Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Cover Reveal: The Gimmal Ring by Karen Koski...

She wants the ring and she wants it bad!


Book Details:

Title: The Gimmal Ring
Author: Karen Koski

Page Count: 124

Genres: Urban Fantasy, Adventure, Middle Grade

Publisher: Mirror World Books

About The Gimmal Ring:

Gwendolyn Gimmal desperately wants an invitation to the mysterious Gimmal Gala where her family’s coveted ring is bestowed upon new inductees. It’s not that she particularly likes bling, but because she knows it will unlock exciting secrets and reveal what she believes will be her true life’s path. Her younger brother, Gage, also wants to attend the party, but mostly for the food.

After finding her way into the hidden gala, Gwen learns that The Gimmal Ring is not only a piece of jewellery, but also a secret society of people. Things go awry when their parents are kidnapped from the Gala and held for ransom. Gwen and her brother must solve the clues and find the hidden formula the kidnappers have demanded by midnight, or they will never see their family members again. 

Their newly discovered enhanced abilities, while fun, are not completely reliable. Cracking newspaper codes, deciphering invisible maps, and playing a high stakes game of Enigma Machine Twister, are just some of the challenges they must overcome if they are to succeed in time. The adventure starts when they flush themselves in The Tele-Potti, a teleporting commode, and it all goes down the drain from there.


Meet the Author:


Karen Koski writes stories set in magical Windsor and Essex County, Ontario where she was born and raised. Karen’s love of a good mystery inspired her to become a licensed Private Investigator. She is intrigued by anything that is not what it appears to be.

Karen resides in Windsor, Ontario with her husband, two daughters and a Moose.



Monday, 18 February 2019

Snuggle up with a Heart-Warming Soup and Cozy Mystery by Janis and Emma Lane...

Janis and Emma Lane are in my virtual kitchen today to cook up something good! No, they're not sisters or even cousins. Today's guest blogger is an author with a split personality, and man can she cook!

Hi everyone, this recipe is only a guideline for making a delicious lunch or main dish with fresh vegetables. The list of veggies is easily amendable to whatever your grocer has in stock. No beets, please! Be sure to add nurturing bread like corn bread or crackers for a more substantial meal. Okay, I used corn Chex Mix one time, but that was an emergency. A green salad is always a welcome addition.

FRESH VEGETABLE SOUP

1 onion, diced
½ green pepper, cleaned and diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 fat carrot, peeled and chopped
1 – 2 ears fresh corn kernels, scraped from cob
1 can diced tomato or 1 lg. fresh, chopped
1½ cups fresh green beans, strings removed and chopped
3 cups beef or chicken stock
½ pound ground chuck
1 med. potato, diced
Sprig fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
Sprig of oregano or ¼ tsp. dried
Small sprig of basil or ½ tsp. dried
Sprig of parsley, flat not curly

SAUTE meat and set aside.

POUR stock into a large pot.

ADD onions and celery. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

ADD carrots, corn, tomatoes, potato, and herbs. Return soup to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

ADD meat. Simmer 10 minutes more.

Veggies will be somewhat crisp. Cook longer if desired. As it sits the flavor will increase. But cool and refrigerate if it’s going to be longer than a few hours before serving.

Optional Veggies: okra, green peas, yellow squash, small can chick peas.

Optional herbs/spices: pinch of chili pepper, tiny clove of garlic, sprig of cilantro.

Tip: if you use fresh herbs tie together with kitchen string and remove before serving.

Here's a peek at my Cozy Mystery, Murder in the Neighborhood, a novel which introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

Amazon Buy Links Kindle - Paperback

Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's 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. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Valentine's Special: A Chocolate Treat and Action Adventure Read by Sally and Elliott Baker...

Sally Baker, the lovely wife of Action-Adventure author Elliott Baker, is here with her latest cookie creation. These cookie bars include the Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate Brownie recipe found on the inside of the packaging and are absolutely delicious.

Sally Baker's Muddy Boots

1 family sized tube of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
½ family sized tube of Pillsbury Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
Bag of M&M caramels
Baker's Brownie Mix prepared with the following ingredients:
4 oz. Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate
¾ cup butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour

PREHEAT oven 350° F.

CUT parchment paper to fit a 9 x 13-inch pan. Insert the paper and then grease it.

BREAK up the chocolate chip dough into chunks and fill the pan.

BREAK up the peanut butter dough and scatter across the chocolate chip dough.

MAKE the brownie mix. Stir in half of the M&M caramels.

POUR the brownie mix over the cookie dough.

SPRINKLE remaining M&M caramels over the top.

BAKE at least 35 minutes or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

LET cool and then cut into squares.

How about a glimpse at Sally's husband Elliott and his books while you're munching these awesome cookie bars?

For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century France two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, determined to continue an incarnation begun long ago.

In ancient Egypt, there were two brothers, disciples of the pharaoh, Akhenaten. When the pharaoh died, the physician took the knowledge given and went to Greece to begin the mystery school. The general made a deal with the priests and became pharaoh. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. The only way he can protect those he loves is to regain the power and knowledge of an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies, slowly reclaiming the knowledge and power earned centuries ago. For three thousand years a secret sect has waited in Morocco.

After ages in darkness, Horemheb screams, “I am.” Using every dark art, he manages to maintain the life of the body he has bartered for. Only one life force in the world is powerful enough to allow him to remain within embodiment, perhaps forever. Determined to continue a reign of terror that once made the Nile run red, he grows stronger with each life taken.

Buy Links


Award winning, international playwright Elliott B. Baker grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. With four musicals and one play published and done throughout the United States, New Zealand, Portugal, England, and Canada, Elliott is pleased to offer his first novel, Return, book one of The Sun God’s Heir trilogy.

A member of the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild, Elliott lives in New Hampshire with his beautiful wife Sally Ann.

Learn more about Elliot Baker on his website. Stay connected on Twitter and Facebook. Like Elliott's Author Page on Facebook to learn all his latest news.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Welcome to Sharon Ledwith's Birthday Bash Book Tour...


In celebration of Sharon Ledwith's birthday, all of her books are on tour, on sale, and ready for you to discover. Make sure to follow the tour and enter the giveaway for two signed books, open internationally!!

Tour Schedule:



About the Books:


Legend of the Timekeepers (Book 0.5):

There is no moving forward without first going back.

Lilith was a young girl with dreams and a family before the final destruction of Atlantis shattered those dreams and tore her family apart. Now refugees, Lilith and her father make their home in the Black Land. This strange, new country has no place in Lilith’s heart until a beloved high priestess introduces Lilith to her life purpose—to be a Timekeeper and keep time safe. 

Summoned through the seventh arch of Atlantis by the Children of the Law of One, Lilith and her newfound friends are sent into Atlantis’s past, and given a task that will ultimately test their courage and try their faith in each other. Can the Timekeepers stop the dark magus Belial before he changes the seers’ prophecy? If they fail, then their future and the earth’s fate will be altered forever.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:



The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis (Book 1):

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

When 13-year-old Amanda Sault and her annoying classmates are caught in a food fight at school, they're given a choice: suspension or yard duty. The decision is a no-brainer. Their two-week crash course in landscaping leads to the discovery of a weathered stone arch in the overgrown back yard. The arch isn't a forgotten lawn ornament but an ancient time portal from the lost continent of Atlantis.

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers--legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial--Amanda and her classmates are sent on an adventure of a lifetime. Can they find the young Robin Hood and his merry band of teens? If they don't, then history itself may be turned upside down.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:



The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret (Book 2):

Only a true hero can shine the light in humanity’s darkest time.

Fourteen year-old Jordan Jensen always considered himself a team player on and off the field, until the second Timekeeper mission lands him in Amsterdam during World War Two. Pulled into the world of espionage, torture, and intolerance, Jordan and the rest of the Timekeepers have no choice but to do whatever they can to stay one step ahead of the Nazis in order to find and protect a mysterious book.

With the help of the Dutch Resistance, an eccentric baron, Nordic runes, and an ancient volume originating from Atlantis, Jordan must learn that it takes true teamwork, trust, and sacrifice to keep time safe from the evils of fascism. Can Jordan find the hero within to conquer the darkness surrounding the Timekeepers? If he doesn’t, then the terrible truth of what the Nazis did will never see the light of day.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:



Lost and Found: Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls: 

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking...

Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.

Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

Add to Your Shelf on Goodreads:


Purchase Your Copy of Each eBook for the Sale Price at Mirror World Publishing:


Additional purchasing options listed below (but the books are not on sale on those platforms).

Exclusive Excerpt for Blackflies and Blueberries set to be released May, 2019:

In anticipation for the upcoming release of Blackflies and Blueberries, Book #2 of my teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls in May, I thought I’d give you a taste of what to expect by sharing an exclusive excerpt with you. Please enjoy, and as always: Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected…

“Where the hell am I?” Hart muttered. This can’t be right. The store owner must have given me the wrong directions.
Hart adjusted his backpack, heavier now as it had warmed up enough for him to strip off a layer of clothing. He welcomed the cooling sensation of the trickling sweat at the back of his neck. It was far more appealing than the bitter cold air that attacked his extremities early this morning. Hart pulled out the directions from his jean pocket for the fifth time. He’d been wandering for hours, and was getting tired and hungry.
 “Hey, you lost?”
Startled, Hart jumped and turned around. He’d been too busy staring at the directions, he hadn’t noticed a small, red car pull up beside him. A red-headed guy who looked to be about his age hung out the driver’s side window, smiling.
Hart swallowed hard. He glanced down at the directions that he couldn’t comprehend, and then raised his head. “Sort of, I guess. I’m looking for Blueberry Lane. Do you know where that is?”
“We sure do!” a pretty, teenage girl with ink-black hair blurted from the front passenger seat.
Hart inclined his head, noticing that she wore a pink T-shirt imprinted with cartoon cats, and possessed eyes as blue as his mother’s. His chest suddenly ached.
The red-headed guy rubbed his ear. “There’s no need to yell, Meagan. He’s lost, not deaf.”
A giggle erupted from the back seat. “Blueberry Lane is about five kilometres as the crow flies, or so Meagan’s been told by a few of her feathered friends.”
Hart frowned. Huh? He peered into the open back window. Behind the girl named Meagan sat another teen girl with darker skin, short brown hair, and killer green eyes. A black and white cat was curled up on her lap, its short tail drumming lazily against her indigo jeans. “I…I don’t follow you.”
“And that’s a good thing according to a couple of dogs I know,” Meagan said, pushing over the driver to stick her head out the window. “Why don’t you hop in the back with Nat and Oscar, and we’ll give you a lift.”
“We, Meagan?” The guy grunted, pulling at his creased white T-shirt. “Last time I checked, this was still my car.”
Meagan swept her bangs off her forehead, and rolled her eyes. “Then why don’t you do the right thing and offer him a ride, Reid?”
Reid glanced at Hart, and shrugged. “Girlfriends never seem to get tired of bossing us guys around. Right, dude?”
Meagan snorted. “Someone needs to be the pack leader in this relationship.” She pushed off of Reid, making him grunt again.
Reid grinned, then used his chin as a guide to point to the car door behind him. “Get in. Just ignore the mess. It’s mostly Meagan’s.”
“Are…are you sure?” Hart asked, pulling off his knapsack.
“Sure we’re sure,” Meagan said, buckling her seat belt. “Last time I checked, I still paid for the gas.”
 “Thanks so much!” Hart opened the back door, set his knapsack in the well littered with candy wrappers, and jumped in. “By the way, my name’s Hart.”
Reid saluted Hart, then negotiated his car off the gravel shoulder, and gunned it up the road. “Did you put an extra bag of cat kibble in the trunk, Meagan?”
“Yup, and some more blankets for those extra shelters you built,” Meagan replied, pulling out a red cell phone. “I’ll text Aunt Izzy to let her know we’ll be a little late meeting her at the lost cats.”
Hart arched a tawny brow. “Lost…cats?”
“It’s a colony of homeless and feral cats living in the forest behind the Fairy Falls Animal Shelter,” Nat spoke up, as she brushed cat hair from her purple T-shirt. “These cats don’t seem to fit in to what humans expect from domestic pets, so we take care of them, and see to their needs.”
“I know how they feel.” Hart gazed out the window seeing nothing but trees and granite rocks. “I’m not sure where I fit in either.”
The black and white cat on Nat’s lap stopped flicking its stubby tail to peer up at Hart. It twitched its whiskers, sneezed twice, and then let out a long-winded meow.
“Oscar, that’s rude,” Meagan said, turning her head. “Some humans sweat more than others.”
Nat straightened. “What’d he say, Meagan?”
“Nothing important,” Meagan replied, waving a hand. “Something about the way Hart smells.”
Hart discreetly sniffed the armpit of his black T-shirt, and winced. He glanced at the cat. “Oscar…can talk?”
The three teen friends looked at each other for a split second before Meagan said, “Sure. All animals talk. It’s all in the way you interpret them.”
Hart narrowed his eyes. This is getting weird. Why do I feel like I’m with a bunch of my mom’s psychic friends? He cleared his throat, and said, “I…I guess you’ve got a point.”
Then Hart reached to stroke Oscar, and his fingers brushed across the cat’s red collar, making the tiny bells attached to it, jingle. His eyes widened. The image of an old white, orange, and black cat flashed through his mind. He sensed this cat was important, special, and very much missed. “Who’s Whiskey?”
Meagan gasped. Reid coughed. Nat’s mouth dropped open.
“H-How do you know about Whiskey?” Meagan asked, placing a hand on her chest. “She…she died last year.”
“She did?” Hart’s throat tightened. “This is her collar, isn’t it?”
“Dude, how’d you know that?” Reid asked, glancing over his shoulder. “Are you like Meagan?”
Hart removed his hand from the collar, and his shook his head. “It’s…it’s hard to explain.”
Natalie patted Hart’s arm. Her touch was light and tingly as if a butterfly had brushed across his skin. She smiled and said, “No it’s not, Hart. It’s like what Meagan said. If animals can talk, then wouldn’t it be logical to assume objects—like Oscar’s collar—can talk too?”
“Right, Nat.” Reid chuckled. “Objects are inanimate, not real like animals. They have no soul.”
“The debate is out on whether or not you have a soul, Reid,” Meagan said, smirking.
Nat giggled. “What I meant was there are some people who can interpret animal energy, and there are others—” she glanced at Hart and winked at him “—who can interpret object energy.”
“Well said, Ms. Knight!” Meagan reached over to high-five Nat.
Oscar meowed again. He rolled off of Nat’s lap, and rubbed his head into the side of Hart’s leg. He frowned, noticing that the cat’s left eye had been removed and stitched up. This loss didn’t seem to bother him though, as he continued to roll and stretch his lean, furry body next to Hart. Curious, Hart touched Oscar’s collar once more, seeing the white, orange, and black cat again, only as a younger version with a litter of kittens—one with the same black and white markings as Oscar possessed.
Hart’s chin trembled. He bent to whisper, “I miss my mom too, Oscar.”
A loud grumble coming from Hart’s belly made Oscar flinch, but he remained stretched out between Nat and Hart, taking up as much of the back seat as he could. Hart chuckled, and stroked Oscar’s exposed white tummy. A soft, sedative purr emanated from Oscar, as if letting Hart know that everything was going to be okay.
“You know, Hart, I do believe you’ll fit in Fairy Falls,” Nat said, passing him a couple of granola bars from her leather purse. “Fit in, just fine.”

Meet the Author:

Escape to the past and have a blast.


Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com
Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwith
Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/sharonledwith
Amazon Author U.K. Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0084DUHJO

The books are only on sale through Mirror World Publishing, however, they can be purchase on other platforms:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

iTunes

Giveaway Details and Entry Form:

One winner will received 1 signed paperback copy of The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, and 1 signed paperback copy of Lost and Found. This giveaway is international!!

Monday, 28 January 2019

Guest Post: Sparking a Writer’s Creativity by Leigh Goff...

If I struggle with writing a descriptive scene, I know it’s time to step outside my present environment (the sofa, a hot cup of coffee, and a fluffy dog at my feet) and explore the world around me—really explore it. There’s something about traveling and sightseeing that stimulates my senses and creativity and it might be just what other writers need, too.

Photo courtesy of Cody Board Unsplash
When I was little, I loved traveling to visit my grandparents every summer. I remember counting down the days and planning what to pack in my blue and red-striped suitcase. I remember the excitement of my first airplane ride and my first trip to Disney World. Disney was like nothing else I’d ever experienced. It went something like this—the Florida sun blazed hot against my skin while the magical kingdom around me smelled of caramel apples and mouth-watering vanilla waffles. And, oh, the stomach-whirling water rides and fantasy-filled adventures that swept me away while I was there. When I arrived home after that first visit, I wrote all about it in my diary, every scrumptious detail. I didn’t want to forget where I’d been and what it felt like to be there because if I didn’t go back ever again, I would be able to revisit that dream-like place in my diary.

I’m an adult now, however, I still need to explore different worlds in order to get my writer’s creativity flowing. Whether my travels include walking in the woods, trekking through London, or taking a ghost tour of the historic buildings and cemeteries in my hometown, every trip is filled with descriptive possibilities. I don’t know if a future main character will end up lost in a city café ordering escargots and later singing along to a street musician’s rendition of ‘Chevaliers de la Table Ronde,’ but I’ll be able to describe it with accuracy because I’ve done it.

One memorable sightseeing trip was to Paris, which included a stop at the Louvre. Breathtaking. I’m talking about the artworks—every single one I saw, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The masterpiece was smaller than I’d imagined, but she was a rock star. Crowds lined up outside the salon for a glimpse of her. Finally, it was my turn. She was beautiful, mysterious, wise, and timeless.

As I stood there before her, I thought about the Da Vinci Code written by Dan Brown. I found myself recalling his vivid descriptions of the museum including its parquet floors, vaulted archways, glass pyramid, and the paintings’ gilded frames. Being there in person was amazing, but if I hadn’t had that experience, Dan Brown’s descriptions of the Louvre and a few of its precious contents were the next best thing to being there.

Writers create or recreate worlds with words and traveling experiences can be the spark for those words. As author Larry Brooks once said, “Writers experience the world…in a unique way. We look for meaning. We see it when we are not paying attention…We are scribes to the ticking of the days, and we have a job to do.” We just need to get out there and experience it for ourselves.

Here is a little from my latest novel for your reading pleasure.

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Fitzgerald has always known she is descended from a royal legacy of dark magic. Although a stranger to her coven in Annapolis, she is no stranger to grief and denial. However, when an ancient prophecy reveals the rise of a young, powerful witch and the impending death of another, she realizes she can no longer afford to suppress the magic that has taken away so much. She seeks out the frighteningly scarred, yet mysterious W who is destined to change her life, but even he cannot prepare her for the danger that lies ahead.

Engaged in a deadly game and not knowing whom her true rival is, Hannah isn't certain she will survive, and if she loses, she may lose everything, including the ones she loves.

AMAZON BUY LINKS
Leigh Goff loves writing young adult fiction with elements of magic and romance because it's also what she liked to read. Born and raised on the East Coast, she now lives in Maryland where she enjoys the area's great history and culture.

Leigh is a graduate of the University of Maryland, University College and a member of the Maryland Writers' Association and Romance Writers of America. She is also an approved artist with the Maryland State Arts Council. Her debut novel, Disenchanted, was inspired by the Wethersfield witches of Connecticut and was released by Mirror World Publishing. Leigh is currently working on her next novel, The Witch's Ring which is set in Annapolis.

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Removing the Chains…


Today marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the USA, which promotes equal rights for all Americans, regardless of their backgrounds. So, I thought it would be appropriate to honor this civil rights leader’s memory, and those who have sacrificed and struggled before him, by sharing one of the most powerful books I’ve recently read, with you. While researching for the next installment of The Last Timekeepers series, entitled The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave, I came upon this non-fiction gem, To Be A Slave. Released in 1968, To Be A Slave was actually written for middle grade children, and has garnered many awards including a Newbery Honor. Authored by Julius Lester and illustrated by Tom Feelings, the book explores what it was like to be a slave. It includes many personal accounts of former slaves, accompanied by Lester’s historical commentary, and Feelings’ powerful and muted drawings.

I found that To Be a Slave fills a void in the documentation of American history by providing a concrete illustration of the culture and history of blacks in the United States. It contained a treasure trove of research material I was able to glean for my book, and I’m humbled to have received a glimpse into the lives of slaves through Lester’s thorough research. The book focuses on the plight of blacks: their brutal capture in Africa, their confined passage to America in slave ships, and their subsequent servitude. Rather than offering a dry summary of these events, Lester brings history to life, presenting the testimony of former slaves (including Solomon Northup of Twelve Years a Slave) who describe their experiences in visceral detail. Because most slaves were illiterate, their stories were passed along orally, but most written historical accounts of slavery ignore this oral tradition, focusing instead on how slavery as an institution affected the white, mainstream society. Hence, Lester fills a historical gap by providing a black perspective on the same situation.

In my opinion, To Be A Slave (along with Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl) should be part of every school’s curriculum to educate our youth on what it’s like to walk in the shoes of those who lived before them. It’s also like having a time travel portal in the classroom. Of course, slavery still exists throughout the world, but humanity’s view has changed in leaps and bounds since the 1700s. We still have a long way to go, but we’re making headway and removing those chains, one link at a time.

If you’re interested in Julius Lester’s phenomenal book, To Be A Slave, you can check it out HERE. I’ll leave you with a taste of this classic book that forever pulled me into Lester’s shoes:

It was the late forties. I was not yet ten years old. One day there came in the mail a letter addressed to my father in which a company promised—in big and bold letters—to research the Lester family tree and send us a copy of our family coat of arms. I was excited, but when I saw my father fold the letter as if to discard it, I asked anxiously, ‘Don’t you want to know our family history?’

He laughed dryly. ‘I don’t need to pay anybody to tell me about where we come from. Our family tree ends in a bill of sale. Lester is the name of the family that owned us.’
His words were one of the defining moments of my life.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Guest Post: The Conundrum of Time by Anne Montgomery...

The passing of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, who famously wrote A Brief History of Time, had me thinking about, well … time.

I teach high school and my students often complain when, upon being late to class, I am undeterred from marking them tardy.

“But I’m only a few minutes late,” they plead.
 
Which is all I need to hoist myself onto my soapbox. “When I was in television, I had to be in my seat when the red camera light blinked on. I couldn’t be one second late. And when I referee a football game, what if I’m late while the players, coaches, and fans are all waiting for kickoff. What if my students arrive at my classroom and I’m not there to let them in?"

My young charges roll their eyes.

“You have to be on time,” I say. “If you’re the worker who’s always punctual, no one wants to fire you. It shows you care about being professional and not imposing on your co-workers.”

Here is where I admit that my nightmares consist mainly of me unsuccessfully trying to get somewhere on time. Whether it be a TV set, a classroom, a ballgame, or an airport, the scenario is always the same. I am late, horrified at the prospect, and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get where I need to be on time.

Just a few days ago, I was revisited by the terrors of being tardy. My student reporters were in a contest with a deadline. We were six minutes out. I found myself repeatedly checking the second hand on the classroom clock … tick, tick, tick … as we tried to rectify the software glitch that was holding up delivery of our final product. I flashed back to those days when I had to run onto the news set, heart racing, and slide into my chair while pasting on a smile.

My students made their deadline, and the flashback gave me pause.

I will retire from teaching in two years, and I’d like to think those deadline dreams will diminish. But, it seems, I might have another time-related problem.

“I worry about you when you retire,” my long-time beau has said more than once.

“Why, my sweetie pie?”

“I’m afraid you will not have enough to do.”

I consider his concern.

“You don’t know how to relax,” he says. “You always have to be busy.”

“I will have plenty to do in retirement,” I say. “No worries.”

But he doesn’t look convinced.

While I do plan, upon retirement, to hammer to death the obnoxious alarm clock that has pestered me for decades, I’m not really sure just how I’ll respond to a world with far fewer deadlines.

As Hawking famously said, “Only time (whatever that may be) will tell.”

I hope you'll take the time to peek into my latest novel.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father's age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

BUY LINKS
Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Book Tour: Fey Guardian Series Box Set by Tiffany Shand...


Welcome to the Virtual Book Tour for Tiffany Shand's Fey Guardian Series Box Set.

About the Box Set:

Our memories are who we are.

But for Zoe Finn, it’s all a blur. She has no memory of the first ten years of her life. The world around her is shrinking as she’s pushed up against her own inner demons. It’s a daily struggle just to breathe – until a handsome stranger enters her life.

Nick Trevelyan can help Zoe put her life together. As the last guardian, he enforces the law of The Circle, the council of races. With him by Zoe’s side, there’s no telling what they’ll discover. And as Zoe investigates the mysterious deaths of psychics, the truth about her own past slowly crawls into the light. As her unusual abilities come into focus, Zoe learns more about herself than she ever thought possible.

Will she succeed in unraveling her mysterious past? Or will this cruel world keep her shrouded in darkness?

Exclusive Excerpt:

“What’s up with you?” Carmel asked, moving out from behind the counter. “You’re so jumpy today.”
Zoe glanced over at her foster mother then back out the window. “Nothing, I... Something weird happened to me last night.” She moved to the window, sure she could feel someone watching her. She’d never felt unsafe in the tiny shop before now.
She hadn’t had much sleep that night and had been too afraid to go home. She’d crashed at Mia’s flat, only returning home to check on her cat and grab some clean clothes. Chloe had called to tell her Jim hadn’t opened up the club, which made her even more nervous.
“Zoe, what’s going on? You’re shaking.” Carmel moved around the counter and put her hand on her shoulder. “What’s wrong? You’re scaring me.”
Zoe checked out the window again. The feeling of being watched lessened but something still felt wrong. “Carm, I don’t know what to do.” She put her head in her hands and blurted out everything that had happened the night before with the strange man. “I think he killed Jim. I-I want to go to the police, but I’m afraid they’ll think I’m mad.” 

Books in the Box Set:

Memories Lost, Book 1
Memories Awakened, Book 2
Memories Found, Book 3

Box Set Details:

Print Length: 333 pages
Publisher: Tiffany Shand
Publication Date: January 7, 2019
ASIN: B07L7BP8H4

Purchase Your Copy from Amazon

Add the Box Set to Your Shelf on Goodreads

Tour Schedule:

https://saphsbookpromotions.blogspot.com/2019/01/book-tour-schedule-fey-guardian-box-set.html

Meet the Author:


Tiffany Shand is a writing mentor, professionally trained copy editor and copy writer who has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Born in East Anglia, Tiffany still lives in the area, constantly guarding her work space from the two cats which she shares her home with.

She began using her pets as a writing inspiration when she was a child, before moving on to write her first novel after successful completion of a creative writing course. Nowadays, Tiffany writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, as well as nonfiction books for other writers, all available through Amazon and on her own website.

Tiffany’s favourite quote is ‘writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go’ and it is armed with this that she hopes to be able to help, inspire and mentor many more aspiring authors.

When she has time to unwind, Tiffany enjoys photography, reading and watching endless box sets. She also loves to get out and visit the vast number of castles and historic houses that England has to offer.

You can contact Tiffany Shand, or just see what she is writing about at:

Tiffany’s Website

Tiffany’s Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Fey Guardian Box Set

Enter the Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 7 January 2019

Out with the Old Year. In with the New Year…

Justine and I selling our reading wares...

First, I want to wish my readers and followers a very Happy New Year, and all the best in 2019! I can’t believe how fast 2018 flew by. I guess we say that about every year, I’m afraid. I usually start off a new year with a post on what’s happening in my writing life, any newsworthy tidbits, and what I hope to accomplish this year. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a book release in 2018, so I’ve had to reassess and reevaluate my future goals and plans. Something I believe we all should do on a personal and professional level at the end of every year.

That said, shall we get this new year started! In December, I had the pleasure of working with my publisher, Justine Alley Dowsett at a Christmas Market in Windsor. It was so refreshing to get out of my writing lair and meet potential readers. We chatted up eager holiday shoppers and sold many books during our three-week stint each Wednesday night. And I’m happy to report that there’s a lot of young readers out there waiting for the next book in my series, so I’d better get my butt in my chair and finish off the next novel! I also met a teacher who seemed quite interested in our books, and promised to pass along our names to her school’s librarian. Sweet!

At the end of December, I write down where I’d like to be in twelve months—one book published, one book written, outline next book, and how to reach more readers. This strategy usually works for me, but for some reason, I fell short in 2018. Hence the importance of reassessment. Now, everything would have worked out great if I hadn’t applied for a Canadian grant for the Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series. A grant, by-the-way, I did not receive. Sigh. Glad I developed a thick skin throughout the years of writing! Anyway, I ended up submitting Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two in Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls series, to Mirror World Publishing last winter, and I’m happy to announce that this book will be released in May, 2019. Woohoo!

In order to reach more readers, I hired a book promotion specialist last January, which helped with my social media presence and got my books out into the cyber-world. Time will tell if this is a good investment or not, but I realize that this publishing gig is a marathon, not a sprint, and patience is the name of the game. I truly believe that hard work eventually pays off, and I’m continuing to see slow and steady growth as an author, and in book sales. I’ve also revamped my website to make it ‘mobile friendly’, updated my author photo, and added a couple of free cookbooks on the site where some of my recipes are featured along with other prominent authors’ recipes. It’s a win-win for readers and foodies! Check out my mobile friendly website HERE.

I also want to announce that I’ve scheduled a week-long Birthday Book Blog Tour starting February 4th and running until February 8th to showcase my two book series, and give readers a sneak peek at my upcoming release in May. There will be an international Rafflecopter giveaway for the first book in The Last Timekeepers series and Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, plus Mirror World Publishing has agreed to put my books up for sale for the entire month of February! I’ll also be busy finishing up the next installment of The Last Timekeepers time travel adventure series set to be released in 2020, and will continue to connect with my readers on the numerous social media networks. So that’s all the news for now. Thanks so much for your continued support throughout the years. Readers Rock!



Below are the links to my website, blog, and social media accounts. Please consider following or connecting with me:

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, LINKEDIN, INSTAGRAM, and GOODREADS.