#NewRelease! “Natural Selection” by Jacqui Murray @WordDreams #writing community #readersoftwitter #whattoread

I’m thrilled to have Jacqui Murray here today to talk about her latest release, “Natural Selection,” from her amazing prehistorical series Dawn of Humanity! Here is my review: LINK

What I learned from Lucy

When I wrote my first novel, To Hunt a Sub, I learned a lot about life from my characters (which I shared here). That novel is set in the present day while my newest novel, Natural Selection, the third book in my Dawn of Humanity trilogy, is set 1.8 million years ago. These characters have little culture, no art, no religion or spirituality, no personal adornments, no houses, can’t use fire, don’t wear clothes, and their most advanced technology is stone tools. What could I possibly learn from their primitive lives?

Turns out, a lot. Intelligence isn’t the same as common sense and often, the latter is more important than the former. Here’s what I learned (you’ll have to buy the book to see how these skills are accomplished. Rest assured, it will be worth it):

  • How to catch fish without a rod or net. Your hands, used properly, do well.
  • Seconds and minutes aren’t important. It’s all about daylight. In fact, I no longer wear a watch.
  • You can tell time without a watch. Lots of survivalists and nature lovers use this unplugged approach.
  • Watch my backtrail. Two reasons: 1) see if anyone is following, and 2) see what things look like for the return journey. Lots of hikers do this.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Listen, smell, notice, repeat. For example, if the insects fall silent, there’s probably danger. If a covey of birds explode into the sky, something threatened them that might also threaten you.
  • Stick your finger in scat (poop). If it’s warm, the animal who made that deposit is close!
  • Nature has many natural remedies for illness, wounds, and injuries. 
  • Licking someone’s face is comforting. Wolves greet pack members this way. It feels good.
  • Wolves are gentle. They aggressively defend their pack, are well-equipped to hunt food, and are welcoming. I’m not saying you should pet a wolf. I’m saying don’t shoot it on sight just because someone told you wolves are dangerous.
  • You can eat anything if you’re hungry enough. A reader gave one of the Crossroads books one star out of five because she got sick of the disgusting slugs and worms the people ate. Well, this was a time before the bounty of farming, before the dominance of man’s weapons over animals. These people were hunters and gatherers, living off the land, thankful for anything edible. If you watch Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild, you’ll see he does the same.
  • You can run down a herd. This as much as spears turned man into a hunter of meat.
  • You don’t have to see to get around. Like you, I thought I did, and then one of my characters lost 90% of his sight. Since I have Glaucoma, which ends in blindness for a certain percent of victims, my character’s solutions brought me comfort.
  • A carry sack is best made from animal stomachs. And who doesn’t need a sack to carry stuff in while hiking?
  • Don’t kill something just because you’re afraid it will kill you.
  • Never approach prey with horns or antlers from the front.

What do you learn from your characters?

Summary 

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribemembers captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events. 

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined. 

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears! 

Book trailer:

https://youtu.be/jZhlvou9hvg 

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

One Pack Ends, Another Begins 

Africa   

The Canis’ packmates were all dead, each crumpled in a smeared puddle of blood, Upright killing sticks embedded where they should never be. His body shook, but he remembered his training. The killers’ scent filled the air. If they saw him—heard him—they would come for him, too, and he must survive. He was the last of his pack.

He padded quietly through the bodies, paused at his mate, broken, eyes open, tongue out, pup under her chest, his head crushed. A moan slipped from his muzzle and spread around him. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. Without a pack, silence was his only protection. He knew to be quiet, but today, now, failed.

To his horror, a departing Upright looked back, face covered in Canis blood, meaty shreds dripping from his mouth, the body of a dead pup slung over his shoulder. The Canis sank into the brittle grass and froze. The Upright scanned the massacre, saw the Canis’ lifeless body, thought him dead like the rest of the decimated pack. Satisfied, he turned away and rushed after his departing tribe. The Canis waited until the Upright was out of sight before cautiously rising and backing away from the onslaught, eyes on the vanished predators in case they changed their minds.

And fell.

He had planned to descend into the gully behind him. Sun’s shadows were already covering it in darkness which would hide him for the night, but he had gauged his position wrong. Suddenly, earth disappeared beneath his huge paws. He tried to scrabble to solid ground, but his weight and size worked against him and he tumbled down the steep slope. The loose gravel made gripping impossible, but he dug his claws in anyway, whining once when his shoulder slammed into a rock, and again when his head bounced off a tree stump. Pain tore through his ear as flesh ripped, dangling in shreds as it slapped the ground. He kept his legs as close as possible to his body and head tucked, thankful this hill ended in a flat field, not a river.

Or a cliff.

When it finally leveled out, he scrambled to his paws, managed to ignore the white-hot spikes shrieking through his head as he spread his legs wide. Blood wafted across his muzzle. He didn’t realize it was his until the tart globs dripped down his face and plopped to the ground beneath his quaking chest. The injured animal odor, raw flesh and fresh blood, drew predators. In a pack, his mate would purge it by licking the wound. She would pronounce him Ragged-ear, the survivor.

Ragged-ear is a strong name. A good one.

He panted, tail sweeping side to side, and his indomitable spirit re-emerged.

I live.

But no one else in his pack did.

Except, maybe, the female called White-streak. She often traveled alone, even when told not to. If she was away during the raid, she may have escaped. He would find her. Together, they would start over.

Ragged-ear shook, dislodging the grit and twigs from his now-grungy fur. That done, he sniffed out White-streak’s odor, discovered she had also descended here. His injuries forced him to limp and blood dripping from his tattered ear obstructed his sight. He stumbled trying to leap over a crack and fell into the fissure. Fire shot through his shoulder, exploded up his neck and down his chest. Normally, that jump was easy. He clambered up its crumbling far wall, breaking several of his yellowed claws.

All of that he ignored because it didn’t matter to his goal.

Daylight came and went as he followed White-streak, out of a forest onto dry savannah that was nothing like his homeland.

Why did she go here?

He embraced the tenderness that pulsed throughout his usually-limber body. It kept him angry and that made him vicious. He picked his way across streams stepping carefully on smooth stones, their damp surfaces slippery from the recent heavy rain, ignoring whoever hammered with a sharp rock inside his head. His thinking was fuzzy, but he didn’t slow. Survival was more important than comfort, or rest.

Ragged-ear stopped abruptly, nose up, sniffing. What had alerted him? Chest pounding, breathing shallow, he studied the forest that blocked his path, seeking anything that shouldn’t be there.

But the throbbing in his head made him miss Megantereon.

Ragged-ear padded forward, slowly, toward the first tree, leaving only the lightest of trails, the voice of Mother in his head.

Yes, your fur color matches the dry stalks, but the grass sways when you move. That gives away your location so always pay attention.

His hackles stiffened and he snarled, out of instinct, not because he saw Megantereon. Its shadowy hiding place was too dark for Ragged-ear’s still-fuzzy thinking. The She-cat should have waited for Ragged-ear to come closer, but she was hungry, or eager, or some other reason, and sprang. Her distance gave the Canis time to back pedal, protecting his soft underbelly from her attack. Ragged-ear was expert at escaping, but his stomach spasmed and he lurched to a stop with a yowl of pain. Megantereon’s next leap would land her on Ragged-ear, but to the Canis’ surprise, the She-cat staggered to a stop, and then howled.

While she had been stalking Ragged-ear, a giant Snake had been stalking her. When she prepared her death leap, Snake dropped to her back and began to wrap itself around her chest. With massive coils the size of Megantereon’s leg, trying to squirm away did no good.

Ragged-ear tried to run, but his legs buckled. Megantereon didn’t care because she now fought a rival that always won. The She-cat’s wails grew softer and then silent. Ragged-ear tasted her death as he dragged himself into a hole at the base of an old tree, as far as possible from scavengers who would be drawn to the feast.

He awoke with Sun’s light, tried to stand, but his legs again folded. Ragged-ear remained in the hole, eyes closed, curled around himself to protect his vulnerable stomach, his tail tickling his nose, comforting.

He survived the Upright’s assault because they deemed him dead. He would not allow them to be right.

Sun came and went. Ragged-ear consumed anything he could find, even eggs, offal, and long-dead carcasses his pack normally avoided. His legs improved until he could chase rats, fat round ground birds, and moles, a welcome addition to his diet. Sometimes, he vomited what he ate and swallowed it again. The day came he once again set out after what remained of his pack, his pace more sluggish than prior to the attack, but quick enough for safety.

Ragged-ear picked up the female’s scent again and tracked her to another den. He slept there for the night and repeated his hunt the next day and the next. When he couldn’t find her trace, instinct drove him and memories of the dying howls of his pack, from the adults who trusted their Alpha Ragged-ear to protect them to the whelps who didn’t understand the presence of evil in their bright world.

Everywhere he traveled, when he crossed paths with an Upright, it was their final battle.

Book information: 

Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at: 

http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. 

Social Media contacts: 

Amazon Author Page:         https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                        https://worddreams.wordpress.com

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

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                    http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net

 

New Release! “Sorrowful Soul” by Harmony Kent! @harmony_kent #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #poetrycommunity

Today I’m thrilled to have friend and fellow Story Empire author, Harmony Kent here today to share the good news about her latest poetry release, “Sorrowful Soul.” I read this powerful book and loved it. Here is my review: LINK

Hi, Denise.

Thanks so much for hosting me today.

It’s always wonderful to visit with you.

Here’s a little bit I’d love to share about my latest book of poetry, Sorrowful Soul. Full of freestyle poems, which provide company and compassion through the devastating journey of grief and loss and onward, this heartfelt collection shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone.

Since Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s excellent book on the stages of grief, we now have an established set of seven stages to the grieving process. Although these stages are non-linear and can be revisited at any time, it’s helpful to have a rough idea of what we might expect during this difficult period of transition. The sixth stage is commonly known as Working Through or Testing.

Here’s an extract from a poem about whether we’d do it all again in the face of loss …

From Part 6: Working Through

(From within To Have Lived and Loved)

A second death

The slow way

‘Oh, good grief,’

I cry

But is there such a thing?

If I had my time again

Would I choose

To lose

The love we had

To avoid the pain

Of loss?

How far would you go to either forget or remember a lost loved one? Chat with me in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this poetic excerpt and would love to know what you think. Thanks for reading 😊

BUY NOW: https://mybook.to/SorrowfulSoul

About the Book:

If we’re lucky, we meet twilight at the front door and old age creeps in on the night breeze.

Even if we make it to our twilight years, the more we age, the more loss we must endure as part of the cycle of life. Many of these poems lament death, but they also relate to broken relationships, severed friendships, and the loss of youth. This book of grief poetry is as much about saying goodbye and working through loss as it is about death and love split asunder.

This heartfelt collection provides company and compassion through the devastating journey of loss and shows us we do not travel this lonely road alone. Within these pages we share shock, numbness and denial, catapult into anger, bargaining, depression, loneliness, and guilt, and—eventually—make the seismic shift into testing the possibility of a new normal and finding acceptance.

Universal Sales Link:

https://mybook.to/SorrowfulSoul

AUTHOR BIO:

Harmony Kent spent 13 years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, where she faced her demons and overcame devastating low self-esteem and found freedom. After a life-changing injury, Harmony returned to the world at the tender age of 40, and her life as a writer began.

Harmony is an award winning multi-genre author, and her publications include:

The Battle for Brisingamen (Fantasy Fiction) AIA approved

The Glade (Mystery/Thriller) AIA Approved/BRAG Medallion Honouree/New Apple Literary Awards Official Selection Honours 2015

Polish Your Prose: Essential Editing Tips for Authors (Writing/Editing) New Apple Literary Awards Top Medallist Honours 2015

Finding Katie (Women’s Fiction)

Slices of Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 1)

Life and Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 2)

Sorrowful Soul (Soul Poetry Series: Book 3)

Interludes (Erotic Short Stories)

Interludes 2 (Erotic Short Stories)

Moments (Short Stories and Poetry)

Jewel in the Mud (Zen Musings)

Polish Your Prose (How to Self-Edit)

Creative Solutions (Creative Writing Inspiration)

Backstage (Erotic Romance and Thriller)

FALLOUT (Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia) BRAG Medallion Honouree

The Vanished Boy (Psychological Thriller)

As well as being an avid reader and writer, Harmony also offers reviews and supports her fellow authors. Harmony is always on the lookout for talent and excellence, and will freely promote any authors or books who she feels have these attributes.

Harmony’s Website

twitter: @harmony_kent

Goodreads: Harmony Kent

BookBub: Harmony Kent

Story Empire (co-authored blog): Harmony Kent

Harmony’s Amazon Author Page: author.to/HarmonysBooks

New Release! “Do What You Love” By MJ Mallon @Marjorie_Mallon #newrelease #poetry #flashfiction #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

I’m thrilled to have a fellow writer and poet, MJ Mallon here today to share her latest release, Do What you Love! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is the review: LINK

Blurb

Do What You Love Fragility of Your Flame Poems, Photography & Flash Fiction is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

float along with me

create clouds of sweetest joy

to do what you love

hold fate’s hand as we venture

near and far on life’s journey

Buy Links for Do What You Love:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/What-You-love-Fragility-Photography-ebook/dp/B0BKLC9DYY/

I am thrilled to say that two of my poetry collections, (Mr. Sagittarius and Lockdown Innit,) have been requested by prestigious libraries in the UK: The British Library, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, the Cambridge University Library, National Library of Scotland, National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin for Legal Deposit.

Add the book to your TBR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63114445-do-what-you-love

The cover of the paperback and kindle have been designed by Colleen Chesebro who has a new service for authors which I can highly recommend. Colleen also designed the interior and cover of The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet.

https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/my-services

Portfolio:

https://unicorncatspubservices.wordpress.com/portfolio

https://wordcraftpoetry.com/unicorn-cats-publishing-services/

Other poetry/flash fiction collections:

Kyrosmagica Publishing

The Hedge Witch And The Musical Poet

https://books2read.com/u/mv1OeV

Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose

http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Anthology – This Is Lockdown, (poetry, diaries and flash fiction – kindle)

http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Poetry during Lockdown – Lockdown Innit

 http://mybook.to/Lockdowninnit

Poetry also features in my highly acclaimed YA Fantasy series. Each chapter begins with a short poem. The Curse of Time Book 1 Bloodstone and Book 2 Golden Healer are published by Next Chapter Publishing.

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/bloodstone

https://www.nextchapter.pub/books/golden-healer

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

Author Bio

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives sometimes in the UK, and often times in Portugal.. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.

Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too.

BLOG:

About Me… M J Mallon, Author, Poet, Blogger and Reviewer

UNIVERSAL LINK:

https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor

 

New Release: “Saddled Hearts” by Jan Sikes @JanSikes3 #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #romance

I am thrilled to have friend and fellow Story Book Empire Author, Jan Sikes, here today to celebrate the new release of her book, “Saddled Hearts.” Here is my review: LINK

Denise, I am super excited and honored to be visiting your blog site today. Thank you so much for offering to let me take over. Your support is much appreciated.

I love including animals in my stories. They can add so many opportunities for a deeper look into the characters or sometimes a bit of humor. In Saddled Hearts, Colt Layne has two Australian Shepherds, Mattie and Sheila. Since I love well-behaved dogs, I add that into their character. They are loyal and devoted and are helpful with ranch work. I first introduced them in Jagged Feathers.

Here’s a few of examples.

EXERPTS:

Gravel crunched under tires in the driveway, and Mattie and Sheila raised a ruckus on the front porch. Colt set his guitar on a nearby stand. “Sounds like we have company.”

He strode to the door and called to the two dogs. They stopped barking but kept their ears straight up and eyes on the vehicle that belched black smoke as it came to a stop.

***

Once she’d settled, she called to the dogs. They didn’t waste a second in joining her.

Leaning over, she rubbed both of their heads and backs. “They’re so well-behaved.”

“I started teaching them when they were pups. Do you have any pets?”

“I have two cats, Bella and Luna. They’re probably wondering where I am about now.”

“Animals can become like family. I’m lucky to have two such smart children.”

Sage threw back her head and laughed. “Children? That’s an odd way of referring to them, but it fits.”

***

He reached her as she stepped out of the car. With no hesitation, he pulled her into a warm embrace. “You made it.” The dogs ran in a circle around them, stirring up dust. “Girls, sit,” Colt commanded. They obeyed with soft whimpers, never taking their eyes off Sage.

***

Fierce barking from Mattie and Sheila brought Colt to his feet. He propped the guitar against a chair, then strode out onto the front porch.

“What’s got you so riled up, girls?” Probably a raccoon or opossum.

They ran along the perimeter of the large porch and back again, barking.

Colt’s nostrils twitched. Smoke!

But where was it coming from? He made a beeline around the porch to the backside of the house, and spit dried in his mouth. The back pasture glowed with flames.

***

Mattie and Sheila also helped round up rogue cattle in another scene in the book. I loved creating both of them. I’ve had dogs throughout my life but one in particular stands out. She was a Doberman named Penny. At first, I was afraid of her, but she turned out to be the most loving and loyal animal. Right now, I have four granddogs. One is quite elderly and not in good health, but I love to see them, and they always respond to that love. Do you have animals, or is there a special animal that stands out in your memory? Let’s talk!

BOOK BLURB:

Colt Layne owns the Layne Horse Sanctuary. He lives an idyllic life between caring for the animals and playing music with his band. That is until a stranger appears with unreasonable demands. When someone murders the man, Colt is arrested. He’s been framed, but by whom and why?

He needs to talk with his deceased grandfather. But that’s impossible. Or is it?

Sage Coventry is gifted with the ability to communicate with the deceased. Skeptical but desperate, when Colt consults with her, he gets more than messages from beyond the grave as she breezes into his heart with sweet patchouli fragrance and tempting lips he longs to kiss.

The race against time to clear his name and save the ranch launches them on a mission that brings shocking revelations.

BOOK TRAILER: https://youtu.be/_MQ9fYH5PrI

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK 

 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

WEBSITE: http://www.jansikes.com
BLOG: http://www.jansikesblog.com
TWITTER: http://www.twitter.com/jansikes3
FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
PINTEREST: https://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/
GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes
BOOKBUB: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jan-sikes
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/sikesjan/
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

 

New Release! “The Midnight Rambler” by C. S. Boyack. #newrelease #halloweenread #readersoftwitter #whattoread #writingcommunity

I’m thrilled to have a friend and fellow Story Empire Contributor here, C. S. Boyack. I have read and loved all six of The Hat Series. My review of The Midnight Rambler: LINK

It means a lot to me that you’d open your doors to my blog tour, Denise. I’d love to help you promote your next publication whenever that might be.

There’s a cover and blurb down below that will give you some specifics into this story, but I want to talk about the series itself. This is a collection of stand-alone stories that don’t have any required reading before diving in. If The Midnight Rambler is your first exposure to the series, I promise you won’t feel lost.

One of the things that’s come up with this series is reader expectations. They’re dark humor and corny on purpose. Readers have developed their favorite features and it’s important for me to remember those. As the series grows, I can’t be shackled by them. We have new areas to explore and characters to meet.

People seemed to love Kevin the vampire, who is a kind of street informant for Lizzie and the hat. They love Noodles the crazy pet creature one of the local witches owns. Star St. Laurent, Lizzie’s mother has plenty of fans. Then there are things that seem to be regular features like the silly graphics and Night Bump Radio.

I dropped a few of these here, because I can’t pay homage to all of them in every book. There are times when a girl needs to talk to her mother, perfect for Star. Maybe she needs a street informant, great for Kevin. Detective Yoder and his deceased wife have their fans. I will continue to use these characters, but only when it’s appropriate for the story.

It seems like Night Bump Radio and the legend of Hellpox are finding their way into every tale, but even then it may be a major or minor appearance as the plot dictates. I can’t cover everyone’s favorite in every story. We have new characters to meet and new situations to delve into.

These peripheral characters are around for a reason. I can use them when it helps advance the plot. I can’t revisit them just because they were so much fun in previous volumes. It makes Lizzie’s world more realistic and complete.

Lizzie needs people like her mother to interact with. Her band, The Pythons, and a couple of her employers also fill this role. She can’t talk to them about the supernatural world, so we have Kevin the vampire, the local coven, or even Detective Yoder to fill those roles.

The Midnight Rambler features Elgin the magpie, and Ray C. Adair. These are new characters to love. It doesn’t mean I’m abandoning anyone, and they could reappear at any time in future volumes.

Just in case you’re worried, Dash Goodman and Detective Yoder appear in this story. Even Cyrus Yoder and Noodles are here, but in minimal form. I even revisited a nameless red headed vampire who’s more of a frenemy at this point.

I am honored that people enjoyed the peripheral characters in this series. Unless they’ve been killed any of them could reappear when the need arises. Of course, it’s a paranormal series so they might return even if they’re dead. Who knows? Kevin and the redhead are already dead, so never say never. 

Cover Blurb:

Something evil is after the hat. The ageless enemies have battled many times, but this time Lizzie is wearing the hat. She’s also up against a ticking clock, in that if she can’t find the maker of her new friend’s medicine he will die.

The Rambler has kidnapped the only witch capable of making Ray’s medicine in an attempt to make the hat sloppy in his efforts. He’s also flooded the streets with deadly minions to impede any progress our heroes might make.

As if that weren’t enough, Lizzie is facing more of life’s struggles, both financially and mechanically. This all goes down in the middle of a huge flood event that she’s ill equipped to handle.

Join Lizzie and the hat as they battle the elements, the paranormal, and a being of pure evil. Lizzie might be battling some personal demons along the way as she and Ray grow closer.

Get your copy here: https://mybook.to/TheMidnightRambler

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New Release: “Letting Go” by Jacquie Biggar! @JacqBiggar @XpressoTours⁣ #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #newrelease

I’m thrilled to have friend, and fellow writer here today, Jacquie Biggar, to share her latest release, Letting Go The Defiant Sisters Book 1!

Letting Go
Jacquie Biggar
(The Defiant Sisters, #1)
Publication date: October 21st 2022
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

A coming-of-age novel about the pain of misconceptions and learning from them.

When life gives you lemons…

 

 

Izzy

Mom is barely in the grave and the prodigal child is here to pick the bones clean.

I don’t want her here. My sister’s defection is a wound that won’t heal, and her return simply rubs at the scabs covering my heart.

I’ve managed just fine without her. She can go back to her fancy college and forget about us- that’s what she does best anyway.

If only I didn’t need her help. Or miss her so much.

Renee

The day my dad committed suicide I ran. I’ve been running ever since.

Going home is supposed to be the answer. Instead, it makes me question every thoughtless decision I’ve made.

My sister hates me. My little brother barely knows me. And Simon… is engaged.

None of it matters- or so I tell myself. I’m here to make amends and face a past haunted by regret.

As long as I can convince myself to stay.

Letting Go is a young adult romance dealing with tragedy, restitution, and love in all its aspects. The story relates to sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.

Goodreads / Amazon

SNEAK PEEK:

Izzy

The shock of finding Renée on the doorstep is fading, taken over by the sheer hypocrisy of her arrival. Why now? It’s a little late if she wants to make amends. Not a word for two stinking years and she shows up thinking I’m going to be grateful she’s here?

Not in this lifetime.

The warm sincerity of her embrace, though… it tries to weaken the resentment I’ve fostered since she walked out on her family, leaving me to pick up the pieces.

“I don’t want you here,” I snarl, unable to hide my bitterness. I’d rather act as though I don’t care.

Renée eyes me warily, rubbing a reddened palm. I feel a childish delight to have caused her even a minuscule amount of the pain she’s caused me.

“I’m aware,” she says calmly, bending to pick up a bulging overnight bag. “But I’m here now, so let’s make the best of it—for Mom.”

Red hot rage rises from the pit of my stomach to spit and steam from my ears. “Do. Not. Use Mom against me. You lost that right a long time ago.”

Months of caregiving flicker behind my eyes. My father’s suicide did something to Mom. She shouldered the blame and wore it like a hairshirt, ripping the blinders away from their relationship to show the fractures in the foundation. She shut down. Stopped eating, washing, and caring. It was left to me to get Benjamin off to school, clothes washed, and a semblance of normalcy when everything was insane.

“You should have called.” Renée’s empathetic gaze gets on my last nerve.

I whirl away before I plant my fist in her face. “Your room is the way you left it. You can stay the weekend, then I want you to leave. Ben doesn’t need to get his hopes up.” And neither do I.

Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

 

“My name is Jacquie Biggar. When I’m not acting like a total klutz, I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a butler to my calico cat.

My guilty pleasures are reality tv shows like Amazing Race and The Voice. Every Monday night, I can be in my armchair plastered to the television laughing at Blake’s shenanigans.

I love to hang out at the beach with DH (darling hubby) taking pictures or reading romance novels (what else?).

I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession, enjoy gardening, everything pink, and talking to my friends.”

She has been blessed with a long, happy marriage and enjoys writing romance novels that end with happily-ever-afters.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bookbub / Amazon / Pinterest / Newsletter

 

Giveaway!
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New Release! “The Haunting of Chatham Hollow” by Mae Clair & Staci Troilo. #whattoread #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #mystery #ghosts

I’m thrilled to welcome friends and fellow Story Empire Authors here today to share in their good news of a co-authored release! Here’s my review: LINK

Denise, thank you so much for hosting me today. I’m delighted to be here with you and your readers to share The Haunting of Chatham Hollow. I co-authored this novel with Staci Troilo, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was amazing to work with a co-author, especially someone as talented as Staci. She and I found we work great together, so who knows—maybe another down the road.

For now, we hope others will enjoy our supernatural mystery which includes dual timelines, ghostly happenings, a town curse, murder, and rumors of buried gold.  During our short promo tour, you’ll meet several characters who populate the book. Today, I’d like to introduce Victor Rowe, from the 1888 timeline. Spiritualism is a key thread in the book, so Staci and I thought we’d have each character sit down with a medium as a way of introduction.

Let’s listen in.

SPIRTUALIST: I’m honored you’ve taken the time to visit, Mr. Rowe. Your reputation proceeds you.

VICTOR: Thank you, but it’s not my habit to rest on laurels.

SPIRTUALIST: Yet I understand you’ve cut back with your profession, not nearly as active as you once were.

VICTOR: Since leaving Philadelphia, yes. I was far more engaged there—lectures, spirit circles several times a week, seances for the city’s elite. After the passing of my wife, I needed to step away from the whirlwind. Losing Constance was the catalyst to prompt my move to Chatham Hollow.

SPIRTUALIST: The town has certainly welcomed you. I believe it’s been, what—nine years? And your son, Jordan, lives with you. A young man in his early twenties.

VICTOR: (narrowing his eyes) You’re well informed.

SPIRTUALIST: Consider the subject. You’re a legend among those of us in spiritualist circles. Which is why I find it interesting a man of your standing would concern himself with an unknown like Benedict Fletcher.

VICTOR: I don’t recall saying I have.

SPIRTUALIST: Scuttlebutt around town says you and Fletcher have a rivalry going on.

VICTOR: Nonsense. We’ve crossed paths, yes. Our social circles have intersected with some of the same people.

SPIRTUALIST: The mayor—whom I believe is a good friend of yours—and his wife, Irene? There’s also her sister, Dorinda, and a particular young lady named Elayne Orrman.

VICTOR: I detest when people don’t speak plainly.

SPIRTUALIST: Then I shall… although you may think highly of Miss Orrman, I believe the opposite is true of Mr. Fletcher. I think you would enjoy discrediting him.

VICTOR: Then let me set the record straight. Point one—you will not mention Miss Orrman again. I will not tolerate having that young lady’s name sullied with common gossip. Point two—there is no need for me to discredit Benedict Fletcher. Anyone with a parcel of sensibility will recognize he disguises his lack of talent beneath gaudy showmanship. The man made a mockery of the Founder’s Day séance with his inept attempt at summoning.

SPIRTUALIST: You’re referencing his attempt to resurrect Ward Chatham’s ghost?

VICTOR: It’s beneath discussing.

SPIRTUALIST: According to the Chatham Hollow Chronicle you stepped in and saved the day. But then the editor, Aaron Brock, is a friend of yours.

VICTOR: Do I sense insinuation in your tone?

SPIRTUALIST: (smiling) Against the great Victor Rowe?

VICTOR: (stands) Consider this conversation over.

SPIRTUALIST: It’s interesting how no one really wants to discuss that séance, yet most feel the consequences will linger long into the future. Perhaps centuries from now others will look back and try to fit the pieces together. Maybe even attempt to decipher where Ward Chatham hid his gold.

VICTOR: A fool’s quest. Chatham and his treasure are better left where they belong—buried, and in the past.

____________

 BLURB:
One founding father.
One deathbed curse.
A town haunted for generations.

Ward Chatham, founder of Chatham Hollow, is infamous for two things—hidden treasure and a curse upon anyone bold enough to seek it. Since his passing in 1793, no one has discovered his riches, though his legend has only grown stronger.

In 1888, charlatan Benedict Fletcher holds a séance to determine the location of Chatham’s fortune. It’s all a hoax so he can search for the gold, but he doesn’t count on two things—Victor Rowe, a true spiritualist who sees through his ruse, and Chatham’s ghost wreaking havoc on the town.

More than a century later, the citizens of the Hollow gather for the annual Founder’s Day celebration. A paranormal research team intends to film a special at Chatham Manor, where the original séance will be reenacted. Reporter and skeptic Aiden Hale resents being assigned the story, but even he can’t deny the sudden outbreak of strange happenings. When he sets out to discover who or what is threatening the Hollow—supernatural or not— his investigation uncovers decades-old conflicts, bitter rivalries, and ruthless murders.

This time, solving the mystery isn’t about meeting his deadline. It’s about not ending up dead.

_______

 Thanks again for hosting me today, Denise. It was a pleasure to drop by—along with my unnamed spiritualist and Victor Rowe. (Victor, though a man of principal, is not without his share of rough edges). I invite your readers to pick up a copy of The Haunting of Chatham Hollow at the link below. Staci and I both appreciate the support and wish everyone happy reading!

PURCHASE LINK

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up
Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

Connect with Staci Troilo at the following haunts:

Website | Blog | Social Media | Newsletter
Amazon ​| BookBub ​| Goodreads

 

New Release! “Geller’s Find” by Sandra Cox. #newrelease #western #timetravel #readersofttwitter #writingcommunity #whattoread

I’m thrilled to have fellow author and friend Sandra Cox here today to share her latest release, Geller’s Find. Review to follow soon—after my re-read 🙂

Character Facts

Doctor Luke Geller is a full-time history professor and part-time
archeologist.
His specialty is Native American artifacts.
Instead of a gun, he carries a Hopi throwing stick.
He likes cats and horses and has a sense of humor.

Excerpt

“Dammit.”

His heels caught in a patch of fuzzy green and gray weeds. Buried in
their center was a large piece of chiastolite. Ancient markings all but
obliterating the standard graphite cross that long ago was used to ward off
evil. The hair on the back of his neck rose and his nerves twitched. He’d
never seen anything like that rock before. He nudged it with his foot. When
it didn’t budge, he bent to pick it up.

The ground under his feet trembled.

The chiastolite glowed. The markings shimmered.

What the hell?

He flapped his arms, trying to balance himself as the ground dropped
an inch. A perfect circle below his feet gave way, the stone still in place.

He fell into a mineral cylinder.

The bottom dropped.

His stomach flopped and he swirled down.

The wind whistled in his ears as he tumbled into a black hole that went
on forever. The chill in the air fell away. The further down he went, the
hotter the air. The rocks around him began to glow. Good God. Either he
was heading for hell or the earth’s core, and neither was where he wanted
to be. His grip on the rifle tightened as he bounced off the hot stones that
closed around him as he whirled in a tube of rock.

Time had no meaning. Seconds, minutes, maybe more passed as the
cyclone of air spun him around. His stomach pushed up to his throat and
he fought off nausea.

With a scraping sound, the spinning lurched to a stop.

Then as if an elevator button was punched, he started upward. Only
unlike an elevator there was no floor, just rough rock gravity glued him
against.

Up. Up. Up. Faster and faster. Then momentum stopped. His body
quivered. A force thrust upward and opened.

He dropped.

Hard earth rose to meet him.

With a thud, he landed.

US AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

UK AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

 

Sandra Cox has written over thirty books. Her works consist of all things Western and more. Sandra is a vegetarian, Muay Thai
enthusiast, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her
husband, their dog and cats in sunny North Carolina.

Foodie Facts:
She spent a number of years in the Midwest chasing down good
Southern BBQ. By the time she moved to North Carolina where Southern
BBQ is practically a staple, she’d become a vegetarian.
Pineapple is a must-have on pizza, along with black olives and onions.
She loves pumpkin waffles. Pumpkin cream cheese, not so much.

Links:
https://sandracoxwriter.com
https://cowboytrivia.blogspot.com

New Release! “The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival” by Miriam Hurdle. #memoirs #cancersurvivor #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter

I’m honored to have Miriam Hurdle here today to share her story. This was a heartfelt story and my review is below.

Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Denise. I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.

During the launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.

The Role of Research in Memoirs

Memoirs always require research. They are stories based on real-life events. Fact-check everything can be fact-checked, such as names, dates, places, weather, and events. One person wanted to write a family memoir, but she was not sure if her great-grandmother’s name spelled Emily or Emely. Her research shows Emely was the correct spelling. You can’t make up this information. The inaccuracy takes away the credibility of your story.

Example: In The Winding Road, I wrote I was holding the “10 feet” tall IV stand as my cane to walk on the hospital floor after my surgery. My writing group laughed. One said, “The IV stand feels like 10 feet tall to you because you’re short.” I then Googled the height of IV stands and changed my story to “The IV stand looked like 6 feet tall.”

Another part of the story was that my surgeon told me I had a CT scan right after the surgery. I asked my husband Lynton if there was an imaging facility next to the operating room. He wasn’t sure, but it’s unlikely. My research showed a portable CT scan can be moved to the operating room to perform a scan.  The surgeon can look at the scan result to determine if the margins of surgery are clear.

My memoir is about a medical journey that involved medical terms and medical procedures. I needed to describe them accurately rather than in layman’s terms.

Examples of research for my book:

The stages of melanoma

The procedure for CT/PET scan

The procedure of laparoscopic surgery

Healthcare personnel titles

Anatomy of inguinal lymph nodes

Accurate description of my bio-chemotherapy

Proper Admission and discharge procedures

Medical equipment names, such as incentive spirometers rather than handheld breathing machine

The correct names of places such as St. John’s Health Center rather than St. John Hospital

Fact-check on dates, times, and locations of events

Distance from home to hospital

Distance from home to my husband Lynton’s work

The Importance of Feedback

I’m grateful to my writing group for their skillful and constructive feedback. We conduct our meetings on Zoom. Members take turns reading their chapters. After one person reads, the coordinator facilitates to have feedback from the members. The writers often feel that the ideas are clear to them, but they may not be clear to the readers. When there are any unclear ideas, we encourage the writers to clarify or to do fact-checking.

The accurate facts make my story flow smoothly. The readers have the information needed to understand my immediate events and my overall story.

Blurb

In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this is Miriam’s journey of faith and miracle. It is a heartwarming story of resilience, courage, and the will to live.

My Review

“The Winding Road” is a heartfelt memoir that takes the reader through a cancer diagnosis to the outcome. I felt like I was experiencing this journey with Ms. Hurdle, as she not only talks about how she is feeling, but how she had to deal with insurance, appointments, and the physical toll of the treatments. Once Ms. Hurdle learned how rare and deadly the cancer was, a decision was made to try experimental treatments for six months. I’m not sure I could have handled what she endured. Being so ill during the treatments with no guarantees would be hard, but a strong will to live shined through and balanced that out. This was a painful insight into the reality of cancer, mixed with her belief that life is precious, that left me inspired and full of hope. A read that not only shows us the darker side of life when illness strikes, but how the love and support of family and friends can help carry some of that heavy burden. A highly recommended story that can inspire anyone going through not only illness but other challenges.

Purchase Links

US Amazon

UK Amazon

The Winding Road Trailer

https://youtu.be/HBzt5B3xa9Yhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBzt5B3xa9Y

About Miriam

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her publications include Songs of Heartstrings, and the children’s book, Tina Lost in a Crowd. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching, and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California, and the visits to her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters in Oregon. When not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Contact Miriam at

Website/Blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1

New Book Release, “Necromancer’s Daughter” by @Dwallacepeach! #newrelease #writingcommunity #readersoftwitter #fantasy #mustread

 

I’m excited to welcome fellow Story Empire Author and friend, Diana, here today to celebrate her latest release, “The Necromancer’s Daughter.” Here is my review: LINK

Today I thought I’d share a snippet from Chapter 2 when Barus makes a heartbreaking discovery:

Barus shuffled along a path bordering the rift until something blue caught his eye. Planting his staff, he stepped nearer for a better look. A piece of cloth had snagged on a root. On his hands and knees, he crawled closer, grimacing at the added discomfort of his wardrobe of sticks. He stretched out an arm and caught the cloth between two fingers. What he discovered was no patch of torn fabric, but a long silk shawl littered with pine needles.

Olma’s blue shawl, the one he’d given her as a gift.

He clasped the damp cloth against his chest and sat back on his heels. “Olma?” Shifting again to his hands and knees, he crept nearer to the edge. His heart hammered against his ribs, and his mouth went dry. “Olma, where are you? Can you hear me?”

He lowered himself to his elbows and inched forward until he peered over the lip. Ferns and rocks lined the steep bank except where tumbled dirt exposed a gnarled lattice of roots twisted like brown snakes. Ten feet below him, the brook dribbled along the streambed. Brown leaves twirled in an eddy and collected at one end of a frog-sized pool.

He’d seen enough of death to know the truth of what his eyes revealed.

Blurb

A healer and dabbler in the dark arts of life and death, Barus is as gnarled as an ancient tree. Forgotten in the chaos of the dying queen’s chamber, he spirits away her stillborn infant, and in a hovel at the meadow’s edge, he breathes life into the wisp of a child. He names her Aster for the lea’s white flowers. Raised as his daughter, she learns to heal death.

Then the day arrives when the widowed king, his own life nearing its end, defies the Red Order’s warning. He summons the necromancer’s daughter, his only heir, and for his boldness, he falls to an assassin’s blade.

While Barus hides from the Order’s soldiers, Aster leads their masters beyond the wall into the Forest of Silvern Cats, a land of dragons and barbarian tribes. She seeks her mother’s people, the powerful rulers of Blackrock, uncertain whether she will find sanctuary or face a gallows’ noose.

Unprepared for a world rife with danger, a world divided by those who practice magic and those who hunt them, she must choose whether to trust the one man offering her aid, the one man most likely to betray her—her enemy’s son.

A healer with the talent to unravel death, a child reborn, a father lusting for vengeance, and a son torn between justice, faith, and love. Caught in a chase spanning kingdoms, each must decide the nature of good and evil, the lengths they will go to survive, and what they are willing to lose.

AMAZON PURCHASE LINKS

Author Bio

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life when years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books. She was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Links

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach