Posted in reviews

Release Day Blitz – Twilight’s Temptation by Shilpa Suraj


 The ace photographer and the supermodel, they should have been a match made in heaven. Instead, they fought like the demons of hell. 


Complicated, surly, and sexy, Manav Apte was probably the only photographer who resented his muse. From the day he’d seen her, there had been no other. Unfortunately, she was the one woman he could never have.
Passionate, talented, and gorgeous, Diana Severes refused to give the temperamental ass behind the camera the satisfaction of knowing he got under her skin. It was, however, impossible not to notice him or his glowering disapproval that trailed her everywhere she went.
Their dislike and distrust of each other is legendary in the fashion industry and yet, the sparks that fly when they come together for work are enough to light the sets on fire.
Will the Golden Girl of India’s fashion scene be able to see beyond his hatred to the love he’s desperately trying to mask? And will the country’s most talented photographer realise that his true talent lies not in what he views through his lens but what he sees through the filter of his heart?

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com




Read an Excerpt from Twilight’s Temptation


We walked along the beach. Me in my shorts and black t-shirt, Diana in a glamorous white beach dress with lace trim. If there was ever a contrast competition, we’d win it hands down.

“Are you okay?” I asked her. 

Diana shrugged. “I guess. That was unpleasant but necessary. I’ll get next steps in place as soon as we get back to Mumbai.” 

“Will your family be okay with this?” 

“My parents don’t get a say in my career decisions. My dad is ex-army and my mom is a teacher. They don’t understand how this world works anyway.” She sidestepped some dog shit on the beach, moving a little closer to me. 

I itched to wrap an arm around her, pull her in for a hug and kiss her. Instead, I clenched my hands in my pockets, Adil’s words still echoing in my head. 

“My brother, who is a typical tech nerd, wouldn’t bother to venture an opinion either. The only other person who would have understood was Andrew, the brother who died. He was the one who encouraged me to get into modelling and pursue my dreams.” Tears glimmered in her eyes, a stray one streaking across one golden hued cheek. 

“And this was your dream? To be a model?” 

She stared back towards the resort in the distance, her mind somewhere I couldn’t follow. 

“I wanted the fame, the glamour and the money. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to be someone. Modeling gave me all of that and when my time ends, and it will end, we all know that, I have a backup plan in place for that too.”

I stared at her, seeing her, truly seeing her for the first time since I’d met her two years ago. She was so much more than that gorgeous face and bubbly personality that people mistook to be the entirety of her.

“I wanted to be a wildlife photographer,” I blurted out with all the finesse of a horny sixteen year old. 

“You can still be one,” she smiled. “Just in addition to what you already do.”

“I work nonstop. I’d never be able to find the time,” I muttered. 

“We can always find the time if it’s important enough to us. We make time when we want to.” She cupped my cheek and pressed a light kiss on to it. 

She was right. We made time and space for what we wanted, for what was important to us. And in that moment, I knew… Diana was desperately important to me. 

“Everything he said was true, you know,” I told her, shoving my hands deeper into my pockets to keep them from reaching for her. 

“Everything I said was true too, Manav,” she smiled, sadly. “But what is your truth?” 

What was my truth? It was buried under so many years of misery, pain, and heartache, would I recognize it even if I found it?





About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.




Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter




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Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, Guest Post

Guest Blog Post: Symbolism Reflected in Stories from Around the World By H. R. Conklin (author of The Eternity Knot in the Celtic Magic series)

In stories as varied as legends about local animals to tales of fairy creatures, there is tremendous cross-over in the symbolism used by cultures around the world. By studying these stories, we are reminded of the universal truths about life. The salmon, a transformational fish known for being of both salt and freshwater, has stories which teach new generations to show respect for the food that nourishes them. Tales of mermaids tell of the hardship of living between two worlds, no matter the original culture. Fairy tales about a girl growing up in painful conditions teaches how a person can earn a chance at a new life through being kind and honest. What we eat, the trials we go through, and how we act are all taught through the symbolism in these ancient stories from around the world.

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People who live close to the land, who have lived in the same places for centuries of generations, have a connection with nature to be envied. It’s through such a connection that the salmon came to be touted as the bestowers of knowledge upon anyone who eats them. Such wisdom was passed down generation to generation until finally verified by modern science. Salmon, after all, contains Omega 3, a brain food. Certainly, such a creature deserves to be revered. The legends of salmon coming from countries in the Atlantic or the Pacific always hold the salmon in the highest esteem. The Ainu of Japan say salmon is a gift from Paradise. The Haida of the Pacific Northwest, like so many Native American tribes in that region, teach that salmon must be respected in their story of Salmon Boy. The Celtic people of Ireland tell the story of Finn MacCool, a man who gains unlimited intelligence by tasting the Salmon of Knowledge. Revisiting the legends of the creatures living where we live can teach us a lot for how to respect nature.

Mermaids, being both human and fish, live between worlds and symbolize transformation and longing. They are ocean creatures, but they long for the land of their human half. This is not unique to Ariel, the Disney version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid. When the cast for the live action The Little Mermaid was announced, and Halle Bailey was cast as the key role, there was backlash about how mermaids are supposed to be white. This was repeated over and over in heated debates, and the comeback was that there are black mermaids, too. There are the stories of Mami Wata, a mermaid tale that originates in Africa and was passed along through the people captured into slavery, and still circulates today throughout the USA, Haiti and other former slave destinations. Unlike most African deities, Mami Wata is not an Orisha. Her name originates in Egypt. Like Ariel, there is longing for the seemingly unattainable land. Yet Mami Wata is no simpering child. She is powerful, almost more like the character of Ursula in The Little Mermaid. Someone to be feared. In Celtic stories of mermaids who drag their suitors to the bottom of the ocean floor, so do the African mermaids who serve Mami Wata. A creature to be feared, in symbolizing living between worlds the mermaid serves to teach us to learn to do the same.

Not only has the world of Disney shown just one version of the mermaids from around the world, so too has there been but one view of most popular fairy tales been told. Cinderella has many versions of the same story in a multitude of countries worldwide. Original versions of Cinderella (under different names) are found in the east as far back as 618 AD during the T’ang dynasty of China and even in some Native American tribal stories out west. The stories are always similar; a young girl is mistreated by her family and through telling the truth she is united with a powerful man. Truth may be symbolized by a clothing item such as a golden sandal or an anklet as in the versions of the Eastern countries, or it may be represented by the Cinderella character being able to see the truth where no one else can as in Native American stories. Either way, truth overcomes poverty and pain, giving the girl a “happy ever after” story she has earned through her kindness and honesty. Recognizing that this story is not only a European construct but belongs to all the people of our planet helps teach us that we are all capable of being good citizens worthy of a happy life.

It is because of these varied stories offering connecting symbolism throughout a multitude of cultures and countries that I was inspired to write my final book, The Eternity Knot, the way I did. We are more alike than we realize. Our stories, centuries old, have shown us this over and over again. If we study these ancient stories, we can also learn the simplicity of taking care of our world. Knowledge and respect of nature, learning to live between worlds (e.g. technology and nature), being kind and honest; these are some of the traits we would do better to exhibit and they are taught to us through the symbology within the stories of our world. 

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About the Author

H. R. Conklin grew up in the rural mountains of Northern California where her mother gardened and her father played the bagpipes, as well as spending long hours in the theater where her parents were a dancer and an actor. This undoubtedly led to her overactive imagination and love for nature. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband, two adult children, and three dogs. She used to teach kindergarten at a public Waldorf charter school in which she told many fairy tales to the children, and made up stories in her spare time. Now she is a Story Circle Leader and guides parents in homeschooling at a private Waldorf school.

 Keep in Touch – Sign up for Conklin’s Newsletter

Find out more at: 

Website:  https://wildrosestories.com/welcome

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/wildrosestories/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wildrosestories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wildrosestoriesandcircles/

Purchase The Eternity Knot on AmazonWaldorf Books, and/or H.R. Conklin’s website: Wild Rose Stories. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Knot-Celtic-Magic/dp/B096TTR9PK/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=celtic+magic+h.+r.+conklin&qid=1625601403&s=books&sr=1-2

Waldorf Books Online: https://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/product/celtic-magic-book-4-the-eternity-knot/

Wild Rose Stories: https://wildrosestories.com/shop

Blog Tour Calendar 

July 19th @ The Muffin

July 21st @ The Faerie Review 

Join Lily at the Faerie Review as she shares her review of H.R. Conklin’s latest book The Eternity Knot; part of the Celtic Magic Series. This is a great book for anyone who enjoys a modern take on myths and fairytales! 

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

July 29th @ The Knotty Needle 

Judy at the Knotty Needle shares her review with readers after reading H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot – part of the Celtic Magic Series. Don’t miss Judy’s insightful review! https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

July 31st @ Author C.K. Sorens 

Fellow Author C.K. Sorens shares her review of The Eternity Knot – the latest release by H.R. Conklin and part of the Celtic Magic series. Don’t miss today’s peer review! 

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

August 1st @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen 

Wisconsin entrepreneur and educator, Cathy Hansen reviews the latest novel in the Celtic Magic Series – find out what Cathy has to say about The Eternity Knot as she shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com

August 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina 

Fellow author Anthony Avina shares his review of H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot. This book is part of the Celtic Magic Series – readers of all ages will delight in this special story! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com

August 3rd @ A Storybook World 

Readers at A Storybook World will hear from guest blogger H.R. Conklin on the topic of Symbolism in Fairytales. Conklin just release The Eternity Knot – another 5 star book in the Celtic Magic series, but she’s taking time to share her author expertise with readers today! Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to learn from Conklin! 

http://www.astorybookworld.com

August 4th @ Author Anthony Avina 

 Earlier this week, readers at Author Anthony Avina’s blog read Anthony’s review of H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot. Today readers will hear from Conklin herself as she shares a guest blog post titled:  “Symbolism Reflected in Stories from Around the World” . Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn more about The Celtic Magic series! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

August 5th @ The Knotty Needle 

 Judy at the Knotty Needle shares her review of The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. This is book 3 in the Celtic Magic series and it is guaranteed to delight readers of all ages! Don’t miss Judy’s review! https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

August 6th @ Beverley A. Baird 

 Today’s guest post for readers at Beverley A. Baird is written by H.R. Conklin. Conklin is the award winning author of the Celtic Magic Series and she recently released her latest title: The Eternity Knot. Don’t miss a chance to read today’s guest post titled: “Parenting Wisdom Shared Through Storytelling”.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

August 7th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles 

Nicole just finished reading The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin and can’t wait to tell readers at World of My Imagination all about it. Don’t miss today’s review by Nicole to find out more about this title as well as the others in the Celtic Magic Series! 

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

August 8th @ Word Magic; All About Books with Author Fiona Ingram 

 H.R Conklin pens today’s guest post about fairies and mythology as she visits fellow author Fiona Ingram at Word Magic. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Conklin and find out more about her latest release: The Eternity Knot; part of the Celtic Magic series! http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

August 9th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto 

 WOW! Blog Tour Manager, Crystal Otto reviews the latest novel in the Celtic Magic Series – find out what Crystal has to say about The Eternity Knot as she shares her 5 star review with readers at Bring on Lemons. 

 http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 10th @ Bring on Lemons with Libby 

 Libby is a young artist who enjoys many genres of books – she shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons today – her deep thoughts about The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. This book is part of the Celtic Magic series and Libby is excited to read all the books. Readers will delight in her youthful perspective and her energy! 

 http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 11th @ Lisa Haselton 

 Lisa Haselton interviews H.R. Conklin about the Celtic Magic series and her latest release The Eternity Knot. Don’t miss a chance to become better acquainted with this talented author! 

https://lisahaselton.com/blog

August 18th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog 

 Today, readers at Jill Sheet’s Blog will hear from H.R. Conklin on the topic of “How Symbolism in Fairy Tales of Old Help Us Today”. Stop by to learn more about The Eternity Knot (part of the Celtic Magic Series) and learn from this talented author. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

August 19th @ Wildwood Reads with Megan 

 Readers at Wildwood Reads will hear from Megan as she reviews The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about The Celtic Magic Series and this latest release! https://wildwoodreads.com/

Posted in reviews

Foxfire in the Snow (The Alchemical Duology #1) by J.S. Fields Review

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

The heir to a master woodcutter named Sorin must find their place in the nation of Sorpsi as the Queen and several guild masters, including their mother, disappears and forces Sorin to go on a journey with the royal daughter in author J.S. Fields’s novel, “Foxfire in the Snow”, the first in the Alchemical Duology series.

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The Synopsis 

Woodcutter or witch? Alchemist or scientist? Can Sorin’s duality save their nation?

Born the heir of a master woodcutter in a queendom defined by guilds and matrilineal inheritance, nonbinary Sorin can’t quite seem to find their place. At seventeen, an opportunity to attend an alchemical guild fair and secure an apprenticeship with the queen’s alchemist is just within reach. But on the day of the fair, Sorin’s mother goes missing, along with the Queen and hundreds of guild masters, forcing Sorin into a woodcutting inheritance they never wanted.

With guild legacy at stake, Sorin puts apprentice dreams on hold to embark on a journey with the royal daughter to find their mothers and stop the hemorrhaging of guild masters. Princess Magda, an estranged childhood friend, tests Sorin’s patience—and boundaries. But it’s not just a princess that stands between Sorin and their goals. To save the country of Sorpsi, Sorin must define their place between magic and alchemy or risk losing Sorpsi to rising industrialization and a dark magic that will destroy Sorin’s chance to choose their own future.

The Review

This was such a refreshing and engaging fantasy narrative. The way the author incorporated the theme of being true to oneself and finding balance in our lives was felt in so many facets of this story. What stood out immediately was the balance of the various guilds and work that this world brought out, which brought both alchemy and magic into the narrative. The concept of exploring both of these concepts, and seeing the protagonist facing both destiny and their own passion was something both intriguing to this world in particular and relatable to so many readers out there. 

The thing that really resonated with me was the amazing character development here, in particular the protagonist. Sorin is a fantastic new fantasy hero to read. Their journey really shows the progress and evolution of the character overall, from having the legacy of their mother hanging over their head and the expectations that are thrust upon them upon her disappearance, to the rejection of fate and the steely determination that sees them take on their own choices. This, combined with the really deep and engaging way the relationship between Sorin and Magda evolves and grows keeps the reader invested in this amazing narrative.

The Verdict

A remarkable, thoughtful, and entertaining new fantasy read, author J.S. Fields’s “Foxfire in the Snow” is a must-read novel and a great start to a new fantasy duology. The introduction of a relatable and well-rounded nonbinary protagonist is a great direction that the author took this narrative in, and the twists and turns the story takes will keep the reader engaged throughout this story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Foxfire in the Snow

J.S. Fields has a new lesfic fantasy (lesbian/non-binary) out: Foxfire in the Snow. And there’s a giveaway!

Born the heir of a master woodcutter in a queendom defined by guilds and matrilineal inheritance, nonbinary Sorin can’t quite seem to find their place. At seventeen, an opportunity to attend an alchemical guild fair and secure an apprenticeship with the queen’s alchemist is just within reach. But on the day of the fair, Sorin’s mother goes missing, along with the Queen and hundreds of guild masters, forcing Sorin into a woodcutting inheritance they never wanted.

With guild legacy at stake, Sorin puts apprentice dreams on hold to embark on a journey with the royal daughter to find their mothers and stop the hemorrhaging of guild masters. Princess Magda, an estranged childhood friend, tests Sorin’s patience—and boundaries. But it’s not just a princess that stands between Sorin and their goals. To save the country of Sorpsi, Sorin must define their place between magic and alchemy or risk losing Sorpsi to rising industrialization and a dark magic that will destroy Sorin’s chance to choose their own future.

Warnings: gore, body dysphoria

Publisher | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audiobook


Giveaway

J.S. is giving away a signed paperback copy of “Ardulum First Don” OR “Ardulum Second Don (winner’s choice), open to anyone, anywhere in the world:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47193/?


Excerpt

Foxfire in the Snow

The short guard stepped to the doorframe, bit back a grimace, and tried to restart the conversation. “Apologies for the hour. We’re looking for—”

“She’s not here.” I cut him off, hoping to forestall awkward questions I couldn’t answer. “She left under the last full moon, for professional obligations. It is unknown when she will return. I apologize.”

“Are you her daughter then?” the short one asked.

My stomach twisted. I was no one’s daughter, and that word would stick in my chest for days. It would squirm there, under bindings and layers of clothes, and make me second-guess myself at the fair with every introduction and every awkward stare at my body. In that moment, I hated them, these two men, so sure of their position despite the mud and the hour. Daughter. No. I had never been one and had no intention of starting now.

“Sorin the…”

“The alchemist,” I finished for him.

“I am her heir,” I said through gritted teeth when neither responded. “I have the queen’s last commission. Will you be taking it tonight?”

The men exchanged a glance, but neither answered. The second man sneezed, sending a spray of water across the threshold. I rubbed my palm on my forehead. If they were going to get the house dirty just by being outside, it made no sense for them to stay there. Bones were one thing; mud was just unprofessional. I stepped back and gestured to the small brown oak dining table—the one with the white streak down it where I’d first discovered what the refined, clear parts of bone oil could do to fungal pigments—and grabbed my cloak from the wall.

“Sit,” I said as I fastened the oblong buttons at the neck of the cloak. The men moved in with heavy steps, which grew increasingly hesitant as the fish smell concentrated. They sat and stared at me with disgusted, pained expressions as mud dripped from their boots onto that stupid handmade floor. I’d have to refinish it now.

I didn’t bother speaking again.

Daughter.

Let them sit in the bone oil stink, pooled in their own mud. I turned and left the house, heading to Mother’s woodshop. My feet crunched along the woodchip path, the ground cover damp but still springy. I tried to let the smells of the forest—especially the earthen smell of fungal decay—take my mind away from the word I so hated.

The men had parked their cart, and their ox, near the door to the longhouse Mother used for her shop, but I could still maneuver around it. The sun had already set, but moonlight streaked through the needled canopy of conifers and across my path. Ten short steps brought me to the double doors made from cedar plank. I stripped the padlock from the right door, the one that had been fastened since Mother’s departure, and entered.

I’d not been inside the shop for a month, and the smell of cedar and wood rot reminded me why. Here were my mother’s heart and legacy, as her father’s before her, and her grandmother’s before that. The whole place felt tattered and used and smelled worse than the bone oil.

In the back, near an old leather chair, was where her mother had been born some eighty years ago. To my right, just in front of a treadle lathe, was where my grandfather had died.

Mother had birthed her children here too—myself and the son she gave to another guild for an apprenticeship, and taken none of their children in return.

The whole building was familiar, like an old wool blanket, but scratchy just the same. This was a legacy of guild woodcutting, and the queen’s mandate of matrilineal inheritance, and I didn’t belong here. A woodcutter was not who I was, a daughter was not who I was, and while the former hurt less than the latter, both made me want to pull at my skin and scream.


Author Bio

J.S. Fields is a scientist who has perhaps spent too much time around organic solvents. They enjoy roller derby, woodturning, making chainmail by hand, and cultivating fungi in the backs of minivans.

Author Website: http://www.jsfieldsbooks.com

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

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Posted in reviews

The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine by Ian Domowitz Review

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

Author Ian Domowitz takes readers on a journey to explore a company as a product in the business, non-fiction read “The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine”.

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The Synopsis 

There are books about product and companies but no books about a company as a product.

After 19 years in academics and 17 years on Wall Street, Ian Domowitz arrives from orbit around the top of a corporation with a mindset of leadership without authority. Author of over 100 publications, the public company Vice Chairman and CEO offers a no holds-barred treatment of influence and leverage complete with coaching, mantras, and tales of leadership. Change management is a lifestyle. Transformation is a calling card and his product is the company itself.

Wrapped inside a series of vignettes, some humorous, some elevating, research and stories show how process and culture converge as competitive advantage. Company priorities of innovation, branding, and culture are refashioned through unorthodox lenses focusing action through design thinking and transformation within a social system. Domowitz blurs lines between self-reflection, philosophy, and management science and makes insightful excursions into the trees and branches of corporate life and decision making.

The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine is a transformative tale of leadership without authority, a perspective suiting a new breed of entrepreneurs and corporate warriors who reject control, live in a world of influencers and aspire to become one. 

The Review

What a unique and inspired new direction for non-fiction, business-driven books. The author does a great job of creating a new direction for business-led storytelling, opting for personal and transformative stories and experiences rather than cold hard numbers and figures. The concept of creating a company as you would a product is such a fresh and interesting concept. 

The balance of research and development mixed with the author’s unique wit and charm is what really sold this narrative. The concept that people in a company will follow those for whom they perceive to be a leader rather than who they are told is the boss is such a unique concept. It adds to the idea in business that a sense of community and partnerships is essential to the continued success of any company. This and so many other lessons await in this well-written and fascinating read.

The Verdict

A masterful, thought-provoking and engaging non-fiction read, author Ian Domowitz’s “The Vice Chairman’s Doctrine” is a must-read business book. A brilliant deep-dive into business growth and the balance of leadership and power, the author’s unique writing style, hopping back and forth between the voice of The Vice Chairman and the author himself, added humor and wit into the business-led book, creating a tone that could benefit readers of all backgrounds. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Change is a Lifestyle

The Vice Chairman lives to play the game.

At first, there were physical games.  Wrestling, tennis, swim meets, and billiards were interspersed with more cerebral pursuits like chess.  Music became a game of invention and discipline with time-outs in the gymnasium of mathematics.  A term in national security promoted contests of strategy. Exploration and exploitation found expression in the game of ideas. In the ivory tower, the litmus test for success was influence, a battle of credibility.  Moving into a corporate environment, influence became the key to the game of leverage.  

A good manager knows the Great Game is not about control.  It is all about leverage.  

I recently retired as Vice Chairman of Investment Technology Group [NYSE: ITG] and CEO of ITG Solutions Network Inc., a leading trading analytics and workflow subsidiary. During nineteen years in academics and seventeen years on Wall Street, I published more than 100 journal articles, chapters in books, and magazine articles.  

It’s time for another career as an independent writer of books and stories on business, leadership, and technology.  I still have a few things to say. 

My working experience spans Northwestern University, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Pennsylvania State University. I have had the privilege of testifying in front of Congress, Senate, federal regulatory bodies, and the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

It wasn’t always that way 

Career choices followed after a few years spent as a chef in restaurants and institutional kitchens, followed by a stint with one of those three-letter agencies, and then some time as a tractor-trailer truck driver.  Driving trucks subsidized a career initiative in rock music.  Just didn’t have the ear.  I reluctantly went to college and moved on.

That was then, this is now

I currently serve on the Board of Directors of McKinley Capital Management and am a Fellow of the Program in the Law and Economics of Capital Markets at Columbia University. 

https://www.iandomowitz.com/

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B098TNT371/ref=x_gr_w_glide_sin?caller=Goodreads&callerLink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodreads.com%2Fbook%2Fshow%2F58515275-the-vice-chairman-s-doctrine%3Fac%3D1%26from_search%3Dtrue%26qid%3DQm8kFb02Ap%26rank%3D1&tag=x_gr_w_glide_sin-20

Posted in reviews

The Eternity Knot (Celtic Magic Book 4) by H.R. Conklin Review

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

A teen girl continues her exploration of humanity’s connection to nature and the world of the Fae as she is tasked with proving humanity’s worth to the Queen of the Unseelie Fae before the Earth is plunged into chaos in author H.R. Conklin’s “The Eternity Knot”, the fourth book in the CELTIC MAGIC YA series. 

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The Synopsis

Mairi has been shown the future and knows humans must change their ways. Continuing on their path of disconnect with Nature will cause the destruction of human life. Tasked by the Seelie Fae to save the human world, Mairi and friends seek out ancient wisdom in the stories of old. The Queen of the Unseelie Fae decides humans have to prove themselves worthy of the Earthly Realm, or die trying. Dark magic makes Mairi push harder to find the answers she needs, but the Undersea Faerie Queen is weighing in and Mairi is uncertain whose side she is on. When young people representing cultures from all of the continents share their knowledge, Mairi finally feels the seeds of hope. Deadly faerie magic is working against humanity, but humans and faeries are working together like never before. As humans begin seeing the earth through ancient views, they are waking up to their dormant powers. Now Mairi must put all the pieces together before time runs out for human life on Earth, and for once she’s starting to feel worthy of the task. Join Mairi and friends in this exciting conclusion to the Celtic Magic series. 

The Celtic Magic series is a unique tale connecting modern day California to the Scotland of centuries ago. Join Mairi during a life-changing year in this eco-heroine’s journey, following the Celtic wheel of pagan holidays through the seasons and time as she meets druids, witches, and faeries of both Light and Dark. Discover what role mythic stories play in saving the Earth from imminent destruction, and what happens when the world is inclusive of all people. This series includes The Trinity Knot, The Witch’s Knot, The Faerie Knot, and just finished is book 4, The Eternity Knot! 

This book is perfect for teens and adults of all ages who enjoy a 

modern take on myths and fairytales! 

The Review

What a truly incredible read. As a newcomer to the series, I really appreciated the way the author wrote that both keyed in longtime readers of the series and presented this narrative and the series as a whole in a way that newcomers like me could jump on immediately. The protagonist, Mairi, is so endearing and does an incredible job of bridging the gap between the past and her ancestry with the present and who she is as a person, and her determination to fight for both the environment and humanity was incredible to see.

This novel does an incredible job of balancing history and mythology with the environmental-driven narrative of humanity’s impact on the world as a whole. As a fan of history and mythology, I was blown away by the incredible YA approach to detailed Scottish and world cultures and the impact mythology has had on the various cultures around the world, while the action and suspense of the narrative really pulled attention to the horrors humanity has unleashed on the environment, and the need to reconnect to our planet and take care of it was felt in every chapter.

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and thoughtful new chapter in a wonderful YA series, author H.R. Conklin’s “The Eternity Knot” is a must-read novel. The perfect blend of mythos and environmental supernatural thrillers, the narrative draws readers in with an explosive opening chapter and keeps the readers hooked with strong mythology and a powerful cast of characters. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

H. R. Conklin grew up in the rural mountains of Northern California where her mother gardened and her father played the bagpipes, as well as spending long hours in the theater where her parents were a dancer and an actor. This undoubtedly led to her overactive imagination and love for nature. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband, two adult children, and three dogs. She used to teach kindergarten at a public Waldorf charter school in which she told many fairy tales to the children, and made up stories in her spare time. Now she is a Story Circle Leader and guides parents in homeschooling at a private Waldorf school.

 Keep in Touch – Sign up for Conklin’s Newsletter! 

Find out more at: 

Website:  https://wildrosestories.com/welcome

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/wildrosestories/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/wildrosestories

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wildrosestoriesandcircles/

Purchase The Eternity Knot on AmazonWaldorf Books, and/or H.R. Conklin’s website: Wild Rose Stories. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Buy Links: 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Eternity-Knot-Celtic-Magic/dp/B096TTR9PK/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=celtic+magic+h.+r.+conklin&qid=1625601403&s=books&sr=1-2

Waldorf Books Online: https://earthschooling.info/thebearthinstitute/product/celtic-magic-book-4-the-eternity-knot/

Wild Rose Stories: https://wildrosestories.com/shop

Blog Tour Calendar 

July 19th @ The Muffin

July 21st @ The Faerie Review 

Join Lily at the Faerie Review as she shares her review of H.R. Conklin’s latest book The Eternity Knot; part of the Celtic Magic Series. This is a great book for anyone who enjoys a modern take on myths and fairytales! 

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

July 29th @ The Knotty Needle 

Judy at the Knotty Needle shares her review with readers after reading H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot – part of the Celtic Magic Series. Don’t miss Judy’s insightful review! https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/ 

July 31st @ Author C.K. Sorens 

Fellow Author C.K. Sorens shares her review of The Eternity Knot – the latest release by H.R. Conklin and part of the Celtic Magic series. Don’t miss today’s peer review! 

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

August 1st @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen 

Wisconsin entrepreneur and educator, Cathy Hansen reviews the latest novel in the Celtic Magic Series – find out what Cathy has to say about The Eternity Knot as she shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons. 

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/ 

August 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina 

Fellow author Anthony Avina shares his review of H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot. This book is part of the Celtic Magic Series – readers of all ages will delight in this special story! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com

August 3rd @ A Storybook World 

Readers at A Storybook World will hear from guest blogger H.R. Conklin on the topic of Symbolism in Fairytales. Conklin just release The Eternity Knot – another 5 star book in the Celtic Magic series, but she’s taking time to share her author expertise with readers today! Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to learn from Conklin! 

http://www.astorybookworld.com/ 

August 4th @ Author Anthony Avina 

 Earlier this week, readers at Author Anthony Avina’s blog read Anthony’s review of H.R. Conklin’s The Eternity Knot. Today readers will hear from Conklin herself as she shares a guest blog post titled:  “Symbolism Reflected in Stories from Around the World” . Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn more about The Celtic Magic series! https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

August 5th @ The Knotty Needle 

 Judy at the Knotty Needle shares her review of The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. This is book 3 in the Celtic Magic series and it is guaranteed to delight readers of all ages! Don’t miss Judy’s review! https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

August 6th @ Beverley A. Baird 

 Today’s guest post for readers at Beverley A. Baird is written by H.R. Conklin. Conklin is the award winning author of the Celtic Magic Series and she recently released her latest title: The Eternity Knot. Don’t miss a chance to read today’s guest post titled: “Parenting Wisdom Shared Through Storytelling”.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

August 7th @ World of My Imagination with Nicole Pyles 

Nicole just finished reading The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin and can’t wait to tell readers at World of My Imagination all about it. Don’t miss today’s review by Nicole to find out more about this title as well as the others in the Celtic Magic Series! 

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

August 8th @ Word Magic; All About Books with Author Fiona Ingram 

 H.R Conklin pens today’s guest post about fairies and mythology as she visits fellow author Fiona Ingram at Word Magic. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Conklin and find out more about her latest release: The Eternity Knot; part of the Celtic Magic series! http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

August 9th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto 

 WOW! Blog Tour Manager, Crystal Otto reviews the latest novel in the Celtic Magic Series – find out what Crystal has to say about The Eternity Knot as she shares her 5 star review with readers at Bring on Lemons. 

 http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 10th @ Bring on Lemons with Libby 

 Libby is a young artist who enjoys many genres of books – she shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons today – her deep thoughts about The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. This book is part of the Celtic Magic series and Libby is excited to read all the books. Readers will delight in her youthful perspective and her energy! 

 http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

August 11th @ Lisa Haselton 

 Lisa Haselton interviews H.R. Conklin about the Celtic Magic series and her latest release The Eternity Knot. Don’t miss a chance to become better acquainted with this talented author! 

https://lisahaselton.com/blog

August 18th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog 

 Today, readers at Jill Sheet’s Blog will hear from H.R. Conklin on the topic of “How Symbolism in Fairy Tales of Old Help Us Today”. Stop by to learn more about The Eternity Knot (part of the Celtic Magic Series) and learn from this talented author. 

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

August 19th @ Wildwood Reads with Megan 

 Readers at Wildwood Reads will hear from Megan as she reviews The Eternity Knot by H.R. Conklin. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn more about The Celtic Magic Series and this latest release!

https://wildwoodreads.com/

Posted in reviews

Shadows of Rebellion (Four Territories Book One) by L.M. French Review

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

A half-human sentinel and a bearer of one of the seals of the Four Territories must go on the run after rumors of an unstable half-breed cause The Order to begin hunting her down, as well as her homicidal half-brother, in author L.M. French’s “Shadows of Rebellion”, the first in the Four Territories Urban Fantasy series. 

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The Synopsis

This is not a happily ever after. This is where it all went wrong. Our king is missing and the last link to him is broken. Terrifying breeds that disappeared centuries ago have returned and are waging war on the Territories. And I am becoming… something.

An unknown power grows inside me and rumors of an unstable half-breed threaten my very existence. It seems outrunning my homicidal foster brother isn’t enough. I’m now on the run from the Order that would see my kind extinct.

Our allies need me to find our king, but is it enough to keep me alive?

My name is Veda Grey and I am the half-human sentinel and seal-bearer of the Four Territories. And if my current predicament is any indication, I’m about to be executed for treason.

Shadows of Rebellion is an Urban Fantasy novel with adult language, situations, and violence.

The Review

This was a fantastic and exhilarating new urban fantasy read. The maturity and intensity of the narrative when blended with the witty and sometimes humorous dialogue between the characters felt like a blend of True Blood meets The Elder Scrolls. The protagonist, Veda, is such a complex and engaging character to follow, and the alternating chapters between characters made the world feel more alive and larger than life. 

What stood out in this narrative was the well-rounded mythos that the author crafted for this series. The Four Territories are a unique world of supernatural creatures, ancient magic, and twists and turns that see friends become foes and monsters into heroes. The world itself felt so alive that it becomes almost like its own character.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and thrilling new Urban Fantasy read, author L.M. French’s “Shadows of Rebellion” is the perfect first chapter of this brand new series. An enticing new world and shocking twists and turns will keep readers hooked, as will the cliffhanger ending that will leave the fate of several characters up in the air. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

L.M. French is a baby indie author of urban fantasy residing in the Lone Star State with the love of her life, eight-year-old Jack. While she dreams up misadventures with uncooperative participants, he keeps her inspired with his own stories villains and anti-heroes. Where they live, imagination is a superpower. Connect with them via Facebook, email, or carrier pidgeon.

Just kidding.

Birds are mean.

www.lmfrench.com

Posted in reviews

Interview with Authors Noelle Ihli and Jeanne Allen

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Both Jeanne and I studied English and editing in college. When we started working together on Fourth Wave (our Etsy shop), we were both taking on freelance editing and writing assignments as well. Basically, we’ve both been writing for a very long time. But this is our first foray into publishing! 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Jeanne and I are avid readers. We essentially had an hours-long book club every week while we printed our orders. Naturally, we were interested in reading about e-commerce (specifically e-commerce related to Etsy’s platform). We quickly realized that the available resources were slim. We determined (much later than we should have) that there was a hole in the market, and we had the experience and the expertise to fill that hole. 

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Sometimes how-to books (especially business how-to books) feel very coy to me. They’re full of hooks and big promises that don’t necessarily translate to real, actionable advice. When we set out to write “The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Etsy,” we wanted to write a book full of down-to-earth, ACTIONABLE advice: the kind of advice you’d get from a good friend, giving you the inside scoop about how to succeed on Etsy. I hope our readers come away with a sense of direction and confidence. Etsy is a truly incredible, unique e-commerce platform. It’s growing like crazy. People crave the handmade, one-of-a-kind vibe that Etsy offers in a world full of cheap, fast, bulk products.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

While Jeanne and I started our careers in publishing, life sometimes has other ideas in mind! We got sucked into the world of ecommerce (and couldn’t be happier!). After learning a LOT and successfully growing our shop, we decided to tap back into our roots in writing and publishing to create a book that could help other Etsy sellers.

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Etsy is an evolving platform with new changes rolling out often. Facebook has allowed us to quickly and easily share short- and long-form updates and new tips with readers to keep them updated on changes that may affect their shop. 

6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Spend twenty minutes writing every day. You don’t have to get a particular amount accomplished. You just need to carve out the time and do it. Some people are really prolific and enjoy pumping out books. But for most people, slow and consistent wins the day. 

7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

Definitely. Expect a screen printing reference! We’ve learned that the way we create our t-shirts is both unconventional and ideal for beginners. There’s so much we wish we had known before diving headlong into our specific niche (T-shirts!) on Etsy.

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About the Authors

Etsy is an incredible platform. And if you know what works, you can be successful. We know because we did it. Our Etsy shop started with a single listing in 2013. We’re proud to say that it ranks in the top 1% and brings in 6 figures.

If you’re like us, you’re probably wondering if you have what it takes to be successful on Etsy. If your product is good enough. And even if you’ve seen some success, you may still think of your Etsy shop as your “little hobby.” And we want you to knock that off right now. We’ve found that the people who run Etsy shops are some of the most creative, tenacious people we know. And we have no doubt that you are one of them. You can do this. You DO have what it takes.

And that’s why we wrote this book. Because we’ve figured out what actually works, and we love helping other women (and the occasional awesome dude) take their fledgling Etsy shop, and make it into something that gives back to them what they’re putting into it.

About Us:

Noelle is a boy mom to Luke and Max, and a cat mom to Michelle. When she’s willing to wear pants (which is less often than she aspires to wear them), she can be found in mom jeans. Her husband Nate is the best person she knows. The two things she loves most (in addition to Etsy and the aforementioned children and husband) are murder and horses. (Separately, never together.)

Jeanne is also a mom—to Kaylee, Eileen, and Tober. (Yes, Tober. The short story is that she let Kaylee name her baby brother when she was five. She swears she would have stepped in if Kaylee had added too many Xs or Zs, but luckily, she hadn’t learned those letters yet). Her husband Bryan is, like Noelle’s Nate, pretty dang awesome and supportive. Especially when she decided to veer off a more standard career in technical editing and jumped headfirst into the world of Etsy selling.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/758496595078762

https://www.etsy.com/shop/fourthwaveapparel/

Posted in reviews

Interview with Author Tyler Wittkofsky

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I am a multi-genre author, poet, and mental health advocate from Leland, North Carolina. I received my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. I currently work in communications and public relations.

Growing up, my grandmother was a high school English teacher, assistant principal, principal, and later my elementary school principal. She encouraged my creative writing style and helped me to grow into the writer I am today.

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What inspired you to write your book?

I had never written a romance novel before and wanted to give it a go, drawing inspiration from some real-life events.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The goal of his book is for people to understand what a long-distance relationship is, the amount of work that goes into making it a successful relationship. There is also the underlying theme of how mental illness can affect a relationship and how two people can work together to overcome those struggles. 

What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always seen myself as a hopeless romantic. I love romance movies and shows and rom-coms especially.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I would sit down with Kenney and simply ask him ‘Why?’ I don’t want to say too much more and give away the book.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I would say Twitter has connected me with the most readers, and friends.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Don’t give up. It’s hard in the beginning, it really is. The struggle to find out what marketing tools work best, how to write a blurb, transitions, there is a lot that goes into writing. In the beginning, it is easy to get discouraged and feel like it isn’t going anywhere but stick with it. Write for yourself first and foremost and the rest will come.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

“The Seeds of Love” was book one in a five-part series called “Sunflower Kisses”. I’m really excited about that. I also have another work in progress that is for my grandmother. I just started writing for InTheCrescent.com, an online magazine focused on the supernatural. 

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About the Author

Tyler Wittkofsky was born and raised in Leland, North Carolina, mere minutes from Historic Wilmington and Southport. He graduated from South Brunswick High School and went on to receive his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Growing up, his grandmother was a high school English teacher, assistant principal, principal, and later his elementary school principal. She encouraged his creative writing style and helped him to grow into the writer he is today.

He spends much of his time volunteering for nonprofits and giving his time back to the youth in his community. He was named one of Brunswick County’s Future 10 in 2017, the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of the Year in 2018, and one of the StarNews 40 Under 40 in 2019 for his passion for helping others discover the jewel that is Northern Brunswick County.

He currently resides in Leland, North Carolina with his fiancé Grace and dogs Dutch and Belle.

https://linktr.ee/wittkofsky

Posted in Interviews

Interview with Author Noor Ashour

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Well, I’m a 19-year-old girl majoring in Computer Science. I would say that I liked writing since I was little. English is not my first language, so back then it was hard writing stories in English. But after coming to America and reading countless books from my school’s library, I was able to improve my English well enough to write properly.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

 I actually wrote it when I was 15, titled Eorthe at the time (Old-English for Earth, don’t ask why I chose such an obscure name because I honestly don’t know). But shortly after publishing it, I felt kind of ashamed of it. Most of the reviews (no more than 10, all received review requests from me) averaged three stars, with the common critique being jarring dialogue, confusing plot-line, too many characters, etc. But during quarantine, my mother commented about how it was a shame for me to just abandon my book like that and pretend it doesn’t exist. Thus, I decided to rewrite and improve it as best as I can. I renamed it Myosotis, too, because I felt like Eorthe doesn’t fit.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

Hmm, I wrote this book with a theme of “being forgotten” in mind, it was mainly created to explain why the world in the book was called Land of the Forgotten. As the characters described, it was made for those that were forgotten or abandoned by their society and home, and thus this Land would allow them to start a new life with others that have shared their pain in one way or another. It gives them a community when the previous had failed them. This also explains why it has such a diverse and unique population, because everyone has roots from thousands of different dimensions.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always gravitated to fantasy novels. I know that Heroes of Olympus inspired me when I made the first version of this book. I also liked The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland, particularly its illustrations. I wished I could draw some for my book had it not been for my lack of drawing skills. But maybe I will be able to one day!

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

That’s a tough question. I would probably ask them questions that I was unable to answer properly when I was developing them, such as the backstory of Ellina, or the true goals/motivations of Justus. I would want to ask non-appearing or non-important characters, such as the citizens of Land of the Forgotten, about their day-to-day lives in both the current era and the previous. This would help me cultivate the world’s lore better, just generally interviewing the “average” bystander in the Land.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Actually, I don’t think I have any readership at the moment! I’m not interested in marketing this book, you see. I want unsuspecting people to stumble upon it instead, I think that would make it more valuable or interesting. But I am looking for honest reviews around the web and emailing book blogs if they’re interested, mostly to just get feedback and know what I did well or could improve on.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

You’ve probably heard of this already, but the “Show, Don’t Tell” rule is pretty important. Of course, there are times where you should tell, but try to show your characters’ fears, quirks, values, etc. There’s also Chekov’s Gun, a rule where every element/event/character in the story should have some purpose or meaning, such as foreshadowing. Of course, you can have some red herrings that deceive the reader, especially with detective or mystery novels, but it’s also a good idea to foreshadow events to let the reader go “I knew it!”

Also, this is more towards fanfic writers, but please proofread your work and add spacing between paragraphs, there’s too many fanfics out there where the whole thing is just a big block of text due to no spacing between paragraphs. More importantly, do NOT describe eyes as orbs, that’s just weird! This also applies to a lot of things, don’t use weird adjectives or names too much just for the sake of sounding fancy. Make sure there is some purpose or meaning behind it, like purposely using gross adjectives to gross out the reader and show how grotesque the scene is.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I would say I’m pretty much done with books, it’s just torture I don’t want to bear anymore. However, another kind of torture I am bearing right now is a point-and-click game I’m working on by myself. The progress is very slow, but once I’m done with the first part of the game out of four, I will hopefully start doing devlog updates and announce it somewhere on my Itchio page. I’ve attached a little sneak peek of the main character.