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The Sword and Sorcery Series by Dylan Doose

Love Epic Fantasy?
THE SWORD AND SORCERY SERIESBy Dylan Doose

Title: FIRE AND SWORD (Book 1)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 366
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

“An epic tale…”—Library Journal
A broken nation in need of a savior.

Ravaged by plague, decimated by dark magic, infiltrated by a foreign evil seeking to dominate from within, Brynth is on the eve of its dissolution. When all the good men are dead and gone, who is to answer the call and defy what is wicked for what is right?

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes.

Heretic monk turned Sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three.

“Gritty, fast-paced and compelling!” 

Honorable mention in Library Journal’s Indie Ebook Awards and a Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable 100!

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011H0JWCI

Title: CATACOMBS OF TIME (Book 2)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 120
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

“Dylan Doose is a master.”—Amazon reviewer
It’s going to be a long and bloody night.

The clock is ticking and Dr. De’Brouillard has a date. Dinner is at the Graves and a contract to cure one of the cursed is sitting on the plate. But when an old and dear friend reaches out from murky shadow for a helping hand, will the Doctor take it, risking all if he ends up being late?

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Dr. Gaige De’Brouillard believes science, not magic, conquers all. Even death is just an equation to be solved.

Malory “Butcher” Dahmer knows that life is but a dream, no wickedness, no sorcery too strange or obscene.

An Academic and a Gangster make for an interesting team.

Don’t miss the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling ‘visceral,’ ‘fantastic,’ and ‘intriguing’—get your copy of Catacombs of Time today!

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017WUOWPY

Title: THE PYRES (Book 3)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 317
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

Monsters. Magic. Epic Battles.

The mountains and valleys of Romaria echo with the calamitous sounds of civil war. A New Order challenges old gods and on the festival night of the Pyres, the tides of destruction are fully unleashed. 

When the great white city of Brasov turns black with ash, when the sky goes red and the moon hangs like a dark void above, who will stand against the darkness? 

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes.

Heretic monk turned Sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three.

Don’t miss the next thrilling instalment in the dark fantasy that reviewers are calling ‘gritty, fast-paced and compelling’—get your copy of The Pyres today!

“Grim, gritty, and good!” —Amazon Reviewer

 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01J6C0VE2

Title: ICE AND STONE (Book 4)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 136
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

“Dark and excellent!”—Amazon Reviewer


Raise the sails! Blow the horns! It’s raiding season!

After a storm, Therick—raider from the frozen north—lands on the wrong foreign shores. With axe in hand and violence in mind, he and his warriors seek out villages to pillage and plunder. 

But when a timeless evil rises, Therick is forced into a battle not his own, a battle of gods and monsters…a battle he cannot win.

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Therick, son of ice, born with a serpent’s eye and a reptilian will to stay alive. 

Eona, daughter of stone, huntress of the great jungle. 

Will they unite, or fight as the world around them crumbles? 

 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XJQP93D

Title: AS THEY BURN (Book 5)
Author: Dylyan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 334
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

“Addicted!”—Amazon Reviewer


Darkness Returns to Brynth.

The shadow of a great invasion comes from the North, threatening to bring with it an oppressive new way of life, the way of the axe. A city recently saved now lies twisted and forever altered by a secret society within. 

Caught between these two wicked forces, the innocent citizens of Brynth need a savior…or three. 

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes.

Heretic monk turned Sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three. 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B077CCP1RS

Title: BLACK SUN MOON (Book 6)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 296
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

In the beginning there was madness and there was death.

A string of occult murders leads veteran holy-man-with-a-big-sword, Cullum Shrike, to Wardbrook, a treacherous place of pagan practices, corrupt leaders, and sinister sorcery. 

Cullum must purge his beliefs as he is forced to face the evil within, for when all light dies, only darkness can kill a shadow.

New heroes join the fray. Are they friend or foe?

Cullum Shrike, warrior priest of the holy Order of Seekers. Haunted by the ghosts of his failures, he clings to his faith even as treachery and insidious betrayal are revealed.

Nyva, the witch, is bound to the black house on the hill. She is stronger than she could imagine, she just needs someone to unlock her latent power.

An unlikely pair, but a pair they do make and when the dancing starts, they might just bring the house down.

Don’t miss this thrilling—and terrifying—stand-alone full-length novel in the dark and gritty Sword and Sorcery series! 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JCX9SSL

Title: EMBERS ON THE WIND (Book 7)
Author: Dylan Doose
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 384
Genre: Epic Fantasy / Sword and Sorcery / Dark Fantasy

The Contract: Get to the Tower, Kill the Beast.

Simple enough? The problem is Theron, Aldous, and Kendrick are no longer in a world they know and between them and the tower are a few hundred miles of woods and waters infested with beasts and monsters. 

With a mutant and a dead man as their only guides, the three will have to rely on their trust for each other more than ever to get through. 

A Twisted Tale of Three Unlikely Heroes

Heretic monk turned sorcerer, Aldous Weaver. Infamous crusader turned fugitive, Kendrick the Cold. Aristocrat, rogue, monster hunter, and legend in his own mind, Theron Ward.

Three men condemned to die for their crimes find in each other both the will and the means to survive. A dark brotherhood with Sword and Sorcery is forged, and all monsters meek and mighty do fear the three. 

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08D8KCFRG


Dylan Doose is the author of the ongoing dark fantasy series, Sword & Sorcery. He also pens the new weird western series, Red Harvest. His debut novel received honorable mention in Library Journal’s Indie Ebook Awards and was a Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable 100.

Website: https://www.dylandooseauthor.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dylan_Doose

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dylandooseauthor


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New YA Novel! BANEWIND by M.B. Chapman

I’ve kissed a boy.

I’ve been to another world.

I’ve seen death.

By M.B. Chapman

Title: BANEWIND
Author: M.B. Chapman
Publisher: Light Messages / Torchflame Books
Pages: 268
Genre: Young Adult / Fantasy / Fiction

Almost two weeks ago I was just a normal girl getting ready to start my senior year of high school, deciding where I wanted my life to go. And now?

I’ve kissed a boy. I’ve been to another world. I’ve seen death.

And I don’t know what my life’s become.

Banewind tells the spellbinding story of 18-year-old Genevieve DeWinter, a typical high school girl who finds herself entangled in the throes of adventure, romance, and survival after discovering the existence of a group of magical beings known as Formulists and their co-existing world, Banewind.

With the arrival of several mages in her hometown of Parma, Ohio, Genevieve soon learns that these extraordinary secrets are rooted deep within her family’s history when it is revealed her deceased mother was a heroic warrior in a long lineage of female protectors called the Holy Guardian. Now, a vengeful group of Formulists known as the Voidweavers have returned and set their sights on Genevieve, believing she might be the next Holy Guardian and the key to awakening their fallen leader, the Void King, who had been destroyed by Genevieve’s mother when she sacrificed herself a decade earlier to save Banewind and all of humanity from an unthinkable evil.

With the help of new allies, Genevieve must fight to stay alive as she unravels the mystery and danger that have shattered the stability of the life she once knew before the Voidweavers succeed in shadowing the world in chaos and darkness once again.

Now that he’s in better light, I can get a good view of him. I’m right on the age part—he’s probably eighteen or nineteen—and he’s very attractive. He has black hair that swoops over the side of his forehead, and blue eyes that are sparkling like sapphires. His face is beautiful, with high-set cheekbones and a slender nose. His skin is pale and ashen, but it suits him well. And his body appears fit beneath the turquoise track jacket and matching track pants he wears. “Want me to help you look for him?” He takes another step toward me. “It’s okay. Thanks.” I back up. “You don’t have to do that.” “I don’t mind.” He stares at me with a wolfish grin, and I feel as though his blue eyes are piercing through my body. “It really isn’t smart for you to be out here alone.” “What about you?” I snap back. “I mean, really. A girl can’t spend her time alone in the woods, but it’s perfectly acceptable for a boy?” His eyes widen in surprise. “I-I guess you make a good point.” He bites his lips. They have a blue tint to them. “What’s your name?” “Genevieve.” Can he tell I’m caught off-guard? “I’m Scythe. Nice to meet you.” We both stand there in awkward silence. “Okay. Well, I’m going to go find my dog. Take care.” “Wait.” He jerks his hand towards me. “Why don’t you stay here, and I’ll go find the dog and bring him back to you.” He looks proud of himself for suggesting this. “If not, you might get lost.” “These woods aren’t that big. I’ll be fine.” I’m beginning to get agitated with this punk. “I appreciate you offering to help. But seriously, I’m just going to—” The tree behind Scythe explodes into thousands of splinters, crackling while the red blaze ascends to the top. As I fall to the ground, I see him bound to the left and roll behind a hollowed trunk, taking cover from the hissing flames. The clearing illuminates with a fiery orange light as the trunk bursts into dancing embers. I cover my eyes, blinded by the fire’s brightness as it continues to engulf the shrubbery around me. My face is drenched in sweat, and my breathing is swift and shallow. Up and down, up and down, up and down. My chest rises and falls so fast I’m afraid I’ll pass out if I don’t get myself under control. Another explosion. I cover my ears and scream. I drag myself over to a stump and hide behind it, scanning the clearing to see what has become of the boy. About twenty feet from me, his body lies sprawled out, with flames flickering just inches from his clothes. A nearby tree explodes and falls to the ground, revealing a figure in a hooded red cloak standing in its place.


“This story has a great mix of fantasy and young adult romance. Love the strong female protagonist at the center of the story! It is like Harry Potter, but with a unique, imaginative world all its own. There is a rich backstory of the fantasy land woven throughout the book that makes me excited for future books by this author!”— Amazon Reviewer
“I think this could be the next big thing. I would love to see this made into a movie or tv show. The story is intriguing, the characters easy to imagine, and the writing is great. Super easy read and kept me invested the entire time! Ready for book 2!”— Amazon Reviewer
I don’t think this is a series but it sure could be! The mixture it has sets this into a good read! Especially if you are snowed in. Well written and thought out plot and characters! Very interesting read that you will find yourself completely drawn in and lost from the reality of life!– Amazon Reviewer

Amazon → https://amzn.to/36O4Ust  

Barnes and Noble: https://bit.ly/3kLolHjKobo books: https://bit.ly/36QgZx5

M.B. Chapman is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive your gift card
  • This giveaway ends midnight March 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on April 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/classic/19dbbbb/main.html

Matt Chapman grew up outside of Cleveland and now lives in St. Louis, Missouri where he is completing his residency in Psychiatric medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a graduate of Creighton University School of Medicine where he obtained his MD and a graduate of Saint Louis University where he majored in Biology.

Matt has had a passion for writing and reading since childhood and continues to find time for these interests among his other pursuits, including medical education and leadership studies. He is currently working on his next novel in The Banewind Series.

Website: https://www.lightmessages.com/mb-chapman

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mbchapman90

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/banewind_series

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mbchapman90/

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THE ALCOHOL CON by Michaela Weaver


THE ALCOHOL CON: HOW TO OUTSMART IT
By Michaela Weaver

Is drinking having a negative effect on your life? You are not alone!

Millions of strong-minded, capable people find themselves falling victim to the biggest con trick of our time – alcohol!

It lures us with false promises of fun and social acceptability. Instead we find ourselves caught in a cycle of drinking, hangovers, morning regret, and guilt.

Despite being successful in other areas of life, it seems difficult to change our drinking habits. In the face of alcohol it’s easy blame ourselves, and believe we are unable to exercise self-control.

In this ground-breaking book, The Alcohol Con is exposed, and unraveled with insight and humour. Drawing on her own experience, and with a background in science and professional coaching, Michaela Weaver paves the way for you to outsmart the alcohol con, break free and move forward to a bright new sober future.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3f16YRG

Introduction

Thirty years after joining the merry-go-round of drinking alcohol, my thumping head, nauseous stomach, and I, finally saw it for what it was: the biggest con trick on the planet. At that point I metaphorically got off the ride, left the fairground, and walked off into a beautiful sunny day. I’m still walking around in that beautiful sunny world, where it’s calm and peaceful, and the war of wants, and shouldn’t haves, and hungover regrets has stopped raging in my head.

I don’t head for the fridge as soon as I get home from work anymore, and don’t curse when I find only a half a bottle left there from the night before. I don’t worry about going out with friends and needing to remember to stop drinking after four drinks, only to have four drinks and forget to remember. I don’t ever wake up at 3am with a dry throat, and racing heart with a feeling of dread as I try to remember what I said and did the night before. I don’t have to deal with my guilt, or feeling stupid because I decided not to have a drink last night, but come wine o’clock my body went into autopilot as my brain decided to change its mind, and I did the very thing I promised myself that I wouldn’t do.

I don’t do any of that any more because I outsmarted the con artist that had held my confidence and trust for all those years. I outsmarted alcohol, and you can too. Alcohol has no control over me, as I now realise it once did. I am in complete control of every drop of alcohol that passes my lips. I consume exactly the amount of alcohol that I want to drink, which is exactly none. 

You can get smart about alcohol, and you can get control over it. But before you can outsmart anything, you need to understand it. In the game of psychological warfare, knowledge is ammunition, and knowledge is power.

But wait a minute.

Surely, if there’s a problem with alcohol, then it’s the people who drink too much of it that have a problem. After all, isn’t the term ‘alcohol abuse’ aimed at the uncontrolled drinker and not the drink itself. 

We all know that it’s alcoholics on park benches drinking meths from bottles in paper bags who have a problem. We know it’s them who need to go to weekly AA meetings and sit in a circle proclaiming their acquiescence to a lifelong disease and affliction that they battle in misery to control because they were born with some dodgy genes. 

We know that we’re different and our kind of drinking belongs in a different world. Ours is a world of grown-up laughs, sophisticated choices, and wine o’clock normality.

We’ve all grown up knowing that drinking alcohol is the golden ticket to adulthood and more alluring than a first kiss. We spent the early years of drinking, proving we could drink like fishes, building up tolerance, and working hard for the badge of being a proper grown up alcohol drinker. 

We learned that drinking is the multi-tasking doer of all things: it relaxes, relieves boredom, gives a whoop of joy, helps get over an argument, deals with our stress, fills our hours, brings us our friends, make social occasions fabulous, helps us throw off our clothes in the bedroom, makes us happy, makes us interesting, and the life and soul of the party.

We know all these things. Or we think we do. So why on earth would we need to outsmart it, when it does so much for us, our family, our friends, and everyone we know?

Because if it really did all those things, and there were no consequences, then it would be awesome, it really would. The problem is, as we all know, that if anything seems too good to be true, then it usually is. And alcohol is no exception. Yet virtually every drinker genuinely believes in a long list of benefits that alcohol brings them. 

Since birth, we’ve been conditioned by society, media, and the people we know and love, to believe that drinking alcohol is not only normal, but expected. It is the only drug on the planet that you have to justify not taking. Because alcohol is a drug, although the fact is not widely advertised: you don’t see advertisements saying, ‘Drink Sauvignon Blanc this Christmas, it’s a highly addictive and poisonous drug.’

In terms of addictive power, alcohol sits beside heroin, cocaine and nicotine. It is second to heroin in the addictive stakes, scoring 2.2/3 where heroin scores 2.5/3. 

In a UK study by David Nutt of Imperial College London in 2010, alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug on the planet based on 16 criteria relating to harm to the individual and harm to others. In the study, alcohol scored 72/100 compared to the second most dangerous drug, heroin, scoring 55/100, and crack cocaine which scored 54/100. Alcohol is not only harmful to us physically, it harms us psychologically, and it harms our families. Alcohol hurts the people we love.

Alcohol may be harmful, but we all know that in small doses it’s good for us. We’ve been told that it’s good for our heart to have a glass of red wine each day. Sadly, as medical knowledge expands, this is another bubble in the alcohol con to burst. The good stuff in red wine is resveratrol, which you can find in strawberries, grapes and blueberries to name a few sources, and these don’t come with increased risk of cancer to the neck, head, breast, colon, oesophagus or liver. 

A study published in The Lancet in 2018 concluded that the level of alcohol consumption per week that minimises health loss is zero. Put another way, this means that for us mere mortals, the safe amount of alcohol to consume is none. The study used 650 data sources, and over 590 studies in reaching its conclusion. Alcohol consumption has now been linked to 60 acute and chronic diseases, and just one glass of wine per day has been linked to a 15% increased risk of breast cancer.

We may know that something is bad for us, but our minds have an amazing ability to convince us that inconvenient facts which stand in the way of us doing what we want to do don’t apply to us. The mild inconvenience of the negatives pale into insignificance compared to the enormous benefits that we’re convinced that we’re getting. 

And then one day something changes. Some crisis occurs that affects us personally, and we decide that we have to do something different. 

Right now, you probably believe that alcohol is an important part of your life. But you’ll also know that supping those glasses of wine or beer each night, or partying hard at the weekend, is causing a problem. Alcohol may be affecting your health, your work, or your relationship, or maybe all three. 

You may be realising that the hangovers are feeling worse, or that you feel tired all day until a drink in the evening miraculously wakes you up. 

Waking up full of remorse and anxiety, with a thumping head, and a questionable or even nonexistent recollection of last night’s events is far from fun, relaxing or stress-free. In fact, it’s diametrically opposite. And vowing never to do it again only to pour a glass of red wine at dinner isn’t good for long term self-esteem, either, as you find yourself in a constant cycle of internal mental battles, over which reaching for a glass always wins. 

The result is that the real you, the conscious-minded part of you that doesn’t want to drink, fails. Always. And I know, because I always failed too. If I’d had a particularly boozy Saturday night with friends and felt hellish the next day, I’d be proud of myself that I didn’t have a glass of wine that evening. The fact that I was still feeling queasy from the night before didn’t enter my head as being the reason for my evening of abstinence.

When I decided to stop drinking for a while, like on a hungover 1st of January having decided to do a dry month, I’d start off feeling amazingly positive and determined. All my resolve and positive vision of self, drinking green tea every evening, was primed and ready for action. I would spring open the fridge and give the bottle of wine a ‘Ya boo,’ scoff before putting it firmly in the back of the cupboard, with a ‘See you in February,’ smile.

I’d go to the pub and loudly order a diet coke, telling the bar tender that I was doing Dry January. I might as well have stood on the bar, grabbed a microphone, and shouted to the room, ‘Look at me with my diet coke everyone! Look at me controlling alcohol. I’m not drinking Chardonnay or Merlot here today my friends, so I DON’T HAVE AN ALCOHOL PROBLEM.’ Thou doth protest too much.

By around the 20th of January I was usually bored with Dry January and poured myself a large chilled glass of white wine to celebrate my abstinence. A week later and I had my nose back in the fridge at wine o’clock, waking up on Saturday morning with a remorseful hangover.

For someone who is fundamentally a smart person, none of that made me feel very smart. And that’s the problem, drink makes a fool of everyone, even the most successful and well educated of us. 

What you’re about to find out is that the whole package that is wrapped up in the glass in your hand is the result of a very clever and long drawn out confidence trick. It’s a confidence trick that has drawn you in, like it did me, and millions of others, and one that you have completely trusted. 

All con tricks work because the con artist gains your trust, implicitly. You believe in them, who they say they are, and the benefits that you believe they can bring you. 

The psychological brainwashing of addiction happens in the subconscious mind, and this is the part of your mind that says, ‘Oh go on then,’ when your conscious mind is sitting there with its arms crossed and a large banner with the words, ‘I’m not going to drink today’ emblazoned in bold lettering. This explains why we feel stupid when we’ve gone to such lengths, just to cave in five minutes later.

If you knew for a fact that you had been a victim of a con trick that had trapped you, would you want to get out?

Alcohol is the basis of a confidence trick of pandemic proportions, with millions of people across the world being caught out and being caught in the trap. Alcohol is embedded in every crevice of our society and for many it’s a trusted friend. It has won the confidence of people like you and me who genuinely believe (as I used to) that it adds value to their lives, and that life without it would be deficient. Alcohol is also the cause of inordinate suffering and misery for millions of people who find they can’t live with it and can’t live without it.

Alcohol is the con trick that is fooling the world. Intelligent, successful, strong-minded people are amongst the most common group to fall for the con and give their trust to alcohol. It’s only when you try to get out that the rope tightens, and you realise that you’re trapped. With minds yo-yoing between wanting a drink, and trying to stop having one, or just having less, most drinkers mistakenly blame themselves for being weak, and unable to control alcohol. People don’t realise that they are victims of a con.

Unless you’ve read a library of books on addiction, drugs and alcohol lately, then there’s a ton of stuff about alcohol that you are completely unaware of, just like I was. And you’re a bright person. You’re smart. I am too. I’ve got degrees, I’ve written books, run businesses and I’ve raised kids, but I was drawn in by the alcohol con, just like the millions of smart, intelligent, successful people who are still in the trap.

When people try to get out, the con trick keeps them trapped by adding layer upon layer of false confidences and beliefs. 

People think they can’t live without alcohol, and life would be dull. A few years ago, the very idea of going to a party and not being able to drink would make me feel deprived, even before I got there. 

Recently a friend came to stay, and twice before she arrived, I went to my local shops to get some last-minute supplies. Both times I had ‘buy wine’ on my mental list, because my friend is a drinker. Both times I completely forgot the wine. I ended up texting my partner to ask him to pick up some on the way home from work. A few years ago, I would have gone to the shop to pick up some milk and would have come through the door with two bottles of wine, and completely forgotten the milk.

I’m now free, and it feels great.

People talk about ‘giving up’ alcohol as though there’s something to lose, and I appreciate that right now that’s what you believe. It’s the reason that people are so fearful of facing the problems that alcohol is causing. It’s like the abusive partner who beats someone up only to hug them better. We all know that person is manipulative and can’t be trusted. The alcohol con is cleverer though, because whereas an abusive lover may shower someone with tangible gifts and benefits, there are literally no benefits to taking alcohol, and you’ll get smart to that later in the book.

I use the word ‘take’ in relation to alcohol interchangeably with the word ‘drink’, because drinkers drink to take the drug which is alcohol. Heroin is mostly injected, or smoked, and nicotine is smoked, or vaped. I know that you won’t like to think of it that way: taking alcohol, but that is what it is. If it makes you recoil, or feel aggrieved, that’s okay. You’ll find out later that’s just your subconscious mind, and it’s your subconscious mind that is the real victim of the confidence trick.

Alcohol, and everything that it embodies, is the con artist who has lied and continues to lie to you. Alcohol is the Pied Piper of Hamlyn who plays happy music full of promises of joy. And just like the piper it lures the followers, reeling them in, slowly, subtly, until the point when it’s got them, and it’s too late. It’s not too late for you though, and if you are prepared to get smart with alcohol then you’ll be in full control very soon. 

Alcohol traps educated, capable, strong-minded people. The only abuser in the alcohol equation is the alcohol itself. It is not us who abuse alcohol, it is alcohol that abuses us. 

Alcohol is the loan shark who lends you $20, then demands $30 in repayment, who lends you the $30 to then demand a repayment of $40. It is the loan shark who gives with one hand and takes with both, taking you ever further in debt while you try to get back to being where you were before you started. 

It’s time to delve into the confidence and trust that we have put in alcohol and to unravel the greatest confidence trick of our time.


As a TEDx speaker, author, masters qualified coach, science graduate and professional woman, you would think that with all that I’d know better than to find myself addicted to alcohol and stuck in a ‘wine o’clock, weekend binge’ drinking cycle. But I have since learned how and why we become addicted to alcohol, and how to change that. I now help women to learn about alcohol, revolutionize their relationships with alcohol and skip, run and jump into a thriving life without alcohol dragging them down. You’re not weak, incapable or out of control, but maybe like millions of others you were lured in and fell for a highly addictive and insidious drug.


Website: www.thealcoholcoach.comFacebook: facebook.com/thealcoholcoach



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Interview with Evy Journey, Author of The Shade Under the Mango Tree #theshadeunderthemangotree #blogtour @eholychair

Our guest today is Evy Journey, author of the contemporary multicultural fiction, The Shade Under the Mango Tree.

Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who, wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Where is your writing sanctuary?

A good-sized window seat in my bedroom with views towards San Francisco Bay, my laptop on my lap.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

A writer should not publish without having a professional editor read and edit the book. I usually start by getting feedback from beta readers. Then, I send the book to a developmental editor and, finally, a copy editor.

Why do you love to write contemporary fiction?

First, I love words. And I love stories. Those are the basic reasons I’m compelled to write. I like to think of myself as a realist and an observer of the life around me. So contemporary fiction best fits my stories.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Like the main character, I spent the first few years of my life with my grandmother. While my specific experiences are not necessarily like Luna’s—it’s been so long ago that I’ve forgotten—my grandmother was also a warm and loving person whose influence on me has endured.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Art. I’ve visited many museums. In fact, it’s one reason my husband and I chose to travel to certain cities (for example, Paris, Florence, and London). I also do art—oils and acrylics, pastels and charcoals, and lately, digital art.

What’s next for you?

The immediate next thing for me is book promotion and marketing for this book. This book tour is part of that. From previous experience, this process is intense for a few months. I may start writing a new one or take a break. I do have some ideas for a new book.

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THE COLOR OF TOGETHER: MIXED METAPHORS OF CONNECTEDNESS by Milton Brasher-Cunningham

A book written with honesty and empathy about things common to us all…


THE COLOR OF TOGETHER:MIXED METAPHORS OF CONNECTEDNESS

By Milton Brasher-Cunningham

The Color of Together begins with the primary colors of life–grief, grace, and gratitude–and enlarges the palette to talk about the work of art that is our life together in these days. The idea for the book began with understanding that grief is not something we get over or work through, but something we learn to move around in–something that colors our lives. Grace is the other given. Gratitude is the response to both that offers the possibility of both healing and hope.

“Locating ourselves in the adventure of life requires reliable tools for exploration. Milton Brasher-Cunningham gives us finely-tuned metaphorical gyroscopes to navigate our way with God, others and even ourselves. The Color of Together will help us find our place again and again along the way.”  ~ Rev. Dr. George A. Mason, President, Faith Commons, Dallas, Texas.

“In his beautiful new book, Milton Brasher-Cunningham shares arresting thoughts on grief, grace, and gratitude. He claims that we are all shaped by our sorrows and generously tells his own stories of loss. All the while, he leads us toward hope. The Color of Together is both poetic and instructive, relatable and deeply philosophical. It awakened my heart to read this book; I hope it will do the same for you.” –Jennifer Grant, author of A Little Blue Bottle

Amazon → https://amzn.to/30Urxsj

 Barnes & Noble → https://bit.ly/3jZ8OD6

Chapter 1

Sometime after we moved to Boston, Ginger, my wife, signed me up for a watercolor class at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Our first task was to make a color wheel. We set the three primary colors—red, blue, and yellow—equidistant from each other around a circle we had drawn on the paper, and then began mixing them to show the shades it took to move from one to the other. The purples, greens, and oranges that filled in the circle illustrated the relationships between the primaries, which stood in such contrast to one another on their own. Wherever we started on the wheel, there was a connection, a way to get to the other colors.

Color is more than pigment. It is figment as well. For us to see color requires an act of imagination and an understanding of relationship.

One Christmas after the watercolors, Ginger enrolled me in an iconography class at Andover Newton Theological School. I spent over a year learning the spiritual practice from a wonderful man named Christopher Gosey. Before we ever picked up a brush, we learned the vocabulary connected to what we were doing. We were not going to paint the icons, Chris said, we were going to write them.

As one who has learned to play with words more easily than with paint, the verb choice caught me. Good writing is descriptive and evocative. The challenge is to show, not tell; to reveal. Good writing tells a story, takes us on a journey, connects us to something larger.

The “cartoons”—the outlines of the figures we would write—had been passed down for centuries, much like basic plot structures in literature, or the elements of grammar and style.

The point of our work was to be faithful to those who had gone before and to what they had handed down, rather than to try and be original. Our offering was to trace the lines others had made and then color them with pigments we had mixed not so we could worship the icon, but so we could open a “window to heaven” to create a “thin place” for connection to God.

The phrase thin place entered our vocabulary through the earthy spirituality of Celtic Christianity. It describes the places where the border between what is seen and what is unseen becomes permeable. Liminal. Thin. Translucent. Transcendent.

It is a sacred space of disquietude; a turbulent silence where things are still and vibrant in the same moment.

As I sat in the sun-drenched room of the aging building, listening to recordings of Russian church bells, and learning how to write my brush across the blank parchment-covered block etched with the image of Mary, I came to understand more of what Jesus meant when he said, “Lose your life to find it.”

Our paint was almost translucent, by design. We mixed our colors by adding natural pigments to acrylic medium. In ancient days, the pigments were blended with egg yolks. The practice of iconography is more about prayer than painting; the necessary repetition was meditative and focusing. As we laid down the colors, we moved from heavier shades to lighter ones, choreography that held intentional theological significance. The first strokes of the lighter colors on the deep background didn’t seem to have much effect, yet, over time, and with intentional repetition, the colors took hold. The deeper tones became the background—the foundation—for the illuminating presence.

Without the contrast, the light would have had little significance. The base substances from which the pigments came were earthy and natural. The black was made from ashes. Some of the browns were made of dirt or powdered stone. At every level, the experience rubbed heaven and earth against each other like sticks to start a fire.

The work of icon writing is deliberate. To get a color to show up on the icon meant going over each line twenty to forty times. The spiritual practice was to turn the repetition into ritual—a sort of physical prayer. The move from heavier tones to lighter ones felt counterintuitive until I began to see the colors dawn on the icon. We traced images that had been handed down across centuries, much like we repeat rituals in worship. Everything about it was fraught with a sense of connectedness, a new way of seeing who we were in the context of who had come before and who would follow. The whole enterprise was steeped in metaphor.

In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul wrote, “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus for the good works which God has already designated to make up our way of life.”

In a sermon on that verse, Ginger said, “We are dust, which becomes pigment in God’s artwork.” The pigments we used to write icons were made from earthy substances, just as we are.

The Greek word translated as work of art is poiema, which even my spell check knows is the root word of poem. Paul said, “We are God’s work of art.” Not works. Work. Not I. We. Together we become the artwork, handmade pigments illuminated by God’s presence, as it has been from the dawn of creation.

Riding the color metaphor train took me to the field of the philosophy of color, which is as esoteric as it sounds, and perhaps, not a journey everyone wants to make. But I took a trip, nonetheless, as I wondered about grief as a primary color.

Philosophers look at the way humans see color, or whether we actually see color at all. One of the ways of seeing is called color adverbialism, which is to say, we do not see red, as much as we see red-ly. What that means is there is a relationship between the object, the perceiver, and the context—another relational trinity.

The philosopher articulating the theory was not being intentionally metaphorical when she said, “Color vision is as a way of seeing things—flowers, tables, ladybirds—not, in the first instance, a way of seeing the colors.” What I heard her say was the colors we see have to be connected to something or someone for them to be significant.

In 2020, our sense of what it means to be together has been heavily shaded by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have lived in quarantine, without the ability to gather, to hug those we love, to share a meal, to go to a baseball game, or to share a pew at church. I have watched people gather on the Guilford Green
in groups of four or five, separating their lawn chairs to an appropriate distance just to be together. As Zoom has begun to feel like a necessary appliance in our lives, we have found ways to change backgrounds so we are surrounded by palm trees and superheroes in our little square on the screen. We are colored by our losses in ways our world has not known so pervasively for over a century.

Life, however, is a litany of losses in any age: failures, injuries, disappointments, betrayals, missed moments, things done and left undone, deaths, falls, illnesses, fears, lowered expectations. Life is also a compendium of blessings, of things for which we can be thankful: families, ball games, good food, starry nights, first kisses and last ones, friends, sunshine, spring rains, puppies, and pie. And life is an abundance of grace, of those things we stumble into, that find us, that surprise us and ambush us with the reminder of a relentless love that will not let us go. All three are true all the time.

Though we often feel them singularly because of our limitations, one is not there without the others. They are the primary colors we see in the context of relationships, with something or someone, in any moment. When we see grief-ly, grateful-ly, and grace-ly, we can see the color of together.

Milton Brasher-Cunningham was born in Texas, grew up in Africa, and has spent the last thirty years in New England and North Carolina. He is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, and has worked as a high school English teacher, a professional chef, a trainer for Apple, and is now an editor. He is the author of three books, Keeping the Feast: Metaphors for the MealThis Must Be the Place: Reflections on Home, and his latest, The Color of Together.He loves the Boston Red Sox, his mini schnauzers, handmade music, and feeding people. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut, with Ginger, his wife, and their three Schnauzers. He writes regularly at donteatalone.com.

Website: https://www.torchflamebooks.com/milton-brasher-cunningham

Blog: www.donteatalone.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/miltybc

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/milton.brashercunningham

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5863259.Milton_Brasher_Cunningham


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HELLALYLE AND HILDEBRAND BOOK BLAST

HELLALYLE AND HILDEBRAND
Tagai Tarutin
Silverwood Books
Medieval Romance

Hellalyle and Hildebrand, were drawn into a relationship engineered by those same unseen forces who had selected her bodyguard; their purpose, to thwart the devil, incarnate in Prinz Paulus, in its attempts to kill the princess.

A downs-syndrome girl of mysterious origins, named Ethla, emerges out of the wildwood. She is taken care of by Princess Hellalyle. and plays a crucial part in the narrative.

The king, while away, learns of the developing relationship between his daughter and the leader of her bodyguard, and feels betrayed by the English knight, and so dispatches his champions – his seven sons, and Paulus – to arrest, and execute Hildebrand, and confine Hellalyle until the king`s return.

The eleven, remaining protectors of the princess, leave the kingdom, believing their contract has been nullified by Thorstiens edict, leaving Hildebrand alone to face Hellalyle`s brothers and step-brother. The Englishman takes the fight to his adversaries, and slaughters all the unfortunate siblings of the princess, except Paulus, who after surrendering to Hildebrand, turns about and treacherously kills him, and then brutally, incarcerates his step-sister.

As these occurrences were unfolding, in another part of the continent, one of her bodyguards, the Teutonic knight, Karl von Altenburg, now living in a monastic order, experiences a vision, informing him of Hellalyle`s plight, and sets out to for Castle Preben.

Meanwhile, in her prison, Hellalyle gives birth to Hildebrand`s son, now sole heir, whom she names Hagen. On a fateful day, Ethla, at the princess’s urging, flees into the wilderness, taking to safety, the infant crown prince, to save him from Prinz Paulus, who, feeling outwitted mortally wounds the princess in revenge.

“A beautiful love story of a medieval knight and a noble princess written by Tagai Tarutin. The book allows us to go back in history and hear more about the exploits of the legendary Hildebrand and his beloved Hellalyle. The book is full of picturesque scenes of the events in Medieval Europe and it gives us the opportunity to immerse in the spirit of those times. It will be a good read for those interested in history, literature and romance…” – Alexandra Suyazova, Teaching Fellow of English, Saint Petersburg, Russia

“A fabulous story that could be easily transformed into a screen version, about a truly romantic relationship beyond any prejudice, driven by pure intentions at the times when the chivalry and nobleness made the difference in survival of a human life.” – Anatoly Leonidovich Rasputin, graduate in English from the University of Linguistics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3mcbyi3

B&N → https://bit.ly/2TgAJnj

CHAPTER 26

In the great hall, Hellalyle, on hearing the news that her brothers were coming to arrest Hildebrand, pleaded with him to leave. “Hildebrand, you must leave – my father has dispatched my brothers to seize you. Our relationship has set in motion a fait accompli, and now your life is in great danger.”

However, Hildebrand, staring into the fire, was in no mood to listen to her pleading, saying, “Whatever the other knights decide to do, I cannot in all consciousness allow myself to abandon you to an uncertain fate, as I feel responsible for this dire situation.”

Hellalyle, in desperation, pleaded, “Will you, please, be sensible! You cannot defeat eight armed men! Remember, these are my brothers, and at the end of the fight you will lie dead, and so will most of my brethren, and for what end? My family destroyed, and

Prince Hildebrand ignominiously buried in a foreign field, which will be a tragedy for the English nation, and it will not end there, as I feel further calamity awaits those remaining at this fortress.”

“Fate must run its course!” exclaimed the defiant knight, raising his voice. “If you think I will deliver you into the hands of Paulus, you gravely underestimate me. No greater evil walks the land, and he will surely die on the blade of my sword! As for my remains lying beneath the woodland floor, that holds no fear for me, as you have introduced this knight to the beauty of nature, and honour awaits if wild creatures should walk across my grave!”

The soldier’s expose of his inner self prompted Hellalyle to gently grasp his forearm, in a gesture of empathy to his plight, with a pained expression etched on her face. The other bodyguards met to decide on what action to take considering the king’s command, knowing that they must not obstruct. All – save one – agreed that they should depart, convinced their contract with the monarch was severed by these unfortunate events. Von Altenburg, at first, declined to abandon his friend. He was fearful for the safety of the princess, but he eventually conceded, opting to join his comrades in arms.

News of their impending departure reached Hellalyle, who decided to visit them. In a fractured voice, she addressed the company.

“Honoured knights, whom I might almost regard as my brothers and such gallant men, warriors of the Christian church…my heart is about to break. I stand here now imploring you to persuade Hildebrand to leave at once with his fraternal fighters, for if he were to stay, I fear that some tragedy may befall him and my family.”

Her impassioned speech prompted the knight von Streitz to say, “He appears to be deaf to our pleading, Your Highness! What more can we do to sway him?”

Hellalyle, almost in despair, raised her hands to her face and burst into tears. All eleven knights, embarrassed, kept their eyes fixed on the ground before stealing past her prostrate figure, anxious to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

As they rode from the castle, von Altenburg lingered to pay one last visit to Hellalyle and Hildebrand. Entering a chamber, he observed them by the window, Hildebrand pacing up and down, stabbing the floor with his sword, in apparent frustration, the princess standing in sombre contemplation of the densely wooded prospect below. They were all alone as she had sent her staff to the safety of the kitchens. As they turned to face him, von Altenburg became struck by their dramatically altered demeanour. The once-resolute Prince of England now despondent and downcast; and Hellalyle, her face once so radiant now shut down, her eyes that brightly sparkled now eclipsed. She appeared almost lifeless.



‘Hellalyle and Hildebrand’ is Tagai Tarutin’s first completed novel.There are two others of a completely different genre, that lie unfinished, awaiting inspiration.He has worked most of his life in sales but has always had an interest in Arts and Humanities. Things that are beautiful and appealing play an essential part in his imagination.Besides travelling in West Europe, he has journeyed to the far South Atlantic, and European Russia, anxious to see parts of the world that are for many mystical destinations on a historical map.You can visit his website at www.hellalyleandhildebrand.com.

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CHRISTMAS IN THE ROCKIES BOOK BLAST

Title: CHRISTMAS IN THE ROCKIES
Author: McKenna Grey
Publisher: Cambron Press
Pages: 40k; collection of three novelettes
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Holidays (Sweet and Clean)

BOOK BLURB:

“McKensie’s Christmas Gift”

 When McKensie Scott returns to Wycliffe, Wyoming, she’s uncertain of her future . . . and the man she left behind two summers before. With the help of an unexpected ally, McKensie will discover that sometimes leaving the people you love is the only way to find your path home.

 
“A Snowy Falls Christmas”

After five years of searching for answers at her family’s home in Scotland, Maura Coburn returns to Snowy Falls, Colorado, the place she’s always called home. When Wyatt Dobbes sweeps into town to take over his family’s horse farm, Maura realizes five years might not have been long enough. When unexpected circumstances bring them together, Wyatt and Maura will soon discover the powerful magic of Christmas, love, and second chances.


“Christmas in Moose Creek”

Saige Travers said goodbye to Owen McGregor sixteen years ago. A spontaneous choice brings Saige home to Moose Creek, Montana, and she doesn’t expect her past to catch up with her present. When Owen walks back into her life, she struggles to remember why she left. Together they discover second chances are real and hope is a cherished gift.


Can six willing hearts find a second chance at love? Join us this holiday season and fall in love like it was the first time.

Available in e-book and paperback.

Amazon US ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon AU ~ Amazon UK

B&N ~ BAM! ~ IndieBound ~ Bookshop ~ Add to Goodreads

Book Page: https://www.mckennagrey.com/book/christmas-in-the-rockies

Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/-gFbTzdPhns

Book Excerpt:

From “McKensie’s Christmas Gift” in Christmas in the Rockies

The fog cleared from McKensie’s brain. “And knowing my aunt, she insisted you have the wedding here.”

“Yeah. I thought about moving the location, but Shirley insisted we still have it at the hotel, and Olivia—”

“Wouldn’t have wanted you to change a thing. I get it. Yes, you’ll have it here.” McKensie prided herself on handling tense situations, a handy talent when managing a kitchen. She avoided looking at Cameron throughout her conversation with Julie and realized he hadn’t moved, patient as ever. “When is the wedding?”

“The week before Christmas.”

McKensie raised a brow and studied her friend. “That’s fast.”

Julie shrugged. “When it’s right, it’s right. That reminds me, I have one more thing to ask Shirley about the food. Meet you in the foyer in ten, big brother.” She stopped at the door and pointed to McKensie. “I will call you tomorrow. We have so much to catch up on.”

Julie exited the office with as much excitement as she entered. McKensie replayed some of her last words over in her mind. When it’s right, it’s right.

From “A Snowy Falls Christmas” in Christmas in the Rockies

Her breath faded into the crisp morning air. The stoneware mug cupped in her hands warmed her skin while the lavender tea blend stole away the frigid cold from within. She stood on the expansive deck overlooking the glistening waters of Winter Lake and contemplated her quiet return home.

The Snowy Falls Lodge stood tall and grand behind her, a landmark on the lake and in the quaint mountain village. Her grandmother would have said, “For better or worse, it is now yours, Maura.”

Maura spent the first twenty-five years of her life in the spacious rooms and luxurious halls of the lodge that blended the design of a Scottish castle and Victorian cattle ranch. The idea might have resulted in a haphazard structure had it not been for a truly talented, though little-known, Scottish architect named Charles Mackenzie.

Five years ago, Maura did what no one ever expected—she left home—and not because she didn’t love the lodge or the village. Her father called her a dreamer. Her mother used the word “wanderer,” and her grandmother often said she was a seeker. Maura appreciated her grandmother’s description best. What exactly Maura sought when she left Snowy Falls remained a mystery to everyone.

From “Christmas in Moose Creek” in Christmas in the Rockies

The 4×4 careened to a stop and the driver waited in disbelief at the deplorable timing of Mother Nature. Moose Creek, Montana, had its share of wildlife—bear, deer, elk, mountain lions—but in her thirty-three years, Saige Travers had never seen a moose on this mountain. Until today.

No one waited for her in her swank two-bedroom condo in Seattle except the goldfish her brother gave to her as a joke for her birthday. She’d needed a break from the city and the cataclysmic string of end-of-the-road relationships she’d been in the past five years. More like dates, if she was going to be honest with herself.

Saige Travers didn’t have time for relationships.


Reviews

“This was one of the greatest books ever. Not only did it show the true meaning of Christmas but it also showed that true love is possible!” —Mary’s Opinion

“McKenna Grey, you never cease to amaze me. Your books are filled with such wonderful characters, families, and love. I know I have read this story before, but I enjoyed it just as much this time as I had the first time. Waiting patiently for your next new book.” —M.L.  Sullivan

“I loved all three of the stories in this book. On a cold, rainy day, I enjoyed the lights of the Christmas tree, and forgetting the dismal view outside, I was carried away to three places in the Rockies for a beautiful Christmas setting, where i met strong characters and three charming stories of love renewed.” – Verna Cole Mitchell, poet and author of Somewhere Beyond the Blue

I loved every one of these stories. They are sweet, clean and heartwarming. I give it five stars. I highly recommend it for any reader’s Christmas reading.” —Goodreads Review

About the Author

McKenna Grey is the contemporary alter-ego of an award-winning, historical romance author. She writes romantic suspense, including the Kyndall Family series, and heartwarming, small-town romance to break up the murder and mayhem. She lives and plays in the northern Rocky Mountains where she manages to stay out of the trouble her characters can’t seem to avoid.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://www.mckennagrey.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormckennagrey/

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

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Interview with Jennifer Chase, Author of Last Girls Alive #lastgirlsalive #blogtour @jchasenovelist

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and USA Today BestSelling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent psychopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://authorjenniferchase.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JChaseNovelist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferChase

What made you decide to become a published author?

Books and reading have been a passion for as long as I can remember. I’ve always daydreamed of becoming a writer/author when I was young, but didn’t really consider it until later. I was in the corporate world. Accounting. Office management. Don’t get me wrong, it was great, and I’m thankful for such a great opportunities, but it wasn’t what I really wanted to do. I had written about a dozen screenplays and then I wrote my first novel, Compulsion. The rest, a difficult road at times, is history. I love what I do.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I have a home office. It’s a place where I can concentrate and keep my focus. Procrastination is one of my writing nemesis. It’s my quiet sanctuary where I create tough and often scary characters.

What inspires you?

Everything. I find inspiration for my writing through everyday activities, going on walks, enjoying something beautiful like a sunset, going on errands, readings, news, and there are often little things that pop up that surprise me.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I’ve learned that even though you become more experienced in writing a book—it’s still a big project and doesn’t get any easier as you write more.

Why do you love to write crime thrillers?

Why not? Seriously, I’ve always loved the crime element of the whodunit and bad guys, but the twist of thrills for the protagonist seeing how everything turns out.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book.  What’s the first ingredient?

That’s a tossup between coffee and ice cream J

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

In the Detective Katie Scott Thrillers, there is a K9 character, Cisco, which was her military K9 partner. I have trained in advanced dog training with several of my dogs and most of the exercises you read about—I’ve done.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Not this book. However, in my first published book, Compulsion, the answer is yes. There were a few scenes of events that actually happened to me.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I love photography and dog training.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on book #5 in the Detective Katie Scott Series.

BOOK BLURB:

Half-buried in the muddy earth and surrounded by puddles of water lies the naked body of a beautiful young girl. Her pale skin looks like porcelain in the early morning light. Her fragile arms bent and crooked like a broken doll.

When Detective Katie Scott is called to the discovery of a young girl buried on the grounds of a former children’s home in Pine Valley, California, she’s hopeful it’s the end to a devastating cold case she’s been working on. No one has seen Candace Harlan since she ran away from Elm Hill Manor five years ago. Her death will be a tragedy, but it will also bring peace to those who miss her most. But the girl in the ground is not Candace.

The victim is almost identical to Candace in every way, but fear grips Katie as she takes in the black ink that decorates the girl’s back—a terrifying message tattooed on her skin after she drew her last breath.

Forcing down traumatic memories of losing her own parents, Katie is certain someone mistook this poor soul for Candace, and that this crumbling home for lost girls is at the heart of this terrible crime. She sets to work digging into the tragic history of the owners who lost so many children of their own and tracking down the last six residents and the staff who cared for them—but no one wants to talk, let alone remember.

The next day, as second girl’s body is found down by the creek at high water, the same words etched into her skin. Katie’s worst fear is confirmed: someone is picking off the last of the Elm Hill girls one by one. But what does the tattoo mean? And what monster would target these innocent girls who have already been through so much?

Katie must dig deep to confront her own fears and protect the vulnerable—but as the body count rises further, will there be anyone left to save?

An absolutely gripping, dark, and totally unputdownable serial killer thriller that will keep you racing through the pages all night long. Fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh will read in one sitting!

PRAISE

This novel is about Detective Kati Scott, Kati is a detective for the Pine Valley department. Her and partner work on solving cold cases together. Kati hasn’t had an easy life but things will be getting worst for her before getting any better.  Kati has a lot of anxiety but she makes it work.  She and her partner are put on a case where a girl from the past is found on the property of a former children’s home in Pine Valley. and it’s up to her and her partner to figure out who the killer is. This novel was so good. I was hooked from the start, I couldn’t stop reading I just need to find out what happens next with Katie and the case. Katie is a total badass. She is one strong lady. She is a very good female lead.  I loved the story soo much it was full of suspense and mystery.  I loved how it wasn’t very predictable. Things could change at any time and the ending was perfectly full of action. I really enjoyed this book. The writing was perfect and it flowed very well. This is my first Jennifer Chase book, I will definitely be looking for more. This book had everything I like action/mystery/romance/ suspense.

– 5 Star Review NetGalley

“A nail biting, suspense packed action crammed thriller that keeps you on edge…”

– 5 Star Review Amazon

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3nQSoAe

All Titles In The Series

Last Girls Alive series

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The Waltz of Devil’s Creek Book Blast!

Title: THE WALTZ OF DEVIL’S CREEK
Author: Justine Carver
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 496
Genre: Historical Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

Judith Campbell is dying, and she cannot take the painful truth about where her son came from to the grave with her. While on her deathbed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, Judith tells him the tragic story of his conception, and which of two men his birth father could be: the young man who professed his love to her, or the pastor who assaulted her.

Set in the Deep South in 1947, The Waltz of Devil’s Creek digs into the dark crevices of racism and women’s rights during a heated political climate in an era of segregation. Combined with Judith’s lack of social stature, and at a time when reporting sexual assault was unheard of, every injustice is stacked against her from the very beginning.

But there is a light in Judith’s young life: her best friend, Joseph Bird, who has loved her since childhood. Joseph stands up for Judith when no one else will and proves that even in the darkest of times, a light is always burning.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3d1J3Ax

Link to book on B&N:

https://bit.ly/2I5rVhX

Link to book on Kobo:

https://bit.ly/3lhAIvb

Book Excerpt:

“But Mrs. Bird,” I said, looking over at her, “God don’t want people like Pastor Allman.”

She just looked at me for a moment, and then a smile slowly lit up her eyes again.

“YOU COME ON OUT HERE BIRD!”

The voice snapped Mrs. Bird and me from our moment, our heads simultaneously jerking toward the living room.

When we heard Joseph’s feet stomping against the floor as he ran down the hallway, Mrs. Bird and I dropped the dishtowel and the plate and hurried out of the kitchen.

“YOU GET YER DUMB ASS OUT HERE!” a second voice shouted, “OR WE’RE COMIN’ IN TO GET YOU!”

“That’s the Woodson brothers,” I told Joseph’s momma.

“Don’t you go out there,” she warned him as he thrust his big feet into his shoes. “I mean it, Joseph, don’t you go out that door!”

He flung the front door open anyway, and before he could step outside, the Woodson brothers jumped on him in the doorway.

“Joseph!” I screamed.

“Get out of my house!” his momma shrieked.

The whole house shook as the three fought; a small table underneath the window beside the door fell over, shattering the flower vase atop it; fists swung and legs kicked, and cuss words flew.

“You little piece of shit, you burned up my truck!” said the blonde-haired brother.

“I’m gonna kick your nuts right up yer throat!” said the brown-haired one. “What tha hell were you thinkin’ boy?!” Thwap! When his fist pulled back, his knuckles glistened with Joseph’s blood.

“Let go of him! Let go! Let gooo!” I dug all ten of my fingernails into the blonde’s arm, trying to stop him from pulling Joseph out of the house.

His momma was on the other side, screaming as she worked, unsuccessfully, to beat them off with a broom. The blonde shoved me away, and I fell onto my butt on the porch as they dragged Joseph down the steps and into the front yard.

“Don’t you touch my son!” Mrs. Bird roared, and the broom came down hard on the brown-haired one’s back.

He whirled around, seemingly unfazed by the blow, and yanked the broom from her hands and tossed it.

They nearly beat Joseph unconscious.

Mrs. Bird ran next door and called Sheriff Woodson, but he never showed; he’d stayed out of all the incidents between Joseph and his sons. But Joseph wouldn’t have had it any other way.

About the Author

Justine Carver was born and raised in the Southern United States on a heavy dose of creek-wading, lightning-bug-catching, and Saturday morning cartoons. She is a full-time writer, all-the-time reader, and every now and then, she pulls her head out of the clouds long enough to remember how much better it is up there.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://justinecarver.com/

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

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In the Spotlight: Call From Home by Joni Parker @joniparker #blogtour #fantasy

If home is where the heart is, the warrior Lady Alexin is very far from home, indeed. Banished from her home in the Elven realm of Eledon to the mortal world of near future London, and robbed of her magic, she has no choice but to try and find a place in a world where she doesn’t fit in. Yet for all their peculiarities, the mortals have not been unkind; she has a new career as a high fashion runway model, her very own flat in a posh section of town and a host of opportunities to socialize with a variety of admirers, including a handsome Detective Inspector from Scotland Yard.

Yet nothing but her former training as a tracker and assassin could have prepared her for the discovery that beautiful young Elven women are being kidnapped and trafficked as slaves into the mortal world by the notorious Rock Elves, working with the white supremacist 23rd Infantry–an unholy alliance led by Alex’s old nemesis, Sawgrass. As the truth unravels her mission is clear–a call from home she cannot allow to go unanswered, even if it means her life.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3bPgW6P

 

Chapter 1

Rejected…angry…confused…depressed…Alex’s attempt to return home to Eledon to be with her Elf family and friends had failed and she remained stranded in the mortal world. No, the correct term was exiled. 

Nothing seemed to improve her mood, not even signing a one-year contract to work as a model for Suzette, an up-and-coming fashion designer at a London studio.

            Suzette tried to help her state of mind by dragging her to a disco to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Miranda, Suzette’s former model, was in town for a few days and invited some close friends to join her celebration. Alex didn’t know her and wanted to decline, but Suzette insisted. So here they were, staring at the crowd on the dance floor.

            Hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies gyrated to the rhythm of the same musical heartbeat. The place oozed with humans and the music was so loud, Alex could feel her heart pumping in time with the music. Instantly, she felt like she belonged to the same musical organism that had taken over the dance floor. This was her first time in a nightclub—it was called the Factory, the newest hangout in London.

            They stored their winter coats and purses in a room to the side where Alex could speak to Suzette but she still had to shout over the music. “I thought you said this party was for close friends of Miranda. There must be thousands of people here.”  

“Oh, you know how it is, love. One person invites another and another. The next thing you know, you have this. Come on, let’s join the fun.” She beckoned Alex to the dance floor.

            Alex didn’t know how to dance to this music, so she copied Suzette’s moves, raising her hands over her head and wriggling her hips, feeling somewhat silly. Abruptly, the lighting changed—Suzette’s blue hair stood out like a glowing lamp and Alex’s white blouse changed to purple.

Alex stopped and stared while everyone else kept dancing as if nothing had happened. She didn’t understand the transformation under ultraviolet light but when she looked over to ask Suzette, she was gone. Alex gasped, worried that someone might have kidnapped her. Just a few weeks ago, Alex herself had been kidnapped by a white supremacist group, the 23rd Infantry, in order to lure Suzette’s father to a warehouse to kill him, just because he was a black man. Even knowing those men had been captured or killed didn’t stop her from panicking. She felt protective of Suzette; she was vulnerable, a black woman standing five-foot-two and a hundred pounds, soaking wet. At six-feet, Alex looked over the crowd and spotted Suzette’s vibrant hair and her clothes—the paisley shirt and jeans, now glowing under the light. She breathed a sigh of relief and headed over. 

Without warning, a male dancer came up to her. He was young, tall, and thin; his white skin sunburned on his cheeks and nose. He’s cute, Alex thought and smiled at him. The mirrored disco lights flashed, showing off his light-colored eyes—blue or green or gray, she wasn’t sure but he winked at her. His blond hair was cut close to his scalp—the cut was often called high and tight by the soldiers at the Nyla Army Garrison where she’d been trained, but the top of his hair was long and fell around his ears. Was he a soldier? Her brother-in-law Edgar came to mind. He was a professional soldier and referred to civilians who dressed like soldiers as ‘wannabes.’

As she danced, she blushed as his eyes focused on her body as if he could see her naked. Uncomfortable under his stare, she danced around him toward Suzette’s last location, but he jumped in front of her and stood very close. He grabbed her waist and rubbed the crotch of his pants against her hips. His eyes closed and she could feel his arousal intensify. His public display shocked her and she tried to move away. But he persisted. Not only did this guy ‘wannabe’ a soldier, but he also wanted to be a sexual object. It reminded her of a film she saw with Suzette called Magic Mike. She threw her head back and laughed as she thought of a name for him, ‘Wannabe Willy.’ She shouted at him, “Back off!” and then resumed her journey.

But Wannabe Willy came up from behind and wrapped his arms around her. He rubbed his crotch against her buttocks as he shouted in her ear, “Hey, baby doll, I like tall girls. You turn me on.”

That was the last thing she wanted to do. She squirmed out of his hold as he slid a card down the front of her shirt with his right hand. “Call me. We can have a private party.”

Alex stiff-armed him in the chest, forcing him back. “I said to back off and I meant it!”

He laughed and danced closer as he wriggled his tongue and licked his lips. She kneed him in the balls and he bent over, covering his private parts with his hands. His eyes opened wide.

“I said to back off!” Alex’s jaw clenched tightly as she stood with her hands on her hips. “Leave me alone!”

He hobbled away and disappeared into the crowd.

Alex’s anger simmered. If I was home, my cousin Prince Darin would have sent him to the Mounds prison for rehabilitation. It was true, but her cousin wasn’t here and she wasn’t home…unfortunately. If Wannabe Willy ever came back, she’d have to deal with him on her own terms but she was in no mood for a fight.

Soon, the rhythmic beat of the music calmed her down. To her relief, no one seemed to have noticed her situation. She resumed her trek across the dance floor and finally tracked down Suzette, concluding she wasn’t in any danger.

Alex resumed dancing, copying moves from others around her. None of them were doing the same thing, so she improvised. Just as she got into her groove, the lights flicked on and a deep, male voice came over the speakers, “Time for a break. Be back in ten. We’ll keep the music going…down low.”

 

Suzette danced to the subdued music as she headed to the bar. She picked up two drinks, holding one high for Alex as she sipped the other. She laughed as Alex wormed her way over to her.

“Thanks.” Alex took a sip and puckered. “What’s this?”

“It’s called a Zephyr.”

It was blue and sweet and cold. Too sweet for Alex. She slid it onto the bar as Suzette headed to the women’s restroom.

Suzette waved her on. “Come on, I just saw Miranda go inside. Let’s wish her a happy birthday.” She danced past the girls standing in the line for the toilets. Near the sinks, a group of women huddled together to talk and laugh. They were all beautiful black women, current and former models at the same design studio where Alex had been hired, the first and only white model to be employed there.

In the middle of the huddle, Miranda showed off a beautiful diamond necklace. It sparkled brightly in the light as the girls oo’d and ah’d. Miranda was a bit shorter and thinner than Alex with beautiful dark skin, even darker than Suzette’s. Her brown eyes were wide with lashes thickly covered with mascara and sparkling eyeliner. Over her shoulders was draped a mane of frizzy blond hair and she had a delicate grace that reminded Alex of her grandmother.

If only I could be so elegant…Alex felt a twinge of envy. Her face glistened with sweat and wisps of her long black hair clung to her neck. With a paper towel, she blotted her face dry. Her blue eyes, bloodshot and irritated, stared into the mirror where she saw the blue hair in her ears. She covered them up with her hair. It was the only feature that made her different from the other people around her and distinguished her as a Water Elf among the Elves. To her, they stood out like beacons. How elegant is that?

As Miranda turned around, Alex got a good look at the necklace. Her eyes widened as she recognized a Governor’s chain, made by the Elves. A dozen large diamonds were connected by a gold chain with a piece of honeyed amber and a pendant, displaying an emblem of sparkling diamonds set on a golden plate. She’d seen the Elfin governors wear them at a meeting several years ago, each one unique.

How did it get here? Was this a sign—a call from home?

Writing fantasy novels is what Joni Parker loves to do. She’s just completed her third series, “The Admiralty Archives,” a trilogy. Her first series, “The Seaward Isle Saga,” includes three books and a short story, while her second, “The Chronicles of Eledon,” has four books. An award-winning novelist, she’s also branched off into short stories, joining local authors in an anthology called, “Beyond Tucson: Adventures in the Multiverse.” Her writing career began after 22 years in the U.S. Navy and another 7 years in federal civil service. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her sister.

Website: http://www.joni-parker.com

Blog: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191836.Joni_Parker/blog

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParkerJoni

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJoniParker

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