Amazing fellow Story Empire Author and wonderful human being, Staci Troilo, just released a new romantic novella, “No Such Luck.” She’s making the rounds on her release tour so don’t miss out on that! I know I’ll be following along 🙂
Today, I decided to give “No Such Luck” its own special review day in honor of its release. You will see this review again in December on my regular book review post too!
Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.
Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.
The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.
Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.
When things get bad for Piper, she heads home. It’s here she runs into not only her best friend from high school, Jack but her crush, Tommy. Piper is a character who is likable even in her not-so-stellar moments. She maneuvers through what is real and the musings of a teenage girl. This is a quick read that I devoured in one sitting to see if she got her happily ever after. “No Such Luck” is a sweet novella that emphasizes what and who is important. A fantastic beginning to the new Keystone Couples Series that I can easily recommend.
I’m excited to share the cover and pre-order for my final planned children’s book, “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories!” It is a chapter book suitable for middle-grade and those young at heart.
Here’s my first attempt at a children’s cover:)
When reality and magic meet in the forest
It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.
Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.
I ended up picking this date not only because it’s my son’s age, but it’s a full moon and lunar eclipse! An event made for fairies:)
Paperback to follow!
Note: I was focused on this release so I wasn’t around as much on blogs and social media this week. I will try to catch up as best I can, and will be around more next week:)
There will be a Tree Fairy Blog Tour weaving through the end of May and into June. Miriam Hurdle has graciously offered to host on release day to get the tour started. Watch for it, and all the other amazing sites the tree and city fairies will be visiting!
Please give an extra warm welcome to Joan Hall and her latest story, “House of Sorrow! Here’s my review for this wonderful prequel:)
House of Sorrow: February 1980
Thank you for hosting me today, Denise. I’m delighted to be here, to visit with your readers, and talk about my newest release.
House of Sorrow is a short-story prequel to my upcoming novel Cold Dark Night, book one of my Legends of Madeira series. It’s the story of Ruth Hazelton, a reclusive older woman who lives in a two-story Victorian house in the fictional town of Madeira, New Mexico. Ruth reflects on her life, particularly when she and her husband Lee first moved to town.
This story began as a 350-word blog post years ago. From there it evolved to around 2,000 words. While planning Cold Dark Night, I decided Ruth’s story would be perfect for a prequel.
Most of the scenes occur in the late 1960s/early 1970s, so I used actual events in the story. I also drew on a few of my memories from that time. The part I’m sharing today takes place in February 1980.
Probably the biggest story of February 1980 was the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. I was recovering from a hospital stay and spent much of my time watching the games, saddened that Tai Babalonia and Randy Gardner wouldn’t be able to compete in pairs figure skating. I cheered Eric Heiden won five gold medals for speed skating and celebrated the “Miracle on Ice,” when the US Hockey team beat the Soviets for the gold.
Public Domain photo of Lake Placid Olympic Medals
But while the rest of the US was celebrating, something was afoul in Madeira, New Mexico. Let’s hear more.
February 16, 1980
I wish Lee would confide in me more often. Something is bothering him. I can tell by the way he acts. He’s always been the quiet one. Never wanting to burden me with his problems.
After twenty years of marriage, doesn’t he realize we’re in this together? I want to help. He’s always been there for me, but I know better than to push him. If and when he’s ready, he’ll talk.
Maybe I’m reading too much into things. He turns fifty in a few days. Could be a mid-life crisis. I’ll probably be the same way when the time comes for me.
Ruth closed the journal then went into the kitchen to check on the pot of stew. It was one of Lee’s favorites—a hearty meal perfect for a cold winter night. She lowered the burner. Looked out the window toward the driveway. There was no sign of her husband.
The clock read six-thirty. He was already half an hour late. She debated on calling the station but decided against it. She’d never been one to phone him at work unless it was an emergency.
There was nothing more to do than wait, so she went back to the living room. This time she opted for the television.
An hour later, Lee still hadn’t shown up.
“Okay. It’s been long enough. I’m calling.” Ruth started to pick up the phone when the doorbell rang.
She opened the door to find Detective Juan Garcia and another police officer who she didn’t recognize.
“Hello, Juan. Lee isn’t home, but I’m expecting him any minute. In fact, he should have been here by now.”
“May we come in?” Juan’s voice was somber. His face expressionless.
“Of course. No reason for you to wait outside. The living room is nice and warm.”
The officers entered the foyer. Ruth closed the door against the bitter cold.
“Would you like something hot to drink?” she asked.
The younger officer shook his head then glanced toward the seasoned detective.
“Ruth, why don’t you sit down?” Juan spoke softly.
Her heart plummeted. For the first time, she noticed the wording on the second officer’s badge.
Nathan Turner, Chaplain.
She sank into a chair, her hands shaking, and her stomach in knots. A million scenarios raced through her mind, searching to find an explanation for Juan’s demeanor and the presence of a chaplain.
Other than the obvious.
But in her heart, she knew. They weren’t here to see Lee. They were here to tell her about Lee.
Dream home or damned home?
Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.
But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.
Until the unthinkable happens.
Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must find a way to convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.
I’m excited to have author, Harmony Kent, here today to celebrate her new soon to be released book, “Fallout.” I’ve pre-ordered my copy.
Hi, everyone. Harmony here. Many thanks to Denise for hosting me today. I have a new book on pre-order called FALLOUT, which is a post-apocalyptic dystopia. This novel started out life by playing a little game. I sat and closed my eyes and imagined an empty room … in that room, a vial appeared. A dull orange plastic thing covered in scratches. It sloshed when I shook it. From that tiny beginning, the world of Exxon 1 and its deadly virus was born.
Who’s stalking Priya and Kaleb?
Could it be an infected? …
Someone even more sinister?
WHEN EVERYTHING FALLS APART, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
The year is 3040.
The location is Exxon 1, part of a six-planet system in settled space.
Determined to avoid the mistakes of old Earth, the surviving humans avoided democracy and opted, instead, for a non-elective totalitarian system.
The new way worked well, until now.
A crazy, despotic president releases a nano-virus on the population.
No one was ready for the fallout. It came anyway.
In this post-apocalyptic world, can you stay safe?
This night brought utter blackness, with not a single hint of red from the moons. A ferocious dust storm earlier in the afternoon had left the skies thick and full and unbreathable. Priya laboured to get air through her filter mask, unused to its suffocating bulk and the effort required to breathe through it.
Anyone interested in following their trail would have an easy time of it, for they left vivid footprints in the dust that lay thick on the ground. Every once in a while, she had to use her sleeve to wipe her visor clean so that she could see her way forward.
The heavy particles blanketed the world and brought a preternatural quiet, much like when it snowed. You could lay in bed and know that white surrounded you without even looking out of the window. You only had to listen.
A couple of times, from the corner of her eye, Priya had caught a glimpse of a fleeting shadow. Too small for another raptor. Too quick to catch. And obscured by the tree cover and poor visibility in the aftermath of the storm.
The hairs on her neck prickled, and goosebumps ran up and down her arms and spine. The trail of prints bothered her. As did the blanketing effect of the dust. That flitting shadow could be someone or merely a figment of her imagination.
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.
Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
I’m pleased to welcome author Julie Holmes for the release of her debut book, “Murder in Plane Sight”. Isn’t that a great title? I have my copy:)
Thank you, Denise, for helping me spread the word about my debut novel release. It’s great to finally share my creation with readers everywhere.
And the inevitable question (and one I love to ask other writers): How did you come up with this idea?
That is an easy one. (psst–don’t ask me how I came up with any of my other ideas) After spending a few years revising and querying my police procedural with some interest but no success, I knew I needed to write something new. That (in)famous advice we’ve all heard, “Write what you know”, kept running through my head.
What do I know? I know about growing up in rural Minnesota. That could be fun, but I’ll save that for now. I know about vegetable gardening. I know about information technology, at least from the early days of Windows 95 and fax machines through the death of parallel ports and the expansion of Bluetooth and USB.
Then I considered something else. As an avid reader with an interest in aviation, all the books I could find in my younger days that involved aviation were military thrillers like Flight of the Intruder or Firefox. I read a few of those many years ago, but the whole military and espionage thing didn’t inspire me. The aviation part did.
These days one can find books involving aviation with main characters such as pilots, flight attendants, aviation inspectors, even an airport manager. Missing from the list: aircraft mechanic. It’s a different perspective of aviation than people generally see. Aviation maintenance is one of the vital parts of the industry that ensures air travel is the safest form of transportation we have.
I know aviation. I have a handful of years of experience as an aircraft mechanic to draw on. I can write a mystery with an aviation angle that is not a military, espionage, or international thriller.
So I wrote what I know. And Sierra Bauer was born. I leaned on my experience in commercial aviation, but Sierra is her own woman. She is a survivor, strong and confident, someone I think people would want to meet.
Sierra Bauer is nobody’s fool—a skilled and confident aircraft mechanic, a woman operating in a man’s world. But her world is about to be turned upside down, and her confidence challenged.
After her stalker was sent to prison, and she was cleared of wrongdoing by the FAA in her brother’s fatal plane crash, Sierra has finally reclaimed her life. But in the dead of winter at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, she makes a gruesome discovery—a woman’s frozen body hidden inside the maintenance bay of a Range Airlines plane Sierra was inspecting. Her life is pitched into a tailspin.
Enter Detective Quinn Moore of the Airport Police Department, who finds himself attracted to Sierra despite mounting evidence forcing him to consider her the prime suspect.
Sierra’s stalker may be back, and someone is trying to frame her for the murder. The woman Sierra blames for her brother’s death may hold the key to uncovering a conspiracy that threatens the entire aviation industry. She and Quinn must expose the truth before Sierra becomes the next casualty.
I wrote a Christmas short based on a character from “The Button”. It’s now available for pre-order with the release date of 11-7.
All alone on Christmas Eve, Kenzie was feeling the betrayal of her recent break-up. While the sky was heavy with the dark clouds of an impending storm, she walked home from work to clear her head. Lost in her memories, Kenzie was completely unaware she was being followed by a man with green-eyes. Was this not-so-human being the good or evil that lurked around her? On the most magical night of the year, will Kenzie be able to save herself from that evil or will she need some divine inspiration? The outcome will depend on whether she can find the strength to forgive as the storm not only rages outside, but deep within her soul.
I have to thank fellow RaveReviewsBookClub member Suzanne Burke for sharing her blog with me on release day! Please check out today’s “The Button” post over on Suzanne’s blog. Before you go, please check out Suzanne’s Author Bio and Amazon link below. She’s an amazing writer and supportive of other authors. Let’s support her, too.
Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of-miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.
Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.
Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.
Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke. To learn more about Suzanne please visit her site on https://sooozburkeauthor.com/ on Twitter you’ll find her here Twitter for Suzanne Burke
Please welcome today’s guest: Staci Troilo! Today is the release of her new book Tortured Soul, which is already on my Kindle!
Hi, Denise. Thanks so much for hosting me today. I know how busy you are with your own release, and I appreciate you taking the time to host me.
You’re just like me—interested in multiple genres. I can only assume your readers are, too. It was hard for me to choose an excerpt for that reason, but I finally settled on one of my favorites. Here it is:
The trees and brush were thick that deep in the woodlands, but there was a bridge about a hundred meters away. Maybe he could stand on one of the piers and get a better look around from a higher vantage point.
He high-stepped through the water calling her name. His pace was so fast, his splashing so loud, he wouldn’t hear her reply if she answered him. Coz stopped when he got to the bridge and yelled her name again. Still no response, so he started to climb onto the right baluster.
It fell apart in his hand. He looked at the left side of the bridge. That one was already crumbled.
From below the embankment came a feeble cough and a weak splash.
Coz looked down the hill. Toni was in the creek—the river—up to her neck. Her eyes were closed, and blood marred her forehead. The current crested over her, washing away the blood only to have fresh replace it.
“Toni!” He scrambled down the hill.
She didn’t reply. Her eyelids didn’t even flutter.
He waded into the water. The flow was strong, fast. She must have been holding onto a submerged branch or something so she didn’t float away.
Still she didn’t respond. Her lips were turning blue.
He fought against the rushing water, finally reached her side and took her hand. How was she holding on if he could reach her hand? “Toni. I’m here. I’ve got you.”
The current crested over her head. He tried to raise her up, but she didn’t budge.
Cazzo. She was stuck.
Protection is safety. Until it stifles.
After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.
Roberto Cozza–Coz–faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war–if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.
Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play–and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.
As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.
Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.