Monday, 16 April 2018

Book Blog Tour: Ghosts and Exiles by Sandra Unerman...

Spellhaven is no more, but its spirits remain.


About the Book:

Tilda Gray hates Spellhaven, the city where her husband was born, even though she has never set foot in the place, and she does not believe in the magic it’s supposed to have held. Now her husband is dead, she would rather avoid any mention of the city. But her sons, Nicholas and James, have befriended Hugo, a young boy threatened by forces none of them understand. When Hugo's uncle and guardian, Stephen Cole, visits the Gray family to ask for help, Tilda agrees against her better judgement. Between them, as they search for ways to banish or at least help Hugo cope with the ghosts that are driving him mad, they seek out the dubious aid of the exiles from Spellhaven. In doing so they must face new dangers and unknown magic, unlike anything Tilda could have believed possible.

Book Details:

Print Length: 300 pages
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
ASIN: B07B24HY9Z
Genre(s): Magical Realism, Historical Fantasy

Follow the Virtual Book Tour:



Read an Exclusive Excerpt:

‘But how?’ Stephen tried not to shout. ‘They say he talks to you. Is that what he told you?’
‘He didn’t need to,’ Nicholas said.

‘It’s the other way round,’ James said. ‘Howler talks to Nick because he already knows about the ghosts.’

The room felt cold suddenly, bleak as the bare trees out in the garden. Stephen wished himself back in Chambers, insulated by the shelves of Law Reports in their leather bindings. ‘And where do you come in?’ he asked James.

‘I’m interested in Howler as a scientific study. He’s in the wrong form, of course, but one doesn’t let that interfere with anything important.’

Nicholas had resumed his silence. Stephen could not read the look on Mrs. Gray’s face but he hurried to speak before she could. ‘Then please will you explain. Has Hugo seen a ghost at the school?’

‘Wherever he goes, not just at school. They won’t leave him alone but nobody else can see them or hear them. They curse at him and make fun of him: that’s what he can’t stand.’

‘Enough!’ Mrs. Gray’s voice was not loud but sharp. ‘James, if you are making up this nonsense, I’m ashamed of you.’

James looked wounded. ‘That’s what people say to Howler whenever he tries to explain.’

‘Some people don’t believe in ghosts,’ Stephen said, ‘especially if they can’t see anything themselves.’

James stared at him. ‘Do you believe in them, sir?’

Stephen did not know how to answer. For years, the War had brought him nightmares which seemed as real and as painful as the encounters with ghosts some of his old comrades described, but he did not want to talk about that now. ‘Isn’t it what Hugo believes that matters?’

‘He’s not making it up,’ James said, ‘Nick can tell.’

The others turned to look at Nicholas, who shrugged. ‘I can sense the ghosts.’

‘Sense them how?’ Stephen asked. ‘What exactly have you seen? Or heard?’

Nicholas shrugged again.

‘I will not have this,’ Mrs. Gray said. She looked at her hands gripped in her lap and spoke more to herself than anyone else. ‘I thought better of the school than to let the boys fall into this kind of hysteria.’

‘Forgive me for asking but does your faith prohibit a belief in ghosts, Mrs. Gray?’ Stephen asked.

‘I lost my faith some years ago, if I ever had any,’ she answered and he was shocked that she should speak so openly in front of the boys, ‘but I know what troubles people inflict on themselves if they let imagination run riot.’

She stood up and Stephen rose with her as she said, ‘I’m sorry, Mr. Cole. Whatever is wrong with your nephew, he is plainly doing Nicholas no good. I think they should be kept apart from one another.’

Praise:

‘...Spellhaven is an intriguing novel with no easy answers or way out, which means you can keep rereading it and drawing different conclusions every time. Jane is never going to be entirely happy and settled in life – but would she ever have been, even without her magical summons? 
Refreshingly, it does not appear to be part of a series: that ending ambiguity is all you’re getting and it will keep buzzing at the back of your mind for days.’ ~ Ben Jeapes, author of Phoenicia’s Worlds and other SF novels, from the BSFA review

Purchase from





Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

Meet the Author:


Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in science fiction and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. Her latest stories are in Sword and Sorcery magazine, June 2017, and Fall into Fantasy, an anthology from Cloaked Press. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.

Connect with Sandra:

Sandra’s Website:

Sandra’s Author Page: 

Goodreads Author Page: 



Monday, 9 April 2018

Cover Reveal: Mirror's Deceit by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred...

Mirena Calanais is destined to change the world. 
Her rival has made a desperate flight to the past to stop her.


About the Book:

A gifted student of majik, Mirena is on the verge of graduating from a secret college that will give her a leg up in her political career, when her achievements are overshadowed by the arrival of a mysterious woman with an unknown agenda. Desperate to keep what she sees as her rightful place in the spotlight, Mirena goes to astounding lengths including taking it upon herself to pose as a double agent to investigate a rebel force plotting to destabilize the government. Unfortunately, her actions cost her the trust of those around her, so when she is proclaimed the Dark Avatar of the Destroyer, she finds she has nowhere to turn. 

In a seeming utopia, Mirena is now a pariah with the force of Destroyer behind her and her once bright dreams have darkened, leaving her a threat not only to herself, but to those she cares about. Can she turn her life around, or will someone need to stop her before she goes too far? 


Book Information:

Publisher: Mirror World Publishing; 1 edition
Publication Date: May 17, 2018
ASIN: B07BNY8RVF

Genre(s): Dark Fantasy, Romance, Fantasy
Page count: 240 pages

Pre-Order from Amazon
Pre-Order from Mirror World Publishing
Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

Meet the Authors:


Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of eight novels and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally roleplaying with her friends. 

With a background in Drama and Communications from the University of Windsor, Murandy Damodred enjoys fantasy fiction with strong romantic subplots. She is an avid role-player and is happiest when living vicariously through her characters. Though she'd rather think of herself as the heroine of her next novel, in the real world she is a new mom living in Windsor, Ontario, ready to embark on a new career as a medical technician. 

Connect with: 


Author Page: 






Monday, 2 April 2018

Recipe and Read of the Month by Alicia Joseph...


Photo credit: Allons-Eat!
If you’re a peanut butter fan, this is a perfect treat for you or your special someone. And what better way to show you care then to bake something worth sharing! Perfect for serving with tea or coffee during unexpected (or expected) visitor drop-ins, this recipe is guaranteed to make you smile with each bite.
 

PEANUT BUTTER PIE

CRUST

1 ¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs. (20 cookies)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

PREHEAT oven 375°F.

COMBINE ingredients in a small bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie plate.

BAKE 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

FILLING

1 (8 oz) pkg. softened cream cheese
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar 1 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

IN a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped cream.

GENTLY spoon into crust. Garnish with grated chocolate, chocolate cookie crumbs, or fresh raspberries.

REFRIGERATE and enjoy!

Another bound-to-be best seller for Alicia Joseph is currently on the stands in e-book and print. This young author's style and voice tear at your soul. Joseph delivers more than a pretty tale. Her words create a web that wraps around the reader and draws them into a compelling story. Here's a sampling of Alicia's newest read...

  “When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

Prologue 
1993

I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.
Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Good Friday Salmon Feast by Authors Lizzie T. Leaf and Emma J. Lane...

Author Lizzie T. Leaf loves smoked salmon and enjoys the sides of thinly sliced red onions, sour cream, and capers usually served with them. She came up with the idea of having it for breakfast, but turning into a smear. After trying several different smoked salmons the one she enjoyed the most in the smear version was honey smoked.

Photo courtesy of  Piviso Pixabay
SALMON SMEAR

1 cup honey smoked salmon, flaked
¼ cup red onion, chopped
½ cup sour cream
2 tbsp. capers
Mini-bagels or slider buns
Honey mustard to taste (store bought is easier) 

MIX first four ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.

SPREAD a large dollop of Smear on one side of the bread of your choice. Bagels are chewier, but slider buns are softer.

DRIZZLE mustard over the Smear. Dress it up with green onion tops and then cover with other piece of roll and enjoy.

Here is a little from Lizzie T. Leaf's latest spicy romantic release...

Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach's magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood author Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods, tries to deny his powers while hiding his true origins from the human world. When he discovers mortal, Emma Grant unconscious at his front door, his world starts to change.

Tour director Emma Grant leads a group of senior ladies through Scotland. The breakdown of their bus on a rural Scottish backroad has her sloshing through the rain and mud on foot. Her efforts to seek help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious. She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

Both feel an instant attraction, but will his secrets and her distrust of men keep them apart.

Read the first chapter on Amazon.

To read excerpts from other books by Lizzie T. Leaf please click onto Amazon.

Lizzie T. Leaf loved books since she opened her first one. Her dream was to write them herself. Lost in the hectic day to day world of family, job, laundry and housework, writing became a distant memory. When the twinkling ember did spark, it was usually doused by someone demanding their share of her time.

Lizzie's life went full circle. The desire to put the stories that continued to play in her head on paper emerged stronger than ever, and at a time when there was someone who encouraged. Now she lives her dream.

Learn more about Lizzie T. Leaf on her website and blog. Connect with Lizzie on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Author Emma J. Lane suggests the following meal may be served from ladies’ bridge to hefty dinner guests. Just increase the size of the proportions. Pop out this meal in a hurry and enjoy a cocktail with your company.

Red Salmon with Zesty Italian Dressing 
Succotash or substitute Broccoli or Asparagus 
Poached Pear Halves with Ricotta Cheese 
Green Salad 
Platter of Interesting Crackers 
Dinner roles with Jam and Butter 

SALMON

1 can red salmon, depending upon number of guests
Zesty Italian Dressing for drizzling

CLEAN bones and skin from salmon retaining pieces intact as possible. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while finishing prep.

SUCCOTASH

Frozen lima beans 1 small can creamed corn
1 tbsp. butter

COOK beans until tender, 20 minutes from boil. Drain and mix in the corn and butter. Keep warm in a 210° F oven until ready to serve.

POACHED PEARS

½ fresh pear per guest (Increase to two halves for a dinner)
1 – 3 drops almond flavoring per pear half
1 tbsp. ricotta cheese per per half
Nutmeg
Sugar, optional

REMOVE core from pears. Turn flesh side down in two inches water in microwavable dish. Poach on high until tender, 2 – 3 minutes. Check for tenderness with a toothpick. Remove from oven, flip over and place in attractive dish, in custard cup, or on a bed of lettuce. Dribble almond flavoring on pears. Fill halves with cheese. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Sprinkle on sugar.

TO SERVE

ARRANGE salmon on dinner plate and drizzle salad dressing lightly over fish. Add serving of succotash or other desired green vegetable. Garnish with lettuce or parsley. Offer a platter of interesting crackers. Serve poached pear halves on the side or scooped onto the plate. Pass basket of dinner roles and jars of jam.

Sounds like a lot of fuss, but it goes fast. The meal is light on calories so with guilt free conscience, serve a piece of your favorite pie or cake with ice cream or whipped cream. Some guests will decide poached pears suit them as a dessert.

Here's a teaser from one of  Emma J. Lane's Regency books while you wait for your guests to arrive.

What happens when a strong heroine meets an arrogant, but handsome hero? Sparks fly. It's a Regency Romance Romp! 

Miss Amabel Hawkins acknowledges her unusual upbringing, but she thinks James Langley, the Duke of Westerton, might be a tad unbalanced when he protests her efforts to right his badly managed properties. The duke, who has been away on the king's business, demonstrates no respect for the beautiful but managing Miss Hawkins. Amabel has taken refuge at Westerton, fleeing from a forced marriage to a man who claims to be her relative in order to gain control of her young brother's estate.

The Duke arrives home to find his estate under the firm control of a beautiful but managing female. His suspicions are fueled by his recent task of spy-hunting and he wonders if Amabel Hawkins is just who she seems. While a dastardly spy lurks, a wicked man poses as her cousin threatening to take over the guardianship of her young brother. Amabel might be falling in love, but she knows for certain the duke would never approve of a meddlesome woman, and she decides to flee his estate. Will the duke finally realize the true value of the woman he loves or will his prejudice ruin his chances forever?

Amazon Buy Link

Emma Lane enjoys leaving her garden for a few hours to dip into the romance genre Regency era of history. Join her for a glimpse of a half selkie fairy as she teases a powerful duke and fights the curse of a lowly, evil warlock. Other Regency romances are available on Amazon and Wild Rose Press. As Janis Lane she writes a series of Cozy Mysteries for Soul Mate Publishing.

Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Guest Post: The Lost Art of Writing Letters by C.D. Hersh...

 Before you think, “I know how to use letters,” you should know we are not talking about the “ABCDEFG” letters one uses to form words, but written letters sent through the mail, penned by hand, folded into envelopes with postage stamps and return addresses, and delivered by the postman. Yes, we realize the art of letter writing is disappearing, but it’s an art form worth saving in today’s world of instant email, twitter, and Facebook communication.
A while back, Donald was helping an aunt go through boxes of old letters written by his deceased uncle. The letters, written to his first wife and mother, covered the period of the couple’s early romance, his service as an Air Force pilot in WWII over Europe, and the time frame during the Korean War. In the missives, he wrote about his feelings and described what was going on in the war arenas. A huge amount of historical information, insight about this time frame, and personal tidbits about Donald’s uncle, was revealed in the two days spent reading these letters.

Those boxes of letters, posted seventy years ago, got us thinking about letter writing as a dying means of communication. With today’s instant communication methods of email, twitter, and Facebook, which are usually deleted as soon as they are read, there won’t be anything for our descendants to open seventy years from now to see how we lived and what we thought about the events of our daily lives. When you Google “Letter Writing” you will get about 195 million results, from free tips, advice, sample letters to help you write great letters, to letter writing rules for business letters, to letter styles, envelope formats and even how to fold a letter into an envelope. What you won’t get is the feel of old, fragile paper beneath your fingers as you carefully open a window to the past.

So, how can you use letter writing to enhance your books?

In our book The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles) and in the second book of the series, Blood Brothers, handwritten letters are the impetus for major story line turning points. Because of something two dead characters reveal (one whom the readers never meet), the lives of the heroines in both books are forever changed.

Here’s an excerpt from The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles) showing how we used a handwritten letter to reveal information.
***
Eli, I know it’s been years since you’ve heard from me, not since my brother’s murder, but Alexi’s time has come. I tried to shield her from the destiny, teaching her only the basics of the ring and waiting until she was an adult to start any training. I didn’t want to push her, but now she is developing skills I’ve not taught her. I need someone from the Council to come and assess her, and I can’t think of anyone I trust more than the man I fought beside in so many battles. After making such a mess of Sylvia, I don’t trust my judgment. I need an advocate on the Council and your advice. If you agree with my assessment, I want to present Alexi to the Council this coming Samhain. Please come as soon as possible…

The letter’s date and postmark indicated Baron had written the letter about two weeks prior to his death. Prickles crept over her arms. My time? Present me to the Council? Sylvia’s comment about the Promised One came back to her. Had Baron sent for Eli because of the great destiny he always insisted she had? She closed the door and rested her forehead against the solid surface. Life was already too complicated. She didn’t need this.
***
Had we used email to send this letter, the heroine Alexi might not have believed the letter came from her uncle. Anyone can type an email and claim it comes from an alleged sender. The specialty return label and her uncle’s loopy handwritten script on the envelope convinced Alexi the letter was real.

In our second book of the series, Blood Brothers, seeing her missing daughter’s handwriting, instead of a sterile email printout, impacted the heroine intensely and spurred her on to a life changing decision, which you’ll have to read the book to find out about.

You can also use the art of letter writing to discover new things about your characters by having them write letters to another character in the book. We did this exercise for our antagonist, Roc, in Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles) and discovered several things. For the sake of space in this blog, we can’t reveal what we learned here, but if you are interested, please click here to read the letter and see how it worked for us.

Here is a little more about The Promised One for your reading pleasure.

In the wrong hands, the Turning Stone ring is a powerful weapon for evil. So, when homicide detective Alexi Jordan discovers her secret society mentor has been murdered and his magic ring stolen, she is forced to use her shape-shifting powers to catch the killer. By doing so, she risks the two most important things in her life—her badge and the man she loves.

Rhys Temple always knew his fiery cop partner and would-be-girlfriend, Alexi Jordan, had a few secrets. He considers that part of her charm. But when she changes into a man, he doesn’t find that as charming. He’ll keep her secret to keep her safe, but he’s not certain he can keep up a relationship—professional or personal.

Danny Shaw needs cash for the elaborate wedding his fiancée has planned, so he goes on a mugging spree. But when he kills a member of the secret society of Turning Stones, and steals a magic ring that gives him the power to shape shift, Shaw gets more than he bargained for.

Buy Links:
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

The first four books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors. Also a novella, Can’t Stop The Music, with twelve other authors from various genres with a book coming out each month in 2017.

They look forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Learn more about C.D. Hersh on their website and their Amazon Author Page.
Stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Cover Reveal: Ghosts & Exiles by Sandra Unerman...


Spellhaven is no more, but its spirits remain.

About the Book:

Tilda Gray hates Spellhaven, the city where her husband was born, even though she has never set foot in the place, and she does not believe in the magic it’s supposed to have held. Now her husband is dead, she would rather avoid any mention of the city. But her sons, Nicholas and James, have befriended Hugo, a young boy threatened by forces none of them understand. When Hugo's uncle and guardian, Stephen Cole, visits the Gray family to ask for help, Tilda agrees against her better judgement. Between them, as they search for ways to banish or at least help Hugo cope with the ghosts that are driving him mad, they seek out the dubious aid of the exiles from Spellhaven. In doing so they must face new dangers and unknown magic, unlike anything Tilda could have believed possible.

Book Details:

Print Length: 300 pages
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing
Publication Date: April 17, 2018
ASIN: B07B24HY9Z
Genre(s): Magical Realism, Historical Fantasy


Read a Short Excerpt:

Stephen Cole would never have asked for help on his own account, not from strangers and especially not from a woman and a couple of young boys. Since his slow recovery from his experiences in the trenches during the First World War, he had devoted himself to his work at the Bar and had spent little time in the company of women or children. But the help was for his nephew, Hugo, and by the time Stephen arrived at the Grays’ house in Highgate one Sunday morning in November 1933, he did not know where else to turn.

When he was shown into the drawing room, Stephen looked round to try and gain an impression of the family. He decided that the room had been decorated about ten years ago and hardly changed since then. The yellow and grey curtains had lost their bloom and the wooden feet on the armchairs were scuffed, but the parquet floor round the carpet was thoroughly polished, as were the tiles inset into the fireplace. Mrs. Gray must have had skilled and hardworking servants, not as easy to find as they would once have been. Botanical illustrations hung on the panelled walls. Stephen had no time to notice more before Mrs. Gray entered the room. 

Her appearance took Stephen aback. When he had been told she was a widow, somehow he had pictured a middle-aged woman, dumpy and depressed. Maybe he had been thinking of Queen Victoria, even though he had seen enough war widows in the early days of his practice to know they came in all shapes and styles. Matilda Gray was tall for a woman, with light eyes and a pointed chin. Her pale brown hair was bobbed and smooth. She wore a fawn twin-set and a brown skirt, not new or fashionable but shapely and trim.

‘Thank you for seeing me on a Sunday, Mrs. Gray,’ Stephen said. ‘It’s your son, Nicholas, I’d really like to talk to. He is home for the weekend, isn’t he?’

Hugo lived at school all term, and often in the holidays as well, but Stephen had been told that the Grays were weekly boarders. 

‘The boys are at breakfast, Mr. Cole.’ Mrs. Gray looked as wary of him as he was of her. 

‘I hope your maid gave you my apologies for disturbing you.’ 

‘It doesn’t matter, but you will have to explain what this is about before I decide whether Nicholas should be involved.’

Pre-Order from:


Read About the Book at Mirror World Publishing

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads

Meet the Author:


Sandra Unerman lives in London in the UK. When she retired from a career as a Government lawyer, she undertook an MA in Creative Writing at Middlesex University, specialising in science fiction and fantasy, and graduated in 2013. Since then, she has had a number of short stories published. Her latest stories are in Sword and Sorcery magazine, June 2017, and Fall into Fantasy, an anthology from Cloaked Press. She writes reviews and articles for the British Science Fiction Association and the British Fantasy Society. She is a member of London Clockhouse writers and other writing groups. Her interests include history, folklore and medieval literature.

Connect with Sandra:

Sandra’s Website:

Sandra’s Author Page: 

Goodreads Author Page: 



Monday, 12 March 2018

Guest Post: A Series in the Making by Marci Boudreaux...

Since I know a thing or two about writing and planning a series, I thought I'd invite friend and romance writer Marci Boudreaux to share her experience on creating a book series. Take it away Marci...

Never before have I felt the need to make a series bible. Maybe because I’ve only written one series before and had no idea what the hell I was doing!

On to series two…the title is still a work in progress, but I have some ideas that I’m just waiting for my editor to tell me are crap so I can start over. (She’d say it very nicely, though.)

This new series is about a detective agency run and operated by some pretty kick ass dames who don’t take crap from nobody—especially the men in their lives. This is also completely out of the norm for me, so we'll see what (if anything) happens to it.


Meet the ladies of the yet to be named agency that will be doing awesome to be determined kick ass things! Also known as Em's imaginary friends for the next year or so.

Problem is, unlike my last series, I’m dropping all the characters into book one. Most will be in the background so I don’t boggle anyone’s brain with a huge cast. But, even so, my brain gets boggled so I gotta keep all these people and their nuances straight in my head.

And, that right there, folks, is what that whole series bible thing is for.

I get it now.

Since I’ve never done this before, I’m totally winging it. Pinterst pages. Word docs. Notes in two different notebooks that will eventually all be put in one place. I have pictures. Descriptions. Quotes. All kinds of things that someday, I’ll look at and go “DAMN! I totally forgot she’s got blue eyes not green!”

I’m working on getting organized enough to have all this in one place. I’ll get there. I’m just a wee bit slow, but I am taking this whole thing very seriously, y’all.

I’d love to introduce you to the ladies, but book one is still with my editor and I don’t want to jinx this series before it is even out of diapers, but keep an eye out. I think you’ll be hearing about them soon!

Until then…any suggestions on how to keep all this stuff straight?

As a teen, Marci Boudreaux skipped over young adult books and jumped right into the world of romance novels. She's never left. Marci lives with her husband, two kiddos, and their numerous pets. Until recently, she was a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines. She now focuses on writing and her work as a content editor.

Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn't like when she does that in real life.

Learn more about Marci Boudreaux on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Book Tour: Unquiet Dead by Chris Pavesic...


About Unquiet Dead:

In Chiaroscuro it’s important to keep the faith.

When the Temples north of Chiaroscuro are burned and followers of the Sun Goddess are murdered, Catherine, a bard of the Ealdoth Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed.

So saddle up your clockwork mount, buckle on your electro-dagger, and join Catherine as she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogues members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead.


Unquiet Dead
Chiaroscuro Chronicles, Book 1
Chris Pavesic

140 pages

Genres: Steampunk, Mystery, Dark Fantasy

Learn More About Unquiet Dead:

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Follow the virtual tour and visit tours hosts sharing spotlights, excerpts, and reviews. Link to tour schedule:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2018/03/virtual-book-tour-schedule-unquiet-dead.html


Read an Excerpt:

“I’m glad to see you’re talking again.” Benedict glanced at her, his eyes kind. “Did you work out whatever was bothering you?”

Catherine gave him a wry smile. “No.”

“Want to talk about it? I can be a good listener.”

“No.” She stared down at her shoe as she tapped it against the smooth wooden footrest of the wagon. “Not now,” she added, to take some of the sting out of her reply. “I need to get my thoughts clear before I discuss them with another person. But I appreciate the offer.”

“Suit yourself.” He sighed and dragged a hand through his hair.

“We do not have to stop talking. Just…on a different subject.”

He smiled. “Lady’s choice.”

“Why did you undertake this job?”

“That’s direct. You don’t think it was for the money, then?”

“No, I don’t.”

“It’s an awful lot of money.”

“I don’t know you very well, but I have a feeling that you don’t do much only for the money.” She glanced at the horses, the reality in front of her. “Those animals are proof of that. Clean, well-fed, and happy. With little red ribbons in their hair. Most people would not be so kind.”

Benedict smiled at her comments and then his face grew sober. “A lot of the people who lived in those communities—they were friends. They were murdered, plain and simple, and no one seems to know who it was, who benefits from their deaths. It’s rare someone in my position would be able to do something about it.”

“You want to find the murderer or murderers and bring them to justice?”

His grip tightened inadvertently on the reins. “I want to find out who killed them and bring a reckoning.”

Meet the Author:


Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Find Chris Pavesic Online:




Twitter Handle @chrispavesic


Monday, 5 March 2018

The Story Behind the Story: The Boggart of Fairy Falls…

Black Dog by Christopher-Manuel

In the first book of my teen psychic mystery series entitled, Lost and Found: Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I have a character named Boggart. I’ve even devoted an entire chapter to him. I describe him as a big, black dog who is part pit bull, part hound…and part insane. I don’t blame him really. After all, the poor dog was found at the dump, in the place where Boggart says “stinks, where there’s lots of ugly smells, and lots of birds.” Now before you start feeling sorry for this poor mutt, don’t. Boggart is a force to be reckoned with. And trust me, he should be. Although I named him after a type of Bogey hobgoblin in English folklore that has poltergeist habits, he also has the qualities of the terrifying spirit called Black Dog.

Like my fictional canine, a Boggart can be helpful and sociable with some people (like my main character Meagan Walsh), but most often Boggarts are mischievous, annoying, and frightening. Without making a visual appearance, the Boggart makes itself known by playing tricks on people, such as pulling off their bedclothes. Sometimes Boggart acts are accompanied by terrible noises or laughter. Boggarts can also be mean and nasty, and have been known to scratch, punch, and pinch people. Yikes! The friendly household Boggart, however, acts much like a brownie and will work hard washing, cleaning, and doing heavy farm work if treated well. Hmm…where can I get me one of these creatures? On the flipside, if upset, this spirit will destroy or displace everything in the house and farm buildings.

Black Dog (a.k.a. Black Hound or Black Shuck) is a type of fiend described as a shaggy-haired black dog about the size of a calf with enormous glowing, fiery red eyes. Some are reported to be malicious, and some can be quite benevolent at times. Black Dogs are usually encountered on lonely tracks, ancient roads and crossroads, bridges, and entrances—the places of transition in human lives. They are normally benign if left alone, however to meet Black Dog means death within a year. There are well known instances of Black Dogs appearing to lost travelers or frightened girls traveling alone and guiding them safely home. These creatures also have been known to protect those under attack. Now that sounds like a great guard dog to me!

When I found through my research that Boggarts inhibit a house, churchyard, or live in a body, such as that of a cat or dog, I had a lightbulb moment. I decided to create my own Boggart, making him resemble the Black Dog of English folklore, and added him to my cast of furry characters in Lost and Found. I have to say Boggart transformed into more of a guard dog, than a beast, knowing his job was to protect at all costs, and loyal to the end. But to be on the safe side, if you ever find yourself wandering on one of the back roads in Fairy Falls after dark, make sure you check over your shoulder now and then. Oh, and bring a flashlight. Boggarts abhor the light.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Cover Reveal and New Book Release: Unquiet Dead by Chris Pavesic...




Blogcatherine

Unquiet Dead

Chris Pavesic


Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 7.55.36 PM

About the Unquiet Dead

In Chiaroscuro it’s important to keep the faith.

When the Temples north of Chiaroscuro are burned and followers of the Sun Goddess are murdered, Catherine, a bard of the Ealdoth Temple, sets out to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. With only the help of a traveling group of minstrels and a retired fae investigator, Catherine must solve the mystery before more people are killed.

So saddle up your clockwork mount, buckle on your electro-dagger, and join Catherine as she finds herself pitted against members of her own Temple, rogues members of the Seelie Court, and a seemingly unstoppable army of undead.

Genres: Steampunk/Mystery/Dark Fantasy 

Length: 140 pages. 
Available in Print and E-Book 

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads 

Purchase Your Copy from Amazon 

Learn More on Facebook


Excerpt

Services were scheduled to commence in an hour, and Ernest needed to be ready. He struck a match and lit the first gaslight, watching the flame take hold and flare up. The light pushed back the shadows so parishioners were able to find their way to the pews without stumbling. He would extinguish the artificial lights right before the service so the effect of the sunlight illuminating the darkness hit with maximum impact as it flooded through the skylights. 
The parishioners would marvel at how the Temple filled with the Goddess’s Holy Light just in time for the service. Ernest would marvel at the fact that none of them were smart enough to realize he flipped a switch on back of the altar to swing open mechanical shutters. 
There was a religious stirring in Grand Marsh more powerful than anything Ernest had experienced in his ten years as a Sacerd. The services at dawn, noon, and sundown were packed. Few of the farmers went out to the fields. They worked in town on community projects or sat drinking at the tavern. Their wives remained in the town square, full of chatter, instead of staying on their farmsteads. Their thin voices filled the air. The youngest children were kept close while the teens clustered in protective packs far enough away to keep their discussions out of reach of their parents’ ears. But close enough to be in sight at all times. None of them wandered off. 
Three times a day they filled the Temple, ready to hear his words. Faces tilted up to him. Man and woman, young and old. And none of his parishioners would confess why they were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were neglecting their farms. They were afraid of speaking blasphemy. But he knew the reason, and it caused a lift in his heart that was not due to religious inspiration. They were scared, plain and simple, and it gave him hope. 
Since being assigned to the far parish almost five years ago, a posting he saw as an end to the upward progress of his career in the Temple, he struggled daily to swallow his disappointment. It wouldn’t leave, and it was bitter. Bitter. 
In this remote village, far from the bustle and industry of Chiaroscuro, the quality of his life, the texture of his life, changed. He longed for life in the city. The world seemed to have shifted into two zones. The pace of life for the city dwellers increased while people living in the countryside were being left behind. 
Time’s arrow struck fastest through the densest populations. Sacerds assigned to any of the major cities made more connections and accumulated more power in a single week than he did in a year. Exerting influence was impossible when the spheres of power were spinning outside of his reach, moving too fast for him to see, let alone have an impact. 
The wound to his pride stung the most. The elders had hurt his feelings. To be dismissed so easily, passed along so casually—it was like the swatting of an annoying insect. The Temple elders did not treat him as if he mattered, as if his family ties were consequential. True he was a third son, but of a noble line. And they assigned him to a rustic Temple to attend to common folk far below his station. 
Very little was required of him here. Or, more precisely, very little of what he did here interested him. He burned to return to the central Temple and to be part of the intrigues and power shifts. This attracted him more than caring for the simple souls of farmers and shopkeepers. Power was why he joined the Temple, and what he was now denied. 
But not for long. The thought clanged in his mind with undeniable rightness. Not righteousness. It was an important distinction. Would the Goddess sanction his actions? Probably not, but he was past caring about her approval. During all of the ceremonies, all of the prayer and introspection, he had never felt any divine presence. He had never witnessed any miracles, and doubted their existence. 
But power, oh he had seen the existence of power. Political. Social. Religious. Whatever you called it really didn’t matter. Get enough people to follow you. Enough people to believe in what you were selling. This was the belief that could move the world. 
There was only one woman in his life he needed to please now, and she held no divinity. Merci had offered him a way out of this rural purgatory, and he had accepted. Truth be told, he had grabbed at it like a castaway might grab at a line from a passing airship. If the price were the damnation of his soul, so be it. 
He glanced out the window at the transport coming down the lane. A high quality clockwork carriage with the Temple’s Crest stamped on the doors rattled over the boards strewn across the irrigation ditch and stopped, parking in the speckled light cast by the ornament trees planted along the lane. The carriage blocked traffic, but the driver did not seem to care. Elder members of the clergy, Hlytere, and above, felt they had the right of way. Others had to go around. 
A pale, dark-haired woman emerged and stood for a moment looking around. She pulled the hood of her dark cloak over her hair and walked through the yard toward the Temple. Ernest’s gaze followed her, trying to imagine who this stranger was. 
Her footsteps sounded in the aisle and, when he turned from window, she was almost upon him. Her speed startled him. When he saw her face to face he realized she was younger than he had supposed. Too young to be a Hlytere, but her use of the carriage meant she was favored by the Temple elders. The seed of jealousy radiated through him. He felt it in his chest and the pit of his stomach. He struggled to keep the emotion off his face. “Greetings.” He shook her hand with a firm grasp. Her hands were small and smooth and white. “Will you come in for a moment?” He led her to the small reception room off the main area that contained a round table and several wooden chairs. He lit a cheroot, offered her one, which she declined, and they sat down. 
“Please forgive me for calling on you so close to mid-day Services, Sacerd Ernest.” She paused. “You are Sacerd Ernest, correct? It’s not like me to presume.” 
“Of course. I’m glad you came. I watched you drive up, you know, and I wondered who you were. We don’t get many visitors from the Temple here.” 
“I’m surprised you don’t recognize me, cousin. Of course, I didn’t recognize you. So perhaps it’s not so surprising.” 
“I’m sorry. I …” 
“I’m from the cadet line of our family tree. My father is the elder son of the younger son of our line.” 
His brow creased in thought. “Grace?” 
“Yes,” she said with a smile, reaching out to touch his hand. Her fingers rested there for a moment too long. Lingered. And then she leaned back in the chair and crossed her legs, which were slim and bare beneath her robe. 
Sacerd Ernest regarded his guest, wondering that her physical presence should suddenly dawn upon him so. She was more beautiful than he had thought at first. Her skin was clear and lovely, and her eyes and mouth were made up carefully and well. 
What’s her game? He licked at the perspiration that appeared upon his upper lip. 
“I would like your help in a small matter. And of course I wanted to meet you.” 
“You did?” 
“Our sponsor has spoken of you with such affection.” 
“Our superior?” He used the wrong word to see if she would correct him. 
“Technically, I suppose, she may be yours. I’ve never thought much of the rules of hierarchy in the Temple.” She cocked her head, listening to noises from the other room. Some of his parishioners had started to file in for the service. “It’s such a mercy, isn’t it?’ 
Ah, code words
She must think she’s being clever, although he had no idea who could possibly overhear their conversation. It was only just dawning on him why she must be here. In his town. In his Temple. But he didn’t care. All he wanted to do was get out of Grand Marsh. Get back to Chiaroscuro. It didn’t bother him that people, his parishioners, may die, or suffer a fate worse than death. He just wanted to get out. 
It’s not my fault if I’m following orders. 
But that was a poor excuse, wasn’t it? Guilt flared, hot and strong. 
Do you want to stay in Grand Marsh forever? Ministering to the townsfolk? Do you? 
No … but he didn’t want to hurt people. Those conflicting thoughts pulled at him. There was the question of right and wrong. What was right for him might go wrong for others. But that was the way it had to be. 
Thus he banished the guilt. When something inside of him tried to protest again, tried to tell him to think before he did this, he smothered it. 
“When?” He didn’t have any time for nonsense. The quicker it occurred, the quicker he resumed his rightful place. 
“In two days. I have some items in my transport that need to be set up in the Temple, but kept out of view.” She smiled and spoke a little louder so that the earliest arrivals overheard her. “I wish I could stay to help with the Mass, but I am needed back in Chiaroscuro.” She lowered her voice. “Officially I never left the city.” 
“Of course.” He guessed that she had no desire to partake in the service. “I will help you with whatever you need.” Whatever may come of it, he had gone too far to stop now.
Meet the Author:

Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Find Chris Pavesic Online:

Website
Amazon Author Page
Facebook Author Page
Tweets @chrispavesic