Sunday, March 26, 2023

Blog Tour: Burning Secret by R.J. Lloyd

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Burning Secret by R.J. Lloyd. This tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. 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: Burning Secret
Author: R.J. Lloyd
Publisher: Matador
Publication Date: May 22nd 2022
Print Length: 370 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Burning Secret is a dramatic and compelling tale of ambition, lies, and betrayal inspired by actual events.

Born in the slums of Bristol in 1844, Enoch Price seems destined for a life of poverty and hardship—but he’s determined not to accept his lot.

Enoch becomes a bare-knuckle fighter in London’s criminal underworld. But in a city where there’s no place for honest dealing, he is cheated by a cruel loan shark, leaving him penniless and facing imprisonment.

Undaunted, he escapes to a new life in America and embarks on a series of audacious exploits. But even as he helps shape history, Enoch is not content. Tormented by his past and the life he left behind, he soon becomes entangled in a web of lies and secrets.

Will he ever break free and find the happiness he craves?

• • • • •

Influenced by real people and events, Enoch’s remarkable story is one of adventure, daring, political power and, in the end, his search for redemption.

**The eBook is on sale for only $0.99 for a limited time.**

As the Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Québec rang out 2pm, Enoch made his way through the station to the waiting train. Settling into his carriage, a lady of middle age joined him. Enoch recognised from the quality and cut of her fashionable clothes that she was of discerning taste and wealth. He watched as she made herself comfortable. Turning to Enoch, she said, ‘Excuse me for being so presumptuous, but may I introduce myself?’ She spoke with confidence in a refined American accent. ‘My name’s Kitty Morgan. I’m from Albany, New York State. It’s so nice to meet you. Are you travelling far today?’

‘How do you do?’ he replied. ‘I’m on my way to New York and then—’

‘Well, that’s so exciting. You must be English. Am I right?’

‘Yes, I arrived this morning and—’

‘That’s wonderful. I’ve never been to Europe. I’d love to see London and Paris. Have you been to New York before? Do you have friends waiting for you?’

‘I’ve friends who settled there some years ago and—’

‘Well, that’s nice. At least you’ve someone to meet you. I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name.’

‘Mr Henry Mason and—’

‘Henry. Well, I expect everyone calls you Harry. I always think Henry is too... well, you know, too formal. My name’s Kathryn, but I much prefer Kitty. It sounds... well, less formal. Don’t you agree, Harry?’

Before he could reply, Kitty continued. ‘Now, you must tell me, Harry, what line of business are you in? We’re in glass, for windows, not tumblers or spectacles, you understand. We make a lot of it; at least, that’s what my husband tells me. He says we’ve glazed most of Manhattan; mind you, I’m not sure that’s strictly true.’ She gave a charming laugh, which suited her petite frame.

He noticed she had beautiful blue eyes, and from under her fashionable bonnet, he could see ample waves of pale straw-coloured hair.

‘Tell me, Harry, have you ever visited Paris?’

‘Briefly, I was there on—’

‘Is it like Montreal or Quebec? Do you speak French, Harry?’

‘No. Unfortunately, I—’

‘That’s a pity. My sister, Minnie, speaks French. I’m on my way to visit her; she lives in Montreal. She’s married the most handsome French-Canadian gentleman. He does all kinds of things: property, banking and something with trees. What did you say your line of business is, Harry?’

Avoiding any mention of timber, he said, ‘I manufacture ladies’ garments and—’

‘Ladies’ garments! In heaven’s name! Which ladies’ garments, exactly?’ she said extravagantly, teasing him.

‘Bodices and corsets of the highest quality. I use only the—’

‘Oh, my goodness. You do surprise me. I can’t wait to tell Minnie. She’ll be so envious. Imagine that! I met a man on the train who makes undergarments for us dear ladies. How exciting.’

The collector arrived, and Enoch passed him his ticket and yellow immigration form. Studying it, he read aloud as if talking to himself, ‘Mr Henry Mason. The St James Hotel, Broadway.’

‘No! Really! You’re staying at the St James on Broadway?’ exclaimed Kitty. ‘Ladies’ undergarments must be a profitable line.’ She again smiled and gave a gentle laugh, then, turning to the ticket collector, said, ‘He’s called Harry, you know. He’s from England.’

The man nodded. ‘Yes, ma’am.’ He didn’t ask to see Kitty’s ticket and moved on to the next carriage.

Kitty said, ‘Listen, Harry, there’s a great restaurant car on the D and H. Book a late dinner and get a bottle of wine, then take your ease in their wonderful dining chairs.’ She paused a moment to delicately tuck a lace handkerchief into her cuff. ‘Now, tell me about Paris. I want to hear it all.’

Kitty made herself comfortable, listening as Enoch spun a tale of Paris and the exclusive materials used in the bodices manufactured by his London & Paris Corset Company. Never having visited Paris, he imagined it to be like the best parts of London and, with some assistance from Michael’s description and his recently read novel by Victor Hugo, he impressed Kitty with his familiarity of the city.

‘Harry, you make it sound so wonderful. No sooner I’m home, I’m having my husband book a trip.’

Three hours after departing from Quebec, they arrived in Montreal, and Kitty alighted. ‘It’s been a real privilege meeting you, Mr Harry Mason. And it’s been the most enjoyable journey. If ever you’re in Albany, you must visit. It won’t be as grand as the St James, but we’ll make you welcome. And bring some of your beautiful garments.’ Her captivating smile again crossed her lips, and with that, she stepped away, giving a brief wave.

Collecting his case and following other passengers, he changed platforms to the Delaware and Hudson Railway. As he settled into his new carriage, he was still thinking of Kitty Morgan. From now on, he would be Harry Mason.
Roger Lloyd is the great-great-grandson of the main character, Enoch Price. A former senior police officer and detective, he has used his investigative skills to fashion this dramatised account of his ancestor’s extraordinary life. Fifteen years of genealogical research and interviews support the various factual strands of this pacy novel. Roger graduated from both Warwick and UWE and has been a non-executive director with the NHS, social housing, and other charities. He is retired and lives in Bristol with his wife. He travels, writes and produces delicious plum jam from the trees on his award-winning allotment.

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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Far Out! by Anne Bustard

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Far Out! by Anne Bustard. This book tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I am spotlighting the book, and I also have a scrapbook page from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win an autographed hardback of the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Far Out!
Author: Anne Bustard
Publication Date: April 18th 2023
Print Length: 224 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Science Fiction Mystery
From the author of Blue Skies comes a lively middle grade novel set in 1960s Texas about a young, alien-loving girl trying to clear her grandmother’s good name in this mystery that has humor, hijinks, and heart in equal measure.

It’s 1964, the Space Race is well underway, and eleven-year-old Magnolia Jean Crook and the other residents of Totter, Texas, are over the moon about UFOs.

The whole town is gearing up for the First Annual Come on Down Day—in just one week, they are hoping to host any and all space aliens who would like to visit Earth. But right before the kick-off party, a meteorite goes missing—and MJ’s beloved grandmother Mimi, who is the vice president of the Totter Unidentified Flying Object Organization, is the prime suspect.

MJ is desperate to show the town that this Crook is not a thief. The only problem is that there is a lot of evidence against her, and Mimi herself isn’t helping things. She’s acting suspiciously, pulling disappearing acts, and worst of all, can’t seem to answer any questions about where she was or what she was doing.

But much like UFOs, extraterrestrial visitations, and sending people to space, the impossible has been known to happen.

Anne Bustard is the former co-owner of Toad Hall Children’s Bookstore in Austin, Texas, and an MFA graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

She is the author of the middle-grade novels, Blue Skies and Anywhere but Paradise, as well as two picture books, RAD! and Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly, which was an Ira Children’s Book award Notable and a Bank Street Book of the Year.

Hawaii-born, she divided her time between Texas and Canada.

1. Palacios, Texas
At a writing retreat in 2011, I visited the Palacios Area Historical Association. A line in their newsletter about the town’s 1970s Fly In Day, where any and all space aliens were welcome to visit, inspired Come On Down Day.

2. First draft
FAR OUT! has a long history. Often, years passed between drafts. My first attempt was dated November 5, 2012.

3. Live oak tree
Live oak trees are so majestic and to me, quintessential Texas. I couldn’t imagine Totter without them.

4. Plumeria tree in bloom
My quest is to include something about Hawaii, my first home, in each novel I write. I grew up with plumeria trees in my side yard and made lei with their blossoms. MJ uses construction paper, straws, and string to make one for her grandmother’s birthday celebration.

5. UFO display
This Halloween display in my old neighborhood in Austin was the model for the one showcased on the Totter town square.

Win an autographed hardback of Far Out! by Anne Bustard - three winners, US only!
(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. The author, Anne Bustard, assumes all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Thorns at Sunrise (Star-Crossed Gifts #2) by Janeen Ippolito

Title: Thorns at Sunrise
Series: Star-Crossed Gifts #2
Author: Janeen Ippolito
Publication Date: March 23rd 2023
Print Length: 154 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance

A young queen. Her imaginary friend. A kingdom on the verge of death.

She believes she’s crazy.

Queen Usilea has a secret–and he lives in her mind. Ever since she was six years old, her imaginary friend has been her closest companion, and her arranged marriage has been a great dread. When she learns her betrothed and the royal family have suddenly died, she feels obligated to attend the funeral in the foreign land of Absteph–and perhaps learn more behind their mysterious passing.

He only wants the truth.

Petar endures great pain to protect those he does not remember. His only solace is a shadowy woman who he loves–even though she denies that he exists. When a terrible tragedy occurs in his kingdom, that mysterious woman is his only hope of bringing justice to light. For the cage that imprisons him grows harsher every day, and he is losing the fight.

But there are thorns at sunrise.

Brought together on the barest thread of reality, Usilea and Petar must discover what really happened to the royal family. But Petar’s time is running out. Soon not even a Mender like Usilea will be able to save him.

This YA romance features a gender-swapped Sleeping Beauty in an original fantasy world on the brink of doom.

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“Lea? What is it?” Concern laced Jaric’s tone.

“I am being invited to attend a royal funeral of state.” Her voice faded. Usilea swallowed and breathed deeply. “My betrothed is dead. Along with most of the royal family of Absteph, including the crown prince.”

She waited for a moment, expecting some commentary from her inner friend. There was none. Perhaps he understood the gravity of the news as much as she did.

How could this be? There had been letters, albeit stilted and formal. There had been no news that Prince Cowan or the royal family had been in any danger.

Now, all were deceased due to some tragic illness, save for an uncle who would ascend the throne as the only remaining member of the bloodline. How terrible. How … odd …

Jaric broke through her thoughts. “Give me the letter.”

She handed it over, accustomed to his abruptness when he was upset. Her brother scanned through the letter once, then twice. Then once more again. At last, he looked over at her.

“If you wish, I can attend in your stead.”

“You are no longer my regent,” Usilea said.

“I know. You must stay here to rule your kingdom. What if this is a trap so that they can entangle a Mender and keep you in Absteph?”

She huffed. “If it is, they will more easily keep a royal advisor than risk absconding with a queen.”

“You have not been publicly crowned.”

“According to our laws, that is a formality.” Her parents had wanted to ensure her brother could never usurp her role, not that Jaric had any desire to do so. “And you have young children who need their father.”

“You nearly die on sea travel.”

“You exaggerate.” But her guts roiled at the very idea of boarding a ship and crossing the channels to Absteph. While the country ran down the length of the coast east from Edrin, the capital city of Hicareth was in the far north.

A shiver ran up her spine.

There is something rotten about this.” Her friend’s voice was sharp and certain. “You must go.

I know. She let the words settle within her. Though she held little affection for the mysterious Prince Cowan, he and his family had perished unexpectedly. A grievous matter, and one that rang hollow within her.

In addition, this would be an opportunity to establish future relations with the country beyond the marriage alliance. She could bring over additional food stores as well. Usilea had grown used to proving herself. Now she had to do so again.

“I must go, Jaric. I am going as soon as a ship can be made ready.”

Her brother glared at her for a moment. Usilea only raised her chin, staring back at him. Ultimately, she was his sovereign. It was her decision to make.

“…fine.” His words were a growl. “I will see to your ship in the morning.”

“Including food for them.”

“Yes, their mysterious drought continues.”
Janeen Ippolito writes about misfits who defy expectations, whether in fairy tale, steampunk fantasy, urban fantasy, humorous paranormal romance, or poetry. She also spreads wordtastic joy in her work as a fearless book strategist, nonfiction author, and coach. In her spare time, she swordfights and posts cute animal memes.

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One Winner: Paperback of Thorns at Sunrise by Janeen Ippolito
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Friday, March 24, 2023

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Pretend (Neighbor from Hell #14) by R.L. Mathewson

Title: Pretend
Series: Neighbor from Hell #14
Author: R.L. Mathewson
Publisher: Rerum Carta Industries
Publication Date: March 3rd 2023
Print Length: 265 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy

From New York Times bestselling author R.L. Mathewson comes the prequel to the disturbingly funny romantic comedy series, Neighbor from Hell.

She couldn’t do this anymore.

After watching her best friend and the man that she’d been in love with her entire life propose to another woman, Morgan decided that it was time to finally move on. She made plans, plans that Eric didn’t know about and she planned to keep it that way, but unfortunately for her, one bet destroyed everything, leaving her with no choice but to be there for her best friend one last time.

He was done.

After catching his fiancée cheating on him, Eric Bradford was done wasting his time on women that he had absolutely no hope of falling in love with. He just needed time, a chance to get away, and he just needed…


Determined to figure out how he kept screwing up his life, Eric takes his best friend on the honeymoon that he’d spent a fortune on and asked her for one more favor, one that would change everything, and leave him with no choice but to do whatever it takes to stop the one woman that meant everything to him from finally walking away.

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“I’m curious about something,” Eric said as he joined her.

“Why I haven’t killed you yet?” Morgan asked, blinking up at the large man that was going out of his way to piss her off for some reason.

Shrugging it off, Eric said, “I just assumed that you haven’t figured out what to do with my body.”

“Oh, no, I have a plan,” Morgan assured him as she reached up and pushed her glasses back up her nose. “Uncle Jared helped me come up with it when I was six after I told him that you stole the cupcake that I was planning on sharing with him.”

“Why am I not surprised that you betrayed me?” Eric asked with a long-suffering sigh and a sad shake of his head as they stepped in line.

“Because I learned from the best?” Morgan asked with a pointed look up at Eric as she shifted her bag over her shoulder, only to murmur, “Thank you,” when Eric reached over and took the bag from her and put it over his shoulder before he grabbed his bags again.

“There is that,” Eric murmured, not really sounding all that concerned to discover that she’d been planning his demise since they were six.

“Are you going to tell me what you’re curious about?” Morgan asked, pushing her glasses back up her nose as they moved up in line.

“I’ve been wondering why you were doing shots with the asshole last night,” Eric said, taking her by surprise, mostly because she’d thought, hoped really, that he forgot about that.

“I was enjoying the festivities?”

“At a party that you weren’t even planning on attending?” Eric drawled as he shot her a look that told her that he had absolutely no plans of letting this one go, which admittedly was a bit of a problem for her.

Clearing her throat, Morgan said, “I’m sorry. What were we talking about?”

“Why you’re refusing to tell me why you let my cousin talk you into doing shots,” Eric murmured, gesturing for her to start talking.

Swallowing hard, Morgan went for, “I don’t remember?” since admitting the real reason that she’d allowed Trevor to talk her into doing shots would only bite her in the ass. Granted, when she decided to go to the dinner rehearsal, she hadn’t planned on drinking, but when Trevor handed her a shot of whatever it was that was in that small glass, she decided that getting drunk sounded like a wonderful idea.

Mostly because she didn’t think that she would be able to go through with telling Eric that she was in love with him without a little liquid courage. She should have just left, but…

God, she was an idiot.
New York Times Bestselling author, R.L. Mathewson was born in Massachusetts. She’s known for her humor, quick wit and ability to write relatable characters. She currently has several paranormal and contemporary romance series published including the Neighbor from Hell series.

Growing up, R.L. Mathewson was a painfully shy bookworm. After high school she attended college, worked as a bellhop, fast food cook, and a museum worker until she decided to take an EMT course. Working as an EMT helped her get over her shyness as well as left her with some fond memories and some rather disturbing ones that from time to time show up in one of her books.

Today, R.L. Mathewson is the single mother of two children that keep her on her toes. She has a bit of a romance novel addiction as well as a major hot chocolate addiction and on a perfect day, she combines the two.

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Mixtape to the Real Me by Jake Martinez

Title: The Mixtape to the Real Me
Author: Jake Martinez
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Publication Date: March 24th 2023
Print Length: 208 pages
Genre: LGBTQ+ Young Adult Romance

After a crazy summer of teenage drama and newfound love, Justin Ortega and Dominic Mendoza have decided to take things slower in order to really get to know each other. Both have dreamt of being with someone who truly understands them, but neither teen thought it would be this hard, especially when you have to keep your relationship a secret from the whole world.

Just when they think their lives will always be filled with sneaking around, along comes a new student who opens their eyes to some wonderful new possibilities. But the road to a bright future has some harsh realities, and not everyone is pleased to see the new couple roam the halls of Garza High. Things get especially tense for Dominic when an unwanted figure shows up wanting to see him.

Will Justin and Dominic be able to find a happy ending, or will their past and future collide in ways they never expected?

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I know I shouldn’t be laughing. This isn’t the time. But oh, man, I can’t help it.

“Well, are you going to stop?” Justin asks. He’s not happy. I can tell because his lips are doing that thing where they kind of curl in.

I’m trying to tell him that I don’t mean anything bad. But I can’t breathe. I’m laughing way too hard. Probably harder than I should.

“I’m...I’m...I...” That’s all I can get out. He turns away from me and looks straight out the window. It’s starting to rain, and for some reason, the rain, dark clouds, and song are making me laugh even harder.

“Wow, I can’t believe you.”

“Ba...Ba...Babe, come...on. List...en.” I want him to listen. To really listen to it, and to look around.

“Listen to what, the song? I am.” He sounds annoyed. “No, re...really.”

He turns around and looks out the window again. His arm raises, his hand headed straight for under his chin. Justin closes his eyes, and takes a few breaths. A moment later he snorts out a laugh.

“You...see.” I say, catching my breath a bit.

“Oh my God, that’s too perfect, isn’t it? The song that we can best relate to is a guilty pleasure from Grease 2.”

I’m finally calm enough to talk again. “Yeah, I mean, those words. Except for the stuff about Stephanie, but wow, it all fits. So much.”

It is good to laugh. Really good. I needed it.

“Is that going to be us on Monday?” I joke. “Are we going to be walking through the hall on our way to the office all sad while life keeps going on around us? The way the guy does?” Justin made me sit through the movie a few weeks back. I’m not into musicals, and I thought for sure this one was going to suck. But I kind of liked it. I could only tell Justin that. If I mentioned it to Lila, she would blow a fuse. She is a hardcore fan of the original Grease, and anyone saying that they liked part two more resulted in a punch to the arm. Only Justin, who likes part two better also, seemed to get away with it.

“There are worse things we could do,” he says with a playful smile. It takes me a moment, then I realize it’s a song from the first movie.

“You dork,” I say, rolling my eyes. I want to kiss him so bad right now. Just rip off the seat belt that I still have on, and move over there and get all over him. But even if we were a straight couple, I probably wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want people staring at us. I don’t know how those people from school can do that at the movies and other places.

Maybe we should have talked about what is bothering me now. But it doesn’t feel right, and I don’t feel too good. My stomach is still in knots, though not as bad. Not just from the dance, but from the letter. Okay, it’s mostly the letter. It took over everything. Even hiding it in my drawer didn’t do anything. I just kept staring at the dresser, wondering if the letter was still there. I think I was just hoping that it found a way to vanish. But when I went to pull out some underwear, there it was.

I want to talk about it with Justin. I need to hear what he thinks. Not now though. We need to get this done first. I know him though. He’ll drop everything to help me with this. Why did this have to happen now? Why did that man have to write to me?

“Just let me know when you are ready,” Justin says. His eyes have changed. He looks worried now.

“I will, I just want to stay here for a moment. Get my thoughts together. Spend some time with you that isn’t focused on what happened.”
Jake Martinez is a former South Texas resident who has found a new home in Chicago. He has been writing all his life but has only recently sought to be published. His debut novel, The Mixtape to My Life, reflects on life as a gay teen growing up in South Texas. Jake holds an MFA in Creative Writing and also loves to write plays and screenplays. Aside from writing, you can find him hanging out at home with his husband, their young son, and an eclectic group of fur babies.

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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Luke Blackmon's Rose by Mary Patterson Thornburg

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Luke Blackmon's Rose by Mary Patterson Thornburg. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the author's favorite scene to write from the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Luke Blackmon's Rose
Author: Mary Patterson Thornburg
Publisher: Uncial Press
Publication Date: March 17th 2023
Print Length: 176 pages
Genre: Time Travel Science Fantasy Romance
To guard herself from the perils of her own sensuality, Rose married a man she didn’t love. Now, two years after his death, she’s not sure she can really love anyone. She’s not even sure she cares…

To achieve what he’d always known was his birthright, Luke had to struggle against tremendous odds. But when science discovered a way to access the past, a powerful bureaucracy found a way to use Luke. Now, torn from his own time, everything and everyone he knew, he can see no reason to go on living…

An instant of attraction, uninvited but inescapable, brings Luke and Rose together. Together, they discover the strength to love, the will to trust and hope. But will these things be enough to carry them over walls of suspicion, guilt, bigotry, and hate?

And then the air in the room changed. There was a tingling, a sort of buzzing not quite within the range of human hearing. She thought, briefly, of what she'd read somewhere about the feeling people get in a thunderstorm when they're about to be struck by lightning. She wasn't sure anyone felt it but herself. Mira, who'd gotten up to look in the refrigerator for something, was apparently undisturbed. But then she saw Kingsley's expression change as he glanced past her toward the living room portion of the greatroom, and she heard—or perhaps felt—soft footsteps behind her. She spun around.

Where the living room carpet ended, maybe three yards from where she sat, stood a very tall, very dark, broad-shouldered man. He was barefoot, dressed in black sweats. She saw him clearly for a fraction of a second before the lightning bolt she'd felt coming struck. In that fraction of a second, she realized why Mira had looked familiar to her. And realized, too, what had been going on with Kingsley since the turn their discussion had taken that evening—if not before. In that fraction of a second, she knew who she was looking at.
Mary Patterson Thornburg has lived in California, Washington State, Montana, Indiana, and again, finally, in Montana. She was educated at Holy Names College, Montana State University, and Ball State University, where she then taught for many years.

She's been reading science fiction and fantasy since she was five, and when she began to write fiction it seemed only natural to write in those genres. Her literary heroes are Mary Shelley, who gave us all a metaphor for technology alienated from its creators, and Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia E. Butler, inventors of worlds that shine their powerful searchlights on this one. 

She writes what some people call “science fantasy” (aka “fake science fiction) within as wide a range as possible, but almost always with a bit (or a lot) of romance.

- What was your favorite scene to write from this book?

First, I have to say that I loved writing this book more than I’ve ever even liked – let alone loved – writing anything I’ve ever written. There were a couple of scenes, admittedly, that I had to revise and tweak until I was tired of them, but only a couple (maybe one and a half?), and I hope that doesn’t show. So it’s not easy to pinpoint just one scene as my favorite. In fact, when I started to think about how to answer your question, two different scenes occurred to me first, and I spent some time wondering how to tell about either scene without giving away any spoilers.

But then, suddenly, I thought of two different scenes, related to each other, that I vividly remember writing, especially the first of them. So let me tell you about that one.

Besides being the scene I best remember writing, this was also only the second or third scene I wrote, before I knew where it was going to come in the book, before my characters had even told me how the book was going to end. I saw the scene in my mind’s eye as if I were seeing it in a movie, and I wrote it fast (first draft) in longhand and then typed it (second draft pretty much the same as the first one, and it didn’t change at all after that). I put it in a separate little insert document so I wouldn’t lose it by accident (I’m technologically hopeless) and saved it for its moment.

The scene had its own title: “Luke dances a reel.” I can still see it in my mind’s eye, as I saw it while I was writing it. I can still hear its music, and the discussion that follows the music, in my mind’s ear. I know it is – for me, not necessarily for any other reader – my key into the book, a map of the book’s landscape, a revelation of what the book is about. And this scene is the one that plants the seed (as I think now) of another dance scene, one in a late chapter, one that (for me) opens the door to the book’s conclusion.
Mary Patterson Thornburg will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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Blog Tour - Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 by L. Ron Hubbard

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 by L. Ron Hubbard. This tour was organized by Pump Up Your Book. On my stop, I am spotlighting the book, and I have an interview with the author. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000
Author: L. Ron Hubbard
Publisher: Galaxy Press
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Print Length: 1076 pages
Genre: Science Fiction Space Opera
If you liked Dune, Atlantis Gene, Foundation, Ender’s Game, and Starship Troopers, you’ll love Battlefield Earth.

Sadistic Aliens...
...Man is an endangered species.
Is it the end of the world or the rebirth of a new one?

In the year A.D. 3000, Earth is a dystopian wasteland. The great cities stand crumbling as a brutal reminder of what we once were. When the Psychlos invaded, all the world’s armies mustered little resistance against the advanced alien weapons.

A young hero rises from the ashes and rallies the last survivors in an all-out rebellion for freedom that explodes across the continents of Earth to the cosmic sprawl of the Psychlo empire.

The fate of the Galaxy lies on the Battlefield of Earth.

You’ll love Battlefield Earth because of the characters you’ll love and hate and the unexpected twists that keep the pages flying.

Over 1,000 pages of thrills, spills, vicious aliens and noble humans. I found Battlefield Earth un-put-downable.” —Neil Gaiman

“Battlefield Earth is a terrific story! The carefully underplayed comedy I found it delicious. A masterpiece.” —Robert A. Heinlein

Pulse-pounding mile-a-minute sci-fi action adventure that does not stop. It is a masterpiece of popular adventure science fiction.” —Brandon Sanderson

Space opera that hits the right notes. It's provocative, exhilarating and genuinely enjoyable.” —SCIFI.COM

Like the Harry Potter series, its got concepts like good vs. evil, the noble savage and the hero's journey—and people go crazy over it!” —Dr. David Powers, Educator
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With 19 New York Times bestsellers and more than 350 million copies of his works in circulation, L. Ron Hubbard is among the most enduring and widely read authors of our time. As a leading light of American Pulp Fiction through the 1930s and '40s, he is further among the most influential authors of the modern age. Indeed, from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King, there is scarcely a master of imaginative tales who has not paid tribute to L. Ron Hubbard.

Q: What made you return to science fiction writing after all these years?

A: There are some activities that are simply so much fun that one can’t give them up. Writing is that for me. I love every opportunity to write.

Many young writers are told to write in order to learn how to write. That is good advice. I used to find any excuse to write because I loved to do it. If I didn’t have a typewriter, I wrote in longhand.

So when my 50th anniversary as a professional writer came around, I decided to celebrate it by doing it. It was like a present to myself, so to speak.

I chose science fiction because there is great versatility in this genre. (A writer must pick his medium as carefully as a painter must pick his brush and colors.) Besides, science fiction is no longer the stepchild of literature. Star Wars created an entirely new following.…

Plus, look at the bestseller lists and you will see the pattern repeating. Science fiction and space travel is dominant.

Q: What direction do you see science fiction going now? Is the trend toward epics and battle stories such as Star Wars?

A: You must remember that science fiction is simply a method or a means of telling the story. Regardless of the genre (science fiction, western, spy, romance), you will find that people like a story that is both real and has a purpose. It has to say something or achieve something.

There is always an element that promotes your valueless or no-hope society, but compare their success with stories like Star Wars or E.T.…

Science fiction points a direction because it does advocate a future. It is about Man and his Future.

Q: What role did science fiction writers and their readers have in the development of space technology and travel—and public acceptance of it and its funding—in the 1950s and 1960s? What role does it play today in future commitment to space exploration, colonization, exploitation?

A: If you will go back through those old, gaudy pulp magazines that were being ridiculed and confiscated by irate teachers, you will find a lot of articles on space technology scattered amongst the fiction. That was because there was no other outlet for such vision.

Some who wrote for the pulps were called “just science fiction writers.” But history has proven that they were the ones who brought about the future—not the naysayers.

We knew then that Man would travel to the stars and we know it still.

There are still those who cannot create a vision for the future and they, as before, still click their tongues to make a living and they will, again, be forgotten simply because they cannot create—they can only criticize.

Q: How would you assess the broader audience science fiction has today? Years ago, science fiction was consid­ered as something for children which was not “serious” literature. Its popularity today knows no age boundaries. Is this indicative of an escapist attitude by readers? Or a look to the future and what we could be?

A: The future is the only frontier without limit and the frontier that we will all enter and cross no matter what we do.

Science fiction is and always has been the literature about the frontier. Science fiction appeals to every age group because it is about the future and the human potential.

Q: How do you draw from your past track in creating character and plot? Is this the place from which science fiction comes in general, whether the writers know it or not?

A: Experience helps any writer or anyone who wants to write.

I traveled through the Far East and sailed the high seas and did a few loops in some bi-winged planes and gliders in my day and drew upon these for stories. I also did a lot of research for other stories.

But what is more important is the ability to see what is in front of you. Plus you have to have the ability to assume the viewpoint of your reader.

For example, in Battlefield Earth, the reader looks through the eyes of the hero and through the eyes of the alien. This is done by describing how each person would describe the scene and objects. It gives the reader a feeling of what it would be like to assume that viewpoint. The reader at first does not recognize the object either but should be able to do so as the description continues. But, in the process, the reader can experience the same mystery as the character in the story.

That is the ability to see what is in front of you and the ability to assume another viewpoint.

It is a good exercise for writers.

So experience is helpful but you need much more.

Q: What does science fiction writing do for L. Ron Hubbard personally?

A: I can answer that better if you don’t restrict it to just one genre.

Writing offers creation, expression and the ultimate ability to communicate, whether you write poetry or a novel.

Science fiction is just one means or method of doing that.

With writing, you must take an idea and turn it into little black marks on a sheet of white paper so that someone will look at it and lift those little black marks off the page and form the idea of the author.

In short, it boils down to communication.

Q: How would L. Ron Hubbard describe himself as a writer?

A: I don’t know if I can take it any further than that.

I’ve always had the ability to put an idea down on the page. I don’t really outline. I just write.

I think if I wanted to be characterized in a certain way as a writer, I would ask that it be that I am a writer who loves to write.

That is not as axiomatic as it may sound. There are a lot of writers who don’t like to write and some who even hate it but are still called “writers” because they make a living at it—the 9 to 5 type, so to speak.

But it has never been that way with me. I don’t watch the clock when I write. In fact, I’ve gone days without sleep just because I was enjoying myself so much I just plain forgot.

How could one forget to sleep?

Well, just imagine doing something that is more exciting than anything you have ever done and see if you worry or think about a “coffee break” or what time, it is.

That’s what I mean by my being a writer who loves to write.

There’s really no other way to say it.

Q: How do you work? Do you dictate or pound your fiction out on your old typewriter? Do you keep any set schedule when doing a book? Do you work from detailed character sketches and plot outlines or do you wing it? Have your working methods changed over the years?

A: My goodness, but that covers a lot!

What I write determines how I do it. Sometimes I type, sometimes I write longhand and sometimes I dictate.

Battlefield Earth was typed on a manual. The length was about 3,000 pages.

Each day before I went to bed I would sketch out the plot that I would cover the next day. Plus I would list out anything else that I wanted to accomplish.

I do set and follow a schedule when I want to get certain things done in a day—like exercise, if only a walk.

So I generally lay out what I want to accomplish for the day, the week, the month and then I do it. I would say this is perhaps my primary development since those early days in getting organized. It has allowed me to get more accomplished to lay out a schedule and then do it.

Q: What do you think about writers who take years to write a single book?

A: I really don’t think many do. They might research something for years, but I can’t figure out how somebody could keep a plot in his head that long.

Some people try to equate quality with slowness. If an athlete did that he would lose every game.

Q: What advice do you have for budding writers?

A: Write and write and write and write. And then when you finish, write some more.

It may not be original advice, but it is still quite true. You learn to write by writing.

Don’t try to learn how to write in order to write. I’ve seen a lot of great writers killed off when they decided they wanted to learn how to write.

Just take an idea and go with it. You may find a story that pulls you along. The story takes off on its own. It sounds silly but it happens. You have this character walking down the street and you are all ready for him to get into a taxi but he walks right on and turns into a movie theatre. Whoa! What is this? Well, follow him and see what happens.

The main thing is to write and learn the business of writing—that tough market you have to live with.

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