Tag Archives: blog tour

Guest Posts: Forks in the Road: Investigating my own writing process By Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler

I write how I read, in multiples. I typically have several writing projects going on at once, usually a picture book, middle grade, and a YA (and then the occasional non-fiction piece for work). Switching between genres helps keep my brain fresh. If I have been working on one piece for a while, and writer’s block looms, I switch to another project for a while to maintain momentum.

The variance in my approach to writing picture books versus novels isn’t necessarily intentional, but rather the formats of the genres lend themselves to different paths. Of course, every author must discover their own writing groove, and the following is what works for me. 

Picture Books 

Picture books are recommended to be 1000 words or less, with the emphasis on or less. To keep focused, I have to be methodical. The limited word count requires every word to have purpose. After the idea hits me, I list all the page spread numbers first. I favor writing picture books in short bursts, mirroring the brevity of the picture book’s page length.

First, I determine the climax and hook and which page spread the climax will fall. Of course, this spread is moveable, but I like to have a target to build toward. My current books all contain back matter, as they are addressing facts about the natural world and yoga. I calculate in the back matter to my page count, as to not go over the recommended page length. All of the back matter is referenced or connected to the book content, so I ensure to use consistent terminology through the book. 

Also as illustrations are involved, I think about which pages lend themselves to full page spreads and which are single-page illustrations. Having a vision for the overall book concept helps me to balance the text. Of course the editor might suggest moving things around, but my picture book editor likes for me to have some vision for the illustrations before we start.

Picture books consist of many moving parts!

YA Novels

With picture books, I tend to write more than required and then cut back on the unnecessary details; however, with novels I do the opposite. For the first draft, I focus on assembling the skeleton, which for me means dialogue and the major plot points. I add descriptive details and the “color” in subsequent drafts. 

For novels, I have the exposition, climax, and resolution determined first, and then figure out how to get there. After writing the exposition, I formulate a timeline of major plotline events. I never know how many chapters a book will have until it’s finished.

I prefer to write novels in longer strides, so if I don’t have at least time to knock out a chapter I wait and work on something else. When I get stuck, I take a break (notice I said when and not if, blocks happen to every writer). Often my breakthrough ideas come when I’m doing something else, like driving, gardening, and particularly after teaching a yoga class!

Understanding your typical patterns will help you to be a more efficient and productive writer; however, most importantly, know how to take a quality break. 

When Daddy Shows Me the Sky (picture book) from Belle Isle Books, released 11.19.21

Whispering Through Water (YA) from Monarch Educational Services, released 1.4.23

When Mama Grows with Me (picture book) from Belle Isle Books (releases Summer 2023)

Instagram: @rebeccawwheeler_author

Twitter: @RWW_author

www.rebeccawwheeler.com

Publisher: Monarch Educational Services, L.L.C

ISBN-10: 1957656052

ISBN-13: 978-1957656052

ASIN: ‎B0BCCW8T54

Print length: 265 pages

Purchase a copy of Whispering Through Water on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

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About the Author

Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler was raised in West Point, a small town in the Tidewater region of Virginia. From the moment she submitted her first short story to a young author’s contest in second grade, Rebecca knew she wanted to be a writer. Her love of writing led her to earn a BA in English and an MEd in English education. She spent several years as a high school teacher, during which she also developed a passion for mental health advocacy. Rebecca completed an MA in professional counseling and now works in the school-based mental health field and as a college adjunct psychology instructor. Rebecca also teaches yoga for the young and the young at heart, and she likes to infuse yoga and breathwork in her counseling practice wherever she can. 

She believes the most valuable use of her time is teaching youth how to love and care for each other and the world around them. Her stories share her focus on positive relationships and a love of nature. Rebecca now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, two children, and two spoiled Siamese cats.

Whispering Through Water is her first YA novel and second book. Her picture book When Daddy Shows Me the Sky was released November 2021. You can follow Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccawwheeler_author and www.rebeccawwheeler.com.

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Blog Tour Calendar

January 9th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. We interview the author and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

January 10th @ Mindy McGinnis’ blog

Visit Mindy’s blog to read Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler’s guest post about things she’s learned about the author and editor relationship.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

January 10th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews

Visit Lu Ann’s blog for her review of Whispering Through Water. You also have the chance to win a copy of the book!

January 11th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog for an interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

January 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he shares his thoughts about Whispering Through Water.

January 13th @ A Storybook World

Deirdre features Whispering Through Water in a book spotlight.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 14th @ Just Katherine

Katherine treats us to an excerpt of Whispering Through Water.

https://justkatherineblog.wordpress.com/

January 15th @ Reading is My Remedy

Join Chelsie for a review of Whispering Through Water.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

January 16th @ One Writer’s Journey

Sue shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about how her graduate program in counseling helped her write fiction.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

January 18th @ Word Magic

Fiona spotlights Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

January 19th @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

Visit Joan’s blog for her insights about Whispering Through Water.

https://bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/

January 21st @ Life According to Jamie

Visit Jamie’s blog for her thoughts about Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

January 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Join Anthony as he shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about her different processes when writing young adult versus picture books.

January 26th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews the book Whispering Through Water.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

January 27th @ Storeybook Reviews

Come by Leslie’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.

https://storeybookreviews.com/

January 28th @ Reading is My Remedy

Cheslie shares a guest post from Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about gardening.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

February 1st @ Beverley A. Baird

Join Beverley as she reviews Whispering Through Water.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 2nd @ Celticlady’s Reviews

Check out a book spotlight of Whispering Through Water. A must-read book to add to your collection!

https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

February 2nd @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog again for a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about growing up in a small town.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 5th @ The Mommies Reviews

Join Glenda as she reviews Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://themommiesreviews.com/

February 6th @ One Writer’s Journey

Sue will be interviewing Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. Learn more about this prolific writer!

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

February 7th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Whispering Through Water. She also shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about simple things to do at home to be more eco-friendly.

https://liberateandlather.com/

February 9th @ Chapter Break

Julie interviews author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about books, writing, life, and more. 

https://chapterbreak.net/

February 10th @ From the TBR Pile

Visit Kari’s blog for a review of Whispering Through Water.

https://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/

February 11th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Visit Linda’s blog for an in-depth interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler and her book Whispering Through Water.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

Blog Tour Post: Hummus on Rye by Karenna Colcroft

Hi everyone! I hope you will enjoy this special blog tour post from author Karenna Colcroft on 5 Random Facts about Boston North Pack, as part of the blog tour of the book “Hummus on Rye”.


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5 Random Facts About Boston North Pack

In my series Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat, vegan werewolf Kyle Slidell and his mate Tobias Rogan, the Alpha, are members of a pack called Boston North. In my universe, packs are named based on geography, usually something like a town that’s part of their territory or a geographic feature in the territory. Boston North isn’t technically in the northern part of Boston, though, nor is it in the North End; it’s in East Boston, which is north of a lot of the rest of the city.

Boston geography is confusing…(spoken as someone who’s lived here for over thirteen years).

I haven’t shared a lot about Boston North as a pack since I started rereleasing the series. Then again, I didn’t share much about it when the books were originally published either. So I thought I’d give readers a glimpse at the pack that Kyle and Tobias call family.

  1. Originally, Boston North Pack wasn’t called that. It was simply called Boston Pack. When the pack was established, its territory encompassed most of Massachusetts east of the Connecticut River, other than the southeasternmost part of the state along with Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. (Those are the territory of Cape Pack.) Even at that time, Boston Pack was the only pack with members living within the limits of a major city. And then…
  2. In the late 1800s, another pack came to Boston not realizing that Boston Pack existed. At the time, there wasn’t much communication among packs, and Boston Pack had few members who were scattered throughout the territory. A larger pack, which had lost its territory in a conflict with yet another pack, came to eastern Massachusetts assuming the territory was up for grabs. When that pack’s Alpha, Chal Torres, realized there was a pack already in the area, he met with the Boston Pack’s Alpha and formed an alliance that allowed Boston Pack to claim territory around its Alpha’s home in East Boston, while Chal’s pack took over the rest of the territory. Boston Pack became Boston North Pack; Chal’s pack became known as City Pack.
  3. Boston North Pack and City Pack are the only two packs, at least in the United States, that have cooperated as far as territory and collaboration between alphas. It’s a very unusual situation, but it works well for both packs.
  4. Boston North is the smallest pack in the United States, both in terms of numbers (at the beginning of the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series, Boston North has thirteen members after Kyle is changed; by Hummus on Rye, that number has decreased to ten) and in terms of territory (Boston North’s territory only encompasses East Boston and the town of Winthrop). 
  5. The entire pack lives in a cluster of three apartment buildings on the East Boston waterfront, across the street from Piers Park. The buildings were originally owned by a pack member; when he passed away, his son—who is human, since wolfiness isn’t hereditary in this universe, and didn’t know his father was a werewolf—inherited the buildings. And proceeded, much to the dismay of some pack members, to rent to humans as well as the pack.

That’s a little glimpse into Boston North Pack. If you have questions, please leave them in the comments!

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Hummus on Rye - Karenna Colcroft

Karenna Colcroft has a new MM paranormal romance out, Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat book 3: Hummus on Rye. And there’s a giveaway!

A six-year-old human child, who recently moved with his single father into the heart of the Boston North Pack’s territory, is missing–and Alpha Tobias Rogan has been framed for kidnapping the boy. Meanwhile, a new pack member with a traumatic past has drawn Saul Hughes, the rogue Alpha with a grudge against Tobias, to Boston.

Kyle Slidell, Tobias’s mate, spots Saul and realizes he must be behind the child’s kidnapping. But Saul has retained his powers and uses them to erase his presence from the minds of all of the other Boston wolves. Only Kyle, with his unusual immunity to compulsion, is able to remember seeing the rogue.

To protect his mate and save the little boy, Kyle will violate shifter law and ignore direct orders from the ruler of the Northeast Region werewolves. But will he survive the fallout?

Warnings: mention of sexual assault in characters’ pasts

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Karenna is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47270/


Excerpt

I JOLTED awake at about two in the morning, not immediately certain what had awakened me. Not a scream this time, thank goodness. I rolled toward Tobias, hoping that he might be awake too. We could either cuddle the way he liked or work up some exertion that would hopefully put me back to sleep.

He wasn’t there.

“Tobias?” I spoke just loudly enough for him to hear if he was in the apartment. He didn’t answer.

Where are you? I asked, tapping into our mate bond to communicate with him mind-to-mind.

He still didn’t answer, but at least I sensed him at the other end of our connection. He wasn’t hurt or anything. He just wasn’t responding at the moment.

That told me something. If he’d been walking around town in human form, as he sometimes did when he couldn’t sleep, he would have answered me. The fact that he hadn’t meant he was either really, really pissed or he’d shifted.

I slid out of bed and pulled on my shorts, then pulled aside the curtain on the window that looked out to the garden. After his warning to the pack, I didn’t think he would have shifted out there, but if he’d been desperate enough to go wolf he might have. After all, it was well past the hour that most six-year-olds—or most adults, for that matter—would be awake and looking out windows.

I didn’t see Tobias. If he had shifted, he might have gone for a run in the park. I usually left him alone when he did that. This time, it seemed important to find him. I wasn’t sure why, but I wasn’t about to question the instinct. I put on a T-shirt and my shoes and headed out the front door.

Being out there this late as a human wasn’t necessarily the smartest thing. We did live in a relatively safe part of the city. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean there were never assaults in our neighborhood. Roderic’s attack had been specifically targeted at a member—any member—of Boston North Pack, on orders from Saul Hughes. Saul was still out there somewhere; I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d repeated himself by hiring other human gang members to go after our pack and City Pack. I hadn’t heard about any random attacks in this neighborhood since I’d lived there. Those could still happen, though.

I didn’t think too much about that. Right then, my goal was finding my mate. He only went wolf in the city when he was very stressed and needed to run. I didn’t know what was going on, and I didn’t want to leave him alone until I found out.

Wind off the harbor cut through my clothes, but I barely noticed. I made it across the street easily enough and into Piers Park, which closed at sunset. A police car sat at the curb, supposedly to make sure no one entered the park after dark. If any police officers were sitting in the car, they didn’t notice me.

“Tobias?” I called softly. That wasn’t the smartest thing either. If Tobias was there, he would probably hear me. So would any other wolves who happened to be there. Even though Piers Park was part of our territory, we’d been invaded by wolves from other packs before.

Tobias still didn’t answer, but I caught a glimpse of white out of the corner of my eye. When I turned to look full-on, it had vanished behind the brick building that sat in the middle of the park.

If you’re here, please just answer me, I said.

Go home.

At least he was speaking to me. Are you all right?

Go home.

When most werewolves shifted, they held onto a little bit of their human side. Tobias could communicate with me, but his side was likely to be a little bit repetitive. When I shifted, I kept most of my humanity, higher-level thinking skills and all. Apparently that was just another way I was weird in the world of werewolves.

I didn’t leave the park. Tobias wasn’t happy about having me there, but under the annoyance I sensed some relief. He didn’t like being alone.

I walked over to one of the benches and sat down. I’ll wait.

Need to run. Go home.

I won’t get in your way, Tobias, I replied. I just want to make sure you’re all right.

Go home!

This time, compulsion coursed through the words. Not that it did any good. I didn’t bother answering him. He knew I wasn’t going anywhere.

After a couple minutes, a white streak ran out from behind the building and down the park toward the sailing club docks. For a little while, he just kept running back and forth. He didn’t tell me to leave again. He just ignored me completely. I was fine with that. I hadn’t gone over there to have a conversation. I just wanted to make sure he didn’t do anything dangerous.

The wind started to get to me, and I thought about going back to the apartment. Tobias was still running and probably would be for a while. He hadn’t gone anywhere near the harbor, just kept running the same course back and forth from one end of the park to the other, so he’d probably be okay.

Just as I stood up, a furry form leaped over the wall and ran straight toward my mate.


Author Bio

Karenna Colcroft

Karenna Colcroft lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts, and has been in love with the city since childhood, though she has yet to encounter any werewolves, vampires, or other paranormal beings in her travels. At least none that she knows of. Though since in her non-writing life, under another name, she offers services as a channel and energy healing practitioner, it could be said that she herself is a paranormal being. The jury’s still out on that.

Karenna is a polyamorous, nonbinary human who splits time between the home she shares with her husband and the one she shares with her committed partner. She also has two adult children and a bonus son, three grandchildren, and two and a half cats. (Half in terms of time the cat lives with her, not in terms of the cat itself…)

Author Website: https://karennacolcroft.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/riverlightbearer/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/KarennaColcroft

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/karenna-colcroft/

 

Other Worlds Ink logo

Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman hoping to strike out on her own and make her own future struggles with a powerful family matriarch and an equally powerful family secret that can either gain her the leverage she needs or divide her family further in author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler’s “Whispering Through Water”.

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The Synopsis

The coming-of-age story follows Gwyn Madison, the summer after her high school graduation, as she grapples with her fast-approaching future. She’ll have to face more than she bargained for with her Aunt Delia, the family matriarch, who holds the purse strings and the final word.  In the meantime, Gwyn stumbles upon a tightly held family secret. Could a mysterious letter provide Gwyn the leverage she desires? Will it only bring more family division? Or, maybe, the past was never meant to stay buried after all. Whispering Through Water navigates family dynamics, young love, and female autonomy with a little 1990s nostalgia.

The Review

This was a memorable and engaging coming-of-age story. The author did an incredible job of capturing the powerful themes of family secrets, seeking independence, and family dynamics as a whole. The imagery and atmosphere the author was able to layer into the story really brought the scenes in each chapter to life so vividly, especially the moments between Gwyn and her aunt, as her Aunt Delia became a powerful figure immediately within the context of the story.

The brilliant character development and intimate mystery within this family all helped bring this coming-of-age story to life on the page. The emotional depth of the relationships this family and cast of characters have established in this story was fantastic, and the way Delia’s past began to unravel slowly over time kept me as a reader invested in the narrative.

The Verdict

Breathtaking, entertaining, and memorable, author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler’s “Whispering Through Water” is a must-read coming-of-age novel. The rich 90’s setting and emotional rollercoaster of a journey the cast of characters find themselves on help elevate this story to new heights, and showcase how time and time again, life proves to be a never-ending journey to educate and learn from our pasts to help preserve other people’s futures. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler was raised in West Point, a small town in the Tidewater region of Virginia. From the moment she submitted her first short story to a young author’s contest in second grade, Rebecca knew she wanted to be a writer. Her love of writing led her to earn a BA in English and an MEd in English education. She spent several years as a high school teacher, during which she also developed a passion for mental health advocacy. Rebecca completed an MA in professional counseling and now works in the school-based mental health field and as a college adjunct psychology instructor. Rebecca also teaches yoga for the young and the young at heart, and she likes to infuse yoga and breathwork in her counseling practice wherever she can. 

She believes the most valuable use of her time is teaching youth how to love and care for each other and the world around them. Her stories share her focus on positive relationships and a love of nature. Rebecca now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, two children, and two spoiled Siamese cats.

Whispering Through Water is her first YA novel and second book. Her picture book When Daddy Shows Me the Sky was released November 2021. You can follow Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccawwheeler_author and www.rebeccawwheeler.com.

Purchase a copy of Whispering Through Water on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

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Blog Tour Calendar

January 9th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. We interview the author and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

January 10th @ Mindy McGinnis’ blog

Visit Mindy’s blog to read Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler’s guest post about things she’s learned about the author and editor relationship.

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

January 10th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews

Visit Lu Ann’s blog for her review of Whispering Through Water. You also have the chance to win a copy of the book!

January 11th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Visit Lisa’s blog for an interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

January 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he shares his thoughts about Whispering Through Water.

January 13th @ A Storybook World

Deirdre features Whispering Through Water in a book spotlight.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 14th @ Just Katherine

Katherine treats us to an excerpt of Whispering Through Water.

https://justkatherineblog.wordpress.com/

January 15th @ Reading is My Remedy

Join Chelsie for a review of Whispering Through Water.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

January 16th @ One Writer’s Journey

Sue shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about how her graduate program in counseling helped her write fiction.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

January 18th @ Word Magic

Fiona spotlights Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

January 19th @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

Visit Joan’s blog for her insights about Whispering Through Water.

https://bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/

January 21st @ Life According to Jamie

Visit Jamie’s blog for her thoughts about Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

January 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog

Join Anthony as he shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about her different processes when writing young adult versus picture books.

January 26th @ World of My Imagination

Nicole reviews the book Whispering Through Water.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

January 27th @ Storeybook Reviews

Come by Leslie’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.

https://storeybookreviews.com/

January 28th @ Reading is My Remedy

Cheslie shares a guest post from Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about gardening.

https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

February 1st @ Beverley A. Baird

Join Beverley as she reviews Whispering Through Water.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 2nd @ Celticlady’s Reviews

Check out a book spotlight of Whispering Through Water. A must-read book to add to your collection!

https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

February 2nd @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog again for a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about growing up in a small town.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 5th @ The Mommies Reviews

Join Glenda as she reviews Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.

https://themommiesreviews.com/

February 6th @ One Writer’s Journey

Sue will be interviewing Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. Learn more about this prolific writer!

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

February 7th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Whispering Through Water. She also shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about simple things to do at home to be more eco-friendly.

https://liberateandlather.com/

February 9th @ Chapter Break

Julie interviews author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about books, writing, life, and more. 

https://chapterbreak.net/

February 10th @ From the TBR Pile

Visit Kari’s blog for a review of Whispering Through Water.

https://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/

February 11th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Visit Linda’s blog for an in-depth interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler and her book Whispering Through Water.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

Blog Tour Post: Resistance by M.D. Grimm

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Resistance - M.D. Grimm

M.D. Grimm has a new MM sci-fi romance out, Saga of the Bold People book 3: Resistance.

Can a retired assassin be the savior his people need?

How does a former assassin save his fellow humans from extinction? By allying them with mrrogs of course!

But that’s easier said than done as humans are understandably distrustful and suspicious of sescurei, the official species of the InterGalactic community. Leopold must convince them that Mastrodai’s offer of alliance isn’t a trick, which means diplomacy, patience, and tenacity. Times like this make him grateful that he has two strong mates to lean on. And when it comes to understanding his own people, he’d be wise to follow Alex’s lead.

Alex has been too long away from her family and is thrilled to see them again. But with reunions come old pressures, old doubts, and old wounds. She must negotiate who she was with who she is, while helping her mates and her colony come together with the shared goal of freedom.

Mastrodai, meanwhile, finds himself in the minority for the first time in his life, and the constant hostility has him doubting the wisdom of their choices. But he’s devoted to his human mates and determined to see things through no matter the discomfort… or danger.

Not everyone wants what Leopold and his mates have to give, and he needs to break through the resistance humans have built up after generations of degradation, humiliation, and fear. He must win his people’s trust, solve the riddle of his parents’ rings, and navigate the new complexities of his love life.

Being an assassin was so much easier.

Series Blurb:

Leopold is a human in an alien-dominated InterGalactic Community. He gained a reputation as the assassin Voidstriker, until his identity was revealed. He soon finds himself reassessing his life, his mission, and his own identity.

Having spent his entire life driven by hate and fear, he soon finds himself motivated by hope and love. He decides on a new mission in life: freeing the human species. It will be a long, hard road, and one he can’t walk alone. Even as his allies grow in number, he will most depend on his mates–Mastrodai, the mrrog prince, and Alexandra, a fellow human, his best friend, and their lover.

Along with Sasha, a young girl with extraordinary abilities. Leopold is no stranger to challenges but this might be his greatest trial yet.

Universal Buy Link


Excerpt

Resistance meme - M.D. Grimm

After I docked and killed the engines, the hangar doors closed and the airlock door slid open. In the doorway stood a panting young man, who resembled Alex enough I surmised that was Darius. He had the same pale skin, the same fair hair, and the shape of face was reminiscent of Alex, but his eyes were a dark brown. He stared at the DV as if afraid it would vanish.

I’d kept the opaque shield over the viewing glass to keep Mastrodai hidden for as long as

possible. I suspected there were cameras here, and I needed the reveal to be on my terms.

Alex let out a strangled breath before jumping to her feet and running. She didn’t wait for the DV’s doors to lower completely. She jumped off the ramp much to my and Mastrodai’s panic. We hurried after her but I pressed a hand to Mastrodai’s chest to hold him back. I peeked around the corner and even my stone heart softened a bit. They collided in a flurry of tears and laughter, and he swung her off her feet. They peppered kisses over each other’s faces before he set her back down. But they didn’t let go. Instead they talked over each other, and despite knowing Terran, I couldn’t understand a damn thing.

“Stay inside a bit longer.”

Mastrodai growled.

“Shhh!”

Glowering, he crouched in the shadows of the DV, and I patted his head before trailing after Alex.

Darius was a strapping young man in his black, armored uniform. Two aeunni were holstered at his hips, much like how I wore mine. Both shoulders had a triangle patch. I couldn’t make out the details but they were yellow. He looked like he needed a good sleep but other than that, he appeared well-fed and alert.

Though his eyes were now red from crying.

I stood near them for a moment before Darius noticed me. It amused me when he held his sister tighter, his eyes narrowing. I recognized instant defender mode and couldn’t fault him for it. I was a stranger and that was his beloved, long-lost sister. A sister who’d helped raise him.

I kept my expression neutral and my hands in sight. I nodded to him.

“Hello. Good to meet you.”

“Alex?” he asked, that one word dripping with suspicion.

Alex took a breath and stepped back, breaking his grip. She took my hand and laced our fingers.

“Darius, this is Leopold. He’s my partner, so stop glaring at him.”

Darius’s eyes widened as he flicked his gaze between us. “He… you… what? What happened?”

“I’ll explain everything later, I promise. But we need you to meet our other companion, and you need to help us get an audience with the entire leadership.”

“Why? Dammit, Alex, you have to tell me something. You show up here after cycles of us believing that you were dead or worse, and now you have a partner who looks like he could kill me with his little finger, and you’re acting all mysterious.”

I swallowed a laugh. He wasn’t wrong.

“I will.” She grabbed his hand and squeezed hard enough that he grimaced. “But this is important. Veryimportant, to all of us. Just stay calm while we introduce you to our other partner.”

“‘Other partner’?” Darius scratched his head, looking dazed. “I am so confused.”

Alex bit her lower lip.

I called over my shoulder. “Now’s a good a time as any, Mastrodai.”

I made sure to pronounce his name correctly, not the way I normally did, with all the required growls.

Mastrodai’s heavy steps down the ramp had Darius bracing. I shifted my weight to the balls of my feet and let go of Alex’s hand while taking a subtle step in front of her. Mastrodai wore the armored suit I’d made him almost a Mragin year ago, just as I wore my armtina breastplate, but his head wasn’t protected. It was a gamble that I hoped would pay off. A helmet would other him more than he already would be among a ship full of humans. Mastrodai stepped into view, standing tall and proud, but weaponless and showing his hands.

Darius yelped and went for his aeunn.

At the same time, alarms sounded, proving that someone must have been watching the cameras. Mastrodai glared at the flashing lights, his ears flat against his head in deference to the noise.

“Darius, no!”

I leapt and tackled Darius, disarming him and tossing away his second aeunn. He struggled and fought, screaming. He had strength and passion but I had training and years of practice. I managed to roll him onto his stomach and with a knee to his back, I yanked up his arm behind him, pinning him.

“Don’t hurt him! Oh Void, Leopold!”

“Show him, Alex! Show him that Mastrodai isn’t a threat.”

With a sob, Alex ran to Mastrodai and hugged him. He held her tightly, purring, eyes and ears alert for any other aggression. Alex looked back at Darius, pleading with her eyes.

Darius stilled, frozen in shock.


Author Bio

M.D. Grimm Logo

M.D. Grimm has wanted to write stories since second grade (kind of young to make life decisions, but whatever) and nothing has changed since then (well, plenty of things actually, but not that!). Thankfully, she has indulgent parents who let her dream, but also made sure she understood she’d need a steady job to pay the bills (they never let her forget it!).

After graduating from the University of Oregon and majoring in English, (let’s be honest: useless degree, what else was she going to do with it?) she started on her writing career and couldn’t be happier.

Working by day and writing by night (or any spare time she can carve out), she enjoys embarking on romantic quests and daring adventures (living vicariously, you could say) and creating characters that always triumph against the villain, (or else what’s the point?) finding their soul mate in the process.

Author Website: https://www.mdgrimmwrites.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001710645622

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4574220.M_D_GrimmAuthor

Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-grimm/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/M.D.-Grimm/e/B00I0KZMY6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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And Now, Here is a Message and Excerpt of Resistance from author M.D. Grimm

Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, Resistance. This is the latest entry in the Saga of the Bold People. I am thrilled to release a new book in this series. These are super-novels and take twice as long as my other books to write (if I’m lucky). So, if you like grumpy, pessimistic former assassins and their long-suffering mates, as well as a dystopian setting with hope hanging on by a thread, this series might be for you!

Check out the below excerpt to learn a little bit about Alex, the woman who captured both a former assassin’s heart (Leopold) and an elite alien’s (Mastrodai). I was thrilled to finally present her voice. This is from the prologue:

***

“Alexandra Petrov, you get your ass down here now!”

Before I could answer, others shoved Mila down farther, wanting the relative safety of the dark bunker. I let her be torn from me and backed away to help the other mothers.

“Sara, you dropped your blanket, here. June, be careful, the first step is slippery. Here, let me take that, Gabe. No, no Devon, support the head.”

Devon, a new father, shaky with terror, managed to comprehend my words and held his newborn tighter to his chest. Amy, his wife, clung to his arm as she shuffled as fast as she could. She’d been forced to have a C-section, and I feared she’d pass out. I grabbed her other arm and steadied her down the steps, while trying not to block others.

I struggled to count heads in the dark and worried there were too many of us for the bunker. That was the main reason for Gerald coordinating descents. It was for safety as well as to make sure everyone got a turn.

Garbled Veruvian came closer, and the hair on the back of my neck rose as if our pursuers were breathing down my neck.

“Hurry!” I whispered.

But they weren’t moving fast enough and the bunker was almost filled to bursting. Raiders would soon be upon us. I had a choice to make.

A choice that would mean goodbye to everyone and everything I knew and loved. I caught Layla’s frantic glance over her shoulder. I gazed at Tula and Talia, twins who’d also given birth to twins, and their spouses, Roger and Edna. These people were my extended family, forged through shared experiences, both good and bad, rather than blood. 

Tears threatened but I swallowed them back. As with every other time when fear tried to consume me, I bricked it up behind a wall of numbness. Of emotionless instinct. When my father yelled at me, beat me, I’d grown numb. When my mother insulted and berated me, I’d grown numb. And now, it would be my salvation once again.

Mila and the others and their babies were all that mattered.

I turned to face the raiders and ran straight for them. It was too dark for anyone to notice, which gave me a chance at a semblance of stealth. I followed the voices, sticking as close to the shadows as I could. My heart still raced, and my mouth and throat were as dry as a desert, but my mind was focused. Distraction. Time. I needed to give both so the others could close the door to the bunker and secure themselves.

Our little village wasn’t in the best shape, and I used that to my advantage. I grabbed a flimsy plank of wood and broke it into smaller pieces on my knee. The sounds made a few raiders shift away from the rest to investigate. My vision had adjusted to the darkness and, considering none of them had lights on their helmets or rejlfei, they probably had natural night vision. I couldn’t determine their species, and I didn’t much care. It didn’t matter.

With a courage I knew Mila would be proud of, I screamed at them and threw the wood shards at their heads. They flinched, the suddenness of my attack catching them off guard.

“To the Void with you aliens! I spit on your home planets!” I said in Veruvian.

Someone barked out a harsh order, and most came after me. It would have to do. I ran. I ran in the opposite direction. I ran until daggers scraped my lungs, until my legs burned, until fatigue made me stumble. I knew I couldn’t escape. Didn’t matter. Time. Distraction. My freedom was already gone.

They didn’t shoot at me, wanting me alive. Though that didn’t mean they wouldn’t harm me, punish me for the insults. I tightened on the numbness that protected me like armor. It was just my body they would hurt. Not me. They would never touch Alex Petrov. Not where it mattered.

A tranq finally stopped me.

***

The first three books of the Saga of the Bold People are available for purchase at Amazon (also in print!) and Smashwords. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects.

For fans of The Stones of Power series, I have finished the first draft of Jade: First and Last (9) and am now rigorously editing it. I hope to release it in Spring 2023, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I will be releasing Crimson Purity, the next in the Shifter Chronicles book, in January 2023. I am also working on an MMF single title with dragons and outlining the next Shifter Chronicles book. Wish me luck!

More information on my catalog can be found at my website.

I hope you stay safe and healthy, and may dragons guard your dreams,

M.D. Grimm

Androids & Aliens by J. Scott Coatsworth Blog Tour & Author Interview

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New Release / Giveaway: Androids & Aliens - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi collection out: Androids & Aliens. And there’s a giveaway.

Androids & Aliens is Scott’s third short story collection – eight sci fi and sci-fantasy shorts that run the gamut from cyborgs to (comedic) alien invasions:

Rise: Because of the rise in sea levels associated with climate change, Venice vanished beneath the lagoon half a century ago. But what if we could bring it back?

Ping: I was a real estate agent by day and a museum curator in the evenings at a sci-fi museum. What I saw one night changed everything.

What the Rain Brings: Miriam struggles to make a living in post-climate-change Vancouver. But her friend Catalina has it even worse in the Arizona desert. So Miri hatches a plan.

High Seven: Zan dreams of making full reals – immersive live virtual reality skins – but his low test score may doom him to a life of cheap graphic coding.

Full Real: Dek’s given up his life of spying for the city. But one more case awaits him. Will he regret it more if he takes it. or if he turns it down?

Shit City: The Bay Area’s being walloped by a hurricane, and seventeen-year-old Jason Vasquez has been relocated to a refugee city in the Nevada Desert. Will it be temporary shelter, or a change of life?

Firedrake: Kerry has always wondered about his deadly powers. But a mysterious bunch of violet roses start him on the path to discovery – even if he’s not sure he’s going to like what he finds.

The Last Human Heart: I’m one of the Remainers, the few cyborg humans still living on this busted planet. But if my still-human heart finally gives out, I may not live to find out the truth.

This is the first time all of these stories have all been collected in one place, and the first time the Pacific Climate Tryptich – What the Rain Brings, High Seven, and Full real – have been published in any form.

Warnings: Full Real contains attempted kidnapping and references to off-page physical and sexual abuse.

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47265/?


Excerpt

Androids & Aliens meme

From The Last Human Heart

I slip out of the culvert as the sun falls behind the tawny hills on the horizon, a green flash lighting the sky. My heart beats at a steady pace.

Climbing back up onto the highway, I check the co-ordinates. With luck and a steady pace, I should reach the Trading Station by morning.

The stag crosses my mind again, that strange stare, beast to beast. There’s so little out here for it to live on or in, no trees or shade or shelter from the blistering sun. Just grass. Lots and lots of grass. Where did you go?

Taking one measured step after another, I start on my way, timing them to the beating of my heart.

A heady sense of possibility fills my chest. It’s strange, something I haven’t felt in years. I’ve traveled the length of the continent, from New York to California. I’ve been to Alaska and as far south as the isthmus, where rising seas finally finished the work of the Panama Canal, severing North and South America. In a few short centuries, humankind accomplished what Nature had labored for eons to do.

An hour later, I get my first look at the towers of Sacramento. I haven’t been here in decades, but it looks much the same as before. Its hulking skyscrapers and superscrapers look like bloody teeth in the infrared. Many are broken. Some still standing, others long since crashed back to the ground whence they came. They glow with stored heat, slowly bleeding it off into the atmosphere as the air cools.

Whence they came? I snort. I’m in rare form tonight—practically Shakespearian. Erik would have teased me endlessly for that.

I frown. He’s been on my mind a lot lately. Mortality having her fun with me?

I flash back to nights in Shanghai, fighting with my metal brothers and sisters in the street-to-street combat of the last wars. Flashes of light and explosions as nano bombs fell into civilian neighborhoods, eating everything in their path—stone and brick, flesh and bone.

I shudder. I should delete those memories—they only bring me pain. And yet… sometimes we need to remember the pain, so we don’t repeat it. But we can’t let it define us.

Who said that? Erik? My father?

No. It was Cassie. My erstwhile traveling companion for a couple years after the upload. When all that remained in this empty, broken world were the bots and empty, broken cyborgs like Cassie and me.

She’d finally shut herself down two decades ago. I’m tired of living, David.

Pain leaches away some of my good will. Maybe she had it right. Maybe it’s time for me, too, to give in to the inevitable. But I’m not quite ready yet, so I just keep moving.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a yellow bungalow in Sacramento. He was indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine. He devoured her library, but as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were.

He decided that if there weren’t queer characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi, QueeRomance Ink, and Other Worlds Ink with Mark, sites that celebrate fiction reflecting queer reality, and is the committee chair for the Indie Authors Committee at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Author Mastodon: https://mastodon.lol/@jscottcoatsworth

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jscottcoatsworth/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth?from_search=true

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

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Author Interview

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

Yes, always! Ever since I started writing seriously, I’ve made a point of including folks from across the LGBTQ spectrum. I’ve also written BIPOC characters, a deaf character, and one with OCD. In Androids and Aliens, most of the characters are gay, but there’s a non-binary character and a lesbian couple as well. And do cyborgs count? 😛

How do you approach covers for your indie stories?

I create most of my own these days. I’ve been using photoshop in our day job for years to work on photos for our websites, and have learned to use it more creatively these last three. I’ve also had some help with typography and cover design from Kelley York at Sleepy Fox Designs. She did the type for A&A too. 🙂

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Astronomer. Writer. Rock Star.

I always loved signing, but somehow I just didn’t have the rock star vibe. I wanted to be an astronomer, and then I found out how much math it took to be an astronomer. I just wanted to look at the pretty nebulas, planets and stars. So that left “writer”!

What action would your name be if it were a verb?

To bounce one’s leg in a frenetic fashion.

“That guy scotted his leg so hard he knocked over the table.”

*grin*

What are you working on now?

I’m just about finished with a new four book trilogy. Yeah, you read that right. It was supposed to be three, but the last book was too long so I split it in half. It’s called the Tharassas Cycle, and it’s loosely connected to my other two trilogies. Book one, The Dragon Eater, will release in March.

The audiobook version of Skythane, my first novel, will be out in audio in February.

And next, I’ll be starting on Coredivers, book two of the Redemption Cycle, after Dropnauts.

Rebirth: Real-Life Stories About What Happens When You Let Go and Let Life Lead by Kate Brenton Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author and podcaster Kate Brenton take readers on a journey to discover how one leap or small decision can lead to life-changing results in the book “Rebirth: Real-Life Stories About What Happens When You Let Go and Let Life Lead”.

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The Synopsis

When life is calling, often we need only the space and the support to remember our way. Sometimes we lean into our expansion, and sometimes we bolt from our greatness. The biggest shock is that big change happens in small choices. In Rebirth you will find real-life stories of people who made courageous leaps, inspiring you to make your own. It’s time to step out of line and back into the spiral of life—that’s where the alchemy is. This book fits right into the side pocket of your bag + your life to inspire you as you read others’ stories of how they listened and learned to make embodied changes in their own lives.

The Review

This was a well-written and inspiring read. The author did a tremendous job of finding just the right balance of humor and charm in her writing with the hopeful stories the author collected from people. The sincerity and honesty with which these stories were delivered spoke to the inspiring tone the book held overall.

Yet it was the guidance and stories themselves that really brought the book together. The author delved into a number of topics for self-improvement and overall wellness through these stories, from how we define beauty to the never-ending journey to improve upon ourselves. The thoughtful and caring way the author presented these stories to the reader was truly remarkable.

The Verdict

Touching, engaging, and meaningful, author Kate Brenton’s “Rebirth” is a must-read self-help book of 2022. The teachable moments of this book mesh well with the heartwarming tales of overcoming the odds and finding oneself that define this book. The passion and heart that the author brings from the podcast that began this journey and into this book was so amazing to see come to life on the page. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today! 

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Kate Brenton, Ed.M., educator, author, mama, and healer, used to climb trees in her childhood to sit in and read books. A lifelong teacher, from secondary English to spiritual development, Kate has the archetype for sharing wisdom to empower and elevate through online courses, inspirational speaking, and retreats. Come say hello or listen to the Rebirth podcast at www.katebrenton.com

You can also follow her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Substack.

Purchase a copy of Rebirth on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

November 21st @ The Muffin

Join as WOW’s blog The Muffin as we interview author Kate Brenton about her inspiring book Rebirth and give away a copy to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 21st @ Rachael’s Thoughts

Join Rachael as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton

https://rachaelstray.com/

November 24th @ Deborah-Zenha Adams’ Blog

Join Deborah as she features a guest post by Kate Brenton about writing where and when you can.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/blog/

November 25th @ Freeing the Butterly

Join Michelle as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/

November 27th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories

Visit Linda’s blog where she reviews the insightful book Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

November 29th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews Kate Brenton about her inspirational book Rebirth.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he reviews Kate Brenton’s book Rebirth.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/

December 1st @ Michelle Cornish’ Blog

Read Kate Brenton’s guest post about story as medicine over at Michelle’s blog.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

December 2nd @ The Frugalista Mom

Join Rochie as she shares her thoughts about Rebirth by Kate Brenton. You can also win a copy of the book!

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

December 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as features Kate Brenton’s guest post about writers needing a high inspiration diet.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 5th @ Balance and Joy

Join Sheri as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://www.balanceandjoy.com/

December 6th @ Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he features Kate Brenton’s guest post about why what you love will get you through.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/blog-tours/

December 7th @ Katherine Itacy’s Blog

Come by Katherine’s blog and read her review of Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://katherineitacy.com/

December 8th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 9th @ Rebecca J Whitman’s Blog

Join Rebecca as she features Kate Brenton’s guest post about when to keep going on faith.

December 10th @ A Story Book World

Deirdra showcases Rebirth by Kate Brenton, a must-read book for the new year!

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 13th @ Word Magic

Visit Fiona’s blog and read Kate Brenton’s guest post about the evolution of podcast to book and how it was a walk of faith.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 15th @ Create Write Now

Read a guest post by Kate Brenton on Mari’s blog today about the power of birth as a mother and as a creative.

https://www.createwritenow.com/journal-writing-blog

December 17th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Linda interviews author Kate Brenton about her writing and her inspirational book Rebirth.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

December 18th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Kate Brenton’s guest post about mothering, writing, and working in the modern world.

http://www.madelinesharples.com/

December 19th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Rebirth by Kate Brenton. Don’t miss this inspirational book!

https://liberateandlather.com/blog

December 20th @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog to read her review of Rebirth by Kate Brenton.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A woman struggling during the holidays after a year of hardship finds old family secrets and a mystery brewing in her small Georgia town in author Barbara Barth’s “A Wingman for Christmas”.

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The Synopsis

The annual Sweet Water, Georgia, Christmas parade is nearing but relationships are fractured on Wild Rose Lane. Antique dealer Cheryl Calloway’s holiday spirit has tanked. It’s been a horrible year with her divorce, her ex marrying younger and perkier Miriam across the street, and Mama moving into Cheryl’s Victorian cottage with her Amazon parrot right before Thanksgiving. A party girl in her eighties, Mama smokes up a storm, likes her nightly vodka, has a hankering for men, and now a wingman named Nigel. If that isn’t enough, the Historical Society wants Cheryl to clean up all the projects on her porch waiting to go to Spivey’s Antique Mall for their Christmas Open House. Her desire to work her booth is as dead as her marriage. Miriam, President of the Historical Society, chastises her, “If it ain’t pretty don’t put it on the porch.” Then there’s Alice, her strange neighbor with the six-foot fluorescent light bulb cross nailed to the huge Magnolia tree in the middle of her rose garden. Alice watches all the neighbors too closely. Just when Cheryl thinks things can’t get worse, an incident shakes her to the core, and a mystery follows revealing family secrets long forgotten. Cheryl wants to believe in miracles and love again, and Dr. James may just be the man of her dreams as he helps her and Mama sort things out.

Filled with quirky characters, mystery, family secrets, and sweet love, all set in a hot Georgia small town.

The Review

This was a perfect feel-good cozy mystery meets holiday romance novel. The author did a fabulous job of capturing both the holiday spirit with the rich dynamics of the Georgian setting that felt just as much like a character in the novel as any of the people. The heartfelt tone and moving ways in which the author brought the themes of relationships and the complexities of life were so engaging and showed just how much there are multiple sides to people in any situation.

The character arcs were the biggest highlight for me. As a bird parent myself, I felt instantly for the connection the protagonist, her mother, and practically everyone had for the parrot Nigel. The emotional connection that they had with this beloved bird and how it impacted the relationships they had with one another brought both the cozy aspect of this subtle mystery and the heartwarming nature of a holiday novel.

The Verdict

Captivating, thoughtful, and entertaining, author Barbara Barth’s “A Wingman for Christmas” is a must-read cozy mystery and holiday romance novel for 2022. The unique setting and relatable cast of characters will keep readers hooked, and the emotional journey that the protagonist goes on and the engaging conclusion will have readers eager for more of this author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Barbara Barth turned to writing and adopting dogs to heal after her husband died fourteen years ago. Known as ‘Writer With Dogs’, Barth currently lives with four Chihuahuas in a charming town forty miles outside of Atlanta. She is Literary Arts Chair at a small art center where she promotes writing activities, author events, book launches, and hosts an online group Walton Writers. Inspired by the wonderful artists around her, Barth started painting and has won several awards with her whimsical art. Her books are available on Amazon. Visit her Instagram page Barbara Barth Studio.

You can also check out her website.

Blog Tour Calendar

November 28th @ WOW! Women on Writing

Join us at our blog The Muffin to celebrate the launch of A Wingman for Christmas. We’re interviewing the author and giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A perfect novella for the holiday season!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

December 1st @ Deborah-Zenha Adams

Visit Deborah’s blog where she shares a guest post by author Barbara Barth about how many editors you really need.

http://www.deborah-adams.com/

December 3rd @ Pages and Paws

Kristine shares her review of the charming holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.

https://pagesandpaws.com/

December 5th @ One Writer’s Journey

Join Sue as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

December 6th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog

Join Michelle as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A must-read novella for the holiday season!

https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/blog

December 7th @ The Frugalista Mom

Rochie shares her review of A Wingman for Christmas and gives away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

https://thefrugalistamom.com

December 8th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about starting a writing group.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

December 9th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog for a spotlight on A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

December 10th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog

Visit Michelle’s site as she features author Barbara Barth’s guest post on encouraging others to write.

https://www.michellecornish.com/blog

December 12th @ Storeybook Review

Leslie shares her thoughts about this fun novella A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://storeybookreviews.com

December 13th @ Bring on Lemons

Join Crystal as she shares this fun holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.

https://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

December 14th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 14th @ Avonna Loves Genres

Join Avonna as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

https://avonnalovesgenres.com/

December 15th @ One Writer’ Journey

Visit Sue’s blog where she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about finding inspiration around you.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

December 15th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog again as she shares her thoughts about Barbara Barth’s fun holiday read A Wingman for Christmas.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

December 16th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she features a guest post by author Barbara Barth about writing fiction versus memoir.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

December 18th @ Life According to Jamie

Jamie will be reviewing a fun novella for the holiday season: A Wingman for Christmas

https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

December 19th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Barbara Barth about her book A Wingman for Christmas.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

December 20th @ Word Magic

Visit Fiona’s blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about researching your topic as well as your time frame.

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 21st @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

Daughters of Teutobod by Kurt Hansen Review and Blog Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The lives and struggles of three different women through different eras of history are revealed in author Kurt Hansen’s historical fiction novel, “Daughters of Teutobod”. 

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The Synopsis 

Daughters of Teutobod is a story of love triumphing over hate, of persistence in the face of domination, and of the strength of women in the face of adversity.

Gudrun is the stolen wife of Teutobod, the leader of the Teutons in Gaul in 102 BCE. Her story culminates in a historic battle with the Roman army.

Susanna is a German American farm wife in Pennsylvania whose husband, Karl, has strong affinity for the Nazi party in Germany. Susanna’s story revolves around raising her three daughters and one son as World War II unfolds.

Finally, Gretel is the infant child of Susanna, now seventy-nine years old and a professor of women’s studies, a US senator and Nobel laureate for her World Women’s Initiative. She is heading to France to represent the United States at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of southern France, at the commemoration site where her older brother, who was killed in action nearby, is buried. The site is very near the location where the Romans defeated the Teutons.

The Review

As a history buff and advocate for feminism and equality in life, I loved this narrative. The balance of emotional storytelling and captivating and engaging character development was so great to see unfold in this story, and the vivid imagery the author deployed in this novel expertly brought the reader into these various periods of time.

Yet to me, what stood out the most was how immersive and adrenaline-fueled the narrative itself was as well as the settings of these different eras of time. The author did an incredible job of bringing these chaotic, violent, and brutal periods of history to life in a natural way, and yet honed in on the personal and quiet yet profound strength of the women that each era focused on. From the fight against enslavement against the Roman warriors to the staunch battle brewing within a German-American family at the height of WWII and how these two eras come weaving together in the more modern-day made this story shine so brightly.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, entertaining, and mesmerizing, author Kurt Hansen’s “Daughters of Teutobod” is a must-read historical fiction novel of 2022. The twists and turns these characters and their arcs take meld perfectly with the striking imagery the author’s writing utilizes and the strength and impactful journey of these women made this one story I didn’t want to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Kurt Hansen is from Racine, Wisconsin, and has lived in Kansas, Texas, and Iowa. He has experience in mental health and family systems as well as in parish ministry and administration. He holds degrees in psychology, social work and divinity. Kurt now lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his wife of 44 years, Dr. Susan Hansen, a professor emerita of international business. Kurt is the author of Gathered (2019). Daughters of Teutobod is his second novel.

Website: https://www.authorkurthansen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/revkurthansen

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BG6HJT7P/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F62795806-daughters-of-teutobod%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3D0s2lfn0dQ6%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

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Enjoy this Excerpt from Kurt Hansen’s “Daughters of Teutobod”

Chapter One

The smoke of the grist fires rose incessantly, grey black against the cloudy blue sky as the day meandered toward its middle hours. It was the season of harvest, and those konas who were able were out among the plantings, gleaning grain or digging turnips, carrots, or beets out of the black, loamy soil. Some ground grain into flour and some baked bread, while others tended the fires and the fleshpots. Still others were about the business of tanning hides, mostly of deer, raccoons, rabbits, or fox, occasionally from a bear. The smells of death intermingled with the breathing life and beating heart of the sveit.

Gudrun liked this time of day best. She grabbed another handful of golden wheatstalks, slicing off the grain heads with a strong whisking motion and dropping the grain into her tightly woven flaxen gathering bag. She paused for a moment, wiping the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. The sun was bright today, making the air steamy. Gudrun looked out across the hills, down the valley, past the wooded glades where she could see dozens of other kǫngulls like her own, and she knew there were even more beyond the reach of her eyes. Most of the kǫngulls contained about 100 persons, but some had more. As she fixed her gaze closer, to the kǫngull where she lived, she could see the jungen, chasing one another, some wielding sticks or branches, others seeking to escape the assaults of their aggressors. The jungmädchen were variously helping their mothers with cooking or cleaning vegetables or sewing hides; the kinder simply hid in corners or clung to their mothers’ legs.

Several hours passed, and now the sun was receding, thankfully, because its blazing, yellow glare kept breaking through the billowing clouds all day, intensifying the laborers’ fatigue. Gudrun emptied her grain bag into the large, woven basket at the edge of the planting. The basket was filled to the brim, and as she plunged both hands into the basket, letting the harvested grain sift between her fingers, a smile of satisfaction softened her face. Filling up her basket all the way to the top was for her, a measure of the goodness of the day. She hoisted the heavy basket, glad for the leather strap she had fashioned to carry it. Before she designed the strap, two women were needed to carry the woven baskets—one on either side—especially when full. But Gudrun decided to cut a long strip from the edge of a tanned deer hide and, with a sharp bone needle she affixed the strap to her basket, allowing her to shoulder the entire weight by herself.

When she first showed her invention, one of the men—Torolf—chastised her for taking the piece of deer hide. He pushed her to the ground and threatened worse, but Teutobod intervened, bashing Torolf on the head with his club and sending him reeling. Teutobod, Gudrun’s mann, was the undisputed leader of their sveit, and he had been their leader long before he took her for his wife, ever since the sveit’s earliest days in Jutland. He ordered that all the grain baskets be fashioned with straps for carrying, and Gudrun won the admiration of all the konas (and even some men). Torolf avoided her from then on.

As evening approached, it was time to prepare for the return of the männer. Most hunting excursions were a one-day affair, bringing in meat for perhaps a few days at best. But as the harvest season proceeded, the männer would leave for days at a time, seeking to increase supplies for the long winter to come. This foray had lasted nearly a week, but Gudrun was told by Teutobod to expect their return before seven suns had passed, and she shared this information with the some of the other konas. By now all the kongulls were preparing for the männer coming home.

As the sun began to set, the konas started pulling out skins from their bærs, unfolding them and laying them on the ground about the fire pits. The flesh pots were stirred and stoked, and a hearty stew was prepared with deer meats, mushrooms, yellow beans, potatoes, turnips and carrots, seasoned with salt and fennel and black peppercorns. Flasks of beer that had been cooling in the stream all day were brought to each firepit and hung on a stake which had been plunged in the ground for that purpose. Various dinner ware made from carved bone or fashioned out of wood or clay were laid out. All was in readiness.

An aura of anticipation and anxiety tumbled around the kǫngull, shortening tempers as the waiting lengthened. Finally, about an hour after the sun had fully set, the sound of the ram’s horn distantly blasted out its announcement: Die männer komme! The jungen were hustled away to the kinderbærs. One never knew the mood that might accompany the hunters when they returned, and things could and often did get ugly. The konas sat or knelt respectfully beside the firepits, twitching, nervously swatting insects away from the food, inhaling excitement and breathing out fear. 

Soon the rustling of leaves and the snap of twigs underfoot grew louder and closer until the shadows brought forth the whole troop of men, bustling in to the kǫngull, carrying or dragging the meat they had procured, pounding their chests, howling, pulling on their scraggly hair or beards, banging the ground with clubs or spears and smelling of the hunt and of the forest. Similar sounds of triumph and dominion could be heard resonating throughout all the kǫngulls below as the männer clamored in across the entire sveit.

Here in Gudrun’s kǫngull, the konas kept their gaze to the ground, their eyes fixed on the fire, and as the hunters’ swagger slowly abated, one by one the konas silently lifted their plates above their heads, each looking up to her mann as they all found their respective places. Once the providers were all reclining on skins beside the firepits, the konas stood and began to prepare plates of food for them. The men ate loudly, hungrily, slurping the stew from the lips of the bowls and using hunks of bread to grasp chunks of meat and vegetables.

The food having been consumed, skinflasks of beer soon followed, and before long the sated belches and grunts of the eaters gave way to boisterous banter, the proud providers reliving the thrill of killing a stag or the bravery of facing a bear. The konas scraped up the leftovers to take to the huts for themselves and the children, after which the cleanup tasks commenced. The women worked in groups of three or four, tending two large boiling pots to soak the dinnerware until all remnants of the food floated up to the top and were skimmed off. A little more soaking, then all the dinnerware was stacked and stored for the next use. Gudrun, along with two other konas, took the job of drying the cleaned dishes, swinging a dish in each hand to move the air. They playfully swung the wet plates or cups at one another, spritzing each other in the process and giggling like little meyas.

This being the end of a prolonged hunting venture, the children were tucked in early in the kinderhäusen, and the konas prepared to receive their husbands. For those unlucky enough to have brutish men, their wifely duties were not at all pleasant. Others were more fortunate. Gudrun was happy to be among the latter, hoping only that the beer ran out before Teutobod’s love lust. She retreated to the bær she shared with her husband, glad for the privacy his role as leader provided. This entire kǫngull was comprised of the sveit’s leadership and their skuldaliðs, and as such it claimed luxuries not generally known throughout the sveit by underlings. The leaders camped furthest upstream, and therefore got the cleanest water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. The leaders claimed individual space for themselves and their vifs, while others down below had to share living space with two or three other skuldaliðs. 

Gudrun removed her garments and lay nude on the soft deerskins in her bær to prepare herself for her husband. Covering herself with another skin, she began to move her hands over her thighs and abdomen, softly, back and forth, her rough-skinned fingertips adapting to their more delicate uses. She moved a hand upward, swirling around her breasts and throat, teasing each nipple at the edges, holding back from contacting the most delicate flesh.

Her stroking and probing continued, a bit more urgently as she felt her breath rise and grow more heated. The muscles in her abdomen began to pulse, and as her hands found the sensitive spot between her legs, she felt the moisture beginning to flow inside her. When she was young Gudrun had learned from the older konas how to help her husband in this way, to ease his entrance and hasten his joy. Along the way, over the years, she also learned to enjoy herself more in the process. As the instinctive rocking motion in her pelvis began, she eased her manipulations, not wanting to be prematurely excited. Breathlessly, she looked toward the bær’s entrance, hoping Teutobod would hurry.

Questionable Minds by Fraser Sherman Blog Tour Blast

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Questionable Minds - Fraser Sherman

Fraser Sherman has a new steampunk mystery book out: Questionable Minds.

In Victorian England, 1888, there are those who say Sir Simon Taggart is under the punishment of God.

In an England swirling with mentalist powers — levitation, mesmerism, mind-to-mind telegraphy — the baronet is unique, possessed of mental shields that render him immune to any mental assault. Even his friends think it’s a curse, cutting him off from the next step in human mental and spiritual evolution. To Simon, it’s a blessing.

Four years ago, the Guv’nor, mystery overlord of the London underworld, arranged the murder of Simon’s wife Agnes. Obsessed with finding who hired the Guv’nor, Simon works alongside Inspector Hudnall and Miss Grey in Scotland Yard’s Mentalist Investigation Department. Immunity to mental telegraphy, clairvoyance and mesmerism are an asset in his work — but they may not be enough to crack the latest case.

A mysterious killer has begun butchering Whitechapel streetwalkers. With every killing, the man newspapers call “the Ripper” grows in mental power and in the brutality of his attacks. Is murder all that’s on his mind or does he have an endgame? And what plans do the Guv’nor and his army of agents have for Simon and the Whitechapel killer?

Questionable Minds is set in a Victorian England struggling to preserve the social hierarchy while mentalism threatens to overturn it. The cast of characters includes Dr. Henry Jekyll (and yes, his friend Edward Hyde too), Jack the Ripper, and multiple other figures from history and fiction.

Warnings: Graphic violence. Victorian sexism and imperialism.

Universal Buy Link


Excerpt

Simon Taggart’s plunge into the abyss happened in an instant.

Col. Moran, seated at the dining table on Simon’s left, had said something to the Duke of Falsworth about a fellow hunter Moran had known in India committing suicide. Falsworth snidely observed that given the man’s debts, hanging himself had been the only possible solution.

And suddenly Simon was standing in the drawing room again. Staring up at Agnes in her white nightgown, hanging from the ceiling with her tongue protruding, her face blackened. Rage consumed him at the memory, rage at the men who’d brought about his wife’s death. Pearson Bartlett, mesmerist. The Guvnor, who’d given Bartlett his orders. And behind them, the unknown man who’d paid to have Agnes slain.

It was the scent of mutton that snapped him back to the Montworths’ dining room, a scent rising from the porcelain serving platter levitating through the air before him. Steered by Amanda Montworth’s vril, the platter bore the roast saddle of mutton down the long dining-room table. Her grey eyes were fixed on the platter, of course, as levitators depended on sight to focus their vril. The eyes of her parents and eleven uneasy guests were also watchful as the dish approached the epergne, the massive candelabra at the table’s center. Simon knew he wasn’t the only guest imagining what a shower of spilled gravy would do to their formal black waistcoats, jackets and white gloves, or the women’s elegant dresses.

The platter clinked against the epergne and shuddered for a moment, but Amanda, brow furrowed, regained her mental grip. The platter ceased quivering, backed away and settled into the hands of one of the footmen, to be served a la russe, around the table. Amanda gasped slightly as she released control.

“There, isn’t that remarkable, Sir Simon?” Buxom Mrs. Montworth flashed a smile at Simon, the wealthiest of her guests. “I don’t know anyone with the strength of mind my Amanda has, do you? Well, not anyone who is anyone, shall we say?”

“Mother, please,” Amanda said. “This is embarrassing.”

“No, you did quite well.” Simon smiled politely, forbearing to point out that for all the money John Montworth’s ironworks brought in, in London society the Montworths were emphatically not anyone. Amanda performing a servant’s duties only confirmed that, as the poor girl undoubtedly knew. “A strong mind is—an asset to the Empire.”

“When the turtle soup comes out, Amanda,” Mrs. Montworth went on, “I think you should levitate—”

“Oh, no, my dear Mrs. Montworth,” Simon said quickly, remembering soup spurting from a shattered tureen at another dinner he’d attended. Besides, Amanda had been embarrassed enough. “A girl as lovely and delicate as Amanda, no matter how strong her vril, should be careful not to overexert herself.” As Mrs. Montworth simpered and nodded, Amanda, who looked as delicate as one of her father’s foundry workers, smiled her thanks at Simon.

“That’s enough entertainment for this evening,” John Montworth said in his north-country accent. “Carmody?” Carmody, the butler, gestured for the footmen to resume their duties; it was a faux pas for Montworth to address a servant during dinner, but the past few minutes had utterly nonplussed the staff.

Simon considered Amanda sensible and good-hearted. It wasn’t her fault her vril manifested as a crude, physical ability, nor that her mother was as blind to the social graces as some men to colors. Fortunately, with several months before the start of the Season, the guests had few people they could gossip with—and there’d be much better gossip by January, when the Montworths presented Amanda at court.

#

“‘Preciate your help, Sir Simon.” John Montworth said, clipping off the end of his cigar as a servant filled Simon’s glass. The women had left the room moments before, allowing the men a half-hour or so to indulge themselves. “Mrs. Montworth’s dreadful proud of our girl having vril, she is—I try to tell her to be more discreet but—”

“It’s been a new world these past eight years,” Simon said, savoring Montworth’s peerless port. “Too new to have all the polite niceties of psychic usage down pat.” A courteous lie; everyone knew physical manifestations of mentalist power were completely inappropriate in society.

“You mean like yourself assisting Scotland Yard?” Thin, pallid Ronald Carpenter, Duke of Falsworth, smirked and blew a plume of smoke. “A man of your impeccable pedigree, mingling with the lowest orders? Gilbert and Sullivan could make a wonderful comic opera out of it if you ask me.”

“I don’t believe I did.” Simon’s anger surged up again, but the smile beneath his thin mustache stayed coldly formal. “And there is nothing comical about the beasts who use vril to prey upon others.” Like Pearson Bartlett, who could mesmerize a woman to put a noose around her own neck. “I do my duty to England, nothing more.”

His Grace met Simon’s cold stare, then looked away with affected unconcern. Dukes far outranked baronets, but Falsworth’s title was new, and the man was still insecure. A Taggart was never insecure.

“Men like your Inspector Hudnall have my highest respect,” Moran said to Simon. As usual the colonel had stuck with whiskey instead of port. “In the jungle or the London streets, it takes a sharp man to hunt predators successfully. And who’s better suited than you, Sir Simon, to the sport of hunting mentalists?”

“Hardly sport.” Simon replied. “Unlike you, colonel, I consider hunting man-eaters a public service, not an adventure.”

“But men like that are evolutionary dead ends,” Montworth said. “Thanks to Lady Helena, all mankind—almost all—will ultimately be elevated to a higher plane.” His glance had lit upon Simon at the “almost.” “The murderers, the butchers, the Varneys of the present day will become fairytales, like ogres or Bluebeard, in the world that is to come.”

It was a typical Theosophist sentiment, but Simon found he was in no mood to argue with it.


Author Bio

Fraser ShermanBy the time Fraser Sherman graduated college he’d lost interest in his degree field. He tried writing and discovered he liked it. Since then he’s spent ten years as a journalist, sold two dozen short stories and five film reference books. His most recent book was the self-published Undead Sexist Cliches, about the stupidity of misogynist beliefs.

Although born in England, Fraser spent most of his life in Northwest Florida. He’d be there still if he hadn’t met his dream woman and moved to Durham NC to be with her. They’ve been married 11 years and are the proud parents of two small dogs and two half-domesticated cats.

Author Website: https://www.frasersherman.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/fraser.sherman

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/bogatyr5

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103781.Fraser_Sherman

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fraser-A-Sherman/e/B000APPPDW

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