Wednesday 31 January 2024

Come Celebrate Sharon Ledwith’s Birthday Bash this February in Atlantis and Fairy Falls…

Welcome to Atlantis. I’ve been expecting you. Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected. Okay, not the real Atlantis or Fairy Falls, but the next best thing! Since February is my birthday month, I like to celebrate the whole month by giving my readers a good deal on my books to bulk up on their winter reading. This year, I’m kicking off my annual birthday bash month by giving readers a discount on each of my books, including my box sets. Starting February 1st and running until February 29th, ALL my ebooks and books will be on sale for $3 off the listed price through the Mirror World Publishing online bookstore. This way, readers can pick and choose which books or ebooks they would like to dive into.

The discount code for February's promotion is BIRTHDAYBASH. To make this even easier for my amazing readers, here's the link for the sale which automatically applies the discount, along with the QR Code below it if you wish to use that:

The year, 2024, also marks the 10th Anniversary for my publisher, Mirror World Publishing, which is a big deal in my humble opinion, and quite an achievement. Why, you ask? Well, since I’ve been a published author, I’ve witnessed many publishers who’ve closed their doors through bankruptcy or failed business practices, and left their authors to find other publishers or alternatives. Many authors never did, and some had a hell of a time getting their rights returned to them. I feel grateful for connecting with Mirror World Publishing when I did, as the publisher I was contracted with shut down in 2015. Call it kismet. Call it fate. Call it destiny. It was totally meant to be, and I applaud my publisher for keeping up with the times, and choosing their brand wisely. Kudos, Justine, Robert, Sabrina, and Rhiannon!

If you’re interested in a journey to Atlantis or Fairy Falls, check out the covers and blurbs for each book featured at Mirror World Publishing’s online bookstore. You never know. Maybe you’ll get an intuitive hit of living in Atlantis in a past life, or have a nostalgic feeling of visiting a small tourist town like Fairy Falls where anything is possible. Wink.

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

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.

Legend of the Timekeepers (prequel):

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.

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

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.

The Last Timekeepers and the Noble Slave (Book #3):

Eleven-year-old Drake Bailey is an analytical thinker and the genius of the Timekeeper crew. However, no logic or mathematical acumen can change the color of his skin, or prepare him for this third Timekeeper mission in antebellum Georgia. To survive, Drake must learn to play the role of a plantation slave and when confronted with the brutality, hatred, and racism of the deep south, he’ll have to strategically keep one move ahead of his sadistic captors to ensure his lineage continues.

In a dark world of Voodoo, zombies, and ritualistic sacrifice, the Timekeepers must ensure a royal bloodline survives. Can Drake remove both literal and figurative chains to save both himself and a devout slave girl from a terrible fate? If he can’t summon the necessary courage, humanity could stand to lose one of its greatest leaders.

Lost and Found, Book One: Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls:

The Fairy Falls 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.

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two: Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls:

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

Remember, this fantastic deal won’t last long! Plus, I can’t think of a better way to ride out the forecast that Mr. Groundhog gives us than relaxing with a good book, a comfortable chair, and cozy blanket. Unless you live in the southern hemisphere and get to enjoy reading by the pool or at the beach. Keep warm (or cool), and I hope you choose to escape to the past and have a blast with me, this February! Cheers, and thank you for taking the time to celebrate my birthday month with me. I appreciate you!

Sunday 28 January 2024

Book Reviews: The Literary Equivalent of Crack by Women's Fiction Author Anne Montgomery...

Once your book has had a 5-Star Review you’ll need that rush again.  But remember, some reviewers won’t be so benevolent, so be prepared to suffer the book review blues. Then, be strong, and send your baby out into the world again.

Authors long for reviews. We go to great lengths to find folks willing to pen blurbs about our babies. Because, of course, reviews sell books.

So…we contact newspapers and magazines and TV stations, radio outlets, book bloggers, and those with the keys to the podcasts. Then there are the book clubs and bookstores – the few that remain in brick-and-mortar form. Sometimes, authors beg friends and family members for reviews, but that seems a bit on the suspect side. I mean, generally, don’t loved ones want to say nice things, if only to be polite and avoid familial strife? I have so far refrained from this particular approach, which does not mean I might not give it a try in the future. I just haven’t…yet. 

A well-written query letter, to all the proper specifications, might glean a review about two to three percent of the time. Really. I sent out 60 requests one weekend and got two “No thanks” replies for my efforts. The other fifty-eight beautifully composed queries went unanswered.

Still, on that rare occasion when someone agrees to review your book…oh, the joy! And then the wait. Weeks, maybe months, go by before the results come in. And that first 5-Star Review? You read it over and over, lingering over the verbiage like it’s a letter from a lover:

“I say this is a must read! The book is utterly captivating and mature.”

“The story was tightly plotted and suspenseful.”

“Tragic, disturbing, captivating, but utterly fantastic!”

But as with most love affairs, eventually the words become too familiar, stale, and you long for something different. So the quest begins again. You need that high, and the begging – OK, go ahead and call it marketing, if that makes you feel better – begins anew.

Then, of course, authors must also stomach the not-so-charitable comments. There’s the dreaded DNF: Did Not Finish, meaning your book was so bad the reviewer simply couldn’t get to your well-crafted, quite brilliant ending.

“The writing style wasn’t for me. It was too descriptive for my taste.”

“This work aims high but ultimately falls short.”

“The brief, cliff-hanger chapters might appeal to reluctant readers.”

Ouch! And yet, we keep…on…looking. Hoping that someone will read our words and tell us what they think.

Perhaps there is something inherently wrong with authors that we are willing to put ourselves in a position of such utter vulnerability. I’ve heard budding writers say they fear rejection and I want to laugh. Rejection is part of the job description. One must embrace it: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” and all that.

A way to survive the emotional ups and downs of the book review process is to consider the subjectivity of the practice, because these missives are but personal opinions. Don’t believe me? Well, every one of the comments listed above, including the dreaded DNF, came from actual reviews of my most recent novel, The Scent of Rain. Go figure. How can one person adore a book and another find it repugnant? Beats me. But I do know we authors must never refuse to offer our books up on the sacrificial altar of Reviews. Yes, there will be low points, but the highs, I promise you, will blot out those blues.

So stand straight. Be bold. Believe in your prose and send your baby out into the world. Really, there’s no other way.

Please allow me to give you a brief intro to my latest women's fiction novel for your reading pleasure.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

Amazon Buy Link

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.

Sunday 21 January 2024

Author in the Kitchen: Beef Vegetable Soup by Cookbook Author Sloane Taylor...

Since January is National Soup month, I've invited renown cookbook author, Sloane Taylor into my virtual kitchen to prepare a hearty soup that will to keep you warm and toasty right down to your toes. Take it away, Sloane...

This recipe is the perfect way to use veggies that have been around a while and leftover roast beef. Serve with crusty bread, a dry red wine and your dinner is complete.


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1lg. garlic clove, chopped
12 baby carrots, cut into thirds
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 tbsp. butter
2 red potatoes, not peeled, diced
10 green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
½ small zucchini, diced
½ lb. cooked beef, diced
3 cups beef stock, not broth
1 – 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
1 small bay leaf
2 pinches allspice
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Warm oil in a Dutch oven set on medium heat. Add onions. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes until lightly colored. Add garlic, cook 30 – 60 seconds, stirring constantly. Mix in carrots and celery. Adjust heat so onions and veggies don’t burn.

Swirl butter into pan. Add remaining veggies and meat. Saut̩ 5 Р8 minutes.

Combine remaining ingredients into pot. Bring soup to a boil. Cover pot, lower heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

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


Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

To learn more about Taylor go to her website Stay in touch on BloggerTwitter, and LinkedIn.

Taylor's cookbooks, Hot Mean Wear ApronsDate Night Dinners, Date Night Dinners Italian Style, Sizzling Summer, and Recipes to Create Holidays Extraordinaire are released by Toque & Dagger Publishing and available at all book vendors.

Sunday 14 January 2024

3 Tips for Aspiring Authors by Young Adult Paranormal Author Leigh Goff...

Be Ready for Rejection

Even if someone had told me about this, I’m not sure I would have believed just how much rejection there would be. I even used Query Tracker to hone my agent and publisher searches, making sure my manuscript fit what each agent or publisher was looking for and that I followed their query rules. I can look back now and smile at how many rejection letters I received for my first novel, only because there were a few kind agents in the bunch who took the time to offer brief critiques on what I had submitted. 

I would send out 15-20 queries at a time, then I’d wait to hear back from the literary agents or small press publishers. I didn’t always get a response, but when I did, it was ultimately a rejection (cue sad music). With some of those rejections came little nuggets of advice. Trust me, those nuggets aren’t meant to be mean, they were bits of gold meant to improve my writing. I took that gold and made revisions. And I made revisions. And I made revisions. This book was my first attempt at writing a novel and I had a lot to learn. The rejections were disappointing and hurt at first, but the advice was necessary, appreciated, and it did make the book better. So I’d say be ready for rejection and be open to any advice a writing professional offers you. 

Be Prepared--the Publishing Process Moves Slowly

Once I received a publishing offer for my first book (woohoo!), I was slated for edits. There were three rounds of edits that had to fit the various editors’ schedules. Completing a round of edits does take time. Fortunately, I am good with deadlines, even when I had to take a chapter and rewrite it completely. Once that was done, the book went to their graphic designer for cover art, and it was typeset (set up for printing). The book was then scheduled for a release date that worked for the publisher and their other book releases. Plus they had to plan social media events leading up to and for the week of the release.  

My favorite part of this slow-moving process is the cover art. There’s nothing like getting to see what your “baby” is going to look like on a bookshelf! 

Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams

Dreams do come true, but they may not happen the way you expected or on your perfect schedule. 

After my first book was published, three months later the publisher went out of business. I was blessed to find another publisher that was excited to take on my novel along with my second book. My third book was discovered during a Twitter pitch party. That was a nice surprise. However, after the book was published the pandemic happened. That publisher suffered financial losses and went under. The company’s name was purchased by someone who had their own catalog of books, so that allowed me to take ownership of the third book. Finally, after years of hoping, I signed with a literary agent for my fourth book. I worked with her on the edits for that manuscript and it is currently out on submission to editors and publishers. 

When that book went on submission, I finished my fifth book which is a YA thriller set in coastal South Carolina. There are three sisters, an exotic garden, and Big Pharma causing lots of deadly trouble. I just love it. Fingers crossed that my agent finds the best homes for both of these books. My sixth book idea is being outlined at present. It will be a YA thriller set in D.C. and it’s going to be super fun to write! 

Leigh Goff
is an author of three published young adult novels and is represented by Lauren Bittrich. She is working on her next novel, a young adult thriller, while her current manuscript, Wicked Sweet, is on submission.

You can find her current published novels at Audible | Amazon | Apple   

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkTree

Sunday 7 January 2024

Souping Up the Chicken with Author Helen Carpenter...

We're good eggs here in Carpenter Country, and we subscribe to the waste-not philosophy of life. In our kitchen, one cooked chicken results in multiple meals, including delicious homemade chicken soup.

For this soup recipe, we began with a chicken slow cooked in the crockpot. Once the chicken was cooked and the initial chicken-and-vegetable-and-potato meal eaten, we separated the remaining meat from the bones. We used the darker chicken meat in the soup, and the white-meat portions in chicken salad, chicken potpie, and chicken sandwiches.

Then we got out our soup pot and put together this stovetop soup. For extra flavor, when we filled the pot with water, we added a few spoonsful of the drippings collected in the crockpot as the chicken cooked.

Note that this recipe works exactly the same if you prefer to roast your chicken in the oven.

Here's our souped-up video. The full recipe follows below.

Chicken trimmings (bones and skin) from fully cooked chicken
Water (enough to cover the trimmings and fill the pot)
2-4 tbsp. pan drippings, depending on the size of your pot
2-4 cups fresh or frozen vegetables of your choice (we used frozen mixed)
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. garlic salt (or regular salt if you prefer)
2 tsp. minced garlic
Dash black pepper
2 cups shredded chicken meat

Add chicken trimmings to pot.

Add enough water to cover the trimmings and fill the pot.

Add pan drippings.

Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.

Remove chicken trimmings from pot with strainer or slotted spoon and skim off any foam from the broth.

Add vegetables, seasonings, and shredded chicken to pot. Add additional water if necessary.

Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes.

Serve hot with bread or crackers.

Add a packet of chicken bouillon with the drippings to punch up the flavor.

For a thinner broth, leave out the vegetables (or cook them until they are very soft) and reduce the amount of shredded chicken. Use the broth in other recipes or serve in mugs.

To make chicken noodle soup, add noodles or pasta of your choice along with the vegetables.

Be creative with the spices. For instance, a dash of curry powder adds a unique flavor.

Once upon a time there was a mother/daughter author duo named Helen and Lorri, who wrote as HL Carpenter. the Carpenters worked from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories was unreal but not untrue. Then one day Lorri left her studio to explore the land of What-If, and like others who have lost a loved one the magical place lost much of its magic. But thanks to family, plus an amazing group of wordsmiths named Authors Moving Forward (AMF), the magic is slowly returning.

Helen Carpenter loves liking and sharing blog posts from other authors. She lives in Florida with her husband of many years and appreciates every day, especially those without hurricanes.

Stay connected on her blog and Facebook.