Guest Post: Anatomy of a Thriller by Author Linda Lee Kane

Anatomy of a Thriller 1

The Black Madonna,
A Pope’s Deadly Obsession

The Hanged Man

“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.”

~ Pope Innocent III

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Toulouse, France 1209

Guilhelm de Montanhagol, a Knights Templar knew his death was imminent. Few who entered the halls of torment emerged whole in mind or body. For six years, Bishop Folques had kept him imprisoned in a small cell in Toulouse. Condemned as a heretic, he’d suffered the agony of the rack on several occasions.

He reflected on the last time Folques visited him in the dungeon. He had been splayed on a board, tied down at the wrists and ankles. Rollers at each end of the board slowly turned, pulling his body in opposite directions until every joint dislocated. He could no longer sit or stand. He slept, ate, and wasted away in his own filth. His once fine kirtle and linen shirt were just rags wrapped around his body for warmth.

His thoughts turned to his lover, Esclarmonde. Thinking of his her comforted him in his last hours,. Esclarmonde’s skin was the color of alabaster, her shimmering blonde hair, highlighted with wisps of silver, cascaded down her body. She favored floor-length, loosely fitted gowns, usually of blue. He longed to thread his hands through her hair one last time. Her emerald -green eyes shimmered with love for him. Esclarmonde was strong. She would get the codex, written by Mary Magdalene, safely away.

Guilhelm was at peace in this knowledge. He was ready to accept his impending death. His tormentors had beaten him down mentally and physically. Esclarmonde was gone. His brother’s in the Knights Templar were dead and gone. There was no hope, only the desire to die and end the suffering.

Soldiers came, stripped him of the last of his ragged clothing, then dragged him from his meager cell. He had been wearing the same clothes he had worn since Pope Innocent III had him thrown into this God-forsaken hell. They hung him upside down by one leg, creating the sensation of a crucifixion. In time, this posture would inhibit and exhaust the muscles required for breathing. They stretched him in one direction, while gravity and his body weight worked against him. Exhaustion would eventually set in, and he would die. They do this to traitors, he thought angrily, but he was not a traitor. He was a Knights Templar and had sworn an oath never to kill a Christian. The pope believed if one was not of the Orthodox Christian faith, then that person was a heretic and should pay for his crimes against the church. Today, Folques, dressed in monk’s attire, came to offer Guilhelm a last salvation if he would only give up his lover’s secret, the treasure hidden by the Cathars, people who practiced a religion the pope had declared war against in 1208.

“You must be getting desperate, Folques,” Guilhelm whispered weakly. “I have not seen you in years. Have the Cathars escaped with the secret that you want so desperately so you can protect the pope and the Roman religion?”

“Guilhelm, tell me where the treasure is hidden, and I will spare you from being tortured further,” Folques coaxed, while nervously shuffling a deck of cards in his hands.

“I believe the end is near, Bishop. I have nothing to gain and everything to lose in telling you anything. I would lose my soul if you were to extort that from me,” Guilhelm proclaimed defiantly.

Folques held out a card for Guilhelm who strained through blurred vision to see its face. He saw what appeared to be a young woman holding open the jaws of a lion., He’s discovered cards, he thought. He blinked back the salty sweat rolling down his face, trying to see more clearly.

The image faded and he saw a Roman pontiff holding a staff, crowned by the Yellow Cross of the Cathars. The next card Folques pulled from the deck displayed a burning tower with its defenders leaping to their deaths. Visions of the cards floated past Guilhelm with greater speed, a blur of scenes he could barely distinguish through his battered eyes. Did this mean that -Esclarmonde plan had worked? His mind leaped with joy as his body grew weaker. God bless Esclarmonde.

“Who is this woman?” Folques demanded again.

The question roused Guilhelm from his anguished thoughts. The guards yanked his head back by his hair. He saw Foulques displaying a card with a hand-painted miniature of his beloved Esclarmonde.

“We found these playing cards being copied and passed from city to city like holy relics by gypsies. What is their purpose?” Folques demanded.

Guilhelm suddenly turned away, realizing which card Folques was holding—the one that depicted the seated priestess. She held a scroll bearing the letter’s tarot. Esclarmonde created these cards to preserve the teachings of the Cathars for future generations. The scroll protected by the High Priestess would one day turn the world upside-down, but only if the truth was known.

Two burly guards cut Guilhelm down and let him drop hard to the ground. Grabbing him by his arms, they picked him up and gripped his head, turning it to face the pyre. He felt the intense heat and smelled the smoke. He envisioned Esclarmonde calling out to him.

He had withstood more pain than most men could have. Completely worn out, he longed only to be with his lover one day in the Hereafter.

“Tell me, Guilhelm, now,” ordered Folques.

Guilhelm forced a slight smile on his dry, cracked lips, knowing that, one day, the truth about the Cathars and the treasure would be known.

“Your god is waiting for you and every other Cathar,” Folques spit out with disgust. “I will find the treasure of the Cathars if it takes killing every one of you.” He turned to the guards. “He might as well burn. He is useless to me.”

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About the Author

Linda Lee Kane is an author of fantasies, thrillers, and contemporary fiction works. She is the author of Death on the VineChilled to the Bones and an upcoming re-release of the The Black Madonna ‘A Popes Deadly Obsession’. She lives with her husband, two dogs,  and seven horses in California.  “Whether I am writing for adults or children, the war between my days and nights is reflected in my books. Although the tendency to acknowledge the light and dark sides of life is often disguised in my work, it’s always there, lurking just out of sight.”

You can find Linda at her website: https://www.lindaleekane.com/

You may also follow her on Twitter at @llkane2152.

You may also follow her on Amazon and GoodReads.

You can follow the author’s blog tour using the dates and links below! 

— Blog Tour Dates

April 1st @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Come by today and celebrate the launch of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obession. Read an interview with the author and also enter to win a copy of the book.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com.

April 2nd @ Break Even Books

Make sure you visit Erik’s blog today where you can catch Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about heroes and villains.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

April 3rd @ Words from the Heart

Rev. Linda Neas will be reviewing Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. 

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

April 5th @ Words from the Heart

Stop by Rev. Linda Neas blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about heroes and villains.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

April 8th @ Jennifer’s Deals

Visit Jennifer’s blog where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://www.jennifers-deals2.com/

April 10th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Stop by Bev’s blog today where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 11th @ Oh for the Hook of a Book

Visit Erin’s blog today where she shares her opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/

April 12th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read author Linda Lee Kane’s post about creating suspense. Plus, be sure to check out the interview with the author as well!

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

April 13th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog where you can read her interview with author Linda Lee Kane and hear more about this interesting writer!

https://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.com/

April 15th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Bev’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post about finding the idea.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 16th @ Amanda Diaries

Visit Amanda’s blog where she reviews the exciting historical fiction book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession by Linda Lee Kane.

https://amandadiaries.com/

April 19th @ Bookworm Blog

Stop by Anjanette’s bookworm blog where you can read her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

http://bookworm66.wordpress.com

April 19th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Make sure you stop by Jill’s blog today where author Linda Lee Kane talks about finding the idea.

https://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

April 20th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog

Stop by Madeline’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s blog post about life as a writer.

http://madelinesharples.com/

April 21st @ Coffee with Lacey

Grab some coffee and visit Lacey’s blog where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller, Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://coffeewithlacey.com/

April 22nd @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on research.

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

April 23rd @ Joyful Antidotes

Come by Joy’s blog today and find out her thoughts on Linda Lee Kane’s exciting book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://joyfulantidotes.com/

April 24th @ Bring on Lemons

Stop by Crystal’s blog today where you can read her review of this exciting historical fiction book, Black Madonna.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

April 25th @ To Write or Not to Write

Visit Sreevarsha’s blog where she shares her thoughts about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting thriller Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

April 26th @ To Write or Not to Write

Make sure you stop by Sreevarsha’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s fascinating blog post about the anatomy of a thriller.

https://sreevarshasreejith.blogspot.com/

April 27th @ A Day in the Life of Mom

Visit Ashley’s blog and check out what she has to say about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

May 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Be sure to stop by Anthony’s blog today where you can read his opinion about Linda Lee Kane’s exciting historical mystery Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 4th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

May the 4th be with you on this day! Be sure to visit Anthony’s blog again where you can read Linda Lee Kane’s guest post on the anatomy of a thriller as well as an interview with this incredible author.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

May 6th @ Cassandra’s Writing World

Visit Cassandra’s blog again where you can read her review of Linda Lee Kane’s book Black Madonna: A Pope’s Deadly Obsession. Plus you can also enter to win a copy of the book!

https://cassandra-mywritingworld.blogspot.com/

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My MacArthur by Cindy Fazzi Review & Blog Tour

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

Author Cindy Fazzi tackles one of the United States most prominent military figures and the mysterious love affair he had with a young Filipino woman in the highly acclaimed novel, “My MacArthur”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

The year is 1930. The place: Manila. Douglas MacArthur is the most powerful man in the Philippines, a United States colony. He’s fifty years old, divorced, and he falls in love at first sight with a ravishing young Filipino woman. He writes her a love note on the spot. Her name is Isabel Rosario Cooper, an aspiring movie actress. One glance at his note and she thinks of him as “my MacArthur.” 

MacArthur pursues his romantic obsession even though he’s breaking numerous taboos. She reciprocates his affection because he could open doors for her financially struggling family. When MacArthur is appointed the U.S. Army chief of staff, he becomes the youngest four-star general and one of America’s most powerful men. Out of hubris, he takes Isabel with him to America without marrying her. Amid the backdrop of the Great Depression, their relationship lasts until 1934. After four years of relationship, MacArthur leaves Isabel for fear of a political scandal. 

The general goes on to become the iconic hero of World War II, liberating the Philippines and rebuilding Japan, while Isabel drifts in Los Angeles unable to muster the courage to return to Manila. 

The Review

As a fan of history and looking past the curtain of fame to see the true people these historical figures were, I found this story truly fascinating. A fictional story about a true love affair, the often explosive, raw and destructive affair between the famed General MacArthur and the young aspiring actress Isabel makes for a powerful and engaging read.

It truly was interesting to see the famed military leaders fascination and love for the Philippines, and the author did a wonderful job of bringing the setting to life on every page. The blend of Philippine and American cultures shone through in every chapter, and set the affair in a whole new light as the two broke taboo after taboo in both countries in order to be together. 

The Verdict

This is a must read novel, and a fantastic example of historical fiction that is so well written that it could easily be reality. Giving a voice to an era and to people who have remained mysterious in their relationship with one another for decades, it was truly interesting to see the chemistry between the two, both the good and the bad. If you have a fascination with history, Filipino culture or fantastic writing overall, then you need to grab your copy of My MacArthur by Cindy Fazzi today.

Rating: 10/10

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Print Length: 285 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Sand Hill Review Press

ISBN: 9781937818968

My MacArthur is now available to purchase on Amazon.com as an e-book (and print) as well as at Barnes and Noble.

About the Author

Cindy Fazzi is a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. My MacArthur, published by Sand Hill Review Press, is her literary debut. She writes romance novels under the pen name Vina Arno. Her first romance book, In His Corner, was published by Lyrical Press in 2015. Her second romance novel, Finder Keeper of My Heart, was published by Painted Hearts Publishing in 2018. Her short stories have been published in Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review.

You can find Cindy at –

Check out the rest of the My MacArthur tour and all of these other incredible sites!

Find the perfect gift for everyone on your list with the Barnes & Noble Gift Guide.

— Blog Tour Dates

November 5th @ The Muffin

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by Women on Writing’s blog and read an interview with the author Cindy Fazzi and enter to win a copy of the book My MacArthur.

http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 6th @ Coffee with Lacey

Get your coffee and stop by Lacey’s blog where she share her thoughts on the book My MacArthur. 

http://coffeewithlacey.wordpress.com/


November 7th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Stop by Beverley’s blog and find out what she thought about Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur. This book is sure to entice historical fiction readers everywhere!

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

November 8th @ The Frugalista Mom

Stop by Rozelyn’s blog and catch her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.

https://thefrugalistamom.com/

November 9th @ The Frozen Mind

Grab a blanket and stop by the blog The Frozen Mind and read their thoughts on the incredible historical fiction book My MacArthur.

https://thefrozenmind.com/

November 11th @ Bring on Lemons

If life hands you lemons, read a book! Come by Crystal’s blog Bring on Lemons and find out what she had to say about the book My MacArthur.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

November 13th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??

Want to know what this mom had to say about the book? Stop by Ashley’s blog and read her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.

https://adayinthelifeofmom.com/

November 16th @ Amanda’s Diaries

Find out what Amanda had to say about Cindy Fazzi’s historical fiction book My MacArthur in her review today.

https://amandadiaries.com/

November 16th @ Chapters Through Life

Stop by Danielle’s blog where she spotlight’s Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur.

https://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.com/

November 19th @ Madeline Sharples Blog

Be sure to catch today’s post over at Madeline’s blog author Cindy Fazzi shares her tips for writing fiction about a famous person.

http://madelinesharples.com/

November 20th @ Let Us Talk of Many Things

Visit today’s blog where you can catch Cindy Fazzi’s post on overcoming prejudices against romance writers.

https://ofhistoryandkings.blogspot.com/


November 21st @ Mam’s Rants and Reviews

Stop by Shan’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the historical fiction book My MacArthur.

https://shanelliswilliams.com/

November 25th @ The World of My Imagination

Catch Nicole’s review of the book My MacArthur and find out what she had to say about this fantastic book.

http://theworldofmyimagination.blogspot.com

November 26th @ Break Even Books

Stop by the Break Even Books blog and read Cindy Fazzi’s article on the pros and cons of using a pen name.

https://breakevenbooks.com/

November 28th @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews

Visit Cayce’s blog and check out her thoughts on the book My MacArthur by Cindy Fazzi.

https://charmedbookhavenreviews.wordpress.com/

November 29th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey

Start your journey today at Kathleen’s blog Memoir Writer’s Journey where author Cindy Fazzi talks about the challenges of writing different genres.

https://krpooler.com/

November 30th @ Joyful Antidotes Blog

Want a joyful way to start your day? Stop by Joy’s blog where she reviews the incredible historical fiction book My MacArthur.

https://joyfulantidotes.com/

November 30th @ The Uncorked Librarian

Make sure you stop by Christine’s blog and read what she thinks about the book My MacArthur.

https://theuncorkedlibrarian.com

December 1st @ Charmed Book Haven Reviews

Visit Cacye’s blog again and read her interview with author Cindy Fazzi.

https://charmedbookhavenreviews.wordpress.com/

December 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Start your morning out right by reading Anthony Avina’s review of the book My MacArthur. 

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

December 2rd @ 2 Turn the Page Book Reviews

Visit Renee’s blog when she reviews Cindy Fazzi’s book My MacArthur and interviews the author.

https://2turnthepagebookreviews.blogspot.com/

Book Excerpt:

Douglas MacArthur. Her pulse quickened as she read the name. His neat handwriting exuded confidence, but just the same, his note struck her as an anomaly, a mistake. The white man who acted as his messenger stood next to her at the bar. 

Men of all ages filled the Olympic Boxing Club, waiting for the fight to begin. Filipinos, Americans, and Europeans caroused and mingled freely here, unlike the Elks or the Army and Navy Club, which banned Filipinos. The foreigners sat at the tables, drank Cerveza San Miguel, and smoked cigars. The Filipinos stood at the cheap section of the club, jostled and bet among themselves. 

“I’m Captain Ed Marsh, by the way.” The messenger extended his hand.

An American officer in civilian clothes. It was Saturday night, after all. 

“A pleasure to meet you, sir.” She shook his hand, but withheld her name. 

Isabel Rosario Cooper came to the club in search of her brother, or rather his car. She needed Ben to drive her to the Manila Carnival. 

Women didn’t come here because they didn’t watch boxing, so when she stepped inside the club, she’d grabbed everyone’s attention without trying. The men had erupted in whistles and cheers. The crowd had parted as she crossed the room. Just the way she liked it. She was born to part crowds—to turn heads. For an aspiring actress, every place was a stage. 

Who knew MacArthur sat amid the boisterous horde? She read the note again. I can’t help but notice your gracious presence. I would love it if you can favor me with your company. Please join me for dinner at The Grand.

This time, the words made sense. Not a blunder on his part or a misinterpretation on hers. The message hit her like a jackpot—bigger than the Carnival Queen title that her best friend, Nenita, aimed for. He was the most important man in the Philippine Islands. He could open doors for her and her family. 

She stopped herself from blurting out a yes!  She couldn’t afford to give herself away. Nothing compelled a man to pursue a woman more than her lack of interest. 

“Who’s Douglas MacArthur?” She stood with the note in one hand and her silk purse in the other hand. Chin up and chest out, despite the sweat underneath her lace blouse. Her skirt squeezed her waist and constricted her breathing, but she’d worn it because it displayed her figure. The stifling humidity now made her regret her choice. Even the garter belt and stockings itched in such heat. 

“You’ve never heard of Douglas MacArthur?” His eyes widened. 

She shook her head. A saxophone wailed, distracting them both. They turned toward the elevated boxing ring—empty. Below it, a band warmed up. 

Captain Marsh offered her a pack of Lucky Strike. “Care for a cigarette?”

“Why, thank you.” She tucked her purse under her armpit and took one stick, which he lit with a lighter. They stood side by side, watching the band.  

“Do you see the gentleman in the middle?” He pointed at a table not far from the band. “White suit. Gray-striped tie. Do you see him?”

“Yes.” 

“That is Douglas MacArthur.” 

The man stared at her while smoking a long-stemmed pipe, the bowl shaped like a corncob. He didn’t smile. The band played a jazz-style rendition of a Filipino folk song. The audience, packed ten deep, hooted and screamed for the fight to begin, but MacArthur didn’t even blink.

She glanced at his note again before inserting it in her purse.  “This is nice. But I don’t know him.”

“It’s unbelievable. You really don’t know him?”

She shook her head and shifted her weight to one hip. 

“He’s the Big Cheese!”

She arched her eyebrow.

“Major General MacArthur is the most powerful American not just in the Philippines, but in Asia.”

She took a drag on her cigarette. “I know what big cheese means, thank you.”

MacArthur stood out in his expensive suit, slicked-back hair, and intimidating pipe, but he was as old as her father, if not older. His title was commander of the U.S. Army’s Philippine Division, though everyone treated him like a king. 

He stared with a cool expression, pretending to be uninterested. The man was an actor. Perhaps they were not too different.

We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal Review

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

Trigger Warning: This book of poetry deals with themes and elements of abuse, self-harm and suicide. If these themes are triggering to you, be advised and prepared.

An emotional story of one man’s journey of defining himself and struggling with the world he was born into takes center stage in poet and author Lamar Neal’s poetry book, We All Need Therapy. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

This is a collection of poetry of how a boy, who started whole, encountered the world, which caused some painful cracks to appear in his vessel. He soon learned that when we do not hide your imperfections, a cracked vessel is the one, which lets the light shine through.

The Review

I was taken aback by the beauty and tragedy and pure emotion of this poetry book. The poems spoke to me in a way that touched my heart and brought a tear to my eye. You can feel the poet’s pain and heartbreak in each line, such as this passage from the poem Morning/Mourning:

“Living in the ruins of dreams
I was never supposed to have. Tomorrow we might lose everything Before our hearts can prepare.”

The author does an amazing job weaving themes and issues that plague our world to this day. Challenging the toxic masculinity that haunts young boys who dare to live outside of societal norms, fighting back against racial injustice and dealing with themes of love, loss and the pain of not fitting into the mold set out by our elders/peers, this book brings the causes of both inner turmoil and societal upheaval in our world currently into the spotlight like no other book of poetry out there right now. It also does a great job of addressing mental health overall, challenging this need to label anyone with a mental health condition as “crazy” when they are far from it. It was refreshing to see a poet and author expose their mental health struggles to the world in such an open and honest way, and showcase the need to fight against the stigma of mental health overall.

The Verdict

This is a must read book of poems. Due out on January 25th, 2019, these poems will touch on the struggle to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to fit you into a mold you don’t feel comfortable in. Full of heart, pure emotion and a message of hope and struggle that will help highlight the very healthy need for everyone to get therapy and face that inner turmoil head on. If you love beautiful poetry and raw emotional story telling, then pre-order your copy of We All Need Therapy by Lamar Neal today.

Rating: 10/10

https://www.amazon.com/All-Need-Therapy-Lamar-Neal-ebook/dp/B07JQYYKCL/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=dbs_s_def_awm_dirs_l_2&storeType=ebooks

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Twitter-@Ghostcharades

Facebook– /lamarKeonNeal

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Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2) by Cheryl Carpinello | Blog Tour & Review

Today I am honored to be working with Women on Writing Blog Tours and author Cheryl Carpinello to bring you the blog tour stop and review of the novel Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2). First we’ll take a look at my official review, followed by some great info on the book and the author, as well as some fun snippets from the book itself.

Official Review

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

Author Cheryl Carpinello brings the legend of King Arthur’s heroic wife Guinevere to life in the exhilarating and emotional middle grade historical fiction novel Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2). Here is the synopsis:

The Synopsis

“Think before acting,” her father always warned. But Princess Guinevere is ruled by her heart. Her betrothal to King Arthur has not changed this. When Guinevere and Cedwyn’s latest adventure takes a dangerous turn, they find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle as foretold by Merlyn’s Goddess of the Stones. Renegades—foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess—steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger. The plan quickly unravels, and Guinevere’s impassioned decisions come crashing down as Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality. Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

The Review

Now as someone who has come into this book series without any previous knowledge of the first book, this novel does a great job of creating a narrative that allows readers to jump head first into the story. Not only is the legend of King Arthur, Guinevere and Merlyn all well known to many, but the story of Guinevere and Cedwyn is natural and comes across in a way that is both familiar and new all at once.

The author does a great job of skirting that line between mythology, history and middle grade storytelling as readers get a glimpse at the brutal nature of medieval warfare, while giving an intimate look at a close friendship between a future queen and her future knight. Meanwhile, we get to see the birth of the woman who rivaled Arthur in both legend and heroism, Guinevere. Her character arc showcased the growing bravery and need to save others that few people possess, making her historical and mythological status feel current in this day and age.

The Verdict

This is the perfect middle grade, historical fiction story to bring a strong and heroic female protagonist into the children’s book mainstream audience. A fantastic play on the origins of one of history’s greatest iconic figures, the legend of Guinevere runs deeper than you could have ever imagined. A fast paced read filled with memorable characters and an emotionally pulling story, Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend (Book 2) by Cheryl Carpinello is a must read. Grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

What’s Hot Offer Submission for Fall. Enjoy 12% off on minimum purchase of $40. Use code: fallreadingscp. Valid until Nov. 30, 2018.

Book Summary

GuinevereDawnofLegend

His one desire…To be a knight.

His future queen…At times reckless.

Best friends…Bound by Friendship and Loyalty.

When their adventure turns deadly & dangerous, Guinevere & Cedwyn find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle.

Not only are they in danger, but so are the kids of Cadbury Castle.

Renegades–foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess–steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger.

As the plan quickly unravels, Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality.

Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?

Print Length: 150 Pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Publisher: Bublish, Incorporated (May 2017)

ISBN: 978-1946229441

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend is available to purchase on Amazon.com

Awards for Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend

2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Juvenile Fiction

2018 Gold Global eBook Award—Children’s Literature

2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Fairytale/Folklore/Mythology

2018 Bronze Evvy Awards—Juvenile Fiction
Short-Listed for 2019 Chanticleer Int’l Awards
2018 Honorable Mention Purple Dragonfly
100 Most Notable Indies for 2018
2018 Wishing Shelf Finalist

2017 BookLife Quarter Finalist
2017 Apple eBook Children’s Official Selection

About the Author

Author Full Sphinx

Cheryl Carpinello is an author, retired high school English teacher, and Colorado native. Since retiring from teaching, she’s been able to devote her time to writing and traveling. Although she may be away from teaching, she is still a teacher at heart and especially enjoys meeting with kids and talking with them about reading and writing. Cheryl hopes through her books she can inspire young readers and reader’s young-at-heart to read more.  

You can find Cheryl at –

Website: http://www.cherylcarpinello.com

Writing Blog:    http://carpinelloswritingpages.blogspot.com/

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.carpinello1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ccarpine1/

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Carpinello/e/B002GGGZY6

Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/ccarpinello

Linkedin Page:  www.linkedin.com/pub/cheryl-carpinello/25/671/a02

Google URL: https://plus.google.com/110918922081424857545/

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/ccarpine/

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend snippets

  1. The Goddess Speaks:

Many trials await the two of you. Perhaps the hardest are the ones you will have to endure alone.

“You, Guinevere, will find yourself lost. You—who are destined to be a great queen—will have to traverse a journey of immense pain and self-doubt. You must let your inner feelings guide you. The journey will be hard and painful. You must summon the courage of your soul to sustain you.

“You, Cedwyn, faithful friend of the princess and the queen. Your journey may be the hardest of all. You will be sent far from those you serve and love. Your duty will demand that you see this most difficult journey to its end. Whether it be death or life for you will depend upon many things. Your courage must also come from deep within your soul for one so young. Your love of family and friends must be great. But greater still must be your loyalty to the knight’s duty. For your knight’s vow comes soon. You must embrace it. You must defeat the temptations to turn aside for your own safety.

  1. Great Sadness and Danger:

With saddened and heavy hearts, they left the gruesome glen behind and rode for the castle.

Samuel followed Guinevere, having chosen to ride beside Aaron. His tears dried, but the anguish not buried with his family. The grief was clearly evident in his hunched body, the anger in his clenched fists on the pony’s reins. Cedwyn worried about the boy’s state of mind.

Guinevere now led the trio, concern for the safety of the castle and the people there were marked by the hard set of her chin. Worry etched lines in her wrinkled brow and deepened her hollowed eyes.

Cedwyn brought up the rear. His eyes noted every movement. Ears tuned to the echoes of the forest, head swiveling at each movement and sound. Fear had taken permanent hold over his body—a feeling he was certain should have been as foreign to him as it would have been to Arthur’s knights. Cold fear tightened its grip on his heart and throat. Those who would kill the gentle monks would stop at nothing. Now the little group rode in the dark, a time when all earthly creatures took on the pallor of ghosts, and hidden danger lurked all around them.

  1. Fathers and Daughters:

His finger on her lips stopped her rebuttal.

“Not now. Other issues demand the attention of the knights and kings.”…

“But Father…I promised.”

“So you did, daughter mine, but kings must rule with their heads not their hearts. This discussion is over. You are dismissed to go to your room. I have a knight there who will make sure your rest tonight isn’t disturbed.”

Her legs refused to move. She opened her mouth, but no words came.

“Go. Now Guinevere. Before I forget you’re my own flesh and have you flogged for the dangers you’ve brought upon us. Go!”

Guinevere ran from the room, fists clenched, tears streaming down her face.

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Book Release Day Blitz: Not So Wicked by T.A. Moorman

 

Not So Wicked by T. A. Moorman

Published October 30, 2018 by GothicMoms Studios

YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Synopsis:

Caught in a realm they know next to nothing about, in a time
where they’re hated for not what they are but how they look, these supernatural
teens may find it harder to curve their bloodlust than they thought.

 

Like most teens, even those with supernatural powers and
abilities, Elvira thinks that her days at Be Prepared High are a colossal waste
of time. Especially Feeding 101, since she’s a cursed vampire that was born
without fangs. She and her friends view most of the classes as useless since
they never plan on venturing to the human realm. Why would they when Underlayes
was made specifically for every factions’ safety, where they could roam free
day or night with not a care in the worlds.
But just like her parents always told her, sometimes you’re
put into situations you can’t control.
Elvira’s life takes an unexpected turn when a wizard hell
bent on misplaced revenge kidnaps her and several of her friends. Not only does
she send them with a one-way ticket to Detroit, Michigan, she sends them to a
time when the tension amongst the races is at its highest. And having to deal
with race issues is the one thing that has never even been so much as a thought
to any of them and is the one course not on the roster.
But will everything they’ve learned in school be enough to
keep them alive? What will they all do when racism stares them in the face?
Most importantly, how will they get back home?

 

 

 

Chapter
1

Once
upon a time… Really? I’m not starting my story off with that lame ass cliché. Fat chance. Not when my story is anything but
classic. You can think of this as the life and times of a teenage vampire. A
real one, not one that sparkles as though we were sprinkled with some type of
fairy dust. Oh! And we’re born, not made by just being bitten, consuming blood
from another vampire, or any other legend you may have researched somewhere. The
bitten one is the most ridiculous theory any of us have ever heard of. I mean
really, think about it, if everyone ever bitten by a vampire were to turn into
one how could they ever go back for seconds on the same victim, er donor? Could
you imagine how large the vampire population would be? Anyway, you wanna hear
my story? Just sit back, grab a pint of blood, or milk, and have a listen.
First
off, I don’t live in your dimension, I live in a separate one called
Underlayes. Where the things that go bump in the night – werewolves, vampires,
mermaids, sirens, witches, and so much more – truly are real. Underlayes has
regular neighborhoods just like Earth does, we don’t live in a ton of dug out
caves, or cryptic looking castles; besides the royals anyway. We used to live
amongst you guys, but that was way before my time, and a story way too long and
boring for me to bother with repeating. Just know that we all truly do exist
and a very few of our number walk alongside you still. So, you may want to
think about that before you lay down at night after bullying the school nerd or
your shy co-worker. If they’re the silent and quiet type they’re more than
possibly plotting your untimely demise and deciding what side-dish you’d go
best with. Or what curse to place on you. Something my Mom should have thought
about a long, long time ago.
Me?
The names Elvira, yea, Mom and Pops have a sick and twisted sense of humor.
Which when you come to think of it is actually a very good thing, since Mom was
dumb enough to piss off a witch when she was preggers with me and my brother,
Dracula (yup, again with the humor), Drake for short. During one of her many
mood swings dear old Mom went completely off on an already pissed off witch;
something about the witch crossing in front of her, and Mom thinking that would
make us come out cross eyed (and you thought your mom was superstitious, Ha!).
Miss Witch decided to do her one better and really did curse us both. I was
granted with the gift of being the only vampire known of with NO FANGS! Since
Underlayes doesn’t have hospitals bagged blood isn’t exactly just lying around.
Why not just bite down extra hard you say? Probably because that leaves a big
chunk of meat in my mouth and vampires can’t digest meat; we have a strictly
all liquid diet. Why not just slit someone’s wrist and pour it in a cup you
ask? If you were on an all liquid diet, would one glass a day keep your hunger
pains at bay? NO! And draining someone completely dry doesn’t work either,
unlike how they portray things in your human movies, blood clots up pretty
quickly when it hits air; unless pumped up with nasty anti-coagulants which
leave a horrible aftertaste and makes the blood nearly impossible to digest. So
the blood shortage on your neck of the veil? Feel free to blame that on us, Mom
and Dad had to feed us somehow during the experimental processes of properly
bagging and storing the blood the way humans do. But no worries, they haven’t
had to raid your neck of the realms in a long time now. The alchemist’s studied
the components your scientists used and now have it down pact.
I’m
not really sure if Drake’s curse is worst or pretty much just as bad. Him? He
goes into a full-blown shock at the very sight of blood; fainting spells,
seizures, black outs, the works. Though lucky for him rarely all of those at
once. Lucky for Mom and Dad, he could still at least savor the taste and smell
of it. But talk about being seriously dependent upon someone else, hard to
nourish yourself when you can’t even look at your food. And as a baby? You try
putting a blindfold on an infant, especially one with fangs, and let me know
how well that works out for you. Ah, but it made for some fangtastic pranks
when I was thirteen, which also ended in a lot of punishments. But they were so
worth it!
So
that’s us, Elvie and Drake, two of the only known vampires forced to live on
bagged blood. Though Drake may get lucky one day and be able to savor a neck or
two, as long as he keeps his eyes shut tight and doesn’t dribble.
Can’t
we just break the curse you ask? Ask Aunt Flo that one. Did I fail to mention
the witch in question was, and still is Mom’s best friend? She’s also a witch
with more power than she can handle who needs to watch what she says at ALL
times. The curse was supposedly never intentional and trying to undo it has
proven pretty much impossible.
 Mom, Trinity Alkaev, is a beautiful creature
with a body neither skinny nor large, but what one describes as buxom
perfection. Also, one of the most patient females you will ever meet, and a
truly ferocious beast, fangs and all, when pissed. Dad, Borya Alkaev, is the
strong not so silent type, with a chiseled chin and sculpted cheekbones in
which I heard would give Michaelangelo a run for his money. Born after the
creation of Underlayes, he’s only two hundred years old, so I never understood
how he ended up with such a thick accent as if he just left the great
Motherland of Russia. The exact opposite of Mom when it comes to patience, but
the best dad any set of unorthodox twins could ask for. Neither of them were an
only child, but both are the youngest and only surviving children from both of
their respective lines. Many died before the dimension of Underlayes was made,
some during the move. And Aunt Flo, I’m not even getting into that one. And as
far as looks go Drake and I are a perfect combination of the two, with the
exception of the fact that I have no fangs.
THUD. CRASH. SCREAM.
What
in Hel’s name was that?
“Elvira
Esfir Alkaev!” Moms blood-curling screams vibrated through the floorboards,
“How many times do I need to tell you not
to leave your blood bags lying around? Get down here and help me clean up this
mess. And carry your brother to his room!”
Well
there you have it, the usual beginning of a day in the house of Alkaev.
“Now
young lady!”



About the Author:
When you become a Mom, you begin to put yourself last, and your
combat boots begin to collect dust. Going to your child’s PTA meetings in full
Gothic, especially industrial, regalia is pretty much frowned upon. Especially
by your own children, and your teens would die of a heart attack. But, one
should not have to completely stop being themselves, uniqueness is greatness.
So all of that darkness is put into words in her books, and designs in her
jewelry sold in her Gothic Moms Dark Charms shop on Etsy and Rebels Market.
Single mother of five beautiful children, but by
far more than just that. T. A. Moorman is an artist, a former violinist, a
seamstress, a crafter, a writer, a blogger, a reviewer, a dark confidant and a
darkly dangerous, fiercely protective friend. She still hopes to one day find
her Dark Knight in shining armor, since Prince Charming would never be able to
handle her. And currently broke, so go buy something of hers and tell everyone
you know how much you love this book.
Author Links:

 

http://eepurl.com/cELB79




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Blog Tour: COMES A SPECTER, Book 2, Ghostland Series by Keta Diablo

Hello everyone! I am excited to share with you guys the official blog tour stop on Author Anthony Avina’s Blog for author Keta Diablo’s COMES A SPECTER, Book 2 in the Ghostland Series. First we have a fun interview with the author, followed by an exclusive excerpt from the book and finally a fun giveaway you can enter to win a great prize. Enjoy the tour everyone!

The Interview

Keta: First of all, thank you so much for hosting my latest Western Romance Ghost story, Comes A Specter. Your generosity is much appreciated.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Keta: I live in the Midwest part of the United States on six acres of gorgeous woodland. When I’m not writing or gardening I love to commune with nature. A pair of barn owls returns to the property every year to birth their young and show them off in the high branches of the oak trees. Nothing more adorable than these white fluffy babies with heart-shaped faces. A lifelong animal lover, I devote my time and support to the local animal shelter. Emma LaPounce, a rescued feline, has been my furry companion for the last ten years.

I’m an award-winning and best-selling author who writes in several genres: Western Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. In a past life, I wrote Gay Romance. My books have received numerous accolades, including RWA contest finalist, Authors After Dark finalist, Top Pick of the Month and Recommended Review from top review sites, and Best Romance Finalist from The Independent Author Network.  

Ps: For some strange reason, ghosts often show up in my stories, no matter the genre.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Keta: Oh, no. My mother, now 91 years young, reminds me that I always wanted to be number 1) a boy (I had four brothers), number 2) professional equestrian (course I called it a cowgirl).

Tell us a little about the last/latest book you’ve written

Keta: See above in my Author Bio – for some strange reason ghosts always show up in my stories. No different in Comes A Specter, Book 2, Ghostland Series. Several reviewers said they loved the book, but the ghost scared the bejeebers out of them. Gee, I wasn’t scared.

Anyway, I didn’t even know I was writing about all these ghosts. One day, as I was going through my back list of books, I said, “Oh. My. Gosh. Keta!! You write about ghosts all the time.” Read some of my blurbs and you’ll see what I mean. No matter what genre I choose, somehow a ghost shows up. I used to see them—ghosts—when I was a toddler, but that’s another story for another day. Maybe subconsciously, that’s why they keep showing up in my stories.

Where did you get the inspiration for this particular book?

Keta: Let’s see, where were we? Oh, yeah…inspiration for Comes A Specter. I love Western Romance, and since I have such a penchant for dead people, er, I mean those who have crossed over, I created sort of a new sub-genre, Western Romance Ghost Stories. I love writing about cowboys, cowgirls, horses, ranches, rodeos, and…did I mention translucent spirits?

On average how long does it take it for you to write a book?

Keta: That depends on many factors. First, a writer has to be at the top of her/his game physically and mentally to pull this off. Second, she/he has to create a great plot and well-developed characters (no cookie-cutter walk-ons). Third, he/she must plant their butt in the chair and write, write every day, even if you have to pull the words out of the air. Better to have gibberish at times than a blank page, right? Fourth, it depends on whether one is writing a novella or a novel. A novella, two months; a full-length novel 4-5 months. Caveat: Keta is a slow writer compared to many others.

Do you have any unpublished/unfinished scripts?

Keta: Yes, we all have those. Some I keep under the bed, never to see the light of day. Others are sitting on my computer and flash me now and then to finish them.

What types of books do you read?

Keta: Across many genres, but never romance when I’m writing romance. Thrillers, suspense, angels/demons, Native American fiction, and small town contemporary (serious stuff). I hardly ever read humorous. I bet that doesn’t surprise you coming from a person who saw ghosts as a child, huh?

What books are you reading right now?

Freefall (Kristen Heitzmann)

The Dead Game (Suzanne Leist)

and…1,697 waiting for me on my Paperwhite Kindle (sad)

Which are your three favorite books of all time?

Keta: To Kill A Mockingbird, Man On Fire, Gone With the Wind, Legends of the Fall.

Do you/have you ever read a copy of your book after it has been published?

Keta: Gosh, no. I read it so many times while writing it; I’d get bored to death with the same old, same old. LOL.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author who is just starting out?

Keta: Well, I’m really no one to be giving advice to other writers. I made plenty of mistakes starting out myself, so maybe that’s it – study the craft of writing. Know the basic rules at least, and then get good enough at writing you feel comfortable breaking some. I mean, there are some you should never break, but breaking one now and then won’t cause the earth to stop spinning. I have a lot of books on my Kindle (see above). I can’t tell you how many times I read one chapter and delete the book. If it doesn’t grab me right away with lots of questions, then I’m outta there. Take for example Harper Lee’s opening line in To Kill A Mockingbird: Scout: When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

I mean, she hooked me. Completely. I was in the sixth grade the first time I read that line, and from that moment on, I wanted to know who Jem was and how the heck did he break his arm? That book really opened my eyes to reading, gave me an appreciation for love of the written word.  

I hope all your reads are good ones; I hope you fall in love all over again with the written word every time you sit down to read a book.

Keta

* * *

About Comes a Specter, Book 2, Ghostland Series

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Six months ago, Anya Fleming’s ten- year-old son, Willie-boy, found his father hanging in the barn. Traumatized over his father’s suicide, the boy hasn’t spoken a word since. Now, Willie-boy has come down with a grave, unknown illness and there’s only one man who can save him, Sutter Sky, a learned Blackfoot shaman known as Yellow Smoke—a shaman who was once deeply in love with Anya.

But Fate had other plans for Anya and Sutter—she was forced to marry Lewis Fleming, a cruel man who berated her night and day, and brokenhearted Sutter immersed himself in the mystical customs and beliefs of his People and became a shaman

.

As if Anya didn’t have enough to deal with after her husband’s death and her son’s illness, an evil, sinister ghost is terrorizing their ranch. Anya is convinced the spirit is Lewis, who apparently isn’t done making her life miserable.

When she turns to Yellow Smoke for help, will he put side his bitterness and save Willie-boy? And can the renowned shaman dispel the powerful ghost from their lives and send him back to Hades?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GXBF25X

Available on All venues November 1st

The Excerpt

EXCERPT: Sutter confronts the ghost.

Chapter Fourteen

“Make my enemy brave and strong, so that if defeated, I will not be ashamed.”

Plains Tribes

Tendrils of darkness breached the room as Sutter slipped through the window of Anya’s room. He didn’t want Willie-boy to see him dressed for war, the ebony handprints –chin to cheek—the tunic and leggings splashed with blood red paint. If he didn’t return, he wanted the boy to remember how he looked the last time he saw him. A misty cloud of energy trailed Sutter as he sprinted through the woods, a sign the wraith was on the prowl and primed for killing. That suited Sutter just fine. He had one goal in mind—lead the ghost toward the pit. He’d worry about how to implement the second part of his plan when the time came. An odious stench spiraled up his nostrils, another potent omen the heavy, scuffing footsteps behind him belonged to Ten Wounds.

Moments later, a cry from the dead and damned cleaved the dark, chilling Sutter’s blood. No wonder Lewis had cracked, no wonder Anya and Willie-boy were terrified of the evil spirit. No wonder Cobb had said, ‘Run, brother. Take Anya and run.’ Close, the Zeuzeu was close now. Sutter imagined the ghost’s rank breath stirring the long, dark hair at the nape of his neck.

The pit loomed ahead. Sutter spotted the pine branches and broken boughs he’d placed over the illusory grave. “Now or never”, he said to the full moon overhead and came to an abrupt halt. Drawing a deep breath, he mustered up his courage and turned to face Ten Wounds. A haze of gray mist swirled around the spirit’s form, his human form. If the situation weren’t so serious, Sutter could have shouted with joy.

He took in the ghost’s visage. A quiver hung from his shoulder stocked with sharp, pointed arrows—a sign he’d transformed into the fierce warrior who once walked the earth. Steeped in blood (no doubt from his recent kills), his clothing hung in tatters around his massive frame—a vest made of animal hides, a breechcloth and fringed leggings. Sutter’s gaze traveled to his painted, pock-marked face. Yellow and white stripes marked his forehead and chin, and black circles blended into his dark eyes. For a brief second, Sutter’s insides quivered and ropes of tension knotted every cord and fiber of his body. Bleary, unearthly eyes speared Sutter when the wraith raised a hand of claw-like fingers and pointed at his enemy’s chest.

The wind, much like the sound of a thousand women wailing, keened into the deafening silence. Fire exploded from the ghost’s eyes—flames the fires of Hell couldn’t compete with. Sutter shouted over the infernal noise and flames. “You are not welcome here! Hear my words, you are dead!”

Like a misty cloud of energy, Ten Wounds lurched forward, a staccato rhythm of hisses and howls spewing from his foam-drooling mouth. Sutter had never imagined such a demonic apparition.

The Giveaway

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Dear Mr. Pop Star by Derek Philpott | Blog Tour and Review

It is my pleasure to be the latest stop on the fantastic blog tour for Derek Philpott’s novel Dear Mr. Pop Star. Before we get into the review, here is what the book’s about.

A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more…

A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more…A collection of hilarious letters to iconic pop and rock stars with fantastic in-on-the-joke replies from the artists themselves: Eurythmics, Heaven 17, Deep Purple, Devo, Dr. Hook and many, many more…For more than a decade, Derek Philpott and his son, Dave, have been writing deliberately deranged letters to pop stars from the 1960s to the 90s to take issue with the lyrics of some of their best-known songs. They miss the point as often as they hit it.
But then, to their great surprise, the pop stars started writing back… 
Dear Mr Pop Star contains 100 of Derek and Dave’s greatest hits, including correspondence with Katrina and the Waves, Tears for Fears, Squeeze, The Housemartins, Suzi Quatro, Devo, Deep Purple, Nik Kershaw, T’Pau, Human League, Eurythmics, Wang Chung, EMF, Mott the Hoople, Heaven 17, Jesus Jones, Johnny Hates Jazz, Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine, Chesney Hawkes and many, many more.

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Now, onto the review.

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

How often has this happened to you? You are sitting in the car, bopping your head along to one of your favorite hit songs, and you suddenly start to think about the lyrics. You start to wonder, what does that lyric mean? What was the artists trying to convey in that moment? Well author Derek Philpott took this idea, and wrote an entire book detailing letters he wrote to several artists and bands and their responses in his novel “Dear Mr. Pop Star”. Here’s the synopsis:

The Synopsis

For nearly 10 years, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing good old-fashioned letters to pop and rock stars (sometimes even sent to their home addresses with prior consent!), either picking up on genuine ambiguities within their lyrics or often deliberately misunderstanding them for comedic effect.

The letters are eminently publishable in their own right, mixing sharp wit, confusion, and unarguable logic in relation to questioning the offending chart hits under scrutiny.

What makes this project especially deserving of attention, however, is that it has achieved a feat never before attempted or probably even thought of. With the missives online for all to see on what was becoming a hugely popular website, the artists quite unexpectedly started to reply, writing back in just as witty and articulate a fashion, politely pointing out exactly where the original letter went wrong…or right.

Also, crucially, nearly all of the responses were procured via ”the back door of the industry”, via roadies, mutual fans, cousins of bass players, and even other famous participants telling the artists directly of the Philpotts’ written pressing inquiries. This marvellous online community, which stretched as far afield as Europe, Canada, Japan, the U.S.A, Australia and Stoke, even cultivated and organically evolved the whole surreal venture by offering up willing stars that the authors would probably not have thought of corresponding with themselves, establishing contact through personal connections.

‘Dear Mr. Popstar’’ proudly features nearly 100 of the best letters and responses from famous and legendary names spanning the whole pop and rock spectrum, all relishing their involvement and revealing their own, in many cases, hitherto unknown humorous sides within what could well be the most interactive dialogue compiled between music stars and their audience ever undertaken. Of course, it is not always possible to reach certain targets, hence many unanswered observations are also included, as they were considered too amusing not to be.

Those to be saluted for their great sportsmanship are:- Deep Purple, Dr. from Dr. and The Medics, Nik Kershaw, Judas Priest, Starship, Tears For Fears, The Eurythmics, Wreckless Eric, Smokie, The Strawbs, The Belle Stars, Van Der Graaf Generator, Martha and the Muffins, Thunder, Squeeze, Dean Friedman, Fairground Attraction, The Ruts, Neil Innes from The Bonzo Dog Band, DEVO, Melanie, Alannah Myles, Ian Gillan, Was Not Was, Republica, Then Jerico, Dr. Hook, Toploader, Cutting Crew, Lindisfarne, Spinal Tap, Mott The Hoople, Fuzzbox, Men Without Hats, China Crisis, Mental As Anything, David MacIver and Rupert Hine (Quantum Jump), Timbuk 3, The Rezillos, Saxon, John Otway, The Human League, Chesney and Chip Hawkes, Tenpole Tudor, Shakatak, Katrina and the Waves, Eddie & The Hot Rods, Heaven 17, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Matthew Wilder, Middle of the Road, Liquid Gold, The Christians, Paper Lace, Dodgy, Daevid Allen, Bruce Woolley, Sad Cafe, The Housemartins, Francis Dunnery (It Bites), Johnny Hates Jazz, The Wurzels, Peter Noone, Suzi Quatro, Strawberry Switchblade, Danny Wilson, Racey, Electric Prunes, The Waitresses, Fiddler’s Dram, Bauhaus, Climax Blues Band, The Jags, EMF, T’Pau, Nu Shooz, Owen Paul, Steve Hackett, Steve Ellis of Love Affair, Hazell Dean, The Knack, The Maisonettes, Del Amitri, The Skids, Jesus Jones, The Soup Dragons, City Boy, Modern Romance, Wang Chung, The Kursaal Flyers, Fischer Z, Bruce Thomas of The Attractions, Scarlet Fantastic, The B52s. Junior, Spear of Destiny, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine.

Ultimately, this book explores how when a song is released into ‘the wild’ the artist loses all control over it, especially pertaining to its interpretation. It is also testimony to the community spirit capable of being created over social media and how positive and fun it can be.

The Review

I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long time. The humorous interpretations of these songs not only had me laughing but sometimes thinking about the lyrics in those songs and questioning things. Equally entertaining were the responses from the artists themselves. For instance I loved the letter to and from Tears for Fears about their hit song “Head Over Heels”. I love that song as it’s a classic, but not only hearing the author’s hilarious theory about the lyrics discussing things like chem trails and asking to meet in a public place rather than in private had me laughing out loud, while the band’s response detailing the incident that led to the song’s lyrics, including a failed attempt to ask a local weather girl out on a date that literally had the singer tripping and having his “head over heels” moment.

The book is incredibly witty and well written. The style of posting the author’s letters in the book as if on a professional stationary and then incorporating the artist’s responses was a stroke of genius on the author’s part. Music is a huge part of my life, as I not only write reviews for artists and incorporate music as inspiration for my own writing, but have music on constantly throughout my normal everyday life. Getting to see such a humorous and intimate look into popular songs and artists was a thrilling read to encounter.

The Verdict

This is a must read book! A hysterical, laugh riot that gives pop and rock fans alike a fresh perspective on their favorite artists, bands and songs, Dear. Mr. Pop Star is a fun filled ride through music history. Author Derek Philpott does a wonderful job of weaving these letters together in a funny way, and the contributions of the artists themselves makes this a true page turner like no other. If you haven’t yet, pick up your copy of Dear Mr. Pop Star by Derek Philpott today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Derek and Dave Philpott are the nom de plumes of two ordinary members of the public, working with help from a small family and, crucially, a worldwide social networking community. Neither they, or anybody assisting with the creative aspects of this project had any connections with the music, entertainment, media or publishing industries whatsoever at the time of its commencement. Despite these humble origins, however, they now find themselves in the bizarre but enviable position whereby many pop stars and people within these circles are their friends “in real life’” (whatever that means!). Many artists consider “getting a Dereking” as a badge of honour, and, as one has participant succinctly put it-

‘’This is an ingenious and extremely inventive concept. You have given us a platform to answer questions that have been asked of us for years by our fans, and respond on a public platform of immense fun. You’ve created a weird and wonderful world loved and admired by 1,000s of people worldwide, and you have your own army of loyal fans. That pretty much makes you part of ‘us lot’ now!’’

Excerpt

Dear Hazell Dean,

I found your song on the internet whilst looking for how to get to friends in Hazeldene, Chieveley.

In these celebrity and appearance-obsessed times it is admirable that you are searchin’ (looking for love) for a man who needn’t be handsome or have fortune or fame.

I fear however that you may be setting your sights a bit low, Ms Dean. You appear, rather than ”looking for someone to share your life” with’ on nights out with friends or on tentative dates, to be ”seekin’ ” a long-term partner either on the train, or, more worryingly, as reinforced by your disclosure that you ”want no disguises”, a Police I.D. Parade, as you ”move on down the line”.

It is suspected that your judgement may have been impaired by ”never sleepin”’ and that there is no guarantee that a stranger on the Underground, or for that matter, from the Underworld is likely to be ”sweet and kind’.’

”Whatever You Do, Wherever You Go”, Ms. Dean, I implore you to be cautious in your quest and not to explore ”every place you can”.

Yours

Derek Philpott

Dear Mr Philpott

Think not of “Searchin’” as a light-hearted missive, extolling the virtues of promiscuity.

No! This work should be considered a seminal piece – a late 20th Century celebration of the seeking of love above all else.

“Searchin’

Looking for love

All the time I can.

Searchin’

Looking for love

I’ve got to find a man.”

This is not a transient pop song, but should be compared as contemporary to the popularist lyrics of Byron, Browning, Rossetti and Wilde.

Were these great romantics ever concerned by the trivialities of sleep sir? I think not.

As the great Oscar Wilde himself wrote:

“You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”

Additionally, aspersions cast on my predilection for members of the criminal fraternity are most unwelcome and unfounded,and I would therefore be grateful if you could leave me to my insomnia and romantic musings in peace.

Further to this, over the past 35 years I have received 100’s of photographs of dull establishments bearing any vague semblance of my name, in its many variants. The highlights of which include a B&B in Blackpool, and cattery in Crewe and a hovel somewhere slightly South of Brighton.

Why people presume these will interest or even slightly amuse me, I do not know.

Would you enjoy receiving a steady and annually persistent selection of “Philpotts Avenue’s”, “Philpotts Crescents” and “The Philpott Home for the Perpetually Ridiculous”? The novelty wears off very quickly I can assure you.

Quite frankly Mr Philpott the locating of your friends at Hazeldene, Chievely, is of absolutely no interest to me whatsoever.

Yours aggrievedly

Hazell Dean

You can find the book and the author at the links down below, and be sure to check out the official blog tour graphic to see where the blog tour will be next!

Social Media and Blog Tour Info

Blog Tour Flyer black 2

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40719521-dear-mr-pop-star

https://unbound.com/books/dear-mr-pop-star/

@DerekPhilpott   Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/ThePhilpotts/

http://amzn.eu/93h4fYH    Amazon 

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