Sunday, 18 July 2021

Guest Post: Nothing is More Valuable than Memories by Author Anne Montgomery...


A while back, I returned home to find the front door ajar. My first concern was that my dogs had gotten out, but when I went inside, they both stared at me and wagged their tails. Did I spy a wee sense of guilt on their doggy faces? 

Though I saw nothing out of place in the living room, something felt wrong. Then, I approached my bedroom and a chill ran down my spine. The mess inside showed I’d been burglarized. I briefly wondered if the perpetrator was still in the house, but since the dogs were sitting placidly, I realized I was alone.

“Really?” I squinted at my two cattle-dog pups. “You couldn’t bark or something?”

They responded by vigorously wagging their tails.

I turned back to the mess in my room. The drawers had been rifled. The decorative boxes on my dresser had been dumped onto the bed, what remained of my jewelry scattered in glittery bits on the bedspread and floor. It was easy to see that the good stuff was gone. That the really good stuff was in a safe gave me a moment of relief. But then I thought of my ring, the emerald and diamond piece my sweetie pie presented to me on a beautiful day in the desert, an adornment he purchased because of my love of emeralds and because he wanted us to be together forever.

The box where I kept the ring was empty.

It wasn’t until later that I noticed my office had been searched as well, but nothing appeared to be missing.

Sadly, I was wrong. “I can’t find my log.”

"I’m sure it’s here somewhere,” Ryan said.

But we searched and the book was gone. I was heartbroken.

What had disappeared was my dive log, a planner, of sorts, dedicated to those of us who scuba dive. The idea is that when you’re a new diver, reflecting on what happened underwater is a good way to become a better diver. Generally, we document the conditions: water and air temperature, dive site, date, and dive profile. Then we write down what we saw – beautiful jewel colored fishes on a sunlit reef, magnificent sharks, charming dolphins, sea turtles and star fish and eels and nudibranchs.


But we also revisit what went wrong on a dive: losing track of your partner, not paying attention to air consumption, getting caught in a current, misplacing the dive boat. The log contains stamps, as well, verifying special dives on wrecks and others where we descended below 100 feet.

So, the log is a reflection on our dive memories and underwater performance. The idea is to document your first one hundred dives, a milestone I was approaching.

The other day, Ryan and I were walking our dogs. I don’t recall how the question came up, but it hung between us. “Which do you miss more, your emerald ring or your dive log?” he asked.

I didn’t answer right away, but I couldn’t lie. “My dive log,” I said wistfully.

“I knew you’d say that.” Then he smiled.

I’m so glad he understood.

Now, I have a new dive log that Ryan bought me, one with lots of clean, white pages. I guess I’ll just have to start over, so I've got a lot of diving to do.

Yes! 

Here's a little from my suspense novel based on a true incident. It's not romance but I hope it intrigues you.

As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon.

When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers.

And then the girl vanishes.

While the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born deep in the wilderness.

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, and Twitter.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Get Your Summer Sizzling with this Chicken Kabob Recipe and Grilling Cookbook by Sloane Taylor...

Quick and easy and oh so good. This is a delicious meal for two and it's terrific when friends or family come for dinner. Simply increase ingredient amounts proportionally and you’re good to go! Serve with Pear Salad, Sautéed Broccoli, and White Wine – Riesling.

 
CHICKEN KABOBS

1 – 1½ lbs. (500 – 750g) chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
1 med. onion, quartered
1 med. red pepper, seeded and ribs removed
1 med. yellow pepper, seeded and ribs removed
3 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped fine
¾ cup (180ml) olive oil
¾ cup (180ml) honey
1 tbsp. (15ml) soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
10 – 16 baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
Vegetable oil for grill

Cut chicken into 1½ in. (3.8cm) pieces and then place into a plastic bag or bowl. Separate onion sections, add to chicken. Slice peppers into 1 in. (2.54cm) pieces add to chicken. Set aside.

Whisk garlic through pepper together in a small bowl. Add half, maybe a little more, this mixture to chicken. You need to hold back some marinade for basting while you grill. Cover and refrigerate 1 – 2 hours.

Coat grill lightly with olive oil. Set grill to medium-high.

Thread chicken and veggies onto skewers, e.g.: chicken, onion, mushroom, yellow pepper, chicken, pineapple, red pepper, and so on. Make sure all the pieces touch but aren’t jammed against one another. Discard remaining marinade.

Grill 12 – 15 minutes. Brush skewers with held back marinade and turn frequently so meat cooks evenly.

No skewers? No problem.

Drain chicken mixture in a colander. Heat a skillet on the grill or stove. Add reserved marinade, chicken and remaining ingredients. Sauté 12 – 15 minutes, stirring and turning frequently.

Chicken Kabobs, Pear Salad, and Sautéed Broccoli are just three of the easy and delicious recipes you will enjoy from my latest cookbook. Here's a little more info for you.

Romance meets Outdoor Dining

Why not share a summer night with someone special?

What better than a sizzling romantic dinner, candles, wine and music?

Create 45 delicious and complete dinners for two that can be cooked on your grill or stove. No exotic or expensive ingredients needed. These 103 recipes use everyday products already in your kitchen cabinets. Increasing the dinners is a snap for those fun nights friends or family join you.

You’ll love Date Night Dinners Sizzling Summer, Book 2 in the Meals to Make Together series, because great food is the doorway to infinite possibilities.

Add a little romance to a starry evening with a delicious dinner perfect for two. Uncork the wine and enjoy!

 
Grab your copy today.


May you enjoy all the days of your life filled with good friends, laughter, and seated around a well-laden table! Sloane


Sloane Taylor
is an Award-Winning romance author with a passion that consumes her day and night. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Learn more about Taylor's cookbooks, Date Night Dinners and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire on Amazon.

Excerpts from her romance books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page. Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Cover Reveal: Tabitha Won't Sleep by David McLain and Felix Eddy...

Mirror World Publishing and
Sapphyria's Book Promotions
 present the cover reveal for Tabitha Won't Sleep.

About Tabitha Won't Sleep:

It’s eight bells, and Tabitha Winter doesn’t want to go to sleep.

“Well, it’s time to go to bed,” Mama Kitty says. “Come on, let’s put your pajamas on. Dad will read you a story.”

Tabitha Won’t Sleep is a beautifully illustrated picture book about a young kitten whose parents encourage her to believe that she can do anything she wants to, as long as she goes to sleep first. Children will love exploring the wonderful adventures Tabitha has in mind as she tries to avoid bedtime, and adults will love that in the end, everyone goes to sleep. Seriously, it's past eight-thirty. Lay down your head and close your eyes.


Release Date: August 17, 2021
Publisher: Mirror World Publishing

Meet the Author:

David McLain is the author of the novels The Life of Thief, Dragonbait, and The Time Travellers Resort and Museum. His stories and poems have appeared in over two dozen magazines, including Harvard’s Dudley Review. He is an occasional contributor to the podcasts The History of England, and Geek Salad. He graduated from Purchase College, where he directed a production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He lives in upstate New York.

Meet the Illustrator:

Felix Eddy graduated Magna Cum Laude from Alfred University. She has illustrated over two dozen books for children and young adults, including The Big Red Purse, Dinosaur Boogie, Barks Mulberry Socks*, K-9 Merlin-Police Dog Extraordinaire*, and The Bestiary Alphabet, which she also wrote. You can find out more about her art and embroidery at her website www.felixeddy.com. (* Bark's Mulberry Socks and K-9 Merlyn are both 2020 TAZ award winners.)

Connect with the Author and Illustrator:



David McLain's Amazon Profile: https://amzn.to/3hEFuTs


Sunday, 4 July 2021

Guest Post: Creating Your Perfect Summer Garden by Emma Lane...

Theme gardens can be fun for adventurous gardeners who want to shake things up.

Photo by Emma Gossett on Unsplash

Colorful annuals. Their raison d’etra, reason for living, is to bloom and make seeds. To keep them full of their bright and beautiful blossoms frequent culling of the old blooms is the secret. Paying attention to color combinations will enhance bedding petunias such as blue and yellow; red, white and blue; primary colors-red, yellow and blue; all pastels.


Perennials are friends forever. The trick here is to plant staggered bloomers. Daffodils and tulips for spring give way to lupine and peonies in April and May. June is for roses (and brides) and July owns lilies. Hibiscus and other members of the family (Rose of Sharon) for late summer, and we all appreciate summer’s wind up with splashes of intensely colored mums and sunflowers. There are many beautiful perennials to be planted in between. Careful attention to foliage varieties is also important for a successful perennial bed: spiky Crocosmia, spreading Dianthus, and pretty round-leafed Baptismia australis which has an herbal gray cast to its foliage.

Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

Butterfly and humming bird gardens are always fun. Certainly the tiny hummers appreciate blooms where they can dip in and steal a drop of nectar, but I’ve seen them take a tiny taste of flat but colorful yarrow. My son gifts me a huge fuchsia for Mother’s Day which is the very day I usually spot the first humming bird. They love this plant! Hummers prefer trumpet shaped blooms they can dip their long bills to drink the nectar, but I have observed them sipping from a daisy.


Shade gardens are wonderful underneath shaded walkways.  Besides the enormous varieties of hosta, spring bulbs can be followed with blue bells and other shade loving perennials. Brunneria is a precious substitute for hosta. Deer treat it with disdain. Begonias have a large variety for annual shade; my favorite is non-stop begonia in their vivid colors. Spring blooming shrubs are glorious such as rhododendrons, azaleas, dogwood and many others that liven up the woods before the trees leaf out. 

Cutting gardens are wonderful for those who appreciate fresh cut bouquets for inside. Reserve a bed especially for: gladiola, tall zinnias, phlox, sunflowers, snapdragons, lisianthus, lilies, just a few of the varieties that are splendid cut flowers.



… which leads me to call attention to my latest Cozy Adventure/ Mystery, Whispers of Danger and Love

 The heroine is a landscape architect who speaks gardening. She struggles with a client who demands a cutting garden mid summer, (and a hunky detective who seems bound to destroy her plants.) I enjoyed relaxing in her garden even as I created it from my own imaginings. It was also fun to watch the sparks fly between a couple who knew each other as children but must readjust their thinking as adults.

 


Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes cozy mysteries as Janis Lane, 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.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Fabulous Fairy Cakes and an Epic Fantasy Read by Carol Browne...

This delightful dessert is popular in Britain. We call them fairy cakes while my American cousins call them cupcakes. No matter which you say, I am confident you will love this vegan sweet. Add a little food colouring to the icing for a more festive appearance. Sprinkles or candied cake decorations are also a fun addition.

 
FAIRY CAKES

6 tbsp. /90ml oil
1 cup /230ml water
½ cup /55g light brown or coconut sugar
1¼ cups /185g self-rising flour 
1 heaped tsp. /5+ml baking powder
1 ½ oz. /45g cocoa or carob powder

ICING
½ cup /55g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
vanilla essence (vanilla extract) to taste
¼ cup /55g margarine

Preheat oven to 350 F°/180C/gas 4.

Stir oil into water in a medium-size bowl. Beat in dry ingredients with a hand whisk. Roughly 2 mins.

Insert fairy cake (cupcake) papers into a muffin tin. Pour in batter about half way up the paper. Bake 15 mins.

Remove cakes from tin and allow to cool on a rack.

Cream filling ingredients together in a small bowl. Slather onto cakes after they have cooled.

You’ve worked hard so pour a cup of tea and settle a fairy cake or two onto a plate then sit back. How about a peek at the first book in my epic fantasy series while you enjoy a break?

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

EXCERPT

The night was waning when Elgiva woke, wondering where she was. The dark ceiling of Joskin’s cave hung above her, and everything had a reddish glow, cast by the embers of the fire. She slid from under the fur coverlet, her skin tightening at the loss of its warmth, and searched for her leather sandals.

Something had woken her, something that waited outside the cave. A runnel of dread ran down her spine.

She had an inexplicable sense of impending danger, but it was too insistent to ignore. An unnamed instinct stopped her from alerting her companions. She must face this menace alone.

She left the cave as quietly as she could. Her heart pounded in her throat as she peered between the rowan trees and searched the night. Whatever had awakened her, it beckoned. She held her breath and listened, but her ears detected nothing, save for a silence as dark and empty as an abandoned crypt.

It would soon be daybreak, but the sun had yet to rise, and the dark beyond the cave swarmed with potential horrors. She stepped out from among the rowans, relying on her acute senses to make out her surroundings. An unnatural calm gripped the night and as her sandals whispered against the cold grass, they sounded abnormally loud. She feared they would betray her presence.

After a while, she came to a stop and searched the trees. Thin strands of mist curled along the ground, cold and clammy, like an exhalation of sickness.

She hugged her shoulders, knotted her fingers in the cascade of her hair, and shivered in her ragged robe. All around her, the silence seemed to be drawing into focus.

“Who is it?” Her throat was too dry for her purpose. She swallowed and licked her lips. “Who’s there? I know you’re there. I can . . . I can feel you!”

Feel you.

A flash of silver sliced through the dark, and Elgiva gasped in fear. Her arms came up to shield her face as the beam struck a rock several yards ahead. It exploded with a whoosh and sent up thousands of splinters of light, which fell to the ground and sizzled in the mist.

A shape now stood upon the rock, its form concealed in a black, hooded cloak.

Elgiva clutched the amulet to her breast. Her hands were white with terror. “In the name of Faine, who are you? What sort of trick is this?”

A soft, sly voice spoke back to her. “Why should you fear magic?”

“What do you want?” she pleaded, her voice a croak of fear.

“To see for myself.”

“To see what?”

The dark shape sniggered, but made no answer. Instead, it swept its cloak aside, and a cloud of sparks flew out and covered the ground with beads of light.

Elgiva stepped back unsteadily, resolved to flee.

“Stay!” commanded the creature.

It raised a skeletal hand, and the forefinger swung towards Elgiva and pinned her against the darkness, holding her like a rivet of bone. No elf, no wilthkin, ever owned such a hand. Her legs threatened to buckle beneath her. This had to be a nightmare; she was still asleep in the cave. But no, it was all too real.

“Who are you? What do you want?” she cried. “I have . . . I have an amulet!”

The creature laughed derisively. “I am Death, and I have come for you.”

It began to radiate a sickly green light, enveloping itself in a caul of brilliance that pulsated with force. The light grew in size until the trees behind it were bathed in its angry glare. It reached for Elgiva, like a foul stench creeping along a breeze, and she was helpless. The creature’s power throbbed in the darkness.

Within the taut coils of her fear, her instincts screamed at her to run, but her limbs had turned to stone.

Siriol, Siriol, help me . . . help . . .

With a shriek of glee, the creature increased the throb of its power. Elgiva’s mind was suddenly invaded by an inexplicable force. She became divorced from herself and watched from a great distance, waiting for the horror to unfold.

 

Born in Stafford in the UK, Carol Browne was raised in Crewe, Cheshire, which she thinks of as her home town. Interested in reading and writing at an early age, Carol pursued her passions at Nottingham University and was awarded an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living and working in the Cambridgeshire countryside, Carol usually writes fiction but has also taken a plunge into non-fiction with Being Krystyna. This story of a Holocaust survivor has been well received.

Stay connected with Carol on her website and blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Book Tour: Far, Far Away Anthology; 7 Stories in 7 Realms of Science Fiction and Fantasy published by Mirror World Publishing...


Welcome to the book tour for Far, Far, Away, a new SciFi and Fantasy 7 story anthology.

About Far, Far Away:

In a land far, far away… In a distant galaxy… Once upon a time…

These are all ways to begin fantastical tales of love and adventure. Gateways into the realms of imagination. In this anthology, we bring together authors from all over this world to transport you into the worlds they’ve created.

Travel through space and experience infinity three hours at a time. Explore dangerous caverns for the source of a deadly disturbance. Get stranded on a mysterious island from which no one returns, then learn to survive on a distant planet while you hope for rescue. 

In this far-reaching, magical collection love allows you to see in colour, time is vast but fragile, and changing minds and hearts in Ancient Rome is only one stop on an epic journey across time, space, and reality.

Guest Post:

My name is Justine Alley Dowsett, and I had the privilege and honour to not only help select all the stories that appear in the Far, Far Away Anthology, but also to help shape them through editing and put them all together in what I hope you will agree turned out to be a beautiful collection.

The theme of the anthology is experienced through its many settings. We wanted to showcase the imaginative worlds created by talented authors from all over so that you, the reader, could go on a journey through time, space, and reality without ever leaving whatever comfortable spot you chose to settle down with this book. In that, we think we’ve succeeded.

This anthology was a team effort. From the contest entrants, the judges, the winning authors, the editors, and myself to you, the readers. It took all of us to complete. In it, you’ll get to experience space travel, other planets, love like you’ve never seen it, time travel, fate, and the fight to survive. The stories vary in length, theme, setting, and style and no two are alike.

We hope you’ll take a chance on these seven stories and escape with us into the worlds these fantastic authors have created. We promise, it’ll be worth your time.

Bio: Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of ten novels and counting, 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 role-playing with her friends. 

Stories Included in the Anthology:

“Piece of Mind” by L.R. Braden

“Songs and Superstitions” by Shana Scott

“Black Spire Isles” by Barend Nieuwstraten III

“Field Notes from the Unknown Planet” by Brittni Brinn

“The Colour of Roses” by Kelly D. Holmes

“The Prime Crusade” by Buddy Young
 
“Fatestorm” by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred

Purchase from Amazon https://amzn.to/3cFcfOw

Purchase from Mirror World Publishing https://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/

Read an Excerpt:

It’s 2021. The pandemic drags on and we’re all stuck inside. Blegh. Reality sucks.

So why not take this opportunity to escape into fiction?

A year ago we ran a contest and we asked writers to submit stories set in other times, places, and versions of reality. Then we had our judges pick the best ones to include in this anthology.

Therefore, the seven stories you are about to read are windows into other worlds, but also into the minds of eight extremely creative and talented individuals. We’ve included their bios and a few words from each of them so you can get to know the people who have created such imaginative stories to take us far, far away, if only for a little while.

So pack your bags, or don’t because you won’t be needing them for this journey. Instead, sit back, relax, and turn the page to find distant galaxies, alien cultures, mysterious magical islands, unknown planets, the value of colour, the fragility of time, and the fickle nature of fate.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Finding Mr. Right by YA Author Leigh Goff...



How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you. 

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing. 

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you're ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone. 

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix. 

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat. 

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing. 

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.


As Koush Hollow is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. Here's a little to intrigue you.
Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters... is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

 Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. 

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

Sunday, 6 June 2021

What Writers Can Learn from Practicing Wu Wei…


I have to be honest. I haven’t been writing fresh content for my blog lately. I can blame Covid-19. I can blame not feeling like it. I can blame laziness. Truth is, after the world closed up for a few months in 2020, I found that I was burned out. Disenchanted with my publishing career came a close second (a.k.a. overworked and underpaid). So I knew it was time for a reevaluation. This put everything into perspective for me, and has taught me how to relax and be calm. One major lesson I learned during the pandemic was to embrace the concept of Wu Wei. In its purest meaning, Wu Wei reminds us to align with the present, and accept the flow and course of nature. Simply put, ‘go with the flow’. Easy said. Not so easy done.

Wu Wei means—in Chinese—non-doing or ‘doing nothing’. It sounds like a pleasant invitation to relax or worse, fall into laziness or apathy. Yet this concept is key to the noblest kind of action according to the philosophy of Daoism—and is at the heart of what it means to follow Dao or The Way. According to the central text of Daoism, the Dao De Jing: ‘The Way never acts yet nothing is left undone’. Huh? How’s that possible when it comes to writing your magnum opus? Or even your mini opus? This is the paradox of Wu Wei. It doesn’t mean not acting, it means ‘effortless action’ or ‘actionless action’. It means being at peace while engaged in the most frenetic tasks (insert anything creative here) so that one can carry these out with maximum skill and efficiency. Ever heard of being ‘in the zone’? That’s Wu Wei. Being at one with what we are doing, in a state of profound concentration and flow. Got it?

The hustle and bustle of the pre-Covid-19 world was getting to me. Too scheduled (my fault). Too many plans and not enough time to enforce them (also my fault). Too much pressure to be the perfect author/writer (more of a wake-up call). Too much ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. So when the world stopped in March 2020, so did I. What a breath of fresh air! No commitments. No obligations. Just a pause, a break, a respite. That’s when I found that Wu Wei was the prescription that I (and I believe the world) needed so desperately.

You can find evidence of Wu Wei everywhere in nature: in the tree that bends in the wind, then adjusts itself back into its original shape, and in a flowing stream—submissive and weak—until the water has gradually eroded the rocks to cut a path. Wu Wei involves letting go of ideals that we may otherwise try to force too violently onto things (or ourselves), and invites us instead to respond to the true demands of situations, which tend only to be noticed when we put our own ego-driven plans aside. What can follow is a loss of self-consciousness, a new unity between the self and its environment, which releases an energy that is normally held back by an aggressive, willful style of thinking. Try writing when anxiety is knocking at the door or you’re pushing against deadlines or the demands of the day. Doesn’t work, does it?

A good life could not be attained by Wu Wei alone—but this Daoist concept captures a distinctive wisdom we may be in desperate need of, especially in these post pandemic times. We are in danger of damaging ourselves through old patterns and belief systems that do not serve us anymore. Change is happening at a fast rate, and writers need to adapt if they want to survive in the publishing world. So the next time you find yourself staring at a blank page or screen, get up and go for a walk or make some tea. That way you’ll be swimming with the current of creativity, instead of wallowing in a pool of despair.

Have you heard of Wu Wei? If so, do you mindfully practice it? If not, are you willing to give it a try? Trust me, this concept will change your life. Either way, I’d love you to share your comments. Cheers, and thanks so much for reading my blog!

Sunday, 30 May 2021

A Unified Writing Career by C.D. Hersh...

 

Over the years while promoting our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles, and appeared on different blogs or radio interviews we’ve encountered many questions. Today, we are sharing a few of those questions and answers.

Who had the greatest influence on your writing careers?

At Donald’s uncle’s 90th birthday party, when we were talking with him about writing when Donald retired, he said we should just go for it now. We took his advice and the rest is history. He died a year later and really didn’t get to see that we got published.

Where’s the most romantic vacation spot you’ve been together?

Wawasee Lake in Indiana, where you can see a full sky of stars on an evening stroll arm-in-arm along the lake, listening to the sounds of the evening.

Are you a morning writer, afternoon writer, evening writer, or midnight oil writer?

As a team we tend to be afternoon and evening writers, although Catherine has been known to be a midnight oil writer when she is working with the first draft.

When did you first realize you were a good writing team?

Our first experience as a writing team came when we were writing drama scripts for our church. We had so much fun doing it and people seemed to really like what we wrote, that on a business trip Donald took, we wrote a three-act play called Adam and Eve on a Raft. After that we were hooked on writing things longer than two-minute skits. Then on another business trip we were discussing writing a book, to pass the time and keep awake, and the paranormal series was born.

In your Turning Stone Chronicles, you have a unique take on shape-shifters. Can you talk a little bit about that?

As we developed the book concept, we decided that we wanted something different than the normal were-shape shifters. In reality, we can thank Donald’s psychology courses for the idea of the various forms of shifting. One of the psyche theories is that we all have three parts to our psyche, commonly called id, ego and super-ego. We added a twist to that theory using male, female, and animal egos, and a magic ring that could tap the various forms.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in The Promised One?

We have several but probably the best is: “Grief is a midnight indulgence when no one else can hear.”

Who do you envision as your lead characters?

Alexi Jordan and Rhys Temple are the heroine and hero of The Promised One. Their story line runs through all the books, although the lead characters will change in each book.

In The Promised One, the partnership between Rhys and Alexi is extremely powerful and hits you immediately from the beginning of the book. Do you think this is a reflection of the strength within your own relationship together?

We’re laughing out loud here as we read this question. It’s not something we intended, but since our daughter said she could see us in the characters, we guess it does reflect our relationship, minus the shifting, of course. We suppose a bit of self comes out in all writers’ writing, at some point.

Since we’ve commented about Rhys and Alexi’s relationship, we thought we’d give you a brief look at those characters.

Tucking his gift under her arm, she started to leave.

“Hey.” He pointed at the other gifts. “Aren’t you going to add yours?”

“Nope. I’ll give it to you later, when we’re alone.”

“Ooh. Something special. Mineral or animal?” His right eyebrow raised, his smile growing.

Alexi laughed. “Just embarrassing.”

“For you or for me?”

“I’m not telling.”

Sidling close to her, he backed her against the wall. “Come on. Just a hint,” he said, a purr in his tone as he placed his hand on the wall next to her shoulder and moved into her personal space with the ease of a lover. One of his famous melt-the-girl looks smoldered in his gaze. The golden flecks in his green eyes lit up like fireworks. Hot fireworks.

Enjoying his closeness and the raw sensuality emanating from him, she lingered for a minute, then slowly moved away. Standing this close she could get burned, and she wasn’t ready to play with fire . . . not yet. She shook her head. “Not a chance.”

He crossed his arms, obviously irked that she hadn’t succumbed. “My irresistible charms work on everyone else. Why not you?”

Oh, if you only knew. She had to fight to resist him. She flashed him a smile. “Because I’m special. And I’m your partner. Keeping your back safe is more important than getting you on your back.”

He laughed, a deep, throaty, and utterly sexy sound.

She locked her knees to keep from melting into a puddle.

“I like the sound of that.”

Of course you would. She felt her face flame.


The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)


The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)


C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
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.

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.

They are looking 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.

Social Media Info:

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Pretzel Crack – the Addictive Snack!


Looking for a great family snack that’s easy to make and soooo addictively wicked for the Victoria or Memorial Day weekends? Then look no more. Seriously. You’ll be hooked with your first nibble. Trust me, you’ll need to lock these ranch-dressed, salty bites under lock and key if you want to make them last until the next holiday weekend or movie night. It’s the perfect snack to serve at the cottage or camping or on your patio while hanging with family or friends.

And guess what? No baking is required. Even your kids can help with this recipe.

What You Need:

32 ounce bag of pretzels

16 ounce bottle of Orville Redenbacher’s Buttery Flavor popcorn oil

1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (dry)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoon dill weed

1 deep foil tray (from dollar store)

What You Do:

1.      Mix all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.

2.      Mix in the popcorn oil.

3.      Coat pretzels evenly, then spoon out onto a deep foil tray.

4.      Air dry pretzels in foil tray, stirring every 15 minutes until dry (approximately 1-2 hours).

Store your freshly made pretzel crack in freezer bags. Voila. Done. Ready for consumption.

Warning: If you find that you or a family member eats a whole bag in one sitting, it’s time for an intervention. Do what you must, but make sure the appropriate treatment is enforced. Then, go ahead and make some more.

While waiting for the pretzel crack to dry, might I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, either series allows you to escape into another time and place, leaving the craziness of the real world far behind.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

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

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀