Nuclear Power Nuclear Game

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Helen Huang and her political thriller, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game.

Author’s description

The year is 1950. Zoe and John, two young nuclear scientists from Berkeley, seem to have the perfect life, with promising careers and marriage plans. But their innocence is soon shattered when the Chinese Communist Party seizes power. Choosing to postpone the wedding and return back to her home country, Zoe finds herself locked in a political cage and separated from John indefinitely.

 

Caught in a complex web of revolutionary propaganda and forced to participate in dangerous research, Zoe must confront the looming question of where her true loyalties lie: with her country or with John back in America?

 

Set during China’s march towards nuclear power amidst the political turmoil of the Cold War, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game spans multiple decades and countries across the globe to tell the story of two nuclear scientists’ fight for world peace and a love torn apart by conflicting ideologies.

 Helen Huang’s Story

Born and raised in Shanghai, Helen Huang now resides in Melbourne, Australia. Nuclear Power Nuclear Game is her first novel, inspired by her own experience living under the Communist regime and working at a nuclear institute in China.

To be a novelist was Helen’s childhood dream. She started writing Nuclear Power Nuclear Game when she was a housewife looking after her four daughters. It took her sixteen years to write, as she raised her children and grew her house design and construction business. Helen hopes to finish a sequel to Nuclear Power Nuclear Game next year.

Find the Author

WEBSITE https://helenhuangauthor.com/
GOODREADS https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14688825.Helen_Huang

Buy the Book

AMAZON.COM https://amazon.com/dp/0228847176
AMAZON.CA https://amazon.ca/dp/0228847176
AMAZON.COM.AU https://amazon.com.au/dp/0228847176
KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B091G4B12M
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/nuclear-power-nuclear-game/9780228847199-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nuclear-power-nuclear-game-helen-huang/1139180912
BOOK DEPOSITORY https://www.bookdepository.com/Nuclear-Power-Nuclear-Game-Helen-Huang/9780228847175
KOBO https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/nuclear-power-nuclear-game
SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1077359
APPLE https://books.apple.com/us/book/nuclear-power-nuclear-game/id1561834330

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $15 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.

An Exclusive Excerpt

(Just for us!)

A stern voice interrupted her thoughts. “Comrade Meng, why did you not go to the rally?” Ma Dagui, chief of the propaganda team, poked his head around the open door.

Zoe jumped and nearly fell off her stool in fright. “Oh, I’m preparing for my class.” She gestured at the table. “Chief Ma, we really have to get more modern equipment. I’ve spent hours trying to set up this experiment and still haven’t gotten it right.”

He pushed the door open and strode in, looking down his nose at her. “Comrade Meng, we have more important things to think about than your experiments at the moment.”

“But atomic science is developing so rapidly! The success of the US nuclear bomb would not have happened without modern, sophisticated facilities. We have to catch up. The more we learn, the further we penetrate into these fields, the more complex the equipment becomes.”

He stared at her for several long seconds with his brow furrowed, as if considering her argument. Then he launched into one of his standard propaganda speeches, like the political lessons he gave at the department meetings. “Comrade Meng, we are in a difficult period. During the Sino-Japanese War and Chinese Civil War, the National government had no intention of promoting scientific research, instead allocating all possible resources to the army. That’s why our base is very low. Now that we are facing direct American aggression, our priority is to consolidate our socialist government and protect the new China. Imagine if the US were to take over China. If China became America’s colony …”

Yes, yes, I’ve heard all this propaganda before, Zoe thought, but science should not be bound by politics. She could not stand aside any longer. She had a strong urge to make her voice heard for once. “We have entered the nuclear age, Chief Ma. With up-to-date, powerful equipment, atomic particles are perceptible and measurable, so our physicists can study them, and China can compete. But we don’t have any kind of reasonable equipment. I can’t even do basic demonstrations for my students, much less the type of research I was doing in America and would like to continue here.”

Chief Ma’s eyebrows lowered ominously at Zoe’s blunt words, his mouth half open. Then he snapped it shut. According to Chairman Mao, enemies were everywhere, and his military instinct now told him Comrade Meng might be hiding more serious problems behind her constant grouchiness. “You mean you miss your life in America?”

“I don’t mean that, but I do miss the research I did there.”

“Why do you want to follow the Americans? We should do our own research.”

Zoe shook her head, wearing a bitter smile to cover her disappointment: You’re a military officer. You may know how to fight, but you have no idea what science is about. There’s clearly no point arguing with you.

Chief Ma masked his humiliation with an angry attack. “Comrade Meng, where is your political consciousness? You’re putting your personal ambition above China’s national interest. You had better think about where you stand—with the Chinese Communists, or the American imperialists?”

Thank you!

Helen Huang —  we appreciate your sharing your book  Nuclear Power Nuclear Game with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Lockdown Tales

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Alan Whelan and his contemporary fiction novel The Lockdown Tales

Author’s description

Seven women and three men leave the city to avoid a pandemic. They isolate together in a local farm, where they pass the time working, flirting, eating, drinking, making music and above all telling stories. It happened in Florence in 1351, during the Plague, and gave us Boccaccio’s Decameron.

 

Seven hundred years later, in Australia, it happens again. The stories are very different, but they’re still bawdy, satirical, funny and sometimes sad, and they celebrate human cleverness, love, courage and imagination.

 

“Alan Whelan brings us a clever, sensual and sometimes poignant collection of stories that would make Boccaccio proud”

– Tangea Tansley, author of A Question of Belonging

 

“An old frame for a sharp new snapshot of contemporary Australia”

– Leigh Swinbourne, author of Shadow in the Forest

Creating Characters

I tend to have minor characters who surprise me by insisting on a larger role in my story. I’m always curious as to whether other authors experience this, so I asked Alan Whelan if there was such a character in one of his stories. Here is his surprising and well thought out answer.

I once set out to see what would happen if I let my characters take the reins.

I was starting a historical novel, set in Victorian London. I put my cast in a drawing room together. Most of them were real historical figures, so they obviously had a life outside my book.

I had a direction I wanted to go in, but I let the characters say and do what they were likely to say and do.

So they made conversation, they drank tea and ate muffins, and one of the men started flirting with Ellen Terry, the actor. After I’d written twenty pages of this, I found that … nothing had happened. They were still lounging about in comfortable chairs in a nice drawing room, thanks, and in no mood to go out and have adventures.

So I saved some of the better lines of dialogue and started again. This time I made them get to work. They had things to do if I was to have a story, and I was going to make them work for their existence. I’d give them motives for their actions, but their actions are up to me.

After that experiment I decided that the “I just let the characters lead me” approach is not for me.

The question, for me, is who or what a character is. Like most writers, I expect, I create my people by making composites of two or three people I know, taking bits from each, and then I give them characteristics, experiences, attitudes, habits of speech and so on. So I tend to work out the plot and the characters at the same time.

I usually have an outline of the story I want to tell, and the people in the story have to be people who are likely to do the things that happen in the story. I make their actions as psychologically plausible as I can, and then they do what I say they do.  

Still, I’ve had minor characters turn into major characters, when I hadn’t expected that.

I might have a passing stranger insult the hero so he’s in a bad mood when he meets the heroine. Originally that person is a minor character, probably slightly comic, and I expected they’d only have that walk-on and get-off part.

Then it occurs to me that the story would be stronger if there’s a character hanging around the edge of the action, always saying the wrong thing and being clumsy: spilling drinks on people and generally getting in the way. It adds an extra thread in the story that makes the rope stronger. Also, you can show important things about your lead characters by showing how they react to this nuisance.

So that minor character acquires a more detailed description of his (let’s make it “his”) appearance. I’ll tell the reader what he wears and how he moves. His speech will become more idiosyncratic.

I’ll provide him with a reason for being grumpy and clumsy. Is it a new baby? Lack of sleep? Or illness, or a wound? Maybe he’s got Achilles tendon trouble so he has to hobble everywhere, which can be exhausting and it always hurts, just a little.

But that process isn’t exactly a matter of a minor character demanding more time. It’s more that as the writer I realise that the other characters need him to react to, and maybe the story structure needs him, and it opens the possibility of having a story element that is funny or sad, or both at once, which I like.

So it’s not so much that a character bursts onto the page (or computer screen) fully formed, demanding attention. Not in my writing, or not very often.

Sometimes, if I’m very drawn to a particular character after just one paragraph’s acquaintance, I start looking closer, and suspiciously: that’s one of the signs of a stock figure.

For me it’s more that as I decide to make more use of a small character, I give him or her more depth and weight so she or he can sustain that more prominent role.

Tasso said that the only beings that deserve the name of creators are his God and writers. He actually said “poets”, but let’s extend it to prose writers as well. Writers are our characters’ unknown gods. We make them the way they are, and we set them on their way, both the lead roles and the minor roles.

About the Author

Alan Whelan lives in the Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia. He’s been a political activist, mainly on homelessness, landlord-tenant issues and unemployment, and a public servant writing social policy for governments. He’s now a free-lance writer, editor and researcher.

His story, There Is, was short-listed for the Newcastle Short Story Award in June 2020, and appeared in their 2020 anthology. His story, Wilful Damage, won a Merit Prize in the TulipTree Publications (Colorado) September 2020 Short Story Competition, and appears in their anthology, Stories that Need to be Told. It was nominated by the publisher for the 2021 Pushcart Prize.

His book The Lockdown Tales, using Boccaccio’s Decameron framework to show people living with the Covid-19 lockdown, is now on sale in paperback and ebook.

His novels, Harris in Underland and Blood and Bone are soon to be sent to publishers. He is currently working on the sequel to The Lockdown Tales and will then complete the sequel to Harris in Underland.

Alan Whelan co-wrote the book, New Zealand Republic, and has had journalism and comment pieces published in The New Zealand Listener and every major New Zealand newspaper, plus The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He wrote two books for the NZ Government: Renting and You and How to Buy Your Own Home. His stories also appear in Stories of Hope, a 2020 anthology to raise funds for Australian bushfire victims, and other anthologies.

Find the Author

His website is alanwhelan.org.
He tweets as @alannwhelan.
His phone number is +61 433 159 663.
Enthusiastic acceptances and emphatic rejections, also thoughtful questions, are generally sent by email to alan@alanwhelan.org.

CONNECT WITH ALAN WHELAN
WEBSITE: https://alanwhelan.org/
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/alanNwhelan
ADD THE LOCKDOWN TALES TO YOUR GOODREADS SHELF
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56931387-the-lockdown-tales

Buy the Book

AMAZON.COM: https://amazon.com/dp/022884052X
AMAZON.CA: https://amazon.ca/dp/022884052X
AMAZON AUS: https://amazon.com.au/dp/022884052X
KINDLE: https://amazon.com/dp/B08SCQ132Q
BOOKSHOP: https://bookshop.org/books/the-lockdown-tales-disobedience-love-patience-and-other-stories-9780228840534/9780228840527
INDIGO CHAPTERS: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-lockdown-tales-disobedience-love/9780228840527-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lockdown-tales-alan-whelan/1138592053
BOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Lockdown-Tales-Alan-Whelan/9780228840527
KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-lockdown-tales
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1063049
APPLE BOOKS: https://books.apple.com/us/book/lockdown-tales-disobedience-love-patience-other-stories/id1548072263

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $15 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

She drank, then coughed. I wanted to put my arm, or perhaps both arms, round her, but it seemed opportunistic. I should just be there, being supportive and putting no extra responsibilities on her.

I heard guitar notes from the house. It was less skilled than what we’d become used to, which meant that Bran was playing. I suspected that when we returned inside Grace and Danny would be gone. Danny’s room was the furthest room from Amelia’s. They’d be there.

Amelia sighed. She’d probably had the same thought. At last she said, “Actually, though, I’m still glad I’m here. This is a lovely place. And these are good people. If we have to be locked down, I can’t think of a better place to be.”

“Yeah. I have no idea what happens now. Yesterday I tuned into the news, for the first time in weeks. None of it’s good. I’m pretty pessimistic, to tell the truth. There’s a second wave. And maybe years to wait for a vaccine. Or even an effective treatment.”

Amelia nodded. “In Boccaccio his people went back to Florence after just 15 days. In reality, that would’ve been too soon. They’d still have been at risk. We might have to be here for months.”

“I’m not going anywhere. Nor’s this place. And I’m not tired of anyone yet.”

Amelia smiled. “Well, I’ll have to try not to be tiresome. I may be doing more work, I mean academic work, from now on.”

I nodded. “Sure. You can borrow my office. Anyway,” I inclined my head towards the house, “let’s face the music.”

We walked from the vast comfort of a sky that didn’t know us or care, to the warmth, where people did both.

Thank you!

Alan Whelan — we appreciate your sharing your book The Lockdown Tales with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

I’m in SPFBO7: Take Deep Breaths

I keep lists of ideas for new ways to promote my self-published books and I seldom follow through on them. Too much work. Too expensive. Probably won’t make a bit of difference. It’s easy to get discouraged in the world of self-publishing.

One idea got moved from list to list.  I became aware of a contest a few years ago that looked promising called SPFBO (aka self-published fantasy blog off — not bake off.) But every time I saw it, the contest was in progress and I never could figure out where to find the schedule or the rules. Oh well, it probably costs a fortune anyway. And if it doesn’t they won’t let me in.

Then late at night 3 days ago, I skimmed a post from a blog and I saw it. The contest, the SPFBO, was opening the next day! More amazing, it was free and would accept the first 300 people who signed up. This was unbelievable. It didn’t surprise me to discover that last year it filled in under 24 hours.

However, there was one small problem. That same day, the next day, Friday the 14th, was the release day for my latest book She’s the One Who Gets in Fights.

I had three different book release things happening  plus a slew of other related promotional ideas to pursue. Could I possibly get myself entered into this SBFBO thingy as well? Of course I could.

I went to bed determined.  I’d get up and find a way to do it all.

I woke up at 6:59 am to the sound of my wave noise generator stopping. That’s weird. It’s never shut off before. I opened my eyes to see the ceiling fan slowing down.

No!

I live in the mountains of Western North Carolina and every once in a while we lose power up in these hills. Like once every year or two… Not today. Please not today.

But yes, the gods of stress were having a small chuckle at my expense. I found a way to make hot tea (no coffee!) No shower (our well runs on electricity.) I started doing what I could from my phone. Dim that screen. Make that battery last.

However, entering SBFBO was one thing my phone couldn’t do. Did it have enough oomph to be an adequate hot spot for my laptop? Was my laptop well enough charged? If I’d just known this was going to happen …

Entries opened at 2 pm my time. I watched the hours pass, considering a drive into the nearest small town. Since Covid hit, I didn’t know of a single place offering inside space and free internet. Had that changed? Could I make it over to Asheville? Surely they had something.

I must have become boring to watch, for at about 10:30 the gods of stress released their hold on our power lines and  the refrigerator began to hum.

Okay, I can do this now. I can do this. Breath. Slowly.

And of course I did do it because in spite of all my panic it was remarkably easy to enter. I even managed most of my promotional book release stuff, too.

When I woke up Saturday to plenty of wonderful power surging through my home there was also excitement surging through my veins. Someone put all the entered books on Goodreads. Someone else made a list of all the judges. One entrant asked what we all did for a living and the answers were pouring in. This looked to be an exciting thing to be a part of!

Encouragement poured in as well, especially to us nervous first time entrants. I’d read that one of the joys of this endeavor was a sense of community and it looks like no one was joking about that.

So, here I am, in touch with 299 other self-published fantasy writers. Some have have far more success to their names than I do while others have only begun their journey, submitting their first novel. I’m humbled to be in this group and grateful for the whim that led me to read the thing that clued me in to the timing.

Isn’t life funny, in so many ways?

The Ack Ack Girl

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Chris Karlsen and her historical romance novel, The Ack Ack Girl.

Author’s description

Love and War
A country under attack and the story of one woman’s fight to protect England and her heart.
1941. The German war machine has crushed all of Europe-only England holds fast. To force a surrender, the German Luftwaffe bombs cities and villages the length of the country. As the battle rages, Britain is in desperate need to put more pilots in the air.
To free up more men a new unit is formed: The Ack Ack Girls. These special teams of courageous women will now fight in the anti-aircraft stations. Determined to be part of the effort, Ava Armstrong, volunteers for one of the special teams.
Her unit just happens to be located near an RAF airfield teaming with pilots. Sparks fly, and not just from artillery, when Ava crosses paths with Chris Fairfield, a handsome and cocky pilot stationed there. But nothing is easy in time of war, not even love.

My Review

Chris Karlsen focuses on an amazing event in history that has received surprisingly little attention. As WWII drug on, some English women in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the ATS, a branch of the women’s army) served in crews of anti-aircraft fighters.

Author Karlsen focuses on one such woman, as she takes you into her day to day life. You learn about Ava’s family history and details of the sort of cake she prefers, the cat she saves in Coventry, and her favorite songs. Karlsen lets the reader follow her emotional journey as she faces her anger at the Germans,  joins the ATS, and becomes attracted to a fighter pilot. The nonchalant sexism of the day (by both men and women) is presented through conversation, as are the fears and frustrations caused by the war.

What I liked most about this book was the way Karlsen made me feel as if I walked through life with Ava. This author has an incredible ability to include sights, sounds and smells to make a scene seem real. For example, Ava doesn’t just sit down. “Careful of the peeling paint and rough wood, Ava sat in the rickety bench in front of the barracks to wait for him.” See what I mean?

I also applaud the amount of research put into this novel. From details on the women’s uniforms (and shoes!) to specifics about the tasks the women were trained and allowed to perform, the breath of information is astounding.

I did struggled a little with the style of the book. The author inserts gaps in time, with no more explanation or transition that to say “Coventry-later that day.” To me, it gave the story a feel of walking through an art gallery, looking at related and beautifully done paintings. I’m used to a book being more like a movie, where the action flows and almost everything presented moves the story along. Here, a lot of the detail seems to only serve the purpose of immersing the reader in the immediate scene, well done though that scene may be.

I’d recommend this book to many sorts of readers. Those fascinated by modern history and particularly World War Two would enjoy it, as would those interested in stories of women being allowed to step out of traditional roles, particularly during wartime. It has a romance at it’s center, but it’s also a book about female friendship.

My strongest recommendation, however, would go to anyone wanting to leave this time and place for a while and thoroughly experience another. Go — be part of Britain’s war effort. Reading this book is as close as you’re likely to get to using a time machine.

About the Author

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I was raised in Chicago. My father, a history professor, and my mother, a voracious reader passed on a love of history and books along with a love of travel. My husband and I retired to the Pacific Northwest where we live with four crazy rescue dogs.

I am a retired police detective. After twenty-five years in law enforcement, I decided to pursue my dream of writing. I’ve completed a historical-time travel romance series called Knights in Time. I currently write a historical suspense called The Bloodstone Series.

I am also working on a world war two series of novella romances. The first is Moonlight Serenade and currently available. The second is The Ack-Ack Girl.

Find the Author

Website — https://chriskarlsen.com/
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/ChrisKarlsenAuthor/
Twitter –https://twitter.com/AuthorCKarlsen
Pinterest — https://www.pinterest.com/chriskarlsen/

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VDSQGDM
Apple:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ack-ack-girl/id1554149585
B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ack-ack-girl-chris-karlsen/1138717450
KOBO: https://books2read.com/u/bQdOXd
Thalia:  (this is a German site) https://www.thalia.de/shop/home/artikeldetails/ID150770183.html
Bol-de: (another German site) https://www.bol.de/shop/home/artikeldetails/ID150770183.html
Angus & Robertson: (British site) https://www.angusrobertson.com.au/ebooks/the-ack-ack-girl-chris-karlsen/p/9781393715412

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 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

When her mother turned around, the color had drained from her face and her eyes had a haunted look. “What is it, Mum?”

“They’re bombing Coventry. There’s a BBC reporter on site. He said dozens and dozens of planes are over the city.”

Ava sat on the sofa, listening to the live broadcast as the nightmare continued. Her stomach roiled. The mint-flavored tooth powder she’d used had tasted sweet and fresh, but now soured in her mouth.

“The cathedral is destroyed,” the reporter’s voice broke.

“Turn the sound up, Mum.”

“The sky is black with planes now. They’ve blotted out the moon.” The reporter broke into a coughing fit and then continued. “The city is aflame. It’s raining bombs. The terribleness of this night will never be forgotten. Coventry is no more.”

Eleven hours later

“Did you get any sleep?” her mother asked.

Ava shook her head. “The bombing only just stopped. They’re saying that most of the city is destroyed.”

Ava went upstairs to clean up and change clothes. When she came back down she told her mother, “I need to go. I have to see if Miss Finney is all right. I have to see if I still have a home there.”

Coventry-later that day

The train was standing room only. A blast of intense heat clobbered her as Ava stepped from the station. She found herself flashing back to the night of the blitz attack in London. Like London, hours after the last bombs fell flames still raged and painted the sky in orange and red here. Bright, hot embers filled the air, burning holes through the material of the umbrellas of those who carried them for protection.

She slowly and carefully made her way toward Miss Finney’s flat and the upstairs bedsit she let to Ava. She paused in front of the movie theatre around the corner from Miss Finney’s. The entire building had fallen but somehow the marquee remained undamaged. Perched on top of the rubble advertising, His Girl Friday. Ava had just seen the movie the previous week. She’d gone two nights in a row just to watch Cary Grant.

Thank you!

Chris Karlsen we appreciate your sharing your book  The Ack Ack Girl with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Love Has No Limits

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Armine Papouchian and her self-help spiritual book Love Has No Limits.

Author’s description

At sixteen, Armine fell in love for the first time and lost that love for the first time. She was the youngest daughter of three in Armenia and the only one underage when her parents decided to immigrate to the United States. She had to go with and leave her beloved Alex behind. Her parents saw a land of opportunity while Armine saw heartbreak. It wasn’t the end of her story with Alex and certainly not the end of her life,as it had felt at the time, but there was more pain to follow. Sixteen-year-olds are resilient, but even when losses and hurt came calling repeatedly throughout Armine’s life, she had the strength to love and to rise again and again. Even as life moves on for Armine and Alex, their lives intersect again and again over the course of thirty years. Through deaths and divorces, their lives never quite line up from their opposite sides of the globe. Love Has No Limits is Armine’s story of keeping faith in oneself and in love despite heartbreak, betrayal, and loss. It reveals the joy available to those who rise and rise again.

About the Author

Arminé was born in Soviet Armenia and immigrated to United States with her parents when she was 17.  She worked in the health care industry for 33 years and held key leadership roles in various health plans. Most recently, she retired from a senior executive position to pursue service and paying forward.

She is currently involved in various volunteer roles. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, gardening, art museums, concerts, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Love Has No Limits is her first book.

Find the Author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56512392-love-has-no-limits

Buy the Book

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08RJ6152L

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 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

While drinking a glass of red wine, I watched the blazing fire roll down the hill. I got the second emergency alert call to evacuate immediately. I couldn’t believe this was happening again. Last time this happened my son still lived at home, my parents lived with us, and Peaches, our sweet dog was still alive. Back then, I had to get everyone organized, packed, and ready to evacuate. Back then, I’d been more nervous, concerned about my aging parents, my teenage son and our dog, who could sense the tension and had anxiously paced back and forth with her tongue hanging out.

This time, it was just me. I thought about what I should take with me. After all, I had already lost so much in life, yet at the same time, I felt I was blessed with all that I still had. After all, my parents had moved me halfway around the world when I was a teenager, leaving my love behind. I had grieved losing two husbands by the time I was 50, another husband in between who betrayed me at my most vulnerable moment, and I’d struggled with my father’s cancer, which ended in suicide. Just as I was catching my breath, I had to put my dog to sleep followed by my mother’s long-term illness and her painful 1 death. At the same time, I was so grateful for all I had. I was so happy that I was not angry and resentful. I was not bitter; I was content. I had love again, and I was stronger than ever before. I was still standing.

As I packed a change of clothes, my laptop, few photo albums that my son requested and my small metal safe deposit box with important documents, I reflected on how little all our possessions really matter to us. As I was packing the albums, the memories started to come back, old wounds flared up and I started to feel the pain and the deep sadness. I ached for my son who had lost his father at age ten. I felt lonely; I missed the people I had in my life that I’d loved and lost. I missed all they brought to my life. At times, I could not believe I had survived all that had happened in my life in such a short time. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I realized the effects those pictures had on me and why I did not even want to take those albums with me. I had the memories in my heart and that’s all I could ever have, the rest of my life. I realized that’s why I no longer made photo albums. I realized how simplistic life had become for me. I did not need much. I cherished the moments I was with the people I loved and that is all I ever needed.

 

The Buddha and the Bee

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Cory Mortensen and his memoir The Buddha and the Bee: Biking through America’s Forgotten Roadways on a Journey of Discovery.

Author’s description

Life-Changing Journey…

…But this is NOT a typical blah-blah-blah memoir

 

Planning is for sissies. A solo bike ride across the country will be filled with sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and 80 degree temps every day, right? Not so much. The Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, an alkaline desert, and the Sierra Nevadas lay miles and days ahead. Disappointment with unrealized potential, and the thirst for what’s next drew farther away in the rotating wide-angle shockproof convex rear-view mirror.

 

“I will ride my bike down a never-ending ribbon of asphalt wearing a backpack.”

 

Cory Mortensen began his bike ride across the United States from Chaska, Minnesota, to Truckee, California, without a route, a timeline, or proper equipment. Along the way, he gained more than technical skills required for a ride that would test every fiber of his physical being and mental toughness. Ride along as he meets “unusual” characters, dangerous animals, and sweet little old ladies with a serious vendetta for strangers in their town.

 

Humor ■ Insight ■ Adventure ■ Gratitude ■ Peace

 

From long stretches of road ending in a vanishing point at the distant horizon, to stunning vistas, terrifying close calls, grueling conditions, failed equipment, and joyous milestones he stayed the course and gained an appreciation for the beauty of the land, the genius of engineering and marvel of nature.

About the Author

Cory Mortensen has ridden his collection of bicycles over a million miles of asphalt, dirt, mud, and backroads. In addition to the cross-country journey detailed in this book, he has traveled to over fifty-five countries, cycled from Minneapolis to Colorado solo to raise money for children born with congenital heart defects. He’s completed sixteen marathons on five continents, and survived three days of running with the bulls in Spain.

Cory is a certified Advanced PADI diver, and has enjoyed taking in life under the waves in locations all over the world. In 2003, he took time off from roaming, and accidentally started and built a company which he sold in 2013. That same year he married his best friend and explored the state of Texas for two years. The couple sold everything they owned, jumped on a plane to Ecuador and volunteered, trekked, and explored South America for sixteen months before returning to Phoenix, Arizona, where he works as a consultant and is soon to be a bestselling author.

The Buddha and the Bee is his first memoir in which he shares how a two month leave of absence redefined his life’s trajectory of sitting behind a desk and his decision to break society’s chains so he could live life on his terms.

What is This Author Passionate About?

… Evicting all those negative voices that have been living rent-free for all those years deep inside my head and focusing on my time with family and friends.

I read a book called, 20,000 days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now by Robert Smith. That, along with some interviews I listened to with Jessy Itzler, and my focus and priorities are now turned to concentrating my time with my wife and my time with family and friends who make me better, who challenge me, who do in fact judge me in way that makes me better.

I have great friends I see only once a year — if I live to be as old as my dad, that means I will only get to see these great friends 18 more times. I want to make the most of those times.

Additionally, I’m all about experiences: I like to travel, I like to do things I have never done. I’m fortunate to have found a wife who supports and enjoys travel as much as I do and supports my want to do new things.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.TheBuddhaAndTheBee.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BuddhaAndTheBee
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CoryMortensenAuthor
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/CoryMortensenAuthor/

Buy the Book

Amazon Hardcover: https://www.amazon.com/Buddha-Bee-Cory-Mortensen/dp/1735498114
Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735498122
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08FLLBBP9
Indiebound  Hardcover: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781735498119
Paperback: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781735498126

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

DAY TWENTY-FOUR

It seemed as if I was the only person on this road. I saw no cars, no trucks. I didn’t even see an airplane or contrail. The human race could have been completely wiped out, and I wouldn’t know it, just like I didn’t know what was going on back east a few days ago. As far as I knew, it was just me and the clerk at the Maybell General Store. My situation could be worse. Juliane Koepcke was seventeen years old when, on Dec 24, 1971, the Lockheed Electra OB-R-941 commercial airliner the she was a passenger on was struck by lightning. The plane immediately broke up in the air. Still strapped to her seat, she fell two miles into the jungle. She survived the fall, with a broken collarbone, a gash on her arm that would eventually become infested with worms, and her right eye swollen shut. She spent ten days alone in the Amazonian rainforest, following a stream, wading through knee-deep water, until eventually she came across a group of fishermen. After two weeks spent recovering, she led a search party back into the jungle to locate the crash, ultimately finding her mother’s body.

And here I thought I was having a bad day.

Fighting the headwind, I occasionally took time to stop and stare at the road as it vanished into the horizon. I had been biking for forty minutes and gone only five miles.

I hoped to see a town, a house, a billboard—anything that showed signs of human life—but it was just me and the road and a rather large coyote.

“Coyote?!”

A coyote stood across the road, looking directly at me.

I had some important questions. What was I supposed to do when I came across a coyote? Were they aggressive? Did they attack humans? Were they fast? Could I out-pedal him? Not with this headwind. He could catch me without even having to run.

In the lore of Indigenous Americans, the coyote was many things. To some tribes, it was a hero who created, taught, and helped humans; to others, a warning of negative behaviors like greed and arrogance; still others looked at the coyote as a trickster who lacked wisdom—he got into lots of trouble, but was clever enough to get out of it.

This part of North America was home to the Snake Indians. The Snake Indians were made up of the Northern Paiute, Bannock, and Shoshone. The Bannock believed the coyote came to help and did good deeds for the people.

I looked west and so did the coyote. I looked back at the coyote, he back at me, and then he looked west again and bobbed his head, as if to say, “Let’s go.”

I started pedaling. The headwind continued; my coyote companion making everything a bit surreal. He was now part of my journey. I put off any thoughts of him being an adversary. He was helping me get through the day.

“You live around here?” I asked the coyote. The coyote gave no answer.

“You have family? Wife? Kids?” Still no answer.

“Do you know if there is a good restaurant in Dinosaur? I’m really hungry.”

Nothing. He could only be of so much help, I guess.

We moved together along Victory Highway, fighting the wind.

Over the next few miles, I watched him as he pranced over the mounds along the highway. He’d stop and wait for me when he got too far ahead, then would continue once I caught up. I was no longer thinking about the wind or the heat or the bumpy road. I thought about the people who had lived along the Yampa River. Ruins of the Fremont people dated back as far as 1500 BC. Their petroglyphs told their stories. The Snake, Ute, and Navajo came after the Fremont and made the land their new home.

Later came the cowboys. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, Matt Warner, and Isom Dart all traveled this route when it was just a dusty horse trail, known as the Outlaw Trail.

And as I rode along with my coyote and wistful thoughts, there it was: the all too familiar sound of ninety-five pounds-per-square- inch of air leaving my rear tyre.

The coyote heard it, too. Perhaps the sound startled him, per haps it let him know dinner was ready. I looked down at my tyre and then at him. His body was turned, now facing me. I felt like perhaps our relationship had changed without my input. I thought back to lunch with my dad, when he asked if I was bringing a gun for protection. Then I looked at my flat tyre.

I took the pack off the bike, flipped the bike upside down to remove the rear wheel, and started removing the tyre and replacing the tube, as fast as I could. I looked up to see what the coyote was doing, but he was gone, vanished. I was relieved but also sad, as I was once again alone.

Raven’s Apprentice

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author D. Robert Hardy, his memoir Raven’s Apprentice, and an exclusive excerpt shared only with this blog!

 Author’s description

Raven’s Apprentice is a compelling true story from the west coast of B.C. that launches you into the world of Raven and our interconnectedness with all living things.

 

“Suddenly, without warning, they spun on a fin and started charging the boat. My thrill turned to real panic. Killer whales attacking a boat. Had there ever been such a thing? A paralysis gripped me. Now, within striking distance, they slipped into an arrowhead formation just below the surface. If the leader of the pack didn’t bring the boat down, his flanks would.”

 

“At about 20 feet off the bow, the frontrunner broke the surface, peeling waves off his rostrum as he continued his commitment to engage. Bracing for impact, my hands squeezed into the railing…”

 

Travel with me aboard MV Lady Guinevere. Witness being charged by transient killer whales, stalked by wolves and walking creeks so pristine you feel as if you were the first human to experience the wonder of nature.

 

“You have succeeded in bringing the reader on the voyage with you and into the deeper experience of transcendence and heightened awareness. Some of your experiences are literally skin tingling, many will leave your reader thinking and remembering for a long time to come.” – Sid Tafler – Writer, Editorbr.

 

“Don Hardy’s RAVEN’S APPRENTICE is a great and compelling story, both nuanced and vivid, that will leave readers wanting to head off on adventures of their own.”

– Heather Stockard – IndieReader

About the Author

Born in Halifax Nova Scotia. Grew up in small-town Cumberland, BC. but could not wait to get out and make his mark. Toured throughout Canada and the US as a professional musician until he realized he hated touring. Settled in Victoria, BC. Wrote six unpublished screenplays until he had real success with a stageplay called “A Garland for Judy.” It toured down the west coast from Bellingham to Los Angles but topped the bill in San Francisco for six months to sold-out shows. Eventually settling into technical writing and developing online courses for most of his working life. Raven’s Apprentice is a memoir that captured the imagination of a retired CBC executive who said, “You must bottle up all of this adventure into a book! …being rescued by transient killer whales encounters with wolves, spirits in the kelp … it’s all too exciting!” And so it is done.

Find the Author

Connect with D. Robert Hardy:
WEBSITE https://www.droberthardy.com/
INSTAGRAM https://www.instagram.com/ravens_apprentice/?hl=en
FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/drobert.hardy.1/

Buy the Book

Purchase Links:
AMAZON.COM https://amazon.com/dp/0228822297
AMAZON.CA https://amazon.ca/dp/0228822297
KINDLE https://amazon.com/dp/B08CS193XX
INDIGO CHAPTERS https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/ravens-apprentice/9780228822301-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ravens-apprentice-d-robert-hardy/1137324048

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a $20 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.

The Exclusive Excerpt

As I bounced along the logjams, a shot of adrenaline spiked, and the hair on my head felt charged. I was being watched. It had been the same experience all summer. I would arrive in the creek and within 10 or 15 minutes I would feel the pressure of another presence. It was the one creek where I had to wrestle my heart from filling my throat.

I slowed my gaze to scout the creek’s edge of low-lying huckleberries. I assessed every drop of rain, every leaf, every blade of bent grass. The ammonia smell from the fish carcasses lingered, but the earthy moss smells now blended with the autumn leaves, freshening the air. But there was another smell though … underlying the dominant fall fragrance that heightened my sense of danger even more.

Fear rang out. “Just be in the moment. Breathe. Don’t give into the mind’s trick of manifesting fear out of nothing. It was probably just a combination of smells that made it smell like …”

A game we have all played as children is gazing at clouds and imagining something within. We might see an elephant stampeding across the sky, or a peacock in the flowered wallpaper of our bedrooms. This was an essential part of the development of children with creative minds.

As I began to look closer at the underbrush, my thinking reversed. I was no longer imagining what I could see within the pattern but looking at the whole pattern.

My eyes adjusted to the larger picture before me. Then I saw them – eyes – unwavering and intense, maybe ten or fifteen feet away, and close enough to attack before I could respond. They were the eyes of something that couldn’t be convinced not to further their intent. I was looking into the soul of an animal that knew no fear and was at the top of the food chain in the forest. And the prophetic words of Willy Hanks came back to me … “If they let you live.”

Moon in Bastet

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author E.S. Danon and her magical realism and  Jewish fiction novel, Moon in Bastet.

Author’s description

A memoir turned into thrilling fiction; Moon in Bastet is based on the life of author E. S. Danon. The story follows a fourteen-year-old girl named Eva, an orphan living in the Negev desert of Israel who is working as a custodian of Cirque Du Christianisme. Her life is controlled by a volatile drunk named Bella who favors a group of equally volatile teenage bullies over her and her own safety or sanity.

Bullied, neglected, and alone – Eva’s only friends are an odd, thirteen–year–old Sephardic boy named Jack and a small cohort of Bedouin sister-wives. On the brink of giving up on life, Eva stumbles upon a mysterious cat in the middle of the desert. Or really, did the cat stumble upon her?

Together they must fight to stay alive, win the battles thrown at them, and Eva must learn to not only lean on others but to trust in herself.

Filled with mystery, magic, and symbolism – Moon in Bastet is a story of resilience, survivorship, forgiveness, and women empowerment. This is a work filled with Jewish mysticism that can be enjoyed by people of all races, ages, and religions everywhere.

About the Author

Elizabeth Danon received her B.S. in Marine Science from Stony Brook University before working as a Marine Biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service. She traveled the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico: collecting data aboard commercial fishing vessels and dredges.

When that didn’t pan out to be the glorified job that she expected, finding herself covered in shark snot and fish scales daily, Elizabeth became a technical writer. In her spare time, she began doing standup comedy after taking comedy bootcamp with the Armed Services Arts Partnership. At this time, she married the most wonderful man who also provides most of her joke writing material. Unfortunately, because he’s Indian he has also enabled her Maggi addiction… Like she needed that on top of her already long-standing iced coffee issues.

Her favorite show is Schitt’s Creek, as she feels a special bond to her fellow comedians – and Sephardic brethren. Growing up half-Jewish herself, Elizabeth eventually converted to being full-Jewish with Temple Israel as a student of Rabbi Panitz.

Her enriched, but complicated, heritage has been an inspiration for most of her creative writing. Being an Aries, she has always felt like a leader and has therefore integrated her feminist beliefs into her work, albeit dropping every women’s studies course that she ever elected in college.

Additionally, her writing has an unmistakable international presence. Elizabeth wanted to discover as much as she could about her Sephardic Heritage and went on Birthright, followed by her independent travels to over ten other countries… carrying nothing but a red bookbag.

Find the Author at

Website: https://linktr.ee/esdanon
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/esdanon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/DANON.ELIZABETH.BOOKS/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/esdanon

Buy Moon in Bastet

Buy on Amazon.   Buy at BN.

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.

GF

My Favorite Excerpt

Mist twinkles atop the desert sand as a cohort of camels take their morning promenade. A girl runs past them, chasing the rising globe of fire.

Her breath labors as she slips on a rock.

“Ugh!”

A perfect little scrape forms on her knee, but she continues onward and unfazed.

Her skin is olive tinted; her head covered by a canopy of endless brown, curly hair. On her face sit two prominent beauty marks, on either side of her mouth. She is slender and not yet fully grown, but by no means does she have a frail frame. She wears a beige, spaghetti strapped dress that is knee length and complete with a secret pocket – all of which is covered in dirt. A headband woven from plants and flowers sits around the girl’s head.

This girl is named Eva.

She sprints up another dune’s side, her dress ballooning around her as she sits suddenly with crossed legs. The mirage of the sun’s gaseous performance begins to play on the horizon; another Israeli sun rise in the Negev. Like toy soldiers, the sun’s rays advance in a medley of oranges and yellows. Pink is usually reserved for sunrises – however on this day, a rosy aura is cast around the girl as she grabs a rock and casts it towards the sun: This is how a desert girl skips rocks. Next, she takes aim at the arse of the nearest camel.

The rock misses by centimeters, causing a fuss amongst the cohort, but Eva’s almond shaped, brown eyes glisten.

“G-d! Adonai! Where are you? I see you in the colors of the sky!” Her voice echoes as her eyes drift upon the sunrise. “Why are you ignoring me like everyone else does? I feel you in the warmth of light but where are you? Why haven’t you rescued me yet?” She shivers and brings her bare feet in closer to herself. “Can you at least give me a jacket? You’re not very gentleman-like, you know… it’s really chilly this morning.”

Eva puckers her lips in defeat, and then meditates in the following silence, focusing on the warmth ricocheting from the sand and onto her goosebumps.

“Well at least my cramps are gone,” she says once her anxiety diminishes – massaging her lower stomach, happy that her most recent predicament has gone away. “But yet I still must deal with the cramp of life: being unheard and misunderstood.”

Reminded of the reason why she came to pray in the first place, Eva turns to the sky and gives a cloud a dirty look. “G-d, you have approximately twenty-four hours or I will throw rocks at every camel that I see! I can’t survive in that stupid Circus another day.” She throws a finger towards the unsuspecting cloud in the sky and pauses, thinking of a way to coax G-d into saving her.

“You know what – if you like your camels so much, then you better get me out of this place!” Shaking her head, she mumbles, “I’ll just throw rocks at each of their heads. Not like they would care. They’re already dumb… dumb camels.” She looks at a moon shaped scar on the top of her hand, given to her by one of the water-hoarding creatures several years ago.

“Dumb camels,” she repeats.

Silence again is all that responds to Eva once she finishes speaking to herself. She slumps over, shrugs, and decides to head back to her home that sits half-a-mile away from the dunes.

Her feet slip on the sand, causing her to lift her left hand to her face. She huffs as she thinks of her favorite book; reading it gives her solace in her own solitude. Eva sighs, feeling stuck in an ocean made of sand and trapped with her own imaginary desert marlin. She’s already picked out several camels to act as the sharks.

Ironically, one of the camels spits at her as she passes – as if asking, “Where’s your rock – dumb human?”

“Rude,” she mutters in response.

Eva finds her way to a camp studded with only several architectural structures that is surrounded by seven-foot-high wall made of sand. There is only one exit and one entrance, a sky-high rectangular structure made of wood that suffices as a gate. As she skips under it, a sign that reads Cirque du Christianism sways after her.

Officially home, she is welcomed by an array of Circus tents.

Her lazy footsteps saunter past the main tent to her right, soon halting as she approaches a much smaller blue tent. Looking back towards a white tipi, she can feel her body tensing as she holds her breath before leaping forward in front of the blue tent.

I hope he doesn’t attract attention to me.

Doorway to Scorn

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Dimitrius Jones and his fantasy novel, Doorway to Scorn.

Author’s description

Many in the world of Austyria dream of becoming heroes, gaining classes like Mage, Knight, and Beastmaster. With the power granted to them by the powerful Alrelics, they can level up and accomplish extraordinary feats.

The citizens of Hollo village long for a hero to save them from the malevolent Gate, which disfigures all who see or try to enter it. Lex dreams of becoming a Soldier and leaving his cursed village with his friends, Bibi and Ariel, but his class designation ceremony devolves into absolute disaster. Within days, he’s forced to embark on a journey that will change his destiny forever.

To save his friends, Lex must uncover the mysteries of this mysterious doorway, while keeping his scornful heart in check before it consumes him utterly.

How Happy is Happy Enough?

So, I’m personally struggling with the question of how happy a happily-ever-after ending has to be to satisfy readers. I suppose my even asking the question makes it clear I think there is some wiggle room, or there ought to be.  After learning more about Doorway to Scorn, I was delighted to get the chance to ask author Dimitrius Jones what he thought. I really liked his response.

As someone who’s read his fair share of romance novels, I get it. We love to ship people and see those ships weather a storyline’s challenges and persevere. We want to be rewarded for instilling hope into our favorite pairing with an ending that is adorably predictable.

We escape into these stories because we’re not sure if true love actually exists sometimes. It’s hard to reconcile a belief in soulmates when we can log onto social media and watch a divorce happen in real time at almost any moment. That’s why it’s so tantalizing to find a romance novel that will soothe our concerns with the promise of a happy ending for the featured couple, even if there’s much ground to cover beforehand.

I’m just not here for it, personally. I feel like it’s overdone.

I won’t go so far as to say I prefer depressing, tragic endings and think they should completely replace happy endings. However, I can appreciate a bittersweet ending where not every character gets the exact resolution we think they should. Real life doesn’t work either way. You don’t always get the ending to a relationship that you deserve, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a beautiful story out of it. It doesn’t mean there isn’t art to be found in a non-happy ending.

I think we could benefit from reading about relationship stories that we can better relate to versus stories where we idealize the couple. Some may say it’s boring, but I think it’s a challenge. As a writer, I’m always seeking new ways to express real life in a fictitious setting. What better way to expand my creative bandwidth than challenging myself to craft a great story without relying on tropes?

I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any more happy endings. I just believe we shouldn’t fear realistic ones that don’t always make us feel fuzzy inside. It’s okay. There’s still a story there.

About the Author

Dimitrius Jones was born and raised in West Texas, much to his eternal annoyance. Despite this, he first picked up the pen at the tender age of six. His first masterpiece was a page-turner was about dolphins that used eye lasers to kill a hurricane. From there, his life took a few twists and turns, but he always found his way back to his trusty notepad.

His next few projects include a self-help book for those who suffer from low self-esteem as well as a full-length fantasy/romance novel to be released sometime in the future. Dimitrius has always, perhaps unsurprisingly, been inspired by the mystery, tragedy, and wonder of fairy tales.

His goal in life is to constantly inspire, amuse, and shed light into the corners of life we didn’t know were right in front of us.

Find Dimitrius Jones at:
Website: http://dimitriusjones.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/idimitriusjones?lang=en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordimitriusjones/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/idimitriusjones/?hl=en

Buy Doorway to Scorn on Amazon. The book will be $0.99 during this tour!

 Yes, there is a giveaway.

Dimitrius Jones 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

“Lex. You need to run.”

Bibi’s voice is low, just above a whisper. She flips her daggers in her hands until they’re pointing away from her body, something I’ve never seen done before. They’re normally used for stabbing – usually in the most treacherous manner possible – and held with the blade facing up, not down.

“I’m not leaving you here to fight that alone.”

“Then you’re a fool. You can’t help me here, and that cursed weapon you have won’t save you. I don’t even know why you’re still holding onto it.”

“I have potions. If you get hurt, I can at least heal you.”

Bibi doesn’t respond, but I can see the muscles in her shoulders and arms tensing as the shadow man regains his composure and goes completely still. She doesn’t sound like herself. It’s as if she’s a completely different person.

The shadow man points his blade high into the sky, and a strange, smoke-like energy begins to wisp around him. Soon, he is joined by two identical shadow men, each taking a battle stance with swords of their own.

“This is not a fight I plan to win,” Bibi says, and that’s when it dawns on me. She’s trying to buy everyone else time to escape from these things.

The Duplex

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Lucky Stevens and his historical LGBT  novel, The Duplex. 

Author’s description

THE DUPLEX is a thrilling tale, set in 1950s L.A., of four gay friends who hatch a daring scheme to live life on their own terms, during a time of systemic governmental persecution.

Los Angeles, 1956. Shangri-La. Palm trees, swimming pools, movie stars. And if you’re gay—persecution. In a society that demands conformity and lockstep conventionality, gay people find out quickly and the hard way, how difficult, dangerous and downright terrifying it is to be different.

So, when the constant fear of arrests, evictions, job loss and ridicule become too much, four gay friends and lovers pull together to hatch an ingenious scheme designed to allow them to live freely, without harassment.

But their secret plan is not without its flaws. Internal struggles and personality conflicts conspire to make their situation harder and more life-altering than any of them could have predicted, leading to valuable and universal lessons about the high cost of blending in—or not.

My Review

In The Duplex, Lucky Stevens has written a story that both packs a punch and needs to be told.

I liked so many things about this book, including the way Stevens captures the fifties along with all its many ingrained biases. I enjoyed watching the tale evolve through the eyes of four protagonists, often seeing the same incident through different points of view. I appreciated how Stevens demonstrated the way prejudices against any group seep into the beliefs and self-images of those most adversely infected until they begin to doubt themselves. Sometimes it was painful to read, but, as I said, it’s a story worth telling.

In fact, I liked almost everything about this compelling tale. It moved quickly, and the voices rang true. I suppose one could complain that certain aspects of the two gay men, and two lesbian women, were too stereotypical, and they would have a point. I suppose others might struggle with four alternating first-person points of view, although I liked it.

Some might prefer a neater, more happily-ever-after ending for all, but I thought the ending worked fine. Without giving anything away I’ll just say things get messy but happiness is found, much like in real life.

I recommend this book to anyone, but especially those who like historical novels, are fascinated by the 1950s, or are fans of reading about Los Angeles. The novel may appeal to those in the LGBTQ+ community, but I have a special recommendation and this one comes from the heart.

I HIGHLY (caps intended) recommend this novel to those with close friends or family members who are LGBTQ. It’s an eye-opening look at the world they could be living in. I know it made me aware of the need for us all to be vigilant about preserving the basic human rights this group has had to fight so hard for. This novel is important food for thought for a caring community.

About the Author

Lucky Stevens lives, works and plays in exotic North America.  He has written three novels.  He was also a finalist in a nationwide screenplay writing contest.  He was inspired to write The Duplex because he wanted to tackle a subject that grappled with universal themes in a creative and exciting way.

He can be contacted in the following ways:
https://twitter.com/LuckyStevens1
https://www.facebook.com/luckystevens.writer/
luckystevenswriter@gmail.com
https://bublish.com/author/luckystevens

Buy The Duplex at Amazon.  The book will be $0.99 and is
Amazon’s #1 New Release in LGBT Historical Fiction!

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Enter here to win.

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My Favorite Excerpt

With the tone of the evening in its proper place, we exited the apartment.

As much as I adore Cliff, I figured I better latch onto Jerry. I don’t know, he just seems a little more like the babe-in-the-woods type. Besides that, it would give me a chance to get to know him. So I stood next to him and slipped my hand around his arm. I gave his bicep a little squeeze. “Ooh, al dente. Just right.” He smiled, and I smiled back. Naturally Cliff and Dot paired up themselves, and us girls held on to each fella’s arm as the men escorted us down the stairs.

As we headed to the car, I was happy to see that my landlady—her name is Mrs. Tambler—was on her patio watering her flowers. She has always been a very nice woman, but she can also be on the nosy side of the street. Because of this fact,

I have had to be careful with Dot, whom Mrs. Tambler has now seen numerous times.

I have told her that Dot is my closest friend, but I am not sure she buys it. For one thing, Dot is quite beautiful and ten years younger than I am. A fact that is a plus for me, but I think a little suspicious looking for Mrs. Tambler. I also only have a one-bedroom apartment, so the idea of Dot spending the night or ever moving in is strictly out.

In any event, with “our men” in tow, I waved to my landlady good and hard in an effort to build up some nice heterosexual brownie points for any possible future mishaps. She looked more than pleased to see Dot and me hanging off the arms of two handsome characters of the masculine variety, shall we say.

The boys, for their part, were just swell. Opening our doors for us, helping us off with our coats, the works. And the fact is, I think we all enjoyed it. It was fun. And nice to be pampered for the night. The boys took care of everything.

It was the perfect mixture too, of chivalry and flirting and teasing which was all made possible by the incontestable fact that no one of the opposite sex was attracted to each other. This is a situation that is very freeing. When there is no chance of romance. No sexual tension. We just played.