Love, in Writing

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Elsa Winckler and her romance novel, Love, in Writing.

Author’s description

A hardcore Science Fiction writer and a softhearted romance novelist clash on the sunny South African coast…

Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical worldview. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity.

Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?

Why a Science Fiction Writer?

I write science fiction and fantasy (and love to read it), so when I read the blurb for Elsa Winckler’s Love, in Writing and saw that her cynical hero wrote science fiction — I had to ask why. Here is her response.

Margaret Parker, the heroine in Love, in writing, is a romance writer. She’s kind and nice and she’s holding out for the fairytale and her own hero.

I couldn’t quite decide on the hero – it was looking for someone who would be her exact opposite. But what would he do? What will he be like? And why would she fall in love with him?

A few nights later Graham Connelly woke me up. Drop-dead gorgeous (of course), jaded, cynical about love and life and a science fiction writer.

I’m a die-hard romance reader, but while doing my Honours in English we studied William Gibson’s Neuromancer and although I can’t say I’ve fallen in love with science fiction I did learn to appreciate writing based on alternative possibilities.

Margaret has very particular ideas about what kind of man she wants to be with and it takes her a while to realize although Graham doesn’t fit into any of the molds she’s hanging on to for dear life, he is in fact exactly the kind of hero she’s been looking for.

About the Author

Elsa has been reading love stories for as long as she can remember and when she ‘met’ the classic authors like Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, Henry James The Brontë sisters, etc. during her English Honours studies, she was hooked for life.

She married her college boyfriend and soul mate and after 45 years, 3 interesting and wonderful children and 4 beautiful grandchildren, they are now fortunate to live in the picturesque little seaside village of Betty’s Bay, South Africa.

She likes the heroines in her stories to be beautiful, feisty, independent and headstrong.  And the heroes must be strong but possess a generous amount of sensitivity. They are of course, also gorgeous!  Her stories typically incorporate the family background of the characters to better understand where they come from and who they are when we meet them in the story.

Find the Author

Website: www.elsawinckler.com
Personal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/elsa.winckler
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ElsaWincklerRomanceAuthor?ref_type=bookmark
Twitter: https://twitter.com/elsawinckler @elsawinckler
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6557709.Elsa_Winckler
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/elsa-winckler
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/elsawinckler/
Wattpad: http://www.wattpad.com/user/elsaw1
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elsaw1/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elsa-winckler-1ab2a42b/

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PCD16HZ
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/love-in-writing-3
BN: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-in-writing-winckler-elsa/1138396881
Itunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1542709299

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding copy of a short story 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.

Read an Excerpt

Dumbfounded, Graham stared after her, then followed her. He looked down at her, trying to read her face, but she averted her eyes.

“Kissing you, letting you touch me the way you just did…”

She looked up at him, her green eyes reflecting…was it hurt?

“It’s a big deal to me, Graham.” Her eyes were bright with unshed tears. “I want what my parents had. I want the fairy tale. The romance, the love, the wooing, flowers, the forever. And you…” She took a deep breath. “It’s everything you don’t want. Please leave.”

At her words, Graham stepped back quickly. Margaret smiled a sad smile and showed him the door again. He walked out but when he turned around to say goodbye, she’d already closed the door softly behind him and was securing the lock.

Exasperated, Graham pushed his fingers through his hair. Forever. Where the hell had that come from? A fairy tale. And romance and flowers and what did she say? Wooing. Stupid word. Who still used the bloody word? And what the hell did her parents have to do with it? He had just kissed her. People kissed! It was normal, not a train smash. And it was just a kiss, wasn’t it?

But as he stomped down the stairs toward his car, he remembered how soft she’d felt beneath his fingers, how responsive she’d been. He could instantly recall the flowery scent of her perfume, remembered the sound of her breath and he remembered the sight of white lace cupping firm breasts. He groaned out loud.

She was right. He shouldn’t have kissed her. She wanted more, needed more. Hell, he wasn’t so jaded he couldn’t see that. And yes, she was right, it wasn’t what he wanted. He was the last man on earth who should be around Margaret. She deserved someone who would want to provide everything she wanted. He grimaced. He was not a candidate.

Thank you!

Elsa Winckler — we appreciate your sharing your book Love, in Writing with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

Gumbeaux Love

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jax Freyand and her southern women’s fiction novel, Gumbeaux Love.

Author’s description

The adventures of the Gumbeaux Sistahs continues. Five, fiery southern women wage wars against their unique problems using their improbable friendships, hilarious evil-genius schemes, strategy sessions with oh-so-many cocktails, and a shared passion for good gumbo.

Single, Southern artist, Judith Lafferty, casually confesses to her Gumbeaux Sistahs that she is occasionally lonely and would like to fall in love again. Seriously – you’d think she would know to keep her mouth shut around these women by now. The sistahs tackle her problem along with their own with their usual unreasonable, extreme plots and schemes, including a kidnapping, a cupid costume, trying out pick-up lines at the cheese counter, and blind dates from hell. In helping out their friend, the sistahs help each other out as well and bring to light the many flavors of love in all of our lives. Be ready for twists, turns, laugh-out-loud times, and heart-wrenching moments. You’ll be sure to recognize yourself and your best friends in the unstoppable sistahs.

What makes Louisiana Women So Special?

I’ve lived most of my adult life in the south, including nearly seven years in Lafayette Louisiana. So when given the chance to ask author Jax Freyand any question at all, I just had to know what it was she thought was distinctive about Southern women.

To my delight, she answered me specifically about the women of Louisiana. I have to say, I agree with her answer.

Not sure I can speak for all southern women,  but I know Louisiana women! Here’s what I find unique about them:

1.      Attitude – there’s a certain type of openness, impetuousness, and willingness to jump into the party spirit on a moment’s notice that happens to women in Louisiana.  Hand them a second-line handkerchief, and they will grab their own outlandish hats, beads, and boas and go off with total strangers, dancing down the street. It quite normal to the natives, but visitors notice it and are often enticed to move here because of it and many other reasons.

2.      Food – yes, food shows up everywhere in the US when women get together. Pot lucks and parties always turn up macaroni, potato salads, and baked beans. But when Louisiana women get together, Cher! Gumbo with hot French bread, little muffulettas, crawfish pasta, jambalaya, pulled pork po-boys, and bourbon bread pudding are just many of the unique mainstays for that group!

3.      Friendliness – sure there are friendly people all over the world. Thank you, God! But you can count on it in Louisiana. That’s how we were raised.

About the Author

Born in New Orleans, Jax came into this world with a sense of celebration of southern culture, food, family and fun. Translating that celebration into her writing and onto canvas is her true calling. Her colorful art depicts everything from her dancing Gumbeaux Sistahs paintings to her popular line of original Mini paintings of southern icons. Because over 25,000 of the mini paintings have been created and sold into art collections worldwide, Jax holds a world’s record for The Most Original Acrylic Paintings on Canvas by One Artist from the World’s Record Academy.

Jax is also the co-founder of the Women of Infinite Possibilities, an empowering women’s organization started in Covington, LA, where Jax lives today with her loveable, tornado-of-a-pug named Lucy.

The Gumbeaux Sistahs’ series of novels is a work of love for Jax After painting the Sistahs for many years, she finally gives voice to these women characters who have something to say and constantly make Jax laugh when she writes about them.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.gumbeauxsistahs.com/
Jax art and gifts can be seen at www.artbyjax.com.

Buy the Book

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Gumbeaux-Love-Book-Sistahs-novels-ebook/dp/B08GJ9FZX5/

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

Judith rinsed her juice glass in the kitchen sink just as the doorbell rang.

“Who in the world at this hour?” she thought, shaking her head and glancing at the clock on the wall. “It’s not even eight o’clock.”

She walked to the front door and started to open it, but before she could swing it open all the way, a hand clutching a paper coffee cup shoved its way inside, barely missing her face.

“What?” she yelped. Then she laughed. “Oh no, are you kidding me?” She opened the door to five Gumbeaux Sistahs, including Bea, Helen, Dawn, Lola, and Trinity who stood on her front stoop holding coffee. It was especially a surprise to see Trinity there since she lived across the lake and had a long way to come. But the most unexpected thing of all was Dawn, who stood there looking embarrassed as all get-out, wearing a big, red Cupid costume.

“Not again!” said Judith, rolling her eyes and remembering that this was exactly the way that the sistahs had originally kidnapped her and become her best friends in the world.

Dawn grimaced and said, “I don’t know why I’m always the one who has to wear a stupid costume.”

Thank you!

Jax Freyand — we appreciate your sharing your book Gumbeaux Love with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

 

The Salty Rose

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Beth M. Caruso and her historical fiction novel The Salty Rose.

 Author’s description

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

 

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

 

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.

About the Author

Award-winning author, Beth M. Caruso, is passionate to discover and convey important and interesting stories of women from earlier times. She recently won the literary prize in Genre Fiction (2020) from IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) for her most recent novel The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper In New Amsterdam (2019). The Salty Rose is Beth’s second historical novel and explores alchemy in early colonial times, an insider’s view of the takeover of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, and the Hartford Witch Panic with information she gathered from previous and ongoing research. Beth’s first historical novel is One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (2015), a novel that tells the tale of Alice ‘Alse’ Young and the beginnings of the colonial witch trials. She based the story on original research she did by exploring early primary sources such as early Windsor land records, vital statistics, and other documents. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Beth kayaks and gardens to unwind.

Find the Author

Website: http://www.oneofwindsor.com
Email: oneofwindsor@yahoo.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/oneofwindsor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethmcaruso/

Buy the Book

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Salty-Rose-Alchemists-Witches-Amsterdam/dp/1733373802

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-salty-rose-beth-m-caruso/1133991342

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.

An Exclusive Excerpt for Us!

Chapter 7.

“Hello, Marie. Listen to Grandmamma so she can get a better look at you,” Sara said.

The midwife winked. “Yes, come, Marie. My granddaughter knows what’s best,” she said, smiling.

I guided them to a small room in the back of the tavern. In the exterior wall near the corner was the secret slot where the Indians who wanted a drink after hours placed their deer meat or other trade goods in hopes of a discreet exchange for liquor. My guests couldn’t see it since it was well hidden from the inside by a sliding facade.

“Sit, Marie, I need to see those feet. Are you still sick to your stomach?” she questioned.

I took a seat in a tall-backed wooden chair carved as a marriage present from Henri La Chaîne, a furniture maker and friend.

“No, it’s passed already. I’m fine, just a little tired but no more than with any other child,” I responded.

The midwife carefully placed her hand over my belly. “Do you feel her moving about?” she referred to the baby.

A loud crash emanated from the front of the tavern. The babe in my womb stirred abruptly in response.

“What’s this?” she cried.

We ran to the front, the three of us, to see what was the matter. Business in the tavern had been at a lull when I’d retreated to the back only a few minutes earlier.

On my way to the main room, I heard a man with an English accent screaming at Domingo.

“I won’t take a drink from a filthy rogue like you. Where’s your mistress?” He had just upended a table where Domingo had placed his drink and was ready to turn over some benches in his senseless rage. All my work of cleaning the tavern that morning was ruined in seconds.

Thank you!

Beth M. Caruso — we appreciate your sharing an exclusive excerpt from your book The Salty Rose with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Foes Between Us

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author J. M. Robison and her historical fantasy novel, The Foes Between Us.

Author’s description

In 1842 England, Brynn suspects Reuben’s “natural death” had actually been murder because she starts finding cryptic clues and maps Reuben left behind indicating she needs to find Zadicayn, an imprisoned young man claiming to be a wizard from the Middle Ages.

 

When Brynn frees Zadicayn, her once peaceful life now becomes dangerous when Zadicayn enlists her help to find his magical amulet, but it’s in the possession of Reuben’s murderers, and they’ll kill anyone, even Brynn, to keep it.

My Review

The Foes Between Us is a delightful book with a fine mix of history and fantasy. Much of it revolves around an outdoor-loving young English woman who is poorly-suited to the constraints of her society. The author has added a few twists to the restrictions placed on women in the 1840’s, including a brilliant device wherein women are literally sewn into their dresses and bloomers to keep them chaste.

The well-drawn characters in this story pull in the reader while an engaging plot that is part treasure hunt and part murder mystery keeps the pages turning. Eventually a wizard/victim of religious intolerance from three-hundred years earlier joins the story, providing extra dollops of magic to what has only been hinted at before. Much of this tale concerns the social injustices of both time periods, but more than enough parallels to our own time keep the observations relevant.

Author Robison has a far-better-than-average way with words. Deft bits of description pepper sentences driven by high-energy verbs. The story is told in a first-person present tense voice that adds a sense of urgency to each sentence. I liked the pace at which the plot moves, but have to admit at times her way of telling it wore me out. The occasional inner monologue provides humor and I appreciated those little breaks from the pounding activity.

I recommend this book to those who like historical fiction and to those who enjoy female protagonists with a mind of their own, ones who don’t spend the entire novel lusting after some man. I recommend it to those who enjoy reading about magic, or those who enjoy fantasy.  In fact, I recommend this novel to people who simply enjoy a good book.

If more than one of these applies to you, you need to check out this story.

About the Author

J.M. Robison is a fantasy author who chronicles the events which drive heroes to their knees, dethrone kings, and unhinge history to bring magic back to life. Someday she’ll pack the wagon and roam the mountains in search of dragons. She dares to believe in magic. Do you?

Find the Author

Facebook: @RobisonAuthor
Twitter: @JMRobison
Website: http://www.jmrobison.com

Buy the Book

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BWWKR7W/
Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-foes-between-us-jm-robison/1128348688
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-foes-between-us/id1367740686
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-foes-between-us

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

Taking several minutes to convince myself that the only way is forward, I stand again and insert the three rubies into the matching three holes in the floor. Is that my heart beating, or some noise coming off the walls?

Hard-knocking clicks begin deep below my feet, like giant metallic cogs revolving under the floor. A grating noise accompanies, the sound moving up to the very stone I’m standing on.

I scramble back, jumping on the altar as if I’ll be safe there if the floor falls away.

The sound stops.

My heart shakes my ribcage like a prisoner wanting out of his cell. Nothing has changed in the chamber, but I don’t move. I hear another sound. A thumping. It’s coming from beneath the floor so quietly, I only hear it because I’m holding my breath.

Fear prickles through my body, but I can’t convince myself to run. Transfixed, I stare, even though I’m aware that whatever is coming up might do me harm. I draw Reuben’s bone-handled knife, planting my feet, determined to know what I came here for, what purpose stealing the two pieces of the keys had, whether Reuben’s death was worth it, and whether I’ve just released the monster Cuthbert warned me about.

The thumping rises higher and higher.

I grit my teeth, clench my knife. Reflexes on fire, I’m tensed and ready to spring, ready to run, ready to fight.

The sound stops. The trapdoor flies open with a crash on the floor.

A human arm reaches out.

Thank you!

J. M. Robinson — we appreciate your sharing your book The Foes Between Us with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

The Seven Spires

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Russell Archey and his fantasy novel, The Seven Spires.

Author’s description

An incredible high fantasy adventure set in a world based on familiar fairy tales, folklore, and mythology, “The Seven Spires” is an epic story of dragons, magic, conquering evil, and discovering magnificent new places.

 

When a fearsome creature known as Wyvern begins terrorizing Emrallt, one of the seven realms of the continent of Septer, a group of heroes are brought together seemingly by fate to rally against him. A prince, warrior, wizard, and mysterious, sorceress-like sybil try to discover why a common maiden could be the best chance their kingdoms have against Wyvern’s growing forces that threaten to dominate each and every one of the ancient, arcane spires that bind their kingdoms, and world, together.

Making up words

Every fantasy author has to deal with the dual problems of how much vocabulary to create and how to do it. I was curious about Archy’s approach and he was kind enough to provide this interesting answer.

I didn’t create much vocabulary for the world in The Seven Spires, but I did draw on many sources for naming conventions. Since each kingdom and realm in the book is based on different mythological and fairy tale criteria, I tried to stick with conventions from each respective source.

For example, the Red Kingdom is properly known as Edda. This name comes from the Poetic Edda of Norse mythology. Names like Horodir are meant to invoke such Nordic naming conventions, where others like Vidar are directly related to Norse mythology. One of the most dangerous creatures encountered in the book is the monstrous, worm-like jormungandr who dwell in the Jotun Foothills—both named after creatures from the same mythology. The capital city of Edda? Valgrind, otherwise known as one of the gates of Valhalla!

Some naming conventions are meant to tie characters together, such as the three sorceress sisters who have the ‘æ’ symbol in their names to give them a mystical appeal. Other names and titles were built from various words to create something new. The capital of the Diamond Kingdom, Icostraea, is a combination of “icon” and the Greek goddess of justice and purity, Astraea.

Of course, what fantasy story filled with mythology, fairy tales, and folklore would complete without dragons? I wanted to try something unique with the dragons in this setting. Dragons are rare creatures in Septer (itself named after a word for the number seven and bringing to mind a symbol of authority) and they are named after what I’ve always felt are dragon-type archetypes.

Father Dragon is the progenitor of them all, and as such, each other dragon is referred to as a “dragon-child.” Each dragon-child found a home in a separate realm, making seven total of their kind in the world: Father Dragon, Drake, Naga, Serpent, Wyrm, Hydra, and, of course, Wyvern. Despite their rarity and special, unique natures, not all are still alive at the start of the novel…

As you can see, even though I didn’t create any languages or overly unique vocabulary for the novel, many different languages were used to build the world itself. It’s a great big continent out there!

About the Author

Russell Archey has been writing since he was old enough to hold a pencil. His love for narratives, world-building, and story-telling has fed into nearly every aspect of his life: from his video and board game hobbies to pressing his most cherished books onto his unfortunate children (who will, one day, read the Lord of the Rings trilogy whether they like it or not). When he’s not creating new worlds and horrifying things to threaten them with destruction, he’s bringing other author’s fantastic works to life as an audiobook narrator, spending time with his two children, and pressing his dear wife’s eternal patience with his quirky habits.

Find the Author

Website: 5princebooks.com/russellarchey
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/russellarcheyauthor
Twitter: @RSArchey
Instagram: @RussArchey
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55353537-the-seven-spires

Buy the Book

Smashwords : https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1043473
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08J8BS3NT/

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

She reached for his leg, wanting to observe the wound. She gently cupped the bandaged appendage in her hand and steadied it with the other. The bandages were caked with blood and made for a sorrowful sight. It was only a few moments, however, before she felt a tingling in her hand. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable—just a light prickling sensation all along where her skin made contact with the Prince’s wound.

She looked on as the color slowly returned to the Prince’s leg and, eventually, his face. His sweating stopped and his breathing returned to normal. What just happened?

The Maiden began to unwrap the bandages and then suddenly stopped for fear of hurting the Prince or exacerbating his wounds. She looked up quickly to see him slumbering peacefully. She continued to unravel the sticky bandages until they fell away.

The Prince’s shin was covered in the blood from his wrappings. It was difficult to see much at first. Then the Maiden saw…nothing. No wound, nor scar, nor scratch. There was nothing beneath the blood, except for a leg that was as whole and healthy as it had ever been. His wounds had been completely and unquestionably healed by her own hands.

Thank you!

Russell Archey — we appreciate your sharing your book The Seven Spires with us! Best of luck with sales, and with all of your future writing.

No More Secrets

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Joanne Guidoccio and her women’s fiction novel,  No More Secrets.

Author’s description

Angelica Delfino takes a special interest in the lives of her three nieces, whom she affectionately calls the daughters of her heart. Sensing that each woman is harboring a troubling, possibly even toxic secret, Angelica decides to share her secrets—secrets she had planned to take to the grave. Spellbound, the nieces listen as Angelica travels back six decades to reveal an incredulous tale of forbidden love, tragic loss, and reinvention. It is the classic immigrant story upended: an Italian widow’s transformative journey amid the most unlikely of circumstances.

Inspired by Angelica’s example, the younger women share their “First World” problems and, in the process, set themselves free.

But one heartbreaking secret remains untold…

Joanne Guidoccio shares how the people in her life influenced the characters in this story.

I’m always fascinated by how much an author draws on the people they are close to as they create their characters. Here is Guidoccio’s interesting take on this issue.

Bits and Pieces of Characters

Having lived and taught in different cities throughout the province of Ontario, I have felt free to “borrow” characteristics from friends, former colleagues, and students to create composite characters in my novels.

That was the modus operandi for the first five novels I wrote: Between Land and Sea, The Coming of Arabella, A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, and A Different Kind of Reunion.

While writing No More Secrets, I followed a slightly different path.

Angelica Delfino, the protagonist, is also a composite character. But this time, I borrowed from the Italian women of my mother’s generation. And, yes, I did include bits of my mother’s life. Before she died, Mama read an early draft and commented, “I can see myself here, as well as…” and then she mentioned several relatives and close friends.

The three nieces—Velia, Nora, and Teresa—belong to Generation Y. While sketching their characters, I considered former students but also thought back to my own experiences.

Growing up, I was surrounded by several friends and relatives who resembled Velia, the quintessential good Italian girl who followed the script. While I demonstrated some of her self-discipline and motivation for academic achievement, I didn’t marry at an early age, nor did I choose to stay home and raise a family.

Nora, Velia’s polar opposite, is considered the black sheep of the clan. Impulsive and carefree (at times reckless), Nora has taken many risks in her personal and work lives. Her disastrous marriage barely lasted one year. Often described as a Career ADDer, she experimented with several careers before finding her niche as an interior designer. In my late twenties and early thirties, I did go through a brief period of job-hopping.

Like Teresa, the youngest niece, I settled in Guelph, a mid-sized city in south-central Ontario. We are both introverts and teachers at Catholic school boards, but the resemblance ends there. A theology department head, Teresa is more spiritually inclined. Early in the novel, she speaks wistfully about her missionary work–something I admire but could never do.

Bellastrega, aka Lynn Miller, started off as a minor character. Initially, I intended to have Angelica’s psychic companion appear briefly in the first chapter. All that changed after she started invading my dreams. She ended up with her own POV and full control of the epilogue. Her character was inspired by a psychic in Northern Ontario. While I don’t possess psychic abilities, I do share a common interest with Bellastrega. When I retired twelve years ago, I made wellness a priority in my life. Many of Bellastrega’s comments and suggestions could easily have come from me.

About the Author

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio took advantage of early retirement and launched a second act as a writer. Her articles and book reviews have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Joanne writes paranormal romances, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario. 

Find the Author

Website – https://joanneguidoccio.com
Twitter – https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.ca/jguidoccio/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanneguidoccio
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio/
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Joanne-Guidoccio/e/B00FAWJGCG/

Buy the Book

Amazon (US) –  https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX
Amazon (Canada) – https://www.amazon.ca/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX
Amazon (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX
Amazon (Australia) – https://www.amazon.com.au/No-More-Secrets-Joanne-Guidoccio-ebook/dp/B08CVTYWWX/

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

“Go,” Kelly said. “Your aunt is dying, and this could be your last opportunity to spend some quality time together.”

“Her oncologist shared good news last week,” Nora said. “Her blood counts have improved, and the cancer hadn’t spread since her last visit. He mumbled something about a miracle.”

“A miracle?” Kelly’s eyes widened. “Has your aunt been seeing a healer?”

“You could say that,” Nora said as her eyes twinkled. “Right after Christmas, she hired a companion who’s been able to transform her life. I don’t know her real name. My mother calls her Bellastrega—beautiful witch.” All recent conversations with Ma had focused on Bellastrega. Relieved not to have to share her own problems, Nora had encouraged her mother to talk about the beautiful witch who had turned all their lives upside down. Nora enjoyed the weekly updates that sounded like soap operas.

“Is she a beautiful witch?”

Nora shrugged. “My mother mentioned her dyed-blonde hair, too-skinny body, and watery eyes. She’s put Zia on a vegan diet and an exercise regimen. At Christmas, Zia needed a walker to get around, but now she’s walking freely. My mother and aunt are convinced that Bellastrega is a witch who’ll end up robbing Angelica and leaving.” Nora had tried to point out that if Bellastrega’s intention was to steal, it would make more sense to let Angelica get weaker.

“She sounds intriguing,” Kelly said. “I’d go just to meet this woman.”

“Hmm. I guess.” Nora was curious and wouldn’t mind sitting and chatting with the woman about wellness. But from Zia Angelica’s email, it sounded like Bellastrega would leave soon after everyone arrived.

“Think of it as an adventure. How many beautiful witches have you met in this lifetime?”

Thank you!

Joanne Guidoccio — we appreciate your sharing information about No More Secrets with us! Best of luck with your book sales, and with all of your future writing.

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.

All Bags Go To Cleveland

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author C. S. Hale and her paranormal romantic comedy novel, All Bags Go To Cleveland

Author’s description

Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela’s addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of “eligible” gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?

About the Author

Catherine “C.S.” Hale has been writing fantasy since she could hold a pencil. When not holed up in a comfortable corner writing all her books out by longhand, she can be found somewhere by the sea, enjoying tea and pastries.

Find the Author

Website: cshalebooks.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CatSHale
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorcshale

Buy the Book

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08FVDJL54

 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

Focusing on the sparks of energy skittering along her fingers, she sent her magic into the printer. Angela might look like the cover model she’d once been but no one would guess that Windsor’s check-in counter was currently staffed by a pair of gremlins. Dave’s day—or rather night and morning—were about to become a little more exciting than he’d imagined. Dave would have a nice, relaxing flight to London while his garment bag went to Cleveland.

She tamped down the tendrils of guilt rising in her gut. It needed to be done. It was this bag or some mishap not of her choosing. Besides, who in their right mind would check a Louis Vuitton garment bag? First class contained specially built closets in which to hang them. She searched Dave’s thoughts again.

Where have I seen her before?

Angela snapped right back out and jerked her head down. She attached the claim sticker to his boarding pass and handed it to Dave, keeping her focus on the counter. Hopefully, her smile hid the panic now whirring in her chest like the engines that would take Dave across the Atlantic. “Enjoy your flight, Mr. Ford.”

“Always do.” With a small salute, Dave headed toward the security queue. What were the chances he’d be so cheerful in the morning?

The Ghost of Walhachin

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Ramona Nehring-Silver and her middle-grade historical novel, The Ghost of Walhachin.

Author’s description

A ghost, time travel, and unusual friendships await Kean in Walhachin. Kean feels displaced at his home in Seattle since his mother recently re-married and has chosen to spend the summer in the small desert town with his aunt and younger cousin. Not long after arriving, he regrets his decision. There is no one his age. The town is too small for public amenities. Then everything changes when he uncorks an old soda bottle that was made in Walhachin eighty years prior. He becomes embroiled in an adventure to try and help a ghost retrieve a much-needed item from the past. In his quest to help the ghost he discovers the town’s spirited history and develops unusual friendships with an old man in the present and a young boy in the past.

 

“The Ghost of Walhachin is an unusual ghost story. It’s not spooky; instead, it’s an engaging tale of adventure and enduring friendships, with a slice of history.” – Helen Davies

 My Review

When I started my review of The Ghost of Walhachin, I realized I was poorly qualified to review this book. I agreed to review it because I like historical fantasy and I have a real fondness for gentle ghost stories. However, the adult in me soon became critical of its simple plot and rolled her eyes at the story’s overly-large need to suspend disbelief.

So I reconsidered my approach. This book isn’t written for people like me. It’s intended audience is middle-grade youngsters, who have better imaginations than mine. So, in fairness to the author and to the book’s potential readers, I’ve asked the ten-year-old who still lives inside of me to review this book instead. I’ll be honest. Some of her observations surprised me. Here’s what she thought.

A Review by the 10-year-old in my Head

I liked this book. I liked the ghost because he wasn’t scary or mean, just the ghost of a kid trying to get home. I also liked that he was green and green is my favorite color. I liked the part about how he got sent to this town by his mom way back in 1912 but when nobody was there to meet him he died because he ate a bad sandwich on the way.

I liked the history part, and I liked how in the present day they were looking for something lost long ago. It was like a treasure hunt but not for a treasure.

But, I got kind of confused about how this kid from today could travel back in time just because of the ghost’s memories. Like, was he really back there or not? It seemed to me like he was just inside the ghost’ s head but I guess he wasn’t because he worried so much about changing the past and he had to really be there to do that. Didn’t he?  But then I didn’t understand how a ghost can turn into a time machine for a real person.

The biggest thing I didn’t like was that there were no girls in the story. I mean most stories are about boys, or at least most of the good ones are, but usually they have a sister or friend or something who gets to be part of the adventure too only this one didn’t have that so I felt kind of left out. I also didn’t like how so much of the book was about snakes and especially about snakes eating things.

I really liked the ending but I won’t tell you why because I don’t want to give it away. I think you should read the book for yourself. But I will tell you that the best part of it is about how people can be friends and help each other.

About the Author

Ramona Nehring-Silver’s memories of living in and around Walhachin as a child and exploring the surroundings with seven siblings provided the initial inspirations for The Ghost of Walhachin. Ongoing motivation, and sometimes interruptions, came from her four children and thirteen grandchildren. She now lives in the far northeast corner of British Columbia, where her teaching career has ranged from adult art and writing classes to elementary school. Exploring B.C. and beyond by motorcycle is her favorite thing to do, as well as spending time with her grandchildren.

Find the Author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ramonanehringsilverauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19916750.Ramona_Nehring_Silver
Website: https://www.ramonanehringsilver.com/

Buy the Book

AMAZON.COM: https://amazon.com/dp/022881720X
AMAZON.CA: https://amazon.ca/dp/022881720X
KINDLE: https://amazon.com/dp/B085P3JGLS
BOOKSHOP: https://bookshop.org/books/the-ghost-of-walhachin/9780228817208
INDIGO CHAPTERS: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-ghost-of-walhachin/9780228827764-item.html
BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-ghost-of-walhachin-ramona-nehring-silver/1136064438
BOOK DEPOSITORY: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Ghost-of-Walhachin-Ramona-Nehring-Silver/9780228817208
RAKUTEN KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-ghost-of-walhachin
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1008659
APPLE BOOKS: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-ghost-of-walhachin/id1502311571

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

He examined his surroundings from behind a flowering bush at the corner of the hotel. The sagging boarded up remains of the hotel Kean knew were now a huge sturdy building with a long balcony and well-tended flower gardens. He recognized most of the other buildings lining the main road through town. Yet, even in the weak moonlight, things were different. No cars were parked along the street, and not one porch light shone. Picket fences stood straight. Everything looked new. The air smelled of green grass and animals. Even the mosquitoes weren’t biting. Probably a luxury of being a ghost.

There was no hint of sunrise. It must be very early, he decided. A good time to scout out hiding places. Using fences and brush for cover, he made his way through town. Aunty Maggie’s little store and post office turned out to be a restaurant. The post office was in a building Kean recognized as the Jorgenson’s house. A sign hanging over a barn-like building read, “Livery Stable,” and four horses stood in the adjoining corral.

He passed a store, a small real estate office, and a newspaper office. The bakery and the butcher shop surprised him the most. He had to remind himself he was still in Walhachin. Nothing was the same, yet so much was familiar.

It’s a big day for me

Hello.  I have a favor to ask of you.

My brash and intelligent 13th-century hero and her story will be available in paperback and kindle starting TOMORROW. You can order a copy for yourself today at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BY4RLX1.

My situation is that any purchases made in the next 24 hours benefit me a great deal more than a later purchase because sales during my book launch make a huge difference in how many new readers can find me. So if you’re thinking of ever buying a copy …

Honestly I’m quite excited about this new series. One of my first reviewers said “From the first page … She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much pulls the reader into a diverse, colorful and plausible world, with its own geography, culture, language and politics. S.R. Cronin has done a wonderful job creating Ilari and its peoples.”

If you’re willing to go one step further and share my good news on any social media platform at all, I’d be even more grateful. Use the blurb below so you don’t even have to think about what to say.

Thanks for considering this, and if you do try it, I hope you enjoy the book.

Paste this anywhere:

I know someone who has just published a fantasy adventure book. If you like thought-provoking speculative fiction and reading about diverse, colorful and plausible new worlds, check out She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much, the first book in an exciting new series.