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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

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Giveaway

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

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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/

 

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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.

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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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A Shadow of Love by Amy S. Cutler Review

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

A woman fleeing her abusive husband moves into a 19th-century farmhouse, where she meets and soon falls in love with a poet who died in 1917, but as the curse that has kept him bound to the land is running out, they must discover how far they are willing to go for their love in author Amy S. Cutler’s “A Shadow of Love”.

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The Synopsis

When Annabelle flees her abusive husband and moves into an 1860’s farmhouse, she soon learns that she is not alone; she shares her home with Christian, the ghost of a poet who killed himself in 1917. Christian, wanting nothing but solitude, tries to scare Annabelle away, but once they come together while she is dreaming, they fall in love. The clock is ticking for Christian, for moments after his hanging his fiance magically cursed his spirit to be stuck on earth for one hundred years, and his time is almost up.

With Annabelle’s ex threatening her and the spirit she has fallen in love with on the verge of disappearing, Annabelle becomes obsessed with staying with Christian, and will do anything to be with him.

Being in love with a ghost is bad enough, but for Annabelle, discovering that her true love will be crossing over at any moment pushes her over the edge of reckless behavior.

The Review

What a truly brilliant paranormal romance read. The author did an incredible job of finding just the right balance between supernatural elements and the passionate romance that develops within this narrative. Despite the modern era, this book is written in, the tone and style of writing the author utilize almost conjures up in the reader’s mind a gothic romance of sorts as if this story could easily be played out in a Victorian England manor. 

Yet it was the author’s blend of atmosphere and character development that really sold this story. The complex backstories of both the protagonists really showcased the trauma and experiences that each of them bonded over. The cast of characters surrounding them helped flesh out this world and kept Annabelle tied to the physical world as her heart drifted to the supernatural romance beckoning her. The setting itself felt very atmospheric, capturing the tone and genre perfectly and keeping me invested in these characters’ stories. 

The Verdict

Haunting, emotionally driven, and thoughtful, author Amy S. Cutler’s “A Shadow of Love” is a must-read paranormal romance novel that fits perfectly into the fall season. The rich dynamics between these characters and the twists and turns their journey takes will have readers on the edge of their seats, while the final pages will hit readers right in the heart. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

Purchase a copy of Shadow of Love 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

Amy S Cutler, author of A Shadow of Love earned her master’s degree in Creative Writing from Goddard College. Most recently she was published in Slut Vomit: An Anthology of Sex Work and featured in the Tales to Terrify Podcast, among others. Her writing focus is suspense, horror, science fiction, and ghost stories. She can be contacted through AmysHippieHut.com. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Blog Tour Calendar

October 3rd @ WOW! Women on Writing

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

October 5th @ Sadie’s Spotlight

Sadie spotlights A Shadow of Love and features an excerpt from the book.

http://sadiesspotlight.com/

October 6th @ Create Write Now

Mari L. McCarthy shares a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about the importance of learning how to self-market. A must-read post for authors!

https://createwritenow.com

October 8th @ Life According to Jamie

Jamie reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. Don’t miss this exciting book!

https://www.lifeaccordingtojamie.com

October 10th @ Amy’s Booket List

Join Amy as she reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

October 12th @ Word Magic

Join Fiona as she shares a guest post by Amy S. Butler about the importance of finding a writing community.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

October 15th @ What is That Book About?

Find out more about A Shadow of Love by Amy S. Cutler in this book spotlight.

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com

October 16th @ Celtic Lady’s Book Reviews

Read a review of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

October 17th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Join Jill as she interviews author Amy S. Cutler about her book A Shadow of Love.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

October 18th @ A Storybook World

Deirdra features Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

October 19th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Bev reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

October 20th @ Knotty Needle

Join Judy Hudgins for her review of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com

October 21st @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Bev as she shares a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about the story behind the haunted house in the novel.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com

October 22nd @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews & Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Amy S. Culter about her book A Shadow of Love.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

October 24th @ Girl Zombie Authors

Read a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about why ghost stories are so popular.

https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/

October 25th @ Four Moon Reviews

Join Samantha as she reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. You can also win a copy of the book too!

https://fourmoonreviews.blogspot.com/

October 27th @ Girl Zombie Authors

Come by Chris’ blog again and read a review of Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love. You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!

https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/

October 29th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion

Visit Linda’s blog for an in-depth interview with author Amy S. Cutler about her book A Shadow of Love.

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com

October 31st @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog for Amy S. Cutler’s guest post about finding a publisher.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

November 1st @ Choices

Join Madeline as she features a guest post by Amy S. Cutler about the first draft process.

http://www.madelinesharples.com/

November 2nd @ Jessica Belmont’s Blog

Jessica reviews Amy S. Cutler’s book A Shadow of Love.

https://jessicabelmont.com

November 3rd @ Write Advice

Read Amy’s guest post about how she found the idea for Shadow of Love and turned it into a story.

https://writeradvice.com/

November 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Read Anthony’s review of A Shadow of Love by Amy S. Cutler. A paranormal book you don’t want to miss!

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com

Blog Tour: Resurrection Men by Steven Harper

Resurrection Men - Steven Harperp

Steven Harper has a new MM historical romance out: Resurrection Men. And there’s a giveaway.

Arthur Tor steals the dead for a living. As a resurrection man, he creeps around graveyards with his shovel, hoping to dig up corpses so he can sell them to the local medical college and pay his tuition there. He also holds a strange position in underground society. If someone is dying a slow, painful death, the family members come to Arthur and beg him to end their loved one’s pain. Arthur can never refuse, and he helps the dying cross the threshold without more pain in a process he calls the Black Rounds. Unfortunately, the local judge has gotten wind of Arthur’s activities and has sworn to send him to prison—or the hangman’s noose.

Jesse Fair has fled his corrupt family in Baltimore and landed in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he becomes the town gravedigger and, eventually, the undertaker. He works hard to help grieving families through their pain with warmth and compassion. Some of these families make odd requests for their dearly departed, and Jesse discovers that the undertaker often has to deal with the absurd side of death. But his nefarious family is still searching for him. Relentlessly. And once they find him, Jesse will have to make a terrible choice.

When Jesse catches Arthur in the act of robbing a grave, the two of them form a strange friendship and even stranger partnership that digs deep into social taboos—and into their own souls.

In his first book since his critically-acclaimed novel The Importance of Being Kevin, Steven Harper spins a heartfelt, uplifting story of suspense, life, and love against the backdrop of a Michigan town at the edge of the frontier.

Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Steven is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card:

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Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47262/?


Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

A resurrection man watched the funeral, and his expression was hungry. He stood behind the huddle of funeral-goers clustered around the grave and didn’t speak with anyone, which was how Jesse spotted him. Dead giveaway, so to say. Jesse stared at him from the corner of one dark eye. The resurrection man wasn’t yet twenty. Brown as a dead tree. Straight brown hair under a frayed brown cap, long nose, sharp jaw, long brown coat mended twice, worn brown shoes that were nonetheless carefully polished. Someone who was used to hiding who he was.

The resurrection man met Jesse’s eye for a flick. He had good eyes, that one—clear and blue and strong—and Jesse touched his cap in salute. Jesse had a gravedigger’s build, wiry and a little short, able to throw an eight-pound shovelful of dirt six feet toward heaven, and he could hold his own in a fight against two men half again his height. The resurrection man was taller, whipcord, and Jesse bet he wore gloves to keep his hands clean when he robbed night-time graves. No one who saw him by day would know what he did at night.

When their eyes met, blue on brown, it created something interesting and indefinable, like that boundary moment when water touches a burning coal, or warm ocean air brushes chilly shore. The resurrection man looked away. Jesse clicked his tongue in mischief—and the chance to make some money.

The coffin rested on a pair of beams set across the grave Jesse had dug only that morning. Jesse always put a scattering of sawdust and few pine branches in the bottom of his graves so the coffin wouldn’t rest on dirt. It made no difference to the deceased, mind you, but it made the family feel better. Two solemn boys pulled the beams away, and the pall bearers lowered the coffin with ropes braced around their necks like pulleys while the preacher said his final bit. While all this was going on, the resurrection man slipped away, confirming Jesse’s suspicions that the man was a grave robber who knew the best time to leave was when the family was occupied.

As the family drifted off, Jesse barely overheard a man and a woman in conversation. The woman murmured, “He won’t get up and come after us, do you? He’s stubborn enough to try.”

“Jesus, I hope not,” the man muttered back. “That copper-plated sumbitch was bad enough when he was alive. I can’t think what he’d be like lurching around dead.”

Death brought out the truth among the living. Jesse looked in the direction the resurrection man had taken and gave himself a private nod. It was going to be an interesting evening.

Jesse finished filling the grave of Mr. Elmer Pitt (b. 1803, d. 1889), then went home to the little shack he occupied at the edge of Highland Cemetery, made himself a pot of strong coffee on his bachelor stove, dropped a slug of Irish in it, and waited until sunset. When the early autumn night slid in cozy among the gravestones, Jesse put his shovel back over his shoulder and strolled toward the grave of Elmer Pitt. There was time to enjoy the walk and think about how to spend the money he would shake out of the resurrection man. It had been a while since he’d passed a good night’s drinking and fighting at a pool hall. Or maybe he’d buy a new pair of boots.

The trek was easy. Didn’t matter that it was dark. Jesse had dug plenty of graves in Highland Cemetery and knew the place like the end of his shovel. He even had a map of the place tacked to the wall of his shack, with every grave picked out in careful precision. People thought that graveyards laid out the dead in neat, cornfield rows, but Highland’s graves made a swirling mosaic that twisted around the hills and trees, creating stars and flowers and teardrops that only god and Jesse’s map could see. Jesse had taken over as the main gravedigger in Ypsilanti from Mr. Suggs two years ago. Mr. Suggs himself currently rested in a grave well back from the road that Jesse himself had dug with extra care. Jesse didn’t run the cemetery—that job belonged to the great and gloomy Frederick Huff, who issued daily orders from the caretaker’s house and only emerged to complain at Billy Cake and the other fellows who worked the cemetery. But it was Jesse who dug the graves.

Highland Cemetery had opened twenty-some years ago, a little ways before Jesse was born, and it had stolen away all the business from Prospect Cemetery. Didn’t seem to matter that Prospect was half a mile closer to downtown Ypsilanti, with its growing Normal School and expanding railroad system. Prospect still failed to prosper.

Problem was, Prospect had both proven too small, so the city had bought a big chunk of loamy hillside outside Ypsilanti and named it Highland Cemetery. The local Catholic community had been scandalized at the idea of sharing eternity with Protestants and even Lutherans, so they had bought a bit of land right across the road for their own dead, keeping Mr. Suggs, and now Jesse, busy digging graves for both. Meanwhile, the townsfolk stopped using Prospect Cemetery entire, and no one seemed interested in paying Jesse Fair or Billy Cake to even trim its trees, so these days the verge ran wild. The inhabitants didn’t complain.

It was a serpent night, with the chill breeze hissing in the leaves. Jesse wound through the stones until he came to the new grave of Elmer Pitt. The thin glow of a little lantern on the ground illuminated the markers from the bottom up, and the familiar quiet sound of a wooden shovel biting earth came to Jesse’s ears. Resurrection men always used wooden shovels. They made less noise. Jesse crept closer.

The resurrection man had already made good headway and was knee-deep in the ground at the head of the grave. Two canvas drop cloths lay beside him, one to catch the dirt, and the other to receive Elmer Pitt. Jesse noted the well-worn leather gloves covering the resurrection man’s hands. The man also had a crowbar and a length of rope.

“So you’re from the University Medical School,” Jesse said in the dark.


Author Bio

Steven Harper

Steven Harper Piziks was born with a last name no one can reliably spell or pronounce, so he usually writes under the name Steven Harper. He grew up on a farm in Michigan but has also lived in Wisconsin and Germany and spent extensive time in Ukraine.

So far, he’s written more than two dozen novels and over fifty short stories and essays. When not writing, he plays the folk harp, lifts weights, and spends more time on-line than is probably good for him. He teaches high school English in southeast Michigan, where he lives with his husband. His students think he’s hysterical, which isn’t the same as thinking he’s funny.

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

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

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevenPiziks

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/250784.Steven_Harper

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Guest Blog Post: Lessons learned querying agents and publishers by Carolyn DiPasquale

I am honored to share today’s special guest blog post from Carolyn DiPasquale, author of the book Reckless Grace. Today she shares the lessons she learned sending queries to agents and publishers alike. I hope you enjoy today’s post and be sure to follow the author and pick up your copy of their book today!


Finding a publisher is a long, lonely process. I’d heard the rejection stories, so I knew this going in, but I never imagined how hard it would be in that actual space.

Hoping to sign with a major company, aka the “Big 5 Publishers,” I began by querying agents. I spent hours trying to craft cogent query letters that, in retrospect, I think always missed the mark for two reasons. One, I had trouble boiling down a broad, complex work like Reckless Grace into a few catchy lines. My cognizance of the power of that letter—it could make or break me—also froze me up, resulting in stilted text. I received pass after pass. But infinitely more painful than the Dear-John emails was the total lack of response from most Big-5 agents who couldn’t be bothered to even acknowledge receipt of, much less respond to, not just my query letter, but also my book proposal and sample chapters, a package that took from several weeks to several months to put together. Which made me repeatedly feel like the book I’d labored over for the last seven years was worth nothing. 

But I didn’t give up because even if I couldn’t articulate it effectively in my queries, I believed in the importance of my project. It helped that my writer-friend, Elisabeth, was also shopping her manuscript among Big-5 agents without success. We commiserated with each other while reviewing one another’s letters and synopses, and this camaraderie lifted some of the gloom. I got so excited the few times she received “hits,” that is requests from agents to read her full manuscript; however, they ultimately passed. (Elisabeth still hasn’t found an agent after eight years.)  As time went on, I understood that Big-5 agents favor celebrities and well-known writers. They accept very few new clients, sometimes only one percent! 

Therefore, after a year without one bite, I moved on to smaller companies, called Indie (independent) publishers. Within weeks, I started getting hits. Both editors who read my full manuscript offered me contracts. Though thrilled at their interest, I felt I had to proceed cautiously; I’d invested too much time in writing Reckless Grace to release it without vetting these companies. After contacting authors who had used these publishers and hearing about their experiences, I had serious reservations and ultimately rejected both offers. I knew it was the right call, but I felt dejected and stuck. In the stifling July heat of 2020, I started writing query letters again. In August, I got another hit. Jay Gowen from WiDo Publishing requested my full manuscript and read Reckless Grace in three days, stunning me with a phone call. “I don’t usually telephone authors,” he said in a kind, professional voice, “but your manuscript absolutely slayed me.” I signed a contract the next day. 

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Book Summary

Fourteen-year-old Rachel guards a collection of secrets for ten years, journaling to vent her terror and loneliness.

Following Rachel’s fatal overdose years later, her mother, Carolyn DiPasquale, stumbles upon her daughter’s diaries. Shattered, she searches for answers, retracing her steps to figure out how parents and doctors missed three major mental illnesses.

What the single, working mother recalls is a far cry from what happens, as dramatically revealed in tandem chapters gleaned from Rachel’s journals. While the mother sprints from task to task, the daughter details the baffling emergence and frightening progression of bulimia, diabulimia, and borderline personality disorder; her eventual substance abuse; and heart-wrenching reasons for not seeking help.

Despite her loss, DiPasquale hopes her story lights a path for victims of mental illness while awakening all readers.

Publisher: E.L. Marker

ISBN-10: 1947966550

ISBN-13: 978-1947966550

ASIN: ‎B09W69TT11

Print length: 546 pages

Purchase a copy of Reckless Grace 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:

Carolyn DiPasquale grew up in Franksville, Wisconsin, graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a double major in English and French. In 1983, she moved to Rhode Island where she raised three children while pursuing her Master’s in English at the University of Rhode Island. Over her career, she taught literature and composition at various New England colleges; worked as a technical writer at the Naval Underseas Warfare Center in Newport; and wrote winning grants as a volunteer for Turning Around Ministries, a Newport aftercare program for ex-offenders. She has been an active member of the Newport Round Table, a professional writing group (founded in 1995), since 2013. 

DiPasquale currently lives in Richmond, Rhode Island where she has started working on a sequel to Reckless Grace. She has also ventured into writing children’s books. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking with healthy ingredients, hiking and trapshooting with her husband Phil, and volunteering at the New Hope Chapel food pantry in Carolina, Rhode Island.  

Visit her website to follow her updates. You can also follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

Blog Tour Calendar

– Blog Tour Calendar

August 1st @ The Muffin

Join us at WOW! Women on Writing as we celebrate the launch of Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. Read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

August 1st @ Mindy McGinnis

Join Mindy as she features a guest post by author Carolyn DiPasquale on the topic of how mental disorders travel in packs. Don’t miss this! 

https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

August 3rd @ Pages and Paws

Join Kristine as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. You don’t want to miss this powerful memoir!

https://pagesandpaws.com/

August 8th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he features Carolyn DiPasquale’s guest post about lessons learned from querying agents and publishers.

August 9th @ The Faerie Review

Join Lily as she features Carolyn DiPasquale and her memoir Reckless Grace.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

August 10th @ Word Magic

Come by Fiona’s blog where she shares the author’s guest post about memoir writing. Don’t miss this important post if you are interested in this writing genre!

https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

August 13th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Join Linda as she interviews Carolyn DiPasquale about her memoir Reckless Grace. 

https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/

August 15th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra as she features Reckless Grace by Carolyn DiPasquale.

https://www.astorybookworld.com/

August 18th @ Pen and Prosper

Join Jennifer as she interviews Carolyn DiPasquale about her memoir Reckless Grace.

http://penandprosper.blogspot.com/

August 19th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. You don’t want to miss this touching memoir.

https://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

August 20th @ Choices

Join Madeline as she shares Carolyn DiPasquale’s guest post about whether women can age with grace.

http://www.madelinesharples.com/

August 22nd @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s powerful memoir Reckless Grace.

https://worldofmyimagination.com

August 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony again as he reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s powerful memoir Reckless Grace.

August 28th @ Liberate and Lather

Join Angela as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. 

https://liberateandlather.com/

September 1st @ Peaches and Cream Pages

Join Kelly as she reviews Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace. You’ll definitely want to add this book to your reading list.

https://www.instagram.com/peachesandcreampages/

September 2nd @ Heidi Lynn’s Book Reviews.

Join Heidi Lynn as she features Carolyn DiPasquale’s memoir Reckless Grace.

https://heidilynnsbookreviews.blogspot.com/

September 3rd @ Kelly Sgroi’s Blog

Visit Kelly’s blog today and read the guest post written by Carolyn DiPasquale about how to make your writing sing. Feel inspired today!

https://www.kellysgroi.com/blog

September 4th @ Free to be Me

Join Leslie as she reviews Reckless Grace by Carolyn DiPasquale.

https://lesliesvoice.com/

Cover Reveal of “Bed of Rose and Thorns“ by Lee Hunt.

Bed of Rose and Thorns - Lee Hunt

Lee Hunt has a new dark fantasy/fairy tale out: Bed of Rose and Thorns, and we have the cover reveal! There’s a giveaway too.

Sir Ezra is an Elysian Bell; he has a frightening potential that he keeps hidden deep beneath tight layers of steel armor. He secretly loves a dark Queen whose touch would mean his death.

Banished for brutally slaughtering the Prince of Erle and husband to the Queen, Sir Ezra can only dream of seeing her again. Every night, his soul travels to distant lands, remembering the Queen, her deep convictions, brilliant mind, unending work, hidden loneliness, and a single night of horrific bloodshed.

Recalled to the Queendom after eleven years, Ezra hopes to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of the woman he was sacrificed for. Instead, he finds a nation in rebellion and the Queen to be an elusive phantom. His only friend, Sir Marigold, challenges his presence and tells him that he is not needed in the capitol. Looking for both the truth and the absent Queen, Ezra finds only more secrets and enemies.

Ezra’s armor is dented, scarred, and ruined by friend and enemy alike; his secret potential is about to become unbound.

Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

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

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

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47239/?


Excerpt

Bed of Rose and Thorns meme

A man alone, thirsty, falls asleep.

***

“Where am I?” asks the man. He seems to be bobbing high in clear aquamarine water. All he can see is a vast expanse of ocean and a clear crystalline structure that floats nearby. Something seems familiar. He had been in a desert, travelling with friends, but now he swims upon an endless ocean.

“Have I been here before?” he asks. The tug of oceanic currents and the endless blue horizon pull on some memory . . . something important.

“You are in the sea of Eydos,” says the crystalline structure. It has been floating toward him, quietly, its approach, until then, unnoticed.

“And you are an iceberg,” the man says, smiling, unconcerned, unsurprised by the nearness of the mountainous structure. He does not know what Eydos is, but he thinks he may recognize this vast icy creature. Something tells him that he may have seen her before, though his memory is as difficult to make out as a words written on water.

The iceberg shakes from side to side, creating little ripples and dancing waves. “I suppose that I am.”

“Your sides are so smooth,” says the man. “I like you.”

The iceberg shakes again and glides right up beside the man. He floats high enough in the water that her ripples of laughter do not threaten to drown him. “You are brave, aren’t you?”

“I am not afraid to look upon that which I like. And say so.”

“Look down then, man, and tell me what you see.”

The man dives down a few body lengths, searching. When he resurfaces, he is smiling even more widely than before. “You go down and down, out of sight, beyond light and reckoning.” He shakes his head at her. “Most of you is down below, unknowable. How vast are you?”

“Never ask a lady her size,” the iceberg says, creating even bigger waves as she shakes the waters, laughing. “My size is my depth, and my depth is my size.”

“Well, I like it. I am just a man. Not vast or mysterious like an iceberg.”

“An amusing man, I think,” replies the berg.

The man asks, “Where are you going?”

“On currents that are my own, on purposes that are my own, for reasons that are my own.”

“I don’t know what I am doing here or where I am going,” says the man.

“Typical,” replies the iceberg lightly. “Most do not.”

The man, swimming hard beside her, says, “You are certainly moving fast through this ocean.”

“Indeed,” says the iceberg. “I am an agent of my own destiny.” After a moment, she adds, “If you come around back and swim in my eddy, you will be pulled along. You can rest while we talk.”

The man looks at the smooth surface of the iceberg. “Can I not just slide up onto you and rest there?”

“No!” says the iceberg, firm. “I am hard and cold. I would burn you. If you touch me, you will be undone.” Her voice softens as she adds, “It is nice in my eddy. Swim there, man.”

He shrugs and does as she says.

“Oh, this is nice,” says the man. “I can look at you and talk at the same time.”

“Glad to help you do two things at once,” giggles the iceberg, making tears of water jiggle and parade.

And they talk on through the day, the man endlessly curious about the magnificent creature of the waters.

***

“I love you, iceberg,” declares the man.

“That’s nice, but you don’t even know a tenth of me.”

“Good point,” laughs the man. “I need to dive deeper.” He takes a deep breath and dives into the dark again.

Missing completely the iceberg’s cry of “No!”

The water starts at a clear color, or is it green? Then it turns light blue, and then to deeper and darker shades. The man pushes and kicks, fighting his buoyancy, feeling the weight of water build and build, following the clean lines of ice down into oblivion.

Heavy, crushing pressure begins to squeeze him. It is like the weight of memory, everywhere pushing, everywhere trying to change and deform him from his human shape, trying to make his courage fail and shatter his hope. But he loves the iceberg and he needs to follow her down.

At the utmost point of indigo darkness, he finds a new light. It shines from a clear chamber in the ice where a figure waits. Lungs bursting, he pushes deeper, drawing level to the translucent walls and the woman who lies inside.

She is naked but for her long, tawny hair. Like a lion’s mane, it frames her long, pure face and spills over her delicate, perfect shoulders. She looks at peace. Her eyes are closed, but she is smiling.

This is the heart of the iceberg, the man thinks, in the crushing pressure of the deep. So beautiful.

Then he sees that she rests upon a bed of long, sharp thorns.


Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Born with only one working lung and having had the last rights read to him and dying of an influenza related viral pneumonia, 25-year-old geophysicist Lee Hunt experienced several near-death dreams. The power of communication and the need to both understand and be understood was at the heart of each. He had already found that nothing was more important than being able to cross the distance between people.

Lee’s interests are eclectic. He is an Ironman Triathlete, hiker, traveler, and an enthusiastic sport rock climber. Lee also continues to work as a geophysicist on Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, and is a writer for BIG-Media.ca.

The dream of understanding and being understood has never left his mind, and Lee continues that in his works of fiction through metaphor. His works include The Dynamicist Trilogy, Last Worst Hopes and Bed of Rose and Thorns.

Author Website: https://www.leehunt.org/

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052376555360

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

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1196106.Lee_Hunt

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/lee-hunt/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lee-Hunt/e/B082YFTMCK

 

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Interview with Judy Croome 

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

I was born in Zimbabwe and now live in South Africa. I could never find my working niche, but the one constant in my life was my love of reading. From when I was a teenager, I’d always wanted to write but lacked confidence and discipline. In my late-30s I decided to finally write! My first novel took ten arduous years, but once I wrote The End, I knew I was doing what I wanted to do.

What inspired you to write your book?

The fear and panic that swept the world when the covid pandemic began made me consider that the modern generation has such mental, emotional and spiritual pressure in a world that is so uncertain and dangerous. I wanted to explore how the pandemic deepened these challenges.

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

To inspire the belief that, no matter how bleak or dark life seems, the human spirit can face —and overcome — anything if we hold onto hope.

What drew you into this particular genre?

Poetry became my primary genre by accident. Like most authors, with ever-increasing daily demands on my time, I constantly struggled to find long periods of unfractured time to write. Wanting to write every day to keep my creative juices flowing, I discovered that I could write a poem a day until I had enough for a whole volume. 

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

Leaving book reviews on Goodreads. Keeping active on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Write every day –once you’ve started a new writing project, never miss a day of writing even if you only write 100 words a day. 

Be authentic. Try to avoid writing what you think will sell, what people say you must write. Whether you’re writing an entertaining genre novel or a literary masterpiece, leave your soul on the page.

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

Currently working on a collection of short stories, predominantly magical realism, although some of the stories have no magical realism element. Barring any unforeseen delays (like writer’s block!) that book should hit the shelves in the South African summer 2022. After that I’m toying with the idea of another volume of poetry before tackling a long-held dream of mine – a trilogy of novels starting with the Anglo-Boer War, then the South African Border War and the final book will be set in post-1994 democratic South Africa.

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About the Author

Judy Croome lives and writes in Johannesburg, South Africa. Shortlisted in the African Writing Flash Fiction 2011 competition, Judy’s short stories, poems and articles have appeared in various magazines, anthologies and newspapers, such as The Sunday Times, The Huffington Post (USA) and the University of the Witwatersrand’s Itch Magazine. In 2021 and 2016, Judy was the poetry judge for Writers2000’s Annual Writing Competition. In 2021, Judy presented an hour long workshop to Writers 2000 called “The Gift of Poetry”

Judy loves her family, cats, exploring the meaning of life, chocolate, cats, rainy days, ancient churches with their ancient graveyards, cats, meditation and solitude. Oh, and cats. Judy loves cats (who already appear to have discovered the meaning of life.)

Her fiction and poetry books ‘the dust of hope: rune poems” (2021); “Drop by Drop: poems of loss” (2020); “a stranger in a strange land” (2015),”The Weight of a Feather & Other Stories” (2013), “a Lamp at Midday” (2012) and “Dancing in the Shadows of Love” (2011) are available from Aztar Press.

“Street Smart Taxpayers: A practical guide to your rights in South Africa” (Juta Law, 2017) was co-authored with her late husband Dr. Beric Croome (1960 – 2019). Follow her on GoodReadsFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan. 27: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (review)

Feb. 3: Anthony Avina Blog (review)

Feb. 8: Wall-to-Wall Books (review)

Feb. 9: Little Miss Star (review)

Feb. 17: Necromancy Never Pays (review)

Feb. 22: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (review)

March 2: Anthony Avina Blog (Interview)

March 8: True Book Addict (review)

March 17: Pages for Sanity (review)

March 22: the bookworm (review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #dustofhope and @judy_croome

Her Christmas Dilemma by Brenda Minton Featured Post

Hello everyone! Throughout the next month, I am honored to be sharing some special posts sharing an upcoming holiday or winter-themed reads from Harlequin Books as part of the Harlequin Series Winter Tour 2021. Each of these posts will have this intro, followed by a prepared post featuring info on the latest book on this tour and where you can find it. I hope you will check out this amazing tour and support the authors and Harlequin Books, who I have thoroughly enjoyed working with these last couple of years and can’t wait to continue reading their amazing catalog of authors. Enjoy this next selection.

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HER CHRISTMAS DILEMMA by Brenda Minton (on-sale Nov.30, Love Inspired): Searching for a safe haven and a new beginning. Returning home for the holidays after an unexpected pregnancy, Clara Fisher needs a fresh start. And working as a housekeeper for Tucker Church and his teenage niece is the first step. Clara still has hard choices to make, but Tucker might be just the person to help her forget her fears. Could the path to her new future also lead to love?

About BRENDA MINTON: Brenda Minton lives in the Ozarks. She’s a wife, mom to three, foster mom to five and grandma to a princess.  Life is chaotic but she enjoys every minute of it with her family and a few too many dogs. When not writing she’s drinking coffee on the patio, wrangling kids or escaping for an evening out  with her husband.  Visit her online at http://www.brendaminton.net

Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Her-Christmas-Dilemma-Uplifting-Inspirational-ebook/dp/B095M2YFQ6/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=HER+CHRISTMAS+DILEMMA+by+Brenda+Minton&qid=1637073679&sr=8-1 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/her-christmas-dilemma-brenda-minton/1139540763?ean=9781335758934 

Harlequin.com:  https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335409577_her-christmas-dilemma.html 

Juniper Forest by Rory Elliot Review

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

Two young women find themselves on the adventure of a lifetime as they land in a new and uncharted world in author Rory Elliot’s “Juniper Forest”.

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The Synopsis

Best friend Melody convinces Isobelle to leave her reality to embark upon the most unusual and inconvenient journey of her life. From getting drunk with an unknown tribe to being captured by moronic creatures, Melody and Isobelle face all that Juniper Forest has to offer as they pursue their desperate mission to find their way back to normalcy.

The Review

This was a fun and engaging short story. The author brilliantly dives into the New Adult Fantasy genre, and creates an excellent balance of world building and character growth within a short read. The relationship between Isobelle and Melody instantly stands out for the reader, while the fantasy element takes readers into a rich and entertaining world of magic and wonder. 

The amount of intrigue and suspense the author is able to incorporate into the narrative really stands out. From early on the reader is treated to fantastic characters that both delight and frighten the protagonists, and the narrative overall is richly layered, creating a powerful read that readers can instantly devour within one sitting.

The Verdict

A must-read short story, author Rory Elliot’s “Juniper Forest” is a brilliant world within the fantasy genre. Fast-paced and entertaining throughout, the story does a great job of incorporating a lot of mythology and fantasy creatures into the narrative, making this a marvelous journey for fans of the genre. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Writing stories is something I do to escape for a bit. It is so unbelievably fun to write, I’ve spent hours engulfed by the possibilities of where the story could lead and the experiences my characters could have during their adventure. Juniper Forest is inspired by all of the stories and comical figures that I’ve personally enjoyed.

To those that have shown support for the books, I’d like to say a huge thank you!

Official Website

Goodreads

Amazon

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