Blog Tour: Cleaning House (Appalachian Elementals One) by Jeanne G’Fellers

COVER - Cleaning HouseJeanne G’Fellers has a new trans-non binary fantasy book out:

Centenary Rhodes is an old soul with a well-traveled name, but she doesn’t know this yet.

Growing up in southern Appalachia wasn’t easy, so Cent left home as soon as she could, but the post-collegiate happiness she’d expected has never occurred. She can’t find a decent date, much less find that special someone and, after losing her job in a corporate downsize, she’s struggling to meet her most basic needs. Her car has been repossessed, her bills are piling up, and her questionable North Chicago neighborhood is dangerous to navigate.

Returning home to Hare Creek, Tennessee, never crosses Cent’s mind until her Great Aunt Tess contacts her with an offer she can’t refuse. The family’s southern Appalachian homestead must be sold, and Aunt Tess needs someone to clean it up. Cent will have access to Aunt Tess’ garden and truck and can live on the homestead rent-free for as long as it takes. A part-time job is waiting for her as well.

It’s a chance to solve some of Cent’s financial woes, but will her return be enough when evil sets its sights on Embreeville Mountain and the homestead?

Cleaning House is a carefully woven Appalachian tapestry of granny magic, haints, elementals, and the fantastic diversity of the human condition – served with a delicious side of fries and a generous quart of peach moonshine.

Mountain Gap Books | Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink | Smashwords | Goodreads 


Giveaway

Jeanne is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter using Rafflecopter.

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Excerpt

BANNER-Facebook - Cleaning HouseFall, 1952

“Put it out and give me the rest of the pack.”

“Of all the— here!” Cent dropped her pack of Lucky Strikes onto the floor and kicked them under the outhouse door to Pyre. They’re almost gone anyway.It was the middle of the night, and she’d gone to the outhouse to sneak a smoke. One, that was all, and the rush felt so good. It was the best she’d felt in days, and—

“Drop that lit cigarette down the hole. Stowne’s on their way.”

“Dangit.” Cent took a long drag, exhaling as she rose. She couldn’t hide that she’d been smoking again, and—

“Centenary, please come out.” Stowne knocked on the outhouse door.

“I’m busy.”

“We must discuss this.”

“I was just going,” Pyre’s light drifted away.

Coward. Cent tied her robe and stepped out the door. Fall had rolled in early and wet, setting her up for a rough bout of bronchitis that wouldn’t go away. “Fancy meeting you here at two in the morning.” She cleared her throat to stifle its perpetual tickle.

“Centenary.” Stowne folded their arms across their chest. “You should not be out here this time of night, especially in these cooler temperatures.” Stowne held out the quilt from their bed. “You should be inside where it is warm and dry.”

“I had to pee. It’s something Humans need to do regular.”

“There is a night bucket beneath our bed for you to use when the weather is bad.” Stowne caught her before she moved away, wrapping her in the blanket. “You gave Pyre the cigarettes, but where are the matches?”

“You already took my lighter.”

“And I am removing every pack of matches from the homestead.”

“But what if we need to light a new fire?”

“Centenary!” Stowne pointed to where Pyre hovered on the porch. “That is not a legitimate argument.” They lifted her into their arms.

“Put me down.”

“Please see reason.” They turned toward the house.

“Put. Me. Down!” Cent all but fell from Stowne’s arms before they turned her straight. “You and me, we gotta talk about this.”

“About what?” Stowne towered over her. “Your refusal to care for yourself?”

“About the elephant in the dang room!”

“El-e-phant?” Water ran off Stowne’s head as they stared at her. “Those large gray mammals you told me about? There is one in the house? Brownie or Birdie surely would have sounded the alarm if—”

“No, honey. I…” Cent shivered as the rain began falling harder. “Let’s go inside and talk.”

“That is what I wanted when we began this elephant-filled argument.” Stowne walked beside her up the hill, helping her at the slick spots until she was inside the door. “There. Safe and warm.” Stowne unwrapped her blanket and pulled off her rain boots. “Sit. I will stoke the fire and heat water for your tea.”

“Chamomile, please.” Nothing else agreed with her stomach anymore. “And do it over the fire so I can watch. Pretty please?”

“Such simple things bring you pleasure.” Stowne set her favorite earthenware mug on the table beside her chair and another blanket across her lap.

“Tell me a story from our pastlives together.” She watched as Stowne talked and worked, admiring the ever-changing lines of their body. Larger or smaller depending on what was needed, delicate as they poured water over the tea strainer but strong in the way they held the steaming cast-iron kettle without using a potholder.

“Cream and sugar?” Stowne peered up at her.

“Sugar, yes. But cream?” Cent blanched. “But I used to like it, didn’t I?”

“Until this life, yes. And you like it in your coffee now, along with lots of sugar.” Stowne slipped into the kitchen to get the sugar bowl and a spoon from the table, dropping three heaping teaspoons into Cent’s mug and stirring. “There. Now we discuss this elephant.”

“Sit down first, honey. You’re pacing.”

“I cannot help it. I worry.” Stowne turned their rocker to face her. “Tell me why you do not care for yourself like you should.”

“It’s hit the point of why bother.” Cent pointed to the medication bottles beside her. “I take something to sleep. Something for pain. Something for my stomach. Something for— Smoking calms me, all right? It helps with the— I’m afraid.”

“What are you afraid of?” Stowne seemed genuinely puzzled.

“This ain’t about dyingif that’s what you’re thinking.” She pulled the blanket higher on her chest and reached for her tea, cursing softly when her hands shook too hard to lift it without spilling it. “I’m afraid of hurting more, of leaving you with horrid memories before I go. Lung cancer is an ugly death.”

“What about the radiation your doctor spoke about?”

“It’ll only delay the inevitable and make me nasty-sick until then.” Cent smiled when Stowne lifted the mug to her mouth. “Thank you.”

“That is why I am here. Never forget that.” Stowne knelt before her. “I will be here the entire time.”

“You’ve never seen me like this.”

“I have watched you die from battle wounds, from Small Pox, and countless other ways. None were attractive, but I have been there every time to walk you across the veil. This will be no different.”

“But I don’t want to leave you alone.” She reached out to stroke Stowne’s face.

“I will wait for your return, same as always.”

“But this land…”

“Yes, there is that.” Stowne kissed her palm. “It must be handed down correctly.”

“I know.” Cent took Stowne’s face into her hands, pulling them up to kiss them firmly on the mouth. “All right. I’ll think on it.”

“Thank you. Does this mean the elephant is gone?”

“Not gone, but it certainly shrank. Take me to bed, baby.”

_____________________________________________________________________________________

And now i’m proud to share an exclusive excerpt only available on this website…

MEME - Cleaning House - Mountain Witch Cleaning House

    “Hey, Cent! Get up!” Aubrey opened the cellar door and bounded down the stairs before she could wake up enough to cover herself, so Stowne did, draping one arm and leg over her body. “Tess said you had work this morning, so I…” Aubrey skidded to a stop at the bottom of the stairs. “I got mushmelon, eggs, bacon, coffee and— whoa, Nelly!” He gaped at Stowne when they wrapped further around Cent. “I’ll let you get dressed.” He turned to gaze up the stairs.

    “Yeah, thanks.” She reached for the clothing Stowne had once again folded while she slept.

    “Do you mind introducing me to your, um, friend?” Aubrey chuckled under his breath.

    “Aubrey, meet Stowne.” I smell coffee. “Stowne, this is Aubrey Rhodes, my cousin who doesn’t know to knock first. All right, I’m dressed.”

    “Centenary speaks highly of you.” Stowne watched Aubrey turn back around and pass Cent a plate and a cup of coffee.

    “Extra cream.” He stepped back to scrutinize Stowne. “Earth elemental?”

    “I am, as well as Centenary’s companion for most of her lives.” They wrapped their arm around Cent’s waist as she ate. “I see bacon is still a favored food.”

    “Love it.” Cent lifted a piece to her mouth. “But Tess always overcooks it.” She sighed when the piece shattered across the plate, leaving her holding a fragment that she put in her mouth.

    “I like it just fine.” Aubrey sat on the bottom stair. “Tess and I talked for a bit last night then I went to the back porch to think after she went to bed. Rayne came to sit with me, and I talked to her, I mean them, most of the night.” He yawned and stretched his arms above his head.

    “Did they answer more of those questions you had?” Cent sipped her coffee. What Tess lacked in bacon-cooking skills she made up for in coffee-making. It was a good cup, and she’d used real cream too, not the powdered stuff.

    “Yeah, they did. They said you have to find your memories and that as you find them, your power will grow.” He peered up at Stowne. “You’re gearing up to fight for the homestead, ain’t you?”

    “Yeah, this has been my land for centuries, and Stowne’s for much, much longer, so I’ll be damned if Mama is going to yank it out from under us.” She swallowed a mouthful of eggs before she spoke again, pulling out a piece of shell when it caught between her teeth. “That’s why I’m here, I think, why I came back.”

END EXCERPT


Author Bio

AUTHOR PIC - Jeanne G'Fellers

Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with her father and reading the books her librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennesee with her spouse, Anna, and their five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.

Author Website: http://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

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Finding a Co-Author is Finding a Soul Friend (Guest Blog Post by Professor Gore)

I was born into a family of literati.

No one recognized that I had a talent with language because everyone did.  The best evidence of this? At nine months old, I hollered out in the night.  Mother rushed to my bedroom and flipped on the light. I said clearly, “Mommy, let’s visit.”  Instead of realizing how remarkable this utterance was coming from a nine-month-old, she closed her eyes and said, “Dear God, why, oh why did you give me such an annoying child?” She flipped off the light and went back to bed.

The first person to acknowledge and encourage my skill as a wordsmith was my private music teacher and junior high band director, Maestro Wilson.

He would catch the subtlest of quips I would tender during our lessons and laugh out loud.  He would twist them and flip them back at me. I would toss him a pun and he would toss one back.  By ninth grade, band kids would fill his office on Friday afternoons to watch our official pun wars.  We were fierce and worthy opponents.

I adored him and began to think of him as a second father, one who made time for me, while he began to think of me as his daughter.  We became anam cara: soul friends.

Almost as exciting as word playing with Maestro Wilson was that when I was excited about a book, I would give it to him, and he would read it. I gave him O Ye Jigs and Juleps and he laughed and talked about it with me for days.  

He stayed up all night reading the terrifying Rosemary’s Baby after I gave it to him.  We talked about it for weeks like a father and daughter would. I began to see myself through his eyes, and that made me feel like I could be a writer.

I declared English as my major in college.  But my mom’s friend, a first-grade teacher who was like a second mother to me, said, “Millie, only six people in America can make a living as a writer at any one time, and honey, you ain’t one of ‘em.  I’m not going to look across the street when you’re thirty and see you living at home with your parents supporting you because you got a degree in something that you can’t make a living at. You have to change your major to Elementary Education.”

We argued, and argued, and argued, but she refused to go home until I promised I’d change my major to elementary education.  

That ended my dream of becoming a writer.  I became a teacher, and although that wasn’t what I’d wanted to do with my life, I was a great teacher, won awards, was highly valued by my administration, and was adored by most of my students.

Over the years, I sold a few small articles and stories, but teaching is so demanding that I had little energy to devote to writing.  

However, after I finished a doctorate degree at age 40, an academic publisher offered me a contract based on my dissertation.  That first book was followed over the next twenty years by four others for parents and teachers.

But I was yet to write what I was aching to: a picture book for the children of LGBT parents.  I wanted it to be lyrical with a beguiling cadence, filled with metaphor and subtlety, and based on the Hero’s Journey.  A book as much for parents as for children. And I wanted a co-author to share the journey with me.

Only one name came to mind: the teacher who had made words such fun for me. My second father. Maestro Wilson.

Recently widowed, he agreed that we would talk one hour every night, seven nights a week, until the book was complete.  

Over the next months, I taught him about the Hero’s Journey and about same-sex families.  I taught him about character development and how plot grows out of characters rather than characters being forced to fit a plot. I taught him about dialogue and beats, eliminating adverbs and using strong verbs.  

Then we began creating our characters, King Phillip and Don Carlos. We developed the men’s back stories, knew their strengths and vulnerabilities, their triumphs and defeats, how they met and fell in love.  

Maestro Wilson is Hispanic at heart, having grown up in downtown Santa Fe where his brothers of affinity had names like José or Carlos.  He was called Felipe (the Spanish form of Phillip) even by his father, and when he’s tired, lapses into a gentle Spanish accent. So Don Carlos grew from Maestro Wilson’s soul.  

We began creating the Blue Star and baby Milliflora, and although that process was different from creating the men, their essence emerged from my soul.

Every day I’d write based upon what we’d talked about the night before.  Then I would email the maestro what I’d written, and that night, he’d read the draft to me and we’d re-work it. Because he was a musician, his ear for the rhythm of language was magical.  

The next day I would write a new draft based upon our discussion. We continued writing every night for five months until we had created our perfect 1000-word story, All is Assuredly Well.

We have six more books to go in this series.  We’ll have the second book, Most Assuredly Well, ready for our illustrator on January 1.  

The first person ever to recognize my literary skill was my teacher, my soul friend, my second father: Maestro Wilson. I was eleven, and he a grown man with three children and four more to come.  Now, more than a half century later, we’re having the time of our lives writing together. Each book will be one of our legacies to children and families. Our message? The only ingredient necessary to be a family is love.  Shared DNA not required.

 

professorgore

Professor M. C. Gore holds the doctorate in education from the University of Arkansas.  She taught first grade through graduate school for 36 years in New Mexico, Missouri, and Texas.    She was a professional horse wrangler and wilderness guide and continues to play clarinet in two community bands.  She is Professor Emeritus from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas where she held two distinguished professorships. Her books for teachers and parents are shelved in over a thousand libraries throughout the world.  She is retired and lives in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.

Release Day: Caledonia Destiny by Lexi Ander

http://www.lexiander.com/index.htmlIt’s release day for Lexi Ander’s new MM historical fantasy/paranormal book, Caledonia Destiny:

A twist of fate changed both their destinies.

The wyrbears, once a long-lived species, were being lost to the forest in their prime. A people borne of a curse, their abilities not a gift but something wrongly taken, they nonetheless live in harmony with their animal spirits. But over time the curse they lived under changed, mutated, and now what once was a refuge from the world when they became too weary is culling mathan in their prime.

Ewen mhic Friscalach, the leader of his peoples, lost his father too early and is now a widower with four children. The vow he made as a youth to break the curse afflicting wyrbears has been buried by grief and responsibility.

Roi mhic Alric, a priest of Cerridwen and seer, watched his fellow priests slaughtered and his temple desecrated. The only thing that kept him going the last three horror-filled years was the vision Cerridwen had granted him of his emancipation. If freedom came at the cost of his life, well, he was more than ready for the Otherworld.

A fated meeting upon a bloody field of battle. A wrong done long ago. Their choices could save a people… or send them into extinction. Either way, their love will be legend.

Caledonia Destiny started out as 31k short story that had a happy for now ending. Now, years later, I have rewritten and expanded the original to 111k.

Buy Links Coming Soon


Giveaway

Lexi is giving away three $10 Amazon gift cards with this tour – for a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

The next morn Ewen rose early and stoked the fire. Roi wandered into the forest to release his water. When he returned, Ewen bade him sit atop the furs. With an unsure countenance, Roi sat and watched Ewen approach with a wary eye. Ewen took Roi’s hand and used the warm, wet linen to wash it. He rinsed the cloth in the crock of water and repeated the motions with the other hand, gently touching the abraded flesh and each of the scabs where Roi had injured himself climbing the tree.

The camp was utterly quiet as he administered to Roi afore the gazes of his kin. He did not glance into Roi’s eyes until he took the cloth to Roi’s face, cleansing the dust of the road from Roi’s forehead and cheeks. Roi’s eyes were large and round with his confusion, but he did not stay Ewen’s hand which gave Ewen hope. He unlaced Roi’s boots and pulled them from his feet and began to wash them as well. He had not imagined he would be so nervous declaring his intentions in front of his kinsmen, but this moment was important, mayhap the most important declaration Ewen would make in his lifetime.

“Roi mhic Alric, I, Ewen mhic Friscalach, would have it known that I hereby put forth afore my kinsmen my petition to court you. I humbly ask that you consider my request and if you accept, allow no other to court you until the time you decide either to accept my hand or decline it.”

Roi turned pale as milk. Apprehension pooled in Ewen’s gut as he awaited for Roi to shun him. He deserved no less for what he had done, avoiding Roi only to succumb to his desires, waking Roi from sleep to beg Roi to touch him. Whilst Roi spoke truth, Ewen had bestowed upon him harsh words instead of Ewen’s own truth in return. He should have confided in Roi, given him the story of his people’s lineage. Roi’s lack of faith in Ewen might yet be Ewen’s own doing.

Roi placed his hand over Ewen’s where he washed the dirt from Roi’s feet. “Ye be of noble blood, ye do not have to do this.”

He captured Roi’s hand betwixt his palms. “Then tell me how to win back your trust.” Roi’s visage hardened, but not afore Ewen beheld the brief flame of longing in Roi’s eyes. “I shall find a way back into your confidence, Roi, and when I do, you shall never have reason to throw me out again.”

After placing Roi’s hand in his lap, Ewen returned to cleansing his feet, then slipped his boots over his calves and carefully laced them up. Ewen had brought over a square of knotted linen, which he gave to Roi afore he rose to his feet with the crock of dirty water. Roi untied the cloth and stared down at the food Ewen had gathered for him. The offering was not much: the last piece of flat bread, some pine nuts, and the best slices of their dried meat.

Donn grinned and nodded as Ewen passed by on his way to the stream to rinse out the crock. Kneeling at the edge of the water, Ewen then splashed the cold water onto his face, growling at the way his hands trembled.

Bear chuffed with mirth. “Good.”

With that one single word, Bear soothed Ewen’s frayed nerves. For the first time that he could recall, Bear rubbed gently against his skin as if to console him. Crouched at the water’s edge, Ewen held still in shock, able to sense Bear’s emotions without Bear saying the words. When Roi was with them, Bear came alive, naught showing of the violent creature Granda had warned Ewen of. Bear now spoke to, and even interacted with Ewen, all thanks to Roi. Ewen wiped the dripping water from his face with a new clarity.

“Ewen.” He glanced over his shoulder to behold Roi standing at the edge of the trees. Anger still pinched the corners of Roi’s lips but his hands twisted with uncertainty. “I shall not allow another to court—” his brows dipped into a hard V as if he could hardly believe his own words “—me until I either decline or accept yer… yer…” He huffed. “I know not what ye be thinking courting a man, Ewen. Everything ye do confounds me no end, and my mind counsels me to leave ye be but—” Roi rubbed at his left breast, his palm pressing into his chest as if he attempted to soothe an ache “—I find I cannot deny yer request, regardless of how unseemly it be. I never thought ye to be a daft man afore.” The last was said under Roi’s breath.

“I thought you would deny me,” Ewen confessed.

“Yer declaration caught me off guard, and when ye walked away without waiting for my answer I found meself at the mercy of others who vied for my attention. Ye have much to explain, Ewen. No others be as accepting as yer people.” Roi shook his head in a disbelieving manner afore turning to leave, moving around the four men who had followed him to the stream.

Donn, Arailt, and two other cousins watched Roi go. Bear and Ewen growled. “You heard him. He has agreed to my courtship.” Ewen’s kinsmen dispersed, Donn chuckling into his fist but hurrying away afore Ewen caught him.


Author Bio

Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.

Author Website: http://www.lexiander.com/index.html

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/lexi.ander.9

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/LexiAnder1

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Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lexi-Ander/e/B009PT22GM/

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FBLCD6G/

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Blog Tour: Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton (Excerpt)

Hi there everyone!

I am excited to share with you today an exclusive excerpt for author Claire Fullerton’s novel Mourning Dove.

About Mourning Dove:

Mourning Dove Cover

“An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” Kirkus Book Reviews

The heart has a home when it has an ally.
If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.

But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

And now here is an exclusive excerpt from the novel:

In winter, Finley tried out for the Woodhill Country Club hockey team because Dad, in his day, had played a regionally lauded center.

One good look at the eight-year-old Finley, and anybody would have said he didn’t have the stature for a contact sport. But Dad took Finley seriously and shepherded us to the rink, where he coached Finley into membership while I skated figure eight into arabesque. Mom had no interest in skating but she loved standing on the ice socializing in her fabulous full-length beaver coat, deeply engaged in gossiping, which was the only contact sport that ever truly held her attention. Chuck Dudley was part of the parents’ crowd that stood on the ice unshielded in Minnesota’s ungodly winter temperatures.

The grown-ups huddled in a cluster, drinking Schnapps from plastic glasses after smearing Vaseline on their children’s faces to abate the whipping wind. I didn’t like Chuck Dudley from the first moment I saw him. There was something smarmy about him, something slick, wormy, lax-muscled, and weak-shouldered, but my mother sure liked him.

I couldn’t tell why.

He had a mousy wife he ignored and a nine-year-old son named Derrick, who was just as unsavory as he. The attention Chuck Dudley slathered on my mother made me uneasy, yet for some reason it made her shine. She became animated in his presence, laughing and charming and fluid, as if Chuck were the most captivating person in the world. Every time we went to Woodhill, Chuck was there laughing and grinning with his big white teeth and blond receding hairline.

The women at Woodhill vied for his attention because they subliminally subscribed to his self-image, which he cast about like a net designed to ensnare. Chuck Dudley got my mother’s competitive nature riled, and it was clear he had his sights set on her now that his three-year affair with Sandra Hardwicke had ended. He’d preen and strut under my mother’s encouragement, and they flattered each other’s vanity like pleasure-seekers in need of a high.

I didn’t know if Finley intended it or not. I didn’t know if he presciently intuited disruption brewing and wanted to rail against it, or if Derrick Dudley was just a pansy in the wrong place at the wrong time. I leaned down to tie my skate laces. When I looked up, I saw Derrick on his back, crying and bleeding from his forehead, with Finley at a T-stop standing over him wearing a scowl.

Even though they were on the same team, Finley had managed to head-butt Derrick with an impact that started on the ice, landed in the hospital, and wove its way into the fabric of our lives.

About the Author:

I’ve always known I’m a story teller. Having been born in Wayzata, Minnesota (the homeland of my father) and transplanted at the age of ten to Memphis, Tennessee (the homeland of my mother,) I learned early that the art of observation can be an acclimating life saver.  My mother told me that as a child, I would sit and watch people. I was thirty years old the first time she said this, then she added,“You still do.” If what is known as “the writer’s eye” is the ability to see the world from the outside in, then I am happily guilty.

Although I now live in Malibu, California, I’ll always consider myself a Southerner: a card carrying member of the last romantic culture on earth. When I was growing up, Memphis was a hot-bed of social and cultural change. In this atmosphere, I embraced popular music, for the city that sits on the bluff of the Mississippi is a musical mecca, and I wanted to be in its middle.  I found my niche in music radio as a member of the on-air staff of five different stations, during a nine year career.

Music radio led me to the music business, and the music business led me to Los Angeles, where I worked for three years as an a1rtist’s representative, securing record deals for bands. From Los Angeles, I took a trip to the west coast of Ireland and ended up staying a full year. An uncanny twist of fate directed me back to Los Angeles, where unbeknownst to me, my future husband waited. Three weeks after my return to the United States, I reviewed the journal I kept, while living in Ireland, and knew I had a good story. I started the draft of what became my second published novel, but years intervened between its beginning and publication.

During those years, I wrote a creative, weekly column for The Malibu Surfside News, and submitted to writing contests and magazines as I focused on developing my craft.  I wrote a paranormal mystery about a woman who suspects she has lived before, and titled it A Portal in Time. Vinspire Publishing published the book, so I decided to show them the manuscript of my Irish novel. Vinspire Publishing published it under the title Dancing to an Irish Reel the following year.

My third novel is titled Mourning Dove. It’s a sins-of-the-father, Southern Family Saga, set in 1970’s and 1980’s Memphis, and  I’m thrilled to report that Firefly Southern Fiction will publish it in June of 2018.

I love the lifestyle that writing affords. I write daily, on one project or another, and like many writers, I have an inexplicable urge to interpret the world around me, in hopes that readers will not only be entertained and have something to think about, but be able to see themselves.

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The Fifth To Die (4MK Thriller #2) by J.D. Barker Review

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

Today is a special treat my friends. I was recently sent an advanced copy of the highly anticipated sequel to one of my favorite thrillers in the last few years, The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker. This time around the author has published The Fifth To Die, a thrilling ride that explores the continuing hunt for the deadly 4MK. Here’s the synopsis:

In the thrilling sequel to The Fourth Monkey, a new serial killer stalks the streets of Chicago, while Detective Porter delves deeper into the dark past of the Four Monkey Killer.

Detective Porter and the team have been pulled from the hunt for Anson Bishop, the Four Monkey Killer, by the feds. When the body of a young girl is found beneath the frozen waters of Jackson Park Lagoon, she is quickly identified as Ella Reynolds, missing three weeks. But how did she get there? The lagoon froze months earlier. More baffling? She’s found wearing the clothes of another girl, missing less than two days. 

While the detectives of Chicago Metro try to make sense of the quickly developing case, Porter secretly continues his pursuit of 4MK, knowing the best way to find Bishop is to track down his mother. When the captain finds out about Porter’s activities, he’s suspended, leaving his partners Clair and Nash to continue the search for the new killer alone.

Obsessed with catching Bishop, Porter follows a single grainy photograph from Chicago to the streets of New Orleans and stumbles into a world darker than he could have possibly imagined, where he quickly realizes that the only place more frightening than the mind of a serial killer is the mind of the mother from which he came.

This book was incredible. Of course as with all my reviews this will be a spoiler-free review. However I can honestly say that author J.D. Barker has mastered how to write the perfect sequel, upping his game greatly to create an even more intense, thrilling and engaging story than The Fourth Monkey. Delving deeper into the killer’s past, Detective Porter finds himself drawn into the twisted world of 4MK in ways no one can ever imagine, unless of course you’re J.D. Barker.

The way the story takes readers into the minds of everyone involved in the case, from new investigators and the team you came to know and love in the first novel to the killer himself and the newest victims who have to face the very heart of darkness and evil alone. It’s a powerful and explosive story from the first page, showing the way everyone was affected by 4MK’s surprising actions in the first novel and how just when you thought you knew the limits of this killer, he takes things so much further. By the end of the story your heart will be racing and you’ll be on the edge of your seat, gasping for breath because you got so enraptured with the twist ending that you forgot to breath.

Overall I loved this story. It was so fun and thrilling to take part in, and the entire time I was reading it I kept asking myself when someone is going to make a movie or show about this story. The tale of 4MK and those hunting him is the modern day serial killer story we’ve been waiting for, and makes for the perfect summer thriller read. In J.D. Barker we’ve found a spiritual successor to the incredible Stephen King, taking the characters of the everyday man and transforming their lives into one of a kind adventures and thrill rides that only these one of a kind authors could come up with. If you haven’t preordered your copy yet, be sure to do so now. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker comes out July 10th, 2018, so grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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ABOUT J.D.

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Barker was born January 7, 1971 in Lombard, Illinois and spent the first fourteen years of his life in Crystal Lake, Illinois. A staunch introvert, he was rarely seen without a book in hand, devouring both the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series by the age of six before moving on to classics such as the works of Dickens and Twain. The discovery of Shelley, Stoker and Poe fueled a fire and it wasn’t long before he was writing tales of his own which he shared with friends and family. These early stories centered around witches and ghosts thought to inhabit the woods surrounding their home.

At fourteen, Barker’s family relocated to Englewood, Florida, a climate better suited to his father’s profession as a contractor. He attended Lemon Bay High School and graduated in 1989. Knowing he wanted to pursue a career in the arts but unsure of a direction, he enrolled at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where he later obtained a degree in business. While in college, one of his writing assignment found its way into the hands of Paul Gallotta of Circus Magazine. Gallotta reached out to Barker and asked him to join the staff of 25th Parallel Magazine where he worked alongside the man who would later become Marilyn Manson. Assignments dropped him into the center of pop culture and by 1991 Barker branched out, interviewing celebrities for the likes of Seventeen, TeenBeat, and other national and local publications. In 1992, Barker syndicated a small newspaper column called Revealed which centered around the investigation of haunted places and supernatural occurrences. While he often cites these early endeavors as a crash course in tightening prose, his heart remained with fiction. He began work as a book doctor and ghostwriter shortly thereafter, helping others fine tune their writing for publication. Barker has said this experience proved invaluable, teaching him what works and what doesn’t in today’s popular fiction. He would continue in this profession until 2012 when he wrote a novel of his own, titled Forsaken.

Stephen King read portions of Forsaken prior to publication and granted Barker permission to utilize the character of Leland Gaunt of King’s Needful Things in the novel. Indie-published in late 2014, the book went on to hit several major milestones – #2 on Audible (Harper Lee with Go Set a Watchman held #1), #44 on Amazon U.S., #2 on Amazon Canada, and #22 on Amazon UK. Forsaken was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award (Best Debut Novel) and won a handful of others including a New Apple Medalist Award. After reading Forsaken, Bram Stoker’s family reached out to Barker and asked him to co-author a prequel to Dracula utilizing Bram’s original notes and journals, much of which has never been made public. The novel, titled Dracul, sold at auction to G.P. Putnam & Sons, with film rights going to Paramount. Andy Muschietti (IT, Mama) is attached to direct.

Barker’s initial indie success drew the attention of traditional agents and publishers and in early 2016 his debut thriller, The Fourth Monkey, sold in a series of pre-empts and auctions worldwide with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt set to publish in the U.S. and HarperCollins in the UK. The book has also sold for both film and television.

Barker splits his time between Englewood, FL, and Pittsburgh, PA, with his wife, Dayna.

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Guest Post: Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites by Michael Okon

Hi Everyone! I am honored to share with you this amazing guest post from author Michael Okon on the importance of social media for authors. Enjoy!

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Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites

By Michael Okon

Any serious author wanting to be discovered by readers knows how important it is to engage online. Whether we love social media or we hate it, it’s necessary for branding purposes. Authorship is a business. And like all businesses, you MUST actively participate in your marketing efforts. Social media platforms make this possible.

Truth be told, I actually despise social media. Yes, I said it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore it. It’s time consuming, and at times can be downright silly. All that follow to unfollow nonsense. Who has the time? I’d rather be writing than worrying about getting and maintaining followers.

At first, I did most of my social media management on my own. Trust me, I wasn’t an expert and I recognized that pretty quickly. There’s no shame in hiring someone to help out with your social media efforts. That’s what I eventually did, but I do still try to stay as engaged as I possibly can.

Now I have a team of social media experts who work tirelessly to get my name out there in front of as many potential readers as possible. Indie publishing is a tough business to be in and you absolutely need every edge possible to get people to notice you and your books.

If you don’t yet have the finances to hire a social media manager I implore you not to ignore this side of book marketing. Just posting once or twice a day on the biggies – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – will help readers find you. And don’t forget to comment, like and repost while you’re at it. Social media is here to stay so you may as well get used to it!

Michael Okon is a bestselling author and screenwriter. Monsterland Reanimated, Book Two in the Monsterland series, was just released on April 13, 2018 and promises to be bigger and badder than Book One. Michael invites readers to connect with him on his website.  

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Book Announcement: Freshman Hunt: A Nightmare Academy Novella by Anthony Avina Preorder

Hi there everyone. This is Author Anthony Avina. You know I share a lot of reviews, author interviews, blog tour posts and so much more on this website. Yet something I haven’t done a lot of that I need to start doing is sharing more of my own personal work. I am an indie author, and for the past few months I’ve been hard at work finishing the second novella in my YA series, Nightmare Academy. Today I am happy to announce that the book I’ve been working on nonstop is now available for preorder!

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Cover Art by Mike Wehner http://www.mikewehner.com

That’s right, my book is now available. I had the good fortune of working with an incredible artist on the cover named Mike Wehner. He designed this amazing polygon art cover that is truly unique to the YA genre. I hope you guys like it. His work is truly amazing and you can find his work at his website! I will be making several more announcements in the weeks to come, including some giveaways, freebies, book trailer news and so much more. If anyone would be interested in a free copy of this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review, email me using the contact page on this website! Feel free to share this online and sign up for my newsletter to get the latest news about this release. Expect the book to come out August 24th, 2018 on all online retailers!

Preorder Your Copy!

Select Young Adult Paperbacks: 3 for $20

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