Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Jungleland by MT Bass plus a note from Roscoe Pettis, his character

 


M.T. Bass is an author from my home state who has visited us here before. Today, he shares an excerpt from his new book Jungleland. And one of his characters is telling us what he thinks of him! Share your thoughts in the comments here and as you follow the tour. Plus there's a great giveaway at the end!



“There are only two types of aircraft: fighters and targets.”

~Doyle ‘Wahoo’ Nicholson, USMC

Sweating it out in the former Belgian Congo as a civil war mercenary, with Sparks turning wrenches on his T-6 Texan, Hawk splits his time flying combat missions and, back on the ground, sparring with Ella, an attractive young missionary doctor, in the sequel to My Brother’s Keeper.

Read an excerpt:
“Break left,” I radioed Angel, jammed the throttle forward, and yanked the stick back and to the left in a climbing turn to circle around on the enemy position. I searched back over my shoulder for a road or trail leading out of the area to anticipate their possible direction of movement. There was a small scar coming down off the hill to the southeast.

As we came around three hundred and sixty degrees, lining up on the small section of the jungle where red and green tracer rounds floated up our way, the intensity of the fire began to wane as the rebels understood what was about to come their way.

“Take the trail. Southeast,” I radioed Angel.

He clicked his mike twice to acknowledge the one-two punch plan and throttled back to drift away in trail to follow up my initial attack on the enemy positions with rocket fire as they inevitably fled to melt back into the jungle.

I banked hard and began to dive down on the hilltop. The tracers began to concentrate on my nose. I lit up my guns, spreading the field of fire left and right with a little dance on the rudder pedals. I felt the Texan buck up a bit as rockets left the rails. I followed the plumes of their engines halfway to the target before I had to pull up, but noticed the intensity of the enemy fire had waned considerably.

“Way to go, Batman,” Angel radioed. “Let me just clean up this little mess you made.”

Behind me, Angel strafed the road and fired his rockets in so close that he seemed to clip the top of the fireball from the warhead explosions.

I circled back and took a path coming back up the road, stitching it with .303 caliber fire…

Buy links:


Have one of your characters describe you as a writer…

Yeah, I’m Roscoe Pettis, but you can call me Sarge. It’s no secret that I work for the C.I.A. in Congo. It’s nice. I get a healthy slush fund to play with and plenty of independence to go where I want, when I want. Before that I served with the Marines in the Korean “Conflict” and then hired on with The Company to work in Southeast Asia…and you don’t really need to know where that was exactly. Then I ended up in Leopoldville.

Anyway, I was asked to give a give my profile on M.T. Bass, the guy who put me into this story. I’ve seen him work and all, and I had the boys back at Langely look into him a bit.

Born in Athens, Ohio, he moved around quite a bit until his family settled in St. Louis, Missouri. Back then, he rode his bike without a helmet, played sandlot baseball, and fought out World War II again with his suburban brothers in arms. Good stuff. When he got older, he started rocking the eardrums with his Les Paul and 50 watt Marshall amplifier. He graduated high school and ended up at Ohio Wesleyan University where he studied “Creative Writing” with Robert Flanagan—another fellow Jarhead. Okay, I’ll go with that.

He seems to have kicked around Ohio playing in rock bands, then got a pilot’s license and moved to Colorado for ten years. He seems to have peddled some kind of aerospace widgets to the Army, Air Force, and Navy, and their military-industrial contractors. He came back to Ohio and worked until he got right-sized, down-sized, or cap-sized out of his regular job. So he went back to making music in bars and started finishing and publishing his novels.

And that’s where I came in…when he picked up on his second Hawk Aviation Story, I found myself showing up in chapter two. And, I guess, he pretty much gets me mostly right. He gets the pilot part down pat with Hawk and sets up a nice romance thing going on with the new doctor in town, Ella.

So, I got a chance to watch him up close and personal. Now me, I like to sleep in. But he’s up at the crack of dawn putting words down on paper right away. No emails. No news. No surfing the web. No drinking coffee scratching himself in the crotch. He just writes. He says his secret is “piling up the words every morning—and pretty soon you have a book.” And I guess it works. The guy’s got nine novels, two novellas, and a book of poetry (?) out there. Yeah, I don’t know about the poetry, but you can check it out here.

After that, he starts moving about his day, working on the business side of things, since he is self-published. That means checking sales, managing his advertising, promoting himself on social media, and updating his blogs. Man, not my cup of tea. I’m more of a feet-on-the-street kind of guy, but I guess it has to be done. And from the look on his face, I think he feels the same way.

When all is said and done with that stuff, he plays guitar, sometimes flies small planes with his pilot buddies, and hangs out with his girlfriend, Lora—who looks suspiciously like Ella from Jungleland.

Hmm…it makes you wonder sometimes.


M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.

Author Links

Website: https://www.mtbass.net/

Blog: https://www.owl-works.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlworks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Owlworks

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5270962.M_T_Bass





M.T. Bass will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 26, 2020

Life With Ollie: The Story of an Only Child of a Single Narcissistic Parent by Donna G. Bourgeois


 Take a journey with author Donna G. Bourgeois as she shares an exclusive excerpt from her memoir Life With Ollie. Continue to fulfill your purpose as you follow the tour for even more. Share your experiences and questions in the comments section and get bonus chances to enter the giveaway as you enter the giveaway.

If you are of dating age or married, I wrote this book for you.

This is not a self-help or a how-to book. This is the story of the metamorphosis of a timid, fear filled child who finally blossomed into a warrior. I have many scars that no one can see, but they are healed now. Through these battles to become a warrior, I have helped the wounded souls that have come to me and seen them overcome their demons to stand tall and proud of who they are. It has brought me great joy.

Through the years, I have heard along the way that the ancient Chinese would fix their broken china cups or figurines with gold to make them whole again, and more valuable. I believe that humans can be repaired with love and a sense of self-worth. Each and every one of us are here for a purpose and we are given gifts to help fulfill our purpose.

I would love for you to come on this journey with me.


Read an exclusive excerpt: 
It was so dark. It smelled musty in the dank basement. I knew I was locked in there for being naughty. Then it came to me: the little boy who lived in this house put a big hole in the top of my new doll marriage. I ran and told his mother (whose house I boarded at), he denied it and I was put in the basement for lying. I don’t remember how old I was—I know I was not old enough to go to school yet.

One morning I became hysterical and begged my mother not to leave me and told her I was always locked in the basement. Well, we were out of there in quick order. That is my first memory of childhood.

My mother’s name was Olive, but all her friends called her Ollie. The party did not really start until Ollie arrived. She was gregarious, fun, a real extrovert. She was truly beautiful and had a dynamite figure. She was the perfect five-foot-two-eyes-of-blue bombshell.

My father was a very handsome man in a rugged Clark Gable way. My dad, like many men his age, joined the army and was sent to Britain and Holland. He did not return to us. He had found another woman and wanted a divorce. Mom would not let him see me when he came to Canada for his divorce. She always said if he stayed, it would be only for me and she didn’t want him on those terms. My mom would not accept child support from him because he would then have some control over me. She never let me see him, even though she always knew where he was. So, this is how I became an only child with a single mother.


Available on Amazon
 


Donna G. Bourgeois enjoys writing and painting, both excellent activities to soothe the soul. She went to university at 65-years-old and earned an associate degree in theology, just to keep the grey matter healthy. She considers her greatest quality to be the ability to love greatly and be kind to those who life have put on her path. Life with Ollie is her first book, although she has many more story ideas waiting in the wings. She believes if you listen to your inner voice, you will find your bliss.

Website - http://donnabourgeois.com/

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19311913.Donna_G_Bourgeois





Donna Bourgeois will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 24, 2020

I Know You By Heart: Navigating the Dementia Journey by Angie Swetland

In the U.S. today, over 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or related dementia. Each of these individuals has a story. And each one has caregivers, with stories of their own. You have questions – so many questions about what is happening now, and what is to come. How do I cope with this new manifestation of the disease? How do I prepare for an uncertain future? This is especially true when just navigating your way through each day can be overwhelming. Contained within these pages are answers to some of your questions as well as strategies for your future. In navigating this journey, it is important to remember two essential truths. The first is that the body may fail, and the mind may wander, but the spirit – the person inside - remains intact. The caregiver’s role is to maximize the remaining strengths of the person they care for. The second is that you are not alone. Caregiving is often an isolating experience. Stories from the lives of others let us know that our experiences are not unique. Be assured that many have gone before, and others are walking the same road today. This is "I Know You by Heart: Navigating the Dementia Journey"


Read an excerpt:

Ella 

Ella is ready. 

A former church organist and choir director, she is used to looking just so. These days she might emerge from her room with her wig askew, and her lipstick crooked. Still, she always tries to look her best. 

Ella lives in a Memory Care Community. 

Today she must go out for a doctor’s appointment. I am escorting her down to wait for her ride. It is warm for March in Minnesota. Ella is wearing a boiled wool suit in emerald green with a pillbox hat and has a light woolen coat on her arm. I offer to take her coat, which she hands me with thanks. She holds her handbag prettily in both hands. No one seeing her would ever dream that this elegant lady’s thoughts are blown about like sheet music in the wind. We enter the elevator with some trepidation. I know that Ella does not like elevators or closed spaces, but the stairs on her floor are secured, so this is the only exit. 

The elevator is crowded. I see one resident I recognize; others in winter coats are coming to visit relatives, or here on business. It is a small space, but I count one, two, three, four, five…seven people, including Ella and me. We only have three floors to go. The door closes, and the elevator begins to descend. 

Suddenly we all feel a jolt. The iron box we ride in has stopped between floors. There is a collective intake of breath, and people express dismay. 

Quietly, I suggest to the man next to the emergency panel that he use the button to call for assistance. We can speak to our helpers on the outside, and they assure us that it will only be a few minutes. 

Five minutes pass, then ten. The anxiety climbs, the muttering increases. People have places they need to be. One has a dentist appointment, and another must be back at the office, a third cannot imagine not meeting her child’s school bus. The other resident worries that she will miss her lunch. 

I glance at Ella. 

She has backed into the corner of the elevator. Her head is bowed, her shoulders hunched, her arms curled across her abdomen. She shudders. I step towards her, concerned that she is afraid, yes, but mostly worried about what she might do. 

Suddenly she throws back her head, flings her arms wide, and begins to sing her favorite song, “My Wild Irish Rose,” full voice. And what a lovely voice it is. I catch her eye and grin and begin to sing along. The muttering stops. Everyone turns to stare. 

We switch from “Irish Rose” to “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and then to “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.” One by one, the others join in, as we sing “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra.” You see, it is St. Patrick’s Day. 

When the elevator doors open ten minutes later, we all exit singing.


Available on Amazon
(affiliate link)



Angie Swetland

Cresting Wave Publishing

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Centricity (Centricity Cycle Book 1) by Nathaniel Henderson


 
Science fiction meets espionage in this new offering from Nathaniel Henderson. Today, you can check out an excerpt from Centricity and then download your own copy. You can follow the tour for even more. Be sure to let him know what you think along the way and take advantage of extra chances to enter the giveaway!



The world already ended once. Now it's up to an outgunned negotiator, a disavowed spy, and an immersion-addicted hacker to stop it from happening again.

Centuries after the Fold, civilization is fragile. In the megacity of Naion, people live stacked in arcologies, most never going outside because the air is another enemy. Instead, freedom comes from technology: bodytechs modify the human form while synthetic intelligences whisper through brainware.

Now a new bridge between man and machine has emerged, one that could destroy humanity’s second shot at survival—or save it, depending on who gets to it first....

Adasha Denali is one of the government’s best dispute resolution specialists, but when a scandal threatens to destabilize the city and end her career, she’ll need more than words to escape the fallout. Venturing out of her office and into a fight for the future, she’ll team up with a disavowed spy, learning the hard way that betrayal wears many faces, and one of them may be her own.

Neon Nik is an immersion-addicted IT freelancer struggling to pay off debts to circling loan sharks. Threats of dismemberment become the least of his problems when a surprise inheritance throws him into a vortex of corporate kill squads willing to burn the city down to find him.

Engineered spies, high-tech mercenaries, and immersion hackers collide in this first gripping installment of the Centricity Cycle.

Read an excerpt:
JUSTICE OFFICER NEIL Linz watched Adasha from across the table with bulbous eyes set in a surgically smooth face. The conference room lights reflected slashes of crystal white along the hard edges of his cheekbones, jaw, and the solid metallic wave one might call hair.

“Then to summarize: to your knowledge, Gabriel never shared classified information with any unauthorized persons, never lied to or withheld pertinent information from superiors, nor did he ever act in a way counter to the goals of the CPCA?”

Three dozen questions in and he hadn’t blinked once. No eyelids. Fully synthetic ocular implants didn’t require cover as they could be deactivated, but most people had some for aesthetic reasons. Linz obviously enjoyed the discomfort his perpetual stare caused; it was more unsettling than the facial canvases of self-mutilators.

“As I said, no, he did not.” Adasha clasped her hands together on the polished table, posture a vertical line, and stared straight back.

“Mmm.” Linz glanced at the folder in front of him, pushed aside a sheet of vaper to get at one beneath. His use of the physical medium felt like a strategic choice, as if to emphasize how solid his thoughts were. “When did you first meet Gabriel?”

Adasha wondered if Linz’s disregard of honorifics was meant to rile her. “Fourteen years ago.”

“You were a legislative director for Assembly Representative Jenov Quamay at the time.”

“I was an assistant.” It seemed Linz had made the mistake on purpose. To test the accuracy of her responses, she assumed. “The title of director came a year later.”

“Legislative director to CPCA senior analyst to interagency coordinator…. People usually climb in the other direction, no?”


Available on Amazon 

(affiliate link)



About the author:

Nathaniel Henderson was born in 1983 in Albuquerque, NM, USA. At a young age he moved to Tulsa, OK, where he spent the next fifteen or so years surviving adolescence. After graduating from high school, he packed it up and headed out west to the picturesque Santa Cruz, CA to attend UCSC. After a year of wrestling with computer science, he transferred to San Francisco to study computer animation and special effects. The career didn’t stick, and he set off to teach English in South Korea, Thailand, and finally Tokyo, Japan, where he currently resides.

Links
email: citizenhenderson@gmail.com

website: nathanielhenderson.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/citizenhenderson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/citizenhenderson

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/citizenhenderson

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/citizenhenderson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/citizenn8


Nathaniel Henderson will be awarding a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Sympathy for the Devil by Alex Stevens

 


If you're a fan of fantasy, then you're going to want to check out this excerpt from Sympathy for the Devil by Alex Stevens! Get more as you follow the tour. Be sure to let the author know your thoughts along the way! And best of luck entering the giveaway.


Four warriors on one hell of a mission.

Lieutenant Colonel Tyler Graven is known as the “Demon of Kyoto,” and he specializes in death. When an assassin attempts to kill pharmaceutical mogul Mortimer Sackler, Tyler becomes the lead suspect and the target of a $100 million dollar hit. To save himself and clear his name, he must hunt down the true killer, a deadly entity known only as The Priest.

Tyler teams up with his former military unit, The Four Horseman, including his brother, crack-shot Corporal Jack Graven, the mysterious Lance Corporal Jin Xialong, and his one-time flame Colonel Diana Levitas. Once, they were an elite fighting team known for completing two of the most successful campaigns against terrorism ever launched. Now, they’ll find themselves locked in a war with The Church, the most influential organization on the planet--and pitted against the supernatural forces of the Underworld itself.

During their mission, Tyler and Jack learn of the legendary Black Muramasa, the only weapon that can destroy immortals such as demons, angels, vampires, seraphim, and nephilim. As they uncover the secrets of the ancient black blade--and their own heritage--they are faced with unforetold powers and infinite evils. If the Four Horsemen succeed, they may save themselves. If they fail, it’ll cost them their sanity, their lives, and even their souls...

Here comes an action-packed, gun-slinging fantasy adventure that packs the punch of a military thriller combined with high-stakes supernatural intrigue.

Read an excerpt:
This is real. I know it.

An acrid and sour smoke that could only be gunpowder filled my nostrils, caking my mouth with the bitter taste of ammonia. The air sang with an angry chorus of cracking, snapping, and buzzing as tiny projectiles assaulted me in hushed gunfire from every direction. The thuds of pierced wood rang out like hail on a rooftop. My heart raced with pure terror as I cowered beneath the classroom table, hands pressed to my ears.

This is it. They found me.

I had broken one of the rules. I didn’t have a weapon. I had neither Shade, nor a gun, nor a bayonet. Not even a kitchen or pocket knife. I’d even abandoned my eighty-cent mechanical pencil on top of my notebook the moment the shooting began.

They were going to murder me, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Thunder hammered in my head as pure terror consumed me; each second seemed an eternity. I was expecting to feel pain. Maybe even a part of me was hoping to hear one final gunshot that would be the last sound I would ever hear. Instead, I heard laughter.

Sheepishly, I poked my head above the classroom table. Every pair of eyes in my Beijing University International Business class had settled on me. Merriment filled more than a few, but concern and empathy occupied most. After a few moments of displacement, I realized what had occurred: I’d had another episode. This time it was during class, the attack ultimately spawning from my own imagination. And it was set off by one quiet click of a pen.

It was bad enough that I was the only white student in the classroom, as every other student was Chinese. Now I was the “crazy white guy” in the school. Unspeakable shame quickly replaced my confusion.


Available on Amazon
(affiliate link)



About Alex Stevens:

Alex Stevens is a Marine Corps Veteran with two deployments and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Interdisciplinary Studies program, a unique undergraduate degree that caters to students with various interests of study. He is also an advent traveler and philosophy enthusiast who has spent a lifetime studying religions, with a focus on Non-denominational Christianity. Alex spends most of his time going for walks, spending time with loved ones, and when the juices are flowing, writing. Fantasy fiction is his great escape from the mundane and he likes to create fantastical realities that are blended with non-fictional people, places, and events.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20740528



The author will be giving away a $15 Amazon/BN GC via rafflecopter. Follow the tour for more chances to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Review of All Bags Go to Cleveland by C.S. Hale

 


Welcome to the Name Before the Masses Tour for All Bags to Cleveland, a clever paranormal romantic comedy by C.S. Hale! I'm letting you know what I thought of the book, plus sharing an excerpt. You can also get a sneak peek into the author's life as she talks about balancing life and writing. Lots to enjoy here and then as you follow the tour! Plus there's a great giveaway at the end.



Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela's addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of "eligible" gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?


Read an excerpt:
“You owe me.”

Angela glanced up from her computer screen. Dave Ford stood in front of her. The blood drained from her face. “Do I?” She raised her “helpful” smile.

“Yes.” Dave handed over his passport and put the Louis Vuitton garment bag on the scale. “Last time, you sent my bag to Cleveland.”

“The system isn’t perfect,” Angela said, punching Dave’s information into the computer. “Things do happen sometimes.”

“You control the system. I think you owe me a glass of wine for having to find a tailor at six a.m. I had a nine o’clock business meeting and just my jeans and sweatshirt.”

“Hmm. By that reckoning, I think I’d owe the tailor for having to get you a functional suit so quickly at that early hour.”

“I tipped him £100. Least you can do is buy me a glass of wine in return.”

Angela lifted her gaze. Dave—all six feet of him with his fabulous hair— had a hopeful expression on his face.

“I’m not in the habit of buying strange men alcohol.”

Dave stuck his hand out. “Hi. Dave Ford. Business traveler.” Angela laughed. “All I’m asking for is a glass of Malbec. Or maybe pinot noir. Small price to pay in comparison to my having to fight off jet lag via acupuncture.”

“Acupuncture?”

Dave shrugged. “It was early for the tailor. His aim wasn’t quite what it could have been.”

Angela dipped into Dave’s mind. The tailor had stabbed him a couple of times. And Dave was playing with her. He wanted to see what she’d do.


(affiliate link)


**My thoughts**
First I have to say that I love the title of this book. That's what first captured my attention, followed by the cover. And then when I read the blurb, I knew I had to read this book. Whoever thought of a paranormal romantic comedy with a gremlin as a lead character? I always think of the little dudes from Gringotts, or even Gizmo and company. Angela shows us that they can have a fun and playful, even though still mischievous, side. I was amused at the little games she would play with people and kind of wish I had that ability.

She meets Dave after she messes with him and his bags during one of his flights. (So now we all know why our bags don't necessarily go where we go!) He is totally on to her and manages to finagle a date. The two of them start hanging out more and more, and I absolutely love their interactions.

Despite Angela and her family being supernatural creatures, I completely felt like so many of their conversations and situations were very true-to-life. I could see just about all of this unfolding in my own life or that of my friends. The realness peppered with the paranormal fun made this a giggle-worthy read that I greatly enjoyed. I got really annoyed when people interrupted me while I was reading it! 

Thank you to the author and to Goddess Fish for a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

*******************************

Balancing life and writing;

I am a slow writer. Usually. While I plan out all my plot points via Save the Cat, I pants my way from point to point. I love that gasp out loud I get when something is finally revealed. From start to finish, most of my books take a year to write. I do first drafts longhand in a notebook. I usually require two. And more Pilot G2 pens than I can count. I once had to go hunting for them in London when I ran out, and I was shocked at the £3.50 price for a single pen! Sometimes I make it all the way to “The End” before I do my first edit, typing everything up, and sometimes I make it 4/5 of the way through before I type it all into a Word document.

In my day job, I’m an elementary teacher. I work 12 to 15 hours a day nearly seven days a week. I find it much easier to edit when school is in session than to write new words. The advantage of being a teacher is that I do have several weeks off during the summer. This is when I get the bulk of my new writing done. Though I have found it’s easier to write if I go away somewhere. I love writing in London and have found I can write an average of 34 longhand pages a week if I’m holed up in my favorite studio apartment (a whopping 14 sq meters) not far from Euston Station. I walk to the parks every day and write, as well as write in my room as I watch all of London drive by. My favorite example of life colliding with art came when I had just written that my character needed to “stop viewing everything as a life or death situation” and I looked up to see a ladder fire truck pull up and park outside my second story window.

My critique partner Bethany Adams writes with two young school age children. She’s even managed to get her word counts in while homeschooling during this pandemic. I don’t know how she does it. Balancing life with writing needs to happen. You can’t create beautiful words if your soul is dry. Cleveland took an initial three years to complete, and it would not be the book it is if I had had to finish it under deadline. While I can force myself to put out one a year, I’ve given myself permission to take two years to get out the companion novel to Cleveland - Ghost Chilis Are Real. This new school year is going to be incredibly stressful, and I want to be mindful of that and be kind to myself. But my characters also want me. I’ve got 7 different books that are begging for my attention but only so much time and energy.

So write. Put words on the page. But also give yourself time to breathe. The characters will still be there waiting to welcome you.



About the Author:

Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.

Website: cshalebooks.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CatSHale

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcshale



A randomly drawn winner will receive a $50 Amazon/BN GC. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco

 


Murder meets astrology in this new mystery by Connie di Marco. Enjoy an excerpt from The Madness of Mercury and then follow the tour for even more! Be sure to let the author know what you think along the way. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



The Zodiac Mysteries feature San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti, who never thought murder would be part of her practice. Julia sought answers and found solace in astrology after the death of her fianc├ę in a hit and run accident. Since then, she’s successfully built a clientele of the city’s movers and shakers.

In The Madness of Mercury, Julia’s outspoken advice in her newspaper column, AskZodia, makes her the target of a recently-arrived cult preacher who advocates love and compassion to those less fortunate. But the power-hungry preacher is waging war on sin and his Army of the Prophet will stop at nothing to silence those who would stand in his way. Julia is at the top of his list.


Read an excerpt:
Wizard had curled into a fetal position on top of a fuzzy throw close to the fireplace. The wind was buffeting the windows so hard the rain sounded like gravel being thrown against the glass. The logs were blazing and I thanked my stars I could snuggle inside tonight with Wizard and work.

Samantha had forwarded about fifty emails from the newspaper to my own AskZodia email address. As a weekly column, there was space for only three or four questions and answers, but now, the editor was considering running it as a daily feature. To keep the column interesting to as large a group of readers as possible, I like to pick a range of ages and problems.

My first pick was a letter from an older man forced into retirement.

Dear Zodia

I’ve worked as a bookkeeper in the corporate world my entire life. I’m 65 and my company forced me to retire. I’m in decent shape financially. I have a good pension and savings, but I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve tried to find part-time work but no luck. I’ve never felt so lost and useless. Do you see any kind of work on the horizon for me? My birth date is May 4, 1944 at 10:43 PM in Baltimore.

~- Discarded

Poor guy. Worked his whole life and now shoved aside. The man’s birth chart showed Venus as the oriental planet, that is, the planet rising first before the Sun, a position that can sometimes offer a strong clue to the profession. This man was a natural artist, perhaps a craftsman, with his Mars in Virgo. He was someone with artistic yearnings and capable of patient, detailed work.

Dear Discarded:

Your true artistic abilities have never been recognized, much less nourished. A whole new world can open up for you if you would pursue some form of craftsmanship to produce beautiful things. Jewelry design, working in precious metals, is just one possibility that comes to mind. Please take some classes, perhaps at a local university extension and try your hand. I think you’ll be amazed at your abilities and imagination. Believe me, you won’t look back.

~ Zodia

I worked through several more questions and responses and then saved them all. This was hardly a perfect way to practice astrology, but hopefully, my quick judgments and answers would be spot on and help someone head in the right direction. I clicked back to the inbox and realized three more emails had arrived while I had been working.

I didn’t recognize the various senders. My AskZodia address had been set up only for Samantha, but these new emails weren’t from her. My private clients use Julia.Bonatti and my friends use JuliaB. None of them would even know of my AskZodia address. I hesitated. I’m a hopeless non-techie person and rely on my computer for business so I’m very fearful of viruses. I clicked on the button to open the reading pane and scrolled down. A jolt of fear shot through me. The message read, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”


(affiliate link)



Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series will be re-released in October 2020.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

Social media links:

Website: http://www.conniedimarco.com

Blog: http://www.conniedimarco.com/blog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zodiacmysteries/ (Connie di Marco Author)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/askzodia

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1r4fl4U



Connie di Marco will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Heartbeats & War Drums Complete Series by Amber Savage

 


Rylen Hagan has everything he ever wanted; on the cusp of winning the Nobel Prize for Physics, the love of the woman of his dreams and a thrilling career as a Time Pilot. But in the blink of an eye he loses it all when Clarissa is snatched from him and simply erased from time.

Undaunted by the difficulties and ignoring the risks, he sets off to find her again, but is transported straight into the middle of war that is raging through the Scottish Highlands, a thousand years out of his comfort zone. As his quest drags him from the misty mountains of Scotland to the shores of the New World, Rylen notices that a rip in time threatens to destroy everything he has ever known.

As he slowly begins to fall for Bronia, the feisty daughter of the clan chief Magnahul, Rylen finds himself in danger of forgetting the real reason he is a millennia away from his time. With changes in the past now affecting the future, his desperate actions are beginning to reap what they have sown and as clans march to war there will be a heavy price to be paid.

But there is something else that is at play with the fabric of time and it is altering everything that Rylen knows, slowly and inexorably destroying his past as sure as it is destroying the future of the clans he has come to know as friends.

Is there anything he can do to change the outcome? Or has his actions started a chain reaction that will consume millions of lives?


Read an excerpt:
The man screamed in agony. He had been sworn to secrecy and was about to give his life to fulfill that oath. Magnahul, enraged by how the night had unfolded, was in no mood to play games. The raw energy of the giant was bursting at the seams. His daughter lay lifeless in the room beyond, and the king who could destroy his people was fleeing. He was not a man to be trifled with on any occasion, but today – right now, it was perilous to stand against him.



Available on Amazon

(affiliate link) 



Amber Savage still cares too much about what other people think. She is a hopeful romantic and citizen of the Earth whose vision is to inspire her readers through compelling and candid storytelling. An avid traveler who has resided in various locations all over the world, she is continually reminded of the thread that binds us all: love. (Sounds cliche, but it's so true.)


When she isn't crafting stories that showcase the wide spectrum of human emotion and experience, you can find this creative soul going on outdoor adventures, practicing yoga, or spending quality time with her loved ones (her husband, two canines, two felines, a parrot, chickens, and three horses). Infinitely dedicated to making this world a better place than when she first entered it, Amber also advocates for the prevention of cruelty to humans, animals, and mother nature.




I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books that I feel will be of interest to my readers.

The Billionaire's Birthday Blind Date (Billionaire Birthday Club) by Jo Grafford

 


It’s not easy coming up with a birthday surprise for a billionaire best friend — especially a guy she likes a little more than a best friend should…

But that won’t keep Eloise Cantona from trying. After enjoying the Billionaire Birthday Club’s exclusive birthday experience with her brother, Roman, she’s determined to recreate some of that magic for her best friend, Elon. He seriously works too hard managing his family’s golf resort empire. Don’t CEOs deserve a break, too? Unfortunately, Elon is so tight-lipped about his bucket list that she hardly knows where to begin. She ultimately decides to surprise him with a blind date.

Elon Carnegie has been wanting to ask Eloise on a date for a long time, but he is reluctant to risk a lifelong friendship if things don’t work out between them. When she surprises him with her ridiculous birthday gift of a blind date, however, he decides he’s done waiting for the right time and place to reveal his true feelings for her. So what if she thinks she already has the perfect weekend planned for him? He has one goal in mind — to spend every second of his birthday trying to win her heart!

Read an excerpt:
“Our friendship means everything to me.” So much so, that the idea of losing him for good brought her close to tears. 
After a pause, Elon folded his arms. His normally empathetic expression was unreadable.\ 
“Prove it." 
“Prove what?” she asked helplessly, half expecting him to break into a laugh and tell her this was all some sort of joke. He’d always been a bit of a prankster. She glanced around them at the crowded cafe. It was a popular lunchtime dive. The tables were jammed with patrons. Not an empty chair was in sight. 
“That our friendship still means something to you." 
“How?” She reached for her glass of tea to get rid of the sudden dryness in her throat. 
“That’s for you to figure out, sugar.” A ghost of a smile tugged at his mouth, though it didn’t reach his eyes. “I have a birthday coming up. How about you surprise me?”


Available on Amazon

(affiliate link)

 Find more of Jo Grafford's books here.



Jo is an Amazon bestselling author of sweet and inspirational romance stories with humor, heart, and happily-ever-afters.

Readers can connect with her in Cuppa Jo Readers on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders and Bookbub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jo-grafford. To join her New Release Email List, visit JoGrafford.com.




I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books I feel will be of interest to my readers.

Read an excerpt from Her Billionaire Best Friend (The Black Tie Billionaires) by Jo Grafford

 


It’s not easy for an undercover agent to be just friends with the woman he’d much rather be dating.

Titus Rand is sent to Anchorage by a top-secret organization to investigate Genesis & Sons. He goes undercover as the head of his own security firm to serve as a bodyguard — which makes his path cross again and again with Jolene Shore, a lovely nurse on their payroll. Unfortunately, his line of work leaves no time for dating.

His plan to keep his emotional distance from her falls apart when he's asked to guard the newest ward of the Maddox clan, a long-lost brother who requires constant medical attention. Though he knows it’s best to keep his relationship with Nurse Jolene firmly in the friend category, it’s getting harder each day to ignore what his heart wants.


Read an excerpt:

In exactly seven minutes and thirty-two seconds, I’m going to be on a lunch date with the hottest nurse on the planet! 
Titus Rand glanced at his watch, hardly believing his luck. After months of dodging a powerful attraction to the tall, athletic-looking ICU nurse supervisor, he’d finally given in to the temptation to ask her to lunch. And she’d said yes! 
Getting close to her wasn’t advisable on any level. Every instinct of his was waving a red flag of caution. But for once, he planned to ignore his better judgment. In his line of business, he’d learned that sometimes a person only had a narrow window of opportunity to accomplish a particular goal. Usually, those narrow windows involved bringing dangerous criminals to justice. 
Today, that narrow window involved letting his guard down a fraction to allow himself the luxury of a single lunch date. He was pretty sure the attraction was mutual. Or so he hoped. And daydreamed about. And at other times prayed it was nothing more than wishful thinking on his part, because he’d rather take a bullet than hurt Jolene. 
Which he inevitably would do if he allowed her to get too close to him — something he was choosing not to think about at the moment.


 Available on Amazon

(affiliate link)




Jo is an Amazon bestselling author of sweet and inspirational romance stories with humor, heart, and happily-ever-afters.

Readers can connect with her in Cuppa Jo Readers on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/CuppaJoReaders and Bookbub at https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jo-grafford. To join her New Release Email List, visit JoGrafford.com.




I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books I feel will be of interest to my readers.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child Vol II by RW Reels


'Tis the season for paranormal thrillers. So check out an excerpt from The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child Vol. II by RW Reels before you download your own copy. Be sure to follow the tour for even more! Let the author know what you think in the comments area. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



The Trey Parker Story II: Case of the Lost Child, the second novel in this paranormal thriller series, will make readers keenly aware of the unseen world around them. After hiding away in a small farm town in the Philippines, Trey Parker is compelled to return to the States to assist Detective Landis in finding a lost child. Trey’s wife, Iris, fears that the secret government agency that monitored Trey since his Near-Death Experience and took the lives of the tenants of the Sundance Apartments will be waiting for him upon his arrival. Iris believes Trey leaving so close to her due date is reckless and that he is oblivious to the perils.

Back in Tacoma, Washington, Detective Landis is still unable to cope with the loss of his daughter and his ex-wife Jada, even as the Detective struggles with a new relationship. Landis’s past is not so easy to escape, as Thomas Barstow attains parole and looks for the opportunity to settle the score that can only be resolved through bloodshed.

The lives and souls of all hang in the balance and divine intervention may be only the solution.

Read an excerpt:
“I don’t think you can understand how it feels. Having a miscarriage is not the same as losing an eight-year-old child…”


Available on Amazon 

(affiliate link)


My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother's childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.

As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.

Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people's faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.

My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other passions of mine include playing chess, photography, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life's privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.

When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.

Twitter: @RReels


RW Reels will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Review of Middle Ageish by Shirley Goldberg

 


Dating again in middle age? It's not for the faint of heart. And it can get very interesting. Check out an excerpt and my thoughts on Middle Ageish by Shirley Goldberg. Be sure to leave questions and comments for the author as you follow the rest of the tour. And best of luck entering the giveaway at the end!



Sunny Chanel's marriage is circling the drain when her husband marks his colonoscopy on the calendar and ignores their anniversary. With divorce papers instead of roses on the horizon, she says "au revoir" Paris and croissants, and "hello" cheap New Haven apartment and ramen noodles.

With the encouragement of her friends, Sunny jumps into online dating, twenty-three years and twenty pounds after her last date. To her surprise she discovers dating might require a helmet, and occasionally armor to protect her heart, but after years of being ignored, her adventurous side craves fun and conversation. She’s middle-aged not dead. Then suddenly, on the way to reinventing herself, life takes a left turn when the one man she can't forget calls with an unexpected request.


Read an excerpt:
Of course, my goodbye party was at Chez Lulu in the Latin Quarter, Paris’ most Bohemian arrondissment. Lulu’s has that Fifties diner look—clean, spare and edgy like an Edward Hopper painting minus the feeling of isolation. It’s always packed, and the music is Buddy Holly, early Elvis, Patsy Cline, the Everly Brothers—a mix of rock and roll and country.

“Dinner’s here,” announced Dulcie, waving her beer glass before taking a long pull. “Everyone let them through!”

“Hey, ain’t this a swell party?” said Bertrand, arriving at our noisy table with an armload of gourmet burgers. “Who’s got the Marilyn Monroe with Mickey Mantles?”

Have I mentioned all the waiters are imitation James Deans, white T-shirts and jeans with rolled cuffs? Bertrand and Albert—they both speak perfect, slangy English—are our favorites. Bertrand is flirty in a sweet way and working his way through the Institute d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

“And the Robert Mitchum with Buddy Holly fries?” Lulu’s boasts seven varieties of American fries, named for baseball players, or French and American pop stars.

“Two Jane Russells with Joe DiMaggio fries?” Albert, at Lulu’s between acting jobs, shouted, and everyone quieted for a moment, shuffling plates and passing them across the table. Movie star burgers with caramelized onions on miniature baguette buns. My mouth was so ready.

My going-away party...and I am not going to cry.

Next to me, Natalie held out The Middle-Aged Idiot’s Guide to Online Dating. “For when you start dating,” she yelled over the roar that is Lulu’s.

“Like dating is on my list of things to do?” I said around my burger. “Below sticking a rusty fork in my eye.”

Book Links:
 
**My thoughts**
Oh dear God, the dating pool can be absolutely miserable, especially once you've reached a certain age. I'm not quite to Sunny's age yet, but I'm getting close enough that I can feel her pain. It's hard enough to find dates as it is, let alone trying the online thing. Plus she has just moved across the world, back to the USA, before her divorce is anywhere near finalized. She is literally starting her life all over again. And I admire her for doing so, because that could not have been easy.

I felt her annoyance at her friends as they shoved her into the online dating world. I hate it when people mess with my love life, even if they are well-meaning. Although, the 25 date challenge is intriguing. And then some of the dates that she ends up going on? Oy. Some of them seem absolutely ridiculous, but I can promise you that a lot of these simply have to be based in reality, because it really can be like that out there. And even if they are embellished, that's part of what makes this such a fun read. 

Younger women may not necessarily relate as well to this one, and that's okay. Those of us who are getting older need a book that we can better appreciate! Then again, those dating stories...If you're dating, I think you will feel her pain. And if you're lucky enough to still be married, you'll be counting your blessings!

So hop on for a wild ride and be prepared to snort out loud at some points. Thank you to the author and to Goddess Fish Promotions for providing me with a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 




Shirley Goldberg is a writer, novelist, and former ESL and French teacher who’s lived in Paris, Crete, and Casablanca. She writes about men and women of a certain age starting over. Her website http://midagedating.com offers a humorous look into dating in midlife, and her friends like to guess which stories are true.

Middle Ageish is her first book in the series Starting Over. Her character believes you should never leave home without your sense of humor and Shirley agrees.


https://sixtyandme.com/author/shirley-goldberg/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3916624.Shirley_Goldberg

https://www.midagedating.com/

http://www.twitter.com/mylifeasadate

https://www.facebook.com/midagedating

https://www.instagram.com/shirleygoldbergauthor/



Shirley Goldberg will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Review of Against My Better Judgment by B.T. Polcari #AJPrism

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Welcome to the book tour for Against My Better Judgment by B.T. Polcari! Today I'm sharing with you my thoughts on his quriky mystery. You can also see an interview I did with him over at Candrel's Crafts, Cooks, and Characters. Be sure to also check out the rest of the tour for even more! And best of luck entering the giveaway!



Against My Better Judgment
(Mauzzy and Me Mystery, #1)
By B.T. Polcari
New Adult Contemporary Mystery, Romantic Comedy
Paperback & ebook, 298 Pages
September 16th 2020 by The Wild Rose Press

When freshman year at the University of Alabama draws to a close, Sara Donovan finds herself grappling with the same old question—listen to her head or follow her heart. What she ends up doing is purchasing an Egyptian souvenir funerary mask, and after a mysterious phone call, she's certain a ring of antiquities smugglers are operating in Tuscaloosa.

With finals never far from her mind and her return to 'Bama hanging in the balance, she should be studying. Instead she launches her own investigation to prove her mask is indeed a stolen artifact, and not a cheap trinket. When it comes time to snoop, Sara is more than ready, or at least she was until a hot new teaching assistant moves in next door.

Suddenly she learns things are never as they seem. Ever.


(Affiliate links included.)
 

**My thoughts**
This is one of the quirkiest groups of characters I have read in a long time! Sara is a total disaster area, highly OCD with her safety rituals (although I can understand her germ phobia, especially right now), often sticking her foot in her mouth, and just plain old clumsy. I felt a sort of kinship with her because of all of that. She's also very smart with a keen interest in Egyptology, something I don't often come across in books these days.

One of her usual little mishaps gets her embroiled in a smuggling mystery, conveniently also the topic of her semester project for one of her classes. As she works to uncover what is happening around her, she encounters a group of people who are just as quirky as she is. You're not sure what to think during her interactions with some of these people. And you find yourself getting just as suspicious of them as she does. 

And then there is her dog Mauzzy, who has a quirky personality all of his own, and is also her right-hand man, so to speak. I got a kick out of reading Sara's "conversations" with her dog.

Sara also seems a lot older than her 19 years. I kept picturing her as a grad student perhaps in her early to mid-20s. It's not that many years' difference, I know, but she just seemed more advanced than her years. It will be interesting to see how she continues to age and mature.

I admit that as a B1G fan, I had slight twitches every time I had to read "Roll Tide!" lol. But I forgive the author for that. :) I do appreciate the support for one's school!

So if you're into quirky characters and Egyptian history, this is a book you may want to check out!

Thank you to the author and Prism Book Tours for fulfilling my review request. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


About the Author


Ever wonder what retired business executives do after they have put in years of effort for society and decide it is time to hang up their hat? Perhaps strolling along the country club’s fairway, or lounging on a 50-foot yacht?

Alas, B. T. Polcari is unlike your typical retired executive. Empty nester and Scarlett Knights alum, Polcari is still learning the meaning of “retired” while feverishly typing away on the next new book idea, smashing the fuzz off the little green tennis ball, or blasting bowling pins for a perfect game. Yes there is a boat, but not one that comes with its own crew; this retiree prefers to bustle along a serene lake in a quaint single seat Sunfish sailboat.

Perhaps the only time BTP can be found in a quiet moment is while enjoying the morning company of two family dachshunds over a newspaper and cup of coffee. B. T. Polcari currently resides in Chattanooga, TN and is thrilled to be fulfilling a childhood dream of becoming a published author.


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