.”

“One of your best qualities.” Lady Pickering turned slightly toward the young lady. “Jessamine, this is Lord Fallin.” Lady Pickering then looked to Dougal. “Allow me to present Miss Jessamine Goodfellow. She will be your wife on this endeavor.”

“My what?” First, he had a partner, and now he had a wife?

About the Author: Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Click here to Join her Reader Club.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, artist daughter, and imaginative son who will almost certainly out-write her one day (that may be tomorrow).

They’re a crazy cat family with two Bengal cats, a small, fame-seeking cat named after a fruit, an older rescue Maine Coon with attitude to spare, and a collection of neighbor cats who hang out on the deck and occasionally venture inside. You can find Darcy at a winery, in her comfy writing chair, or binge-watching TV with the family.

Her happy places are Disneyland, Labor Day weekend at the Gorge, Denmark, and anywhere in the UK—so long as her family is there too.

Website | Reader Group Newsletter | Facebook | Darcy’s Duchesses Facebook Group | Instagram | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads

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Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge for August 10, 2022

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

Today’s topic is: Thoughts on Fan Fiction

Hunted by Allyson Charles – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

A tough special forces operator who’s never run from a fight. A woman about to give him the biggest battle of his life.

Marine Raider Jake Skinner has a nose for trouble. He never expected to find it in a beautiful woman adrift at sea. But once he has her in his arms, he knows he’s never letting her go.

Caroline only had one rule when it came to dating – no military men. When the sexy Marine pulls her from the ocean, her resolution goes to war against his resolve to break through her walls – and goes against her own secret longings.

As a drug cartel sets its sights on Caroline, Jake is determined to move heaven and earth to keep her safe. But if Caroline can’t learn to trust her heart, it could spell the end for them both.

Meet the men of Alpha Squad. Protective, strong-willed, and tough, they go hard after what they want. And when they set their sights on a woman, they’ll use every weapon in their arsenal to make her theirs. Each book in this series is a fast, steamy read, full of pulse-pounding action. Dive into this series today!

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She pressed herself closer, the ice of her skin leaching into his chest.

He’d take it. If he could take all the cold from her, exchange it with his heat, he would.

Her eyelids fluttered. With what looked like immense effort, she finally opened them a crack. Pale blue eyes met his.

He rubbed her back. “You’re okay. You’re safe,” he murmured. “Can you tell me your name?”

She opened her mouth, but only a harsh rasp came out. His gut clenched as she licked her lips, swallowed, and tried again.

“Caroline,” she whispered.

Tony cleaned a patch of skin with an alcohol wipe, inserted the needle, and taped it to her arm. He held the saline bag in his hand and gently squeezed.

She swallowed then winced.

“Water.” He didn’t look to see who handed him the plastic bottle. He held the water to Caroline’s lips and slowly tilted it up.

She greedily sucked the liquid down. The look of betrayal she shot Jake when he took the bottle away almost had him laughing. Her face was so expressive, her spirit seemingly undiminished by her ordeal.

“You can’t drink too much at one time,” he told her. At her continued scowl, he relented and gave her a tiny sip more. He put the bottle down. “Caroline. Sweetheart.” He dragged his thumb over her bottom lip, catching a stray drop of water. “Can you tell me what happened?”

“He tried to kill me,” she whispered.

Jake looked at Tony, meeting his narrowed gaze. His friend’s jaw went hard, his nostrils flaring. He’d heard her words, as well, and if there was one thing his squad wouldn’t stand for it was a man hurting a woman.

Jake leaned back against the rail as the boat sped towards the marina. The itch between his shoulder blades was finally gone. He looked down at the woman in his arms. Now he knew what his intuition had been trying to tell him.

Trouble had been coming.

And it had landed in his lap in the form of a woman.

About the Author:

Allyson Charles lives in Colorado. She’s the author of sexy and funny small-town romances, including the Pineville Romance series and The Forever series. A former attorney, she happily ditched those suits and now works in her pajamas writing about men’s briefs instead of legal briefs. When she’s not writing, she’s probably engaged in one of her favorite hobbies: napping, eating, or martial arts (That last one almost makes up for the first two, right?). One of Allyson’s greatest sources of happiness is that she now lives in a city that has a Cracker Barrel.

Allyson Charles also writes steamy historical romances under the name Alyson Chase, and paranormal romances under the name A. Caprice.

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Jester by Brielle D. Porter- Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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

What happens in Oasis, stays in Oasis.

Lisette’s father killed the King. His execution leaves Lisette alone, disgraced, and without the magic he intended to pass on to her. In Oasis, that’s a problem. Glutted with enchanted performers, Oasis is a sin city where courtiers pay in gold to drink, gamble, and above all, be entertained. To survive on its competitive streets, Lisette peddles paltry illusions in place of magic.

Desperate to prove herself, Lisette enters into a deadly competition to be chosen as the highest-ranked magician in the world, the Queen’s Jester. But her rival, the irritatingly handsome Luc, possesses the one thing Lisette does not―real magic. Lisette will do anything to win, but when evidence implicating the Queen in her husband’s murder surfaces, Lisette must choose between redeeming her family name, or seizing the fame she’s hungered for her entire life.

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The seeker is gone. I watch him leave, head shaking as if disappointed, the crowd swallowing him up again. My one big shot, gone as quickly as the smoke from my act.

I gather up my knives, suddenly too exhausted to even finish the show. There are a few shouted threats, but I hardly notice through the fog of disappointment. I can’t believe it’s over.

Seventeen months I’ve waited for the opportunity to impress a seeker, and with just one word, it’s over. And I didn’t even make enough gold dust to buy myself dinner.

I loosen Stefan’s bindings, my fingers slipping as a loud gasp from the nearby crowd steals my attention. Stefan drops with a thud and a curse, but I hardly hear his complaints. Most of my audience has wan- dered off, inflating the already bloated numbers of the show next to mine. The entire stretch of street, known fondly to those in the business as the Noose, is filled with performers clamoring to be seen. Nowhere else in the kingdom of Terraca is there a place so glutted with magic: everything from the mundane enchantments like the ones used to keep the hotels refreshingly cool inside—even here in the desert—to the spectacular.

Sandwiched between the most impressive hotels in Oasis—including the impressive Crown Hotel—the Noose is one of the best spots to snag wealthy patrons with too much gold in their wallets and too much liquor in their blood.

A bolt of lightning so bright it leaves a streak in my vision cracks the pavement several feet away. Applause and gold nuggets are thrown at the magician, who bows.

Ignoring Stefan’s shouts, I wander over to see what has the tourists so hot. I’ve seen most of the shows in the Noose multiple times; after all, I’ve got to maintain a healthy edge over my competitors. So, I’m not surprised when I recognize the performer instantly. His name rises in my throat like bile.

Luc.

About the Author: Brielle D. Porter decided to become a writer after a well-meaning elementary school teacher told her she had a gift for it. Stolen moments under the covers reading anything from Harry Potter to William Goldman solidified the desire to tell stories herself one day. Jester is her debut novel.

Brielle lives with her husband and three sons on a lavender farm in Northern Idaho. When she’s not writing, she can be found running and beekeeping. Only ask her about her hobbies if you have plenty of time to spare.

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Pondering the Muse by Darby Harn – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Pondering the Muse

I rarely think about a muse, but I’m always thinking about craft. How do I start a story? How do I finish? How do I sustain myself through periods lacking inspiration or motivation? My experience being autistic mirrors my writing process in many ways. I want to go out and be social; I also really don’t. I want to write the story in my head, and I don’t know how. My worst moments come in literally standing in the door, on the threshold of going out, but never leaving. Many of my stories exist in this space, unrealized.

This tension generates enormous anxiety and exhaustion from the same, eroding the energy I have to do anything, including write. Producing In Between: Stories of the Eververse represents a major accomplishment for me. When I settled on the idea of creating this series about Kit Baldwin, fighting to simply help people in a world where superheroes charge for their services, I had some strong ideas and goals. I knew I wanted to do nine books, and I knew I wanted to do a story collection that would land in the pause between books three and four. I knew this collection would serve both as a bridge and an entry point for readers, as much as it would serve to build out the world even more.

Despite the inspiration guiding me, getting the collection to print took years. The stories and novellas that make up the collection, loosely linked together in a kind of parenthetical novel, first emerged in 2018. I often think a long time on a story, write it fast, and then think on it more for ever longer. I’ve gotten better recently, as I’m more aware I’m threading into this loop, but I still do it. That requires me to apply enormous focus on my work. Inspiration always guides me, and my muse – such as it is – plays a role in seizing on an idea in the first place. But for myself and perhaps for other writers, hard work and dedication are what gets you through to the end.

The final novella in the collection, “The Other Kit,” lingered in my head for years as I teetered on the brink of what the story would be. I had an idea, and an ambition, but I also feared writing it. This novella acknowledges Kit’s autism in the text for the first time and I struggled with whether or not to do so. Many neurodivergent writers leave this aspect of their characters unacknowledged, but I felt for Kit and for myself, I needed to say. I didn’t know how for a long time.

Book five in the series, which I’m writing now, similarly gestated in my head for years. It will be years before it sees the light of day. Some stories come quick. I wrote a new short story recently in just a day, but it too will simmer for a long time before seeing print. I accept this. I understand now the inhibition in my writing, and I work toward taking those steps knowing inspiration will get me off the ground, but won’t keep me in the air.

Telepathic wolves. Zombie gangsters. Sentient houses. Just another day for Kit Baldwin.

Fifty years after an alien ship crashed in Break Pointe, the only protection in a strange new world is Great Power, a corporation of superhumans. If you can afford them. Most people can’t.

Enter Kit Baldwin, a young woman who helps people to help people. Except her power is the alien’s power, and she may be more of a danger to her city than she is a help.
This collection of stories and novellas follows Kit’s journey in a series that’s been called ‘the next logical step after Watchmen.’

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Post Credits Scene:

“Bring my girlfriend back to life,” the old man says.

Since I got my powers, I get all kinds of strange requests. A fair number of them are curiously sexual, but mostly people ask me to do some good in the world. Catch asteroids. Cure cancer, end hunger, please and thank you. You know.

Little things.

This one might go up on the fridge. Bring his girlfriend back to life? He could do with some help himself. Seventy, maybe. Liver spots. A rattle in his chest like a bad engine. Still, he got up here on the roof. He knew it was me, warming my feet with the other birds.

Sometimes, I don’t know when I’m me.

About the Author: Darby Harn studied at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Irish Writing Program. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, The Coffin Bell and other venues.

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Home to Clare Harbor Box Set by Jacie Middlemann – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Jacie Middlemann will be awarding a $50 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.

They started out as strangers…but didn’t stay that way for long…

A devoted granddaughter willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe. Strangers who meet during the worst of conditions and become friends in the midst of chaos. Unexpected romance under the most unlikely circumstances. A puzzling mystery with its roots in historical events that took place centuries ago. And a storm that hides an ominous purpose that could change all their lives forever.

Sara knows before she walks into her grandparent’s home that her grandmother’s greatest fear will never be the storm or the threat it poses but instead the unknown that lays just beyond her front door. She knows too its cause and grieves that there is nothing she can do to change it.

Throughout the years of his career John has covered numerous battlefields including those that are a result of nature’s unyielding tempest. He fears this might be the worst one yet.

Mel didn’t expect to spend more than a few days in the large house where they’d taken refuge. She figured the storm would pass by and then they’d be off to their next assignment. The last thing she expected was David Payne.

Despite the fact that Lance was the bane of her teenage years, Tish knows that without the help of her father’s assistant, that the trip to North Carolina likely would have been a lot more challenging than it was. She’d been unequivocally terrified but his presence gave her strength she didn’t realize she had. She wasn’t certain how she felt about that…or him…or that he no longer irritated her the way he used to.

When Gary arrived at his family’s home in the mountains of North Carolina, he’s relieved that Sara and her grandparents along with their elderly friends are already there. But he is unable to take an easy breath until Tish finally arrives with Lance…and is not at all surprised at what he hears from Lance about their trip and the potential dangers they’d just barely been able to avoid.

He’s determined to do everything he can to keep their location safe…and unknown. Their knowledge, skills, and ingenuity are their greatest defense. For a time they would have to depend on themselves…it hadn’t take long to discover that the storm was never their greatest threat…but what is could change all their lives for the immediate future…or longer.

If you enjoy uplifting and heartfelt women’s fiction, young and older heroes and heroines filled with courage and compassion as they share joys and triumphs, and united they face and overcome tremendous challenges and tragedy, this book is for you.

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Sara looked into her grandmother’s eyes. Because she knew what to look for, she saw past the forced cheeriness to the fear. In that moment she knew that no amount of pushing was going to do anything other than make her dig in her heels.

“Actually, I think I’m going to sit down here with you and your cohorts and play some bridge,” she said as she pulled out the only empty chair around the table.

“But…” Mel began then quieted when she saw the look she was getting from John. She looked over towards the table again, saw the worry in all of the faces around the table except the woman who’d just sat down in their midst.

“I forget exactly how this one goes. Someone explain the rules to me again,” Sara said cheerfully. She hated card games and everyone around the table knew it including her grandparents.

But she also knew that the fear her grandmother felt was overwhelming and very real for the woman who’d been all things to her. There was only one possible way she knew of that could possibly push her into doing something that otherwise terrified her.

“Now, Sara, don’t you think you should be getting on,” her grandmother said softly. “You know all the mountain roads and I’m certain many of them are still open.”

“I’m sure they are but I’d much rather sit this out with all of you. I can’t remember the last time I played cards. Deal me in.”

Maisie let out a long sigh. “I just want to grab a few things before we go.”

About the Author:Jacie Middlemann lives in Texas with her husband and a couple of cats who believe they rule…and sometimes they do.

When she’s not watching classic sitcoms or working on a needlework project for one of her kids, she loves to read women’s fiction and sometimes a good mystery suspense.

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Walks by Big Alex’s Pond by Henry Van Berkel – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

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Ten years after Big Alex MacDonald leaves his home in Ashdale, Nova Scotia, in the 1880’s to find his fortune, he amasses fabulous wealth almost overnight in the Yukon and becomes known as “the King of the Klondike”. At his death a decade later, there is not enough money in his estate to cover expenses. What happened to his immense riches? A century after Alex’s departure from Nova Scotia, the author purchases “Big Alex’s” family land and finds his own El Dorado amongst the riches of friends, neighbours and family, and the endless fascinations of nature. On hikes along the roads of the historic property he muses about the drama of his own past, and the life journeys of his family members and those of his neighbours.

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First, I must tell you the story behind the name for the pond. Alexander “Big Alex” MacDonald was born on this property on October 15, 1854, and baptized fifteen kilometres away in St. Ninian’s Cathedral, Antigonish, a week later. Alex was the son of upright, hardy Scottish immigrants who had laboured mightily to clear the land and build a prosperous farm on top of these Ashdale highlands, located approximately two miles north of Lochaber

Lake, the very lake Joseph Howe had described in 1821 as “Sydney’s sylvan pride.” (Antigonish County was called Sydney County in his day.) Alex’s family were known locally as the “Black Bills.” I think this was because Alex’s father, William, had black hair. It was a way to distinguish this MacDonald family from numerous other members of the MacDonald clan who had settled in Antigonish County, having been forced out of the highlands of Scotland during the century following the 1746 disaster at Culloden.

William MacDonald was born in Strattglass, Scotland, in 1814, migrated to Nova Scotia with his buddy, William Chisholm in 1834, and bought the Ashdale property from Edward Hayes. To earn the money to buy the farm, he walked eight hundred kilometres to Miramichi, New Brunswick, to work in the woods. There he saved his hard-earned cash, and after accumulating sufficient funds to give him prospects, he returned to Antigonish the way he had come—by foot.

William then laboured one summer for Murdock MacRae in the neighbouring community of Beaver Meadow. His payment was a cow. With these carefully gathered assets, he entered marriage in 1844 with a Margaret Catherine Chisholm of Antigonish Harbour, and together they developed their farm and raised a family of ten children: sons William, Donald, Daniel, Alexander, John, and Colin and daughters Margaret, Ellen, Ann, and Elizabeth. Alex was their fifth child.

It is likely that Alex learned Gaelic at his mother’s knee. Whatever English he picked up during his childhood at home or at the local school did not give him ease and fluency of expression in his second language. His speech, in adulthood, was described as hesitant and awkward, so much so, that some thought he wasn’t too smart.

About the Author:Ten years after Big Alex MacDonald leaves his home in Ashdale, Nova Scotia, in the 1880’s to find his fortune, he amasses fabulous wealth almost overnight in the Yukon and becomes known as “the King of the Klondike”. At his death a decade later, there is not enough money in his estate to cover expenses. What happened to his immense riches? A century after Alex’s departure from Nova Scotia, the author purchases “Big Alex’s” family land and finds his own El Dorado amongst the riches of friends, neighbours and family, and the endless fascinations of nature. On hikes along the roads of the historic property he muses about the drama of his own past, and the life journeys of his family members and those of his neighbours.

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