Advice for a New Writer by Dennis Scheel – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Dennis Scheel will award a $15 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Advice for a New Writer

I want to tell new writers to just keep writing. It can be hard and if you’re a perfectionist, you might feel self-critical and have trouble accepting the ideas you are putting down on the page, but a first draft is a huge milestone and you’re never going to get there if you keep fixating on the specifics. A draft can always be adjusted, changed, and developed upon, but it’s only effective if you can get a complete draft written. Forget about the word count, grammar, and times where you feel like you can’t think of the right word for the sentence. You can refine everything once you’ve written the story once. The things you need to change to improve the draft becoming even more clear when you’ve written through the story once.

Of course, you’ll get stuck sometimes, so you’ll occasionally need to wait for inspiration to strike. I’ve had ideas come to me when I’ve least expected it. Sometimes, you just need to step away and wait for something to come to you by doing something else. Some of my best ideas have come to me when I’m not even trying to come up with anything, such as while I’m taking a shower, out walking, or trying to fall asleep at night. So don’t be afraid to give yourself breaks and wait for inspiration to come when you’re stuck. Often times, if you try to force the story to come together when you’re just not feeling it, it’ll make your writer’s block worse. But my editor once gave me some really good advice: if you’re not sure how your character would act in a given situation, just ask them what they’d do!

Additionally, I’d tell new authors that becoming self-published comes with its pros and cons. For example, it allows you to maintain complete control over your stories and the rights to your books, but it also makes you responsible for all the book’s marketing, e-book formatting, and design-choices, such as the book’s cover. Formatting the book determines how many pages it will turn out to be, which also affects the size of the book’s cover and spine. These sorts of challenges would normally be a publisher’s responsibility, so you become accountable for them if you choose to self-publish.

Will it end in peace or a silvery dose of fate?

Henna’s manipulation knows no bounds,
Denida is still the object of her prophecy, while Lucifer, God, and Gabriel remain in her sights.

Having seen her son, Nina is more determined than ever to bring him back from Henna’s world of dead souls. Meanwhile, the Darkness runs rampant across the Underworlds and on Earth as Lucifer’s grief over Heavani’s death overwhelms him.

Everyone has their own goals and ends, but one thing is inescapable: the bright silvery path that Henna willed.

Can these characters escape destiny’s hold on them, or will they become pawns in Henna’s quest for revenge?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Den, Denida’s human form, trotted from his grandparent’s house with a smile painted across his face. He admired the sunny sky before skipping down the road, humming to himself.

He’s barely grown. Odin clenched his scepter. “We have to do it within one week.” He glared in through a window, then turned to Loki. “I’ll leave the task to you; don’t fail me.”

Loki chuckled. “Why bother? They’re lowly humans.”

“I want to expedite Henna’s prophecy. We have waited in this world long enough. This is your chance to show me that I can rely on you, Loki.”

“But what I still don’t understand is: why? Isn’t that kid Henna’s chosen one?”

Odin adjusted his grip on his scepter. “His soul form is, not the boy, but certain events must fall into place to achieve Henna’s desired outcome, instead of a less desirable one.”

“Understood.” Loki smirked.

“You must use dark magic to kill the boy’s grandmother within one week. I can’t specify how important that is.”

Loki’s eyes widened. “To frame Lucifer?”

Odin sighed. “Aren’t you attentive today.” He leaned closer to Loki. “Correct.”

About the Author: Wring about myself… oh, the horror!

As a Christmas Child, I believe magic is everywhere, especially during the winter, and I try to weave that magic into my stories. After all, my firm belief in karma and destiny has shaped who I am, so it should guide my stories, as well.

I was born and raised in Denmark, but faced many challenges during my life, one of which was my inability to write my stories in Danish! I’ve had my stories brewing in my head since I was a child and struggled for years to express them properly. After recovering from a diabetic attack that left me hospitalized, I managed to find my writer’s voice in English, and am thrilled to now have the ability to share my tales with you.

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Why Do I Write and for Whom Do I Write? by Robert Creekmore – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Why Do I Write and for Whom Do I Write?

If you write adult fiction, and your work angers no one, you’re doing something wrong.

I feel as though the purpose of my writing career is to piss off all the right people and to comfort those they seek to crush.

Who are the right people? Those who have used their station in life to make existence miserable for others because of immutable differences. In fact, I believe this theme to be the characteristic that sets good literature apart from paragraphs of window-dressing bound between two covers.

In my work, I deal with the realities of the rural Evangelical South which is the environment where I grew up. I was even named after Confederate General, Robert E. Lee. Though, I am of no relation. I attended a church and school where I was taught to hate anyone who wasn’t white, straight, and a specific type of Christian.

Today, I write fiction featuring LGBTQ+ characters fighting against a cult with similar viewpoints, albeit, far more extreme as the novel series goes on. However, the beginning of the first novel provides a rather accurate depiction of what the world was like for queer youth in the early nineteen-nineties.

The Prophets series is also an allegory that begins purposefully during the rise of modern Christian nationalism, specifically, nineteen-ninety-three. That was the year of the Branch Davidian incident in Waco, Texas.

By the end of book three, Prophet’s Death, I’ve laid out a vision of how a militia movement metastasized so virulently that it bamboozled a segment of the population to a point where they were willing to base their entire lives around a man who is the antithesis of the savior they claim to worship. The truth is, they only wanted an excuse to hate openly and to control others who weren’t like them.

I make no secret that this is an allegory for the MAGA movement and that the Character Abraham Prophet is based upon his actions and the manipulation techniques he’s harnessed to control the hordes of rubes who follow him blindly. If this offends you, I truly don’t care. Cruelty and stupidity should bother you more. Stop personalizing politicians of any party because they tell you that you’re somehow special, or a ‘real American’. They’re lying. They don’t care about you. They care about power and making their friends and themselves wealthier off of your underpaid labor.

This, along with the extreme level of violence in my novels, will probably be a turn-off for a lot of readers. I’m fine with that. I’m here to appeal to the weirdos. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Death-cult leader Joseph Proffit has met his end! Along with him perishes the secret method for manufacturing indigo, the substance that imbued him with godlike abilities.

To the dismay of Naomi’s family, she succumbed to the injuries Joseph dealt her during their final battle atop the abandoned Coast Guard station, Frying Pan Tower, thirty miles off the North Carolina coast.

Both of their bodies were lost at sea when the one-hundred-foot-tall structure crumbled during Tropical Storm Gabriel.

Naomi’s beloved companions escaped aboard her dive boat, along with Joseph’s final victim, who is on the verge of death.

In the aftermath, Naomi’s family has no choice but to rebuild their lives in hiding, fearing reprisal from the handful of remaining Apostle loyalists.

Soon, their secret, dormant conflict will be thrust onto the world stage by a wealthy benefactor who funnels his personal hatred and unfounded grievances into throngs of ignorant followers.

Is this the end of Naomi’s family? Without her, how will they survive?

Enjoy an Excerpt

The winds of Tropical Storm Gabrielle punish the small dive boat. Its howling feels like the voice of nature herself crying out in lamentation at the death of Naomi Pace.

As Nate pilots the craft over each wave, there’s a moment when he can hear the engines rev hard as the props come out of the water momentarily just before crashing down again. This cycle repeats every few seconds, seemingly without end.

Below deck, Rebecca and Herschel steady an unconscious Malcolm by keeping him squeezed between their bodies. It’s difficult. There’s nothing to hold onto since the Apostles stripped the cabin bare. The two hours it takes to get back to their dock are hell, both physically and introspectively.

Naomi was Nate’s best friend. To him, she was invincible.

How could she be dead? Nate thinks to himself as he involuntarily projects images of their time together across the water.

He has successfully outrun the incoming storm wall, but a new one awaits his fractured mind when all of the chaos subsides.

Neither Herschel nor Rebecca has the same composure. They wail with grief. Reaching across Malcolm’s limp body, they hold one another’s hands for comfort as much as they do to keep their injured companion safe from the onslaught of the turbulent water.

Nate threads the needle at the Masonboro Inlet, just like Naomi taught him. The waves rocking the swollen bay attempt to push them easterly into the mainland. Even though it means safety, the sight of the dock fills Nate with dread. Its arrival in the foreground always meant the end of a day fishing with Naomi, until now.

About the Author:
Robert Creekmore is from a rural farming community in Eastern North Carolina.

He attended North Carolina State where he studied psychology. While at university, he was active at the student radio station. There, he fell in love with punk rock and its ethos.

Robert acquired several teaching licenses in special education. He was an autism specialist in Raleigh for eight years. He then taught for four years in a small mountain community in western North Carolina.

During his time in the mountains, he lived with his wife Juliana in a remote primitive cabin built in 1875. While there, he grew most of his own food, raised chickens, worked on a cattle farm, as well as participated in subsistence hunting and fishing.

Eventually, the couple moved back to the small farming community where Robert was raised.

Annoyed with the stereotype of the southeastern United States as a monolith of ignorance and hatred, he wanted to bring forth characters from the region who are queer and autistic. They now hold up a disinfecting light to the hatred of the region’s past and to those who still yearn for a return to ways and ideas that should have long ago perished.

Robert’s first traditionally published novel, Prophet’s Debt, was a Manly Wade Wellman Literary Award Finalist.

His second, Prophet’s Lamentation, was a Lambda Literary recommendation for July 2023.

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Truth and Dare by Ann M. Trader – Spotlight and Giveaway

 

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

A bright and talented environmental engineer, Goldie Vreeland understands facts and figures, but Max Corda, her secret office obsession, remains a puzzle. On the eve of a business trip to a coastal island, fate intervenes, pairing her with her sexy crush. As she thinks about sharing the same space with Max for a week, her world veers dangerously off course.

Fueled by success as engineer and president of his family’s firm, recently divorced Max needs to jumpstart his life. When his father unexpectedly assigns him to Goldie’s project, his closely guarded attraction to her comes front and center. Thoughts of spending a week alone with this beautiful intelligent woman make his internal compass glitch.

Romance stirs with the island breeze, so simple when they’re hundreds of miles away from normal. But as Goldie and Max return to reality, will they discover real love is more than a game?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Max walked toward me, thumb hooked under the shoulder strap of his bag, and smiled. Clearly, he aces the masculinity test with no preparation at all. He tilted his head, like he was thinking over something. Obviously, he had no idea he could ask me anything, and I’d say yes. Readily. Breathlessly.

“So,” he said, dragging out the word, “about dinner tonight—”

“Oh, I got it,” I said, waking up my phone. “Sofia texted me everything. Reservations downstairs at seven o’clock.” From the look of his furrowed brow, I wondered if I had a fleck of apple skin stuck between my teeth from my mid-flight snack.

“Yeah…there’s been a slight change of plans. You and Ethan were having dinner downstairs. I have something else planned for us.”

Us. The word sounded dreamy coming from his mouth, floating through the air like a kite in springtime. My toes curled inside my sandals.

“That text,” he said, gaze flickering to his phone, “was from one of my best friends from college. We’re meeting him and his wife for supper. I don’t know what the hell got into Ethan.” He rubbed his knuckles under his chin. “You can’t come to the coast and eat hotel food. Even this hotel’s food.”

I tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. “No, of course not.”

“We’re meeting Jack and Leigh at Thibodeaux’s at eight.”

Thibodeaux’s. The name twirled through my thoughts.

Max leaned a shoulder on the wall, and our gazes met. “It’s this fantastic urban grill—gorgeous waterfront views—fresh catch served daily. Exceptional food and service—”

As exceptional as you…?

“—so, how’s that sound?”

My heart skipped a pair of beats, then I relaxed into my natural Goldie grin. “Sounds wonderful.”

About the Author

I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring recipes on the lighter side of southern comfort foods. I’m a member of Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, and I love relaxing on my back porch to read and write. These days I take walks around my neighborhood, but when I was sixteen, I hiked the Grand Canyon with a group of friends. I love watching television dramas (in no special order): Palm Royale, The Buccaneers, The Bear, Mary and George, Emily in Paris, Outlander, Shrinking, Shogun, Bridgerton, Outer Banks, Stranger Things, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders and reading a great romance book.

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A Troubled Heart by Tricia McGill – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Unsure of his real past or name, Finn O’Connor thinks he was born in Ireland and taken from his mother as a baby by a gypsy woman. As a toddler, an English woman then took him to London. About ten he fled to join a gang of boys who survived by their wits on the streets. Five years later, he was arrested for a minor crime and transported to The Colony of New South Wales for a 10-year term. In 1846 as transporting of criminals neared an end in NSW, he was moved to the infamous penitentiary at Port Arthur in Van Diemen’s Land.

On the day Finn received his papers of freedom an accidental meeting brought him into contact with 20-year-old Esther Blythe. Born in Surrey, England, genteel Esther is kind and caring. As a 4-year-old her parents brought her to Van Diemen’s Land where her Papa, a doctor, took on the task of providing medical aid to the prisoners at the Port Arthur penitentiary and its surrounding area. Sadly, both parents were killed in an accident, leaving Esther with no option but to work as a governess/nursemaid.

For reasons that even she did not comprehend, Esther took ex-convict Finn under her wing when they met outside the penitentiary hospital. Could be she saw a fellow lonely soul who simply wanted someone to have faith in him. Life seems to take a turn for perhaps the better from then on, but will these two lonely people overcome many obstacles to find the happiness they seek together as they face an uncertain future.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Through a haze he could hear a voice somewhere above him, and although vaguely aware that someone had called his name all else was lost in pain. The sweat on his face began to sizzle with the heat—or so it seemed. As he opened his eyes a fraction of this sweat ran into their corners and began to sting as if boiling his eyeballs to add to the sawdust already there, or perhaps it was blood.

“Hang on Finn, yer silly bugger, they’ve gone to fetch ‘elp.” The speaker then disappeared and Finn tried to move, but he had to grit his teeth as a searing pain shot through his shoulder and down his arm.

Heaven knew, he’d had his share of agony and discomfort since coming to this godawful place, but this topped it for certain. To take his mind off it he tried to think of better moments in his life, but they were sparce, far back and almost all lost in time.

A sudden movement beside him in the sawpit alerted him that someone had jumped into the pit and was now leaning over him in the narrow space. “Well, here’s a fine mess you’ve got yourself into young fellow,” a kindly voice said. “How in heaven did you manage to do this to yourself? They said you was the top man, so how come you ended up down here amid the sawdust and dirt?” Patting Finn on the unhurt shoulder, he added, “I’m what’s the nearest to what can be called a doctor here today, they call me Johnson.”

Finn squinted up to see that this Johnson was not a lot older than himself, and was likely nearing his thirtieth year. His mop of unruly hair drooped over his forehead as he began to use a knife to hack his way through Finn’s shirt sleeve, and Finn gritted his teeth as the pain seemed to worsen. To add to his injury was the knowledge that he’d done this damage by his own foolishness. If he hadn’t been larking about as usual to show how handy he was with his fists, none of this would have come about. Never one to shirk from a fight, when the big oaf they called Bear started to taunt him, of course he could not back down from the inevitable.

“You’ve lost a small amount of blood from your forehead, but as far as I can see it’s just where you caught the log on your way down.” Turning to rummage about in a small bag he had at his side this Johnson fellow produced a piece of rag and then began to wipe away at the blood. “I fear the problem with your arm could be a lot worse—probably broken.” The searing pain when he moved that arm made Finn flinch and Johnson apologised. “It’s as I expected, we’ll have to get you off to the infirmary.” Patting Finn’s shoulder he said with a small laugh, “This’ll stop you fighting for a while,” then apologised again, adding, “Sorry, my attempt at humour.”

As another shape appeared above him Finn recognised it as his Scottish working mate Spence who then dropped down to stand at his side opposite the man tending him. “We’ll have to haul you up, matey, so grit yer teeth, eh?” Finn’s teeth ached already with the gritting. “How the bloody hell you managed to get yourself in this mess, I can’t work out. It’s not as if you don’t know how to look after yourself. Mucking about never did you any good, and if I told you once I told you a million times, stick to the rules.”

“’Twas that big oaf Bear, if he hadn’t delivered that mighty punch that knocked me sideways and down here, I would have beaten him to next week. Doc here says it’s not that bad—that’s right isn’t it, doc?” Finn grimaced as he tried to push himself up onto his good elbow.

“Well, honestly, I’ve seen many worse. You were unfortunate that you didn’t pick a more suitable spot for your match.”

Someone up above then tossed a rope down, ordering, “Tie it round his shoulders, Spence, and we’ll haul him up.”

Finn had a feeling he might have passed out as he was dragged up out of the pit, only just being squeezed past the huge log that they had been in the process of sawing through when the accident happened. “Guess it could have been worse, matey—if the log had fallen in on top of yer,” one of the haulers said as they lay him down beside the pit.

This cheerful observation accompanied by a chuckle did nothing to ease the guilt Finn felt. If they had been working on this one for longer and had cut further through it, the log would have fallen onto Spence, and his mate would not now be alive and kicking. He could only offer thanks that they had only started sawing a short time before his silly argument with Bear. Cursing his idiocy for allowing the big idiot to stir him so, he vowed never to be so daft next time.

As Johnson gave orders for Finn to be assisted to the small cart that stood a short distance away, Finn saw Bear standing some distance back laughing his stupid head off and Finn knew his vow would never be kept.

About the Author:

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Award winning author Tricia McGill was born in London, England, and moved to Australia many years ago, settling near

Melbourne. Horses and dogs feature largely in her books. She’s had a succession of dogs in her lifetime and a few horses along the way.

The youngest in a large, loving family she was never lonely or alone. Surrounded by avid readers, who encouraged her to read from an early age, is it any wonder she became a writer? The local library was a treasure trove and magical world of discovery through her childhood and growing years. Tricia is a dreamerwho still dreams every night; snippets from those dreams have translated into ideas for her books.

Although her published works cross sub-genres, romance is always at their heart. Tricia finds the research entailed in writing historicals and her other great passion, time-travels, fascinating.

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Shushan Portal: Behind the Hollyhock Hedge by Gloria Pearson-Vasey

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Gloria Pearson-Vasey is awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

After her sister dies, Meara Deleaney invites her bereaved nephew, Jackson, to accompany her on a book tour to Canada’s Atlantic provinces. Fearful of leaving the security of her apartment, Meara bolsters her courage by recalling the imaginary dragons she and her sister slew as children behind the hollyhock hedge.

As they travel in a motorhome from park to park and bookstore to bookstore, Meara and Jackson are unaware of the manipulating forces intent on preventing their return home. They do, however, realize they are being stalked and therefore welcome the company of another touring author, criminology professor Bartholomew Wolfe.

A long-standing professional relationship between the authors builds to romance and a persuasive invitation to seek shelter at the professor’s lodge. However, to reach the lodge, Meara—now accompanied by her nephew, niece and mother—unsuspectingly travels through a portal which exits in a future dimension near a fortress.

From there, the family is escorted under guard through dangerous territory to a lodge where metaphorical dragons lie in wait, and security comes at a price.

Enjoy an Excerpt

As bedtime neared, Meara was reaching for the television remote when the screen went dark. Simultaneously, the cabin lights dimmed to battery mode, the refrigerator switched from electricity to propane gas, and the microwave blinked off.

Meara and Jackson went outside to see if the power was out in the whole campground. It was an ideal summer night perfected by the sound of rolling surf, a sound they expected to later lull them to sleep in their motorhome haven. A breeze swept the scent of campfire smoke into the ocean-scented air. Small animals could be heard scuttling through nearby shrubbery, rustling twigs and leaves.

When it became apparent there was no generalized power outage, Jackson checked their electric outlet. The motorhome’s electric cord lay unplugged on the ground.

“Pranksters again,” he muttered as he bent to plug it in.

However, at the motorhome steps, Meara and her nephew came to an abrupt halt. On the vehicle’s bottom step lay a long-stemmed rose bearing an attached note.

Someone had stealthily placed it there in the brief time they were outside. Someone had been watching, waiting for the right moment to leave the rose.

No longer did the sound and smell of the ocean seem soothing. No longer did the scent of campfire smoke seem inviting. No longer did the rustling of twig and leaf seem friendly. They looked around nervously and saw no one.

About the Author: Gloria Pearson-Vasey weaves contemporary issues into her novels, and likes a story – be it literary fiction, historical fantasy or science fiction – to be authentic and end on a note of hope.

A member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, Pearson-Vasey has also penned non-fiction books on autism and pilgrimage.

The author feels blessed for experiencing the joy and chaos of merging child raising with career, camping, travel and pets.

She lives in a picturesque Ontario town, and enjoys reading, music, country drives and time with family and friends.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by J.A. Boulet – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Handling negative criticism is a tough aspect of being a novelist. You’ve worked so hard and perfected your book as much as possible, went through multiple edits, and laid your heart out in the book, only to have someone point out something negative.

I learned long ago that those negative bits are necessary to make the reviews real. Undesirable criticism may also be what other readers are specifically looking for or even better, turn out to be positive publicity! I find sexual scenes are like this. They can be a contentious subject and can bring out ire and praise in one single shot.

I think it all comes down to, not everyone will read your story the same way. Every person will pick up and appreciate, or dislike, aspects of your story that directly relates to them on an individualistic level. If you’ve touched a sensitive bone as an author and it’s not something that you’ll ever change in your book, then own it! It makes you into the special author that you are. A novelist with a unique voice. We need more authors like this!

I remember seeing a picture on social media of a James Bond movie and scrawled across the picture it said, “If everybody likes you, you have a serious problem.” It couldn’t have been said better.

Be proud of your unique voice. Take the bricks that have been thrown at you and build your foundation with them.

I hope you are enjoying the tour and look forward to any questions. I’ll try to answer as many as possible. Enjoy Whichever Way the Road Leads!

Meet Jesse Eastman, a young man from a powerful and wealthy American family. When he joins a group of rough fur traders on a journey to open up the American Northwestern Frontier, Jesse thinks his days are numbered.

The looming War of 1812 and a rugged farm woman from Upper Canada may prove him right.

Zee Collard and her father, George, are half-American, and half-Canadian. They will stop at nothing to protect their livelihoods in Upper Canada. The Collard’s family history goes back to the Revolutionary War and their past is not something many Americans are keen on.

Whichever Way The Road Leads will pull you into the lives of two American families on both sides of the border who struggle as war breaks out in 1812. This engaging and graphic first book of The Eastman Saga will take you through raging mountainous rivers and early Northwestern Frontier landscapes to the bloody Niagara battlefields of 1812.

Be careful which road you take, you never know where it’ll lead.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Jesse Eastman cradled his head in his calloused hands and wondered when he had lost his mind. He thought back to several incidents and still could not accurately pinpoint what had prompted him to make the ridiculous decision to risk his life with the Overland Astorian explorers. However, one event was obvious. The argument with his father two years ago had changed his life, for better or for worse. Jesse had never fully recovered from the sting of being thrown out of the Eastman family.

He looked up as his friend threw another log on the fire. Samuel was a tall, gangly fellow he had met last year in St. Louis when the Astorians were adding men to the team. Samuel was as close to a best friend as he’d ever met.

“Still wondering how crazy you are to be here, boy?” Samuel chuckled as the Mad River sloshed menacingly behind their backs. Samuel spit and kicked a stray log with his dirty boot into the campfire. His long hair was firmly slicked back from his forehead, and the stray ends wisped onto his shoulders with every movement.

“Yes,” replied Jesse. “I’m wondering when I’m going to die, too.” Jesse wiped his grimy hands on his pants. The Mad River was so loud it almost drowned out the conversation at times. Jesse shouted towards the river. “How the hell are we going to ride those rapids tomorrow?”

Samuel grimaced and spat again. “With difficulty,” he responded manically.

Jesse laid down on his cot and gazed up at the night skies, feeling a shiver run through his spine.

It would be September 30, 1811 tomorrow, and Jesse imagined this was the date that would appear on his young gravestone. That is, if anyone ever found his body.

About the Author: J. A. Boulet is the passionate author of six historical fiction novels. Raised in a Hungarian refugee family, J. A. was born and grew up in Canada with a strong moral foundation, which she has stood behind all her life. Ms. Boulet began writing poetry at a very young age and progressed to short stories and novels easily. She quickly became a history geek and became fascinated with ancestry and the rough path of immigration. Her university studies ranged from photojournalism to accounting. After decades of working in accounting, J. A. published her first book in 2020 and has since published one to two books annually.

She lives in the Niagara region of Canada with her two sons, a crested gecko, a large Doberdor dog, and a small orchard of fruit trees.

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Dungeon of Horrors by Hawk MacKinney – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

The bank’s newest Trust Officer Terri Stanley prepares the requested department’s internal audit. Finding puzzling inconsistencies and a jumble of misappropriations and unexplained offshore accounts, she follows protocol and immediately punches in the listed number for the Executor-Trustee, Craige Ingram.

Wealthy land owner/parttime PI Craige Ingram reaches the file back to homicide Lt. Grayson MacGerald after finishing a quick read-through of the preliminary forensic report from Coroner Fred Dinkins on the unexpected death of bank President Royce Sedgewicke. Dinkins’ meticulous autopsy findings verify that a massive apparent heart attack was not from natural causes, confirming what these longtime SEAL buddies suspected.

When Ingram gets a call from Terri Stanley, the bank’s attractive, newly-hired Trust Officer, wanting to discuss in confidence possible account irregularities discovered during her audit, he never imagines the twisted world of money and greed that would involve a psychopath’s trail of bloody body parts strewn along Ingram’s river property, or that Terri and her son would disappear.

Confronted by a race against time, Ingram fears that Terri might become one more on the list of dead who crossed a twisted mind bent on thrill-kills and retribution.

Read an Excerpt

Death is seldom dignified, even less so if it’s felony murder. There was no such thing, exSEAL-turned private investigator Craige Ingram believed, but he sometimes forgot how personal death could get. This time, however, it blind-sided a lot of people—including him.

For the annual charity event of the Silver Bluff Museum of Southron Art, the master of ceremonies grandious CEO Llewyn Royce Sedgewicke and PI Craige Howelle Graeme Roynane Ingram seldom moved in the same black tie social circle. Chances were slim to none that Royce Sedgewicke would’ve ever been invited to the sprawling riverfront domains that had once been Grannie Ingram’s dogtrot Moccasin Hollow that she left debt-free to her gran’son Craige.

Unlike his collection of mounted big game trophies along the walls of his profligate mancave, portly Royce Sedgewicke’s food-bespattered tuxedoed carcass stretched out like public roadkill amid the crash and smash of food, china, crystal and splayed floral pieces, and very dead. Last-breath gurgles clung around his gagging tongue as smart phones madly clicked, flooding social media before the emergency ambulance arrived. First edition headlines the next morning made big local news and an avid up-tick in morning papers. Purloined forensic photos of his corpse showing Sedgewicke’s swollen tongue and his bare overstuffed derrière grabbed a growing audience for more about his secretive lifestyle, squandering what little decorum he never had. That mess was bad enough. His passing sent more than a few local bigwigs scrambling to cover their backsides—and their offshore accounts.

Complications and felony murder cinched more-snug when Graysen MacGerald, head of Buckingham Parish Metro Law Enforcement, Investigative Support Team, paid an off-the-record visit to his grown-up-together SEAL Commanding Officer Craige `Peadinger’ Ingram. The death certificate said heart attack. It wasn’t.

About the Author


Internationally acclaimed author and public speaker, Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspapers. Following graduation, he served in the US Navy for over 20 years. While serving as a Navy Commander, he also had a career as a full-time faculty member at several major state medical facilities. He earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history and has taught postgraduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem, Israel.

In addition to professional articles and texts on fetal and adult anatomy, Hawk has authored several novels that have received national and international recognition. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award.

Known for his terrifying suspense and unique “Southron” dialog, Hawk has published five novels in the Moccasin Hollow Mysteries: Hidden Chamber of Death, Westobou Gold, Curse of the Ancients, Dead Gold, and Blood of the Dragonfly.

In a change of direction, Hawk has also published three books in The Cairns of Sainctuarie science fiction series: The Bleikovat Event, Volume I; The Missing Planets, Volume II; and The Inanna Phantom, Volume III.

His latest work is a series called the Moccasin Trace Mysteries. Dungeon of Horrors is the first book in the series, and the second book – Blood in the Shadows – is in development.

Website

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Playtime Clothes by Kim MacLean – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Kim MacLean will award a randomly drawn winner a $15 Amazon/BN gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The young boy’s room is an undeniable mess. Did he actually clean his room, as he is telling his mom? Or do his clothes come to life and play?! They are, after all, playtime clothes. Is he learning a lesson to tell the truth and be accountable, as we all do in life? Or is it a world of make believe? It is for you to enjoy while you decide.

About the Author: Kim MacLean was inspired to be creative while she and her little girls made their own fun inside their home on long, cold winter days. Her girls sat for hours painting and gluing crafts into works of art on paper. Oh, the rows and rows of finished masterpieces drying on the floor while Kim sat and wrote! And there were the hundreds of books that they read and enjoyed together that further inspired creativity and an adult love of children’s books!

Tia Bates is an artist, illustrator, and storyteller from London, Ontario. She is inspired by the beautiful illustrations she grew up looking at in children’s books just like Playtime Clothes, the first children’s book she has illustrated! Currently pursuing a master’s degree in fine art, Tia’s personal artwork is all about the stories we tell.

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My Second Life by Simon Yeats

 

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Simon Yeats is awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

We all have two lives. We only get to experience living in the second after we realize we only have just one.

I have my first real scare in life when I get attacked by a kangaroo when I am seven. My first brush with the cliff-face edge of death comes when I am 12. My dad drives the family down the dangerous Skipper’s Canyon dirt road in New Zealand in a rented minivan.

Including the occasion I am almost involved in two different plane flight crashes, in the same night, there have been at least a half dozen more occasions when I have been within a moment’s inattention of being killed.

However, none of those frightening incidents compare to what I experience after my son is abducted.

This memoir is the story of how I used the traumatic experiences of my life to give me strength to forge on during a 13 year fight to be a father to my son.

What did it take for me to get to my second life?
It took me to truly understand what fear is.

Enjoy an Excerpt

How does a second life differ from a first? My story of reaching the second will demonstrate it perfectly for those languishing in the latter. I guarantee the perception of your life will never be the same after reading about it.

What did it take for me to get to a second life?

Was it an occasion of cheating death? Was it multiple occasions of evading the grim reaper? Was it being arrested and thrown in jail for no reason?

Perhaps a better question might be. How much do I love my child? What am I willing to go through to be in my child’s only life?

Until recently, I had never even heard of this saying by Confucius. But, when a person sees something that resonates with a chord in their heart, they feel it.

I felt it like an earthquake.

Before then, I had never given thought to who I might have ever met that I would consider was living a second life.

Yet this would seem to be our very point of being.

While there have been many occasions in my existence when I have felt like the world is against me. The true nature of life often seems a cruel device. Callous. Savagely unforgiving. And the puppeteer of fate in control of all our lives does not seem to care that we do not want it to be this way.

How many people would admit that they are suffering during their first life?

Rhetorical question.

We all are. Some more than others. But we all are.

Not surprisingly then, that humanity thrives on the ever-unfolding tragedies around us. The devastation of the tsunami in Thailand. The OJ Simpson trial. World War Two concentration camps. The collective work of The Cure and The Smiths.

If it bleeds, it leads.

This is what people want to see.

But the hordes in their first life are primarily concerned with the suffering of the mighty.

However, many of us are not mighty.

Most of us are ordinary.

And the suffering in our first life is done in silence.

About the Author:

Simon Yeats has lived nine lives, and by all estimations, is fast running out of the number he has left. His life of globetrotting the globe was not the one he expected to lead. He grew up a quiet, shy boy teased by other kids on the playgrounds for his red hair. But he developed a keen wit and sense of humor to always see the funnier side of life.

With an overwhelming love of travel, a propensity to find trouble where there was none, and being a passionate advocate of mental health, Simon’s stories will leave a reader either rolling on the floor in tears of laughter, or breathing deeply that the adventures he has led were survived.

No author has laughed longer or cried with less restraint at the travails of life.

 

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Ten Self-promotion Actions to Market Your Book by Karen Hulene Bartell – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

Ten Self-promotion Actions to Market Your Book

For me, marketing is the nightmarish counterpart to the dream of writing. Ugh! Promoting my books is the hell to the heaven of authoring them. I’d much rather keep “plugging away” at finishing a chapter than “plugging” myself on social media. But despite dreading self-promotion, I’ve learned a few marketing tricks over the years to make the task less onerous.

Authoring a book is not easy, nor is getting / having it published. According to various sources, roughly three percent of people who begin drafting a novel ever finish it. And only twenty percent of those completed novels are ever published.

So if you have a published book, congratulations! Pat yourself on the back and take a bow! You are one of an elite minority!

But can you rest on your laurels and stop there?

Nope. Marketing your book is just as important as writing and publishing it. Whether you’re self-published or you work with an indie publisher, small publisher, or a major house, your next challenge is your book launch, and book launches require your 3Ts–talent, time, and treasure.

Because my bread-and-butter job has been technical writing in MarCom–Marketing Communications–for over twenty years, I’ve done almost all my own marketing for the past 26 of my 27 published books. Am I a multi-billionaire? HAH-LOL! BUT let me share ten relatively easy actions that authors CAN take to self-promote their books.

Take Ten Self-promotion Actions!

1. Create an author website (https://karenhulenebartell.com)
2. Create an Author Central page on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/stores/Karen-Hulene-Bartell/author/B000APG0Q8)
3. Create a Goodreads Author page (https://rb.gy/qyvrev)
4. Accumulate blurbs for your book from trusted friends and acquaintances.
5. Add your book’s title and link to your automatic email signature.
6. Trade guest posts on your blog with other authors (https://karenhulenebartell.com/f/january-newsletter)
7. Accumulate Amazon book reviews (https://rb.gy/haasnb)
8. Gather Goodreads book reviews (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/204849593-kissing-kin)
9. Write self-promotion articles for LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:share:7152697619885051907)
10. Create a launch team by asking trusted friends and acquaintances to read / review your free book on Amazon and Goodreads. (That’s right. I said FREE. Quid pro quo. A favor for a favor.)

Complete each of these actions in the six to eight weeks prior to your book’s release–one task at a time. Each action is doable, and if you complete all ten, I promise you’ll raise your book’s visibility.

Happy self-marketing!

Heights terrify Ava. When a stranger saves her from plunging down a mountain, he diverts her fears with tales of Japanese kitsune—shapeshifting foxes—and she begins a journey into the supernatural.

She’s attracted to Chase, both physically and metaphysically, yet primal instincts urge caution when shadows suggest more than meets the eye.

She’s torn between Chase and Rafe, her ex, when a chance reunion reignites their passion, but she struggles to overcome two years of bitter resentment. Did Rafe jilt her, or were they pawns of a larger conspiracy? Are the ancient legends true of kitsunes twisting time and events?

Enjoy an Excerpt

I applied my makeup with an artist’s hand, blending three shades of eyeshadow and going heavy on the mascara. Then I slipped into the black cocktail dress I’d bought for the occasion–a fusion of chic and slutty.

Wish I knew what Rafe planned for my birthday. Dinner at an upscale restaurant? Pub food at a sports bar?

“A surprise,” was all he’d said.

What’s the fine line between dressed to kill and overdressed? Glancing at the mirror, I glimpsed the exposed décolletage, then examined my naked left hand. More importantly, is tonight the night? After dating for three years, the conversation had finally turned to rings and weddings, and with graduation a month away, I was eager to take the next step.

At six o’clock sharp, I sat by the door, butterflies fluttering in my belly.

Ten minutes passed, fifteen. I texted him. An hour later, I called. When he didn’t pick up, I left a voicemail.

At eight o’clock, I checked my email. No messages, no texts–radio silence.

At nine o’clock, I removed my makeup, the black, smoky taupe, mauve, and greige streaks on the cotton pad mirroring my mood. After showering, I picked at soggy leftovers as I studied my bare left hand. Leftovers…

When the phone dinged, I flinched. Rafe?

Mia–Guess who’s at Tootsie’s? And Rafe’s not alone. What’s going on?–

I sat back, stunned. He wouldn’t break up with me on my birthday–without even the courtesy of telling me–would he?

About the Author Author of the Trans-Pecos and Sacred Emblem series, Karen is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, wife, and all-around pilgrim of life, who writes multicultural, offbeat love stories. Born to rolling-stone parents who moved often, Bartell found her earliest playmates as fictional friends in books. Paperbacks became her portable pals. Ghost stories kept her up at night—reading feverishly. The paranormal was her passion. Novels offered an imaginative escape. An only child, she began writing her first novel at the age of nine, learning the joy of creating her own happy endings. Professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin, Karen resides in the Texas Piney Woods with her husband Peter and her “mews”—three rescued cats and a rescued *Cat*ahoula Leopard dog.

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