Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: A Million Things to Ask a Neuroscientist by Mike Tranter, PhD

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for A Million Things to Ask a Neuroscientist by Mike Tranter, PhD. 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 chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card in the our wide giveaway. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: A Million Things to Ask a Neuroscientist
Author: Mike Tranter, PhD
Publisher: Queen of the World Publishing
Publication Date: March 11th 2021
Print Length: 250 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction Popular Science
A Million Things To Ask A Neuroscientist answers some of the most asked questions about the brain, making the science fun and accessible to everyone. Inside, you will journey through some of the most interesting and strange things that our brain does every single day.

Have you always wanted to know just what a memory actually is, or why we dream? What is our consciousness? Why do some people seem to ‘click’ with others? And can our brain really multi-task?

Have you ever been standing at the top of a tall building or cliff edge and had a sudden but brief urge to jump? You have no real thought of actually doing it, and you are not depressed, suicidal, or otherwise distressed, but that urge appears nonetheless. As it turns out, neuroscience has a name for such an occurrence, high places phenomenon, sometimes termed the call to the void, and it is actually very normal and common. There are also reports of impulses to jump in front of a train, stick a hand in a fire, or turn a steering wheel into traffic. Thankfully, the person generally doesn't follow through, and although most accounts of this phenomenon are anecdotal, there is one team of scientists in Florida, USA, who decided to take another look. The research team asked 431 students about such episodes in their personal lives, and a surprising 55% acknowledged that they have experienced them at some stage in their lives.

Science has revealed to us that high place phenomenon is possibly the result of a split-second delay between two opposing brain signals. One signal is based on our survival instinct that notices danger and tells us that we should avoid it, such as falling from a great height, or a train hitting us in the face. Another signal coming from our more logical brain tells us that we are relatively safe where we are, and there is no real threat to our survival. The resulting signals are interpreted by our brain - now somewhat confused, for it to relay this rather bizarre message and we experience the high place phenomenon. So, if you ever have a sudden impulse to jump off the top of Mount Everest, just remember that it is normal, but please don't do it anyway.
Dr Mike Tranter is from the North of England and studied how drugs work in our body, but it wasn't long before he found his true calling as a neuroscientist. After a PhD in neuroscience, he spent years in research labs all over the world, studying how the brain works. Although, it is his prominent rise as a science communicator, opening up the world of neuroscience to everybody, that he enjoys the most.

- What is your favorite little tidbit about the brain?

My favourite thing about the brain is that you can always learn more, and always improve yourself. It is never too late. It is a highly complex processing machine, that does millions, or billions of things without you ever knowing it, but it is very adaptable.

In fact, within an area of the memory region, scientists have seen new brain cells growing every day. Around 700! Typically, when we learn more, and test our brain, it is forced to make new connections. Brain cells will reach out to other cells and ‘talk’ to each other. It is amazing that we also grow cells throughout our life. For a long time, scientists believed that once the brain was formed, it never really grew more cells. But it does!

The best way to keep this process happening to keep learning, and to keep challenging yourself. People who can speak more than one language are very good at this. Their brains show a lot of improvement from the extra work they put in, and we can even see this in brain scans.

So what is your limit? When is it best to learn? The feeling that children learn the best, and adults struggle to improve in the same way is not true. Science has shown this. In fact, brain cells never stop growing. The oldest person to have shown this was a 97-year-old woman. 97!!!

It doesn’t matter where your brain is now, or where you think your brain is, it is always looking to improve and learn. You can always get that little bit better, and that 97 year old lady proved it.
Michael Tranter, PhD will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card 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.
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Journey to New Salem (The Witches of Vegas #2) by Mark Rosendorf

Title: Journey to New Salem
Series: The Witches of Vegas #2
Author: Mark Rosendorf
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: March 29th 2021
Print Length: 215 pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

The Witches of Vegas are back, and their lives will never be the same again.

A year has passed since The Witches of Vegas saved the city from the evil Wiccan vampire, Valeria. Since then, the show has hit an all-time high. So has the romance between teen witch Isis Rivera and teenage magician, Zack Galloway.

Things couldn’t be any better for them until Isis develops seizures that cause her power to spiral out of control. Fires and earthquakes are just the beginning of the chaos caused by the misfired witchcraft. Unable to find a cure, Isis’ family journeys to New Salem, a fabled village of witches which may or may not even exist. Meanwhile, Zack ends up face to face with the only being who may have a cure…Valeria. But does he dare pay her price?

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Isis ran back behind the wall. She then commanded the illusion of herself behind the far left wall to step through and stare out into the audience with a hand on its hip. It received a collective gasp. To them, it was as if Isis had stepped through one wall on one side of the stage, and then come out of another wall on the opposite side of the stage. She had practiced this many times, but this was the best she had ever pulled it off. It was now time to bring it home…


A pain ran through Isis’ chest. It felt like a mallet slamming against her heart. She tried to take a deep breath, but it was a struggle, like sucking a watermelon down her throat. An image formed in her head. It was Valeria, the Wiccan vampire who turned their lives upside down. Isis hadn’t thought about her, or the torture she endured at her hands, in a long while. Why now all of a sudden, and while her chest screamed in pain?

Isis leaned her back against the wall. Everything circled as if she were in the eye of a tornado. She had felt this sensation before, but never with such intensity. Her hands trembled. Something was happening, but she didn’t know what. “Not again, not right now.” She blinked her eyes rapidly. It’s been over a year since Valeria was in their lives. She demanded of her brain to never think of her again. Time to refocus on the now.
Mark Rosendorf 's writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild "if only I could do that" imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.

Born November, 25th, 1974, and raised in Queens New York, Mark holds a Master's Degree from Long Island University's Human Development and Leadership program. He is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education's special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry.

Mark has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence.

Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark's brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas series was born.

The Witches of Vegas placed second in the young adult category of The International Digital Awards. It was also named one of Shelf Unbound's Notable Indy and received a five star rating from the prestigious InD'Tale Magazine.

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Ebook copies of both The Witches of Vegas and Journey to New Salem

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway - Mom and Dad's Martinis: A Memoir by Jacelyn Cane

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Mom and Dad's Martinis by Jacelyn Cane. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an exclusive excerpt from the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more exclusive excerpts. Enjoy!
Title: Mom and Dad's Martinis: A Memoir
Author: Jacelyn Cane
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: June 17th 2019
Print Length: 135 pages
Genre: Memoir
Jacelyn Cane's mom and dad liked their martinis dry: straight gin on the rocks with a dab of vermouth and a hint of water - and they liked them often. They also liked to party; they danced, socialized, and drank - they were good at all three. Sometimes this behaviour led to humorous situations - antics in the pool, at the club, the cottage or in the car, for example. Other times, however, the experiences were not so funny - family fights and times of neglect, trauma, and abuse.
By weaving together a series of episodes that take the reader to light and dark places, author Jacelyn Cane tells a poignant cautionary tale for anyone affected by alcoholism and/or family struggles. The author is using a pseudonym and most of the names in the book have been changed to protect people's identities. 
"Mom and Dad's Martinis: A Memoir" is a great read for anyone who has experienced a childhood mixed with joy as well as sorrow. It is a story of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and hope.

“I wondered if you’d like to go to the Queen’s dance with me tonight.”

Shifting on her red vinyl stool, my mother sipped her Coke float. “Why don’t you meet me here at five o’clock after the game, and I’ll give you my answer then.”

Dad strolled out over the black and white linoleum tiles thrilled he had a chance for the date he had hoped for.

“Now, there goes a tall drink of water,” said one of my mom’s pals, eyeballing my father as he left.

My dad made his way to the Queen’s football stadium to meet his friends for the game.

“Charlie, did you bring a mickey?” one of Dad’s buddies asked, as they all found some seats together in the bleachers.

“Rye.” My dad tapped his breast pocket. “You brought something too, right?” Dad addressed the four fellows sitting alongside of him.

“Yeah, I’ve got some rum,” said Dad’s friend, John Beatty.

“Me, too,” said Chuck Parker.

“I’ve got scotch,” claimed Harry Howard.

“Gin for me,” added Jim Johnson.

“Hey, U of T’s winning,” said John.

“Touchdown!” My father cheered, as he leapt in the air. He took a swig of his rye to celebrate.

“We scored again,” Dad yelled gleefully, bouncing up and down. With every jump, he took another swig from his mickey.

“We won!” My dad cheered. As he sprang to his feet, he tripped and fell onto the bleachers. His mickey broke, making Dad reek of alcohol. He managed to clean up all of the glass without a scratch, but, nevertheless, he was covered in rye.

By the end of the game, when he joined in the age-old tradition of running out on to the field to climb up on the goalposts, Dad was pretty drunk. He lost his balance and fell in the mud. Before he could get to his feet, he was stepped on by a few members of the Queen’s marching band. His letterman jacket and grey flannels were covered in mud.

And so, muddy, inebriated, and stinking of booze, my father returned to meet Mom after the game. He swaggered into the drug store, leaving muddy footprints in his wake, as he made his way across the linoleum floor. Patti Page’s version of “Tennessee Waltz” was playing on the juke box.

“Hi, Dorothy Duncan. Sorry, I’m a bit of a mess. I’m hoping you’ll go with me to the dance tonight.”

“No thanks,” she said in disgust, as she eyed him up and down.

“You’re sure? I’ll get cleaned up and everything.”

“I said, ‘No.’ Now excuse me.” Mom stood up, walked passed Dad and out of the drug store.

Dad stood there covered in mud looking like a lost puppy.
Jacelyn Cane was born and raised in Toronto. She lives with her husband, and near her three children and step-daughter. She is a retired elementary school teacher who also worked in social justice education with the United Church of Canada. She has worked in theatre and as a reporter. She was educated in Toronto, earning a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Canadian History from York University. Later, she earned a B. Ed. at the University of Toronto. She is passionately involved in numerous social justice issues such as climate crisis concerns and Indigenous rights. She loves meditating, writing, reading, music, laughing, and being around nature. She is motivated by a deep sense of spirituality. Her number one love, however, is being with family and friends.

Jacelyn Cane will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. To increase your chance of winning, leave a comment at a different blog on the tour each day. Good luck!
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Anti-Relationship Year (The Pact #2) by Katie Wismer

Title: The Anti-Relationship Year
Series: The Pact #2
Author: Katie Wismer
Publisher: Ahimsa Press
Publication Date: March 30th 2021
Print Length: 239 pages
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Johanna Palmer is very much over relationships.

After a scarring experience her freshman year of college, she’s decided she’d much rather have something fun than something serious.

Her best friend Miller has seen it all—the tears, the parties, the drunken phone calls at four in the morning when she needed a ride. In fact, there might be several things Miller saw that Jo herself can’t remember.

Things Miller can’t forget.

With the whirlwind of senior year underway, Jo just wants to move on, get her degree, and land her dream job. But her past might not be as easy to outrun as she’d hoped.

The Anti-Relationship Year is a friends to lovers college romance that acts as a companion to The Anti-Virginity Pact. Both books can be read as standalones.

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She sucked in a lungful of air as she plunged out the side door. The night was cold, but every inch of her skin felt like it was on fire. She scowled at the line of people waiting on the driveway—it would take forever to get a DD. The music pulsed out onto the lawn, and she covered her ears, trying to block out the words.

When that didn’t work, she started walking.

“Where are you going?” someone yelled after her, but she ignored them and headed across the backyard while simultaneously trying to get her phone out of her bra. She squinted at the screen, trying to force her vision to focus, and jabbed the call button, hoping she’d found the right contact.

“Hello?” Miller’s voice was rough, like she’d just woken him up. She squinted again at the screen, trying to see the time.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t—have called. It’s late.”

“Jo?” There was rustling in the background. “Where are you?”

“I’m f-fine. I’m just gonna walk home.”

“Walk home?” Miller’s voice was clearer now, louder. “Jo, it’s like ten degrees outside. Where are you?”

“It’s only like a block from the frat houses. I’ll be finnnne.”

“Jo, that’s like three miles. I’m coming to get you.”

Jo paused on the sidewalk and glanced both ways. The street was utterly empty, and her vision was too blurry to see the signs. “Which way do I go again?”

Jo,” Miller snapped, his voice suddenly hard. “Stop walking. Go inside somewhere. I’m leaving the dorm now.”

“It’s a little cold out here,” she mumbled.

“You think?”

“Miller.” She sighed, paced back over to the grass, and laid down. The entire world wobbled around her, the ground bobbing up and down like she was on a boat. “I’m a liiiiittle drunk.”

“I can tell.”

She pushed her bottom lip out. “Are you mad?”

“No, Jo, I’m not mad.” She heard a car engine roar to life on the other end of the phone. “Are you inside?”

“I’m in some grass.”

“For f*ck’s sake,” he muttered. “Okay, I’m using Find My Friends. I’ll be there in five minutes.”

“Can people freeze to death in five minutes?”

“Not people who go inside. What are you wearing out there anyway?”

Ooooh, what are you wearing?”


She sighed, put the phone on speaker, and tossed it aside so she could run her hands through the grass. It was hard and crunchy, like it had frosted over, and she realized her teeth were chattering. Maybe a tube top hadn’t been the right call. But it had been so hot inside the party.

“You have a hot over-the-phone voice, Miller,” Jo murmured. “You should be a phone sex operator.”

He made a choking sound.

She wasn’t sure how much time passed before headlights appeared on her right, and Jo sat up, squinting against them. If it wasn’t Miller, whoever was behind the wheel was probably going to think she was dead lying there. She climbed to her feet, then doubled back for her phone. When she turned around again, the car was stopped in the middle of the street, and the driver’s side door flew open. Miller appeared in pajama pants, bare feet, and a hoodie. He hurried toward the sidewalk, yanking his hoodie off as he went, even though he wasn’t wearing anything underneath. Before Jo could react, he tugged the sweatshirt over her head.

She blinked at him—or the two versions of him—standing in front of her. He had abs? Since when did Miller have abs?
Katie Wismer is a diehard pig-lover, semi-obsessive gym rat, and longtime sucker for a well-written book. She studied creative writing and sociology at Roanoke College and now lives in Colorado with her cats Max and Dean. She spends most of her free time on her Youtube channel Katesbookdate where she chats about books, life, and veganism.

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Monday, March 29, 2021

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway - Forgiveness: Your Key to Harmony and Inner Peace by Laura Throne

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Forgiveness: Your Key to Harmony and Inner Peace, a memoir, by Laura Throne. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an exclusive excerpt from the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour for more exclusive excerpts. Enjoy!
Title: Forgiveness: Your Key to Harmony and Inner Peace
Author: Laura Throne
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: August 25th 2020
Print Length: 111 pages
Genre: Memoir, Self-Help, Self-Improvement
FORGIVENESS: YOUR KEY TO HARMONY AND INNER PEACE by Laura Throne will take you on a fascinating journey through the author's real-life experiences as she provides practical advice to achieve a more intentional, conscious and aware approach to life. It will show you how accepting change and facing the unknown can create wonderful new opportunities.

This memoir details the author's own wake-up call about how she restored her emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing after a devastating, miserable marriage, and regained her physical health after a chronic disease. Her story will help you discover small miracles in your everyday life you can be grateful for. See how difficult life situations and challenges can help your soul grow and evolve so you can reach your true potential.

FORGIVENESS will help you to remember that you are loved, worthy and complete. In the same way, you are valuable, powerful and significant in this world. Practicing forgiveness liberates your soul and sets you free, and kindness fills your heart with joy.

Forgiveness can change everything and everyone in this world. Forgiveness is neither about the other person nor about forgetting the past; rather, it is something you give to yourself to find inner peace and harmony in life. One must be very strong and committed to forgive. Forgiving ourselves is just as important as forgiving others. We have to forgive ourselves and the people who have hurt us. There is no right or wrong way to go. If we feel stuck and overwhelmed by anger, fear or grief, prayers can always help us overcome those negative feelings. Emotional, physical, and mental healing takes time. Some wounds are too deep; therefore, finding forgiveness can take years for some people and it can take months for others. It can’t be forced; it comes naturally when we are ready, but we must be committed and persistent.
Laura Throne lived in four different countries between 2005 and 2020, and now resides in Canada with her two children. Forgiveness is her first book. By writing her memoir she hopes to inspire people to connect to their heart and soul. She hopes that her personal story will help you to remember that you are loved and worthy. In the same way, you are powerful and significant in this world. Practicing forgiveness liberates your soul and sets you free, and kindness fills your heart with joy.

Laura Throne will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card 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!
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Wallflower by Cookie O'Gorman

Title: Wallflower
Author: Cookie O’Gorman
Publication Date: March 25th 2021
Print Length: 197 pages
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Comedy

Wallflower (wohl-flou-erh): Identifier for someone who is shy and/or awkward. For reference, see Viola Kent.

Seventeen-year-old Viola Kent likes being invisible. Well, not literally, but she’s content being a loner, reading her books, and hanging out with the animals at the shelter. She just wants to keep her head down and get through her senior year at Durham High.

Driving Dare Frost to school every day wasn’t part of the plan.

And when Viola finds out her dad recruited Dare, his number one player, to be her friend?

Her inner Slytherin demands revenge.

The solution: Get Dare to be her fake boyfriend.

Convincing the star athlete to pretend is easier than she’d thought it would be. The hard part is protecting her heart. With every word, touch, and kiss, Viola’s feelings become more real.

The problem: Viola knows she’s falling for Dare—but he doesn’t believe in love.

This book features two sets of soulmates, one happy pooch named Hermione, so many sizzling kisses and answers the question: Can a dork and a jock fake their way to true love?

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"Whatever I do right now, it's all for the revenge plot," I said. "I just wanted to make sure that's clear."

Dare chuckled under his breath then lifted his chin. "Okay. Make your move, flower. I'll follow your lead."

I took a deep breath, and then acted without thought. After all, if I thought too much about it, there was no way I'd go through with this. Putting my hands on Dare's shoulders, I pushed him until his back met the wall, trying and failing not to take in the breadth and strength I felt beneath my palms. In the same moment, I hopped up and wrapped my legs around his waist—or at least, I tried to. Dare hadn't expected that. With his delayed reaction, his palm caught one of my legs while I ended up sliding back down his body, plastered against his chest like a baby koala. Ugh.

His brows rose. "This is your plan?" he said, his face so close to mine. "You want Coach to find us like this?"

"No," I hissed, pulling back a bit so I could look him in the eye. "I wanted him to find me in your arms. But unfortunately, you foiled my plans when you didn't catch me."
Cookie O'Gorman writes YA & NA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her novels ADORKABLE, NINJA GIRL, The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder, The Good Girl's Guide to Being Bad and WALLFLOWER are out now! She is also the author of NA sports romance, The Best Mistake.

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Sunday, March 28, 2021

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Apocalipstick (Hell in a Handbag #1) by Lisa Acerbo

Title: Apocalipstick
Series: Hell in a Handbag #1
Author: Lisa Acerbo
Publisher: DLG Publishing Partners
Publication Date: March 24th 2021
Print Length: 277 pages
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy

Life is bad after the apocalypse . . . the undead just made it worse.

“My dreams pre-pandemic included a high school graduation party before attending college and marrying an attractive future lawyer. Instead, I’m praying for a long, sharp knife and a big gun to survive the undead.” —Jenna

Jenna Martin lives in a world gone insane after a mysterious pandemic kills much of the population. Being alive after an apocalypse is bad, but it is made worse when the multitudes killed by the disease return ravenous for human flesh. Jenna, in serious trouble and pursued by undead, heads to the safest place available, a cemetery.

Ready to give up, she finds the strength to persevere for one more night and meets a group of survivors willing to take her in. The group caravans to Virginia, where they plan to inhabit an isolated inn called High Point, but the undead are always close behind. Packs of zombies, known as Streakers, attack, leaving Jenna and the other survivors battling for their lives and racing toward safety.

Once safely isolated at the inn, the group rebuilds society and Jenna begins a relationship with Caleb. Although he withstood the virus, he has not come out unscathed. He and some others now labeled the New Rave have changed into what many would call zombie kin—vampires. Jenna’s falls hard and fast for Caleb, which causes more problems that she ever expected in the fledgling society. But there are worse things than vampires and zombies searching for her, and they arrive at the inn’s door ready for destruction.

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“You don’t want to discuss Streaker invasions? The inn’s safety? Set up a plan for the perimeters?”

“Don’t even joke. We are not going there tonight. Instead, I’m going to tell you how beautiful you are, and how much I want you. Those lips are killing me. They look so luscious, like a ripe raspberry I want to nibble on.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m the person you enchanted with those red lips.”

“It’s my apocalipstick. I found it with the dress. The lipstick was my mom’s.” Jenna thought about how far she’d come to be willing to go on a date tonight with Caleb, the man who intimidated her not so long ago. “It represents the new me.”
Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and adjunct faculty at a local community college. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, two dogs, and horse. When not writing, she mountain bikes, hikes, and fosters dogs.

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale. This blog tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have an excerpt from one of the stories in the book as well as the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes. Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers
Author: Babette Fraser Hale
Publication Date: March 1st 2021
Print Length: 216 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction, Short Stories
Most are newcomers to the scenic, rolling countryside of central Texas whose charms they romanticize, even as the troubles they hoped to leave behind persist. Twelve stories highlight “the book’s recurring theme of desire—for freedom, for clarity, for autonomy, and for personal fulfillment … When women are alone, unencumbered and unbeholden to anyone, they engage in intense internal reflection and show reverence for nature—and during these scenes, Hale’s language is luminescent” (Kirkus Reviews).

Hale shows a great respect for her characters and for the difficulty of their deceptively ordered existence, as well as for the problems they suffer because so much cannot be spoken.” -- Francine Prose, on “Silences

A vivid set of tales about connection to other people and to the natural world…Hale’s lovely prose shows a keen eye for detail…” – Kirkus Reviews
Excerpt from “CICADAS,” included in
A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers
by Babette Fraser Hale

When they met, Lily had been a widow for eight years, with an established business selling refurbished country antiques. She’d begun in her usual haphazard way, with a homely table she found in a roadside junk shop. Almost Shaker plain, it had a broken leg held together with duct tape. Someone had gouged L+J into one corner of the top.

Lily saw stories layered into the damage—a lovesick boy in overalls with a sharp penknife; years later, an angry husband the night his crop was ruined. Her heart beat faster the longer she looked. It was the idea of it, that human passion could be preserved this way in ordinary combustible wood.

Once she had begun noticing, she discovered cast-off pieces everywhere, handmade, but abused.

There were buildings, too. Farmhouses, sheds, squatting in the heat with sloping metal roofs that gleamed in the parts rust hadn’t taken. Some had empty windows and walls of weathered wood chewed across the bottom as if by small animals.

Driving past a deserted house one day, she pictured the farm wife who’d lived there. She saw a wiry woman, prematurely aged, carrying water from the well her man had dug by hand. Scrubbing on a washboard the clothes whose material she’d spun herself. Women like that had worked in the fields, then cooked endless meals from what the land could render. They’d given birth to children, lost them and husbands to disease and ceaseless struggle.

The road before her blurred. She pulled over to the grassy verge, wiped her eyes. The heat of her own loss remained alive, banked, requiring only the slightest puff of her attention to renew its ache.

Anger was healthier. She felt it pulsing now. How could the dwellings that bore witness to such exhausted love and pain be discarded like the beer cans and Big Gulps lying in a roadside ditch?

Lily bought three of the dilapidated houses—for practically no money—and moved them to the patch of woods and pasture where she’d been living since Travis died. She had them painted in soft neutral colors, inside and out, and left them beside one another in a clearing, separated from her house by a hundred feet of yaupon and post oak. She used one for storing rebuilt furniture, but for the other two, she had no plan, at first.
Babette Fraser Hale’s fiction has won the Meyerson Award from Southwest Review, a creative artist award from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and been recognized among the “other distinguished stories” in Best American Short Stories, 2015. Her story “Drouth” is part of the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Her nonfiction has appeared in Texas Monthly, Houston City, and the Houston Chronicle. She writes a personal essay column for the Fayette County Record.

TWO WINNERS each receive a signed bookplate + a $20 Brazos Bookstore gift card to buy a copy of A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale.
(US only.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
for direct links to each post on this tour, updated daily,
or visit the blogs directly:

3/23/21   Author Video   The Page Unbound
3/23/21   Excerpt   Texas Book Lover
3/24/21   Review   Book Bustle
3/24/21   BONUS Promo   LSBBT Blog
3/25/21   Review   Rainy Days with Amanda
3/25/21   Author Interview   Chapter Break Book Blog
3/26/21   Review   Missus Gonzo
3/27/21   Excerpt   All the Ups and Downs
3/28/21   Guest Post   The Clueless Gent
3/29/21   Review   StoreyBook Reviews
3/29/21   Author Interview   Hall Ways Blog
3/30/21   Review   Reading by Moonlight
3/31/21   Review   Bibliotica
3/31/21   Guest Post   Librariel Book Adventures
4/1/21   Review   It's Not All Gravy
4/1/21 Review Forgotten Winds

Lone Star Literary Life
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