Friday, December 31, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Grocery Girl (Green Hills #1) by Virginia'dele Smith

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Grocery Girl by Virginia'dele Smith. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post about small towns in books from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Grocery Girl
Series: Green Hills #1
Author: Virginia'dele Smith
Publisher: Books are Ubiquitous
Publication Date: October 30th 2021
Print Length: 272 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
She inhales life with every breath. He’s suffered a world of pain. Can they rise above tragedy to find their happily ever after?

Maree Davenport refuses to let a tearful past rule her future. After losing her parents at the age of five, the big-hearted fabric designer is determined to embrace her feelings and find happiness no matter what. So when she literally runs over a handsome new firefighter in the produce section, the hopeless romantic is certain she’s just collided with destiny.

Everyone Rhys Larsen ever loved has died. And though he may have hit it off with the pretty girl at the store, the haunted EMT knows better than to let her into his heart. But when an accident leaves her wounded and in need of care, he vows to nurse her back to health.

As Maree struggles to break through the grieving man’s walls, she fears his deep-seated superhero complex will make him unreachable. And as Rhys grapples with trying to protect the beautiful woman from his curse, he worries he’ll have to choose between doing the right thing and true love.

Can this conflicted couple reconcile their opposite takes on adversity and find purpose in each other’s arms?

Grocery Girl is the touching first book in the Green Hills wholesome small-town romance series. If you like strong but vulnerable characters, emotional growth, and quaint backdrops, then you’ll adore Virginia'dele Smith’s celebration of joy.

“Is it safe to return to my candy store?” Mrs. Dawsey asked, beaming under his praise.

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll walk you and Maree back over,” he decided for everyone.

Mrs. Dawsey chattered like a magpie, telling Rhys everything she had noticed about the man in the alley. Rhys didn’t get too far away from her, but Maree was grateful that they went on ahead of her, since she was rather slow on the crutch. By the time she made it to the front door of her quilt studio, he had already seen Mrs. Dawsey to her store and even walked through it to make her feel safe and comfortable.

The short walk from her shop to Maree’s turned out to be plenty of time for Rhys's anger to resurface.

“Why didn’t you call me, Maree?” For a guy who liked to look down when he was unsure of what to say, he had no problem directing his stern gaze right through her eyes and into her heart.

Why must I love him so much?

“I called 911, Rhys. That’s what we all learned to do back in kindergarten, remember?” She was suddenly feeling a little testy herself.

“You just left,” he said, switching gears on her in a heartbeat.

“Yes, I—” She blinked a few times to catch up, but he stopped her before she could explain herself.

“I can’t protect you if you’re gone.”

“Rhys, you’ve taken the very best care of me this week. I can’t tell you how much that has mea—”

“Then let me take care of you now,” he interrupted again, obviously still antsy and agitated.

“No,” she replied.

“Because I can’t keep you safe.” His words were flat and defeated, said as both a question and a statement of fact.

“No, you can’t, Rhys.”
Ashli Montgomery is a wife, a momma, and an author whose passion is sharing love stories, books, quilts, yoga, recipes, and all of her favorite things in life. She is quilting to mend the mind by spearheading and educating a community of friends who love quilts and quilting but hate Alzheimer’s disease through Quilt 2 End ALZ, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit she launched to use her quilting hobby as a platform to advocate for an end to Alzheimer's disease.

Ashli writes under the pen name Virginia’dele Smith to honor Syble Virginia Tidwell, Adele Gertrude Baylin, and Etta Jean Smith. These three cherished grandmothers were beautiful role models, teaching Ashli to love without judgment and to always put family first. Through Grandma Syble’s journals and appetite for books, through Momadele’s priceless cards and handwritten letters, and through many, many hours of visiting over fabric at Mema’s kitchen island, Ashli also learned to treasure words.

- What is it about small town romance that draws people in?

Small towns are magical; they draw people in because we feel pulled to belong there, to be part of the community, to be “in the know” of local gossip, local history, and local activities.

Small towns feel exclusive – only a select few people exist there, so we crave the inclusivity that comes with being part of that set. The surest way to attract us is to not invite us. We don’t want to be left out, so we immediately yearn to be welcomed into the fold with open arms, we want to be wanted, and we desire that elusive membership to the group.

Small towns also promote a sense of community that is often missing in big cities. The people in a small town know one another on a deeper level; they share history and stories. They have inside jokes, and we want to be on the inside with them. We need to know those jokes, and we desperately want to be part of their inner sphere. I believe that humans are wired to connect to one another; we aren’t made to walk through life alone. Small towns are wonderful conduits for connection, for providing a place to be loved and appreciated for being yourself.

There is less anonymity in a small town. Everyone knows everyone else. More than that, everyone takes care of everyone else. Not only do the residents of a small town feel that strong sense of community mentioned above, but they also take it one step further, looking after their family, friends, and neighbors. It’s healthy to lean on one another instead of trudging through life carrying our burdens without help. Small towns support and promote that assistance. It feels good to be helped, and it feels even better to give help. Small towns make us feel good.

Best of all, small towns are romantic. They have beautiful streets and parks for walking and talking, cozy restaurants for dates and coffee, and adorable festivals and events for working together. True, small towns are often romanticized in books and movies, but at their heart, small towns are the perfect setting for meeting that perfect person, discovering love, and securing a happily ever after.
Virginia'dele Smith 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 for this giveaway.)

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Book Blast and Giveaway - Their New Year's Beginning (The Fortunes of Texas: The Wedding Gift #1) by Michelle Major

Welcome to my stop on the book blast for Their New Year's Beginning by Michelle Major. 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 $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the book blast for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Their New Year's Beginning
Series: The Fortunes of Texas: The Wedding Gift #1
Author: Michelle Major
Publication Date: December 28th 2021
Print Length: 236 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
At the stroke of midnight, a stranger’s kiss changes everything…

Brian Fortune doesn’t think he will ever find the woman he kissed at his brother's New Year's wedding. So when the search for the provenance of a mysterious gift leads him into a local antique store a few days later, he's stunned to find Emmaline Lewis, proprietor—and mystery kisser! Surprise turns to shock when he realizes that she's also six months pregnant. Brian has never been the type to commit—and he’s really not ready to become a family man in one fell swoop! But suddenly he knows he’ll do anything to stay at Emmaline's side—for good…

I do need you. So much. Emmaline’s heart pounded with all the things she wanted to say to him. But those things would just make her look like a bigger fool. She’d already let her heart stay in the lead for far too long.

“I’m a soon-to-be single mother living in a small town in Texas.” She pointed a finger at him. “You’re a big-city bachelor who likes your freedom and your uncomplicated life. I’m a box of complications, Brian.”

“The past month has seemed simple enough to me,” he murmured. “Why does that have to change?”

Because I’m in love with you, she wanted to scream. But she didn’t. It was bad enough that she felt as though she was dying on the inside. She couldn’t bring herself to invite outright rejection from him. If he wanted more, he’d tell her.

“We’ve had fun,” she said, which was only a tiny bit of the truth between them. “I’ll keep up the research on the sculpture and let you know if I find anything.”

“That’s it?” He blew out a long breath.

“Is there something more?” she asked, hoping beyond hope that he’d give her some sign that her fears weren’t founded. All she needed was one tiny reason to launch herself into his arms and ask him to stay.

Their gazes held, and she could almost feel the current of electricity running between them. Emmaline wanted to believe that Brian would tell her something more. That he would give her what she needed to hear, the admission of love she was too afraid to say to him.
USA Today bestselling author Michelle Major loves stories of new beginnings, second chances and always a happily ever after. An avid hiker and avoider of housework, she lives in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains with her husband, two teenagers, and a menagerie of spoiled furbabies.

Michelle Major will be awarding a $20 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 with this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 30, 2021

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Mars Wars Series by John Andrew Karr

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for the Mars Wars series by John Andrew Karr. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the first book as well as a fascinating guest post from the author. 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 on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Titles: Detonation Event (Book 1)& Rogue Planet (Book 2)
Series: Mars Wars
Author: John Andrew Karr
Publisher: Rebel Base Books
Publication Dates: 2019 & 2020
Print Lengths: 302 & 309 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
For decades the Space Consortium of America has searched for new ways to harvest resources beyond an increasingly depleted Earth. The ultimate plan is about to be ignited. So is the ultimate threat to humankind . . .


Battle-hardened Captain Ry Devans and his crew of the Mars Orbiter Station One (MOS-1) are part of a bold plan: resurrect the active molten cores of the Red Planet with synchronized thermonuclear explosions, and terraform the hell out of that iron-oxide rock for future generations. It’ll change history. So will the strands of carbon-based Martian cells that have hitched a ride on the ship.

Dr. Karen Wagner knows the microbes’ resistance to virus is incredible. It’s the unknowable that’s dicey. Her orders: blow them into space. But orders can be undermined. Two vials have been stolen and sent hurtling toward the biosphere. For Devans and Wagner, ferreting out the saboteurs on board is only the beginning. Because there are more of them back on Earth—an army of radical eco-terrorists anxious to create a New World Order with a catastrophic gift from Mars.

Now, one-hundred-and-forty-million miles away from home, Devans is feeling expendable, betrayed, a little adrift, and a lot wild-eyed. But space madness could be his salvation—and Earth’s. He has a plan. And he’ll have to be crazy to make it work.

Detonation Event Links:

Rogue Planet Links:
Click here to watch the book trailer for Detonation Event or watch below.
“Take the shot!” Hamilton’s voice, excited in his ears. “You’re at seventy yards between. That’s easy range for the atomizer.”

“Yeah, thanks, but I’m not exactly a sniper, Ham. And it’s not even a rifle, okay?”

At fifty yards he unbuttoned the holster and drew the atomizer, aimed, and fired a single pulse. The white fluorescent laser beams snaked out and missed, just above the rounded beetle hull of the repair drone. Its long arms went into motion, as if it were alive and realized it was under attack. Tendrils of laser-encased hyper-vibration streaked for Wagner’s face shield.

“Whoa!” he cried, ducking low so the ray passed overhead.

“What was that?” Hamilton asked.

Trent swerved in his descent spiral as another bolt lit the tunnel. He shot back, and one of the drone’s arms fell from a missing socket. A hit, but not debilitating. “Guess who also has an atomizer?”

“The drone is firing back?” Ham said incredulously.

“Somebody’s hacked the crap out of this thing!”

“Thought the operating system got messed up and it went rogue.”

“Well, the rogue must have artificial intelligence, or it’s a pure hack…It’s fired atomizer slugs at me twice now!”

“Repair drones don’t have AI. Kill it and return to the surface!”

He took aim, but the atomizer fixed to his opponent’s arm glowed before his own. He had a split second to dive to the side or a third beam would have put a hole in the size of a fist through his torso. The board, obeying the relative position of the computer on his forearm, went into a side spin. He countered and fixed on the drone, but it kept a relative position directly beneath him now. Soon it would open fire, and he was vulnerable. He rolled his forearm. Now the board was overhead, and he hung beneath it like a space bat, if there were such creatures. He fired three quick blasts as it aimed its own tool-turned-weapon.

A flash of sparks, and the drone sheared in half, then quarters. Pieces of it flickered, then faded.

“Boom, baby!” Wagner shouted.

He rolled his forearm hard left and stood on the board and balanced, then hovered after a few more adjustments. He watched as residual glowing pieces fell beyond the nearby relay. “It’s dead, Ham!”

“All right! Great stuff! Now get the hell up here!”

“Roger that.”

“And please leave the twentieth century down there,” she added.

“That was uncalled for, Senator,” he said, with a laugh.

“No crap, Trent, you have to get moving. You’re five miles down.”

He heard her swallow.

Up! he thought.

He flew upward and soon passed the four-mile mark. At the third mile the drone board flashed red and slowed its ascent.

Not optimal, he thought.


“You’re doin’ great, Trent.”

“Now you’ve really got me worried.”

“Only now? Why?”

“I don’t think you’ve used my first name this much, ever. Oh, yeah, and my ride’s ion supply is spent.”

He kicked out of the board as it gave its last bit of ion energy. It fell away in the darkness, red lights glowing down the abyss. Warnings sounded in his helmet and the jet pack flashed red around the tunnel walls. He considered activating his boot jets but nixed it. They were the last-ditch option. He didn’t want to use them until the others gave out.

Fresh sweat broke out on his forehead. “Uh, you said something about another drone board?”

“I’ve got it flying like a plasma bullet a half mile from your position, kid,” Captain Devans said, his voice, tight with tension.

“Hey CapD, this is a private channel.” Trent’s belly tightened as he dropped down a few feet as the pack drive sputtered, stabilized, then sputtered some more. He swore and backed off the speed.

“Captain’s prerogative,” Devans said. “Hang on! Second drone’s coming.”

“Thanks. I don’t know how much longer…This was still worth it, you know.” A tremble had entered his voice.

“Shut up and just hover instead of climbing,” Devans said. “Let the board come to you.”

The jet pack increased the flickering of the red warning flashes and decibel level of the alarm now, as Trent leveled out to hover. He looked up. He thought he could see a pinpoint of light way up there. The jet pack gasped, sputtered, and quit. He plummeted in a sickening free fall. He touched a button on his suit.

“Boot jet time!” Wagner said and leveled out once more, then slowly climbed. It wouldn’t be enough to take him to the surface, however.

“Drone?” he asked.

“It’s coming, it’s coming!” Hamilton said.

“Hang on, Wagner! I’ve got it closing on you,” Devans said.

He flew upward another few moments, then the pressure vanished from his boots. The ion jets were done, probably quit early from his antics at the mouth of the tunnel.

Free fall.

His stomach lurched. This wasn’t drone riding at Lunar One for kicks. This was the calculated risk where Death shows his cards and laughs. Trent held his arms out at an angle, fought to stabilize. He forced his eyes to remain open and scan upward. Searching. Searching.

“Status, Wagner?” Devans said.

“Not…too…good,” he grunted. “Jets…all done.”

“You’re falling! God!” Hamilton said.

“Hang on, Wagner! The board’s coming faster than your fall. Get ready!”

His helmet lights illuminated the rush of tunnel wall.

A plunging glow from above. New lights! A rectangular outline was coming fast.

He grabbed at the board, but it shot past him. His gloved fingers swept the surface.

“Slow it a little!” Wagner said.

“Getting beneath you,” Devans returned.

Wagner’s breath got knocked out as he struck the drone squarely on his back and nearly rolled off trying to grab hold. “I’m on! Got it! Got it!”

Cheers through the comm link.

On his belly now, with legs too shaky to try to stand, Trent flew upward on the second board, this time straight up. The tiny light above grew larger and larger. Two shadows appeared in front of it, and the helmet lights of two forms came toward him. The identity text labels of Hamilton and Devans came up on his face shield.

“Are you two star-shined? Don’t come down here!” Wagner said.

“Wagner, please,” Hamilton said.

They slowed, hovered above Wagner’s rising position, then matched the board’s upward speed. They grabbed the retention rail at each side of the board and set their jet thrusters on high.

“Enough tunnel diving…Let’s get the hell out of here,” Devans said. “Wagner, link this drone board to your forearm computer.”

A few seconds passed. “Got it, Cap.”

“Okay, I’m breaking off my link.”

Upward they flew. Wagner grinned at his companions.

“Don’t give me that crap,” Hamilton said.

“Come on, Ham, you gotta admit it’s pretty cool.”


Devans shook his head back and forth inside the helmet. “It’ll be cool when we get back in the shuttle and on our way to MOS-1 for the Detonation Event, surfer boy. By the way, you saved the mission, but never risk your life for equipment unless it’s life or death.”

Wagner smiled. “This mission is about mortality. It’s the only shot Mars has at life again.”

“We all want success, but let’s agree it’s a very long shot,” Devans said. “Calculated risk should involve better odds.”

“Got that right,” Hamilton said.

Wagner’s smile faded as bright light moved back and forth over the tunnel mouth, casting moving shadows of the rim. “What’s up with the lights?”

Devans squinted upward. “Nuro, why is the shuttle in motion?”

No answer.

“Nuro, Klemmet, what the hell’s going on with the shuttle?”

No answer.

“Somebody give me a damn status up there!”

No answer. From anyone.

The light danced back over the tunnel in sweeps of varying intensity, and glimpses of a spinning and shuddering PS-9 could be made out as the tunnel mouth grew wider and wider as they flew for the surface.

“Burroughs, what the hell is happening? Burroughs!”

“They’re not on this private freq,” Hamilton said, looking over Wagner’s prone body on the drone board at Devans. “You hacked your way through.”

Another form rose above the edge of the tunnel, ion jets glowing on her back. She frantically waved them upward.

“Hold on, I see Burroughs,” Devans said. “Changing freq to public. You two do the same. Keep pushing up!”

His mouth moved, the veins on the side of his neck bulged, and his eyes glared as he kept staring upward. Wagner changed his frequency with a verbal command and picked up the conversation between Devans and Burroughs.

“Nobody’s replying to my hails! Nine goes up two hundred feet, out a half mile, down to bounce off the surface, then back into a spinning swing!” Burroughs said, her voice tense to contain the note of panic.

“Navigation’s degraded or gone. Describe the tail section,” Devans said.

“White hot! There are cracks all over the hull and smoke’s streaming out! Ry—Cap—it’s horrible!”

Through the face shield Wagner saw shock on Devans’s face; then his features hardened. “The nuke drive is in overload! Crew of PS-9, abandon ship. Repeat, abandon ship!”

No replies.
From his home in Wilmington, North Carolina, John Andrew Karr (also John A. Karr) writes of the strange and spectacular. He is the author of a handful of independent and small press novels and novellas, and also leaves in his wake a trail of short stories.

People of Earth.

If you’ve ever had even a slight taste of science fiction, you know the phrase. Usually its uttered by some alien who’s come to our beautiful blue planet for war, to pilfer our resources, or simply snatch a few dozen of us to make people patties, under the guise of a beneficial meet-and-greet.

Cunning aliens.

Isn’t it enough to reduce our scientific and engineering advances to stone tool status in comparison with alien tech?

The Peeps of Earth phrase can also be extrapolated to encompass all humans, ever, throughout time. That’s every human born, ever. All who inhaled air, drank water, felt the planet’s mass beneath their feet, gazed up the glorious sun and stars and someday later, died. Of these billions, every single one lived their lives bound to the Earth.

Question: Besides the same relative arm strength, what do Tyrannosaurus rex and Homo sapiens have in common?

Answer: Extinction impotence.

Even non sci fi types know how vulnerable we are as a species, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.

By the way, the latest thinking for T. Rex is that it could actually rip a human’s arm off in an arm wrestling match, provided it could move its teeny arms side-to-side. So don’t go up to one and call it an arm-wuss or something.

Let’s go ahead and summon one of the first things that come to mind whenever dinosaurs are evoked: asteroid. One big enough to eject millions of tons of ash and dust into the atmosphere, all but blocking out the sun and creating a perpetual ‘asteroid winter.’ A certain percentage of the population might be able to survive the apocalypse for a while, but it could take hundreds or even thousands of years for the skies to clear.

Humans, along a huge percentage of other terrestrial and aquatic life, would most likely perish from famine, disease and war. There’s a good chance asphyxiation has a role; immediate dispersion of breathable air erupting through the magnetosphere and lost to space. Darkness then withers plant life en masse, along with their oxygen-creating capabilities.

Maybe it won’t be an asteroid for humans. Maybe it will be the very real threat of nuclear war, standard war, or disease. Dinosaurs as a species lasted millions of years. Humans have come far in a blip of comparative time, but we’re also prone to war.

Regardless of method, both species met or will meet their ultimate end on Earth.

Is it of any consolation that astronomers will likely be able to track the instrument of our demise through space as it hurls toward us?
John Andrew Karr will be awarding a $50 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 prizes. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility with this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway: A Day in the Life of Larry and Roger, a Pair of Diabetic Feet by Vicki Myhre

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for A Day in the Life of Larry and Roger, a Pair of Diabetic Feet by Vicki Myhre. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an exclusive excerpt from the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more exclusive excerpts. Enjoy!
Title: A Day in the Life of Larry and Roger, A Pair of Diabetic Feet
Author: Vicki Myhre
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: June 14th 2021
Print Length: 56 pages
Genre: Self-Help
"When we get to the end of our day, we want to sit back and reflect on everything we did, and we want to know in our hearts that we did a good job being good diabetics for another day."

A book for all ages, and whether you are diabetic or live with some one who is, this book is a valuable and educational read for everyone.

Larry the left foot and Roger the right foot are sure to delight and amuse you as they take you through a typical day in their lives. They show you how they strive to be the very best diabetics that they can be by living a healthy lifestyle every single day. As a result of dedication to their plan, they are certain that they will live longer, happier lives full of enjoyment and fun.

This is a multidimensional book featuring a short illustrated story that portrays a day in the life of a diabetic. On a whole different level, each page is full of great information for those who wish to dig a bit deeper into the whys and hows of simplifying diabetic life. It also includes many references, in a system that is built to help in teaching you how to find the answers to any questions that you may have.

Quality support is key for every diabetic. It takes a team to keep a good diabetic in tip top shape. We keep in close contact with our doctor for regular check ups and evaluation, our diabetic clinic for nutrition and exercise support, and our foot care specialist.

“I’ve booked an appointment for today for foot care, Larry,” says Roger. “She’ll check them, trim our nails, and look after any other issues.”

“Yay! And hopefully a good foot massage if we’re lucky,” I pipe in gleefully as I jump up and down.

Resources are readily available for all diabetics. We—well, actually, Roger—regularly research online, everything from simple questions to big lifestyle changes that we may want to implement. If you don’t have access to the internet, there are still many options available for you. Roger is the info junkie; he’s continually looking for new advice, ideas, or tricks.


You alone are the most important member of your diabetes care team. Nobody else on your team can replace you or make decisions for you.

Your diabetes care team will include:
Your doctor/nurse practitioner
Your nurse/diabetes educator
Your dietitian/diabetes educator
Your pharmacist/diabetes educator

Your diabetes care team may also include:
Your eye doctor
Your diabetes doctor
Your kidney doctor
Your heart doctor
Your dentist
Your family and friends
Other people you know who have diabetes
Physical activity specialist
Social worker/mental health specialist
Foot care specialist
Naturopathic care provider
Physical activity specialist
Vicki Myhre is a dedicated and experienced Certified Podologist who has specialized in diabetic foot care, with a focus on helping diabetics weave their way through a sea of information.

Vicki's mission is to use simplified and well-balanced information to help preserve the freedom of mobility, and improve quality of life for as many diabetics worldwide as possible. She has evolved from more than ten years of offering hands-on diabetic foot care and counselling, to advocating and reaching out to share her expertise.

After five years of sharing Larry and Roger's adventures in a column in the local magazine, Vicki decided it was time to take these characters to a broader audience, in an attempt to help even more diabetics continue to lead a healthy life, one STEP at a time, regardless of age or diabetic history.

Vicki's goal is to provide the reader with information that is simple to comprehend and is a positive addition to anyone's diabetic lifestyle.

She hopes you will visit her on her website, where her five years of columns full of fun, facts, recipes and information will remain posted so that you can enjoy them for free. While you are visiting there, please drop a line or comment, and she will always respond personally to you.

Vicki Myhre will be awarding a $15 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 with this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway - Haunted Water (McLaren Mystery #14) by Jo A. Hiestand

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for Haunted Water: A McLaren Mystery by Jo A. Hiestand. This blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book. There's also the blitz wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Haunted Water
Series: McLaren Mystery #14
Author: Jo A. Hiestand
Publisher: Cousins House
Publication Date: October 19th 2021
Print Length: 294 page
Genre: Mystery
Cameron Rutter drowned two months ago in a lake on a Cheshire moor. Some say a morgen—a spirit who drags men to a watery grave—was responsible. Others say it was the phantom Grey Lady. The police say Gareth Gynne was the guilty one. Whoever—or whatever—killed Cameron needs to be sorted out. And ex-police detective Michael McLaren is asked to do just that.

McLaren’s not keen on delving into the mystery. The accused is the nephew of McLaren’s nemesis, Charlie Harvester. And if there’s one thing McLaren doesn’t want to do is to associate with another Harvester, no matter what generation he is.

Suspects and motives are as tangled as the mere grass. Did a villager kill Cameron, opposed to his crusade to keep the moor in its pristine state? Or did someone previously arrested by Cameron kill him in revenge? Or was the morgen really responsible?

Can McLaren discover the killer, or will he too become a victim of the haunted water?

**The eBook is on sale for $0.99!**

“I believe you, but the police might not. They don’t know what you’re capable of, how angry you were. They can imagine you’re livid because he couldn’t come up with the loan money, so now you have to pay it. You’re at the mere earlier than agreed upon. It’s afterhours. It’s dark. No lights on. You could have easily killed Cameron. He trusted you.”

Gareth opened his mouth, but McLaren waved off his comment.

“Your feelings are boiling over. You go up to him, maybe just to talk, but you’re livid and you clobber him with a stone. He falls. Maybe he’s not dead, but if he’s not, you’re scared that when he wakes he’ll remember you attacked him. So you do the only thing that makes sense at that moment. You roll him into the mere to drown.”

Gareth stared at McLaren, unable to speak. His fingers sought the edge of the counter to steady himself. A car crawled up the High Street and disappeared before he found his voice. “That’s absurd. It never happened. I arrived with Lisa and Paul and Rhys. I never got there early—”

“Cameron was killed, Gareth. Someone had to have done it. And did it that night. I don’t think you’re culpable, but this could be exactly what the police think. More so, considering your history with him.”


A car turned off the High Street and stopped at the front of the shop.

Gareth stood up and walked over to the display window. “Who’s that? It’s nearly closing time.” He held up a hand, shielding his eyes from the intense headlight beams that lit up the room and threw shadows across the floor.

The lights cut off, leaving an ominous feeling that something unpleasant was about to happen.
Jo A. Hiestand grew up on regular doses of music, books, and Girl Scout camping. She gravitated toward writing in her post-high school years and finally did something sensible about it, graduating from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors. 

She writes two British mystery series—of which two books have garnered the prestigious N.N. Light’s Book Heaven ‘Best Mystery Novel’ two years straight. She also writes two Missouri-based mystery series that are grounded in places associated with her camping haunts. The camping is a thing of the past, for the most part, but the music stayed with her in the form of playing guitar and harpsichord, and singing in a folk group.

Jo carves jack o’ lanterns badly; sings loudly; and loves barbecue sauce and ice cream (separately, not together), kilts (especially if men wear them), clouds and stormy skies, and the music of G.F. Handel. You can usually find her pulling mystery plots out of scenery—whether from photographs or the real thing.
Jo A. Hiestand 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 for this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway