Once Upon A Princess Trio

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Deborah A. Bailey and her three fairy-tale inspired paranormal romance novellas entitled Once Upon A Princess Trio.

Author’s description

Formula for Fairy Tale Love:
1 adventurous Heroine + 1 tortured-but-noble Hero = Happily-Ever-After

For all the innate complications involved in finding the secret to blissful fairy-tale love with shape-shifters, three wise and discerning princesses trust their hearts instead of their eyes and fall in love with the unlikeliest of princes.

“Heart of Stone:” Leesa trespasses into a haunted palace, where she meets a gargoyle. Breaking the spell that cursed him may carry a price steeper than she’s able…or willing…to pay.

“Beauty & the Faun:” Kayla flees an arranged marriage and falls for a faun shifter instead. But how can she ignore her duty by refusing to marry a prince?

“Land of Dreams:” Cicely knows she possesses magical ability. Falling in love with the courageous, self-sacrificing Willem may be the key to her awakening…or may unleash forces that will separate them forever. (Sequel to Heart of Stone)

Box set includes books 1-3 of the Once Upon A Princess paranormal fairy-tale inspired romance novellas.

Using Fairy Tale Elements in the Once Upon A Princess Novellas

I asked author Deborah A. Bailey to tell us how much vocabulary she created for her fantasy worlds in this trio and I got back fascinating information about what guided the creation of her entire worlds. Enjoy her answer.

For my worldbuilding, I considered creating words for the worlds I was writing about. But as it turned out I only ended up creating one word, “Malida.” The reason I created it was because I wanted to use it during a conversation between the hero and heroine in Heart of Stone. Willem, the hero, uses that word to refer to the heroine’s grandmother. The grandmother is a former queen of the province where the story is set. In the aftermath of a war, the heroine, Leesa, and her grandmother are (as far as they know) the only remaining members of the royal family.

When Willem asks Leesa about her grandmother he calls her Malida, which is also a term of endearment. It means “great mother.” For Willem to know that name, he would have to have known more about the family than he’s admitting.

Though I didn’t focus on creating the words and language for those worlds, Since they’re based on fairy tales, I made sure to include certain elements. For instance, I included princesses,  magic, and fantasy creatures. In Heart of Stone Willem is a gargoyle who is under a magical curse. He lives in a deserted palace and he has access to enchantments that were left there by the former inhabitant.

In Beauty and the Faun, the heroine ends up escaping into the Great Forest and it becomes a refuge. Forests are often used fairy tales as places filled with magic and mystery. Satyrs, forest nymphs, centaurs and fauns are among the inhabitants of the Great Forest. Each group has their own culture and behavior that they’re known for. The heroine finds these creatures when she enters the forest, and they show that this is an entirely different world than the one outside.

In Land of Dreams the Great Forest is also included, along with fauns and water nymphs. I added additional magical characters, such as elementals, shifters, and river deities. There’s also a character called the Night Queen who presides over the elementals. While I would’ve loved to have created other words (and languages) for the stories, I made sure to include many fantasy elements and fairy tale touches to set the mood.

About the Author

Deborah A Bailey’s Science Fiction & Paranormal Romance novels include suspense, a bit of mystery and a lot of romantic heat. Her books include the Hathor Legacy science fiction romance series and the Family Pride and Once Upon A Princess shapeshifter paranormal romance series.

Her short stories have won awards from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and have been published in US1 Magazine and the Sun and are included in, Electric Dreams: Seven Futuristic Tales. She’s the author of non-fiction books, and articles for various online publications.

Visit her site https://dbaileycoach.com/brightbooks for more information and subscribe to the newsletter here: https://eepurl.com/bokGdX so you’ll be the first to find out about giveaways, book launches and sneak peeks.

Find the Author

Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/AuthorDeborahB
Twitter — https://www.twitter.com/AuthorDeborahB
Pinterest — https://www.pinterest.com/debstyle3
FaceBook — https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDeborahAB/
Amazon Author Page — https://amazon.com/author/deborahannbailey
Bookbub —  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/deborah-a-bailey

Buy the Book

Buy link (universal book link): https://books2read.com/u/4Dg5xA
Personal Sales page: https://payhip.com/brightbooks

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $40 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Heart of Stone:

Leesa headed up the stairs and stopped at the 2nd floor landing. Eduardo and Erokan’s rooms had been on this floor. Dust was everywhere, but otherwise the furnishings were just as they’d been left. Varmont’s bedroom, private study and library were on the 3rd floor. Most likely he would’ve hidden some of his valuables there. She went upstairs to check. The doors to the Duke’s room, study and library were open. But the fourth door was closed. The treasure room, perhaps?

She opened the door and stepped inside. Strangely, this room wasn’t as dusty as the others. The air was heavy with perfume. Across from the door was a folding screen decorated with blue and yellow flowers. Behind it she could make out the base of a claw-foot tub.

To her surprise, the entire room had a feminine feeling, from the huge bed covered with blush pink coverlets and plush furs to the gold-trimmed white furniture. Even the jewel-encrusted skylight above her had its own beauty, reflecting colorful sprinkles of light over the pale stone walls.

A white cabinet with glass doors caught her attention. The shelves held glass bottles of different shapes and sizes. Some had liquids inside, others were empty. What were these? Perfumes? Or maybe potions.

The Duke used magic. Maybe this was where he’d kept his enchantments. Would they be worth anything? Possibly. But just as Leesa reached out to open the cabinet, the door slammed behind her.

Startled, she spun around. She was alone. Who had closed it? Leesa ran to the door and gripped the handle, expecting the door to open as easily as it had when she’d come in. But it didn’t. She pulled and banged on it, but it wouldn’t budge.

She was locked in.

Thank you!

Deborah A. Bailey — we appreciate your sharing Once Upon A Princess Trio with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Let Me Explain …

As I began to create The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters, I realized I wasn’t writing a series in the classical sense. In fact, my novels occur simultaneously, almost, as they present a time of great turmoil through the eyes of seven different participants.

Because these seven are sisters, though, they obviously make plenty of appearances in each others book. But, how one sees  their own actions is quite different from how they perceive what their sister does, right? Along with much else, I was excited to explore this point of view difference.

I’ve been looking for a succinct way to tell potential readers what in they are in for before they begin reading. Like most authors, I’d rather attract readers who like what I’m doing.

Today I came up with this add-on blurb and from now on I intend to add it to every book description. I think it helps. What do you think?

The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you read.

Ellerslie

Today it is my pleasure to welcome William Francis and his paranormal historical mystery novel, Ellerslie.

Author’s description

Did you know author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda lived in a haunted house?

It’s the Jazz Age, it’s Prohibition and aviator Charles Lindbergh is the most famous person in America. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald rents a mansion in Edgemoor, Delaware called Ellerslie hoping for a quiet retreat so that he can write his next novel following The Great Gatsby.

April Ross, the first and only female history major at the University of Delaware, is commissioned by the owner of Ellerslie to research the estate’s history for a potential sale. At least, that’s what April is told. In the days ahead, April’s historical research uncovers Ellerslie’s former owners dating back to 1810. She interacts with the Fitzgeralds, yet endures unexplained occurrences and visits by an unknown woman. Against her better judgement, April eventually accepts that the woman is a ghost and realizes that her true purpose is to find out who this woman is, or was, and what happened to her in real life.

About the Author

Raised in Newark, Delaware, William spends his days working in Corporate America and writing about the First State. He achieved a Masters Degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, but also writes non-fiction. Through Arcadia Publishing he has produced 5 books related to Delaware: The DuPont Highway, Along the Kirkwood Highway, Along the Christina River, Building Interstate in 95 in Delaware and Newark Then & Now. Fiction titles include: A Life Told to None, The Umpire, Seacrest, and the five-star The Katie Dugan Case. Whether his books are fact or fiction, William hopes to entertain as well as inform and leave the reader with a satisfying experience.

Find the Author

Facebook: William Francis
Goodreads: William Francis (Author of The Katie Dugan Case) (goodreads.com)

Buy the Book

On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08XK1JYC7

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

“I don’t know,” Scott said, lifting his glass of gin, his bowl of stew untouched. “I’m just so sick and tired of hearing about Charles Lindbergh. They report everything he says and does.”

Zelda spooned her stew and turned serious. “I’m sorry, Fitz. I know you’re upset about the latest sales figures for Gatsby. I should’ve been more receptive to your feelings when you told me.”

Scott took another sip. “I blame the title. I told you I hated the title.” He mimicked sarcasm. “The Great Gatsby. Rather pretentious, don’t you think? And what’s so great about him? He’s a sick symbol of today’s greed and self-absorption. Who needs to read a story about a man who epitomizes what we see in everyday society?”

“You know,” Zelda said, “I think those journalists who are coverin’ Lindbergh would better serve the public if they examined the disgusting tastes of American readers. They need to explain to me why dime novelists like Zane Grey are making a fortune while respectable writers like you, Fitz, are not.”

April appreciated seeing Zelda act kindly to her husband, but she wondered how long it would last.

“My friend Mencken is soooo right,” Scott said after tasting some stew. “Quote: ‘No one has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of plain people, nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

“Fitz, maybe you should write one of those dime novels.”

“I’d rather die.”

“Do not fret, monsieur. I believe you could write a good one.”

“Well,” Scott said to April, “what do you think? You’ve been silent so far.”

April put her spoon down and took a moment to formulate her response. “I’ve been reading The Great Gatsby and I really like it. I’m intrigued by the mysterious Jay Gatsby and how Nick perceives him. And then there’s the relationship between Jay and Daisy and Tom Buchanan. I look forward to finishing the book, hopefully tonight.”

“Thank you for saying so, but that wasn’t the question. Should I write a dime novel?”

“No, sir,” April said staring directly at Scott’s bloodshot eyes. “There’s nothing wrong with writing at an elite level. It’s a known fact that the masses prefer tabloid stories and yellow journalism, and that Mr. Hearts has capitalized on this. But I think you’d be doing yourself and the literary world a great disservice if you lowered your talents to that type of writing.”

Scott’s eyes watered. He looked shocked.

“Wow, Fitz,” Zelda said, humbled. “I think that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to you about your writing.”

Thank you!

William Francis — we appreciate your sharing your book Ellerslie with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

What They Want Us To Know

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Shawndra Mcwhorter and her non-fiction inspirational book What They Want Us To Know: Messages of Hope, Meaning and Unity From the Animal Kingdom.

Author’s description

Have you ever wondered what animals would tell us if they could? This book will give you that chance to find out! By being able to receive downloaded messages from wild and domestic animals, Shawndra translates their messages for us. These animals have shared powerful messages of unity, connection and purpose, and steps that each of us are able to take to deepen the connection, find more meaning in our lives, and become the humans that the animals know we can be. You’ll hear messages from 12 different animals on what they want us to know in order to live a more profoundly amazing life. You’ll be given the opportunity to learn ways to be more compassionate, tolerant and heart-centered, to the animals and to each other.

A Guest Post on Balancing Life, Writing and Work

Even though the idea of this book came to me (was given to me?) in 2004, it took until May of 2020 to begin writing it. I really believe that I had to do a lot of healing work on myself in order to be able to ‘meet’ the animals on their level in the higher realms and translate their messages. I can look back now and see so clearly that I was not as open and ready to hear them then, as I am now. I’ve gone through major healing and evolution in the past several years, and it really feels as if one reason was to be able to be fully present and hear these animals clearly and with an open heart.

So while I was working full-time for the State of Washington, I had a side gig as a Reiki Healer. It wasn’t until May of 2020 that I finally found my way into a writing program. Once I found the right program, the right coach, the right publishing opportunity, the book poured out of me. I was still working both my jobs but it was finally the right time. I was able to submit the manuscript to my publisher three months after I started writing and it’s been a whirlwind since. I still work full-time so when I have to have calls with my publisher, social media manager, web site developer or work on my book promotion I make sure to pack my laptop, lunch and hunker down during any breaks during the day. A lot of this work is done at night. I space out my promotional calendar though over months vs days and weeks just knowing I don’t have the time and space for much more than that.

About the Author

Shawndra McWhorter has been an animal communicator since 2000, and is also an Usui and KarunaⓇ Reiki Master, working with humans and animals. Shawndra has helped more than 500 animals and their humans with her communication and healing skills. Shawndra is a past president of Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART), and also serves on the Board of Directors with Kindred Souls Foundation, both 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations dedicated to helping animals. Shawndra began her disaster animal rescue work in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, where she deployed outside of New Orleans, LA to help rescue and care for the animals left behind. She has deployed to Chile, Peru, and to several states in the US volunteering helping animals recover from disasters. Shawndra also volunteered with Wolf Haven International in Tenino, WA for nearly eight years, and is still active in supporting their mission. She is the owner of Sanskrit Healing, using her skills to help humans, animals and the environment find balance. Shawndra has spent most of her life helping others and won an Emmy for a documentary that she directed and edited on illegal aliens in Southern California. Her approach is to educate and help others make mindful, ethical choices based on facts and data. Shawndra currently lives in Washington State with her dog Norman, who survived the EF5 tornado that hit Moore, OK in 2013.

Find the Author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Shawndra-Mcwhorter-Author-106688011143920
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shawndramcwhorter/
Shawndra Mcwhorter – https://shawndramcwhorter.com/

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/What-They-Want-Us-Know-ebook/dp/B08PJ28NWQ/ref=sr_1_1
Goodreads.com:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56422248-what-they-want-us-to-know
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-they-want-us-to-know-shawndra-mcwhorter/1138596437

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

Chapter Nine Norman the Dog

NORMAN IS THE DOG WHO currently shares my life with me, and as you can see, he is adorable! In 2013, an EF5 tornado hit the vicinity of Moore, Oklahoma, causing two billion dollars of damage, including the major destruction of two schools and more than three hundred homes. It also killed twenty-four people. After the disaster, I volunteered with American Humane to help care for the animal survivors in an emergency shelter. I flew out there and was working with the feral cats and cats with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). A few days after I had arrived, they brought in the last of the “tornado dogs” from the Moore Animal Shelter and put them in a quarantine area. The other volunteers working with the dogs spent all day cleaning crates and walking the dogs. Since I certainly wasn’t taking the cats for walks and feral cats wanted nothing to do with any of us, I had extra time, so I offered to help care for these quarantined dogs.

Thank you!

Shawndra Mcwhorter — we appreciate your sharing your book What They Want Us To Know: Messages of Hope, Meaning and Unity From the Animal Kingdom with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Isn’t she beautiful?

I understand cover reveals can be a big deal, but it’s just not my style. I’m happy to get an attractive cover I like and one that represents my books well. When I do, well, I want to share it. Like right away.

So …. here is the gorgeous cover for book 5 in the Seven Troublesome Sister Series.

It really is beautiful, isn’t it?

What is she holding? It’s called a psaltery, and it’s a stringed instrument that was quite popular in the 1200’s.  This 5th sister is a musician. (It’s one of the reasons she can’t keep quiet.)

Like it’s predecessor (cover 4) this was done by the fine folks at Deranged Doctor Design and arrived almost perfect. The way it showed up is on the left. I had a few minor concerns. A psaltery is too heavy to be held the way she holds it. The lighting effects made her hair look like she was going gray. She seemed rather too tall and thin to be a real woman and her arms, in particular, looked off.

Most if not all of these, of course, were artifacts of the sort of photo manipulation DDD does to make their stunning but still affordable covers.

Back came this version, which corrected most of my concerns, except for the oddly long and skinny arms. We had one more round to improve the arms, and then I decided I wanted the castle on her other side. I was all excited about how our brains are accustomed to going from left to right and felt that the castle on the left would better convey that she was leaving to go somewhere else. (See my post Better Covers: Does Your Brain Prefer Left to Right?) Flipping the castle didn’t make as much difference as I’d hoped, but I liked it okay and was happy to call it good with only these three minor revisions.

I’d love to know if other authors are more, or less, picky than I am about their covers. If any of you reading this self-publish, please speak up and let me know!

Oh Good Now This

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Susan Merson and her women’s literary fiction novel, Oh Good Now This.

Author’s description

Starting over is hard enough but when ghosts decide to hitch a ride into the future—things can get complicated.

Widowed Vivi leaves California for a new start back east landing in a college town near her old friend Vikram, now the local ‘spiritual’ leader and disappointing lover. But the two have old business which leads them to uncovering the ghosts they conjured long before and the ones that are haunting them now.  Vivi reclaims her life, — with the help of a couple different dimensions– saying hi to the ghosts who choose to hang around, and growing a new garden and a new life.

We need eerie music for this!

I am fascinated by characters that undergo a major transformation in a story, so I often ask an author if there is such a metamorphosis in the novel I’m featuring. I asked Susan Merson this, and you’ll see her interesting response below. But here’s the thing.

Sometimes, instead, I ask a different questions and it usually goes like this. “In my books I’ve always had one minor character who insisted on playing a larger role in the story. I’m curious: was there such a character in your novel?”

Guess what? Author Merson answered that questions also, and I didn’t even ask it. Cool, huh? Read on …

I like to think of my new book OH GOOD NOW THIS  as a second time around, coming of age story. I am fascinated by how people survive and live their lives fully, especially after loss and the plain old battles of living day to day.

Amanda is a woman in her 60’s who ends up living near Vivi, my protagonist, on a country road, hidden behind tall pine trees. She craves light and strips the house of all its possessions, heaves her clothes into the dumpster, white washes the walls, and scrapes the floors til they shine. Through the large window in her living room she can see the moon and puts her white mattress and white duvet directly in the path of its glow. She can not bear the weight of any memory, any lover, any remnant of what was and lives a reclusive, solo life until she welcomes a young man into her home. He is visiting the local college for a seminar and she needs the money from his room rental.

And she falls in love with him. His easy loping style, his curiosity, his tease of pleasure at her company. Just his presence in the house inspires her to return to the root of who she was as a young woman and she spends her days painting pine cones and making soup, pretending she does not care when or if he returns.

Of course, he leaves, returning to his own life, but freezing Amanda in this new beginning as a person who sees the world deeply, through an artist’s eye once again. And the love she bears for this man-boy, releases the hold her body had on its poisons. Renewed, refreshed, no blockages to hold them back, the old poisons find their way into her body, creating illness when she was just reclaiming life.

Amanda’s death informs the lives of my other characters in this world. The journey she makes from cynical, rejected trophy wife, to full and faulty artist—this unfolding—surprises everyone. And inspires them, as well.

Amanda was a surprise to me when I was writing the book. She showed up when Vivi needed to see how the choices we make in our own lives can affect us, can make our choice for life or death very real. Vivi insists that life is worth the struggle even though she has seen how giving in to poison can loosen our grips and let hope recede. Amanda shoves Vivi toward choosing life at an important juncture in the story and I am grateful she showed up to let me introduce her.

About the Author

Susan Merson began her career as an actress on and off Broadway, in television and film. Co-founding the LA Writers Bloc in 1985 with award winning writer Jane Anderson, she has mentored writers through the Bloc and through her private and university classes in Playwriting, Life Stories, Writing as a Spiritual Practice, Tarot for Writers and the popular VOICING Series.

Her short fiction has been featured in The Jew in America, Nice Jewish Girls (Penguin), The Worcester Review, the Chicken Soup series and several other online platforms.  As a playwright, her award-winning plays have been performed internationally, including her 8 solo plays featured and used as example in YOUR NAME HERE: An Actor Writers Guide to Solo Performance. (Amazon). Long form fiction available on Amazon is her award-winning blog, WHEN THEY GO AND YOU DO NOT and her first novel DREAMING IN DAYLIGHT.  OH GOOD NOW THIS, her newest novel launches 12/1/21.

She is a tarot reader and counselor, a maker of quilts, clothing and whimsy.  Susan is a humble mother and a proud resident of New York City.

Find the Author

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/susanmersonauthor
WEBSITE: http://www.susanmerson.com

The author has also done a series of five videos regarding the use of Tarot for writers (for more information, visit her website):

TAROT FOR WRITERS #1:  INTRODUCTION
An introduction to using your own intuitive powers to tap into the resonance of Tarot images, packed with archetypes and symbols, to jumpstart inspiration for your artistic projects.
**CORRECTION: The Raziel Tarot Deck is designed by artist Robert Place with commentary by Rachel Pollack. https://youtu.be/LGONsfOayJg

TAROT FOR WRITERS #2: LANDSCAPE
Explore the landscape of story. Entering the world of the card offers visceral clues to the landscape of your writing. https://youtu.be/Mwq9x-I9oQE

TAROT FOR WRITERS #3: CHARACTER
A brief exploration of character and how to find their first basic journey. Look deeply at the character clues in the cards and throw three cards to begin their adventure. https://youtu.be/CuovTNQ5ztk

TAROT FOR WRITERS #4:  WHAT STORY SHOULD I WRITE TODAY
On pulling cards to intuitively discover the story, the genre, the themes and the major turning points of a new story. https://youtu.be/eHm0mVSNaPo

TAROT FOR WRITERS/ #5 TIMELINES AND DEEPER DIVE INTO RELATIONSHIPS
Timelines and going deeper into relationships with pro and antagonists. The more cards you draw the more information you can gather. https://youtu.be/EClPq0e-H70

Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/…/oh-good-now…/1138532579
Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1546617489
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Good-Now-This-Susan…/dp/B08RCXVNTX/

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

They have settled into their chairs and Tara is tossing some cards, shuffling them and getting a feel. She flips over three cards.

“Oh, my dear. Some bleak times, past, yes?”

Vivi is startled by this pronouncement. “Well, it’s been a time of change, I’d say.”

“Change?” says Tara. “You betcha. This Tower card is about the whole thing coming crashing down. But it’s in the past position. See here? This is the present,” she shows Vivi the 7 of cups. It’s a picture of a man taking a look at a whole gallery of possibilities. “Look at him”, Tara says. “He’s got lots of things to choose from.”

“Well, that sounds good,” says Vivi tentatively.

“Not bad. Don’t get over infatuated with the possibilities. And the last one… here. The Hermit. Yep.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Oh it’s fine. Just a time to go inside and let things percolate. Inner wisdom and all that. Not a bad sentence!” Tara laughs again. “Now. Anything specific on your mind?” Tara continues to flip cards. “So,” she says. “Who is this guy? This King keeps showing up. King of Cups? He fell out of the deck twice while I was shuffling. “Who is this guy who won’t leave you alone?”

Vivi is mystified. “How did you…?’

“Oh, it’s not magic. The cards just know, that’s all. They pick up what you bring. Who is this guy?”

On a personal note:

I learned to read Tarot Cards at 17 years old, in the first creative writing class I ever took. My English teacher was way ahead of her time!  I agree with Susan Merson that Tarot readings are wonderful for many things, including providing inspiration for an author.

Thank you!

Susan Merson  — we appreciate your sharing your book Oh Good Now This with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Earl of Brecken

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Aubrey Wynne and her historical romance novel, Earl of Brecken.

Author’s description

A seductive Welsh earl on the brink of ruin. A wealthy cit in search of a hero.

Miss Evelina Franklin reads too many romance novels. She’s certain a handsome duke—or dashing highwayman—is in her future. In the meantime, Evie entertains herself with the admirers vying for her fortune.

The Earl of Brecken needs cash. His late father left their Welsh estate in ruin, and his mother will not let him rest until it is restored to its former glory. Notorious for his seductive charm, he searches the ballrooms for a wealthy heiress. His choices are dismal until he meets Miss Franklin. Guileless and gorgeous with an enormous dowry, she seems the answer to his prayers. Until his conscience makes an unexpected appearance.

About the Author

Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. Obsessions include wine, history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas. Her Chicago Christmas series has received the Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and twice nominated as a Rone finalist by InD’tale Magazine.

Aubrey’s first love is medieval romance but after dipping her toe in the Regency period in 2018 with the Wicked Earls’ Club, she was smitten. This inspired her spin-off series Once Upon a Widow and the Scottish Regency series A MacNaughton Castle Romance with Dragonblade Novels.

Find the Author

Website: https://aubreywynne.com/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/magnificentvalor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aubreywynne51
Instagram: https://instagram.com/Aubreywynne51
Bookbub Page: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/aubrey-wynne
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Aubrey-Wynne/e/B00II8QD6G/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7383937.Aubrey_Wynne
Subscribe to Aubrey’s newsletter for new releases and exclusive excerpts and free stories:
Newsletter: http://www.subscribepage.com/k3f1z5
Facebook Reading Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/AubreyWynnesEverAfters/

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

London, 1819

Lifting his glass, Madoc’s well-practiced smile returned. “Here’s to long, dull days of leisure. May I never take boredom for granted again.”

Sunderland guffawed. “By all means, enjoy them if you can before you become earl. After that, your days may not be filled with intrigue, but you will certainly stay occupied. My estate, properties, and seat in the Lords demand much of my time.”

His friend’s statement gave him pause. “I hadn’t really thought about the future, in that sense, but you’re right enough. I’ve been trained for the title and know what is expected of me. Yet, having the responsibility solely on my shoulders scares the hell out of me.” Madoc sighed. “If I fail an assignment, my disappearance will cause little harm. Another man will take my place, and the task will be accomplished. But making decisions that affect the lives of my tenants, people whose livelihood could be crushed by a man’s whim…”

The earl nodded. “The obligation can be heavy at times, but it’s our duty to maintain our inheritance, our family name. Those who tend the land and the animals, work within our abodes, are all an integral part of the system. Treat them fairly, and with the dignity they deserve, and you’ll do well. It’s that mutual understanding and common goal to make life better that will bond you to them.”

“Blast, if you don’t sound like my father.” Madoc laughed. “Next you’ll be telling me it’s time to find a wife. Speaking of, how is Grace?”

Thank you!

Aubrey Wynne — we appreciate your sharing your book Earl of Brecken with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Better Covers: Does Your Brain Prefer Left to Right?

I love book covers! After ten years in the self-publishing industry, I realize I spend a lot of time thinking about my covers, analyzing them, and just plain staring at them.

I designed my own first one (and had so much fun doing it), but since then I have relied on professionals who can produce a better product. I was lucky to find Deranged Doctor Design a few years ago and they’re now working on their eleventh cover for me!

But it was cover number ten (shown here) that brought out something I was unaware of.  The final product, or at least what I thought was the final product, shows Olivine, a shy, artistic woman who takes up archery because of her unusually gifted eyesight.

I loved the olive color, and the sense of capturing her in motion, so I happily gave DDD the okay to call this one done with only a minor revision to her hair. (Don’t think that has ever happened before. I always see something I want to change.)

I second-guessed my decision, however, when I studied this cover next to the first three books in this series. The other women all look so strong, so sure of themselves, while my fourth sister — she hesitates. To me, she’s looking back over her shoulder like she’s not entirely sure if she should go on.

Well, she is shy, I thought. Maybe this captures that part of her and I should be glad. But honestly, I wasn’t. I know Olivine is strong inside, like her other sisters, and I wanted my readers (and my potential readers) to know that too.

Then a weird thing happened. I was trying to crop the cover image in PowerPoint to just get her face, to put it into a promotional idea I had. You know how if you grab the side of a small image in PowerPoint to move it, sometimes instead you end up pulling one edge all the way over the other and reversing the image? It’s annoying. Well, I did that, and the reversed image surprised me. Here was Olivine, reversed and looking more sure of herself!

Yet, it was the same picture. How could that be?

I puzzled over this for a while before it occurred to me that I’ve spent a lot of my life reading (and writing) and my words always go left to right. In our alphabet, left is backward. Right is forward. So looking left is looking over my shoulder, gazing at the past. Looking right is boldly looking ahead.

Flip the image of a woman looking to her left and suddenly she appears more ready to face the future. It’s amazing.

Yes, the nice folks at DDD were happy to flip the cover image for me, and today I got a draft of the result.

Look at her. Now she’s perfect.

And, I’ve learned something that should help me evaluate cover designs going forward.  For just as our bodies respond differently to chemical compounds that are mirror images of each other, I believe our brains respond differently to mirror images as well.

This means I can ascribe attributes to a character on a cover by paying attention to which way her gaze is directed.

Cool, huh?

Zendar: A Tale of Sand

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author K. T. Munson and her fantasy romance short prequel  Zendar: A Tale of Sand.

Author’s description

Zendar is a world of sand and strife.

 

Living in the great capital of Zendar, Sol, Nitya has always longed for something more than her family’s merchant lifestyle. She craves adventure—or at least hopes something remotely exciting could happen. When her best friend, Juni, secures them both positions in the palace’s kitchen, Nitya gets to experience a different world than she ever imagined—especially after a young soldier catches her eye.

 

Her world will never be the same.

 My Review

Zendar: A Tale of Sand is pure fun. In this light, fast read author Munson introduces an interesting world, a believable and likable family, and a sweet young woman every reader will enjoy.

When Nitya’s yearning for adventure brings her into contact with a handsome palace guard, we all know how this will end. It doesn’t matter. The tale is well told and it holds other surprises. Besides, one feels the chemistry between the two would-be lovers, and the inevitable is approached with a perfect mix of subtlety and detail. Enjoy the scene you know is coming.

I do add an extra bit of applause, though, for the handsome palace guard’s awareness that when a woman consents to sex with a man who is saving her life, she may not be in a position to fully give that consent. So, this well-muscled and chiseled-faced man turns out to be wise and kind, too! Another nice surprise.

I’m sure this prequel is designed to make readers curious to learn more about the desert world of Zendar. It worked for me. I’ll be looking into Munson’s full-length books A Tale of Blood and Sand and A Tale of Wind and Sand.

About the Author

K.T. Munson is an independent author. First published at 5 years old in the young writers conference, she has pursued writing ever since. She maintains a blog creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com that is about writing and her novels. She was born and raised in the last frontier, the great state of Alaska.

Find the Author

On Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ktmunson
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ktmunson
On her online sale site: http://authorktmunson.square.site/
On her blog: http://www.creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com

Enjoy the Book

This short prequel is available FREE! Find it at
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Zendar-Tale-Sand-Collection-ebook/dp/B08GJT1MQC
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/zendar-kt-munson/1137534341
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1039556

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

My Favorite Excerpt

“Her.” The guard pointed in her direction. “She was there.”

Nitya froze, unsure what she was being accused of. Today was supposed to be her last day. She’d gotten to see more of the palace and was quite content to return home. What was happening?

“Me?”  Nitya heard herself say dumbly.

Sergeant Ramas seemed equally as surprised. “Are you sure?” he asked the guard.

“I’m sure. She and a man served the food,” the guard answered. Nitya’s mouth went dry as she wrapped her hand around Juni’s.

The Sergeant cleared his throat. “And the man?”

“Not here,” the guard answered.

Sergeant Ramas pointed at her. “Take her,” he ordered.

Nitya stepped back. “I didn’t do anything!” The tears were instant, and she tried to pull away. The guards were quick to get ahold of her. It all felt dreadfully real and horribly surreal at the same time. It was as though it was happening to someone else.

Thank you!

K. T. Munson — we appreciate your sharing Zendar: A Tale of Sand with us! Best of luck with all your tales of Zendar.