Playtime Clothes by Kim MacLean – Spotlight and Giveaway

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

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

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

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

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Secrets About My Favorite Genre by William A. Glass – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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Secrets About My Favorite Genre by William A. Glass

I mainly read non-fiction. Always have. Biographies, diaries, narrative histories, and sometimes even historical source material. That’s one of my secrets. I write fiction but read non-fiction.

So, it stands to reason that my favorite fiction genre to write is related to history. My first two novels, As Good As Can Be and Off Broadway: A Marriage Drama, are historical fiction. The new one, Crossing Day, is Alternative History, a sub-genre of speculative fiction.

One secret to writing historical fiction is research. It’s essential to be accurate right down to the tiniest details. Getting historical facts wrong is jarring for readers who have followed your story back into a far-gone time. For example, if it’s 1973 in your narrative and some characters go to see the movie “Chinatown”, readers who know film history would realize it hadn’t been released yet. Now, all the work you’ve done to write a plausible story is wasted. Your credibility as an author is shot.

Historical accuracy is important even if you intentionally change history, as happens when writing alternative history. It’s a sub-genre of speculative fiction, so one might think real history is not involved. In fact, alternative history almost always depends on actual history up to a point. Crossing Day is set in 2024, and the characters live in the Confederacy. That’s because they are in Huntsville, Alabama, 160 years after the South gained independence in the Civil War. In the novel it slowly comes out how this happened. To make it plausible, true historical facts, including the names of real Civil War generals, are included. To learn more, you’ll have to read the book!

It’s been one hundred and sixty years since the Confederacy won its independence at the Battle of Altamaha Crossing. Slaves of African descent still perform most of the work in the South. This seems normal to Ryan Walters and his friends who attend high school in Huntsville, Alabama. Like teens everywhere, they enjoy sharing videos, playing sports, and hanging out with friends. Jaybird’s drive-in is their favorite gathering place. There, they befriend Mish, a slave girl who works as a car hop. When the drive-in’s owner sells Mish to a dirty old man, Ryan and his friends awaken to the injustice around them. Despite the danger, they decide to help Mish escape. Will they succeed?

Enjoy an Excerpt

The referee blows her whistle and points to the Joseph Johnston High School goal. It’s a foul, just outside the penalty area. Hastily, several defenders form a wall. Liam Larsen, the goalkeeper, shouts directions.

“Block that kick, block that kick,” the Johnston cheerleaders yell.

Melanie Montgomery, wearing her purple and gold cheerleader outfit, catches the eye of one of the boys on the squad. He nods as she runs toward him and then leaps, placing her foot into his waiting hands. Melanie’s world dissolves into a swirl of color. She comes to earth with a thud.

“Nice landing,” the boy says.

“Thanks.” Melanie glances at the scoreboard and sees that despite their efforts, another goal has been added to the visitor’s tally. “I hate these German schools,” she pouts.

“Yeah, they act like they invented the game,” one of the other cheerleaders exclaims.

There’s no injury time added in high school soccer, so the match comes to a screeching halt when the clock winds down and the buzzer goes off. Most players line up to shake hands, but three of the Germans laugh and walk off. Their coach gives a Hitler salute to the Johnston stands. A chorus of boos greets his gesture.

“Everyone on the line,” Sam Gorman, the Johnston soccer coach, shouts. He crosses his arms and glares at his players threateningly until the whole team is on the touchline. “All right, Ryan,” he says to the team captain, “cool down.”

About the Author Bill is a retired business executive who now lives in a small southern town with his wife, Bettina. She’s a retired high school German teacher. Bill coaches soccer at a small college. Often, Bettina, who has a commercial driver’s license, pilots the soccer team bus to away games.

Bettina and Bill have three sons, Alex, Robert, and Gordon who have all graduated from college and moved away to pursue careers. Instead of having an empty nest, Bettina and Bill now host three rescue dogs. They enjoy finding promising hiking trails to explore with their dogs.

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Our Lives In Between by Billie Kowalewski – Interview 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 $25 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

What are your favorite TV shows?

I just binged on the Facts of Life recently and now I’m binge-watching Friends. I love that one. I also love New Girl, Derry Girls, Good Girls, stuff like that. Snarky comedies and Old fashioned sitcoms with laugh tracks are the best.

What is your favorite meal?

Anything with lobster or bacon involved pretty much. Cheese is a big deal at my house too.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

Well right now I am currently writing reincarnation fiction. After this I am planning a little something involving witches. Not sure beyond that.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?

Stephenie Meyer. That woman had a great idea for a story and worked very hard on it. If my stuff turns out to be half as good as hers, I’ll be happy.

How did you come up for the title of this book?

My kids helped me. We went back and forth with a few ideas based on what the story is about.

It had been five years since the accident that derailed Veronica’s life, which left her suffering from a strange flu-like illness ever since. Thanks to a barrier set in her mind at birth, she can’t remember her name is Harmony and that this is not her real life. She has no memory of the many lives she had lived before this one and how several of those lives had been cut short. How she must uncover the reason why those lives had ended so early, and how this moment may hold the key, or she risks losing herself and Earth forever.

As Harmony, she wants to uncover the reason why her lives keep ending so soon. As Veronica, she wonders how much longer she has to live like this? What could possibly be left for her? Little did she know, she was about to get her answers…

Enjoy an Excerpt

My world is your world—only you can’t remember any of it. A barrier exists between what you think is real and what you know to be. It had been put in place during the transition into the world you currently know and will be removed upon your return.

In other words, this is not your real life.

My name is Harmony, and I am going to let you in on a little secret. I am a student at the biggest, most famous school ever known. And so are you! It’s called Earth.

Yep. Earth is a school. Are you shocked? If you are, it’s okay. That is the most common and expected reaction to this news. I will give you a moment to let that sink in…

Just kidding! Based on the fact you’ve chosen to read this; I am going to bet that you’re a lot like me. You’re probably fine, and not shocked by this at all. If you do, however, find this news to be at all surprising, perhaps it would be best if you stopped here. This story may not be for everyone, and I am not looking to upset anyone’s beliefs. Our extreme diversity is an important part of what makes us who we are. So, this may be where we will agree to disagree and possibly part ways. Hopefully as friends.

For everyone else, I will move on.

Yes, life is about learning, and Earth is our school. I’m sure you have heard someone on Earth say this before. I know when I am there, I hear this often. Some people know, but it’s not because they remember it is. They know because people cannot get through a single day there without learning something, somehow. On Earth, learning is unavoidable.

About the Author Billie Kowalewski grew up in a small town along the Connecticut shoreline. She’s always had a wild imagination and spent her childhood dreaming up stories. This would often lead her to the library or whatever bookstore where she would be combing the shelves for books that closely resembled what was in her head at the time. A lot of the time she would come close and would be satisfied with what she found. However, there was always this one story she could never find. It was in 2010 that she decided to write it herself. In whatever spare time she has left, she enjoys listening to pretty much anything that rocks, like 80’s hair bands, metal, etc. She also has a gift for finding the strangest movies and shows ever (according to her children) and loves spending time with her family.

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How to Handle Negative Criticism by Ann Chiappetta – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

How to Handle Negative Criticism

Many years ago, when I was still in college, the mother of my son’s friend discovered we both liked to write poetry. I shared a few poetry reviews, encouraged her to submit her pieces. She looked horrified, saying, “Oh, I would never do that, if they rejected my poems I’d be devastated,”

Her reaction is understandable; I still feel the uncomfortable tickle of imposter syndrome creep in, especially when I submit to the most popular and reputable literary publications.

The payoff for the discomfort is gaining more confidence each time I submit, even if a rejection is the end result. Don’t give up, I tell myself. Don’t take it personally.

Does being rejected suck? Yes. Does it keep me from submitting? No way. All the “thanks but no thanks” notes help me stay focused one submission at a time.
Once in a while when I need some assurance that I am making progress and the rejection bug bites, I open the submission tracking sheet and find the acceptance column. The word ‘yes’ appears more frequently than the previous year proving I am pushing past the fear of rejection.

Harsh criticism is even harder for most artists and authors to deal with in a positive manner. Whether verbal or written, it is paramount to remember it is subjective, is built upon opinion and comes from people with varied experiences and walks of life. The key here is you have the choice to accept it or reject it. I often separate the objective from the subjective, if it is possible. A two or three paragraph review from a reader who isn’t also into the finer elements of the writing craft is one type of criticism and a professional review from an editor is quite another.

Some of the most awkward situations regarding negative criticism for me is within a critique group, either in person or via telephone or video conference. Keeping my composure is a challenge, I do not want to give away too much, especially if the person is trashing a piece of my writing. It’s taken years to play the role of a grounded and open person during those rough critiques. Once the call or the reading of the negative feedback is done, I talk to my husband and let it all out or call a trusted friend and let it all go.

Here’s another thing about negative criticism, we need it to grow past our fears. Believe in your work and do your best to hear what is being said about your creation and discard the rest.

Finally, what if you are the one providing the feedback and find the poem, story, or memoir lacking? Be direct, be kind and ratio the negative comments with positive ones. 1:1 helps an author ease into it. Give feedback the way you would like it.

For Lainie, feeling unwelcome is only the beginning of her struggles. Her mom is addicted to painkillers, her stepfather is a felon, and her dad traded her in for a new family.

So what if she’s kicked out of high school? Determined and attractive, Lainie sets out to make her own path.

Shane, the young man she begins dating and believes is trustworthy, transforms into a possessive and cruel boyfriend. When Efren, Shane’s older cousin, enters her life, Lainie grasps onto a shred of hope, falling in love. Shane’s obsessive and abusive treatment of her, however, casts a deep shadow over Efren and Lainie’s chance to find safety and a future free of the fear of Shane’s sadistic retribution.

Will their love persevere, or will Shane’s pervasive and negative influence push Lainie and Efren apart, forcing them to love secretly?

Enjoy an Excerpt

I located the main office and handed the secretary the messily folded bunch of papers from Mom.

“Where’s your parent or guardian?” she asked, making a point of glancing around the office as if she hadn’t known I came in alone.

“My mom’s at work by now,” I said.

She tut–tutted and rose from behind the reception desk. “Well, we need her to come in and sign some papers. She must have forgotten to do that before giving them to you.”

Embarrassment flushed through me. I knew I’d have to make excuses for her again.

“Can I take them home and bring them back tomorrow?” I asked.

I endured her tiny eyes boring into me. She pulled a pen from the iron–gray frizz near her ear and tut–tutted again.

I thought, how many times a day does she make that sound?

“Is your mother a single parent?” she asked, pulling a file from the cabinet beside the desk.


She sounded disapproving. “I suppose you can fill out most of it. I’ll see what I can do. Have a seat. I have to print you out a class schedule.”

An hour later, I left with my classes and a campus map.

“Welcome to eleventh grade at Campbell High,” I mumbled, searching for the way to my next class.

By the end of the day, I had realized a few things: I had the wrong clothes, the wrong shoes, the wrong accent, and came from the wrong state.

About the Author:Ann’s award-winning poems, creative nonfiction, and essays have appeared internationally in literary journals, popular online blogs, and print anthologies. Her poems have been featured in The Avocet, the Pangolin Review, Plum Tree Tavern, Magnets and Ladders, Oprelle, Western PA Poetry Review 2024and Breath and Shadow. Ann’s short story, The Misty Torrent appeared in the Artificial Divide anthology published by Renaissance Press (2021).

Ann is the recipient of the 2019 GDUI Excellence in Writing award and the WDOMI 2016 Spirit of Independence award.

Independently published since 2016, the author’s seven volume collection includes poetry, creative nonfiction essays, short stories and contemporary fiction.

Diagnosed in 1993 with a rare form of progressive retinal disease, Ann accepts vision loss as part of her life but doesn’t let it define her as a whole person.

The author resides in western Pennsylvania with her husband, retired guide dog pet dog and cats, striving to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with her assistive technology.

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I Think It Might Rain by Rick Marchand – Spotlight and Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rick Marchand 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.

Meet Bartholomew, a curious, kind and sweet third grader. One day, Bartholomew wakes up and is convinced he sees a black cloud forming in the clear blue sky. “I think it might rain,” he proclaims. But what happens when his family, friends, and classmates don’t believe him? Will he be able to stand up to the bullies who call him names? Will he hold firm in his beliefs?

enjoy an Excerpt

As the sun beamed brightly through his bedroom window, Bartholomew pulled on his tee shirt – the one with his favourite Pokémon design. As his head popped out, he noticed a small black spot far in the distance. That doesn’t look good, he thought.

Grabbing quickly for his telescope, he pointed, focused the lens, and peered out through its long-extended tube to see just what the small black spot might be.

His imagination scaring him a little, he thought out loud: “Could be an assault helicopter? Maybe even a stealth bomber? Are we being attacked by aliens?”

Bartholomew raised the telescope. Refocusing the lens, he decided to have another look. What if it’s just one of those huge hot air balloons?

Straightening back up, scratching his head, a puzzled look now on his face, he thought, No way; I’ve never seen one of those around here.

Taking one last look, squinting as he focused out towards the black dot, “I GOT IT!!” he yelled out, loud and proud. “That’s a storm cloud and it’s heading our way. I think it might rain!!!”

About the Author: Richard Marchand and Nicole Herbut are a father/daughter, grandfather/mother, author/illustrator team creating picture books for young boys and girls. Their stories centre on a young boy named Bartholomew and his family and friends. They are designed to convey a simple yet meaningful message that can help young children learn from and grow with. Rick’s stories were developed with his own daughters who at a very young age wanted him to “read a story from his mouth” and not a book.

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Join Bartholomew’s journey of belief and courage! Enter to win a e-copy of ‘I Think It Might Rain’—a heartwarming tale of kindness overcoming doubt.

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I Think It Might Rain by Rick Marchand

I Think It Might Rain

by Rick Marchand

Giveaway ends May 20, 2024.

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Ten Things People Don’t Know About Me by Ari Rosenschein – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Ari Rosenschein will be awarding a signed paperback copy of Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph (US only) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Ten Things People Don’t Know About Me

I have friends who joke that it seems I’ve lived several different lives when I share anecdotes from my past. Here are ten standout things that most people don’t know about me.

1. I spilled a drink on Henry Winkler. Yes, when I was a baby in Santa Monica, my parents took me to dinner somewhere where I somehow soaked the Fonz. Such is life amongst the stars. This event foreshadowed a life skirting the perimeter of greatness.

2. I have flat feet. “Yup, just as I suspected. Flat as a pancake.” That’s what our family pediatrician informed my mother after a routine physical. He simultaneously shielded me from military duty and heralded a lifelong footwear challenge: I can never find shoes wide enough.

3. Once, I met Yoko Ono. After winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest along with my collaborator Gaby Moreno and other fine writers, we had the opportunity to meet Yoko at a musical event at the CES show in Las Vegas. We got up ultra-early and zoomed down the freeway to meet the icon. Yoko was lovely, and I have a photo of the three of us to prove it happened.

4. My high school class took an extraordinary trip to Kenya, East Africa, that changed my life. In addition to spending time in a Massai village and various other homestays, I remember listening to Melvins records with my best friend, John. The ’90s were awesome.

5. I possess a degree in Theater Arts, and once played George in a black box theater production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Although one early review lambasted me for having my hair sprayed white like a “high school character actor” (you never forget the bad ones, do you?), we later received some critical nods.

6. I took a writing class at UCLA and dropped out. It was a great course with a great teacher and a fine bunch of students, and I’m embarrassed that I didn’t complete it. However, I didn’t have a car then and was bicycling across town from Silver Lake. Who knows? Maybe I would have started publishing sooner had I stuck it out.

7. There is a trick I can do because I’m double-jointed. I can make my arm go all the way back behind my head at a ninety-degree angle so it looks disconnected. My mother found me asleep like that once and thought I was dead. Nope, just resting.

8. I have gout. That’s right, I am afflicted by the most Dickensian of ailments. I take medication for it now, but for many years, I would unexpectedly get hit by waves of the strangest, most excruciating joint pain localized in my big toe. It’s a genetic thing.

9. I was obsessed with the singer Bryan Adams in junior high, so much so that I scribbled his name all over my notebooks. Once, I must have left my books on the playing field, and a teacher came in yelling, “Bryan Adams? Is Bryan Adams in here?”

10. Astrology is one of my obsessions. I can’t tell you how much I consult I know my own chart inside out. Moreover, I can often guess people’s sun and rising signs. I like how it makes everything make sense. Like, “Ah, I can relax because I know someone has a Scorpio moon.”

It’s the late ’90s—the final days before smartphones and the internet changed the teenage landscape forever. Zack and his mother have moved from Tempe to Berkeley for a fresh start, leaving behind Zack’s father after a painful divorce. A natural athlete, Zack makes the water polo team which equals social acceptance at his new school. Yet he’s more drawn to Matthias, a rebellious skater on the fringes, who introduces him to punk rock, record stores, and the legendary Telegraph Avenue.

As their friendship intensifies, Matthias’s behavior reminds Zack of his absent dad, driving a wedge between him and his mother. Complicating matters is Zaylee, a senior who boosts Zack’s confidence but makes him question his new buddy, Matthias. Faced with all these changes, Zack learns that when life gets messy, he might have to become his own best friend.

Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph is about how a friendship can challenge who we are, how we fit in, and where we’re going.

Enjoy an Excerpt

My eyes catch the main event: Matthias, shirtless again, owning every inch of the bowl. No matter how little I know about skateboarding mechanics, it’s obvious the dude’s form is immaculate. I stand transfixed as he slides smoothly down one side of the bowl and up the other, like a weight on a pendulum, his head peering back over his shoulder, carefree. After gaining momentum, he hoists his lithe body over the top and holds perfectly still, one hand on his board, the other gripping the lip of the bowl. It’s dazzling.

As soon as he breaks the pose, a small crowd erupts. “Sick handplant, Matthias,” yells a kid in a yellow Carhart jacket.

Everything looks straight out of a movie. Skaters in shirts with blocky logos give each other high fives. Younger kids sit on the sidelines, boards glued to their hands, watching the action but not ready to dive in.

When we read On the Road during freshman year, Dad taught me a term that stuck with me: subculture. I’ve got no desire to ride a skateboard. But this vibe? I want to be a part of it. I’m swept up on a wave of California freedom.

Danny shoves an elbow into my belly. “Matthias is a monster skater, right?”

“Never seen skating like that,” I say. “Except on TV or in a movie.”


About the Author:Ari Rosenschein is a Seattle-based author who grew up in the Bay Area. Books and records were a source of childhood solace, leading Ari to a teaching career and decades of writing, recording, and performing music. Along the way, he earned a Grammy shortlist spot, landed film and TV placements, and co-wrote the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Song of the Year.

In his writing, Ari combines these twin passions. Coasting, his debut short story collection, was praised by Newfound Journal as “introducing us to new West Coast archetypes who follow the tradition of California Dreaming into the 21st century.” Dr. Z and Matty Take Telegraph (Fire & Ice YA) is his first young adult novel.

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Ten Things Most People Don’t Know About Vicki-Ann Bush – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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

Ten Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

When I was fourteen, we moved from New York to California. It was a difficult experience and to add to the anxiety I had a Queens mixed with Long Island accent. When I was called on to speak everyone in the classroom went quiet because they said they wanted to hear me talk—not fun.

I love animals but dogs are my heart.

When my younger brother was born I thought he was my baby and would take him out of the crib and try to play with him. I was three.

When I was fifteen I beat out all the callers on a radio station to be #1 and talk to Leslie McKeown from the Bay City Rollers. I told him I loved him, he said he loved me too. It was a brief romance, about twenty seconds.

My favorite genre to write in is YA Paranormal, but I secretly wish I could write a torrid love story.

I hate wet clothing on me. I mean to the point where I get cranky and irritable.

I don’t like yellow cars.

My favorite drink is an egg cream but I haven’t had in years because I liked my mom’s the best.

I dream of owning a villa in Naples and having open windows with shutters that close and no screens.

I’ve always wanted to learn fluent Italian. Before we moved from New York, my grandma was teaching me, but over the years I lost it. I’ve been practicing on Duolingo, but I can’t seem to pronounce the words as well as when I was learning from Gram.

As the star quarterback for his high school football team and local celebrity in the quaint town of Boulder City, Luke Jacob enjoys a charmed life. Everything’s going according to plan, that is until the night he spots a mysterious and alluring girl in the crowd. Despite his father’s cryptic warning to keep away from her, he’s instantly drawn to Mary.

The team plans a gathering to celebrate their homecoming win, and Luke decides to invite her. The evening turns dark when the demon Abezethibou appears and threatens them. When Mary steps in to save her peers, Luke sees her for what she truly is, forever changing their future and creating a bond between them.

The revelation shatters what Luke believes about himself and forces him to face his destiny.

Will Mary stand by Luke in the face of the coming storm, or will she be swayed by the allure of darkness?

Enjoy an Excerpt

Luke cleaved his chest, his heart dry of blood, he began to shake. A brilliant hue of gold emanated from within, illuminating every inch of his body as it began to rise from the ground. He looked up at his friends, smears of butterscotch glittered across the atmosphere. He shouted out to Jason as their bodies flopped backward like the rag doll Becca carried with her
as a toddler. Floating closer to the heavens, their will was no longer their own.

About the Author:Born Vicki-Ann Guidice, on January 14th, 1962, her journey into the realm of the spiritual and supernatural was initiated at birth. Her early years were spent in Queens, New York known for having more people passed on than alive, as well as having several Gothic cemeteries within walking distance of its communities. At the age of 15, she moved to Los Angeles California taking her fertile imagination with her. After meeting her future husband, Ronald Bush, her new homeland became Las Vegas, Nevada.

As a mother of two, her first published book in 2008, Winslow Willow the Woodland Fairy, took her love of fantasy and spun it into a heartwarming children’s book. The progression to the young adult literary market took root in her novels that captured the haunting qualities of the Las Vegas desert surrounding her, but it was New York that called her home. Alex McKenna, the main character in the book series first published in 2019, is the embodiment of her Italian-American roots, memories of adolescent outsider status, and the strength it takes to live an authentic life.

Ms. Bush is a co-founder of Coffee House Tours, an events-based collaboration between local bookstores and coffee shops allowing authors to represent themselves and their works. Additionally, she is a frequent podcast literary guest and has a special relationship with The Center LGBTQIA+ Las Vegas where Alex McKenna has been an inspirational focus as a transgender Paranormal teen. Now starring in the short film Alex and Margret’s Beginning, inspired by the book series, Ms. Bush is an award winning short screenplay writer and Producer. Bringing her moving and unique storyline and character to a broader audience.

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10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me by T.X. Troan – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. T.X. Troan 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. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

10 Things Most People Don’t Know About Me

1. My parents were never married.
2. I was three times regional chess champion.
3. I have no children (only dogs).
4. My fifth dog was named Sophia Freeman.
5. My favorite foods are Pho and barbecue duck.
6. My favorite color is blue.
7. People still asks for my ID for alcohol 😊
8. Almost lost my wife in 2022 from a car accident.
9. I lived on Gabriola Island for about 6 months.
10. Married a crazy dog lady that I love very much!

What begins as a special trip for eleven-year-old SOPHIA FREEMAN and her billionaire father, leaves her trapped on a mysterious island with a tree boy and other fantastical creatures.

The moment Sophia thinks her situation can’t get any crazier, she is shocked to learn the island is under a deadly eternal curse. All living things are rapidly decaying and soon nothing and no one—including herself—will be left alive.

From competing in a three-round yearly held competition to reviving a long-lost magical spell, Sophia and her new companions must gather every ounce of courage, wit and skill as they are stepping closer to breaking the 150-year-old curse. But will they make it in time while surrounded by enemies and traitors aiming to stop them at any cost?

Enjoy an Excerpt from Book One

“So, what’s on your agenda today, my dear?” Grandma asked.

“Dad and I are going to explore his new island after this,” she replied, sitting on the edge of her seat.

“Oh, yes, your father told me about that on the phone last night,” said Grandpa, then gave Sophia a serious look. “My girl, do you know why all the previous owners vanished?”

Sophia shook her head slightly, but kept watching him without blinking.

“Rumors say the place possesses some sort of magical energy. As dusk arrives, the island comes to life: boulders begin to quake, monstrous trees uproot themselves, and mysterious creatures crawl out of their homes. They will do
anything to protect their island … especially from humans.”

Sophia’s eyes widened and her hands began to sweat.

“Joe, that’s enough!” Dad ordered. “You’re scaring her.”

“That was very mean of you, Joe,” Grandma added.

Grandpa chuckled. “Well, it looks like I haven’t loss my touch. You’re still that innocent girl that I used to know.”

Sophia sighed with relief. He must have been teasing.

When she was a lot younger, Grandpa used to tell her ghost stories and it would frighten her every time. The all-time best story was about an invisible spirit that watches us from behind since the day we were born. It would one day transfer our soul to a magical place when we are ready to go. He told the little girl it was time for him to go and would never return. She burst into tears and tried to convince him it wasn’t time yet. She stayed with him that whole night and never let him out of her sight.

About the Author:Thuan Doan is an award-winning author of the Sophia Freeman series. He conceived his first middle-grade fantasy novel, Sophia Freeman and the Mysterious Fountain, during a trip to Gabriola Island, British Columbia in the summer of 2013. Then he took his work and settled in a small town of Enderby, where it’s peaceful and quiet.

Thuan is writing under a pen name of T.X. Troan. “X” stands for Xu, his grandmother’s name who passed away. And “Troan” is a combination of his parents’ names.

“No matter how this turns out, I want my family to be a part of this wonderful journey.”

T.X. Troan married Sarah, his original fan and longtime love, in 2016. They live in Enderby with their pack dogs!

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Lessons I’ve Learned from my Main Character by Phoenix Blackwood – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Phoenix Blackwood 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.

Lessons I’ve Learned from My Main Character

There are a few lessons I learned from Phee, the main character of The Family that Finds Us. She’s a complex character, one with a unique voice and a lot of different things feeding into how she perceives the world. She has a great family – one that’s found and born out of companionship rather than blood. Her birth mother is challenging to say the least, and a very complex relationship throughout the book.

The first lesson that set in from her experience, was that no matter what way you get there, it’s okay to be yourself no matter how much you’ve struggled with it. I’m speaking specifically in her queer identity – I hear a lot of older trans people talk about how frustrated they are that they didn’t transition until later in life, that they spent so long denying themselves when they knew it from an early age. No matter how you get there, there’s nothing wrong with it. Phee spends a lot of time fighting with herself, and didn’t even realize things until the world was opened up to her. It’s okay to not be ready. It’s okay to need to stay closeted for a while. There’s nothing wrong with you, there’s nothing wrong with needing time. This world is harsh, especially towards trans people. Sometimes, we have to prepare ourselves for what life will be like if we decide to transition, all the pros and cons. Being trans isn’t a choice, but transitioning is. It’s an option there and one that holds wonderful benefits for those who experience gender dysphoria, but we have to be ready for what the world will throw at us if we do. I denied my queer identity for a very long time and often felt that frustration with myself, but in writing Phee I learned that sometimes we need to hold more patience for ourselves in such a difficult position.

The second lesson I learned from Phee was that it’s okay to push back when people hurt you. You don’t have to forgive and forget, especially not right away. There’s a few scenes where she openly shows disdain for her mother and really feels badly for it, because it’s her mother. The truth is, that it’s okay to let people know when they’ve hurt us. If they react badly to being told that something they’ve done is hurtful, then it’s a lot more telling about them than it is about you. Standing up for yourself is difficult, and you should be praised for it rather than punished. If the reaction is to punish, then that person isn’t one you want to keep in your life. It doesn’t matter if the person is family, a friend you’ve had for years, or someone you view as important. If they’re not willing to hear that they’ve hurt you and take ownership of it, then they’re the one in the wrong.

There are many more lessons she taught me, but these two are the biggest.

Phee hides her secrets well, until they become too much to bear. Her biggest secret is one she’s kept even from herself. Her longest-kept secret is one that hurts her every day. Her final secret is one that will set her free.

In a school that doesn’t accept them, Phee, Theo, and Alex fight for a community close to their hearts. The community desperately needs the trio to help the rest of them leave the shadows without fear of violence and discrimination. Through some heroic activism, the three push the school officials to their limits — forcing them to act — for better or worse.

For Phee, the fight for a place where she can be herself doesn’t stop when she gets home. The strain of taking care of her alcoholic and abusive mother threatens to break Phee away from her family bond forever. Her mother can go from a messy drunk to an angry one in an instant, turning Phee’s home life from an obligation to a war zone.

Theo’s house offers respite to Phee. With compassion scarce in her life, Alex and Theo are Phee’s light in the dark. They protect and cherish her. At Theo’s, Phee is free to be herself and explore her identity safely — her chosen family ready to catch her if she falls. That’s what family does, how family finds us when we feel lost and alone.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Thank you, my preciou-ous-es son.” She slurred her words as she spoke into the table, and I sighed inaudibly.

At least she wasn’t angry-drunk. This was the drunk I could handle, the drunk I knew how to care for. I’d been doing it half my life, it would be strange if I weren’t good at it by now. I finished the dishes and laid them out on the drying rack after wiping them dry with a kitchen towel, then sat down in the chair next to her at the table.

“Do you need anything, mom? Have you eaten? Drank anything?”

“Mmno.” She rolled her face to look at me, her deep dark eyes glistening but not completely there.

I got a plastic cup from the cupboard and filled it with some ice water and handed it to her. Her hands shook as she tried to lift the cup from mine, so I helped her guide it to her mouth and take a couple sips, then set it back down on the table in front of her. I rummaged through the fridge to pull out some milk and went to the pantry for some cereal. Only, as lifted the milk to pour, I felt objects hit the side of the carton. I opened the cap to take a whiff and gagged; the milk was sour. Sighing, I dropped the carton into the trash and opened the barren fridge to search for another option.

About the Author Born and raised in New England, Phoenix has always been a creative – whether it’s painting or writing. From a very young age, Phoenix has envisioned and created characters, writing them into existence and exploring them through visual arts. Having graduated to first-time short story author, Phoenix is embarking on a journey towards novel writing as they finally bring characters they’ve known for years into the world. Phoenix is neurodiverse and intersex and hopes to bring more representation to both topics with their writing. They believe in creating relatable characters that people can find themselves in and empathize with.

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Helluland by C.R. Lindström – Spotlight and Giveaway

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


In a remote corner of the Arctic, unexplained phenomenon haunt an isolated community. Several people have disappeared, and somehow young Erika Holstrom knows why. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, she escapes to university, only to be followed by unsettling visions of the future.

When a Russian submarine vanishes in the far North, Erika’s nightmares suggest the answers lay buried deep in her family history. Now, just as the melting polar ice releases its sinister secrets, Erika and her friends are in a race against time to convince the sceptical authorities what is really happening in her Arctic homeland, before it’s too late.

Will they succeed, or is the frozen North lost forever…

Enjoy an Excerpt

Erika moved to the music, allowing the rhythm to guide her. She watched Michelle from the corner of her eye, trying to process what had just happened and how she felt about it.


Erika hesitated while the others kept dancing. Something terrible was about to happen, but what? She scanned the room. Erika could see Sandra and Nicole had moved towards the corner of the dance floor with their French-Canadian boys. She looked up to see a giant speaker hanging from the ceiling by silver chains. Erika desperately tried to clear her head.

She shuffled towards Sandra, Michelle following her with a dance move.


Erika’s senses honed in on the speaker chains. They were going to give way. She had to act now. Masking her actions as a drunken stumble, she slammed into Sandra, sending them both into a row of chairs beside the dance floor. As they hit the ground, the chains holding the dangling speaker broke, sending the huge piece of equipment crashing to the ground. Sparks flew from the massive box. Several people nearby screamed, pushing themselves away from the electrical calamity. The music stopped.

From her position under a pile of chairs, Erika could hear Michelle calling out to Nicole. “Gibson, where are Holstrom and Bruster?”

<>About the Author:C.R. Lindström is a debut author with a passion for lore and history.

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