What Kind of Writer Am I? by J.A. Boulet – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

What Kind of Writer Am I?

I suppose there are labels for everyone and anything but rarely do we fit entirely in one box. What kind of writer am I? Well, first of all, I am a career writer. I enjoy writing and am very passionate about it but I do not solely write for only enjoyment or to pour out my feelings in journals (my hands can’t stand writing with a pen too long lol) nor do I write as a hobby. Although, I do know many writers that enjoy this type of writing and that’s okay too.

For myself, I am committed to writing as a life-long career in historical fiction and historical romance. I will continue to publish novels so my readers can expect a new book at least once per year, maybe more.

Some other aspects of my writing that define me are not as simple. I am an underwriter. I write the first draft very quickly, sometimes faster than I can type. I often finish the book 10,000 words under what it should be. After the first draft, I do a full story edit and include more substance and additional scenes. Usually, this brings me up to my goal of 75,000 words or 300 pages.

My writing can also be categorized sometimes as character-driven, but this is only a master illusion. I have outlines and I keep my characters from venturing off into the woods many times, lol.

I do write steamy sex scenes too, but lately, I have reduced the occurrence of these scenes with each novel so the reader can focus more on the events. I find this also helps balance out the readers who do not enjoy sexual matter. It is much easier to skip this way without losing too much of the story.

All in all, I have progressed into my own individual style of writing and it has improved with every book. I hope you enjoy 1956 Love & Revolution and thanks for following along on my blog tour! Love ya all!

What would you do for your country?

In 1955, a group of uncommon people meet by chance. During the final year of Rákosi’s iron fist rule, Imre Nagy’s reforms are repealed, plunging Hungary back into economic ruin.
A university student, a cleaner, a Hungarian soldier and several others find themselves drawn toward each other as their love for their country is tested. In the fall of 1956, political strife deepens as the students begin demanding reform.
How far will they go to save Hungary?

Well-researched, politically charged and fast-paced, 1956 Love & Revolution will lure you into the lives of everyday Hungarians who risked everything for their country.

Enjoy an Excerpt

It was August 1955, and Elona was tired. She grabbed her bucket and wrung out the mop one last time. She had been cleaning at the theatre all night, and it was now early dawn. Something about the purple-lightening skies always enchanted her. Budapest was a quiet city at 4:30 am, almost peaceful. But Hungary was nothing close to peaceful lately. So many things were happening in her country that it made her stomach churn. Politics wasn’t something she was keen on, but lately, it seemed every Hungarian held hope that their country would reinstate a more economically-sound government.

They lived through so many years of repression, paying exorbitant taxes for Hungary’s industrialization and war reparations to Russia, among so many other fees, that every single Hungarian paid almost two-thirds of their income out to the government. This left so little for food, cigarettes or anything else. It was a tough life of constantly working with little chance of enjoyment.

Elona was only twenty-one years old, but she felt like she was eighty.

She stepped outside onto the dark street and turned back to lock the theatre doors. Her pail and mop were already beside the door when she noticed she had left the dirty water in the bucket. She sighed and cursed softly. Elona was not going to open up the heavy double doors again and return all the way to the other side of the washrooms to dump her bucket.

She pushed the keys deep inside her pants pocket and picked up the pail gently, sneaking to the alleyway. Elona tiredly tipped her bucket in the alleyway, dumping it upside down to empty it completely so she could return home with a much less heavy pail. She didn’t drive, and her bicycle broke, so she didn’t even have that luxury anymore. A headache started at her temples, and she massaged her face gently. Maybe, one day things will get better.

She looked up as male voices echoed down the street. She wondered who would be in the streets at this hour. There wasn’t much crime because of the state police, so she usually had nothing to fear.

Then a chill ran down her spine.

About the Author:J. A. Boulet is the passionate author of five historical fiction novels. Her newest novel, 1956 Love & Revolution, is a chilling standalone book about the 1956 Hungarian uprising. A highly anticipated release scheduled for June 5, 2023, this is a book that the author holds close to her heart.

J. A. Boulet was raised in the aftermath of the Hungarian Revolution. Her father was a Hungarian soldier who fought bravely during the 1956 uprising. He escaped and was granted asylum in Canada. Ms. Boulet’s mother also fled from the revolution shortly after. The couple met, fell in love and built a family in Saskatchewan.

J. A. Boulet was born decades later. Raised in a refugee family with strong morals has provided J. A. with the foundation to 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. J. A. published her first book in 2020 and has since published one to two books annually. She writes with an unsettling realism, grabbing your emotions and refusing to let go. 1956: Love and Revolution is a book you won’t be able to put down.

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Choosing Love Over Pride by Marielle de Vassoigne – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized cy Goddess Fish Promotions. Marielle de Vassoigne will be awarding a $15 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.

“CHOOSING LOVER OVER PRIDE” and its prequel “NEW BEGINNING IN VANCOUVER” are CONTEMPORARY ROMANCEs about Maxime, a grounded and resilient woman, who’s changed her life moving across Canada in Vancouver. Owner of the Salon Blossom – Flowers & Teas there, she faces new joys and challenges.

Maxime identifies as an LGBTQ+ ally and some key characters, like her dear Sophia, a daughter in her heart, and her assistant at the Salon Blossom are proud members of the LGBTQ+ community.

This tale full of twists and roller coaster rides for the reader, prompts many emotions, daring them to remain open-minded while rethinking relationships and their structures, to promote inclusion and acceptance. Cis-gender woman, Maxime herself redefines boundaries in her love relationship in this new stage of her life.

Enjoy an excerpt

“What’s on your mind, Bloom? I’ve been so focused on Gabriel that I’ve forgotten to catch up with you for too long now.”

“I’ve missed you Max . . .” She’s withholding something.

“Bloom, is everything all right between you and your dad?”

“Yeah, no. I’m good with Dad. We still have so much to catch up on.”

“Good. So, tell me.”

She chuckles. “You sound like Uncle Gab—before his accident.”

“I know sweetie.” I sigh and shoo the butterflies away from my mind, refocusing on my dear Bloom with a nod.

“Max. I’m not sure . . . I don’t know how . . .”

“Breathe, sweetness. It’s me, I can hear anything, you know it. I see something is bothering you. Is it about your work here or your studies?”

“Oh, no! I still love it here Max. And all is well with my classes. It’s about Anja.”

Her face brightens as she speaks about her best friend, then grows somber for a microsecond.

Anja is the friend Bloom has grieved and grown with. From the loss of her mother to being raised by her great-grandparents, and her father’s incarceration. When Sophia turned twenty-one earlier this year, Anja helped her father and me with the celebration we’d organized at the Explorer to welcome our newly legitimate client at the lounge. (…)

“Did you girls quarrel?”

“No, not at all. On the contrary.” Uneasy, Bloom twists her hands and wiggles her legs, biting her lip.

How could those two be any closer than they already are? “Oh!”

Hopeful yet nervous Bloom becomes still, fists clenched on her knees, raised brows, biting her cheek.

“Bloom, sweetie, are you two . . . in love?” She gulps and nods. “That’s amazing, Angel! You two are real soulmates.” Just like Gabriel and me, the butterfly offers.

Relieved, Bloom rushes around my desk to hug me.

“Oh, Aunt Max! I knew you’d understand. But I’m so scared. I don’t know how to come out to the family. To Dad.”

“Hmm. Angel, does anyone else know? Did you talk to James or your cousins about it?”

“I haven’t. I think Josh suspects something, but with everything that’s happened this year, with Uncle Gab and Zoe’s birth, they’ve had other things on their minds.”

“I see. What about Anja? Did she come out to her family yet? I mean, did Anja . . . Bloom, what pronouns should I use for the two of you?”

“Thanks for asking Max! She or they. And yes, she did. Her dad and brother are cool with it. Her mom less so, but I think it’s just the surprise. She’ll come around. Anja was expecting the opposite.” She giggles. “Her dad to reject her and the support of her mother. We never know how parents will react.”

“That’s what’s making you nervous?” She nods, creasing her nose.“Bloom, I’m sure Jason won’t have any problem with whom you love. You mean everything to him.”

She smirks and then frowns. “Do you want me to test the water with him?”

She frantically nods. “Yes, please! Max . . .”

About the Author:After spending half her life in Montréal, Marielle de Vassoigne moved to Vancouver during the pandemic in January of 2021.

Just like her main character Maxime, she was born in France and grew up in Martinique, a French Caribbean Island, before moving in Canada.

An organic writer, she’s publishing her first novel, which is an outcome from her many experiences. The story has been influenced by her core belief—that a rich life is filled with kindness, curiosity, and exploration—as well as values of diversity and inclusion.

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How to Bury Your Dog by Eva Silverfine – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Eva Silverfine will be awarding a $15 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.

Lizzy has largely retreated from the world: she tends her adopted strays and goes to work, but she has forsaken lifelong pastimes and declines invitations from old friends. On the day she buries Happy, the abandoned basset hound she adopted years before, she learns a real estate developer is threatening the heart of her rural community—a tranquil pond and a relict stand of hemlocks. For Lizzy this is a magical place, hidden from the modern world.

Coaxed by an old friend to join a group fighting the development, Lizzy is reluctant—she wants to avoid both hope and him. But she realizes she can no longer keep the outside world at bay. As the battle over the development unfolds, Lizzy opens herself to two young neighbors who share her love of the natural environment—an awkward sixteen-year-old and an inquisitive ten-year-old. And as Happy’s elements return to the earth, buried memories find their way to the surface in increasingly curious ways.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Lizzy had wandered toward the pond herself that morning after a restless night. Her mind had been full of the day’s trip, which overall had been predictable and therefore frustrating. She took her usual route through the woods to the bluff. A bird called relentlessly—she recognized its song, but she couldn’t remember its name, even though Wes had told her so many times. She had never tried very hard to remember because its name was not important to her. She didn’t need to name the bird to be reassured by its call, to be reassured by knowing it was there and living the life it was supposed to live, to be reassured there was a world much bigger than herself. It was in knowing there was a world bigger than her own life that she typically found comfort, but this morning she was experiencing the other side: that she was too small to affect the course of events unfolding in her own backyard.

As Lizzy approached the bluff, she saw the sourwoods were in flower—racemes of dainty white urns were calling in the honeybees. She walked to the edge of the bluff and looked over the hemlocks standing firm on their perilous slope.

Even if she hadn’t known the hemlocks were relicts of another era, the bluff had always seemed an ancient place, a magical place, hidden from the modern world. An earthy scent emanated from the ground— humus and moss overlain with the sweet aromatic sheath of shed hemlock needles and branchlets. She loved the hemlocks—their form, their scent, their flat, dark green leaves.

About the Author:From living above her parents’ hardware store in Brooklyn, New York, to living a mile down a gravel road in semi-rural Texas with her husband, sons, and the local wildlife, Eva Silverfine has explored a variety of urban to rural landscapes. On that journey, she earned two degrees in the environmental sciences, worked in an entomological research lab, and eventually retooled as a copyeditor. She freelances for several academic presses and writes personal narrative and fiction in the in-between spaces. Her short fiction has appeared in a variety of online journals; she has published a collection of essays, Elastic Walls: From Brooklyn to Texas and Points in Between; and her novels, How to Bury Your Dog and Ephemeral Wings, have been published by Black Rose Writing.

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Reflections on the Boulevard by Louis J. Ambrosio – Cover Reveal and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour to reveal the cover of REFLECTIONS ON THE BOULEVARD, the second book in the Reflections of Michael Trilogy, organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC or an autographed copy of the book. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Michael’s story continues from “A Reservoir Man” (2022) where we find him teaching at a university ready to retire. He unexpectedly meets a young man named Ron who becomes his protégé and journeys with him in a haphazard adventure throughout America and Europe. In Michael’s final journey in life, each twist and turn of the road brings unexpected adventures. The journey taken is one of joy, friendship, and discovery.

About the Author

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

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The Power of Colloquialism and Peculiar Jargon by M. Laszlo – Guest Blog 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.

The Power of Colloquialism and Peculiar Jargon
We all know that everything began with the word. According to Judeo-Christian tradition, nothing even existed before Jehovah spoke. “Let there be light,” the Deity said, if memory serves. At any rate, a slightly dissimilar kind of awesome, language-related event happened to me during my youth. In the summer of 1985, I traveled to London and discovered the most glorious words of all: the freakish brilliance that is Britspeak.

Ah, London! Ah, the summer of 1985! What a magnificent experience. As a weird kid daydreaming about being an author, London made me realize that dialogue has to be real—that characters ought to talk the way people really talk. All these years later, that’s what guided me through the authoring of my first book. Every step of the way, I endeavored to employ British colloquialism and phraseology to capture London and to bring it life. This comes down to the fact that it is the vernacular that makes characters and their stories seem genuine. In short, glorious Britspeak makes the unbelievable seem as true as Coventry blue.

At this point, it would be tempting to list out some of the really great terms that had come into fashion back in 1985. The problem is that so many of them are utterly obscene. More to the point, though, 1980s Britspeak opened up my mind to the rich history of British colloquialism—the quirky, brilliant, obsolete terms and jocular phrases that came into existence long before the summer of 1985. Looking back, there can be no question that the magnificence of Victorian-era and Edwardian-era colloquialism influenced me to set my writings in the WW-I era—a really interesting time when nineteenth-century phrases and modern-day ones were constantly coming into contact with one another. As an author, though, this is where things got really confusing. Imagine translating a London diary filled with 1980s slang and vulgarism into the kind of slang and vulgarism that young people would’ve used back in the 1910s.

Another challenge came in the form of trying to translate the language of the music scene. That process became especially challenging when trying to create a mythical explanation for the origins of London’s Goth youth culture. In the summer of 1985, London was alive with the sounds of Goth bands and really dark neo-psychedelic bands alike: the Cure, Bauhaus, Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen, Throbbing Gristle, and the Teardrop Explodes to name a few. How to reduplicate such extraordinary nomenclature? It’s easier said than done—especially if the author wishes to remain fairly accurate to history.

In the course of writing my novellas, another challenge presented itself: how to describe the Goth attire? In the 1980s, London was alive with beautiful, somber-dressed young women who had a really timeless, almost Edwardian style. For my first book, it was necessary to learn the terms that precisely denote defunct women’s fashions. Make no mistake about it: without the jargon of fashion history, it’s impossible to really give characters their proper, era-appropriate “clobber.”

Another place where it proved incredibly trying to move the 1980s into the past came with the sport of ice-skating. In the spring of 1985, the very beautiful Katarina Witt had won the world figure-skating championship—and because of my infatuation with her, my youthful diary reveals a habit of constantly comparing young ladies to the famous skater. As a consequence, there was no way to translate the diary into novellas without having at least one character dedicated to skating. Ultimately, though, my novellas had to become fairly anachronistic in some respects. This follows from the fact that my WWI-era characters had to be able to perform the elements that Katarina Witt could. In the end, I had no option but to employ literary license so as to let my WWI-era narrator know about 1980s ice-skating jargon and the various terms for futuristic, yet-to-be-developed techniques.

As it so happened, back in the summer of 1985, nobody in London seemed to care very much about Katarina Witt. The one German athlete who dominated the papers that summer was Boris Becker. He did well at Wimbledon, but it surprised me to see all the snide, snarky humor in the print media. The British journalists presented him as a kind of cartoonishly wrathful Red-Baron type figure. What a surprise, too, just to hear all the Britspeak epithets reserved for German nationals. Perhaps it would be impolite to repeat any of them here, so I’ll not do it. The salient point is that the whole Boris Becker media frenzy must have had something to do with my peculiar impulse to translate my diary into the WW-I era. In short, I picked up on the British-German rivalry and really wanted to say something about it.

All of which brings us to the novellas themselves. Why go to all this trouble to write them at all? Well, here’s the reason: the written word is far more potentially enlightening than the spoken word. It is the written word which permits us to share what we have learned and to perhaps help to ennoble someone somewhere. Yes, the notion that the spoken word created the universe is the Judeo-Christian belief. Nevertheless, the power of the written word is much more than belief. The written word provides an opportunity to form a meeting of two minds—that of the author and that of the reader. Nothing could ever be more miraculous than that. Perhaps that is why every successful religion requires one thing more than any other: a book.

In this trio of novellas, three game young ladies enter into dangerous liaisons that test each one’s limits and force them to confront the most heartrending issues facing society in the early twentieth century. The Phantom Glare of Day tells of Sophie, a young lady who has lived a sheltered life and consequently has no idea how cruel public-school bullying can be. When she meets Jarvis, a young man obsessed with avenging all those students who delight in his daily debasement, she resolves to intervene before tragedy unfolds. Mouvements Perpétuels tells of Cäcilia, a young lady shunned by her birth father. She longs for the approval of an older man, so when her ice-skating instructor attempts to take advantage of her, she cannot resist. Not a month later, she realizes that she is pregnant and must decide whether or not to get an abortion. Passion Bearer tells of Manon, a young lady who falls in love with a beautiful actress after taking a post as a script girl for a film company—and is subsequently confronted with the pettiest kinds of homophobia.

Enjoy an Excerpt

London, 29 September, 1917.

Sophie paused beside a stock-brick building, and she listened for the unnerving rumble of an airship’s engine car. How long has it been since the last bombardment? Sometime before, as she had stood in this very spot, she had heard the Zeppelin clearly enough.

At that point, a Royal-Navy carbide flare had streaked heavenward. Then, from the neighboring rooftops, fifty or more pom-pom guns had opened fire–and the night air had filled with the odor of something like petroleum coke.

Yes, I remember. Now she braced herself for a salvo of fire.

No deafening tumult rang out. Neither did any sickening, stenchful fumes envelope her person.

No, it’s just my nerves. She glanced at the sky, and she whispered a simple prayer of thanksgiving.

From around the corner, an omnibus approached.

She climbed aboard and rode the way to Mayfair Tearoom.

The establishment had never looked so inviting as it did that night. By now, the proprietress had decorated the tables with Michaelmas daisies the color of amethyst, and she had adorned the china cabinet with ornamental cabbage. Moreover, how appetizing the scent of the fresh Eccles cakes.

The tearoom had attracted quite a crowd, too, the young ladies all decked out in silken gowns.

I wonder why. Sophie removed her coat, and she suddenly felt underdressed—for she had not worn anything too fancy that evening, just a puffed blouse and a fluted skirt. At once, she sat down at one of the last available dinette tables.

An eclipse of moths fluttered through the transom, meanwhile, and even they looked better than she did. What beauty the creatures’ wings—a fine royal purple.

Don’t look at them. Alas, when she turned her attention to the doorsill, a dull ache radiated up and down her left arm.

Not a moment later, a tall, gaunt lad, his eyes a shade of whiskey brown, entered the tearoom.

For a time, he glared at the patrons—as if at any moment he might remove a musketoon from beneath his frock coat and shoot everyone.

About the Author:M. Laszlo is the pseudonym of a reclusive author living in Bath, Ohio. According to rumor, he based the pen name on the name of the Paul Henreid character in Casablanca, Victor Laszlo.
M. Laszlo has lived and worked all over the world, and he has kept exhaustive journals and idea books corresponding to each location and post.

It is said that the maniacal habit began in childhood during summer vacations—when his family began renting out Robert Lowell’s family home in Castine, Maine.

The habit continued in 1985 when, as an adolescent, he spent the summer in London, England. In recent years, he revisited that journal/idea book and based his first work, The Phantom Glare of Day, on the characters, topics, and themes contained within the youthful writings. In crafting the narrative arcs, he decided to divide the work into three interrelated novellas and to set each one in the WW-I era so as to make the work as timeless as possible.

M. Laszlo has lived and worked in New York City, East Jerusalem, and several other cities around the world. While living in the Middle East, he worked for Harvard University’s Semitic Museum. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio and an M.F.A. in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York.

His next work is forthcoming from SparkPress in 2024. There are whispers that the work purports to be a genuine attempt at positing an explanation for the riddle of the universe and is based on journals and idea books made while completing his M.F.A at Sarah Lawrence College.

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The Beautiful Misfits by Susan Reinhardt – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Eighty-four seconds can change your life. Or destroy it. Josie Nickels is an Emmy-winning news anchor, poised to rise through the ranks of television journalism. On a bitter March evening on live TV, the pressures and secrets burbling behind the closed doors of her ridiculous Victorian mansion explode and the overwhelmed journalist spills family secrets like a Baptist at altar call. The aftermath costs her much more than a career. It robs her of a beloved son—a preppy, educated millennial trapped in the deadly world of addiction. Desperate for a new start and a way to save her son, Josie packs up her pride, her young daughter, and accepts a new job slinging cosmetics at a department store make-up counter with other disgraced celebs. In the gorgeous mountains of Asheville N.C., known for hippies, healings, and Subarus, Josie is faced with a choice for her son: Take a chance on a bold, out-of-the-ordinary treatment plan for her son or lose him forever. This heart-wrenching and, at times, hilarious novel, will delight fans of book-club women’s fiction and inspire and give hope to those with addicted sons and daughters.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“My darling son: The machines do the work. The breathing. If they go, you go. This much they said. This much I’m struggling to believe. In the weeks after you were born, I’d kneel at your cradle and watch you breathe. Every night after you fed from my body and lay dry and cocooned, I counted your breaths. I had to because sometimes you’d hesitate as if unsure what came next. One, two, three. One, skip, two. One, skip, skip. I’d nudge the cradle and startle you into another gasp of existence.

I did this every night until my knees grew raw on the cold hardwood floor and my sleep-starved eyes shut down. It seemed you were hesitant about this life outside of me, not sure you wanted the air that sustained, almost as if testing this world before it had a chance to do the same to you. Sometimes I never made it to my bed across the room.

I’d awaken in a spill of moonlight, clumped and aching beneath your cradle. Mouth dry and hanging open, foot kicking that oak siding just to keep you going. Now, more than twenty-three years later, I am doing it again. We’re back to this two-step, this tango, this breathing game. I am counting the rise and falls of your chest and gently tapping the metal railings of your bed. The machine breathes and releases. It’s a dance, a rhythm.

About the Author:

Susan Reinhardt grew up in LaGrange, GA. and Spartanburg, S.C.where most girls twirled batons, entered beauty pageants, and became debutantes.

Bucking the norm, Susan spent her free time water skiing almost every day, fishing, and pining for a ragamuffin boy who was always up to no good.

Earlier in her college years, she pursued nursing, but most of her patients were terminal and her mastery and frequency of giving enemas had her questioning this line of work, though she adores nurses and often wishes she’d have stuck with the field.

She recently took a part-time job caring for adults with disabilities and loves the work, figuring it would at least make up for past misdeeds and get her a better shot at the Pearly Gates.

Writing has always been her first love. And she became good enough at it to earn many dozens of awards, including three Best of Gannetts for her feature stories and columns. Along with a bunch of other junk that really doesn’t matter in the end.

What matters to Reinhardt is making people laugh. And think. And love others.

She is married to her second and final husband, country and genius lawyer Donny Laws who is bald but has a ponytail and loves to ride a bike. She has two adult kids, three steps, and a granddaughter.

She’s been on national TV, has modeled for one glossy magazine, and was the subject of a British documentary on aging and body image. She hopes that the documentary is lost and never resurfaces.

She once had a radio show called Susan Uncensored; a sold-out one-woman show called “From Hilarity to Insanity and Back.”

She no longer water skis but performs fairly decent front and backflips from a diving board and half-ass rides a unicycle and twirls a baton simultaneously.

Her hobbies include a vintage camper obsession and she’s owned three. Recently she’s settled on her 1968 Scotsman, which she hopes to paint pink and teal with polka-dots and haul on book tours.

She has two rescue cats who vehemently hate each other.

In her next life, she’d like to be a figure skater.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

We’re actually talking about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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When Writing a Flawed Protagonist… Use Humor by Allyson Rice – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

When Writing a Flawed Protagonist… Use Humor

When writing protagonists, you want them to be flawed. You want your protagonist to be human, and since none of us humans are perfect, the fact that your protagonist isn’t perfect either makes her relatable. You want your reader to feel for your character and her struggles and root for her throughout your book.

In the case of Jesse, one of the three siblings in my recently released novel The Key to Circus-Mom Highway, I wanted to add another wrinkle. One of the themes within the book is how we often make snap judgments of others based on the way they look, or speak, or act, and they’re not always accurate assessments of the person. They’re usually more about our own preconceptions. It takes getting to know them a little before we see beyond what made us initially judge them.

Personally, I love the character of Jesse. I think she’s hilarious. But… she starts as a bartender in a strip club, has arms covered in tattoos, she swears a lot, and presents herself in “an aging tough-girl, you-wouldn’t-hire-her-to-babysit-your-kids kind of way. Like if Joan Jett and Reese Witherspoon had a love child…” I knew the tattoos and particularly the swearing were going to be off-putting and make some readers judge her negatively. (The strip club job she quits right away with relief once she receives the call from the lawyer about her deceased birth mom and the inheritance). I knew that the process of making readers root for her was especially important since among the three siblings, Jesse is the one that leads the action.

There are two ways I attempted to do this. First, little by little I let the reader in on Jesse’s backstory–the difficult things that have happened to her that have made her act the way she does. Since we’ve all had difficult things we’ve been through in our lives, how can you not respond compassionately to someone else once you know the struggles they’ve been through? Second, and this was key for me with Jesse’s character, was to use humor. She’s smart, funny, and sarcastic at times. As I wrote dialogue for her, it often made me laugh out loud. She has no filter. It felt like the lines were coming from her, the character, and not me, the author.

When the BookLife review in Publisher’s Weekly came out and said of Jesse, Refreshing in her underdog melancholy and snarky repartee, she’ll have readers cheering as she gains wisdom along the back roads of the American South. Her irreverent humor lightens her anger at her birth mother, even as she faces new family challenges,” I felt like I had been successful!

If you get a chance to read the book at some point, drop me a line through my website http://allysonrice.com and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear whether your views about Jesse (and her two siblings, Jennifer and Jack) changed along the way.

In an attempt to secure an unexpected inheritance—and hopefully find a few answers—two estranged sisters and their newly discovered brother embark on a comically surreal trip through the Deep South to retrace the life of the mother who abandoned them as infants.

On a Tuesday afternoon, sisters Jesse Chasen and Jennifer McMahon receive a phone call notifying them that their birth mother has died, leaving behind a significant inheritance. But in order to obtain it, they must follow a detailed road trip she designed for them to get to know her—and that includes finding a brother they never knew existed.

For the next week, this ill-assorted trio treks across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to meet their mother’s old friends, from circus performers to a juke joint owner, each of whom delivers a shocking vignette into the life of a young mother traumatized by loss and abuse. Along the way, these three siblings—Jesse, whose fiery exterior disguises a wounded, drifting musician stuck in a rut; Jennifer, whose carefully curated family life is threatened by her husband’s infidelity; and Jack, whose enigmatic Jackie, Oh! persona in the New Orleans drag queen scene helps him escape the nightmares of Afghanistan that haunt him at night—must confront their own demons (and at least one alligator). But in chasing the truth about their real mother, they may all just find their second chance.

This uproarious debut novel is a reminder that sometimes, the family you’d never have chosen may turn out to be exactly what you need.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Westley re-entered with five boxes of food that said Zunzi’s on the side. “Best sandwiches in Savannah! We’re going on a traveling picnic. There’s a young couple, just got married, staying here tonight too, so they’re going to join us. I hope you don’t mind.”

Duke and Ivy Parker had met at the Monster Truck Destruction Tour in Lubbock, Texas a mere two weeks ago. Christian Rock radio station KZOL was having their annual Monster Truck ticket giveaway to the first two callers who could answer these two questions correctly:

1) What former WrestleMania star has driven a Monster Truck in a movie and has also founded a church? (answer: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson); and,
2) According to Wikipedia, what Christian Grindcore band has said that their band name was inspired by Revelations 3:15-16? (answer: Vomitorial Corpulence)

Complete strangers, Duke and Ivy had been the first two correct callers, at number fourteen and number thirty-one, respectively. When they both showed up at the Monster Truck event wearing the same vintage edition Bigfoot Monster Truck t-shirt, they were convinced that it was The Lord that had guided them to each other in Section 104 Row 25 Seats 16 and 17. They knew it was literally “a match made in Heaven,” and so they eloped.

Right on cue, Ivy and Duke, an excruciatingly gung-ho couple in their early twenties dressed in color-coordinated NASCAR gear, entered, holding hands.

About the Author:Allyson Rice is the author of the novel The Key to Circus Mom Highway. (“Fans of family drama, road trips, and non-stop laughs will love this cross-country adventure.”–BookLife/Publisher’s Weekly). She’s an award-winning mixed media artist, and a producer with Atomic Focus Entertainment.

After spending many years as an actress on stage and on television, she left acting and spent the next decade running yoga/meditation retreats, women’s retreats, and creativity retreats around the country. After that, she pivoted to focus once again on her own creative work. In addition to her writing and art, she’s also a photographer (her work was most recently seen in an exhibition at the Soho Photo Gallery in NYC).

Some random bits of Allyson trivia: 1) She’s been skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, ziplining through a rainforest, and scuba diving with stingrays; 2) she has an extensive PEZ dispenser collection; 3) she played Connor Walsh on As the World Turns for seven years; 4) she’s been in the Oval Office at the White House after hours; 5) she’s related to the Hatfields of the infamous Hatfield/McCoy feud; and 6) her comedic rap music video “Fine, I’ll Write My Own Damn Song” won numerous awards in the film festival circuit and can now be seen on YouTube.

Also available from Allyson Rice is her line of women’s coloring books (The Color of Joy, Dancing with Life, and Wonderland), and The Creative Prosperity PlayDeck, an inspirational card deck about unlocking and utilizing your creative energy in the world. She’s currently at work on her second novel and her fourth women’s coloring book. But she is most proud of being mom to musical artist @_zanetaylor.

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A Reservoir Man by L.J. Ambrosio – Q&A and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. L.J. Ambrosio will be awarding a signed copy of the book to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on a tour banner to see the other stops on the tour. See our review here.

What would I tell a new author?

Listen to yourself and get advice creatively, learn formatting, and understand the industry you are entering.

The hardest part about writing is

Spelling, run on sentences, the physical appearance, clothes, and haircuts of my characters. I don’t want them to look like someone I know unless I want them to…

Important Elements

Get a great cover design; don’t get too heady getting a title or silly; stay away from sexual implications in title design. Don’t let people read your book until you are finished, but you should have one person that you can trust that you can share with. You must get an editor – don’t be cheap; spend money here. If you are self-publishing know the field and know how to advertise. Release the book to critics before the public by three months. Reviews are important; get them. They are very important as is their posting on Goodreads and Amazon. Be a gentleperson; don’t be pushy and be humble. Do tours, blitzes, and interviews – anything to get your novel out there. Believe in yourself; you are the artist. Sex is important, but it doesn’t make it your novel. Your story is, and the relationship of your characters with life and themselves.

A Reservoir Man, critics have hailed this explosive and timely work as “a must-read coming-of-age story of 2022.” Twists and turns further pull the reader in to Michael’s action-packed tale, with powerful themes, from betrayal and family to secrets and identity. “Be sure not to blink because you just might miss a pivotal moment in Michael’s rousing, larger-than-life story.” — R.C. Gibson, Indiestoday.com. “This book is a dream, a gamble, a utopia, even.” — Kalyan Panja, Bookmarkks.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Michael had now become, after these last six months, a little more world weary and worse for the wear. Sitting on his bench, entering his last year at college. Michael still had not found his soul or his truth. His emphasis on sex was unfulfilling and empty. He wandered in the shadowy corners, the lightless streets, leading to a dead end and the darkness of an empty truck. Loneliness had become a fixture of Michael’s being. He longed for a few hours to be with Carol, Claire, or Raphael.

One day, while sitting on the bench, Michael heard in the distance Otis Reading’s “The Dock of The Bay” playing on a portable radio. The music came closer and closer and then quickly turned to the Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll be There).”

Picking up his head, Michael saw this extremely attractive ethnic guy standing right above him. Michael said ‘hello,’ and the young man answered.

“My name is Nick. Do you dance?”

Michael said, “Sort of, but I do not have much of a chance to go dancing.”

“You want to go tonight?” Nick asked with a smile, and he started to sing “Baby I Need Your Loving” by the Four Tops.

Michael became a little concerned about the message of the song, so he suggested that they might talk over coffee before they venture out dancing. Michael decided to cut his next two classes and have coffee.

They spent hours talking about their lives. Nick was older than Michael by nine years. Nick said he had to prepare for graduation as did Michael. He was in the school for Education and would be graduating that year.

He was first generation Greek from Cyprus and spoke fluent Greek. His family lived in Harlem on 137th Street off Broadway. He had siblings, a brother and sister. Michael was taken by him. He made him laugh and feel amazingly comfortable. Nick invited Michael to dinner Saturday night. His mother would make Doimadakia, Humus, Tzataki and Moussaka. Michael agreed to go.

Nick’s parents were great. His mother was shy, his father a little less. They spoke with a broken accent, which Michael loved. They had a great dinner and talked a lot. Michael learned a lot about Cyprus.

Nick said after dinner, “Dancing, right?”

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

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What Kind of Writer Am I? by Noel Plaugher – Guest Post and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Noel Plaugher 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.

What Kind of Writer Am I?

My background is in music, and I think I approach writing from the same perspective. In music, you learn the fundamentals, drill them until they are second nature, and then promptly forget them when you are playing. Musical structures can have introductions, outros, sparse or lush instrumentation, and a variety of rhythms. The melody can be complex or simple. There can be dissonance or consonance, and both are acceptable. The choices are up to the musician.

Well, that was a lot on music, I know, but I think it illustrates my approach to writing. There is no such thing as always do this, or never do that in any art form, as far as I’m concerned. At least not in the context of expression. And I consider writing an art. I think of the piece as a whole and follow my instincts. That said, I am not a pantster. (Had to look that up) I admire that style though. That is sort of the Ornette Coleman method of writing if you ask me (check out “Free Jazz”). I use an outline, but freely deviate when in the process of writing the actual text. I love to write out of sequence too. In my second book, “Revenge” in “The Lady Dragon of Chinatown” series, I wrote the climactic scene first, and then the story revealed itself. I wrote the outline and then started filling it in and expanding as I went. When you write a song, sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the melody, and sometimes the whole darn thing plops onto your instrument and comes out of you.

It is important not to be too technical. The easiest, and most boring thing an artist can do, is do everything perfectly. In classic, if not iconic, recordings by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, to name a couple, you can hear many “mistakes” in the recordings. There are slight timing issues between instruments, fingers slipping off strings in guitar solos, and other anomalies. They are imperfect. They are flawed, and so they are gloriously human. Anyone can nitpick the technical. However, when the spirit, or chi, for lack of a better word, can be felt from the page, you are on to something. Jascha Heifetz the brilliant violinist once asked his quartet before playing, “And what is most important?” They all looked at each other searching for some technical response, as he was a technical maestro, but his answer was, “Making music.” If it doesn’t have any feeling, it is useless.

I love all types of music, from the thunderous power chords of metal to the delicate melodies of a violin sonata. In a story, I am trying to bring the reader along with me, and hope that they are tapping their foot. If they put it on repeat, I know I’ve succeeded.

Maggie Long has only ever wanted to study martial arts, but it was forbidden. She found a teacher, Sifu Chang, to teach her in secret and she became a Kung Fu master.

After years in self-imposed exile, Maggie has returned to Chinatown to pursue her dream. The forces that govern Chinatown are working against her, and she’ll have to fight for her school and her life. Is she strong enough to withstand all the forces against her?

A martial art story set in a neon-soaked Chinatown of the 1970’s. The first book in a new series.

Enjoy an Excerpt

The sifu stepped forward. Maggie and the teacher stood opposite each other in the center of the school, on the red matted surface. The class encircled them and waited silently and still. Both fighters were in their fighting stances and studied each other expectantly. Maggie and the sifu eyed each other like two gunfighters waiting for the telling moment, a twitch, or a breath held too long, that would signal that the other was about to make the first move. With their gazes locked, the sifu’s body started to tremble and vibrate. At first, slightly and then violently, his body appeared to build up with rage as if he was preparing to explode. In an instant, the sifu yelled his fury and launched his body at Maggie. A fierce flurry of kicks and punches streaked toward her as he crossed the floor like a locomotive, his powerful body driving the attack relentlessly toward her.

About the Author Noel Plaugher grew up in the San Francisco bay area of California. (1968- ) He planned on becoming a musician but things changed in 1990.

Noel was a victim of violent crime. He started studying martial arts in 1990 as a way of coping with the post-traumatic stress and as rehabilitation.

After attaining his black belt in Shou Shu Kung Fu he started studying various methods of Qigong and Xing Yi Quan. He completed his Xing Yi Quan certification in 2005.

“The power of the mind over the body is amazing and has always fascinated me. Xing Yi Quan is a deceptively simple style, and I have found that it benefits my health and martial arts.”

Noel edited the book “How To Be A Champion” by world champion fighter Richard Trammell.

Noel’s first book “Standing Qigong For Health and Martial Arts” was released in March 2015.

“This book has both martial and health postures. It is my hope that practitioners of other styles as well as those seeking an internal form of exercise will try it out. I think martial artists will be surprised by the great results they get from such a simple practice. If you are a Yoga practitioner, this will be a great addition to your current study.”

Noel is an avid martial arts practitioner and writer, and lives in the USA in Atlanta, Georgia with his family.

“Noel has been studying martial arts since 1990 and writes about Qigong and martial arts-oriented material in both fiction and non-fiction.”

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