Greystone by B.L. Ryan – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. B L Ryan will be 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.

All Mouse could remember about her father was sitting on his lap while he told her stories. She wished she could remember what he looked like. When she hangs a white pendant that belonged to her father in her bedroom window, this wish becomes the key to great adventure in another world. A gate appears with a dragon twirling in the air above a colourful garden on the other side of the gate. Zeeta, the royal dragon, greets Mouse and invites her into the garden. The garden is part of Sweet Water holding, home to Lady Jane, who is the seer for Prince Ruler Jared.

As Mouse and Zeeta struggle to complete a quest, Mouse searches for her father. Their journey takes them across the plains of Norlanda and south to the Border Mountains.

The seers have foretold that a far traveller will appear and lead Norlanda against its enemies. This does not seem likely, as Norlanda is prosperous and peaceful at this time. Meanwhile, dark forces gathered in the Border Mountains have recognized the presence of Mouse in the lines of destiny and have started to move towards her.

How will the presence of a child, a far traveller from another world, affect the destiny of this world?

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King Henry regarded Jared impatiently.

“It has come to my attention that you and members of the Royal Guard have taken up with all manner of disreputable people. I have been told that you visit mead houses and the common rooms of guild holdings throughout Greystone City.”

“The Royal Guard are not responsible,” said Jared.

“No, they are not!” His father slammed his hand on the table.

The King’s scribe, sitting in the corner, jerked and dropped one of his ink brushes. It fell off the desk and rolled across the floor. He knelt and picked it up quietly.

“I had hoped Captain Hawke would subdue your more eccentric tastes in companions!”

“Are not the common folk my people?” Jared asked. “That is not the issue,” said the King, his voice rising with irritation.

“You disappear with Zeeta for days at a time. It is time you acted as the future King of Norlanda.”

“Father, how else can I know this Kingdom and its people?”

“An excellent sentiment!” the King said. He pressed both hands on the table and leaned forward. “A grand tour would give you a chance to meet some of your other loyal subjects as well as suitable maidens.”

Jared’s jaw tightened; his grey eyes narrowed. “I would meet only the maidens the Council deemed suitable,” he returned shortly.

The King glared at him. “You have a life of great privilege and responsibility. By the grace of the Etu, your life belongs to this land and its people.”

“By the grace of the Etu, I would not ask for such a life,” his son returned tersely.

The King signaled the scribe to leave the room and came around the table to stand by his son. He tried to speak reasonably. It had been a long day. He was not feeling well, and he knew his temper was not helping. He placed a hand on his son’s shoulder.

About the Author:Born in Saskatchewan, Betty has lived in several areas across Canada, from Ottawa to Vancouver Island while growing up. Her fondest memory as a child is of her father building a tent trailer and her mother sewing yards and yards of canvas for the tent. The family travelled across Canada and down the eastern seaboard of the United States for several summer vacations.

Betty worked as a drawing office assistant in Oxford, England, for almost two years before returning to Canada to work as a topographical clerk in Edmonton, Alberta. She pursued a BSc. in Agriculture with a major in Horticulture from the University of Alberta. While raising her children, Betty worked as an Office Manager for a non-profit society and took writing courses at night school and from the Institute of Children’s Literature, Connecticut.

The garden has always been a source of inspiration and joy for Betty, as are all the beloved cats and dogs who have walked into her life. Betty believes stories are the foundation of our life. The stories we enjoy, the stories we tell ourselves, our children and others, reflect how we view the world around us. She enjoys writing fantasy for the youth genre because she feels there is still so much of the wonder of life, and the attitude that anything is possible, from this age group.

Greystone is her first novel. She is currently working on the sequel, Greystone: A New Beginning.

Free to read on Kindle Unlimited

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Character Interview with Ella Sinclair by Patricia Leavy – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Patricia Leavy 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.

Character Interview with Ella Sinclair

Interviewer: You are rumored to be a longtime friend of iconic filmmaker Jean Mercier. How did you two meet?

Ella: It was in London. My first book of essays, titled: My Boyfriend or My Vibrator? Woman’s New Existential Crisis had just come out and I was doing a book reading and signing at a local shop. He showed up with a friend who I think had dragged him there. At the end of the reading, a line quickly formed and he’s not a patient man. So, what does he do? He walks right to the front of the line, says “Pardon me” to a woman waiting to get her book signed, and introduces himself to me. He said, “I’m Jean Mercier, the filmmaker.” I guess he thought I’d be impressed. I looked at him flatly and said, “Congratulations. Now that you’ve cut in front of everyone in line, are you even going to buy the book?” I think I shocked the hell out of him. But he did buy the book and surprisingly, he also found the patience to hang around until I was done with the signing. He and his friend invited me to join them for dinner at The Ivy. Naturally, I said yes. I was in my twenties and flat broke, and it was a free meal, with an acclaimed filmmaker no less. We got on smashingly. That was the start of a decade-long friendship that I do believe will last a lifetime.

Interviewer: He has a reputation for how he treats women in his personal life. What do you think about that side of the legendary filmmaker?

Ella: People want simple answers, but life is complex. Jean’s created some of the greatest, most interesting, sensitive, and provocative roles for women in the history of cinema. There’s a reason so many actresses are dying to work with him. And yet, he can be quite a piece of shit to women in his own life. Tell me, which is better: the male director who never casts women or does so only in clichéd, trivial ways but may be a hell of a good guy in private, or the man who creates professional opportunities for women that wouldn’t otherwise exist and gives the collective imaginary new, powerful representations of women, but uses up women in his personal life as if they were pieces of gum he was chewing until the flavor runs out? When these are the choices, what’s the answer? How do we define morality? Who’s a good guy? Who’s a bad guy? What matters, life or art? How are they related? What’s public and what’s private? Despite what many claim, it’s rarely as simple as we might wish. Life is textured. As for me, I adore Jean as a friend and as an artist, but you’d never catch me in bed with him.

Interviewer: Let’s talk about the man you are sleeping with, Hollywood star Finn Forrester. You met on the set of a Mercier location shoot. What will you tell us about your love story?

Ella: Jean invited me to crash at the inn in Sweden while they were filming Celebration. Finn and I fell madly in love. Neither of us expected it. I guess when you meet the one, there’s no rhyme or reason, it’s just something you feel body and soul. The little things you don’t know about each other sort themselves out over time. There’s nothing better than that inexplicable feeling of love. Or so I’m learning.

Interviewer: So, can we expect little Forresters in the future?

Ella: Stay tuned.

Controversial filmmaker Jean Mercier is shooting a film on location in Sweden. While spending the summer creating his latest work of cinematic art, he lives in a nearby inn with his lead actors: Albie Hughes, British veteran of stage and screen; Charlotte Reed, British indie film queen; Michael Hennesey, American TV heartthrob; Willow Barnes, fallen former teen star looking to make a comeback; and Finn Forrester, legendary Hollywood movie star. Mercier invites his friend Ella Sinclair—a beautiful, bohemian-spirited American philosopher known for her provocative writing—to stay with them for the summer. When Ella arrives, Finn is instantly enchanted by her, and soon they fall madly in love. Finn wants to plan a life together, but Ella harbors fears and convinces him to wait until the film wraps to decide their future. In a case of life imitating art, the film they are creating explores “the big questions” and prompts the stars to reflect on the crossroads they face in their own lives. How will their experiences on location affect them when they return home? The answers won’t come until months later, when the cast and crew reconvene on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival—but their revelation will make for one unforgettable night.

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Soon they were soaking in the tub, surrounded by the soft glow of candlelight. Ella leaned against Finn and sighed contentedly as he wrapped his strong arms around her.

“I thought about you all day today,” he said.

“You did?”

“I couldn’t get the image of you with those kids out of my head. You were such a natural with them.”

“I’m crazy for tiny humans, always have been. I love their curiosity, big imaginations, big emotions. When a toddler is overjoyed, it’s infectious. They can’t contain it and it just oozes out of them. They feel everything so fully, so honestly, with their whole selves.”

“Do you want to have children of your own?”


He squeezed her waist and said, “Have you ever thought about it?”

“Have you?” she asked, turning to face him.

“Ella, I would love to have a family with you someday, when we’re ready. Do you want to have a family with me?”

“Well, yes, but…”

“But what, baby?”

“I would want to have children with you, but I wouldn’t want to have them without you.”

“What do you mean?”

“The way I grew up, it just made me not want to do it on my own.”

“You wouldn’t be. We’d be together. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Finn, there’s more than one way to be alone. You spend your life flying around the world to shoot movies and attend film festivals. Where would that leave me? Alone.”

“Sweetheart, if we choose to have a family someday, some things would obviously change. I’ve been thinking about this since we met, but I didn’t want to bring it up and scare you away by asking too much too soon. But after I saw you today, I thought we could at least talk about it. It’s just a conversation.”

“You’ve been thinking about it all this time?”

“Yes,” he said, gently running his fingers down her arm.

“What have you been thinking about?”

“Well, we could take some time to be alone together, to travel. If we had a child, you would both travel with me to film sets. I can get the studio to rent us a house. We’d hire a nanny and any other kind of help we want so you could write, I could work, and we could all be together. When our oldest is school aged, I would only take jobs in LA, except maybe in the summers when we could all still travel as a family. We could show them the world. Being a husband and father would be my priority. You wouldn’t go to so much as a single doctor’s appointment alone unless you wanted to. If I had to give up acting and be a stay-at-home dad, that’s fine too.”

“Wow. You’ve really thought about this.”

“Well, yeah. I can’t help it. Our future spilled out before me when you told me you love me. But it’s just a fantasy. Sweetheart, there’s no pressure. Until today, I didn’t even know if children were a possibility. If we live our lives together, just the two of us, I’d be perfectly happy.” He planted a soft kiss in her hair.

“Just a fantasy?” she asked.

“Yeah, for now. Do you ever fantasize about our future?”

She nodded.

“Tell me.”

“Well, I always imagined that I’d keep working, but less than I do now. I’d want to spend time with my babies.”

“Babies?” he asked. “How many?”

“Three. Two girls and then a boy. I don’t care about gender, it’s just what I imagine.”

He rubbed her shoulder. “Tell me more.”

“They’d all look like you,” she said.

“Oh, see, in my mind each one of them looks just like you.”

She smiled and he kissed the tip of her nose.

“Keep going,” he said.

“Well, I like your idea of traveling together. I imagined that…”

“What, baby?”

“It’s silly.”

“Tell me anyway.”

“Well, it’s just a fantasy, but I can picture us buying a little house in the French countryside for summers and holidays. You know, one of those old stone houses with wooden beams on the ceilings and a wood-burning stove, with plenty of room outside for the kids to roll around in the grass and a space for me to write.” She crinkled her nose and shook her head. “I told you, it’s silly.”

“Not to me. I think it sounds perfect,” he said, kissing her. “So, two girls and a boy, huh? I should warn you, I’ve always liked traditional names, like Emily and Sarah. I’m guessing you gravitate toward more free-spirited names like Lula Belle or Blue Moon. I’m prepared to fight you on this.” He playfully put up his dukes, but she grabbed one of his hands and kissed it.

She laughed. “Actually, I was thinking if we had a girl, maybe we’d call her Betty. It’s completely traditional, but modern too. I don’t know. It’s just a thought.”

“Betty, huh? I love it. And you know what else? I love you.” He stopped to stroke the side of her face. “I love you so much, Ella. There’s no fantasy we can’t make a reality if we choose to. Come on, sweetheart. Let’s dry off and slip into bed. I want to show you exactly how I feel about you.”

About the Author:


Patricia Leavy, PhD, is an award-winning, best-selling author. She was formerly Associate Professor of Sociology, Chairperson of Sociology & Criminology, and Founding Director of Gender Studies at Stonehill College. She has published more than forty books; her work has been translated into many languages, and she has received more than forty book honors. Her last novel, Hollyland, was featured on She Reads in “The Most Anticipated Romances of Spring 2023” and was the 2023 Firebird Book Awards 1st Place Winner in Pop Culture Fiction and 1st Place Winner in Summer/Beach Read. Patricia has also received career awards from the New England Sociological Association, the American Creativity Association, the American Educational Research Association, the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, and the National Art Education Association. In 2018, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame and SUNY-New Paltz established the “Patricia Leavy Award for Art and Social Justice.” Patricia lives in Maine. In addition to writing, she enjoys art, reading, and travel.

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Deadly Sins by January Bain – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

Book one in the Irish Mafia Kings series

Blood for blood. Her family killed my brother, so I’ll take their princess.

I’m Quinn Lyons, Irish Mafia King, a man known for getting what he wants, and I want her, Aria Byrne. I’m going to make her pay for her family’s sins.

I didn’t intend to snatch her from her fancy engagement party, just kill her rival mobster father, but plans change in the heat of the moment. Now she’s mine to claim and possess, because what better bargaining chip could a Mafia boss have than the beloved princess of a rival family?

Until I decide I don’t ever want to let her go.

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My brother and partner-in-crime knocked then strode into my office at my bark to enter. “The Cullen brothers are wanting a word.” A slight twitch under Devlin’s right eye told me the story. “You want me to keep them waiting?”

The Cullens were in deep shit for thinking they could get away with stealing from my family. I should keep them cooling their heels all night. But hell, it might be more fun to torture them. I could use a good workout.

“Give me five and send them up.”

Devlin nodded and looked like he was about to say more before changing his mind and exiting. I shifted—the Irish king, ready for action.

Stepping up to the one-way glass overlooking the main venue of the Emerald Club, I scanned the crowd, alert for possible signs of trouble. Our family hadn’t risen to the upper echelons of Montreal’s crime families by turning a blind eye. No, we’d done it by an eye for an eye, the golden rule.

“Power isn’t handed to you. It’s seized, by whatever means necessary.”

Amen, Dad. Rest in peace.

I was a true son of my father. To everyone else, I was a monster, mob boss, a killer, king of the underworld, a man who took what he wanted. One exception to the rule—I don’t hurt innocents. But for clarity’s sake, innocence was a rare commodity in my world.

I glanced over at the huge oil painting of my father painted at the height of his power, his posture stern on the straight-backed chair, his eyes dark and shadowed, a man never to be crossed. My mother stood behind him and his four sons lined up by his side.

“Family. Honor. Security. Protecting everything we had struggled for over the years—that always comes first, son.”

I honored his words with a nod. We might have arrived on the shores of North America starving and in rags, but since then we’d fought tooth and nail to rise and take our proper place in society, aligning ourselves with people and places that mattered.

“Never forget where you came from, Quinn…or what you will die for.”

I will find his killer, Da, I promised both my father and my baby brother, Mikey.

About the Author:January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full-blown romances she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create books that features strong women who live life to the fullest, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope her stories will capture your imagination and touch your heart.

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In All Things by Dr. John Neufeld – Spotlight and Giveaway


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The issue of control is a central question of life. At work, in family, community clubs and schools, with the economy or international politics, the question is, “Is anyone in charge here?” Dr. John Neufeld demonstrates the Bible teaching of God’s providence. We are assured that God’s Hand is upon everything and everyone, without exception. Dr. John explores God’s sustaining grip through the natural world and human endeavor, in pivotal matters or the seemingly trivial, the things we welcome and those we shun. He teaches the impact of God’s sovereign rule upon our hearts, minds, work, worship, homes, and nation. We can live in the confidence that God is unfolding His purpose for time and eternity.

What people are saying about Dr. John Neufeld’s teaching:

“This is such an important message for us today. Thank you, Dr. John, for your encouragement to view what is presently concerning us in the world from the perspective of God and His providence. That should take a huge weight off our shoulders!”

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Jesus controls the atoms that make up your body, the ground under your feet, the air you breathe, the world upon which you stand and the universe in which you live. All of it is held together and directed by the Son of God. Furthermore, if Jesus were not constantly, moment by moment, sustaining all these things, the forces that hold the atoms in place would fly apart and all things would cease to be. Everything that exists—past, present and future—does so by His will and permission. Everything that goes on does so under His direction. That’s what we mean when we talk about meticulous sovereignty.

About the Author:Dr. John Neufeld, Bible teacher of Back to the Bible Canada, is well known both nationally and internationally for his excellence in expositional Bible teaching. Dr. Neufeld is passionate about bringing the truth of God’s Word to life across Canada and beyond.

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Toothbrush Animal Hunt by Carleen Dehaney – Spotlight and Giveaway

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Embark on a delightful adventure with Toothbrush Animal Hunt, the perfect children’s book to encourage daily toothbrushing habits in a playful and enjoyable way.

From a clapping sea lion at the beach to a cheeky squirrel in the forest, children will be fascinated as they learn about toothbrushing through the actions and antics of these charming creatures. And don’t forget to spot the toothbrushes hidden throughout the pages, making this hunt, a delightful game of discovery.

Say goodbye to toothbrushing struggles and let the adventure begin!

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About the Author: Meet the author, Carleen Dehaney! Carleen is a mother and wife. She hails from the UK but now calls Canada home. This enchanting book draws inspiration from a tenacious 2-year-old in need of some toothbrushing magic. Carleen embarked on a whimsical journey, incorporating playful animal sounds into her daughter’s brushing routine, and thus, the idea for this captivating book was conceived. Today, her little one, who has since outgrown her toddler years, recites this tale back to Carleen, forging cherished moments between them.

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Picasso’s Lovers by Jeanne Macken – Spotlight and Giveaway

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You know Pablo Picasso. Now meet the women behind the masterpieces. The women of Picasso’s life are glamorous and elusive, existing in the shadow of his fame – until, in the 1950’s, aspiring journalist Alana Olsen determines to bring one into the light and discovers a past complicated by secrets and intrique.

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People used to say of my lover that he lived only for art, that women and politics did not matter to him the way his art mattered. But people change. When Franco and Hitler destroyed that Spanish town, Guernica, Pablo Picasso changed. You cannot look at that painting, at the screaming mothers and violence and think, this is a man who does not care about people and politics.

I have seen how his face changes when he speaks of Francoise, the woman who is leaving him.

“I think it will be a fine day,” I said. “But come back to bed, Pablo. It is still early.” I smoothed and pattered the rumpled sheet that was still damp from our little bacchanal…

Pablo returns his gaze to his own image in the mirror and studies it, drawing the razor through the white foam on his cheek and making a curve, olive flesh showing through a white background. Another work of art…

He throws a towel at me. “Get up. The car will be here soon.”

“Lisen to you, my love. A car. A chauffeur. I remember when you had holes in your boots, when you were my young love.”

“That was long ago.”

About the Author:

Jeanne Mackin is the author of several historical novels, including The Last Collection, which has been translated into five languages, and The Beautiful American, which won a CNY award for fiction. She has taught in the MFA Creative Writing program at Goddard College and won journalism awards, and is currently at work on her next novel.

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The Making of a Fantasy Writer by Kevin King – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

The Making of a Fantasy Writer

A writer, of any genre, is made by three things. First, loving stories. Second, daydreaming stories. Third, writing stories. If you do those things, you’re a writer.

If you’d like to make money at writing, that requires a few extra steps. But making money isn’t what makes you a writer. Writing is.

Love of stories is what will carry you through the journey of writing. Do you love to read stories? Watch stories? Listen to stories? Do you feel at home in imaginary worlds? Do you daydream of fairies and dragons and wizards? Congratulations, you have the heart of a Fantasy writer. I spent my childhood at the library, reading every Sci-Fi and Fantasy book I could get my hands on. I consumed Fantasy until it filled me up and spilled out my fingertips. I devoured all the words. All the worlds. Apparently, you are what you eat.

Imagination is the greatest tool of writing. Every other necessary skill can be learned, but imagination is grown. Cultivated. Your mind needs space to dream. The first stories you tell are the stories your mind tells itself. I got my idea for this book while working a job where I spent a lot of time waiting, with nothing to do but daydream. One day, a question drifted into my head. What if someone was cursed, but a side effect of that curse gave them a unique ability, and that unique ability ends up being what saves them? That question spawned a flock of other questions about what that would look like, how it might happen, and how it might end. It was the seed that grew my story. But if I’d never had that time to daydream, it never would have happened. You can’t create stories if your brain is always full of other things. If you want to be a writer, give yourself time to daydream.

The final step to becoming a writer is to write. The first things you write will be terrible. That’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. Some things you will write and keep working on until they are good. It may take a while, but it can happen. Some things you will write and then delete. Even those are not wasted. Master painters all start by repeating simple exercises, copying past masters, experimenting to find their own style. Good writers do the same. I’ve discarded many times more words than I’ve shown to the public.

Making money and becoming known are nice, but not a required part of being a writer. If you just enjoy writing and don’t care about making a living off it, that’s good. Don’t worry about the rest. But if you want to go a step further and make money writing, there’s more work to do. You’ll want to study craft books, go to conferences, join critique groups. Dig into the details of what you like and don’t in other people’s writings, and the reasons why. Show your work to others who will give you honest critiques, and learn to filter that feedback and find the parts that show you where you need to strengthen your skills. Even once you publish and start making money, never stop learning and improving your work. Being a writer requires a fine balance of believing in yourself while recognizing your shortcomings. Accepting something as good enough while recognizing that it could be better, and being okay with that.

The most important thing is to never lose your love of stories. Keep reading, listening, watching, drinking in the stories that fill your soul. And keep dreaming. As long as you keep doing those things, you can’t help but be a writer.

Raendel is one of the Adoël, the cursed people. Passed on to each generation, the curse drains his body of color, leaving his skin and hair a ghostly white. To protect himself from the commoners who fear what they don’t understand, all of the Adoël live as servants to the royal family, using their unique skill with illusion magic to entertain bored nobility. Raendel is bound by traditions, but also by his own lack of self-confidence. Prince Kenan is the younger of two princes, frustrated by his gilded cage and the combat tutoring that feels pointless in a secure and peaceful kingdom. He dreams of adventure, of making a name for himself with heroic deeds. An unexpected assault from an ancient enemy sets the two on a quest that begins as pursuit of vengeance, but soon leads them into a struggle for survival that will teach them both that they are small pieces of a long, dark history. But even the smallest actions can change the fate of a kingdom.

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Raendel wove through the room with practiced ease, gliding between isolated clumps of noblemen scattered across the room, passing the time with idle gossip as they waited for the guest of honor to arrive. His gaze flicked along the way in front of him, choosing the path that would keep him farthest away from the guests. Most of them wore enough perfume to give him a headache from five yards away. The enhanced sense of smell shared by the Adoël only added to Raendel’s trepidation. All the nobles stank of pride. The smell of fear drifted in clouds, especially near visitors who had never seen one of the Adoël before. Raendel spent most of his day inside the castle, serving Prince Kenan.

His distinctive features would have drawn stares even without the stories. The name Adoël had been used to frighten children for generations. Mothers would clutch their children as he passed in the street. Don’t go outside at night or the Adoël will get you. Don’t wander into the woods, the Adoël will catch you and suck the life out of you. Each passing generation believed the stories a bit more than their parents. To encounter an Adoël in person resurrected the terrors planted in the hearts of children now grown.

Whispers swirled in his wake. Ghost-child. Cursed. Tainted. Touched by the Necromancer. Raendel had heard them all before, but he still flinched with every sting.

About the Author:Kevin works as a software developer in the Seattle area by day, and an author by night. He enjoys Renaissance Fairs, bookstores, fencing, and daydreaming. He has been reading fantasy from age six, and writing from age twenty-two. He loves exploring fantasy worlds, especially exploring human nature through fiction. Fantasy is his first love, but he also dabbles in sci-fi, creepy horror, and devastatingly sad dramas. He posts regular flash fiction stories to his Instagram account and website.

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A Twist of Hate by TE Lorenzo – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

They love to hate each other…

Natalia is content with hating her co-worker, Adrian. The two can hardly stand being in the same room, despite having worked together for several months. When Natalia agrees to a trip out of town with a friend, little does she know that Adrian will be there, too. This is the time to crank up the hate, right?

The trip is not what Natalia thought it would be. Forced to spend time with her enemy, she finds there is more to Adrian than meets the eye. Will Natalia push aside her hatred and see the true Adrian?

With a twist of hate, just maybe…

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All Natalia could think about was another opportunity to get Adrian to speak to her before they wandered around the desert together. She thought the odds might be in her favor, considering she had overheard Denver mention that he and Adrian would leave for the airport immediately after their shift ended today. Vegas would be at the forefront of Adrian’s mind. Surely he would clear the tension that had grown so awkward and heavy between them before he left.

Further playing into her hands was the special seating arrangement drawn up for the day. Lopez assigned both Adrian and Natalia to desks on the suite level, and they’d be in the same row, four seats apart.

Once she saw this seating chart posted on Friday, Natalia knew she had to crank up the heat for the big day. She dressed in a form-fitting pencil skirt that cut off just above the knees, revealing the Speedy Gonzales tattoo just above her ankle. She had even shaved—in the winter—to make sure her legs were as appealing as possible.

Natalia also wore a blouse that revealed the slightest glimpse of cleavage. She questioned herself as she dressed earlier this morning, wondering why she was putting in so much effort into her appearance to get Adrian’s attention. She hated him, after all.

It’s not for Adrian. It’s for me. I’m freshly single, going to Vegas in two days, and life is good. I can get sexy all for myself if I want to.

About the Author: TE Lorenzo is the debut author of A Twist of Hate. Having lived through his own enemies-to-lovers story, he believes love can come from the most unexpected of places. When he’s not writing, TE is likely chasing his kids around, playing baseball, or relaxing with a good book. He is currently living out his happily-ever-after with his wife and three kids in their hometown of Denver, CO.


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The Making of a Horror Writer by Jack Lowe-Carbell – Guest Post and Giveaway

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

The Making of a Horror Writer

I think I would classify myself as such. Though Arlya has many different themes and genres present, coming of age, thriller, mystery, at the end of the day it is a horror novel. A tale of something horrifying happening to a family, a town. Most of my short story work is also in the horror genre so I believe I would have a difficult time calling myself anything else.

Anyways, back to the question at hand, what I believe the making of a horror writer would be. I believe one of course has to love horror. You have to be a little strange, to love the feeling of being scared. To read or watch something that gives you goosebumps. The feeling is powerful, to have an emotion you never usually get on a normal day, while safely in your bed or in a theatre.

I have had countless nights wide awake, staring at the closet as a kid, telling myself for sure, for sure there is something behind there that will crawl out any minute. No matter how badly I wanted to turn over, to stop looking at the place where I would see bony hand claw out from around the wood, I would stare. I still do it. I still wake up, and though I hate it, I imagine the scariest thing that could happen right then. Something crawling along the floor moving quickly out of sight to climb into my bed.
Then, I write it down. Use it as a scene, imagine a story around that one single moment of terror.

I believe you have to see things a little differently. Horror is an interesting genre because it is filled with people that were maybe born with a strange, haunting view of the world. I tell people about the scenes I imagine and they scoff, why would I want to think about those things. I think a horror writer allows these thoughts to enter their mind while most people push it away. I have to blame my dad for reading me scary stories and encouraging these thoughts. When we would drive to our cottage, down a dark winding road through the woods, we wouldn’t talk about the next day at the lake, the morning sun, the quiet that comes with the forest at night, we would talk of old women in nighties sprinting through the woods at us, of decrepit beings crawling out in front of our headlights. So yeah, maybe it’s his fault.

I think horror writers are a rare breed, those who do it well at least, and I am not saying I do, although I have had a few people tell me they can’t read my stories at night. Anyways, my respect to all of you weirdos out there who see things a little differently. Keep writing, keep reading, and keep listening to those things that go bump in the night, and imagine them a little more next time, because it might not be “just the pipes”.

Thank you.

Arlya, a small town in Southern Ontario, is rocked by a gruesome crime. Four friends must work together with Detective Dylan Grey to find a pattern, a bike, a clue, and a sister before it is repeated.

James and his three best friends, Owen, Tommy, and Mike, have just finished school for the summer. The plan is the same as every other year: they are going to build the biggest fort yet, deep in the Dhoon Woods. After stumbling across a tiny, seemingly unimportant wooden hut, a series of crimes take place and their plans change.

Arlya falls into itself. Doors are locked, curtains drawn, bikes are put away, strangers invade, and kids are off the street. In the first week of summer vacation, a dark and disturbing family history is uncovered; friends turn on each other; a storm rolls through town; and a monster is hiding just out of sight, smiling its toothy grin and crawling through the corn.

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One Friday night last summer, the four of them had left James’s house after his parents had gone to bed. They had biked around in the dark, briefly illuminated by the sparse streetlights looming over the side streets. Fog had drifted across the side roads; houses were barely visible through their covered lawns. Somehow, they wound their way to the bottom of Cemetery Hill.

“My grandpa is in there,” Tommy had said quietly.

They had looked out at the long blackness which rose menacingly above them. The trees at the top of the hill had been reaching toward the starry sky.

James had wanted to bike back. If he had left, the others would have surely followed suit. Mike had glanced at James waiting for his decision.

“My dad was supposed to be buried here,” Owen had said, his voice cracking, devoid of moisture.

The fog had continued to thicken around the four of them standing stagnant in the road, straddling their bikes.

About the Author:Jack Lowe-Carbell is a 26-year-old writer living in Vancouver, BC. Arlya is his first novel, and it is based in his hometown, Ayr, ON. Thanks to his dad, who read him horror stories when he was far too young, Jack has always loved the genre. His next novel is a tale of horror based in Garibaldi Provincial Park.

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Background of the Book by Nathaniel Koszer – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nathaniel Koszer 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.

Background of the Book

One aspect of Latency that seems to stand out to readers is the sheer amount of POV characters. There are six protagonists in total (Sera, Naren, Nadine, Edgar, Victor, and Symon) and three antagonists (Spidre, Captain Byron, and the androids, who are technically three separate entities but mostly operate together) and they all get their turns in the spotlight. It might surprise people to know that I always envisioned having this many characters, and in fact I am grateful to my publisher for letting me keep all of them. I just can’t imagine the story any other way, and the reason for this has very old personal roots.

My desire to be a writer is relatively new, maybe a decade old at most. Before that I was exclusively a science-fiction nerd, and before that I was a science fiction nerd and a daydreamer with a wild imagination. In elementary school, I would often get in trouble for not paying attention in class, it was because I was lost in thought, inventing my own little characters that eventually became the cast of Latency.

Elementary school Nate loved teams of superheroes. I watched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series religiously, played with X-men action figures, and read Animorphs books. I also loved learning about animals, especially bugs! So it made perfect sense that my first original characters, the ones that zipped around my brain during math class, were mostly themed around insects and arachnids. There were six “good guys” and three “bad guys”, and after two decades of digesting science fiction media whenever I could, those characters, now very different from their origins, can be found in my debut novel.

Here are the characters that elementary school Nate thought of. I encourage readers of Latency to try and figure out which character each of these became.

The “good guys”:

Firefly: Could fly, glowed, and had light based/blinding powers

Scorpion: Very physically powerful, and had stabbing pincers on each arm

Mosquito: Could fly fast, and delivered weaker blows but lots of them very quickly

Mantis: A fighter that dealt out fast, powerful blows

Wasp: Could fly but slowly, and had a forceful stabbing ability

Spider: The older leader of the group. Nimble and agile fighter but no other standout powers

The “bad guys”:

Spidre: Spider’s evil twin. The leader of the bad guys. I have a feeling this one is obvious.

Crony #1: This character and the next had names at some point, but for the life of me I can’t remember them now. They were the two non-bugs, and were comic relief bumbling evildoers (think Bebop and Rocksteady from TMNT) who worked for the big baddie Spidre. Crony number one one was huge and strong but very dumb.

Crony #2: This one was a scary looking robot with lots of gadgets, but got around on wheels and constantly fell/was knocked over.

I hope readers have fun figuring out which character is which as they read through Latency, and I look forward to seeing everyone’s guesses!

Sera is a LO-EC, a human who gained superpowers as an unintended side effect of a biotechnological breakthrough. Her unique abilities allowed her to survive while others like her, including her parents, were exterminated by a world government fearful of their potential.

After decades of hiding, she meets Naren, another superpowered survivor who has infiltrated the ranks of the military. Together, they form a plan to unite with other surviving LO-ECs, claim vengeance against the forces who murdered their families, and ultimately stoke a worldwide rebellion against the government that wanted them dead.

The entirety of 26th century Earth’s armed forces stand in their way: Soldiers equipped with terrifying weaponry, armies with electromagnetic cannons, merciless bloodthirsty androids, and Spidre, the World Leader with unnatural abilities of his own. The world brought Sera and the other LO-ECs pain and loss, and they’re determined to return it in kind.

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In the basement of a skyscraper hundreds of stories high, a constant shaking and groaning accompanied the cacophony of breaking glass and falling bricks from the street above. A man and a woman had spent the night here, fearing those sounds meant their building was on the verge of collapse. Finally, the sun rose and the sounds gave way to stillness. The death of the noises gave life to new fears, in that now the man and woman had to take action.

“Are there any sort of supplies on the cycles?” the man asked. He was bleary-eyed, his face was flush, and even the simple task of standing up seemed to be a struggle.

“I doubt it,” the woman replied, her expression as beleaguered as his. “And you’re sure there was nothing in these boxes?” she continued, glancing around the small storage room.

The man shook his head. “Just lots of cleaning supplies. And we can’t risk going back upstairs,” he replied. “I can’t even hear the big one lumbering around, that has to mean they’re searching another building. We need to move now. We’ll worry about supplies after we get out of New Orleans, and after it feels safe.”

The woman nodded and walked over to one smaller pile of boxes. She pulled them away and the room lit up in an orange glow. The boxes had been covering a young girl, no more than six years old, whose skin had trails of orange light swirling across her arms, legs, and face.

“We need to leave, sweetie. We’re going to find our cycles in the garage, Ok?”

The little girl nodded.

“Do you remember that woman? Alison?” she asked the girl. “Do you remember where she and her friends live?”

The little girl nodded slowly, while the man’s face furrowed with skepticism.

“If anything happens to us, you go straight to her. Do you understand?”

“She can’t go to them!” the man exclaimed in an elevated whisper. “They’re a bunch of fanatics!”

“They are, but they will keep her safe!” the woman responded.

About the Author: Nate grew up in Brooklyn NY, but now calls the Bronx home along with his wife and their sons. Nate grew up on all things sci-fi. Partly due to his chronic illness, Nate always had a special place in his heart for the X-Men, and especially the invulnerable Wolverine. This was heavy inspiration for his first novel, Latency a superhero sci-fi story to be released March 5, 2024.

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