[#BlogTour] The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all having a good week.  Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Summer House Party by Caro Fraser.


Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication Date: April 6, 2017

Excerpt: 

Meg was much in Dan’s thoughts as he dressed for dinner. A very pretty thing, though still something of a schoolgirl. Her determined efforts to beat him at tennis gave her a certain garçonne appeal, and he found himself wondering if she’d look as good in a cocktail dress as she did in tennis shorts.

He went downstairs and through the drawing room to the terrace, where he found Sonia sitting with Meg and Gerald Cunliffe. Sonia procured a whisky and soda for Dan and introduced him to the great poet. Cunliffe was a little deaf – Sonia murmured to Dan that he was awaiting the arrival of a new hearing-aid in the post – so Dan’s initial attempts at conversation proved somewhat awkward. He persevered nonetheless and, having disposed of the subject of travel from London and Cunliffe’s liking for the countryside thereabouts, ventured some vaguely topical remarks on the subject of modern poetry, in deference to the great man’s standing. Cunliffe cupped his ear and asked him to speak up, and Dan repeated in a roar his enquiry as to whether the great poet had read and liked the works of the new young poet, Dylan Thomas.
‘Thomas? Detestable! Rhymeless, pretentious meanderings!’
Meg caught Dan’s eye and gave him a wink, and Dan returned it with a smile. She looked quite delightful in her evening dress of rose silk.
‘Edith Sitwell thinks him a perfect genius,’ remarked Sonia. ‘She’s quite taken him under her wing. He’s very poor, of course, so she tells me she has been writing to any number of people trying to find work for him.’ She glanced towards the French windows. ‘Oh, Madeleine, there you are.’
Seeing Madeleine close to for the first time, Dan was struck by how lovely she was, with clear-cut, delicate features, pale, almost translucent skin, and blue eyes so dark as to be almost violet. She made her entrance hesitantly, darting shy glances at everyone. Dan guessed she could be no more than sixteen. Bustling in behind her came Gerald’s wife, Elizabeth, a portly creature clad in bottle-green velvet. Sonia rose to usher her on to the terrace with tender concern.
‘How are you, Elizabeth? Did you manage a little sleep?’
‘I’m afraid not. The flies were buzzing at the window so, and with the state my nerves are in, it was all I could do to close my eyes for ten minutes. No, no – just plain soda water for me, thank you.’

Sonia had looked in on her guest twice in the past hour, and had found her on both occasions slumbering peacefully, and snoring lightly. When Elizabeth was settled in her chair with her soda water, Sonia introduced her and Madeleine to Dan, and half an hour or so drifted by in idle conversation, which Sonia deftly steered into mundane waters, knowing Gerald Cunliffe’s tendency to irascibility on matters of the day, politics in particular.

Madeleine sat with a glass of untasted sherry in her hand, glancing from face to face, not daring to venture any remark, but with some strange kind of ardour shimmering within her. With her fair hair pinned up and in her pale blue evening dress, she looked curiously like a sophisticated child, excited to be among adults.
The shadows began to lengthen across the lawn, and Dan was just wondering whether he could help himself to another whisky and soda when Henry Haddon made his appearance. The hitherto languid atmosphere coalesced into attentiveness and expectation. Haddon was in his late fifties, tall and broad- shouldered, and strikingly handsome. He wore his thick, silver hair long over his collar, and his contrastingly dark brows gave him a somewhat menacing aspect, even when he smiled. He was an impressive, charismatic figure, conscious of his own powers of attraction to men and women alike. When he was in good spirits, his ebullience and enthusiasm could light a room; when in a rage, his cold fury could freeze and terrify those around him. Tonight, however, his temper was tranquil and mildly playful, and he greeted the company with smiles and a couple of dry remarks. Drinks were refreshed, and after a few more minutes of conversation on the terrace, dinner was announced.
Madeleine was seated on Dan’s right, Elizabeth Cunliffe on his left. Elizabeth immediately began a testy little discourse with Sonia on the vagaries of servants, so Dan, searching for a topic on which to converse with Madeleine, remembered Meg’s remarks earlier about how Madeleine always had her head in a book, and asked her what she was reading at the moment. Her eyes brightened, and she responded with an enthusiasm which was like dawn breaking over a still pool. They talked on and off about books and poetry for the entire meal, with occasional interruptions when etiquette demanded that Dan should turn to his left to converse with Elizabeth Cunliffe, which involved listening to her diatribe on the inadequacies of Harley Street specialists. During these intervals Dan was aware that Haddon, who was seated at the head of the table on Madeleine’s left, paid not the slightest attention to the girl, preferring to continue with Cunliffe an apparently mutually agreeable grumble on the subject of the new King. Dan wondered if Haddon thought it infra dig that the nanny should be part of the company; even so, his behaviour to the girl seemed rude.
Madeleine was scarcely conscious of being slighted. Since her arrival at Woodbourne House she had become deeply infatuated with Henry Haddon; he seemed to her the epitome of manhood, a romantic and thrilling figure, but the idea of being made to converse with him terrified her. What could she possibly have to say that would interest him? She was happy to be seated near him, to be able to observe him at close quarters, to listen to his deep, confident voice, watch his expressive hands, and steal occasional glances at his face.
Purchase Links:

Ebook-Amazon
Hardback-Amazon
Book Description:

In the gloriously hot summer of 1936, a group of people meet at a country house party. Within three years, the country will be engulfed in war, but for now time stands still as they sip champagne on the lawn, engaging in casual flirtations and carefree conversation. Then a shocking death puts an end to their revelry, changing everything in an instant. 

For all of them, that summer house party will be a turning point. The mistakes made during that fateful weekend will change their lives forever.

Author Bio:

I am a 63 year-old writer and retired lawyer living in London. I was educated at Glasgow High School For Girls, and the Buchan School in the Isle Of Man. After attending Watford School of Art I worked for a number of years as an advertising copywriter, before switching careers to study law at King’s College, University of London. I was called to the Bar of Middle Temple in 1980, and it was as a barrister that I gained the insights and inspiration for my first novel, The Pupil, and the subsequent books in the Caper Court series, which chronicle the lives and loves of the barristers and clerks of a mythical set of chambers in the Temple, London. I have four children and am married to a lawyer. My father was the novelist George MacDonald Fraser.

http://www.caro-fraser.co.uk/

[#BlogTour] Snap to Grid by D.K. Reed #YALit #SciFi @SagesBlogTours

Snap to Grid By DK Reed

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Red identifies with legendary warrioress, Red Sonja, as a coping mechanism for the difficulties of teen life with ADHD. But even her inner warrioress is a little nervous about moving into Uncle Alistair’s old mansion after seeing an eerily beautiful “Viking ghost” in an upstairs window shortly after his disappearance. And, she soon notices a crow acting strangely and feels like she is being watched. 

 Uncle Alistair’s graduate student, Erik, trapped in a ghost-like state by means of one of the stones, can only watch her. Unable to be seen or heard, he’s now more like an essence or spirit. Though Red has never been popular, her heroic goodness lends to the beauty of her essence and Erik is quickly smitten. He uses the limited tools available to try and reach her, including his crow friend, Moon. But, will he get to her before the cult? Can she solve the mystery and save him?


About the Author

 Reed grew up on a farm in the misty Clinch River valley of the Smoky Mountains. She now lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters (when they aren’t away at college), two dogs and two cats and loves to hike near the Potomac River. 

Reed loves the natural world both as a hiker and scientist and this figures heavily in her books. She loves exploring the “what ifs” of science and tries to make the science fiction in her novels plausible and logical. She has a doctorate in biology and has taught students from middle school to college. She is an award-winning technical writer/editor and has co-authored/edited dozens of ecological risk assessments and other scientific books and articles. While she views her work as an applied scientist as problem-solving fun, what she really loves is to explore imaginary worlds and share her intriguing stories. 

A few years ago, a serious illness caused her to look at her life afresh. She decided to focus her time and attention more on spiritual growth and joyful living. This led her to return to an earlier love, fiction writing—having fun with science. She spent the next few years honing her fiction writing skills and transitioning into her new career as a sci-fi-fantasy/supernatural romance writer.

“Life is better if you do what you love and share your joy with others.”

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[#BlogTour] The Married Girls: Q&A with Diney Costeloe @DineyCost @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all having a great week.  Today is my turn to host the blog tour for The Married Girls, and I am excited to have a Q&A session with Diney Costeloe.  Welcome Diney!


Please tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m a wife, mother and grandmother and am kept busy being all three. I’m a member of a golf club and I enjoy playing when I get the time. My husband and I still travel, and I can always take my work with me; all I need is my computer.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve written stories and poems all my life. Being a write is not something you decide to be, you just start to write and don’t stop.

Where did your inspiration to write The Married Girls come from?

It’s the sequel to my book The Girl With No Name and when I’d finished writing that I wanted to find out what happened next.

Who is your favourite character in the book? And why?

Probably Atticus Finch, a man of courage and integrity and a sympathetic father. There are others that would run him a close second.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

What is your writing pet peeve?

The use of ‘like’ instead of ‘as if’. Fine in dialogue, but very annoying in narrative.

Is there a genre you want to try but haven’t yet?

Yes, I enjoy reading detective stories. Obviously some are better than others, but I’d like to have a crack at one someday. The trouble is you have to have such technical knowledge these days, it would be hard to start from scratch.

What is your favourite genre to read?

I don’t have a favourite as such. I read all sorts of things, mostly fiction, but what I choose depends on the sort of mood I’m in. Usually it’ll be a historical novel, a detective story or a complete one off. I belong to an on-line book club and recommendations I get from other members are always worth following up.

Who is your favourite author?

I have several, but if I had to name one I’d probably go for Jane Austen.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I have a study where I can go and write uninterrupted, but very often if I’m on my own I write at the kitchen table…no good if the grandchildren are around!

Finally, what are you working on next?

That would be telling! I have got a work in progress, but I never divulge what in case I change my mind.

Well, thank you for taking the time to sit and chat with us!  The Martied Girls will be available May  4, 2017.

 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publication Date: February 17, 2017

Description:

The gripping new novel from the bestselling author of The Sisters of St Croix and The Girl With No Name.

The war is over, but trouble is brewing…
Wynsdown, 1949. In the small Somerset village of Wynsdown, Charlotte Shepherd is happily married to farmer Billy. She arrived from Germany on the Kindertransport as a child during the war and now feels settled in her adopted home.
Meanwhile, the squire’s fighter pilot son, Felix, has returned to the village with a fiancée in tow. Daphne is beautiful, charming… and harbouring secrets. After meeting during the war, Felix knows some of Daphne’s past, but she has worked hard to conceal that which could unravel her carefully built life.
For Charlotte, too, a dangerous past is coming back in the shape of fellow refugee, bad boy Harry Black. Forever bound by their childhoods, Charlotte will always care for him, but Harry’s return disrupts the village quiet and it’s not long before gossip spreads.
The war may have ended, but for these girls, trouble is only just beginning.

Purchase Links

Amazon | Book Bub | Kobo 

 

[#BlogTour] The Fisherman’s Bride by Catherine Magia #HistoricalFiction #BiblicalFiction

The Fisherman’s Bride
by Catherine Magia

Publication Date: November 2, 2016
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC, CreateSpace
Kindle & Paperback; 240 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Biblical Fiction/Christian Literature

READ AN EXCERPT.

 

 

She has no name. She is not even a footnote. Her tale is hidden behind the well-told fable of her husband, the man who would become Simon Peter, the first Apostle.

Cast off by her family after shunning a wealthy suitor to marry a humble fisherman, her life is fraught with hardship. She endures her husband’s growing restlessness, fish shortages from the Sea of Galilee, and the oppression of an all-powerful Roman Empire over her people. Then her life is forever changed when her dying mother is saved by a miracle performed by a young carpenter—a man who speaks with understanding and acts with compassion. A man who can inspire the extraordinary.

Simon Peter lives on in history as the undaunted martyr of the carpenter. This is the untold story of his young bride. Her journey traverses villages and deserts, love and tradition, and a brewing revolution, to an awakening of faith that challenges everything she has ever known.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Praise

“Catherine Magia has penned a moving Christian story that transcends religious boundaries–a novel that occupies the rare space between the historical and the Biblical realms. At once speculative and interpretive, Magia’s vigorous first-person narrative of St. Peter’s wife makes a compelling case for the life, motivation and spirituality of a minor, nameless Biblical character. An ambitious and impressive debut.” -Andrew X. Pham, author of Catfish and Mandala and The Eaves of Heaven: A Life in Three Wars

“Right from the start, the evocative and compelling tone of The Fishman’s Bride casts its line and draws in readers with a deftness that borders on enchantment. Perhaps this is because Catherine Magia uses an uncommon perspective and outsider’s view of events. And, by ‘outsider,’ this means observations that come from beyond Jesus’ inner circle, yet are closely connected by love and association. Also included in the saga are stories of fortunes made and lost, faith thwarted and regained, fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the impact of social and political change upon entire communities. Catherine Magia’s attention to embracing the extent of daily living in Biblical times, from different methods of preserving fish to different attitudes encountered during their travels, brings the story to life.

Readers of Christian literature and Biblical retellings will find this story a powerfully written, compelling account of the impact of Jesus on all layers of society, narrated from the eyes of an outsider to his central group of believers who uses the ordinary life experiences of an unnamed wife to chronicle an extraordinary journey of love, faith, and miracles.” -D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.

About the Author

Catherine Magia was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to New Jersey as a teenager. Although her formal education was in the hard sciences, Catherine has always maintained a passion for the written word, publishing her poetry in several literary journals including the Michigan Quarterly Review.

She discovered the voice of Simon Peter’s wife on a soul-searching journey, a trek through the biblical lands of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. She spent seven years researching and writing her debut novel, traveling as far as Ephesus, Turkey.

She is working on her second book – the conclusion to The Fisherman’s Bride.

By day, she works as an associate director of marketing research in the development of new cancer medications. She is currently based in Boston.

For more information please visit Catherine Magia’s website and blog.

[#BlogTour] Excerpt: Accidental Damage by Alice May

Hey guys! How is everyone’s week going?  Today is my stop on the blog tour for Accidental Damage.


Chapter 3: Cob

Definition: an ancient construction material used for building since prehistoric times. Traditionally, English cob consists of clay-based subsoil mixed with sand, straw and water and trampled by oxen.

Two and a half years previously….

When you buy old properties you can expect them to be a teeny bit troublesome.

Our house was no exception. Young and naïve as we might have been when we bought it, we weren’t completely daft. We could see that work was required yet we could also see that the rather random conglomeration of structures that encompassed the sweet old cottage, presented us with the opportunity to build an idyllic life in the countryside for our growing band of marauding Barbarians.

There were plenty of bedrooms upstairs and a huge garden for prowling around, surrounded by fields and streams to explore. Loads of fresh air so the asthmatics would thrive, plus it was miles away from the hustle and bustle of main roads and big cities.

In effect, by living here, we could be said to be protecting both the Barbarians and society, at the same time. 

The house consisted of a motley selection of extensions of indeterminate age around a central cob cottage. The original structure had been present on the site for at least 350 years, but had been altered to a sufficiently unrecognisable degree that the local planners were not skipping round it trying to put it on one of their lists of historical significance.

 This was a good thing as it meant that we would be able to get planning permission to make some alterations. Nevertheless we still had National Park (NP), Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and River Corridor designations to contend with so no changes were going to be particularly straight forward. (We wouldn’t want straight forward would we, that would make life far too boring wouldn’t it?)

Over the next ten years we slowly spruced up bits of the cottage as our finances allowed, but the original section remained much as we had found it. Lovely thick, solid walls, warm in winter and cool in summer. There was a charmingly rickety staircase that would never pass building regulations these days and a huge open fireplace with old foot and hand holds leading up the inside of the vast chimney stack. (No we never sent any of the Barbarians up it, even though it was very tempting to save on the chimney sweep bills!) The whole thing was topped off with a very pretty thatched roof.

We had been assured by the detailed structural survey that it was all completely sound and thus no concerns were raised. The general consensus from all consulted was that it had stood for 350 years already it would stand for 350 more.

So you can understand my total incomprehension as I stood on the driveway one July day and watched as two massive jagged cracks tore their way up the walls of my home from ground level right up to pretty thatched roof and a section of cob started to move very slowly away from the rest of the house.

“How peculiar!” I remember thinking, as my Friendly Local Builder and his mate, who had fortuitously popped by at that exact moment to pick up some previously forgotten equipment, frantically swung into action.

An amazing co-incidence it is true, but there they were, builders, just when I needed them the most. How often does that happen? Perhaps someone was smiling on me from on high that day, despite all evidence to the contrary. 

Experienced in construction work as these builders were, they were able to size up what was going on in lightening quick time. So while I was staring in incomprehension, my companions were hastily trying to erect some props that they happened to have in the back of their truck, in order to prevent the wall collapsing completely.

Standing rooted to the spot I could not believe my eyes. This couldn’t possibly be happening!

Yet it clearly was. That second 350 years was rather demonstrably off the cards now. In fact the house looked as though it had got rather tired and had a little sit down. I didn’t really blame it. I was feeling rather faint myself.

 My mobile warbled and I answered it on automatic pilot.

“You alright?” chirped my blissfully unaware Beloved Husband.

 “We have a slight problem,” I croaked out.



[#BlogTour] No Greater Agony by Todd Allen #Horror #Thriller


No Greater Agony By Todd Allen

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Jack Bishop always dreamed of becoming a writer.

That ambition finally became reality with his critically acclaimed debut novel, but following up on that success has proved difficult. For over a year, he has failed to produce a new work and his publisher is losing patience.

In a last-ditch effort to save his floundering career, Jack is sent to the renowned writer’s retreat, Wabasso Lake, with orders to finish his manuscript in record time.

Jack’s first impression of Wabasso is that of an idyllic place to work, but despite being surrounded by awe inspiring nature and the lovely Kate, a fellow author, he continues to be plagued by self doubt.

 It is with the discovery of a hidden manuscript that Jack begins to scratch the surface of the retreat’s sinister purpose. As visions of fictional characters inundate Jack’s waking life, he is driven to the brink of madness.

A diabolical intelligence has stirred. Wabasso wants something from Jack, but is he willing to pay that price to achieve his greatest desire?

 About the Author


Todd Allen lives on the East Coast of Canada. A lifelong fan of all things horror, Allen threw his hat into the literary ring in 2015 with his first novel, Sacra Obscurum. Allen is proud to follow up his debut with the 2017 release of the psychological thriller, No Greater Agony. Influenced by genre greats, M.R. James and H.P. Lovecraft, and raised on Stephen King and Peter Straub, Allen aims to deliver his own brand of creeping, cerebral horror.

 Facebook | Website |  Amazon | Publisher | Goodreads

 No Greater Agony Excerpt

The trail branched off to Jack’s left. Cabin Five—Frasier’s cabin—was down there, tucked secretly amid the trees. A low hanging branch swayed as though someone had just pushed it aside while running past. That served enough intrigue for Jack, and seconds later, he pushed it aside as well.

Cabin Five came into view a few yards down the trail. It reminded Jack of his own cabin, only more given to shadow from its taller, more oppressive neighboring trees. No one appeared to be home. Jack could see nothing in the windows, but the reflection of the sun dappled day.

He leapt up the porch steps and knocked on the door. It sounded oddly hollow.

“Frasier, you in there?” Jack called.

He prayed his neighbor would come to the door, towel around his neck, perspiration dotting his brow, fresh from a morning jog. Perhaps a pair of headphones would explain why he hadn’t heard Jack’s greeting on the trail. He knocked again.

The door creaked open a few inches under the weight of his knuckles.

A spoiled fruit stench escaped the cabin. Jack recoiled and waved a hand in front of his nose. He called for Frasier through the opening and as he did, caught sight of the blood inside. His jaw went slack. He pushed the door open wide.

All the furniture had been cleared to one side of the cabin—the desk overturned, the bookcase as well, the cot tossed atop it. The furniture seemed to be moved to make room for a solitary wooden chair in the center of the floor. A pool of congealing blood spread around it. Jack covered his mouth and nearly doubled over as the trash can smell of rot assaulted him again. It left a sour film on his tongue.

Despite the flash of nausea, he stepped inside, careful not to set foot in the gore. The buzzing of black flies overpowered him once he was out of the summer breeze. Dozens of flies circled the chair, landing for split seconds at a time before lifting off again. Jack wondered how he hadn’t heard their dizzying drone outside. He felt the promise of vomit bubbling up from his core, but he forced himself to look more closely at the chair. Certainly, he would need to describe this scene to the authorities at some point.

Scraps of rope hung loosely from the chair. Some lay in the blood around its legs. More clung to one of the wooden arms. A ruin of splintered wood was all that remained of the other arm. Jack bent to inspect it. The arm had been shorn in two, the likely result of a heavy blow.

Fresh panic flooded his chest. The image of Jonathan Dunn flashed through Jack’s mind. He pictured him in this very cabin. He saw him swinging an ax downward—blade cleaving flesh and bone and busting through the arm of the chair. Jack staggered backward, too weak to stand. He slammed into the wall behind him and slid to the floor.

 

[#BlogTour] Age Six Racer by Joe Vercillo #Adventure #ComingOfAge
















AGE SIX RACER
Joe Vercillo

Genre: Adventure/Coming of Age
Publisher: Wild Thorn Publishing
Date of Publication: 03/25/2017


ISBN: 9781520784137

ASIN: B06XFMNQNG


Number of pages: 150

Word Count: 36 000


Book Description:

Now, I’m not sure if it’s like this for every guy out there, but it seems like the main underlying reason for everything I do is because of a girl. It was ‘the girl’ who made me run away from my hometown. And it was ‘the girl’ who almost got me killed. But it was also because of ‘the girl’ that I ended up in New York City with my three best friends on a mad adventure.

My name is Princeton, and I’m a white-footed mouse.


Excerpt
AGE SIX RACER
CHAPTER
ONE
The End

I had a little scare this morning. There I was, lying facedown on the garage floor of 18 Westwinds Boulevard in Princeton, New Jersey. I was only a few feet away from my home, actually—a little woodpile in the front corner.

I felt the bristle of the broom gently pushing then rolling me into the plastic
dustpan. Next thing I knew, I was in a shallow grave in the cedar mulch under
the damn maple tree out front.
After a heartbreak, I always like to fantasize about having an untimely death and going out in a blaze of glory with the girl who broke my heart bawling her eyes
out and wondering how she’s ever gonna live without me. But as great as this
death fantasy is, I’ve never really wanted to die.

Now, don’t think that this is some sort of Romeo and Juliet story or anything like that because it’s not. Even if it were,
you should never feel bad when a mouse dies. Our life spans are only about a
year in the wild, but to give you some perspective, one day for a mouse feels
pretty much like a human year. So most of us live good long lives even if they
seem short to people.
So yeah, my name is Princeton, and I’m a mouse—a white-footed mouse, to tell you the truth. We’re often confused with our rival cousin, the deer mouse. Our
coloring is similar to that of a deer—reddish brown on top with white bellies.
The only difference between deer mice and us is our white feet.

By the way, Princeton is just my nickname. I don’t wanna tell you my real name because it’s kind of embarrassing. The nickname Princeton actually started as a razz. My friends acted as if I had suddenly turned into a douche when I moved to the town that was home to the prestigious Princeton University. Sure, it’s full of professors and some of the world’s
brightest young minds, but the attitudes here are exactly the same as in any
other town I’ve ever been to. An outsider with an inferiority complex about Princeton should see how most of the humans dress here. It’s all sweatpants and
hoodies, I swear to God.

Anyway, the nickname Princeton just stuck, and to tell you the truth, it’s grown on me.  Nicknames can make or break you. I once knew a guy who was nicknamed The Dove.  Some friends and I had shown up at a grain-silo party, and there was this field mouse named Miles sitting way up in the rafters, eating all by himself. My
friend Tyler said, “Hey, check it out—the lonesome dove.” Everyone laughed, and
from that day on, Miles was known as The Dove. Imagine getting stuck with that nickname for life. Doves are the
worst. Trust me.

And Princeton isn’t the first nickname I’ve ever had. I’ve been called other things
too. This one time, I had to hide out in a hamster cage for a night to evade a
barn cat, and my friend Charlotte started calling me Hamster Boy. Another time,
she started calling me Junior after I had a close call with a vacuum cleaner.
Why Junior? Well, when she was a kid, she had this pet potato bug named Junior
that got sucked up by a vacuum cleaner. She has a sick sense of humor like
that.

Anyway, I moved to Princeton a couple weeks ago from Port Elgin, Ontario. To be
completely honest, the move was a result of two things, which I’ll tell you
about in a minute.
Back in Port Elgin, I lived in this little woodpile in the backyard of a big old
two-story century home. It was a great setup. The humans who lived there were
the Sanagans. I actually got to know them pretty well—not personally, obviously, but you know what I mean. I found a hole in the foundation underneath their deck that led into the wall right behind the kitchen stove. I could sneakster my way in and out of there pretty easily.
There was never a shortage of food in that house, with old half-eaten boxes of cereal lined up along the back wall of the pantry. And it was all of the good stuff
too—Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Corn Pops, you name it. The Sanagans were cereal fiends.

The family was also addicted to watching movies, which was how I became such a movie buff. I used to do marathons with them, watching from under the couch.
My taste in music was also shaped in that house. The one son, J.P., would blast
his tunage while taking showers. I’d always make a point of being in the bathroom wall near the return air vent in the mornings so I could rock out and jump around to songs like “Blue Orchid” by the White Stripes, “Sober” by Blink-182, or “Breed” by Nirvana. J.P. would be dancing and singing along too, so those days were a lot of fun.

I swear, that place would have been like the damn Elysian Fields if it weren’t
for a few of its nonhuman inhabitants: Indy—a silver tabby cat, Rascal—a big
fat calico cat, and Frankie—a little wiener dog. The fat cat wasn’t much to
worry about. She would just lie around all day stretched out on the floor like Jabba the Hutt. And she had this permanent sore on her back that kind of looked like a slice of pepperoni. It was strange. I was never sure if I wanted to puke or lick it. Frankie wasn’t usually a threat, either. That guy was anything but stealth. I could hear him coming from a hundred miles away with his heavy footsteps and jangly metal collar, not to mention his incessant yelping, whimpering, and whining. Nope, it was only Indy who put the fear of God into me.
Indy was an infamous mouser—a mass
murderer—who haunted the dreams of small rodents all across the land. There
were rumors in the neighborhood that she had over three thousand kills dating
back to the early 2000s. Mice, chipmunks, and rabbits were her favorite targets. During the warmer months, a killing a day was the norm. It wasn’t uncommon to come across chipmunks or mice who had been chopped clean in half and left on the front porch or back step like some sort of sick taunt or medieval warning—a message to us all to watch our asses. Other times, you’d just see the entrails or dry blood spots of some other poor departed soul.

The point is, Indy was a professional assassin, and our crossing of paths was the
push I needed to get out of town.
So there I was, out on a movie date with this girl named Jules. She was this
beautiful field mouse I had gone out with a couple times. She was more of a rebound, to tell you the truth. I was really only seeing her to try to get my mind off of a recent heartbreak. I was very attracted to her, but we didn’t have much in common. Deep down, we both probably knew it would never work out.
Anyway, we’d just finished watching the movie—the Sanagans had put on the fourth Harry Potter—and were on our way back through the pantry and into the kitchen. I told her to wait the usual ten
seconds to make sure the coast was clear before heading to the exit behind the
stove. But Jules—being the naive little field mouse she was—decided to just
stroll on out there like a moron. Well, guess who came flying around the corner, barking his head off just as she was walking out? Yup, you guessed
it—Frankie, the wiener dog.

I took off like a shot, running straight under the kitchen table and around the
corner of the island. My diversion worked as Frankie was right on my ass. That
meant that Jules was in the clear and had a safe path to the stove.
There were small cubbies where I could wait out danger in most parts of the Sanagans’ house. But unfortunately, I was chased into the only area that didn’t have a
hiding place—the dreaded dining room.
“THERE’S A MOUSE!” a human voice yelled out from somewhere behind me. Frankie was still hot on my heels at that point.
Damn.
It was one thing for the pets to know you were in their house, but when a human
found out that they had a mouse problem, it was pretty much game over. All of your routes and hiding places became compromised—holes got filled by foam
insulation; poison-bait stations popped up on every corner of the foundation; snap traps, electric zapper traps, and glue boards got set up at your favorite hangouts. It was a real pain in the ass. If you were lucky enough to make it out alive after being spotted, you’d cut your losses and move on to the next house.

All I could do at that point was beeline it for the junk-cluttered section in the
back corner of the room. When I made it there, I squirmed my way in deep and hunkered down to catch my breath.
With all of the barking and yelling, it was hard to concentrate, but this would be
the best time to escape—during the pandemonium. I shimmied past a bookshelf and then crawled under the liquor cabinet and stopped for a minute at the back corner. I had to try to figure out where exactly my pursuers were positioned.

Frankie was still barking like a bastard back near the junk pile where I was hiding. I didn’t have eyes on him, but he was over there for sure. Mrs. Sanagan was in the same area. I could see her feet and hear her trying to calm Frankie down.
She must have been the one who spotted me on my run over here. I could hear Mr.
Sanagan yelling from either the kitchen or the family room. He wasn’t a very mobile fellow, so I assumed he would be supervising the mouse hunt from afar.

From what I could tell, I only needed to elude the three of them.
If I stayed under the liquor cabinet it’d be game over, Frankie would be moving in
to sniff me out at any second. So I did what I had to—I made a run for it.
Did you ever have that feeling as a kid, when the shortcut to get home required you
to go through a really dark section of a scary forest or alley, and you’d run
through it as fast as you possibly could hoping to God that nothing would snatch you up? Well, that’s pretty much what it feels like to be a mouse making
a mad dash.

After scurrying through the dining room doorway into the kitchen, I rounded the corner of the island and saw the stove. My heart leapt for joy—home stretch!
But just as I cleared the island, I looked over to my left, and what I saw made
my stomach drop. It was Indy, the mass-murdering killer cat. She was sitting there on her haunches, no more than a foot away, staring at me with her squinted green eyes. I instinctively jumped sideways and skidded away from her.
“THERE IT IS! GET IT, INDY!” shouted Mr. Sanagan.
But as God is my witness—and I’ll never know the real reason why—Indy let me run right by her. She didn’t move an inch. She just sat there with a carefree smirk on her face, like she was only there to watch the show. I’ll never forget that
act of mercy she displayed for me that day. Ever.
Just a few weeks ago, though, I heard some sobs coming from outside of my woodpile in the garage in New Jersey. It was J.P. He had just gotten word that Indy had passed away in her sleep back home in Port Elgin. I know I should have been
rejoicing with the rest of the woodland creatures that she’d haunted and terrorized all of those years, but I ended up saying a little prayer for her that night. Just out of respect for letting me go that day, ya know?

About the Author:


Professional ice-hockey goaltender and Canadian singer-songwriter, Joe Vercillo, stumbled upon the love of his life, journeyed down to Princeton, New Jersey, and found a dead mouse in a garage.

The rest is history.

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[#BlogTour] Mark of Destiny @AzraelJames_ #EpicFantasy
















Mark of Destiny
Azrael James

Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Branch Publishing
Date of Publication: 03/02/2017

ISBN: 1544070276
ISBN-13: 978-1544070278
ASIN: B06XDSHCSS
Number of pages: 403
Word Count: 82,331
Cover Artist: T.K. Chapin

Book Description:

Her destiny will change the world forever.
Belstrom—an ancient and mystical land where the Curo Wizards rule and life is cheap.
Tizrah—a lowly armory brat who dreams of one day becoming a warrior but fate has other plans.
Korlin—a recent graduate of the High Wizard’s School of Curogath is tasked with an assignment to eradicate a lost magic system that threatens the very stability of Belstrom. Mark of Destiny weaves together the threads of a captivating fantasy adventure, while remaining epic in scope, and modern in its originality.

Excerpt:

HOLDING HER EYE
STEADY UPON the massive wolvike, Tizrah silently slid the longbow from her
back. The care with which she moved came naturally to her.
The way she slipped unseen and stalked her prey might have even impressed the elite rangers of Ravenwood Forest, had they been there to see. Alas, they were not, and Tizrah was truly and utterly alone as she crept closer to the herd of colossal beasts feasting merely ten yards away. 

Flies buzzed loudly, and the odor of
fresh blood hung thick in the air.

Tizrah’s heart hammered against her chest. She tried to calm herself using the measured breathing she’d been taught. It wasn’t helping. Sweat poured from her like rain, rolling down her face in droplets that stung her eyes. When she drew as
close as she dared, she quietly climbed an ekenwood tree in hopes of finding a
better vantage point from which to view the pack.
Breathing a sigh of relief now that she was off the ground, she waited. The branch Tizrah straddled offered a measure of safety, as well as a clear shot, and she sent out a prayer of thanks to Oshawa, who had given her the perfect perch from
which to bring down one of the legendary beasts.
This kill would prove her worth before the men of New Hayden. It would change the direction of her life, and that was what Tizrah desired with all her burning heart.
Desperation had drawn her away from her home and directed her feet to the heart of the Labby Forest. When she had caught sight of the wolvike, Tizrah knew that this was to be her chance.
She had only read about the beasts in her worn school books, and the penciled drawings paled in comparison to the frightful creatures which stood less than a stone’s throw away. Nearly seven feet tall, paws to shoulders, the wolvike were imposing to look upon. Their fur resembled freshly fallen snow, and catching sight of the wolvike’s sickle- like, razor sharp teeth, Tizrah was reminded of the fine
blades of the Knights of Eldor.
She knew from her studies that one bite would be enough to bleed a full-grown man out in a matter of minutes. Six—that’s how many of the beasts she counted. They grunted and growled below her as they tore a spotted deer to pieces.
Now, for one to stray from the pack.
Tizrah was patient. She wouldn’t let her arrow fly until victory was assured.
Releasing a long, controlled breath, she relaxed her muscles. Anticipating movement from the pack, she raised the bow to eye level. The largest of the beasts, having had its fill, began to traipse toward the nearby stream.
The moment had arrived.
Drawing her bowstring back with wiry arms, Tizrah followed the wolvike with her steel-tipped arrow.
Stopping dead in its tracks, the beast lifted its head.
Tizrah’s arrow shot across the clearing, impaling the artery running down the side of the beast’s neck. The wolvike toppled, its rapid blood loss dragging it down into the sleep of death.
The rest of the pack bolted, leaving their fallen alpha to Tizrah and her blade.
Dropping from the branch, she took a steadying breath, then strode to the trophy. She would need proof of her kill, as she wasn’t strong enough to drag the beast through the forest. I’ll take its eyes, she thought, nearing with her blade poised.
The eyes of a wolvike were unlike any other known mammal within the Four Kingdoms. Used to make costly medicines for the virility of the wealthy, wolvike eyes were extremely valuable. At the grisly sound of her knife cutting into the eye
socket, Tizrah blanched. Having completed the unsavory task, she rolled them in
an eken leaf and placed them in the leather pouch on the outer side of her main
pack for safe keeping.
Bending over the prone form, Tizrah offered a whispered prayer. “Oshawa, Life- Giver, I pray
that this death will not go in vain. I pray that it might bring sustenance to
the beasts of the forest and afterward enrich the ground upon which it lies.”
Finishing her heartfelt plea, Tizrah stood and took stock of the situation. Three days, the time it would take her to reach home. The Warrior Trials were scheduled to take place five days hence. Perhaps, with proof of her kill, she would be able to
convince Jax at the arena to add her name to the list. Dreams danced before her
mind’s eye. Picturing herself crowned victor at the completion of the Warrior
Trials set her feet in motion.
Tizrah wasn’t worried about the competition. Her only worry was whether Jax would concede to her request when she offered him the eyes. Years of working with her father in the armory had honed her muscles into steel beneath her skin, and she had hunted and trained in the fighting arts since she was small. Many thought her
dedication odd, preferring girls to keep to their traditional roles. Girls were taught to cook, clean, and sew. They were also expected to birth offspring and take care of the men. Tizrah viewed the societal limitations placed upon her with hatred—not that it was wrong for others, but she wanted something more in life than hiding behind a stove and raising brats for some man.
Shaking her head to clear it of the endless stream of thought, she left the clearing and reentered the forest. Ekenwood trees towered above the various shades of green flora covering the forest floor. The chattering of wild poka birds echoed back and forth beneath the canopy of branches. How had they ever been trained as messenger birds?
While growing up, she had seen them flying overhead often enough, and she had been curious to know what important messages they might be carrying each time one passed over.
A single shaft of amber light pierced through the tree barrier, distracting from her musings.
Tizrah entered the dazzling luminescence and reveled in its life-giving rays.
She loved the forest above all other places; in the depths of its silence and
solitude, she found peace.
Peace with her mother’s death, for Tizrah had wanted her mother to live and had been unable to save her. Disease rarely paid heed to the cries of children.
Peace with the way her father had hidden his broken heart at the bottom of tumblers of ale from the local tavern, instead of comforting his only child.
Tizrah even felt peace in the fact that no matter the trophy she brought with her, her chances of entering the Warrior Trials were slimmer than the dirty beggars who sat pleading for crusts of bread on the outskirts of Silvermeere. If Jax changed
his mind, then she might be able to work her way up to fighting on the battlefield of Echo Flats, or even serve a stint in the Fireblade Mountains, where rumor had it the dragon still lived.
Pulling herself from her musings, Tizrah continued onward. As much as she would have liked to stay soaking up the rays of sunlight and marveling at the beauty of Oshawa’s greatness, Tizrah knew that for her dreams to be realized, she must trudge forward, allowing the old moment its death while a new moment was born.
After two days of hiking, Tizrah reached the southwest corner of the Labby Forest. She was almost home. Leaving the ancient ekenwood groves, she entered the forest’s area of newer growth that was still recovering from being logged off before the dawn of the Magi Wars.
When the wars ended two centuries past, people had found that the ashenwood tree was far superior in strength to all others. The newly founded Council of Nine had issued a mandate for the loggers to focus their efforts on gathering the
stronger wood located in the ironwood and ashenwood forests that lined the southern end of Belstrom. According to the history of New Hayden, Tizrah’s home
had once been a booming hub for logging, but the mandate had dropped its
population by half, and afterward, the town had assumed a much slower rate of
growth over the centuries.
Running lightly down the dirt path toward home, Tizrah nearly bubbled over with excitement. She imagined her father, Eldim, crafting an exquisite set of armor for her to wear during the Warrior Trials. He would choose fine ossen metal, for it was incredibly strong and lightweight and would reflect sunlight to the blinding of
one’s enemies.
Nearing the western exit of the forest, Tizrah reached a stretch of the path that was open and straight, set between two groves. Halfway across the stretch, she caught movement in the sky. Diving down swiftly and alighting directly in her path was a large, gray and white-speckled gryphon. The beautiful and fearsome creature held Tizrah with its nerve-rattling gaze. Gryphons were considered the
messengers of Oshawa, and to see one so close was considered either a very good
omen or an ominous one.
What could Oshawa’s creature want with her, a lowly armory brat? Nevertheless, she waited, returning its gaze. She had nothing to fear; her heart was right before the
One-God.
Seconds passed
like centuries until Tizrah noticed a burning sensation sear her right arm. In
a flash of radiance, the landscape surrounding her disappeared as she lost
consciousness, falling to the ground like a crumpled doll.
The gryphon watched over her as she slept.












About the Author:

AZRAEL JAMES fell in love with Tolkien at the age of twelve leading to a life-long love of fantasy fiction. Writing stories that capture the imagination, James invites readers into a world where magic rules and ordinary life is forgotten. When not spinning tales, James teaches guitar to underprivileged fairy folk. He believes music and love are what binds all life together.

Tour giveaway
Three lucky winners will win a signed copy of Mark of Destiny in paperback.
Drawing will be held on April 18th.

Exclusive Giveaway, enter to win  http://giveaway.azraeljames.com/

[#BlogTour] Saving Mercy by Abbie Roads

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Series: Fatal Truth Series
Genre: Dark Romantic Thriller
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Synopsis

SavingMercyHighRes copy

He’s found her at last…

Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man. His only redeeming quality? The extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch killers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his horrific past—and the one woman who might understand what it means.

Only to lose her to a nightmare

Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful—and in terrible danger. The moment Cain finds her the line between good and evil blurs and the only thing clear to them is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood—but is their bond strong enough to overcome the madness that stalks them?

 

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Excerpt

The rain came down gray and thick as a shroud, blurring his vision of the world. He flipped on the wipers and pulled out of the hospital parking lot onto the road. Fat blobs of smacked the windshield loud as marbles being tossed against the glass. Was that hail? As if it mattered. His car was trashed.

Cain had covered the passenger seat and all Mac’s blood with a blanket he kept in the trunk. Even though his view of all that crimson was blocked, his mind knew it was there and his eyes kept wandering to the blanket, calling up the image of the dark stickiness coating the seat and the floor. All that blood was playing touchy-feely with his sanity. And he wasn’t in the mood for games.

He drove past a gas station, a fast food restaurant, a person walking alongside the road. His foot hit the brake before his brain had a chance to talk him out of it.

Mercy.

Her hair was slicked to her skull, her clothes—his clothes—were sucked to her body, doing a shitty job of hiding her curves. At least the T-shirt she wore was black, not white. He pulled over to the berm and watched her in the rearview mirror.

She stopped walking, stared at the car—knew it was him—but didn’t move. Could he blame her for not wanting to be around him after what he’d said to her? Not really. And yet, he couldn’t leave her alone and walking in the rain with Payne still out there. Not to mention that she didn’t have anyone or anywhere to go.

She still hadn’t moved from her spot. He left the car running, opened his door and got out. The rain slapped him—frigid, bordering on icy, soaking his clothes and dripping in his eyes. The pressure of it hitting the wounds in his bicep and shoulder made him wince. But that was all the attention he’d give to the pain.

“Get in the car.” The words came out harsher than he’d intended.

She crossed her arms in front of her chest, lifted her head, and somehow managed to stare down her nose at him even though she was almost a foot shorter. “No.” She said the word as if it didn’t matter that they were standing in the middle of a downpour.

“Get in the goddamned car.” This time the words came out loud and angry sounding. Like that was going to win her over. What was his problem?

“Fuck you.” She looked miserable—all wet and shivery and yet feisty and taking none of his crap.

He should soften his tone. He should try to be nicer. He should, but his inner asshole seemed attracted to her inner bitch. “Where are you going? No where. You don’t have anywhere to go. You don’t have any money. You don’t have friends.” His voice softened and filled with some emotion he couldn’t name. “You don’t have anyone looking out for you, caring for you, able to help you in a pinch. You got no one.” He sucked in a breath and when he spoke next his voice was soft and pleading. “Except me.”

The moment he finished speaking he wanted to retract every goddamned one of those words he’d spoken. “I’m…Shit…” He ran a hand through his soaking hair. “Goddamn it. I’m a dick. Okay?” He softened his tone. “Now will you please get in the car?”

Her shoulders straightened, her chin lifted, and she walked forward without looking at him. He expecting her to stomp past the car, but she yanked open the passenger door and got in. Seconds passed where he just stood here, getting even more wet, and staring at the back of her head poking above the headrest.

“Now what?” He asked himself. Just what was he going to do with her? Drop her on Dolan? Yes. No. Yes. No. No. No. The last time he tried dropping her on someone she’d almost gotten hurt. If Mac hadn’t been able to keep her safe, he sure as shit wasn’t going to trust Dolan with her.

He got back in car. Every inch of him soaked. He brushed his hair back off his face and wiped the water from his eyes.

She stared out the passenger window, refusing to look at him. He reached over and touched her shoulder. Underneath his hand, her body tensed, then trembled. Shit. Was he scaring her?

He wrenched his hand off her and wanted to use the damned thing to slap himself around a little. Maybe then he’d get it through his stupid brain that she was fucking frightened of him. Too many words flooded his mind and he didn’t know which ones to say. The I’m-sorry ones. The I-won’t-hurt-you ones. The I’m-an-asshole ones. The I-don’t-know-what-to-do ones.

She turned to him. Rain slicked her cheeks. Or was that tears? Her beautiful eyes were the color of tropical waters—deep and fathomless. He held up his hands in a show of surrender and she flew across the console at him.

He closed his eyes, braced for the blows, but none came.

Instead, slender arms wrapped around him, her hair, cold and wet dripped against his chest, but her cheek over his heart was warm—so warm.

Maybe he’d had a stroke or something because this felt like she was hugging him. And that couldn’t be. Could it? He opened his eyes and looked down at her.

Yep. She was wound tight around the front of him. And suddenly his brain let him feel the total sensation of it. Of being held tight as if he mattered to her. He let his arms fall around her and squeezed, pressing her tighter to him. Damn, this felt good. She felt good. It was oddly comforting to have her clinging on to him so tight.

He closed his eyes and memorized the pressure of her arms around him and the way her hands pressed into his back. The way she felt in his arms, the subtle ripple of her spine and ribs underneath his fingers, the way her skin felt warm against his when every other part of him was cold.

If he’d been given a Stop Time button. This was the moment he would’ve used it. Here, holding her—the gentle lullaby of rain playing in the background—was the only perfect moment of his entire life.

 

SMDeathloveintheblood

About Abbie Roads

IMG_2582

Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. SAVING MERCY is the first book in her new Fatal Truth Series of dark, gritty, romantic suspense with a psychological twist.

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[#BlogTour & Giveaway] MOM @collinpiprell @AHerdofDeer #SciFi
















MOM
Magic Circles Series
Book 1
Collin Piprell

Genre: Sci Fi
Publisher: Common Deer Press
Date of Publication: April 5, 2017
ISBN: 9780995072961
ASIN: B01MZJ09T4
Number of pages: 373 pages
Word Count: 100k
Cover Artist: Common Deer Press

Tagline: A mystery thriller set in the second half of the twenty-first century, MOM is the first novel in Collin Piprell’s darkly comic and always thought-provoking MAGIC CIRCLES science-fiction series.

Book Description:

A GOD IS BORN!
TOO BAD ABOUT THE PERSONALITY DISORDER
So reads the graffito.
MOM is the mall operations manager — the greatest intelligence in history, a machine awakened to self-awareness at a time when the last few human survivors have withdrawn to the last two remaining refuges on Earth. Quarantined from the global nanobot superorganism outside the malls and from each other inside, the mallsters are utterly dependent on MOM for everything — including the ever-more suspect information they’re getting about the world Outside.
Now the malls are crumbling.
Amazon     Common Deer Press    BN

About the Author:

Collin Piprell is a Canadian writer and editor resident in Thailand. He is the author of four novels and a collection of humorous stories, now out of print, as well as four books on national parks, diving, and coral reefs, which are also out of print.  *MOM* is the first novel of a science-fiction trilogy in progress. Visit http://www.collinpiprell.com to learn more.