Sunday, May 15, 2022

Review of The Bridgerton Collection Volume 1 by Julia Quinn

 


An enchanting collection containing the first three novels in New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn’s beloved Bridgerton series set in Regency England—The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and An Offer from a Gentleman—now a series created by Shondaland for Netflix.


The Duke and I
When Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, agree to a fake courtship, they think they’ve found the perfect solution to their problems. Romantically associated with one of London’s most desirable catches, Daphne’s prospects among the ton will soar. For avowed bachelor Simon, an attachment to Daphne will deter would-be brides and their ambitious mamas. Their plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule. . .

The Viscount Who Loved Me
London's most elusive bachelor, Anthony Bridgerton is determined to wed. But one obstacle stands in his way—his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield, who is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal. Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands, and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. She’s determined to protect her sister—even as she fears she may not be able to resist the reprehensible and oh so desirable rake herself . . .

An Offer from a Gentleman
Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball—or that she would be spinning in the arms of her "Prince Charming"—the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton. But when the clock strikes midnight, Sophie’s enchanting evening ends. Since that night Benedict has been able to think of nothing but the bewitching young woman, and he’s sworn to find and wed his mystery miss. Yet will another unexpectedly steal his heart—and his chance for a fairy tale love?

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Santa Cruz (Tales of the Derry Plague: Two) by Ray Anselmo


 

Dr. Eric Bayo thought he’d just be finishing a summer class that August. Now, he’s expected to save a whole city.

Half-Irish half-Senegalese Dr. Bayo is teaching a class at the University of California, Santa Cruz when his students start dropping like flies – one falling dead right in front of him. A mysterious plague is spreading rapidly and wiping out most of humanity. With emergency services stretched beyond capacity and disappearing as well, there’s nowhere to go for assistance, no way to reach his family, no one whose lead he can follow.

In fact, the few survivors start looking to him for leadership! Eric doesn’t feel qualified to lead anyone, but … well, someone has to step up. Soon, he’s doing his best to fumble through crisis after crisis: where will food come from, how to keep the electricity and water flowing, what to do as the crowd of people depending on him grows, and grows, and grows. And not everyone likes what he’s doing or how he’s doing it – or is willing to go along.

As he seeks out help, puts people to work, feeds and houses them, and tries to build community out of chaos, all under the shadow of countless deaths, can Eric bring safety and civilization back to SANTA CRUZ?


Available on Amazon
(affiliate link included)



Ray Anselmo is a California native currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. SANTA CRUZ is his 29th book and fifth post-apocalyptic story.

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/ray.anselmo
https://www.facebook.com/Million.Dreams.Press










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

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Big Shot by Kirsten Weiss


 

Kirsten Weiss is back with one of her fun cozy mysteries! Check out an excerpt from Big Shot and then follow the tour for more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



Small Town. Big Murder.

The number one secret to my success as a bodyguard? Staying under the radar. But when a wildly public disaster and a dead client blew up my career and reputation, it turned my perfect, solo life upside down.

I thought my tiny hometown of Nowhere would be the ideal out-of-the-way refuge to wait out the media storm.

It wasn’t.

My little brother had moved into a treehouse. The obscure mountain town had decided to attract tourists with the world’s largest collection of big things... Yes, Nowhere now has the world’s largest pizza cutter. And lawn flamingo. And ball of yarn...

And then I stumbled over a dead body.

All the evidence points to my brother being the bad guy. I may have been out of his life for a while—okay, five years—but I know he’s no killer. Can I clear my brother before he becomes Nowhere’s next Big Fatality?

A fast-paced and funny cozy mystery series, buy Big Shot now to take advantage of the special pre-order price of .99 cents.

Murder mystery game included in the back of the book!


Read an excerpt:
I crossed to the oversized corkscrew and passed what had to be the world’s tiniest apothecary shop. At the giant coffee pot, I crossed the street to the park where I’d once played. I made a game of racing around the enormous, metal mushrooms.

Jogging across Main Street to the cannery, I slowed at the world’s biggest can of peas. My thudding heartbeat turned heavy.

A man in a simple gray wool coat lay sprawled against the giant green-and-white can, and my heart turned leaden. So Nowhere had homeless people too.

I hesitated before walking toward him. The temp had dropped pretty low last night. And he had no blanket. I didn’t want to wake a sleeping man, especially one who might be under the influence. And he’d have to be on something to curl up against the can like a dragon around its treasure.

Then I saw the knife . I stopped short and sucked in my breath.

He wasn’t a homeless man.

He wasn’t sleeping.

He was dead.


Buy links:
(affiliate link)


Kirsten Weiss writes laugh-out-loud, page-turning mysteries. Her heroines aren’t perfect, but they’re smart, they struggle, and they succeed. Kirsten writes in a house high on a hill in the Colorado woods and occasionally ventures out for wine and chocolate. Or for a visit to the local pie shop.

Kirsten is best known for her Wits’ End, Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum, and Tea & Tarot cozy mystery books. So if you like funny, action-packed mysteries with complicated heroines, just turn the page…

Links:

Website: https://kirstenweiss.com

Pre-order Swag for Big Shot with FREE Mystery Role-Playing Game: https://www.kirstenweiss.com/big-shot-pre-order-extras

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirsten.weiss/

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



Kirsten Weiss will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The Litter by Kevin R. Doyle

 


I just realized it's been a while since we've had a good horror book featured here! So please welcome back author Kevin R. Doyle and enjoy this excerpt from The Litter! And then follow the tour for more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



They kept to the shadows so no one would know they existed, and preyed on the nameless who no one would miss. Where did they come from, and who was protecting them? In a city that had seen every kind of savagery, they were something new, something more than murderous. And one woman, who had thought she had lost everything there was to lose in life, would soon find that nothing could possibly prepare her for what would come when she entered their world.


Read an excerpt:

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Pam said.

“Still think it was a dog?” her partner asked.

“What else could it have been? It doesn’t take the ME over there to know that this guy’s been all chewed up.”

“What I’m getting at is it may not have been a single animal.”

“Come again? Are you thinking of a pack or something?”

“Well,” Gonzales said, “just looking at it . . .” He waved his arm in the direction of the mess on the pavement.

“That’s insane, Enrico. Who the hell ever heard of a pack of dogs attacking people in the middle of a city?”

“You ever hear of one dog doing anything that even remotely looks like that?”

“What about rats?” she asked the older cop, fearful he would laugh in her face.

“I actually thought of that myself for a moment there. It’s not the most far-fetched of possibilities.”

“No?”

“Not at all. Once, I saw what was left of an old wino eaten by rats, back when I’d been on the force not much longer than you have. But that was a guy who’d crawled under the porch of a house, probably trying to escape the weather. Besides, long ago as it’s been, from what I remember, that body didn’t look anything like this.”

“No, huh?”

“Not really, no. It looked more like he’d been nibbled on till he was worn down to practically nothing.”

Pam pointed towards the corpse.

“That’s not a bunch of nibbles,” she said.


Buy Links

Amazon * BN

(affiliate links included throughout)

On sale for $0.99! 



A high-school teacher, former college instructor, and fiction writer, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of numerous short horror stories. He’s also written three crime thrillers, The Group, When You Have to Go There, and And the Devil Walks Away, and one horror novel, The Litter. In the last few years, he’s begun working on the Sam Quinton private eye series, published by Camel Press. The first Quinton book, Squatter’s Rights, was nominated for the 2021 Shamus award for Best First PI Novel. The second book, Heel Turn, was released in March of 2021, while the third in the series, Double Frame, came out in March of 2022. 

Links: 






Kevin R. Doyle will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner, and a second drawing for a free e-Book copy of the book, via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Daughter of Light (Daughters of Myth #2) by Eileen Dreyer

 


It's a rerelease of a paranormal romance. Check out an excerpt from Daughter of Light by Eileen Dreyer! (This cover is gorgeous!) Be sure to check out the rest of the tour after you download your copy. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



He’s had enough…

Harry Wyatt, Earl of Hartley has enough problems trying to keep his estate solvent. What he does not need is yet another lost child showing up on his land looking for the Hartley Fairy Diamond made famous by a recent film. A fairy diamond that is no more than myth handed down by delusional ancestors and responsible for the perilous state of his finances. And yet there is something about this latest visitor, something beside her delicate beauty and troubling familiarity. Something that is compelling him to go against everything he believes to help her. To want her.


She’s on a quest…

Sorcha, daughter of Mab Queen of Fairies is on a quest. Dropped into a cold, alien world, it is her task to recover the great fairy stone that has been lost to the land of mortals, a stone whose absence has upended the balance of nature. If she doesn’t get the stone back, spring will not come. But there is a handsome mortal standing in her way. A mortal she is drawn to like no other man, fairy or mortal. A mortal who claims he doesn’t believe in her, but whose memories and fears say otherwise. A mortal with green fairy eyes. A mortal she could love, if only he weren’t mortal and she fairy.


Note: This title was previously published as Dark Seduction



Read an excerpt:
Somewhere in the town, a clock struck the hour, bonging dolefully. Harry felt each strike in his chest, counting down the time they had left. He saw the realization dawn in Sorcha’s eyes, as well. God, he wanted to keep talking, nestled together like an old married couple on a Saturday morning, unhurried and easy. He wanted to just keep holding her, here, where no one could find them. He wanted more time.

“We don’t have it, Harry,” she said, as if hearing him. “We had this, though. It will keep me, I promise. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect memory. A more gentle or considerate lover.”

“I didn’t have any violent thoughts,” he mused, surprised that he hadn’t even worried about it before now.

Sorcha didn’t move. “I’ll tell the bean tighe thank you for you.”

“That’s all it took? Some herbs?”

“A temporary measure, Harry. We have to think about getting the rest of this day done.”

For a second all he could do was hold her as tightly as he could. Damn, where had those tears come from again? Harry Wyatt never wept. Not when his parents died, not when he’d realized what kind of condition they’d left his world in. Not when his gran had lost her legs, or he’d lost his chance to spend his days wandering the moors and glens he loved so much.

“We’ll get the day done,” he said. “I have some food coming up first. You need some nourishment.”

She actually chuckled. “Sure, after the exercise I’ve just had, I should think so.”

“Will I ever see you again after this?”

She went very still. He kept his hold on her, wrapping himself around her so that he could stay skin to skin with her, as if that would imprint her on his memory any better.

“Do you think it wise?” she asked. “Since I can’t stay and you can’t go?”

He closed his eyes and pulled her head to his chest. And for a long while he just inhaled her, cinnamon and honey and wildflowers. He satisfied himself with the silk of her body in his arms. He pretended they had all the time in the world.


(Affiliate link included)


New York Times bestselling author and RWA Hall of Fame member Eileen Dreyer and her evil twin Kathleen Korbel have published over forty novels and novellas, and ten short stories in genres ranging from medical suspense to paranormal to romance. She is thrilled to have joined Oliver Heber Books to continue her Drake’s Rakes series about Regency aristocrats who are willing to sacrifice everything to keep their country safe, of which Ill Met by Moonlight is a near relative.

A former trauma nurse, Eileen lives in St. Louis with her husband, children and large and noisy Irish family, of which she is the reluctant matriarch. A seasoned conference speaker, Dreyer travels to research, and uses research as an excuse to travel. Oh, who's she kidding? She doesn't need an excuse. She has the Irish wanderlust and satisfies it as often as she can to the point that she has sung traditional Irish music on four continents. She also had the incredible chance to research Drake’s Rakes by attending the 200th anniversary of not only the Battle of Waterloo, but the Duchess of Richmond ball (in period attire). She has animals, but refuses to subject them to the limelight.

www.eileendreyer.com

https://www.facebook.com/EileenDreyer


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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 2, 2022

So Who's More American? by Esmond "Mundo" Morfaw

 


America, the great land of freedom and hope. For centuries this country has offered men and women from around the world a chance to start over and make a new life for themselves. Generations later, their children and grandchildren call America home, but does that make them true Americans? Is there even such a thing as a true American?

Author Esmond “Mundo” Morfaw explores the longstanding question of what defines an American and who is in true ownership of this bountiful nation. As a man of Cameroonian descent who was born in Italy and now calls the United States home, Mundo has a unique perspective of what it means to acclimate to living in this country.

From the first Americans to the newest citizens, Mundo explores controversial issues in relation to racial and cultural themes that have affected all immigrants, including himself.


(affiliate link included)


Mundo was born on June 24th, 1988 in Rome, Italy. He is an Italian born American of Cameroonian origin. He lived in Rome for 7yrs and moved to Bamenda, Cameroon where he grew up for 14 years. During that time, he came to learn several core fundamental values and develop a great appreciation and critical understanding of the simple things that really mattered in life, being surrounded by an environment very different from the one he came up through, in Europe. His father was a UN Diplomat, and his mother a Philosophy Professor, both of whom greatly shaped him into being an independent thinker and critical observer. His early introduction into his mother’s huge personal library, that contained works by some of history’s greatest philosophers, would open his mind and deepen his perception of almost everything around him.

An actor, singer-songwriter and rapper himself, he grew up having to overcome immense adversity as the arts entertainment were regarded as inferior and were simply not very financially rewarding in the 90s and early 2000s in Africa. By 2008, not only had he already been in Law school for 2 years, he had already started an unending path towards being a self-taught psychologist and philosopher. In 2010 he moved to the U.S. where he would pursue an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. In 2017 he enlisted into the U.S. Army as an Infantryman where he served for three years, stationed in Fort Drum, New York with the 10th Mountain Division. He deployed with his unit in 2018 to the Middle East and upon return, he was incessantly dedicated to all aspects of his life, be it family, military service, music, film or writing. In August of 2021 he was honorably discharged from military service and he now resides in California where he's fully dedicated to the several aspects of the entertainment industry and Entrepreneurship.





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

Review of An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons #3) by Julia Quinn

 


BENEDICT’S STORY

Sophie Beckett never dreamed she’d be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton’s famed masquerade ball—or that “Prince Charming” would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps, this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid’s garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers her his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy-tale love?


(affiliate link included)



**My thoughts**
I didn't like this one nearly as much as I liked the first two books. Benedict really disappointed me with his forceful insistence that Sophie be his mistress. This after such a magical first encounter! I mean, I knew it was going to take some time for true identities to be revealed. But his behavior was reprehensible no matter who he thought she was. Kind of a misfire on the intended Cinderella thing.

And yet I was still engrossed and zipped through it in one afternoon, looking for the redemption in Benedict that does eventually come. And it was fun seeing the other couples pop in. I still look forward to more from this family.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Review of The Rancher's Wyoming Twins by Virginia McCullough

On Tour with Prism Book Tours


I always enjoy reading Virginia McCullough's books, and this starter to a new series is no exception! Find out more about it and read my review. Best of luck in the giveaway!


The Rancher's Wyoming Twins
(Back to Adelaide Creek #1)
By Virginia McCullough
Clean Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
March 29, 2022 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Her worst enemy...
Could bring her heart home

Heather Stanhope wants to despise the man who now owns the ranch her family lost. But Matt Burton is raising his late sister’s adorable twins, loves horses, and is known for his loyalty and honesty. Sneaking into Adelaide Creek for her friend’s wedding, Heather hopes to avoid Matt, but fate and family have them crossing paths. Heather knows falling for Matt means risking her heart, but it’s a risk she can’t resist.


(Affiliate links included.)



**My thoughts**
Heather is one of the first heroines I've related to so well in a while. She has left the town where she grew up because her parents' business finally failed and her home was sold. She feels like she has nothing left there. Except she did come back for best friend's wedding and is now facing the man who bought her family land. (My childhood home was also at my parents' business. And when they decided it was time to let it go, we moved out of town. It's still strange to go back to see it and when you see people who remember your family name, though it's fading years later and your parents are gone.)

The biggest difference, I guess, is it wasn't an attractive man raising his twin niece and nephew who took over my family land. So that's where our similarities diverge. I kind of like her version a bit better. I think I would have preferred someone like Matt taking over. He's handsome and kind and determined.

I wasn't surprise that Heather started to feel a pull back to her roots, especially when she realized how much her hometown actually misses her. Connecting with Matt and his family is just icing on the cake. I understand her conflict in deciding to change up her career a bit and having to say goodbye to children you once worked with and so much more. But there is also something about being in the town that your family did so much to shape and reengaging with your family history.

So for me, this book was just much about Heather's growth as it was the sweet romance slowly blossoming between her and Matt. It's a story of lasting friendship, acknowledging family history and your roots, and learning how to let go and move on. I appreciated these multiple layers and look forward to revisiting this town again!

I received a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 
About the Author


Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.


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Ends May 4, 2022

 
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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Review of The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons #2) by Julia Quinn

 


ANTHONY’S STORY

This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London’s most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...


Book Links
(affiliate links included in post)

Also available as part of the first box set on Amazon.


**My thoughts**
The weekend before the second season dropped on Netflix, I binged the entire first box set of Bridgerton books, including this one. This is the book upon which the second season is based. I think this one is my favorite of those first three. (Actually, I have read the first six and this one is still my favorite.) 

The banter between Anthony and Kate and all of their little scrapes had me literally laughing out loud. I also love Kate's dog. And how does one secure an invite to play Pall Mall with the Bridgerton family? 

I am pretty sure I will read this one again. 4.5 out of 5 stars for me.

Delectable by Emily Robertson Release Blitz

 

Title: Delectable
Author: Emily Robertson
Genre: New Adult Romance
Cover Designer: Indie Sage
Publication Date: April 28th, 2022
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR



Jace Callahan had to be going through a midlife crisis. Sure he was about twelve years too soon, but it seemed to be the only explanation for the state of matters. Fresh out of a divorce, the only bit of advice his folks gave him had been to stick it out. Not listening had led him to his best friend’s restaurant and the pity job Travis found for him to do. Now Jace was parenting solo on the weekends in a place he wasn’t even fond of just to get away from all the drama.

Beth Rollins wasn’t your typical twenty-four-year-old. Growing up with super conservative parents made her naïve, and when they disowned her for not thinking the same, her life changed real fast. Things weren’t flowers and sunshine all the time, but after landing a dream job, Beth thought perhaps things were finally going her way. Running into Jace reminded her she wasn’t allowed to have nice things.

When Jace and Beth’s worlds are thrown together again, only one of them remember their past connection. Having already shed her former self, Beth is in no hurry to remind Jace of their history. Perhaps he’ll see her for the woman she is and not the girl they all made fun of in high school. What’s the worst that could go wrong anyway? It’s not like guys like him stuck around long term with girls like her.



(affiliate links included)






USA Today Bestselling author Emily Robertson’s creativity started early in life on stage. Now instead of theatre, she spends her time creating worlds on the page for others to enjoy. As an avid reader, she enjoys reading New Adult and Contemporary Romance as much as she does writing them. When her dog isn’t keeping her company in her office, she might be anywhere. She’s recently learned all about baseball when her son took up the sport, playing mom taxi for one of the many activities that’s going on, or binging on some reality TV show she can’t get enough of.

 

If you want to stay up to date with everything going on, make sure to check out her webpage or sign up for her newsletter.

 

Author Links:

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Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter | BookBub



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Faded (Starbound #2) by Greg Wilkey & K.L. Bone Release Blitz

Title: Faded (Starbound Book 2)
Author: K.L. Bone & Greg Wilkey
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy Romance
Cover Designer: Indigo Chick Designs
Editor: Skyla Dawn Cameron
Publication Date: April 28th, 2022
Hosted by: Lady Amber's PR



Stars dim, darkness rises, starlight shines anew.

***

Heartbroken after the events of Fallen, Rosalind returns to Oxford, unaware of the dangers which stalk her. Cloaked in shadows, secrets hidden in her unrelenting dreams hint at a perilous destiny to come.

Haunted by the same nightmares—and determined to reclaim Rosalind’s heart—Zeke embarks on his own journey to England. But the journey is rampant with danger as those who serve the fallen are determined to keep them apart at any cost. And Zeke is not the only one vying for Rosalind’s hand.

Meanwhile, Ursula continues to unfold her sinister plot, one which may see darkness conquer all.


(affiliate links included)





K.L. Bone is a USA Today bestselling author of dark fantasy and paranormal romance. Her works include the bestselling Black Rose Guard dark fantasy series. The bestselling Flames of Kalleen paranormal romance series. The Rise of the Temple Gods fantasy series. And a stand-alone science fiction novel, The Indoctrination and numerous novellas.

Bone has a Master’s degree in modern literary cultures and is working toward her PhD in creative writing. She wrote her first short story at the age of fifteen and grew up with an equally great love of both classical literature and speculative fiction. Bone has spent the last few years as a bit of a world traveler, living in California, London, and most recently, Belfast. When not immersed in words, of her own creation or studies, you’ll find her traveling to mythical sites that have inspired storytellers for generations.

 

Author Links:

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Greg Wilkey is an author and professional public school educator. He is the creator and writer of two series of supernatural thrillers for young adults: The Life and Undeath of Mortimer Drake vampire novels and The Neither Nor series starring his young hero, Edgar Flax.

Wilkey developed a love of stories and adventure at an early age and has always loved to read and write. He graduated from college with a degree in foreign language education and began a career in teaching world languages. He spent 15 years as a classroom teacher of Spanish until moving into school administration. He is currently an elementary school principal. It's a job he absolutely loves. Kids and teachers are his favorite people!

Wilkey lives and works in lovely Chattanooga where he’s the proud pet parent of two wonderfully spoiled felines, Mona and Mina.

 

Author Links:

WebsiteFacebookReader Group

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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Witchslayers Scion by L.T. Getty

 


Fantasy fans, check out this excerpt from Witchslayer's Scion by L.T. Getty and then learn how the author creates her characters' many layers. Download your copy and then follow the tour for more. Best of luck entering the giveaway!



Koth’s life was decided for him since before he was born, for his ability to heal wounds by touch is rare even among his people. When an attempted kidnapping turns to sacrificial murder, he embraces vengeance and the sword. As he journeys far from his small isolated village in the north, he learns the truth as to why his bloodline is targeted by strange magic, in a world still rebuilding from a time when dark sorcerers didn’t bother with secrecy.

Koth thinks his quest is straightforward enough--find the men responsible, and kill them--and any who aid them. He will soon learn that those who have both privilege and power, there are few things they lack--and in the pursuit of godhood, their allies can prove even more sinister as mere mortals seek to advent empires and dynasties.


Read an excerpt:

“Something’s wrong,” Una said. “Koth, wait here.”

“Why?” If there was a problem, she should be waiting outside for him.

He sensed inside, his aunt’s thoughts remained hidden from him. Una shouted, and he ran inside the building. He thought there were lights on inside, but he saw no candles.

The tea house was very dark, and he felt a sudden dread—he wanted to leave. Baro barked from the outside. ~Una!~ he thought, before something hit his neck.

He knew at once it was a poison dart, and ripping it out he tried to smell what it was. Seeing metal reflect moonlight and he moved his hand, his skin cut. Moving instinctively out of the way, his next reaction was to purge the toxin that coursed through his body and tried to understand the wound. It was mostly his forearm, deep but he could still use it, the bone unaffected. He’d do a better healing later. He focused on something not unlike a burn before going for the knife at his hip. Striking 85 in the next liquid motion, Koth realized he was attacking his aunt.

She grabbed onto his injured flesh and seared it, destroying, weakening the sinew and the cartilage and causing it to age and die, following up the bloodstream, to find the heart and kill. Koth tried to brace; he couldn’t heal and keep her at bay. He was physically stronger and much heavier, but she was weakening his muscles. He tried to wrench the knife from her.

He knocked the blade to the ground then tried to lock minds with her to find nothing short of blinding pain take him over, wrestling him to the ground and making him drop his knife. She took the dagger and when he tried to force himself up, a familiar sense washed over him. Magic, but not coming from Una.

“Do not kill him yet,” Yeshbel said, “we will bleed him first.”


Book Links:
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Character Creation – Peeling back Layers to Their Motivation

Writer’s Guides often talk about knowing your character inside and out, and I don’t disagree. But instead of knowing how they’d react, we need to give them something that allows the reader to empathize or at least understand their motivations.

I’m not talking about ‘rescue the princess’ or ‘save the kingdom’. A noble character like Superman might go about saving the world in a different way than a more broody character like Batman, even if we were to give Batman Superman’s powers for the time necessary to tell the story. The question I ask myself is, how is this character going about that same plot differently, and why should the audience care? Or, if I were to switch out leads, how would the story differ?

For instance, in my first novel Tower of Obsidian Kale is a traditional hero figure, but he’s also a bit of a people pleaser. He’s betrayed by his Lord’s men, but keeps wearing his honor about him, doing what is right or at least what would be expected of him.

Koth from Witchslayer’s Scion is very different. He’s dissatisfied with his lot in life, preferring to hunt as opposed to heal, and sets out on a path of revenge after his brother’s murder.

If I were to switch their plots, I’d imagine that Kale wouldn’t take up the mantle out of revenge. He’d be aware of the quest before him, and set out to ‘smite the evil that is in the lands’. If Koth was betrayed by his Lord’s men and captured, once his captors become prisoners like him I’d imagine he’d not be too kind to any of the men who were responsible for his predicament. Now I’m imagining Koth going to the tower and thinking becoming part of the tower as being Cursed with Awesome.

When I create a character I’m usually starting out with them fulfilling a role. I try to get in their headspace because how a character reacts to a situation determines the tone and course of the plot. You may think this is as simple as, “The plot demands that they go to an Inn. Kale would pick a nice one, Koth would pick a seedy one.” That’s a launching point. The plot may require both men to sneak in, but given what little I’ve established for readers who aren’t familiar with either character, Kale might be worried that someone saw him going into a house of ill-repute, whereas Koth just needs somewhere to lie low, and maybe he can win some money at dice while he’s there (he won’t).

Once I start to give them a bit of a personality, the next thing I like to do is ask myself if the character is very similar to another one I’ve written. There’s nothing wrong with liking heroic figures with tragic pasts, or noble characters or whatever, but I want characters to feel like only they could fulfill that role. That isn’t to say that Koth should be the only archer or the only one who can fight mages. Koth is initially driven by his anger and his anger should have a consequence. Koth is lippy and drives other people away as opposed to letting them get close. Koth has powers that allow him to heal, but part of which also makes him take on empathy, and he’s an emotionally immature man when he sets out. There’s a reason he doesn’t want to take on other people’s emotions, he’s internalized healing as feminine and soft, but it doesn’t take long for the reader to realize that what he and Una does isn’t just instant love and repair. Now, most people in this world would kill for the kind of ability Koth takes for granted, and if he plays his cards right, he would be well-received almost anywhere, but he chooses to generally not play well in most sandboxes. That says a lot about his personality. So far, Koth fulfills the requirements of an anti-hero, but, how does he differ from other anti-heroes?

There’s a lot to Koth that makes him unlikeable and probably a little hard to take for certain readers. Koth’s motivation is revenge but really what he felt was helpless when he watched his brother die. He could do nothing to stop his brother’s death, or the death of a child that took place literally days prior to that murder. He felt trapped by his station in life and wanted an out. The out arrives, and it’s not what he wanted at all.

He spent almost a year learning to poison and tracking down one of the men responsible. By luck, he does find one of them. Because it was personal, he deviated from the calculated plan and it almost killed him.

But he deviated from the plan a second time and saved someone who needed help. At first he cursed himself because he was caught and spent months captive. But then, it turned out his actions saved the right person, who was able to help not only Koth but his aunt, and that action not only led to an alliance but a willingness to save as opposed to kill.

The second book I dive into this more. Koth begins to realize that killing Radij won’t bring Bizen back; nothing can fix that hole. He licks his wounds and now that he doesn’t let his emotions become the better of him, becomes more calculated in dealing with mages, as well as letting other people help him, and not in a “I’mma steal your rations for the greater good.” Sort of way, either.

You’d think it be less interesting when he technically became a better person but he doesn’t see the error of his ways and completely change. He’s still a lippy jerk by the end of the book, but now he’s a lippy jerk who’s become less easy to manipulate. He’s far from perfect and man he’s got issues, but it’s a realistic progression of his character and a reader who is nothing like him can understand him.

Now that we have his motivations and arc, I can start plugging the holes of character development. I give him little nuance issues and quirks, and the more time we spend with the character the more time we really get to know them. I love it when you meet a character and you’re in someone else’s perspective and you think a certain way about them, but then you finally get into that person’s motivations and headspace and you find it was a shallow interpretation of what was going on. It makes for a better reread of the material.

This is one character in the book, and Koth wears his flaws like some people wear their heart on their sleeves. I’ll compare him to another central character who I’m going to say was emotional immature.

In my kid’s book, The Mermaid and the Unicorns, Daphne’s motivation initially is to become an elemental like her best friend. What she really wants is to be the best. It’s stated outright on the second page that she ‘hated to lose to anyone’ and she’s very competitive. I gave her some positive traits (brave, loyal, competent, but a bit reckless and prone to jealousy). Not only is it not realistic to be the best at everything, always, it’s not a healthy place to be in when you’re constantly trying to project yourself as better than everyone else.

The reader can’t relate to having magical powers or being a mermaid. They can relate to a desire to be the best. They’re also more likely to sympathize with her because she’s a young teenager who grows and matures throughout the story, unlike Koth who needs two books to get there.


So how about you? What are some of your favourite characters arcs, or just in general?



About the author:

L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.

My Blog: https://ltgetty.ca/




L.T. Getty will be awarding a $25 GC, of the winner's choice, to an online bookseller to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Royal Fifth by James Peyton

 


Stolen treasure ... ruthless killers ... and more awaits you in this thriller by James Peyton. Read an excerpt from The Royal Fifth and then download your own copy. Follow the tour for more as well as bonus chances to enter the giveaway. Good luck!



The Royal Fifth: The amount of stolen treasure Conquistadors were supposed to give to the Spanish Crown.

In a world corrupted by its past, what could turn a sensitive artist into a killer?

Young Santa Fe artist, Martín Cortés, is devastated by the deaths of family members and the loss of a huge emerald that once belonged to Hernán Cortés.

Colin Glendaring, a disgraced archeologist with an insatiable passion for pre-Columbian artifacts, is responsible. Martín learns that another family descended from the Spanish Conqueror lives in Oaxaca. Rather than kill Glendaring, he heads south. He discovers an unconventional household that includes Ilhui, a beautiful young woman with a dangerous political agenda.

Martín is stunned when he learns how the family manages to live so well…then alarmed when he discovers that Glendaring is on his way to Oaxaca. Martín and Ilhui are soon accused of murder. On the run, they are betrayed, and Ilhui is kidnapped by a guerilla leader known for recreating grisly Aztec rituals.

With time running out, Martín makes a pact with a ruthless army officer and a crooked federal policeman. Will it be a deal with the devil, or can he do what has to be done to save his new family and love?

Read an excerpt:
SANTA FE IN PRESENT TIME

Three months before he approached the international bridge, Martín Cortés drove through the gates of his parents’ home in Tesuque, just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Invariably that caused something powerful to stir inside him. That particular day, as the rambling adobe came into view, what stirred inside Martín was a witch’s brew of emotions. The last time he was summoned to a business meeting by his father had been three years ago. It concerned his decision to pursue a career as an artist rather than take over the family bank. That had ended badly—for everyone.

As he turned into the driveway, Martín slowed. He scanned the wooded, thirty-acre site at the base of the piñon-covered hill and then moved his gaze to the house. His eyes traced the rounded corners of the traditional two-story adobe. Irregular roof lines dipped gradually, almost whimsically, on both sides to meandering one-story additions. The structure was pinkish-tan and looked like it had been fashioned by a sculptor, which in effect it had.

Stubby piñon trees and patches of snow dotted the edge of the gravel drive and parking area. Still cold in early March, smoke curled from one of several chimneys, caressing the bare branches of tall trees flanking the driveway. Although the sky gleamed clear and blue through the clutter of spidery branches, Martín felt like a small plane flying into a thunderhead.


Available on Amazon

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Award-winning Author James Peyton infuses his novels with stranger-than-fiction encounters and true-to-life characters based on his extensive travel and research. Realism in his plots and action comes from that background and his experience in martial arts and tactical firearms.

The Royal Fifth is based loosely on historical events surrounding the Conqueror, Hernán Cortés, brought into the present time. It will be followed by a mystery-thriller series featuring federal policeman, Artemas Salcido. Artemas is the illegitimate son of a Mexican governor and his Yaqui servant. Following his mother’s suspicious death, he was sent to be raised by the village priest. He attended Harvard on a scholarship and returned to Mexico vowing to fight corruption—only to receive his real education, where the grade is often life or death.

Website: jameswpeyton.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/216986.James_W_Peyton

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/James-W.-Peyton/e/B001K7XKJA



James Peyton will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway