Saturday, June 19, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Accidental Gatekeeper (The Accidental Midlife Trilogy #1) by Carla Rehse

Title: The Accidental Gatekeeper
Series: The Accidental Midlife Trilogy #1
Author: Carla Rehse
Publisher: Pink Squirrel Publishing
Publication Date: June 14th 2021
Print Length: 254 pages
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Turning the big four-five isn’t a problem for Everly Popa—it’s everything else in her life that’s gone to hell in a handbasket.

It’s bad enough that Everly’s drug-selling husband is in jail and her adult daughter blames her for the situation. But now the FBI wants her to turn witness, while her husband’s criminal friends want to keep her permanently silent. With no other safe haven, Everly returns to her hometown. A place she hasn’t visited in twenty-seven years. And didn’t leave under the best of circumstances.

It’s not that Everly has a problem with her hometown, exactly, but since it sits next to Hell’s Gate, there’s bound to be a few issues. Like the archaic rules set by the angels who run the town. Or the fact that the townsfolk feel Everly abandoned her duties as one of the members of the town’s founding families. But between celestial politics or getting gunned down by a drug cartel, Everly decides to chance finding sanctuary back home.

After a little good-versus-evil stunt at the town’s border, Everly is let back in and for the first five minutes, things are great. Everly’s mom hasn’t started nagging and she has a whole bottle of wine to herself. But after minute six, all hell breaks loose. Everly gets bitten by a hellhound, faints in front of her hot-and-single old high school boyfriend, and accidentally becomes the town’s Gatekeeper to Hell. A job she never wanted, isn’t trained for, and can’t shake off like gum stuck to her shoe. And as much as she’s flipping out, the celestial ruling body aren’t too pleased about it either.

Before Everly can take a deep breath and figure a way out of this mess, an angel gets killed, humans go missing and the town shuts its magical borders. Now Everly is trapped inside with dying angels, rampaging demons, and a witch with a murderous agenda. Plus, an archangel and his army surround the city and are itching to contain the town’s problems with a heaven-sent big boom. The only way out is for Everly to learn how to use her newly acquired Gatekeeper powers. But with no handbook provided, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell she’ll figure it out in time.

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When all the good choices have disappeared faster than kids at chore time

If eighteen was the age of exciting self-discovery, then forty-five was the weary age of having zero sh*ts left to give.

What did it matter if my husband of twenty years was rotting in federal jail? And that our chiropractic clinic had gone belly up, leaving me jobless? Or that my friends had turned from “we’ll help hide a body” to “we’ve got your back until the reporters hit our lawn?” I also didn’t care that the DEA had frozen our joint bank accounts and seized our assets. I never liked that ho use anyway.

Homeless. Jobless. Friendless.

Add in a pickup truck, beer, and an old dog and it would be the most pathetic country song played on the tiniest fiddle ever. I gritted my teeth as the wipers shrieked across the windshield. Nothing like driving through a late-October downpour to add to your misery, and the constantly patched roads in this part of Central Texas didn’t handle rain well.

My phone rang with its cheerful tone that I kept forgetting to change. Sadie’s name lit up on the display, and I almost knocked it off the dashboard holder while hitting the speaker button. “Sadie? Is everything okay? How’s Laney?” I really hoped the trembling in my voice wasn’t audible. My daughter hadn’t spoken to me in two months, refusing to answer my calls or respond to my texts. Her girlfriend had even gone so far as to block me on her social media.

“Mom? Where are you? God, this connection sucks.” Her voice had a recognizable anxious edge to it. I wanted to ask if she was taking her meds, but at twenty-one Sadie hated coddling. “Someone needs to talk to you.”

“What?” I eased onto the shoulder of the road, then placed the truck into park. “Who?”

“Mrs. Collins? Uh, Everly Collins? This is Sam Duncan, your husband’s attorney? We really must discuss your husband’s case.”

I glanced at the clock on my dash: 10:33 p.m. Duncan was raking in some serious OT. “What the hell are you doing with my daughter?”

“Mrs. Collins?” He lowered his voice. “I know you’ve been advised not to speak with me. But you really need to before certain other people do. We can meet anywhere you want.”

“Listen to me, you scum licker. Tell my husband and his thug buddies to leave my kid out of their mess. I’m not afraid of their flaccid threats and won’t be intimidated.” I slapped at the phone to turn it off, sending it careening to the passenger floorboard, out of reach and therefore away from temptation.

I didn’t have the money to replace the stupid thing, but the desire to take out my frustration on the helpless and innocent electronic device was strong.

Part of me wanted to turn the vehicle around, race to Sadie’s apartment in Austin, and kick the crap out of that attorney. But I knew the truth. Sadie had taken her dad’s side and was angry I’d snitched on him. She would do whatever she could to get him out of trouble. What was a little money laundering for drug dealers, after all? She might have my dark hair and eyes, but unfortunately, she inherited her father’s defective moral compass.

A lesson for all the kiddies: choose the sperm donor for your progeny well.

Exhaustion, physical and mental, hit me, increasing the stabbing pain behind my left eye that’d been plaguing me for days. How did this become my life? Why did I always get myself in such horrible messes?

For all my trash-talking, I was worried about the drug dealers my husband had brought into our lives. The Feds were worried about them as well, ’cause nothing hurt a case more than the star witness contracting a bad case of a bullet to the head. Not that I trusted the law to keep Sadie or me safe. I needed to find us a sanctuary.

With few good options left, I guided the truck back onto the deserted highway. I hydroplaned in a pool of water and fought the steering wheel as stomach acid burned my throat. Sanctuary … Such a simple word for such a complex mess.

My mother’s house would be safe, but it was … complicated.

I didn’t have a problem with her, but at eighteen I’d stormed away from my hometown of Crossing Shadows, Texas, in a raging hissy fit. I hoped the town would accept me back now, but I had my doubts. And I wasn’t referring to the townspeople. Sitting at the edge of a Hell’s Gate made the town’s magical border fussier than a pearl-clutching old biddy at a church function.
Although not a native Texan, Carla prides herself on having mastered the correct usage of "y'all" and "bless your heart."

Carla is owned by a persnickety kitty, who rules the computer keyboard and only allows Carla to write when demands for cat treats are met.

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Friday, June 18, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Boy by Anna Hamilton

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Boy by Anna Hamilton. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a lovely guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card or a store coupon for a free eBook or half price print book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Boy
Author: Anna Hamilton
Publication Date: May 18th 2021
Print Length: 180 pages
Genre: Sweet Romance
Boy is a story about a few weeks in the lives of Hugh and Betty Roberts, an elderly couple living alone on a family farm in Iowa. They are buried deep in grief over the loss of their only child and struggling to hang on to the only life they have ever known when dementia sneaks in. An unusual visitor brings a welcome distraction and reprieve just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Join this couple and other unforgettable characters as they prepare to share in a memorable and much needed Thanksgiving gathering at the old couple's farm. What transpires is credited to friendship, love and the relentless power of hope. Directly or indirectly we are reminded of what really matters on this brief walk we call Life.

On both sides of the driveway there were fields of corn, now harvested. Even in the wind you could hear the pheasants running through the few stalks that remained. The distant fence lines stood like loyal soldiers waiting for the day they could come home. The air smelled wet and of dirt, the smell one becomes addicted to after having lived off the land.

As they walked the long driveway arm in arm, Hugh got a whiff of his childhood. All around him he smelled the seventy-eight years of his life. He turned to look at his wife who still clung to the small box and wondered whether she too could smell the years in the wind.

The rain looked like it was still miles away, however the wind was always strong and present. In Iowa, the wind is never far away, always sneaking around, reminding you of how pointless it was to comb your hair or wear a cap.

By the time they had reached the mailbox it had started to sprinkle. Hugh let go of Betty's arm long enough to retrieve the mail and shove it inside of his flannel shirt, when a gust of wind swept by them, taking with it the lid from the box. Across the field and into the next it tumbled, until being captured by the loyal soldiers.
Anna Hamilton (1958- present) was born in Des Moines, Iowa. She lives in Northern Minnesota along the Canadian border where she owns and operates a small restaurant in the village of Grand Marais. During the slower winter months she writes, preferring fiction over non-fiction. "Fiction" she says, "is much easier to create because you can be on the outside of a story looking in, rather than on the inside, fighting your way out." Hence her first novel 'Boy'.

When she is not working or writing, her time is spent mentoring children in need and advocates on behalf of both children and the elderly. She and her sister Sarah are currently working towards building 'affordable' housing for their community. Part of the proceeds from her first novel 'Boy' will be dedicated to help finance that project.

- What is your most cherished memory?

My most cherished memory...after sixty-two years I hate to admit that there are only a couple, with one being my memories of childhood and going to my cousin’s farm in Emporia, Kansas. They were sharecroppers most of their life and poor, something I didn't even know until I was older. The love they showered me and my siblings with is forever like a warm blanket being wrapped around me. Never had I been as happy as being there with them, in all of its simplicity. The love is and was the strongest I have ever felt and will follow me to my grave.
Anna Hamilton will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. In addition to the gift card, the author will offer a prize to a second winner: a store coupon from Between the Lines Publishing/Liminal Press (half price print book or free ebook).
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Generation of Vipers by Maria Ann Green

Title: Generation of Vipers
Author: Maria Ann Green
Publication Date: June 18th 2021
Print Length: 364 pages
Genre: Gothic Psychological Thriller

Rosabella Moore-Davis has just moved her husband halfway across the world, with a spur of the moment purchase–a glorious gothic mansion–while on vacation in France. It was love at first sight, and somehow she knew it was more than just some huge house; it was meant to be her home.

But not all things that are meant to be end happily ever after.

Rosabella soon finds herself waking in the middle of the night from more than just wind and creaking pipes. In the dark she discovers ghostly figures looking up into her windows from outside, rooms and treasures previously hidden for centuries, creeping crawling guests, and too many dark shadows lunging toward her. And still, somehow, instead of screaming and running away she researches, choosing knowledge over fear, and learns more about the house and the history of this place she loves so much.

Only when she stumbles into the past, meeting an aristocrat hiding enough deadly secrets to take down the patriarchy, does Rosabella start to regret her choices. And after having come this far, she worries it’s too late to turn back and save herself from a house that has more skeletons in its vast amount of closet space than anyone expected.

Rosabella isn’t the fleeing type, but she’s not sure she’ll survive the fight. Especially against a place with so many stories buried beneath it, burned into every fiber of the edifice, a house with a portal to dark places and troubles that shouldn’t be stirred up.

Generation of Vipers is a mix of crimson peak and Mike Flanagan’s Haunting of Hill House, with elements of Marisha Pessl’s Night Film mixed throughout.

If you like dark thrillers that border on horror, gothic elements, and deliciously dark twists that will keep you guessing, then Generation of Vipers might be your next favorite book. It’ll keep you reading just one more page all night long, too afraid to turn out the light and go to sleep.

It appeals to lovers of suspenseful plots, all things dark like thrillers and horrors, stories with murder and mayhem, dark romance elements, fans of American Horror Story, Shirley Jackson, Gilian Flynn, Ruth Ware, Tana French, J.A. Konrath, and the Timothy Blake Series by Jack Heath.

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Rosabella.” I hear it again.

And no matter how many times I move my head, trying to clear my mind and reset my senses, hoping to shake the sound away, it doesn’t help. I still hear my name coming from somewhere.

I can’t tell where.

“Rosabella,” it calls out, and this time I can hear what I haven’t been able to put my finger on before.

The accent.

It’s French.

Not like how Milo, or anyone I know, croons my name, not anyone who says it regularly. It’s distinctly rooted in the land that we’ve planted ourselves on.

A French accent calling out to me, in a voice I don’t recognize.

Though…I almost do.

It seems vaguely familiar, but not because I’ve heard it before. More like it’s, oh I don’t know, kindred. That sounds crazy, even to me. But still, the puzzle pieces click together.

Rosabella. Rosabella. Rosabella, I need you.

I jump.

Spinning on the spot, not moving in any direction, just around in a circle, I look for something to wrap around the voice. A face to go with whoever is calling to me. Something to place this awful hallucination into actual reality, solidity. But every time my eyes find a new corner the sounds shift, constantly moving in a way that seems, that is, impossible.

It comes from everywhere, from nowhere.

And I want to stamp my foot like a child, insolent and annoyed, screaming for my tormentor to cut the shit. The terror mixes with annoyance for a strange new sensation. As I stop moving, my vision taking a moment to reset and settle on the sudden lack of constant change, a sharp pain pricks into me.
Maria, a badass USA Today and internationally bestselling indie author, lives in Minnesota despite the frozen winters. Actually, she prefers snow drifts and icicles over summer and all that sweat running everywhere. She writes about bitches, breakups, and bloodbaths – not in any particular order. She lives with her husband and little family, which includes a few lazy cats who make great lap warmers. You can usually find her whishing that she lived in a secret cabin in the woods where she could be a hermit reading and writing all of the time. Instead she lives the suburban life where she pretends to her neighbors and the other moms around that she doesn’t swear like a sailor, have hidden tattoos, and loves a good bottle of wine. She absolutely believes in unicorns and ghosts and hopes vampires and monsters are real too. She’s a coffee-in-the-morning and alcohol-in-the-evening kind of person, preferably with a nap in between. Maria prefers cats over dogs, books over people, and late nights over early mornings. She probably shouldn’t talk to anyone until she’s had her first cup of coffee, extra sugar. And if you ever want to hang out with her, you’ll have to be game for a horror movie or just a quick run to target for two (hundred) little things. Also, you couldn’t pay her to be in her twenties again; Thirties is where it’s at. She’s a creative, mouthy, introverted, proud bisexual, highly-sensitive INFJ, chronic pain spoonie warrior, Slytherpuff, dork with a sweet-tooth.

Maria devours books, reading mostly in bed or listening to audiobooks in the car. Writing has been one of her passions for pretty much her whole life. So creativity is a necessity for her, always. After working in the mental health field for almost a decade, she’s now living her dream as a stay-at-home writer, kiddo wrangler, professional snuggler, and constantly-tired-person. When it comes to her writing, she specializes in dark and twisted thrillers or gritty, angsty contemporary romances. But no matter the genre, she always prefers writing deeply flawed characters with dysfunctional relationships. She’s pretty sure the whole “unlikable character” thing is a conspiracy because every character she loves have been labeled this way. Ridiculous. And because of this, she’s pretty much found it impossible to write anything without at least a little mayhem.

Maria was once told she painted with her words, and that phrase stuck with her – because writing really is an art, and good stories are true masterpieces. She’s always trying to grow and improve in her craft, shooting for a masterpiece of her own someday. And she plans to write forever because writing gives Maria the ability to disappear into new worlds and create people within twisting plots, all from the comfort of her couch. She will always believe that though not every story is for her, and her stories aren’t for everyone, every story has a reader.

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One Winner: $5 Amazon gift card
Two Winners: eBook of Generation of Vipers by Maria Ann Green
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Thursday, June 17, 2021

NBtM Book Tour and Giveaway: Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM book tour for Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable by Susanne M. Dutton. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as fascinating guest post. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops along the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable
Author: Susanne M. Dutton
Publisher: Propertius Press
Publication Date: June 1st 2021
Genre: Mystery
The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. 

August 1920 finds him filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely.

Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.

Watson speaks:

“For God’s sake, then, I must be the one to venture out to him! I know Holmes like no one else. He will not be surprised, or at least not angered, to see me here. He will be relieved. You must trust me on this.”

Joubert’s shook his head. “That was my plan. Just so, mon ami. That is exactly what I believed, and why I sent for you, John. But my speculation did not extend to this.” He gestured toward the windows. The only remaining piece of window glass, a shard big enough to slice off a foot, fell and shattered on the brick floor. I granted myself a sideways glance at Joubert as we both put our chins down and covered our heads again.

An uneasy suspicion took root in my mind, only a seed at first, but an idea that sprouted quickly. If Holmes was angry with this Joubert, then Holmes had reason to be. The detective, as I knew him, was disinclined to speak of his family. It was not impossible that a sister existed or had existed, though I had not seen one in the genealogy upstairs.

Further, how was I to know that the man next to me in the dark was truly the Pierre Joubert of high repute? Even if Holmes had returned to the cocaine, hadn’t I better treat this fellow’s explanations with wariness? Holmes’ addiction had never before affected his ability to adjudge good and evil. Unerringly, Sherlock Holmes recognized the enemy of the just.
Susanne Dutton is the one who hid during high school gym, produced an alternative newspaper and exchanged notes in Tolkien’s Elfish language with her few friends. While earning her B.A. in English, she drove a shabby Ford Falcon with a changing array of homemade bumper strips: Art for Art’s Sake, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Free Bosie from the Scorn of History. Later, her interests in myth and depth psychology led to graduate and postgraduate degrees in counseling.

Nowadays, having outlived her mortgage and her professional counseling life, she aims herself at her desk most days; where she tangles with whatever story she can’t get out of her head. Those stories tend to seat readers within pinching distance of her characters, who, like most of us, slide at times from real life to fantasy and back. A man with Alzheimer’s sets out alone for his childhood home. A girl realizes she’s happier throwing away her meals than eating them. A woman burgles her neighbors in order to stay in the neighborhood.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Susanne grew up in the SF Bay Area, has two grown children, and lives with her husband in an old Philadelphia house, built of the stones dug from the ground where it sits.

The Second Most Famous Address:
Quirky Hidden Holmes History I Stumbled Over in Research for 
“Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable.”
by Susanne M. Dutton

“What’s the most famous address in the world?” she asked—and retreated to the other side of the room as the dispute erupted. “Surely, we speak of the western world;” someone tried to add, without success. Then a less dangerous question was put forth. “What’s the most famous fictional address in the world? Or at least the western world?” When a stranger insisted on the North Pole, subdued nods followed, but I maintained that next up must be 221B Baker Street, with other challengers far behind. In the mid 19th C, the neighborhood earned the term “genteel,” in John Fisher Murray’s designations for old London neighborhoods. Not exclusive, in other words, or fashionable. Picture shops, pubs, and “mansion blocks,” i.e. multi-dwelling buildings, crowded its streets, not palaces or museums.

Soon after Holmes and Watson took rooms together, or decided to “share a suite,” the public’s hunt for 221B Baker Street commenced. Unfortunately, no such address existed in that year, when the numbers stopped at 84.

Questions were raised. Answers flooded in. What if the doctor and detective actually lived in York Place, more recently a part of Baker Street? No doubt Watson, whom we’ve blithely trusted on this, simply wanted to protect his own home from the sort of risks notoriety brings. Regents Park, the end of present day Baker Street might do, though the numbers system fails again, going only so far as 54.

Life finally caught up with art after the final original Holmes story was published in 1930. Baker Street was extended and renumbered. An entire city block became 219 to 229 Baker Street—as well as the headquarters of the Abbey Road Building Society, and then in 1989, the Abbey National Bank. Meanwhile, so many letters arrived pleading for Holmes’ help that the bank made answering them a priority and part of someone’s job description. I have to hope this person wasn’t expected to actually chase down bad guys. In any case, confusion about the coveted addressed continued when the Sherlock Holmes Museum set up in 1990 at 239 Baker Street, a more appropriate-looking address. To settle the matter, the museum petitioned to get their address changed to 221B. Permission was flatly refused in 1994. In a wily move, the museum simply registered as a business, legally called 221B Limited, and inscribed the name over the door. So there.

The bank moved away from Baker Street in 2002, retiring in good grace when they installed a fine statue of Sherlock Holmes at nearby Baker Street Tube Station.
Susanne M. Dutton will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to one randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Virtual Book Tour: The Truth Behind the Mask (McKay #4) by W.L. Brooks

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Truth Behind the Mask by W.L. Brooks. This book tour was organized by Pump Up Your Book. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Truth Behind the Mask
Series: McKay #4
Author: W.L. Brooks
Publication Date: June 9th 2021
Print Length: 302 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Is Alexandra McKay the reason her sister Fletcher left town? Yes. Does that mean Alex wants to put her life on hold to bring the little beast back? No! But when she discovers her sister's been abducted, Alex will do whatever it takes to rescue her.

Giving up his PI gig was tough, but Jake Keller would rather do that any day than partner up with Alexandra McKay. Unfortunately, if he wants to find his friend Fletcher, he has to work with Her Royal Pain-in-the-Behind-ness. Hot or not, the woman makes his jaw twitch.

Forced together by circumstance, and ensnared in a web of clues, the pair submit to their undeniable passion. But if they're unwilling to face the truth, they will risk not only Fletcher's life but their own chance at happiness.

“Get the hell out of there, Alexandra. Get the hell out or I’m coming in,” he warned through her earbud.

“Just stick to the plan,” she hissed.

“I will if you will. Sh*t!”

She got to the first landing. “What now?”

“Neighborhood security. Damn it all to hell.”

“Show your PI license.” She cocked her head to the side. Was someone up here?

“I know that, princess, but I’m going to have to cut off communication so we don’t get arrested. Get out of the house! Good evening, officers…”

Static filled her ears, and she slipped the earpiece out. There was no way she wasn’t going up to the second landing. Jacob would have to get over it. The wood under her feet groaned; she cringed. She glanced up the last few steps. Nothing. She tiptoed into the hall; it looked like some creepy maze. Wonderful.

She walked with her back to the wall until she came upon the only room with light shining under the door. Putting her ear against the cool wood, she tried to make out any movement; again nothing. Dr. Drake didn’t have any pets or girlfriends, so what in the hell was going on? She took off her goggles and hooked them onto her belt; she didn’t want the light to make her hesitate. She took a deep breath, put one hand on the knob, the other on the door, and pushed it open…
W.L. Brooks was born with an active imagination. When characters come into her mind, she has to give them a life- a chance to tell their stories. With a coffee cup in her hand and a cat by her side, she spends her days letting the ideas flow onto paper. A voracious reader, she draws her inspiration from mystery, romance, suspense and a dash of the paranormal.

A native of Virginia Beach, she is currently living in Western North Carolina. Pick up her latest novel, Unearthing the Past - available now!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: On the Edge by Claire Gillies

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for On the Edge by Claire Gillies. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: On the Edge
Author: Claire Gillies
Publication Date: June 8th 2021
Print Length: 273 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Catherine MacGregor spends life daydreaming her way out of the perils of a dead-end job, and a dwindling love-life. Rather than face imminent redundancy, Cat finds herself giving up her life in the city, and moving to a remote Scottish island for a fresh start.

Unlocking her passion for art, things have never looked better, until the handsome but elusive musician Patrick Flannagan takes to the stage, complicating her best-laid plans.

Cat’s past could be catching up with her at last. Can she unlock her own secrets, and learn to love again, in time to save her brave new beginnings?

**The eBook is on sale for only $0.99.**

Maybe she was a terrible friend, and didn’t give people enough time to be themselves? Johnny was going through a crisis in love and here she was making all sorts of assumptions about what he wanted from life. She stepped out into the road and at that moment her stiletto heel caught in the cat’s-eye in the middle of the road, making her trip and fall. It was at that exact moment a van turned the corner, speeding towards her. Cat stared helplessly at the fast-approaching vehicle; it was too late for her to move, and she closed her eyes thinking this was the moment she would die. Her mum’s eyes flashed in her mind and then… no pain came. The van had stopped, just in time, right in front of a cowering Cat who looked up at it, terrified. Patrick got out of the driver's side.

“Cat...! Are you OK?”

Cat got to her knees and couldn’t help the rage from building inside her. “What is the matter with you, you could’ve killed me?” She pressed her hands onto the cold tarmac road and slowly got up.

“I’m sorry...” Patrick tried to help her up but she shrugged him off. “I didn’t expect to see someone lying in the middle of the road...?” He put his hands up letting her compose herself.

“You were driving really fast!” Cat looked at her bleeding knees and wanted to cry. But she was determined not to cry in front of this individual, that was all she needed.
Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Claire’s homeland continues to be a stream of inspiration for her. A clothing designer too, Claire (Lorna) creates one-off bespoke garments using Scottish tweeds and tartans.

Claire currently splits her time between Scotland and Australia with her lovely Irish husband. She is a cat lover (without the cat) and can be found either drinking coffee, researching the best cake haunts, or watching yet another costume drama!

- What is your favorite thing about art and why?

Art. It's a small word behind such an important aspect that makes us human. I looked up the definition of art:

"The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."

I used to work in an art gallery and what would draw someone in would be fascinating to observe. It was like watching them fall in love for the first time; completely lost in the beauty of a piece. Other people would look at the same piece and it would have the opposite effect; they would merely continue walking past without a second glance. I found the experience eye opening, particularly when it was in located in a rural part of the Scottish Highlands! I guess in some ways I felt indifferent at times to art - just seeing it placed on the wall for people to buy if it suited them. All the while I had been writing in my spare time, and sewing my own fashion designs that would be worn by clients. The funny thing is, creating stories and garments with my hands - I never saw as art. It was just a thing I simply needed to do - if I did not then I could not be happy. Even now, every day I need to do something creative - produce art no matter how small, in order to make me feel more me.

I think to answer your question what I love about art, is that is takes on many forms. It's not only for the beholder, but also for the creator. Art will always be here, as it's in our everyday lives - movies, books, how we express ourselves through what we wear, storytelling through photographs for social media and advertising to name a few! Because art is so interlaced in everything we do as humans, I find its permanence deeply comforting.
Claire Gillies will be awarding a signed copy of On the Edge (open worldwide) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different stop on the tour each day. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 14, 2021

Book Blast and Giveaway: The Romanov Legacy by Marilyn Baron

Welcome to my stop on the book blast for The Romanov Legacy by Marilyn Baron. This book blast was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the blast wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the book blast for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Romanov Legacy
Author: Marilyn Baron
Publication Date: June 14th 2021
Print Length: 314 pages
Genre: Historical Romantic Thriller
Two women, centuries apart, and the secrets that bind them...

Melody, a young single mother, discovers she’s descended from the last Tsar, Nicholas II. She becomes the best hope of a secret global society, Guardians of the Romanov Legacy, dedicated to restoring a Romanov to the throne of a New Russia. A diary and an heirloom necklace inherited from her murdered grandmother hold the key to her identity and to the location of the Tsar’s lost shipment of gold.

She must accept the sacrifices her birth demands and trust the machinations of the estranged father of her child. To refuse means turning her back on her heritage, her daughter’s legacy, and the long line of her family’s women who were keepers of the secret. Will her longing for true love have world-changing consequences?

A tiny tear slipped down her cheek. But that was as far as she would display her emotions. She held her head up regally. After all, she was an Empress. She was determined to die with dignity. She wondered if Marie Antoinette had held her head high before it was unceremoniously severed and dropped into a basket.

“There won’t be a last-minute reprieve if that’s what you’re thinking,” warned Miss Cormier.

Would they actually go through with it? Would they really execute her in cold blood like they did the Tsar and his family? She was terrified they would. She could hear the sound of her heartbeat amplified. She was having a full-blown panic attack. She couldn’t breathe. She feared she would die of fright before they had the chance to cut her down in a hail of bullets.

Miss Cormier lifted her hand to give the command. Hatred flared in her eyes. What had she done to deserve the woman’s anger? Fallen in love? Then the guards raised their rifles in unison to open fire. She closed her eyes tightly so they couldn’t see the hope fade from her face. She couldn’t bear to confront her own mortality. She held her breath.

Then she heard the bullets ping. Where was she hit? How long would it take to die? She hoped it would be over soon. She sagged in her chair, mercifully blacking out.
Marilyn decided to become a writer when she read Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her first short story was The Gold Lace Dress. She wrote her first book, East West Island, in grade school. It featured all of the children in her third-grade class and her teacher read it to the students in installments during class every day. She wrote and directed her first play at age 13, starring her brother and sisters and some of the neighborhood kids. The show raised money for the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum.

Marilyn is a public relations consultant in Atlanta, a PAN member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and winner of the GRW 2009 Chapter Service Award. She is also a member of Atlanta Writers Club. Marilyn was past chair of the Roswell Reads steering committee and serves on the Atlanta Authors committee. She writes in a variety of genres from humorous women’s fiction, historical romantic thrillers, romantic suspense and paranormal/fantasy. She loves to travel and often sets books in places she’s visited.

She was born in Miami, Florida, and graduated from The University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism (Public Relations) and a Minor in English (Creative Writing). Go Gators! She lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband, and she spends a lot of time hovering over her two wonderful daughters.

Marilyn Baron will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway