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.

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.”

The Sinister Superyacht

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Ana T . Drew and her cozy mystery novel, The Sinister Superyacht.

Author’s description

French tycoon Jean-Louis Ponsard is having a bad year.
Unwise investments, canceled orders, deals falling through…
In the thick of it, his yacht becomes the scene of a suspicious death, and his year of misfortune hits the bed of the Mediterranean Sea.
To make matters worse, the victim isn’t just anybody.
She’s his much-hated mother-in-law.

Onboard, caterer Julie Cavallo and her quirky grandma Rose do some poking around.
But every luxury cabin hides a secret.
Every passenger has an alibi or no reason to want the victim dead.
Discretion rules.
The crew keeps mum.
So do the marble countertops, gem-incrusted walls, and gold sinks.
When the cops take charge, things go to pieces, and not only for the Ponsard family.

Can Julie dive to the murky bottom of the sea, unravel the case, and come back up still breathing?

About the Author

Ana T. Drew is the evil mastermind behind the recent series of murders in the fictional French town of Beldoc. When she is not writing cozy mysteries or doing mom-and-wife things, she can be found watching “The Rookie” to help her get over “Castle”. She lives in Paris but her heart is in Provence.

 

Find the Author

Website: ana-drew.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/ana-drew
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnaDrewAuthor
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ana-t-drew
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/anadrew
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoranadrew

Visit ana-drew.com for a free cookbook and a game!

Buy the Book

Amazon Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Sinister-Superyacht-Provence-Mystery-Investigates-ebook/dp/B0882J3652

The Sinister Superyacht will be released November 20.

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.

 

A Very Witchy Yuletide

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author D. Lieber and her contemporary pagan holiday romance novel,  A Very Witchy Yuletide.

Author’s description

First love is hard to forget, and even harder to ignore…
Evergreen Pendre wasn’t planning on going home for Yule. But when her Mom tells her the old coven is coming for a visit, she wants to see everyone. Well, almost everyone.

After four and a half years, Sawyer Collins finally has a chance to reconnect with his first love, Eeva Pendre. He might have been too shy to tell her how he felt before, but he’s changed. And he’s determined not to let her slip away this time.

As the coven prepares for Yule, they are reminded that not everyone has the holiday spirit in this contemporary Pagan holiday romance.

My Review

I chose to read this book because it offered me a chance to learn about modern pagan celebrations and the chance to experience the point of view of a legally blind main character. These two potential windows into other worlds overrode my promise to stop reviewing romance novels because I find them too predicable.

First: the paganism. I’m fascinated by any religion I know little about and I thank the author for her excellent job of introducing the beliefs, customs and problems of pagans in 2020. The first two were cleverly interwoven into the plot, never leaving me feeling as if information had been dumped upon me. The third, involving  persecution of pagans in today’s society, was done with gentleness, showing  the tolerant as well as the extremists from mainstream society. For those who claim to be open-minded, or at least fans of freedom of religion, this book is food for thought about the deep-seated biases that still exist against older religions.

Second: the visually impaired main character. The author says she lives with much the same situation as her protagonist, so clearly she writes from a well-informed and a sympathetic point of view. I, however, know far less and was confused when the main character could read a menu by holding it very close, or pick out the shape of clock hanging over a door. Obviously I know little about the range of impairment included in legal blindness. So although I was inspired by Evergreen overcoming her physical challenges, I was also surprised by how little her situation seemed to impact her or her story. Perhaps that is the point?

Third: the romance. So, most romance novels make me want to scream. Not frustrated obscenities or anything, but something very specific. “Why don’t you two people just talk to each other!” In fairness, everything I’ve ever read by Shakespeare makes me want to scream the same thing, so this is not a specific knock against romance novels.

However, this book didn’t have that effect on me. Why not? It is the classic story of two people attracted to each other who fail to communicate until the last several pages. But here it at least makes some sense. They’ve both finished college and haven’t seen each other for four years, since back when they were shy and confused high school students. Upon meeting, they revert back to that OMG-he-can’t-possibly-like-me frame of mind that is the rightful domain of insecure kids. (Are there any other kind?) They work through this and find the grown-ups they’ve become. Kind of simple, but it worked for me and I liked their story. I mean, nobody should be screaming at kids for feeling insecure, right?

So, this was all around a good read: informative, interesting and satisfying.

About the Author

Lieber is an urban fantasy author with a wanderlust that would make a butterfly envious. When she isn’t planning her next physical adventure, she’s recklessly jumping from one fictional world to another. Her love of reading led her to earn a Bachelor’s in English from Wright State University.

Beyond her skeptic and slightly pessimistic mind, Lieber wants to believe. She has been many places—from Canada to England, France to Italy, Germany to Russia—believing that a better world comes from putting a face on “other.” She is a romantic idealist at heart, always fighting to keep her feet on the ground and her head in the clouds.

Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband (John) and cats (Yin and Nox).

Find the Author

Website: www.dlieber.com
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dlieberwriting
Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/d-lieber

Check Out All of Her Books

Conjuring Zephyr June 2016
The Exiled Otherkin November 2017
Intended Bondmates June 2018
In Search of a Witch’s Soul (Council of Covens Noir, #1) March 2019
Dancing with Shades (Council of Covens Noir, #0) August 2019
Once in a Black Moon March 2020
A Very Witchy Yuletide October 2020

Yes, there is a giveaway

The author will be awarding a hand carved tree of life tarot/jewelry/keepsake box (carved by DhewaDecor) 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

As Eeva shifted her weight from foot to foot, swaying in time, they started the simple steps of the dance, circling each other.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Sawyer encouraged. “You remember. Ready for the staff?”

Eeva smiled. “Go for it.”

Sawyer struck out with his staff, and Eeva met it with hers. He did it again with the same result. And so they went on in rhythm, the mock battle playing out in a dance. They circled each other. They clashed in the middle. They retreated.

Sawyer’s heart raced as the exercise made him warm in his coat. He took it off, his steps still in time. Eeva did the same, her breaths punctuated by white puffs from her lips.

“Ready to try the end?” Sawyer asked her.

“Come at me,” she challenged, her voice teasing.

Sawyer attacked, bringing his face in close to hers, their staves crossed between them. This was where he was supposed to push them apart. She was to fall to the ground, defeated. But as they locked eyes, and he felt her breath on his face, they both froze.

Neurogarden

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Bryon Vaughn and his science fiction techno-thriller, Neurogarden.

Author’s description

Where can you run when there is no place to hide?

Brenna Patrick is a brilliant technologist specializing in neural-cognitive functions and AI. She has cracked the code to solve one of the most troublesome problems in the field, and turned that into the multi-billion dollar NeuralTech Corporation.

Working quietly with the U.S. Department of Defense, NeuralTech is poised to leapfrog the competition with a revolutionary system for tracking people, starting with the world’s most wanted terrorists. But there are only so many terrorists in the world, so who’s next?

When a pair of Columbia graduate students, Jenny and Leo, stumble on the dark secret of NeuralTech’s success, it kicks off a tense game of cat and mouse. As they fight to defeat the powerful forces arrayed against them, nothing less than the fate of humanity hangs in the balance…

NEUROGARDEN is a roller-coaster ride of a thriller, one that will have readers pondering the nature of memory, and of reality, long after they’ve read the last page.

About the Author

Ever since reading Douglas Adams back in my formative years, I have had an interesting relationship with humor, science fiction, and technology. My first computer was a TI-99/4A, so yeah, I’m old, but only until scientists have cracked the code on transplanting our brains into shiny new vessels.

My body may be showing signs of wear, but I’m keeping my brain tight.

When I am not dreaming of far off worlds and writing, I am living a semi-normal life working in New York City, and watching movies with my wife and her spastic cat, Moss.

Find the Author at

Web site: https://www.bryonvaughn.com
Facebook: https://facebook.com/bryonvaughnauthor
Instagram: https://instagram.com/bryonvaughn
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bryonvaughn

Buy the Book at

Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Neurogarden-NeuralTech-Corporation-Book-1-ebook/dp/B08F7BWCDZ 

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

In a lonely pod on the 77th floor, Jenny floated. The only indication of life was a slow, rhythmic sway as the blue feeding solution swirled through the chamber, pushing through her body and out into the next in the chain. Her eyes closed to the world around her, a world she could no longer sense or interact with in any tangible way. Her body was there, but her mind had joined the others, and despite her ongoing confusion, she was now a resident of The Garden.

Her connection to the others came in ebbs and flows, their memories, their thoughts crashed into her own like waves on a distant, rocky shore, smashing at each other in an indiscernible mashup of sensation. In a moment of clarity, she wrapped her mind around her situation, how she had wrestled to free herself, the needle had plunged into her arm, the slow, sweet descent into slumber. Though the silent lucidity was fleeting, chased away, replaced by another barrage of brainwaves from the others.

–Welcome.

Somewhere in the melange, the chaotic furor of a thousand minds, there was a single voice, some kind of controlling singularity. Commanding attention, its words marshalled the disparate collective of thoughts, ever so briefly, into a cohesive direction.

–Welcome to The Garden.

“Who are you? Where is this place? Why am I here?”

–Time for that later. First, you must learn the rules.

The Trapped Daughter

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Jay Kerk and his psychological thriller The Trapped Daughter.

Author’s description

Have you ever been trapped somewhere? I have.

Have you ever found that the world does not believe you? I did.

 

I have been betrayed by the people I trusted the most. They coil around me like snakes, lulling me with whispers about protection and safety and for your own good.

 

They offer up pills like sweets, promising me relief. Just take the meds and everything will be fine, Belle – the meds, Belle, the meds.

 

Everything will not be fine, and it never will be again. Justice is gone from the world. I have been wronged by Gabe, the man I loved most, and when I turned to others for backup, they sided with him because he’s a star. When I ran to my father for safety, he locked me up in his great big mansion and threw away the key. Now I drift like the ghost Gabe pretended I was, my bare feet tasting the coldness of rich tiles, my breath turning to ice.

 

Gabe isn’t real, they tell me. They insult me, they spit at me, then smile and pretend that they wish to help. Meanwhile, Gabe is out there, luxuriating in all that I won for him, and I suffer and burn.

About the Author

As a physician, I used my clinical background to keep the readers on their toes.  All options are on the table. Is Gabe real? Did Gabe ever love her? What was their relationship? Was he her husband, and did she kill him? Is Gabe her brother?

My name is Jay Kerk, and I am a 33 year old. I am a medical doctor, and I use my background to illustrate unlikely but realistic situations revolving around the alterations of the mind.  My first book A Predator and A Psychopath, self-published in July 2019, received five stars from Readers Favorite and 4 and a half stars from Self-Publishing Review.

Find the Author at

http://www.Jaykerk.com
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJayKerk/
https://www.instagram.com/authorjaykerk/
https://www.goodreads.com/jaykerk
Twitter: @KerkJay

Buy the book on Amazon

www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HXQFHSB

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

Prologue

When locked up in my room, I can no longer imagine good things.

I take a piece of paper out of my notepad and cut it into small pieces. On each piece, I write: I am Belle. My father is holding me hostage at his home. I sign them all and fold the papers until they become small enough. I then scatter them around the room, under the closet, beneath the mattress, under the carpet, in the cabinets, and inside the drawers.

A few minutes later, I realize that all of the pieces I have hidden could be discovered in one sweep. If something happens to me, I want the police to know about my father. I start again. This time, I cut the paper into larger pieces so I can write a longer message.

My name is Belle Andresson. My father is holding me against my will at our home. My father is dangerous and unpredictable, and if something happens to me, he is to be blamed. Today is the eighth day, and most of the time I am trapped inside my room, with no means of communication.

I hide the papers in places they cannot be found easily: on top of the closet, taped to the curtain, and in a sealed bag in the toilet tank.

My fate is unknown to me. I can only think of escaping to survive, but before escaping, I must know why my father is doing this to me.

The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author RW Reels and his paranormal thriller, The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child.

Author’s description

The Trey Parker Story: Case of the Lost Child, the second novel in this paranormal thriller series, will make readers keenly aware of the unseen world around them. After hiding away in a small farm town in the Philippines, Trey Parker is compelled to return to the States to assist Detective Landis in finding a lost child. Trey’s wife, Iris, fears that the secret government agency that monitored Trey since his Near-Death Experience and took the lives of the tenants of the Sundance Apartments will be waiting for him upon his arrival. Iris believes Trey leaving so close to her due date is reckless and that he is oblivious to the perils.

Back in Tacoma, Washington, Detective Landis is still unable to cope with the loss of his daughter and his ex-wife Jada, even as the Detective struggles with a new relationship.  Landis’s past is not so easy to escape, as Thomas Barstow attains parole and looks for the opportunity to settle the score that can only be resolved through bloodshed.
The lives and souls of all hang in the balance and divine intervention may be only the solution.

About the Author

My infatuation with writing was born before I ever took my first breath, somewhere on the rural plains of Eastern North Carolina, nourished by the adventures of my grandmother’s childhood. From the time I was only four or five years old, her memories gave flight to my imagination and fuel to my curiosities. Her stories widened my eyes to the fascinatingly bizarre in the everyday.
As a young girl, my grandmother would bring her puppy with her to stalk rabbits every morning. The two of them would chase an unlucky long-eared rascal until it escaped into a hollow at the base of a tree, and she would run a stick around the inside of the opening as though churning butter. The spell of the sound and vibration would lure the rabbit out of the tree and into her hands.

Good fiction, inventive and provocative fiction, reverberates in readers and spellbinds them. It can spur surprise, delight, discomfort, and revelation and defy reason. As a storyteller, I strive to help others solve their problems by sharing things that I have read about, heard about, and seen. But I also prize the look on people’s faces when they hear the brilliant punch line of a joke, or when they experience an epiphany that knocks the logical wind out of them. These are the reactions that I live to inspire in my audiences when I write paranormal thrillers.

My obsession with the extraordinary in my writing might also, ironically, stem from my 20-year career in the U.S. Army. I can allow my mind to wander in the extraterrestrial sphere while my love for my country keeps me grounded in domestic affairs. Of all of my accomplishments, serving as a paratrooper in a Special Forces Group and a Field Artillery outfit during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm claims high rank. Few situations force a person to confront his humanity as painfully as going off to war, and this experience taught me both to accept accountability for my actions and to trust others. Eventually, I became a successful Army Recruiter and Station Commander, earning the Top Recruiting Station awards in Dallas and Seattle Recruiting Battalions. North Carolina Central University granted me a Public Service Award for my work in the local community. And currently, I serve fellow veterans as an HR Specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Other passions of mine include playing chess, photography, traveling, and indulging in my contrarian nature by instigating debate. Spending time with my wife tops the list of my life’s privileges, however. Whether I am entertaining her with my emulation of Laurence Olivier as Marcus Crassus or protecting her from an elk during one of our photography excursions in the wild, I treasure her companionship and affection.

When I was twelve years old, I announced to my Aunt Becky and Cousin Tony that I wanted to write a book. They stared at me in astonishment. The world of publishing was an enigma to simple country folks in Beaufort, North Carolina in 1982. These days I am achieving my dream with the ebook, a medium through which I can express my individuality without sacrificing my voice to expectations of marketability, popularity, and deadlines. My goal is to create an opportunity for escapism that is bold and absolute.

Find the Author at

Twitter: @RReels
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheTreyParkerStory
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13334662.R_W_Reels

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

It is like you are on a white horse in a white robe on a spring morning facing a large snowcapped mountain across a vast valley. The sun is on your face and on each side of you, there is an endless row of battle angels glowing in brilliant white. They all have gold swords in their sheaths.

 

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.

Twin Time

Today it is my pleasure to welcome authors Olga Werby & Christopher Werby and their Time Travel/Historical Fiction/Urban Fantasy novel, Twin Time.

Authors’ description

The portrait that hangs in Aunt Nana’s house

Alex and Sasha are twin sisters, physically identical down to their freckles. But the resemblance is only skin deep—Sasha is profoundly autistic, while Alex is not. Sasha can’t communicate and acts bizarrely, and the family revolves around her and her intense needs. Yet the aged, wealthy, and mysterious Aunt Nana seems to have a particular interest in both girls. Offering a helping hand, she encourages the family to move to San Francisco to be near her. And when the young twins discover a tunnel in Nana’s tool shed, it leads them on a journey across the world and back 100 years in time. The tunnel is a pathway to the Firebird Estate, the home of their ancestors, located in rural Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Even more remarkable, through the effect that twisting time has on cognition, Sasha is not autistic when she’s at the Firebird Estate. Now, growing up in two strikingly different times and places, the twins must face their separate destinies among the ravages of the incipient Russian Revolution. Can they save their families on both sides of the tunnel? Can they simultaneously stay true to their own hearts, to each other, and to the people they left behind? Each sister must face her own personal challenge—but only together can they discover their own future within their family’s past.

So, which child do you like best?

In my own experience, my favorite of my own books is always the one I’m writing now. Having read and enjoyed Olga Werby’s book Harvest (see my review) I was curious about how she felt about these two books of hers. So, I asked her which one was more fun for her to write: Harvest or Twin Time?

Yes, I know this is a little bit like asking someone which of their children they like best. “Both” is a good answer. But to author Werby’s credit, she had an interesting and well-thought-out response.

“Harvest” and “Twin Time” couldn’t be more different! One is a sci-fi thriller; the other is a fantastical, historical romance. I’ve spent years researching the science for “Harvest”—the scientific details in that story are all true. But the same is true for “Twin Time”. “Twin Time” is partly based on my grandmother’s childhood. She grew up in post-revolutionary Russia, in a rural village where the political change was slow to arrive. When it finally did, her family had to run in the middle of the night to stay alive. They lived through unspeakable horrors and didn’t survive unscathed. Most died. When and where we are born shapes our lives. When you read “Twin Time”, you will get to experience what it was like to live in another time and place with a different value system and different culture.

I came to America as a refugee; I grew up in Russia and those experiences shaped my life. To write about what it feels like to be there, even if at a different time and place than what I knew, was transformative. I loved doing the research, looking at illustrations and old photographs. It made me remember the fairytales of my youth.

Emotionally, “Twin Time” was more powerful for me, while “Harvest” was more intellectually stimulating. Writing these two books was a very different experience. But I wouldn’t swap my life for the life of my heroines in either of these novels—they had it rough. Spending a few years dreaming the lives of these women is very different from living those lives. I have to say, I’m a girl who likes first-class bathroom accommodations!

About Olga Werby

Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She has a Master’s degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago, with her first book, “Suddenly Paris,” which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes. Her next story, “The FATOFF Conspiracy,” was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy, and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories — homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals — the social underdogs of our world.

Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible. She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings. Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of “Alien Dimensions Magazine,” “600 second saga,” “Graveyard Girls,” “Kyanite Press’ Fables and Fairy Tales,” “The Carmen Online Theater Group’s Chronicles of Terror,” with many more stories freely available on her blog, Interfaces.com.

Find the Author at

http://www.interfaces.com/blog/
https://www.amazon.com/author/olgawerby
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4056895.Olga_Werby
https://www.facebook.com/OlgaWerby/
http://Pipsqueak.com
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDE3BNceupMYgvoaoAps2mg
https://www.linkedin.com/in/olgawerby

Buy Her Books at

“Twin Time”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZM578L/

“Harvest”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R8HGKWN/
“Becoming Animals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078P6BB6K/
“Suddenly, Paris”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014OM5158/
“The FATOFF Conspiracy”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014S0W4WO/

Yes, there is a giveaway.

Olga Werby & Christopher Werby will be awarding two signed books to a randomly drawn winner (US only) 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

Boris Blackburg was observing Alex carefully, judging her emotional state and her ability to comprehend what he was telling her. She seemed very confused. He wasn’t surprised. This was the strangest assignment he had ever accepted. At first, he thought it was some silly notion of a well-to-do old woman. But as the years passed, he got to know Nadezhda well, and he liked the old woman, eccentricities and all. And as he got to know the Orlov family as well–vicariously, of course—the assignment grew more and more strange and intriguing.

Boris was also well compensated for his work. He was going to ensure Nadezhda’s wishes were followed. Alex Orlov would inherit her great-aunt’s estate and all the accompanying strangeness that came with it. He would make certain of it.

“Where did you get these?” Alex asked.

“Nadezhda, your Aunt Nana, gave these to me about eighteen years ago, shortly after you and Sasha were born.”

“I… I…” Alex seemed to want to say something, but couldn’t get it out. Boris was prepared to give her time, as long as her parents didn’t interfere with his mission by arriving too soon. At least the girl was now of age and the complications of guardianship had gone away–but he needed to complete his assignment before her parents arrived and complicated matters.

“Who’s the woman in this photo?” Alex pointed to a small black and white print of a man and a woman walking on the street. The image was very small, and it was difficult to identify the people, both of whom were wearing hats.

“Who do you think it is?” Boris asked. He knew, of course–Nadezhda had identified most of the photos for him, and there was information written on the back of most.

“I don’t know. But… it looks like… me?” Alex’s voice was small, barely audible.

Boris nodded.

The Murderous Macaron

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author Ana T. Drew and her cozy mystery novel, The Murderous Macaron.

Author’s description

Julie has her freedom, a dream job as a pastry chef, and a corpse growing cold on her floor…

 

Welcome to Beldoc, a small town in the heart of Provence, imbued with lavender and fresh baked bread! You can idle around, or you can puzzle out a murder mystery.

 

When a man dies on her watch in her pâtisserie, newly divorced chef Julie Cavallo is dismayed. It isn’t that she’s a suspect. The local gendarmerie captain signs off the death as a natural event. A heart attack. But for a reason she won’t discuss, Julie suspects Maurice Sauve was poisoned. What’s a girl to do? She’ll ignore the risk and seek justice for Maurice on her own!

 

Well, not quite on her own. Julie’s eccentric grandmother, her snarky sister and her geeky sous chef are keen to help. The team’s amateurism is a challenge. But there’s also the pesky matter of no evidence, no clues, and soon, no body. The murder—if it was a murder—was planned and executed flawlessly.

 

Can a small-town baker solve the perfect crime?

 

“The Murderous Macaron” is a twisty whodunnit mystery perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich, Alexander McCall Smith, Jana DeLeon, and Lilian Jackson Braun.

My Review

The Murderous Macaron is a fun read, sure to please fans of cozy mysteries and lovers of well-meaning and sometimes bumbling amateur sleuths. (I do happen to be one such fan.) Julie’s bakery is the focal point of this gentle who-done-it, and there is just enough of France woven into the story to appeal to lovers of travel as well.

What I liked best: Simply put, this is an enjoyable book. I appreciate that it was an easy read, well paced and well written. The somewhat complex solutions to the case were believable yet not obvious, providing a satisfying ending.

My favorite thing was Drew’s stellar cast of secondary characters. Grandma is great. I do love feisty old women and she delivers. Sister Flo, the artist, is equally fun, and I could have done with more of the geeky sous chef as well. I’m not a huge dog fan, but I even enjoyed Lady, the sleuth dog who joins the team.

What I liked least: There is a fascinating backstory here, dribbled out in  small pieces and never fully dealt with. It is difficult to reconcile the light tone of the novel with an unexplained traumatic family death, an estranged twin with unusual powers, and Julie’s issues with both of the above. Yet, it all comes up often enough to make it hard to ignore.

The reader wants answers. I suppose the author intends to weave more explanations into future novels, but as regarded these issues, I felt cheated at the end. Plus, the only part receiving a real explanation (why Julie doesn’t like her twin) is just odd.

However, Drew’s story was charming enough for me to put that frustration aside, along with my current irritation with the gluten-free world, brought on by a husband who’s decided to go gluten free for no real reason, forcing me to abandon half of my favorite recipes.  That’s hardly Ana T. Drew’ fault, and I resolved early on not to hold Julie’s gluten-free bakery against her.

So, I’d be happy to read more books in this series and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery novel.

About the Author

Ana T. Drew is the evil mastermind behind the recent series of murders in the fictional French town of Beldoc. When she is not writing cozy mysteries or doing mom-and-wife things, she can be found watching “The Rookie” to help her get over “Castle”. She lives in Paris but her heart is in Provence.

Find the Author at

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/ana-drew
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnaDrewAuthor
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ana-t-drew
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/anadrew
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoranadrew

Visit the author’s website ana-drew.com for a free cookbook and a game!

 Buy The Murderous Macaron on Amazon.

 Yes, there is a giveaway

Ana T. Drew 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

I sit down across a round table from the gendarme, Capitaine Adinian, and begin my sad tale of yesterday’s macaron-making workshop that didn’t go as planned.

He listens, barely taking any notes.

When I get to the part where I asked my students to mix the ingredients I’d prepared for them, Capitaine Adinian leans forward. “Who prepared and laid out the ingredients?”

“I did.”

“When?”

“Shortly before the class began.”

“Did you leave the shop, even for a brief time, after you had everything ready for the class?” he asks.

“No.”

He scribbles something in his little notebook. “Please continue.”

“Most participants struggled to get their batter to stiffen,” I say. “Some gave up, claiming it was impossible without an electric mixer.”

“Did Maurice Sauve give up?”

“Quite the contrary. He whisked unrelentingly, switching hands but never pausing. He was the first to complete the task.”

Capitaine Adinian writes that down.

“I gave him one of these.” I show Adinian the remaining badges that Flo had made for the workshop.

“Great Baking Potential,” he reads aloud.

“Then I went around with his bowl and had everyone admire the perfect consistency of the batter.”

“Did anything stand out or seem unusual at that point?”

I gaze up at the ceiling, picturing the scene of me praising Maurice Sauve’s firm, satiny batter, students giving him their thumbs-up, and him smiling, visibly stoked. But he isn’t just smiling, he’s also… Panic squeezing my throat, I zero in on his face. He’s panting.

Oh. My. God.

I clap my hand over my mouth. “What if he’d whisked too hard? What if that exertion caused his heart attack?”

“An intense workout, especially at freezing temperatures, can trigger a heart attack,” Adinian says.

“He whisked intensely.”

“Madame Cavallo, I’ve never heard of anyone whisking themselves to an early grave.”