Tag Archives: book recommendations

PRESS RELEASE: Harlequin Plus Subscription Service

I am so excited to be able to share this amazing news from Harlequin, that a brand new streaming service for romance readers is now live! Below you will see the official press release, as well as a trailer and more. Enjoy all you romance fans out there!


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Romance Fans, the Subscription Service You Have Been Waiting for Is Here!

New York, NY, January 11, 2022

Harlequin, the world’s leading publisher of romance novels, launches Harlequin Plus, a unique subscription-based service designed for fans of romance. A convenient, high-end app and website, Harlequin Plus subscribers will have access to a curated entertainment experience, where each month, romance experts will select and refresh content across the digital platform. A subscription to Harlequin Plus provides users with four entertainment options, including curated bundles of new book releases, an ebook library, romantic movies, and casual games.

“We’re excited to offer a variety of Harlequin content and complimentary entertainment all in one place,” said Brent Lewis, Executive Vice President and Publisher, Harlequin Brand Group. “Fans of romance looking for an uplifting experience are sure to find it within this relaxing and beautifully designed digital platform.”

Harlequin Plus subscribers will have access to:

  • Book bundles: Each month, subscribers can select either an ebook bundle received instantly or physical copies delivered to their homes. Book bundle themes are curated monthly and they offer titles from bestselling authors, seasonal collections, and TV/movie tie-ins. Book bundles will also include titles from across Harlequin’s nine imprints and eleven category romance lines.
  • Ebook library: Free access to the ebook library, with 10-15 new books refreshed every month.
  • Movies: A selection of romantic movies, updated monthly.
  • Games: Fun games that offer relaxing entertainment, with new additions each month.

“Harlequin is proud to continue our reputation as a digital innovator in publishing,” said Eleanor Elliott, Senior Director of Digital Capabilities. “The release of Harlequin Plus is a major milestone for us, our authors and our entertainment partners, and I’m proud to work with the team to bring joyful entertainment to romance fans.”

Harlequin Plus is available in the U.S. at the cost of $14.99 per month. Subscribe to Harlequin Plus directly on HarlequinPlus.com or through in-app purchase on iOS devices in the Apple App Store and Android devices on Google Play.

For more information about Harlequin Plus and to sign up for a free seven-day trial, please visit HarlequinPlus.com.

Read, watch and play with Harlequin Plus!###

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About Harlequin

Harlequin (Harlequin.com) is a leading publisher of commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. The company publishes more than 100 titles a month, in both print and digital formats, that are sold around the world. Encompassing highly recognizable imprints that span a broad range of genres, the publisher is home to many award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors. Harlequin is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, the second-largest consumer book publisher globally, with operations in 17 countries and 16 languages. For more information, please visit Harlequin.com. Follow Harlequin on Facebook: @HarlequinBooks, Twitter: @HarlequinBooks, Instagram: @HarlequinBooks and on TikTok: @HarlequinBooks

https://www.harlequinplus.com/shop/index.html

Guest Blog Post with Author and Poet Louise Bélanger

I am so happy to share this heartfelt guest post from author and poet Louise Bélanger for her poetry book tour, Your Words Your World, available now. I hope you will enjoy this post and be sure to grab your copy of the book today.


Let me start by thanking you, Anthony Avina, for being part of Your Words Your World ’s blog tour. And a big round of applause for Serena at Poetic Book Tours who organized such a brilliant one, a wonderful opportunity for me and my new poetry book.

Your Words Your World is a beautiful inspiring collection of poems with nature photographs.

You will read poems about God, having a relationship with Him, various life subjects, and lovely stories.

What inspires me? What triggers the writing? 

Each poem is an idea or a story I want to tell, a point I want to make, an emotion I want to pour on paper. It can come from something I just read or heard. Something from my past or something that just happened. Other times, it’s the result of the thought process where one thought makes room for another, and so on, till it lands on something clever. Lastly, it can be an image that only “lives” in my imagination that I want to describe.

Contrary to a novel, per example, where, I would think, the author decides beforehand the main lines of the story, for me, I search for each topic. No, that is the wrong word, I focus my mind to be aware, to find ideas. Ideas worth writing about. I never know in advance what my next poem’s topic will be.

Let’s visit a few.

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I was always a bit reserve as a child as far as clowns where concern. Something false about them. They have a painted smile on their face but maybe they feel something else inside. This became part of a poem, simply call Clowns…it takes the reader…well, let’s not spoil it. I will let you discover the meaning when you have the pleasure of reading it.

My faith-based poetry is inspired by my relationship with God, my experience with Him, the books I read and teachings I listen to. On a particular Sunday, a Bible passage was brought to my attention. That became the base for More than just…as music shares the stage.

A storm was raging one Saturday morning, a fierce wind against my window and I surprised myself thinking, wow, sounds like the wind is banging on the window: “Let me in, I don’t want to be outside in this nasty weather.” Oh! That is so good. That afternoon, A war erupted made its appearance on the page.

And my photos? They are from places I visited or traveled to. I photograph the beauty I see, what catches my attention. It’s everywhere, from my neighborhood where I take walks, to cities across the country, even further, from previous travel destinations. 

All my writing is done first, then, I look through my large collection of photographs to choose the ones that would complement the poetry. The selection is not random, there is always a connection between the poem and the photograph next to it, I hope you will see it. 

Most of them were taken before I became a poet, an author with already two poetry books and a third one on the way. I never thought the photos I was taking would end up in beautiful books, books written by myself. That makes me smile, a huge smile.

So here you have it, my inspiration comes from many places. Each poem is unique, same for the photographs. 

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Thank you for your time, thank you for reading my poetry. I invite you to visit my author’s website: Louise Bélanger – Author (louisebelangerauthor.com) . I hope you will enjoy Your Words Your World and will find a favorite poem or two or more. 

Louise Bélanger 

January 12, 2021

White Ops (White Ops Book 1) by Declan Finn Review

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

The galaxy’s most dangerous human must gather a group of heroes to face an impending threat from behind the shadows of the known universe as war breaks out and a powerful race begins its deadly test against the galaxy in author Declan Finn’s “White Ops”, the first book in the series of the same name.

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The Synopsis

The Pharmakoi rampaged across dozens of star systems, taking on the toughest races in the Galaxy in their campaign of conquest. But they are only the beginning.

Sean Patrick Ryan sees that another race is behind the Pharmakoi expansion ; a race that wants to test our galaxy for weakness, and who needs to be eliminated from within. To fight the enemy in the shadows, Sean will put together a strike team to light up the darkness— with nukes if necessary.

They will get the job done at any cost.

They will be White Ops.

The Review

I can only describe this book as the ultimate sci-fi opera meets space western meets sci-fi military action-adventure all blended into one epic sci-fi tale. Simple, right? For such a lengthy read, the author did such an incredible job of writing in a way that allowed the action and mythos that the author created for this universe to flow smoothly and keep the reader on the edge of their seat, eager to jump into the next chapter of this story.

The balance the author found between the humorous dialogue and observations in the narrative with the rich sci-fi mythos and fully-developed character arcs of several characters made this story so brilliant. The exploration of not just a single moment but several years of this growing war effort and the infusion of both politics and action allowed readers to feel connected to the setting and the narrative’s atmosphere overall, creating a very cinematic quality that readers will fall in love with.

The Verdict

An entertaining, adrenaline-fueled, and breathtaking sci-fi epic, author Declan Finn’s “White Ops” is the perfect opening chapter of a new sci-fi saga. With a memorable cast of characters, a developing shadowy evil threatening the universe still, and a cliffhanger of an ending, readers are going to be eager to learn more about the book’s sequel ASAP. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Declan Finn is the NYC based author of books ranging from thrillers to urban fantasy to SciFi, including the 2016 Dragon Award Nominated Novel for Best horror, Honor at Stake, 2017 for Live and Let Bite, and 2018 for Codename: Unsub in best Apocalypse. He is known for “his strong fight scenes and is romance novels are sexy without being dirty, providing enough sexual tension to curl toes.”

He hosts the Catholic Geek Radio show, and can be found wherever someone is starting trouble. He also writes thrillers, video game reviews, and works for several blogs.

He is one of a legion of writers over at The Catholic Geeks blog (a legion, for we are many). Other books he has written includes the comedy-thriller It Was Only on Stun! where he blows up a sci-fi convention (no, not this one). He co-authored the science fiction espionage novel Codename: Winterborn. However, he is most proud of The Pius Trilogy – which includes “A Pius Man,” “A Pius Legacy,” “A Pius Stand,” and an anthology, “Pius Tales.”

http://www.declanfinn.com/

Building A Coaching Culture: How Managers As Coaches Can Include And Develop New Employees Successfully by Andreas van der Heydt Review

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

In author Andreas van der Heydt’s “Building A Coaching Culture: How Managers As Coaches Can Include And Develop New Employees Successfully”, the author explores how internal coaching can not only improve but cultivate a stronger working environment and enrich new employees. 

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The Synopsis

The speed and complexity of change in business practice has never been greater than today. Navigating this “new and lasting norm” requires for any organization, besides other factors, two principal elements: Managers and leaders who are capable of coaching their team members as well as a new type of workforce that can quickly adapt to changing environments, can acquire new skills necessary to be successful in the future, and is willing and capable of stepping up to take over responsibility. The book argues that internal coaching is an excellent tool to onboard, integrate, and develop (new) employees. Successful coaching will result in higher job satisfaction (for both coach and coachee), better work and business results, and superior retention levels: A long-term win for both the organization, its employees, and customers.

Based on extensive interviews with both tenured leaders and new employees, focus groups with learning & development experts, and a comprehensive literature research as well as the author ́s own in-depth coaching knowledge and expertise, this book proposes an academically researched, developed, and validated model of eight dimensions of successful coaching as well as a five-step implementation plan which can be used as an impactful framework to embed coaching skills in organizational settings to create a sustainable and growth-generating coaching culture. 

The Review

This was a truly engaging and meticulously researched read. The author does an excellent job of writing in a way that delivers the information in a clear and concise way and writes in a way that readers can engage and understand the material being taught by the author and relayed through research and study.

The research and development that went into this book are evident throughout this whole book, especially when engaging with the five-step plan that the author introduces to creating this coaching culture. This is the perfect read for those looking to improve their business in the wake of the pandemic and hoping to grow an environment that encourages new employees to grow and be taught rather than ordered around, highlighting the key differences between a boss and a coach. 

The Verdict

A memorable, thought-provoking, and educational read, author Andreas van der Heydt’s “Building A Coaching Culture: How Managers As Coaches Can Include And Develop New Employees Successfully” is a must-read business and nonfiction read. The research and case studies the author presented were not just sound enlightening as well and pushed businesses and managers to develop in-house coaching programs that will empower and enrich both the business and employees as well. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Hi, my name is Andreas! I have acquired comprehensive leadership experience as Vice President Merchandising at Chewy, Director Talent Acquisition & Development at Amazon, Director Kindle Content, Managing Director of Amazon BuyVIP in Germany as well as in various senior roles at L ́Oréal. I’m a certified master coach and have trained and worked with some of the leading coaches both in Europe and the U.S. I was a co-founder at Amazon Germany ́s in-house Coaching Program and a founding member of L ́Oréal ́s Mentoring Program in Germany. Over the past 20 years, I have coached many executives from big to small businesses, start-up entrepreneurs, and young managers. My coaching approach is progressive, strongly goal-oriented, and highly effective. I hold a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) from Northeastern University, USA and an MBA from Henley Management School in the UK. Please reach out to me!

She’s The One Who Can’t Keep Quiet (The War Stories of  the Seven Troublesome Sisters Book 5) by S.R. Cronin Review

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

A young woman with a powerful voice and a family who holds certain ideas and expectations of her hides a secret from her family and her village, and learns she may hold the power to hold her world together and stop an impending invasion in author S.R. Cronin’s “She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet”, the fifth book in The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters series.

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The Synopsis

Do you know what your problem is?

Celestine, the fifth of seven sisters, is tired of hearing about hers. Father thinks she’s frivolous because she likes pretty clothes and caters to the crowds in the taverns who adore her music. Mother thinks that because she’s the most social daughter in the family, she can’t keep quiet about anything.

They’re both wrong. Celestine hides a secret she has kept for most of her life.

As the family beauty and a talented musician with a lyrical voice, she has the best prospects for marriage to a prince. When such a liaison never happens, people assume Celestine is too choosy. But even in somewhat tolerant Ilari, a daughter hates to disappoint her family. How can she tell them she’s in love with a princess instead?

Lucky for Celestine, all her sisters are obsessed with an invading army headed to their realm. Celestine would rather ignore the threat and enjoy the freedom their lack of attention gives her. But, her voice can unlock a power that may help save Ilari. And the woman she loves is determined to fight these invaders. And her family, for all their talents, seems clueless about how to motivate the masses.

Celestine knows she can inspire the citizens of Ilari to do what needs to be done. Is it time to put her inhibitions aside and use her voice to save those she cares about?

The Review

The author did such a marvelous job of world-building and balancing it with some amazing character development in this narrative. As a relative newcomer to the series, I was fascinated with the way each story focuses on a new protagonist from this family set against the same timeline and backstory as the previous entries, just from different perspectives. It allows the reader to jump into the narrative headfirst while paying tribute and alluding to events from past books as they happen in this novel’s real-time.

The character development was amazing to watch unfold. Celestine was such a unique character, focusing on using one’s creativity and talent and overall dreams to contribute to the world, something so many people scoff at in our hard-driven society. Highlighting her struggle to find love herself and not give in to the pressures of marrying a man in her village added such depth and heart to her personal history and character arc, while the discovery of her own power and her contribution to the fight against this invading force kept me hooked on every page. 

The Verdict

Entertaining, breathtaking, and heartfelt in its delivery, author S.R. Cronin’s “She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet” is the perfect addition to this growing historical fantasy series! The magic and history that the author infuses into this narrative are perfectly in synch with the romance and personal character growth that the protagonist shows throughout the narrative, keeping readers engaged entirely. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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She's the One Who Can't Keep Quiet - S. R. Cronin

S. R. Cronin has a new queer fantasy out (lesbian, poly, demi/bi, ace), The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Susters book 5: She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet. And there’s a Giveaway!

Do you know what your problem is?

Celestine, the fifth of seven sisters, is tired of hearing about hers. Father thinks she’s frivolous because she likes pretty clothes and caters to the crowds in the taverns who adore her music. Mother thinks that because she’s the most social daughter in the family, she can’t keep quiet about anything.

They’re both wrong. Celestine has hidden a secret for most of her life.

As the family beauty and a talented musician with a lyrical voice, she is Mother’s best hope for a son-in-law prince. When a liaison with a prince never happens, everyone assumes Celestine is too picky. But even in somewhat tolerant Ilari, a daughter hates to disappoint her family. How can she tell them she’s in love with a princess instead?

Lucky for Celestine, all six sisters have become obsessed with an invading army headed to their realm. Celestine would rather ignore the threat, and enjoy the freedom their lack of attention gives her. But, her voice can unlock a power that may help save Ilari. And the woman she loves wants to fight these invaders. And her family, for all their talents, seems clueless about how to motivate the masses.

Celestine knows she can inspire the citizens of Ilari to do what needs to be done. Is it time to put her inhibitions aside and use her voice to save those she cares about?

Warnings: There is lightly handled consenual sex bewteen two women (no details) and some violence in the final battle scene (nothing graphic). no other triggers

About the Series:

Can seven women stop the most powerful army the world has seen?

It’s the 1200’s in Ilari, a small mythical realm somewhere between Europe and Asia. Peace and prosperity have reigned for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.

In the outer nichna of Vinx lives the seven troublesome daughters of an intellectual farmer and his ambitious wife. Ilari has no idea how lucky it is to have this family of misfits, for the Mongols are making their way further westward every winter and this prosperous realm is a tiny plum ripe for picking. Desperate, the seven sisters will devise a way to save their realm. Can their preposterous ideas possibly work?

The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.

Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.

How did they manage it? Each sister offers surprise information on why this didn’t go the way anyone planned.

Get It On Amazon | Smashwords


Giveaway

S. R. is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and a gift copy of book one in the series:

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

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47221/?


Excerpt

She's the One Who Can't Keep Quiet meme - S. R. Cronin

I knew music went down better when the audience was on your side. If they didn’t start that way, a good singer had to get them there.

“Hey!” I yelled after a few numbers. The last one had a been a popular jig, yet hardly a finger or toe had tapped while we performed. Most unusual.

“I’ve never seen soldiers so quiet. Did you all party so much last night that you’re still worn out?”

I got a few laughs, but not as many as I expected.

“Come on. Somebody tell us poor troubadours what’s going on. Is one of your commanding officers coming in to check on you?” I looked to my left, then to my right, then gave the crowd an exaggerated look of alarm. “Is he here now?”

Even fewer laughs. Maybe I’d lost my touch.

One young man spoke up. “You seem like a nice lady, so I’ll tell you. Stop trying to cheer us. We got horrible news today and nothing’s going to make us feel better.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Did someone tell you we’d run out of ale in our realm? No more until Kolada?”

I got more chuckles this time.

“No, Miss. The commander of the Mozdols told us that our lands are in the path of a huge marauding horde of thieves. They’ve been burning and pillaging their way towards us for years and now travelers say we ought to expect them this year or next. We’re to begin training tomorrow for this onslaught.”

For several heartbeats, I stood speechless. I’d never done that on a stage before. But how does one respond to such news? I thought it couldn’t be so dire or so certain. Yet, I sensed arguing with the soldier would hardly win over my audience. What would?

“Then, sir, you should know that the musicians of the realm are at your service.”

I stood tall, as if I were a soldier myself, awaiting a command. This earned me a few derisive laughs.

“No offense meant, but musicians can’t do much in a war.”

“What? Of course we can.” I knew where I was going now. “We can inspire you as you assemble to fight.” I began to tap a slow beat against my leg with my hand. Zamarran figured it out. He added his own strong drumbeat and then I thanked the Goddess I hadn’t misjudged Mirva. Her flute began to sound out a war march to match and I added my voice, choosing random phrases about honor and patriotism and weaving in bits of melodies from well-known songs about the beauty of Ilari. It was a mess, but it conveyed the general idea.

“And as you fight, if some do fall, as some may, we will be there to mourn with you,” I said as the other two moved into the saddest of melodies. I knew enough to only do this for a few breaths. No soldier wanted to dwell on the need for funeral music.

“And, when you’re victorious, and you will be victorious, we’ll be there with you, with a rousing song to celebrate your bravery and our freedom.” At that all three of us found an appropriate joyful noise to make and the room broke into applause. We bowed, we collected some tips, and we got ourselves the Heli off the stage and out of there before anyone had time to think too much about my logic.

As we walked back to campus, Zamarran looked at me in wonder.

That was one of the best varmin improvisations I have ever seen, and I’ve seen some good ones.”

I shrugged. I’d been doing this sort of thing since I was in basic school. Not with soldiers, of course, but with classmates, teachers, and the parents of my friends, who’d all found themselves standing up and applauding for me and one of my causes over the years.

Zamarran stopped walking and he looked directly at me. Hard.

“This isn’t easy for me to say, but it’s better said now. This will be your trio, not ours.”

“No, we both agreed ….”

“It doesn’t matter what we agreed. You’ve become our voice, and the whole realm will consider it yours no matter what we decide.” He smiled. “I might as well learn to live with it.”


Author Bio

She's the One Who Can't Keep Quiet - S. R. Cronin

Sherrie Cronin writes stories about people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had. She’s made a lot of stops along the way to telling these tells — living in seven cities, visiting forty-six countries, and working as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost too many beloved cats to mention, but has acquired a husband and three children who are all doing fine, despite how odd she is.

Today she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina where she writes, answers a hot-line, and occasionally checks her phone for a message from Captain Picard. She still hopes to get the chance to pursue her remaining dream in life and become Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise.

Book Series Blog: https://troublesome7sisters.xyz/

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/46Ascending

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/cinnabar01

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.r.cronin/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5805814.Sherrie_Cronin

Author Liminal Fiction: https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/s-r-cronin/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sherrie-Cronin/e/B007FRMO9Q

Other Worlds Ink logo

A Demon’s Trade (Damned If She Does Book 1) by Kathrin Hutson Review

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

A magical bounty hunter finds herself discovering aspects of her power she never saw coming, and a case she refused to take becomes the one case that she never should have given up on in author Kathrin Hutson’s “A Demon’s Trade”, the first book in the Damned If She Does series. 

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The Synopsis

Demons might not be real. But she is.

As a tracker of curse magic, dark artifacts, and forbidden netherwork, Kali Sullivan is one of a kind, and not just as a bounty hunter. They think she’s a demon. What they don’t know can definitely kill them—and worse.

It only takes one slip to throw a curse into utter chaos. So when an overconfident target gets himself killed before Kali can take him in, she’s left to pick up the pieces. And to figure out which magical nutjob had the bright idea to start tattooing casting circles on their victims.

When staking out another dark-magic suspect reveals far more than who’s behind the attacks on humans, the ghosts of Kali’s past come calling in an unexpected way. Their messages give a whole new meaning to who and what she truly is, and it’s darker than she thought. Especially when the one job Kali refused is the one she really should have taken.

Fans of Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison will love this action-packed Urban Fantasy Adventure from International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson.

*Set in the same universe as Kathrin Hutson’s Accessory to Magic series.*

The Review

Immediately I was drawn into this narrative. The author did such an incredible job of crafting a powerful and captivating protagonist and heroine. Kali is the kind of take-charge hero that readers are instantly drawn to, and the dark nature of not only her character but the world she works in perfectly reflects her conflicting nature as well. The first third of the book immediately draws the reader into the narrative, crafting a job for Kali to take that starts out as a simple dark curse extraction and turns into something far more complex than she could have imagined. I also loved seeing her bond with Heath, how they came together amid her horrifying upbringing at the hands of her father, and how these elements played into the central narrative overall.

The fast-paced action in this novel and the atmosphere the author crafts from the dark urban fantasy genre add to the air of mystery and suspense that this series of murders associated with Kali’s jobs has on the reader. The way Kali’s backstory and her personality as a whole come into play later into the narrative are so unique and perfectly mirror how trauma can follow us well past the moments we experience it, and if we aren’t careful to confront that trauma it can hold a grip on us all until we do so. 

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and beautifully written novel, author Kathrin Hutson’s “A Demon’s Trade” is a must-read urban fantasy story. The twists and turns in the narrative and shocking revelations in the book’s final chapters will have readers hooked instantly, eager to learn more about the next entry into this brand new series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

International Bestselling Author Kathrin Hutson has been writing Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and LGBTQ Speculative Fiction since 2000. With her wildly messed-up heroes, excruciating circumstances, impossible decisions, and Happily Never Afters, she’s a firm believer in piling on the intense action, showing a little character skin, and never skimping on violent means to bloody ends. Kathrin is an active member of SFWA and HWA and lives in Vermont with her husband, daughter, and two dogs.

For updates on new releases, exclusive deals, and dark surprises you won’t find anywhere else, sign up to Kathrin’s newsletter at kathrinhutsonfiction.com/subscribe.

https://www.kathrinhutsonfiction.com/

Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins Review

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

A mission to get revenge on her cheating ex-fiancee turns into a sudden romance she could have never seen coming as interior designer Dani begins to fall for the architect at her firm while building a spite house in author Anna E. Collins’s “Love at First Spite”.

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The Synopsis

In this delightful, breezy romcom, interior designer Dani decides to get revenge on her cheating ex the only way she knows how: by building a spite house next door.

They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.

That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…

The Review

This was such a charming and witty romance novel. The author struck just the right amount of chords to draw in readers that enjoy narratives that blend equal amounts of romance with humor. Right off the bat, the friendship and bond that Dani shares with characters like Iris and her cousin Mia were so wonderful to see explored not just as a secondary storyline, but as an important aspect of Dani’s character as a whole. 

What stood out to me aside from the amazing chemistry between Wyatt and Dani and their character developments overall was the sheer depth of emotions the author explored with these characters. From the hilarious banter Dani had when dealing with her ex to the vulnerable moments when Wyatt let her see the real struggles he has in his personal life outside of the firm and the way they each evolved over time, this novel gave readers a truly engaging and well-rounded view of what a true romance should look and feel like. 

The Verdict

A beautiful, entertaining, and heartfelt romance, author Anna E. Collins’s “Love at First Spite” is a must-read novel of 2022! This women’s fiction and romance novel were so beautifully crafted, and the author did such a wonderful job of making the reader feel immersed in the novel’s world. From vibrant settings and relatable characters to an emotional connection to the romance brewing between these two protagonists, this is a book romance and women’s fiction fans will not be able to put it down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Anna E. Collins is a Seattle-area author who writes stories about the lives and loves of women. Once upon a time she was a teacher, and she has a master’s degree in educational psychology. LOVE AT FIRST SPITE is her first novel.

Buy Links: 

BookShop.org

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Signed Copies through Third Place Books 

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Author Website

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Here is a Q&A From Author Anna E. Collins

Q&A with Anna E. Collins

Q: Love at First Spite is your debut novel. Tell us about your journey to get here.

A: I started writing full-length fiction twelve years ago when my kids were little as an escape from the eating/sleeping/changing diapers rut. Initially, it was just a fun experiment, but my perception of my writing as merely a hobby really transformed when I got into PitchWars in 2017. It was a sort of recognition that I had something worth cultivating, and it also introduced that most crucial aspect of a writer’s life – the writing community. I learned so much from that – about the writing and editing process, about querying, about persistence, and about the importance of not going at it alone. I didn’t sign with my agent (Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates) through PitchWars though, but from a cold query about six months later. 

At that point I was writing exclusively women’s fiction. We went on sub with the book that Kimberley signed me on in 2018 and then with another one in 2019, and for a long time nothing happened. We had lots of rejections – polite and complimentary ones, yes, but still rejections. I think this is something authors don’t often talk about, but it happens to most of us. You have to develop a thick skin and always write the next thing.

So, 2020 arrived, I had two books on long-term sub, I had written yet another WF manuscript, and was considering my next project. With Covid shutting everything down with no end in sight, I needed a change, so I decided to try my hand at writing something more light-hearted. Said and done – with the cheerleading of my writing group (also closest friends) spurring me on, Love at First Spite was born. Turns out some flirty banter and revenge shenanigans were exactly what my writerly quarantine year needed!

As luck would have it, I actually ended up signing my two WF books with a smaller press at the end of 2020, and shortly after that, Graydon House acquired Love at First Spite and set a publication date that would make it my debut. And here we are!

Q: What inspired this story?

A: I keep a running list of ideas for stories that I add to whenever I see or hear something that strikes me as interesting, or when I read about a topic that seems off-beat or unusual. Often, a title relating to the topic will come to me first, so I’ll jot down that and a brief line about it. In this case, I had read an article about spite houses around the world probably a year or so prior, found the lengths some people go to for revenge fascinating, and consequently made a note of it on my list. The exact words were “The Spite House – building a building to get revenge.” That was it – no genre, no characters, nothing. When I decided I wanted to write a romcom, this title stood out to me in my list as I could easily picture the pettiness required for such a build being ripe for comedic situations. It’s over-the-top right away as far as revenge goes, which seemed like a good place to start.

Q: What research did you do for this book?

A: I’m neither an interior designer nor an architect like my two main characters, so I obviously had to do some research into what day-to-day life might look like in those fields. I also researched zoning laws for the city where the story takes place, fence regulations, construction terms, house building processes, common neighbor disputes (there are some pretty colorful ones on the internet), video surveillance systems, and how to tuft figures out of wool. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but that’s at least a general overview of my search history during that period of writing.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Currently, I’m wrapping up a second romcom that I can’t currently talk about, while also finishing copy edits for my first women’s fiction title, These Numbered Days, which will be out some time in spring/summer 2022. And brainstorming my next project, of course. Always brainstorming!

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And now, here is an Excerpt from “Love at First Spite”

Chapter 1

My white dress trails me as we make our way across the small clearing to where the others are waiting. The heavy fabric rustles against the ground, a few leaves catching in the hem, but I ignore them, concentrating instead on what’s ahead. All eyes are on me. 

“Are you sure?” my cousin Mia asks at my elbow. My partner in crime. 

I glance her way. I’m nervous, but I don’t want to be, and the simmering excitement in her expression reassures me. This is the right choice. 

“Hundred percent,” I say. 

She smiles and squeezes my hand. “You’ll rock this, I know it.” She lets go and steps away to assume her position with a wink. “See you on the other side.” 

Then it begins.

I take off at a sprint. The paintball arena is at least a football field in size and strewn with steel drums, crates, and sandbags. A few larger structures in the middle resemble a small-scale Old West town complete with porches and a saloon sign. The guys Mia and I’ve been teamed up with run that way, while she and I head for the trees along the sides. The large pines tower stoically above the fray, and I choose one of the largest trunks for my first cover.

“Did everyone else go the other way?” I call out to Mia but get no response. Wasn’t she behind me? 

I peer around the trunk only to catch the whisp of her braid beneath her helmet as she dives for shelter by a tree trunk twenty yards in front of me. 

“Don’t be a baby, Porter,” I chastise myself, before following her. It’s a thirty-minute game of most-hits-win, so she’s got the right idea: it’s go time. 

As fast as my skirts allow, I jog in the direction of the rapid pops and ka-splats of active battle, paintball gun at the ready. The staff told me I’d be at a disadvantage playing in my wedding dress, and they had a good point. But then again, I didn’t come here expecting to leave in virginal white. 

I barely get my finger on the trigger before two shots in succession hit me squarely in the chest, and a green stain blooms before me. It hurts less than I anticipated, but I still freeze too long and another round easily finds my shoulder. Blue paint drips off the white lace of my sleeve. 

Oh yeah? That’s how it’s going to be? 

Something akin to glee bubbles up my chest and I let out a loud cackle. All righty, then. Shouldering my gun, I aim at the culprit—some kid a full foot shorter than me— and one, two, three splotches of paint hit his belly.

“Yeah!” I shout, as he hightails off. Adrenaline pumps through my arms. 

“Dani, over here!” Mia runs sideways behind me from the cover of a fake building to a stack of boxes. “I’ll shield you.” 

Yeah right. She already looks like she’s wrestled with a rainbow. 

I consider darting the opposite way, to a smattering of hay bales, but Mia sounds increasingly desperate. I hike up my skirts and do my best to make myself small before jumping to safety next to her. 

Back up against the boxes, I peek around the corner. “Two of them,” I say, still breathing hard. “On my mark.” I count down with my fingers and, on three, we spring out, guns leveled at opponents who don’t see us coming. I’m a vengeful angel, gliding through the sky—at least that’s what I picture until my toe catches the hem of my dress and I stumble forward into a mouthful of dirty straw. 

“Take that!” Mia shouts from a distance, accompanied by a fresh round of shots volleying through the air. 

“What the fuck?” a deep voice yells out. 

Another voice: “We’re on the same fucking team.”

I lift my face off the ground. Mia is backing up toward me, pursued by our imagined foe who’s indeed wearing the same beat-up Timberlands I spotted on our teammates earlier. 

It’s fair to say they’re about as excited to be paired with us as my taste buds are about the straw. I spit out the horse fodder and push myself up. 

“We should have never teamed up with them,” the first guy complains. “That one wants to get hit, and this one…” He gestures at Mia. 

She exhales as if he’s punched her.

“What?” I say, moving to stand between him and my cousin. “This one, what?” 

“Dude, come on,” the second guy says. “Let’s just play.” 

“Well she’s not exactly agile, is she?” guy number one sneers. 

“Ha, that’s funny.” I bob my head a few times and train my gun on him. “What do you think, Mia?” 

She appears at my side. “I think someone’s about to get pummeled.” 

His eyebrows jerk behind his protective goggles, but that’s all he manages before we shoot. 

And shoot again. 

Who needs a team? The sight of them running away is totally worth losing for.

Excerpted from Love at First Spite by Anna E. Collins, Copyright © 2022 by Anna E. Collins. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Winter at a Summer House by Mary Beth Hines Review

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

Author and Poet Mary Beth Hines takes readers on an emotional journey through the highs and lows in everyone’s lives in the collection, “Winter at a Summer House”.

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The Synopsis

In Winter at a Summer House, Mary Beth Hines’s poems speak to the sublime and risks in every middle-class home, small city neighborhood, seaside retreat, or suburban backyard. Vivid, tactile imagery suffuses the collection, which follows the arc of a life from birth/first words to death/last words. Together, these poems create a sometimes heartbreaking, but often humorous and joyous, narrative that speaks to all readers.

The Review

Such a brilliant and beautiful collection of poetry! The author did such an incredible job of pulling in all of the raw emotions and subtle feelings that life can bring on any given day, and somehow creating a thoughtful poem that paints an image in the reader’s minds that reflects those moments in all of our lives. From a child’s first words to days spent at home during a winter storm and the loss of a loved one, the author captured all of these moments with the same vigor and artistry that the world around us naturally brings to our lives during these moments. 

What played so well here was the vast amount of imagery the author utilized with their writing. The poetry was not only emotional but so moving that it became almost cinematic in its delivery, creating the perfect balance between narrative-style poetry and the more in-depth emotional connection not only between the author and the words, but the poetry and the readers as well. 

The Verdict

A meaningful, engaging, and breathtakingly beautiful collection, author Mary Beth Hines’s “Winter at a Summer House” is a must-read poetry book! The journey of life itself and the hauntingly beautiful yet truly relatable way the author was able to connect their own experiences to the overall themes explored within this collection will keep fans of poetry hanging off of the author’s every word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mary Beth Hines grew up in Massachusetts where she spent Saturday afternoons ditching ballet to pursue stories and poems deep in the stacks of the Waltham Public Library. She earned a bachelor of arts in English from The College of the Holy Cross, and studied for a year at Durham University in England. She began a regular creative writing practice following a career in public service (Volpe Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts), leading award-winning national outreach, communications, and workforce programs. Her poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction appear in dozens of literary journals and anthologies both nationally and abroad. Winter at a Summer House is her first poetry collection. When not reading or writing, she swims, walks in the woods, plays with friends, travels with her husband, and enjoys life with their family, including their two beloved grandchildren. Visit her online at www.marybethhines.com.

Red Sun (The Shifter Chronicles Book 14) by M.D. Grimm Review

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

A cat shifter discovers a young wolf shifter roaming the streets of El Paso, TX, after spending his life believing he had a demon possessing him. Taking the wolf under his wing, he brings him to a sanctuary for shifters, developing a close relationship along the way as a shifter hunter is on their trail in author M.D. Grimm’s “Red Sun”, the fourteenth book in The Shifter Chronicles series. 

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The Synopsis

Raphael is no ordinary wolf shifter.

Raphael knows he must be possessed by a demon. What else could explain the aggression, the physical, beastly transformations? To protect himself and others, his father locks him away. But when Raphael is nineteen, the demon gains full control and breaks free. Now Raphael is scared and desperate on the streets of El Paso, Texas, convinced he’s cursed. Then a stray cat enters his life and everything changes.

Ahmes is a cat shifter and knows there’s something off about the young shifter he’s encountered. It soon becomes apparent that the young man doesn’t know what he is, and Ahmes is determined to help and care for him. But gaining the trust of not only the fearsome wolf but the scared young man will take all his persistence.

Friendship, and the potential for more, grows between them as they travel to Haven, Montana—a town founded by shifters, for shifters, and home to a specialized counseling center, one that can help Raphael understand and accept who and what he truly is.

If that wasn’t enough, on their trail is the last person either expected—Gregor Whitefield, the commander of the Knights of the Dawn, which is an organization bent on the eradication of shapeshifters. Gregor enjoys the thrill of the hunt, determined to collect the unique blood that is crucial to Arcas’s great plan.

Raphael’s blood.

The Review

Going into this read, I was worried that I would be totally lost. In the fourteenth book in this series, I was sure that there would be too much history and too many character introductions in past books to be able to understand the foundations of this book. I am very happy to say that I was wrong. The author did such a perfect job of writing this book in a way that could allow it to be a stand-alone style narrative while also delving into the history and mythology of the Shifters and the Knights of the Dawn who are always after them. 

The atmosphere of tension that this war brought into Raphael and Ahmes’s story was entertaining, and the balance the author struck between that facet of the narrative and the more personal LGBTQ-driven romance narratives found on both sides of the story was truly inspiring. The way the author mirrored the coming out process that many LGBTQ people have to undergo and the confusion and even hostility both from family and from themselves with the evolution of Raphael’s story of coming to terms with his wolf spirit was emotional and drove me as a reader forward, eager to watch the emotional evolution of the character as well. 

The Verdict

Engaging, thoughtful, and heartfelt in its delivery, author M.D. Grimm’s “Red Sun” is the perfect next chapter in the Shifter Chronicles series and a must-read LGBTQ-driven fantasy read to start out 2022! With emotional storytelling, great new additions to the Shifter mythos, and memorable characters with a relatable mirrored character arc that readers will be living for, the story will resonate with so many while also delving into the history and culture this genre is so well known for, making this a brilliant story. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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M.D. Grimm has a new MM paranormal book out, Shifter Chronicles book 14: Red Sun. And there’s a giveaway!

Raphael is no ordinary wolf shifter.

Raphael knows he must be possessed by a demon. What else could explain the aggression, the physical, beastly transformations? To protect himself and others, his father locks him away. But when Raphael is nineteen, the demon gains full control and breaks free. Now Raphael is scared and desperate on the streets of El Paso, Texas, convinced he’s cursed. Then a stray cat enters his life and everything changes.

Ahmes is a cat shifter and knows there’s something off about the young shifter he’s encountered. It soon becomes apparent that the young man doesn’t know what he is, and Ahmes is determined to help and care for him. But gaining the trust of not only the fearsome wolf but the scared young man will take all his persistence.

Friendship, and the potential for more, grows between them as they travel to Haven, Montana—a town founded by shifters, for shifters, and home to a specialized counseling center, one that can help Raphael understand and accept who and what he truly is.

If that wasn’t enough, on their trail is the last person either expected—Gregor Whitefield, the commander of the Knights of the Dawn, which is an organization bent on the eradication of shapeshifters. Gregor enjoys the thrill of the hunt, determined to collect the unique blood that is crucial to Arcas’s great plan.

Raphael’s blood.

Amazon | Smashwords


Giveaway

M.D. is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47220/?


Excerpt

Red Sun Meme

When next he knew anything, he was naked, shivering in the chilly night air, and covered in blood. He whimpered and sat up, tears clogging his throat and the taste of blood ripe in his mouth. His stomach rebelled and he vomited.

He’d killed them.

He’d killed them.

Not only was he possessed by a beast but now he was a murderer.

God help me!

Disoriented, Raphael looked around. He didn’t know where he was. It was too dark for him to recognize any structures, and he was too weak to investigate further. Dizzy, he lay down and curled into the fetal position, the blood drying on his skin. Not for the first time, he wondered if he should end it all. But then he would be damned to hell. He was Catholic and that just wasn’t something he would do. There must be another solution.

“Can I go home now?” he whispered, shivering.

The angry growl made him cry.

“I hate you.”

A mournful howl echoed in his mind and he prevented himself from releasing it into the darkness by clenching his jaw.

It was dawn when Raphael woke, surprised he’d managed to sleep. He sat up and cringed at the gore covering him. He didn’t consider it too closely and ignored his small pool of vomit. He needed to get clothes and clean up without being noticed. He realized he was in a narrow alleyway, and from the smell emanating from the dumpster, he guessed the buildings were restaurants.

A soft sound caught his attention, and he blinked at the large cat staring at him. His eyes widened. That was one big housecat. And so beautiful! This one was hefty, but slinky with big ears and equally big green eyes. As the sun rose steadily, he could see the cat had silver, black-spotted fur.

“Wow,” he whispered.

The cat sat staring at him for a long, poignant moment before stepping closer.

“Hey kitty,” Raphael said. He lowered his hand cautiously and held it out for the cat to inspect.

Upon seeing it, he winced, once again reminded what the beast had done. Blood was caked on his arm and under his fingernails. The cat paused and stretched his neck forward, sniffing at his fingers. Then he jerked back as if punched and hissed, showing small pointy teeth.

Raphael flinched and huddled tighter into himself. “I won’t hurt you.” Tears choked his words. “Non sono un mostro. I swear to God I’m not a monster.”

Overcome, Raphael sobbed, face pressed against his knees. Not even a cat trusted him! Why was he being punished? What had he done to earn God’s wrath? Why was he cursed?

It was a long moment before soft fur touched his arm, accompanied by a deep purr like a well-tuned engine. He lifted his head and realized the cat was rubbing his head against his arm. Raphael sniffed, reached over and scratched the cat’s head. The cat arched into the touch, still purring.

“You’re a good kitty,” he said with a wobbly smile. “You’re a pretty kitty.”

The cat regarded him with those hypnotic eyes, whiskers twitching. Such intelligence in his gaze.

“I’m not bad, you know?” he said. “I can’t be all bad if you don’t hate me.”

The cat set his front paws on Raphael’s thigh and lifted himself up until their faces were level. Then the cat leaned forward and surprised Raphael by licking the tip of his nose with his rough tongue. Raphael jerked with a watery laugh.

“Whoa, what was that for?”

The purring continued as the cat climbed into Raphael lap and settled there, his body heat a wonderful thing. Raphael resituated himself, taking care of his genitals, before wrapping his arms around the cat, taking comfort from his warmth and gentleness.

As the sun rose higher and the day grew warmer, Raphael was surprised to realize the beast didn’t mind the cat in the least. Not a snarl or growl came from the monster inside him. It seemed to hate humans but the cat had apparently earned its approval. Whatever the reason, Raphael was grateful. He didn’t want to hurt this cat. He didn’t want to harm anyone else.

“I won’t hurt you,” he whispered in Italian into the cat’s fur. “I promise I won’t hurt you.”

It wasn’t long before his protesting stomach could no longer be ignored. Raphael set the cat aside and approached the dumpster, aware of his nakedness. He lifted the lid and breathed through his mouth. The rising heat of the day did the garbage no favors. He’d be lucky if he didn’t get horribly ill from whatever was in there.

“Meow!”

The sharp sound caused Raphael to jump along with his heart. He swung his head around to stare at the cat as it gazed at him with apparent disapproval. And why did the feline’s eyes appear to be glowing? Must’ve been the sunlight.

“What? I have to eat something. I can’t catch birds and mice like you can. If you’re hungry, go do that.”

The cat flicked his tail, sitting with an air of royalty.

Raphael picked through the garbage, distressed to find nothing remotely worth the risk to eat. Sighing, he lowered the dumpster lid and rubbed his stomach.

“This is your fault, beast,” he whispered. “Are you trying to kill us?”

The beast snarled.

Raphael scowled.

The cat bumped against his leg, distracting him. Blood transferred to the cat’s pristine fur, and Raphael loathed to see it.

“Stop that.” He stepped away. “You’re getting my grossness on you.”

Determined, the cat trotted over to him and continued to rub himself against his legs.

“Il gatto pazzo. That’s what you are.”

Noise near the mouth of the alley had Raphael scrambling behind the dumpster. The cat followed him. He squeezed the cat in his arms, his heart racing. He didn’t want to hurt anyone else.

Behave yourself! he told the beast silently.

It growled.


Author Bio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And now, here is an amazing post from the author…

Good day lovely readers! Thank you for joining me. I am M.D. Grimm and I am here to promote my newest release, “Red Sun.” This is the latest entry in The Shifter Chronicles. I am overjoyed and relieved to finally release a new book in this series. It’s been a long time coming. 2021 was quite a successful and productive year for me. I succeeded in re-releasing all books previously published with a former publishing house after much tweaking and revising. Now I can work on all brand new projects! “Red Sun” is only the first and considering how much I love it, I have a good feeling about the rest. I also have to say that this is probably one of the sweetest stories I’ve written so far. So many scenes that give the warm fuzzies.

So how did I come up with the storyline for this book? Glad you asked. The seeds of it started decades ago when I was still a newb and unpublished. I had the outline for a werewolf series that never got off the ground, and it is unrecognizable to the finished story of today. In fact, I found that outline the other day and was amused at my ambitiousness so early in my writing career.

First, Raphael and Ahmes were very different. While Raphael was still an unusual wolf shifter, he was older and with a completely different past. Ahmes was the younger of the two and had a different name. He was a stray that Raphael saved from adolescent boys who thought it was entertaining to harass a poor cat. I honestly don’t remember where their story fell in the series or what the bigger plot was, but the dynamic between the two intrigued me and kept me interested. Despite that series fizzling before it started, the interest continued until I managed to work it into this series.

From what I can remember, the series was The Silver Moonlight Chronicles, and it revolved around the first five werewolves, who were cursed into monsters during the crusades (I think), and their romantic drama, as well as those of their descendants. It was the stepping stone I needed to create The Shifter Chronicles, so I will forever be grateful for it.

After I plucked the characters from one series to the other, I realized I needed to overhaul the narrative. After that it was a series of trial and error before I nailed down the story that was waiting to be told.

I think the only thing I have a twinge of dissatisfaction about is the title. While it fit with my first draft of the story, after finishing the final version, I realized the title didn’t gel as well for me. I had more Ancient Egyptian elements included in the first version, related to Ahmes and his heritage. And the idea of “red sun” was supposed to invoke the Eye of Ra and the sun and other Egyptian iconography. I certainly include bits and pieces in the published version as Ahmes tries to help Raphael cope with his nature. However, giving such things prominence didn’t work anymore after the story evolved. Red sun could also be seen as the opposite of moon, an element or icon often associated with wolf shifters/werewolves. And since Raphael is different from other wolf shifters… Though the title could also be a play on words (sun vs. son) and “red” is the color of blood, which is what Gregor is after. So the title still works but not the way I first envisioned. 

And try as I might, I couldn’t create a title that worked better. By then, my “working title” had become the only title. Sometimes it just works like that. I couldn’t put Moon in the title since that would link it too close to “Psychic Moon” and “Shifting Moon,” and the story has nothing to do with Derek and Brian. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have and allow the story to just be how it will be. It’s a small little nitpick that I’m sure no one will ultimately care about. As long as the story is good, who cares about the title?

That’s what I tell myself anyway….

The Shifter Chronicles 1-14 (plus short story sequels) are available for purchase at Amazon (also in print!) and Smashwords. I have a newsletter that I send out monthly with all the goodies you can expect in the future. That’s the best way to find out about my current and future projects. Also, you can check out the first three chapters of “Red Sun” on my blog if you’re curious and unsure if you want to commit!

For fans of The Stones of Power series, book 8, “Sapphire: Home and Abroad” is due out in June 2022. Keep your eyes peeled for that! I’m also working diligently on the third book in Saga of the Bold People, “Resistance.”

I am booked (pun intended) solid this year, working on the next shifter book, the next stones book, a couple single titles, and the next On Wings Saga book. Wish me luck!

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

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

M.D. Grimm