Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Excerpt Tour and Giveaway - Magnificent Mind: Uncover Your Psychological Well Being So You Can Live in Heaven While on Earth by Jan Christenson

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Magnificent Mind: Uncover Your Psychological Well Being So You Can Live in Heaven While on Earth by Jan Christenson. 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 $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Magnificent Mind: Uncover Your Psychological Well Being So You Can Live in Heaven While on Earth
Author: Jan Christenson
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: July 6th 2020
Print Length: 67 pages
Genre: Self-Help
This book will help you understand your thinking. You are never broken inside; you just need to take yourself, your thinking, and your life less seriously. There is a divine wisdom always present and waiting for you to listen to it. There is no one — and I mean no one — wiser than you and me. We all have available to us this wisdom that is ready and willing to help you to be safe, to be happy, and to live a most fulfilling life. There is really nothing for you to do except read and watch for a lovely feeling to develop inside of you. This feeling is with you from birth; it is your ever-present inner energy of psychological well-being. Most of us cannot experience this inner spark of well-being because we have learned to think of ourselves as inadequate. The words in this book are meant to take you back to the gentle feeling of peaceful contentment and love for self and others. Relax, and see if you can find your way back to yourself, your inner home inside of you. You need not look anywhere other than inside yourself to find all that you truly want and need. It doesn’t matter what your life looks like now; you are capable of turning it around into a heavenly life while here on this Earth.

To develop yourself into living in a healthier state of mind, the three principles will show you that it is important to begin to understand your inner mind, your consciousness, and your thoughts. They are your inner energy or your inner spirit, whichever you choose to call them. Your inner divine gifts are your mind, your consciousness, and your thoughts.

To give you a bit of a better understanding of what they are, the mind is your intelligence. We all have a personal intelligence or personal mind, a universal intelligence or universal mind, and personal thought and universal thought. Of course, our universal consciousness is of personal and universal knowledge.

Your personal intelligence is all that you learn from your family, school, and society or all that the brain stores from learned knowledge since your birth. Your universal intelligence or universal mind, however, is all of the knowledge the universe holds of past, present, and future. Imagine that you, a divine human, have access to the knowledge of the universe. You are probably asking, “How can that be?” In the following chapter on the mind, I go into further detail about this. For now, suffice it to say that the mind is a wonderful energy and intelligence to have access to.

You also have access to your consciousness, which is your awareness of your surrounding environment. We have many levels of consciousness and I believe we only understand some of these levels as humans here on Earth. Our consciousness can be at the level of low or high, depending on our thought at any given time. Our consciousness can also be personal or universal. For example, if you were on your way to a beach, you might be aware that it is a gorgeous, sunny day to go for a swim. If you felt happy and were looking forward to the day, you would be at a high level of consciousness: happy and content. Our level of consciousness is important and affects how we feel. Does it affect our thoughts?

Yes, our thoughts are affected by our level of consciousness. If your thought is, “I hate life,” then your level of consciousness will be low. This is a rather negative thought which leads to a low level of consciousness and possibly a poor view of your life.

We do know that our thoughts are definitely a big part of becoming a psychologically healthy person. Understanding the principles will show you a way to live with unconditional love and gratitude for your life. This understanding will show you that there is no need to judge others, as no one really knows what another person’s existence is like.

Judgment usually leads to gossip, and neither of these ways of being are useful in a meaningful life. Let others live and know that they are doing the best they know how to do at that time. Letting go of feeling like a victim in your life and letting go of anger and judgment will free up a lot of energy to put to better use.
I live in Canada. This is where my husband Rae and I have raised our two daughters; they are our absolute pride and joy in life. Along with a career in nursing, I received my B.A. in psychology at the University of Manitoba. I have also undertaken the study of developing an understanding of the three principles of mind, consciousness, and thought. This understanding has enhanced my life immeasurably. Following a workplace head injury and depression, I went through a long climb back to health. I learned of an ever-present, inner psychological health that I have always had and just needed to understand once again. The result of this knowledge has led me to a life of peace, contentment, and love. I hope this book will lead you to a similar place.

Jan Christenson 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 assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)
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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Rumpled Rhett (Once Upon a Duchy #3) by Rachel Rossano

Title: Rumpled Rhett
Series: Once Upon a Duchy #3
Author: Rachel Rossano
Publication Date: August 31st 2021
Print Length: 279 pages
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Rhett is a Huntsman, skilled, secretive, and mysterious. A wanted man, he spends his life on the move. His sole retreat is the outskirts of an isolated village in the northern reaches of the duchies. Then one fall, he arrives to find his hovel burned to the ground and the village reeve offering a new arrangement.

Catherine knows her father, the village miller, only cares about what she can bring him. The latest scheme of marrying her to the Huntsman is not the miller’s first attempt to sell her. Cat’s dread wanes when she meets the Huntsman. There is something honorable about him, and he treats her with respect, unlike her father or brother. Perhaps she can escape her father’s influence forever.

Despite his suspicions, Rhett agrees to the deal and frees Cat from her father’s tyranny, at least for a time. But can he protect her when enemies from his past catch up to him?

Inspired by Rumpelstiltskin.

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The Huntsman stood in the darkest corner of the room, a solid, inky shadow in the growing dimness. Despite the malevolent impression created by hiding himself from me, I didn’t feel threatened. If anything, the opposite feeling lingered. Perhaps it was because he was so bluntly honest with me. It made a refreshing change from Father’s lies and offered hope that the Kurios had heard my prayers.

“Father wishes to be rid of me because I am useless for his purposes.”

“Oh?” His voice, rugged and husky, betrayed mild interest and nothing else.

“I talk back, argue, and refuse to comply with his orders. To make matters worse, I am lame.”

He frowned. “I see no cane.”

“I rarely need one.” I adjusted my weight to rest on my good leg and give my right foot a bit of a rest.

“May I see?”

“What?” I peered at him in alarm. “See what?”

“Your foot.” He stepped forward so that he was partially out of the shadows. My gaze first went to his hair. Gold-streaked brown, it was rumpled a bit about his forehead and ears despite the short crop. His dark eyes, almost black in the dim light, studied my face, waiting for a response. “That is what is injured, right?”

I nodded but didn’t offer it for his inspection. “I have not shown it to anyone since the accident.”

His lips pressed tightly in what might have been disapproval. Of me?

“How did the accident happen?” he asked. Again, he studied my features.

When had someone last asked that? Never. No one ever asked. Before I had recovered, my father had seen to it that everyone had heard his version of the story. Unless I wished to call him a liar and risk a confrontation that would end up with me nursing more than a mangled foot, I had been constrained to silence. “My father crushed it in a door.” I blinked back the burning in my eyes. “Though he will deny it.” I swallowed carefully.


I almost smiled. The man had a way of using as few words as possible. “I was seven.”

“And you are now?”

“Twenty-four.” I cleared my throat of the lump of gathering tears. “How old are you?”


I nodded.

“You approve?” Amusement tinged his voice, but when I glanced at him, there was no hint of humor about his expression.

“Not too old and not too young,” I explained.

“Just right.”

I nodded again, this time with a small smile.

“I am going to look.”

He knelt at my feet. Before I was ready, he lifted my lame foot. Off balance, my hands went to his head, fingers sinking into a mess of soft strands, as I struggled to stay upright. Despite his evident care, the sudden pressure of leaning on my twisted foot in his hand to compensate for my shifting balance made the constant ache of my foot ramp up to pain. Tears sprang to my eyes.

“Inspecting the merchandise?” I asked sharply.

“No.” He adjusted his grip, so he held my ankle instead of my foot. The impression of solid, warm fingers seemed to burn through my stockings as he removed my shoe. “Has it healed? Is it infected?”

“No and no.” Angry tears burned my eyes. Heat flushed my cheeks.

“Does this hurt?” He pressed my toes.


“And this?”

After a few more rounds of the same question and more pain, he finally replaced my shoe. Setting my foot back on the floor with far more care than he had picked it up, he waited until I had regained my balance before rising to his full height. Blinking away the tears, I waited for him to move, but he didn’t step away.

“Your father will do worse if I reject you?”

“Don’t worry about me. I will survive.” I studied his tunic front. The coarse wool was dyed a brown so dark it was almost black. Not precisely the clothing of a rich man. My father’s claims about the mysteries surrounding the man before me ranged from his great riches to his right to a lost title. I didn’t believe a word of any of them.
Rachel Rossano specializes in clean romantic fiction set in historical-feeling fantasy worlds. She also dabbles in straightforward historical romance and not-so-strict speculative fiction. A happily married mother of three children, she divides her time between mothering, teaching, and writing. She endeavors to enchant, thrill, entertain, and amuse through her work. A constant student, she seeks to improve her skills and loves to hear from readers.

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(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Xpresso Book Tours assumes all responsibility for everything pertaining to this giveaway.)

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Monday, August 30, 2021

NBtM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - Origen: A True Story of Evil by Peter J. Perry and Kathleen Elizabeth Sumpton

Welcome to my stop on the NBtM virtual book tour for Origen: A True Story of Evil by Peter J. Perry and Kathleen Elizabeth Sumpton. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as an interesting guest post from the authors. 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 along the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Origen: A True Story of Evil
Authors: Peter J. Perry and Kathleen Elizabeth Sumpton
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: June 9th 2021
Print Length: 285 pages
Genre: True Crime
Have you ever come face to face with the devil? In a tapestry of sports, business, and dating, there is an evil presence that is not quite visible to anyone: The Bedroom Strangler. A serial killer that scales fifteen storey buildings, enters through the balcony, and stealthily slithers under the bedroom bed, with the sole intent of raping and murdering innocent women in their sleep. He has been classified as the worst serial killer in Ontario history and Canada's most dangerous criminal ever, operating at the height of London's 40 year serial killer period, from 1974 - 1978.

The Bedroom Strangler is a member of a gym. It is the same gym the protagonist managed during the 1970's. Members of the gym trained and worked out together, never knowing their friend's true nature. In fact, Mike even introduced the killer to a female member friend at a gym party, a woman who lived in the same building as the murderer; a woman who would become his last victim. As a result of unprecedented tactics by police, Mike ends up becoming part of the investigation—but will he be able to stop this evil predator? It took 40 years to write this story and it's important to remember that this story is being told by someone who was there.

Origen: A True Story of Evil truly began when Mike's real-life persona, Peter J. Perry, was just 17 years old. At the time, he was just a student of St. Mary's College in Sault St. Marie who would carry out heated discussions with a priest, Father Lawlor, about the existence of the devil. Father Lawlor tells him that one day he might meet someone so evil, he will surely know the devil exists, and maybe he will do some good by it. And we will. Part of the proceeds of this novel are being contributed to good causes to respect both the victims and Father Lawlor.

The novel's title reflects a belief about the dynamic forms of energy as Origen believed that demons can take human form and humans can also be demonized. What follows is inspired by true events. All the names of characters have been changed and many of the events happened, although not all.

This painting of the gym scene, the dating scene, the underground fighting martial arts scene, the psychiatric scene, and Origen's beliefs may cause you to rethink the devil. If you dare to read the contents of this book, you can come to your own conclusion: Is there more to evil than what we think?

Based on an original screenplay by Peter Perry and Geoff Hart.

Property of the Origen Foundation Inc.

“Perfect.” Detective Williams stands on the scene looking down on the latest murder victim; a young blonde whose eye colour is now unknown. He glances around the room and at the other two lieutenants. Jenkins holds his stare. The gruff lieutenant next to Jenkins looks away. “Not a speck of dust. Not a single misplaced hair,” Williams says, walking about the room. He puts on a glove and reaches out to touch the girl’s hand. Her skin is cold.

“Did the medical examiner give a time of death?” Jenkins asks the other lieutenant.

The gruff lieutenant checks his notes. “He estimates between twenty-four to thirty hours ago.”

Williams looks up in surprise. “So, she died yesterday, early morning, before sunrise?” He questions the lieutenant.

Jenkins nods, a look of disdain on her face. “You’ve been right all along. Consistent pattern. Too consistent to be coincidence. It’s definitely him. Apartment looks cleaner than is realistically plausible. It’s as though no one even lived here... It’s him. He was here,” Jenkins tells him. She taps her pen on her notebook periodically as she speaks. A nervous tick. Williams notices she wants this killer caught just as much as he does.

Williams nods in agreement. Being vindicated is a hollow victory. All along, he has been hoping for some monumental turn of events to prove him wrong. In his heart, he knows he will never be that lucky. But here they are, gathered around another crime scene, the truth slowly revealing itself.

“Should we talk it through just to be thorough?” Jenkins asks. “The deaths are becoming more frequent. We have to get this right,” she says adamantly. Williams agrees wholeheartedly.

Williams himself isn’t opposed to it. What if it is something completely new? Something unprecedented like bad sleeping pills or a breakout of something viral. There is always that chance. But if that were the case, why only females? He doubted a virus would be selective. Williams gestures for Jenkins to start.

“If the room hadn’t been cleaned thoroughly, wouldn’t there be little blonde hairs everywhere from her brushing her hair before she went to bed?” Jenkins wonders aloud to the room.

“If not here in the bed, there would be at least some in the bathroom,” Williams adds.

Jenkins continues. “Wouldn’t there be a sock, or perhaps a bra or something, lost behind the bed? Something out of place somewhere in the bedroom of a student who doesn’t have time to look after such things because she’s either too busy studying or partying.”

The gruff lieutenant feels compelled to interject. “If she had sex recently, how do we prove it was from her killer, and not just someone she was partying with?” Williams could tell the lieutenant came to work for an easy paycheck and would prefer not to do all the hard work that was part of the job.

It was a good question, but Williams has the answer.

“We can check for evidence of necrophilia,” Jenkins states solemnly before Williams can answer.

“He might not have had sex with her while she was alive. In fact, he likely did it after she was dead.”

The gruff lieutenant tries not to seem shocked by the answer, but Williams can tell he is.

“The troubling question is: how is he getting access?” Williams points out. “Death doesn’t typically swoop down in the black of night and take perfectly healthy twenty-something females. These are girls who eat right, exercise, hold down jobs, go to school. There are more patterns emerging as his MO and signature grow. What I am worried about is the next step.”
PETER J. PERRY’S athletic accomplishments include being an eight-time Canadian open powerlifting champion from 1976-1984. He won the North American powerlifting championship in 1979, and dedicated his trophy to the woman he promised he would dedicate it to in this novel, Jessica. Peter was also the U.S. deadlift champion in 1980, International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) World Open fifth place in 1982, World Masters level-one drug-free powerlifting champion in 1991, and three-time Canadian Masters Powerlifting champion in the years 1991, 1992 and 1993. Best gym lifts certified by the IPF judge are: squat at 750 lbs, bench press at 450 lbs and deadlift at 775 lbs at a body weight of 208 lbs. Knee wraps and squat suit plus a lifting belt were the only pieces of equipment used.

Peter founded Peter Perry Insurance Agency LTD in 1978 and is still the operating president. The company is a London-based insurance and investment brokerage specializing in RRSPs, tax-free savings accounts, segregated funds, tax shelters, RRIFs & LIFs, creditor proofing, annuities, educational savings plans, GICs, and Mortgage insurances. Being a certified and award-winning independent brokerage allows Peter to custom-tailor financial portfolios to suit the specific needs of the client and easily make amendments as one journeys through the various stages of their life. Peter’s acclaimed background in health and fitness as a drug-free world & Canadian powerlifting champion makes him particularly mindful of retirement, health and long-term planning and incorporating all aspects of life into the advice he provides his clients.

Some interesting facts about Peter are that he was born in Toronto but grew up in Sault Ste. Marie. He became a St. Mary’s Knight due to his academics and sports and is a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Sault Ste. Marie. He was the manager of Vic Tanny’s gym from 1974 to 1978 before launching his insurance company and beginning a new career path.
KATHLEEN ELIZABETH SUMPTON is an advocate for the arts and often works with languages. With a passion for culture and a focus on communications, she is an Author. Poet, and Communications Professional with a primary focus on writing. She has a working background in fourteen different languages.

Her five-year plan is to secure two master’s degrees in English and business, followed by a PhD in English, while running her freelance business.

Her 10-year goal is to publish novels and other works in the genre of satire in order to strengthen communications locally and globally by discussing the proper use of language and terminology.

Her work brings awareness to large societal issues such as the criminal justice system, substance abuse, and mental health, a variety of topics everyone else is too afraid to talk about.

As a representative for members of the community as well as for her own projects, Kathleen hopes to enrich her surroundings with both the beauty and power writing holds. It is now her personal mission in life to provide meaning and entice insight through literature. When she is not busy with her work, you can find Kathleen enjoying the outdoors or spending time with family. Favourite hobbies are working out and people-watching. She operates out of Southern Ontario.

Do you believe humans are born evil or are we made evil? Why?

I find it very dubious that humans can be born evil.

Psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists may have less empathy than most, but this is largely due to having differences in the structure of their brain. Many psychopaths become successful business people, surgeons, ect.

The decision to kill is a choice, whether a psychopath or anyone else. The behavior usually evolves over time. For this reason, it seems more likely that evil is a progression that someone gradually grows into.

Origen Adamantius felt that demons could take human form or perhaps, more accurately, that humans could become demonized. As disturbing a concept as partial possession is, it still mean that humans become evil, they're not born that way.
Peter Perry and Kathleen Sumpton will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter.

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

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen

Welcome to my stop on the book blast for Relatively Normal Secrets by C.W. Allen. This book blast was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the blast wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on book blast for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Relatively Normal Secrets
Author: C.W. Allen
Publication Date: September 7th 2021
Print Length: 244 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Mystery Adventure
Like most siblings, Tuesday and Zed don't always get along. Unlike most siblings, their arguments are over things like whether their parents are hiding a life of crime, or are simply the weirdest adults on the planet. When they decide to go on the hunt for some solid evidence, things get weirder than ever: two thugs with shape-shifting swords show up, their dog shows off some tricks she definitely didn't learn in obedience school, and even their treehouse turns out to be more than meets the eye.

Their escape leaves Zed and Tuesday stranded in a land where robots and holograms live alongside quaint medieval villagers and soldiers on horseback. Soldiers who insist their father is a disgraced fugitive, and their dog a legendary monster.

If they ever want to see their parents again, they'll have to learn to work together. After all, they've got a mysterious code to break, secrets to unlock, bandits and soldiers to outwit, and a rowdy dog whose antics are getting more outrageous by the minute. Even if they manage to evade the eerie secret police and uncover enough clues to figure out what's really going on, they're not sure they're going to like the truth.

Zed and Tuesday will have to decide who to trust and what really matters, or they'll never get back to normal (whatever that is.) Because when it comes to normal, everything is relative.

At lunch, her father was the headlining topic of conversation. Perhaps, everyone joked, he was some kind of secret agent—if anyone found out what he really did all day, he'd have to erase their memories or have them deported to Jupiter. Tuesday made a hasty decision: better to ride the wave of laughter, than drown in it. This was ridiculous, of course!

Of course it was.

Tuesday heaved her backpack onto the lunch table and made a production of searching for a missing paper until the cafeteria’s collective attention bounded on to a new distraction. She retrieved last week’s History assignment and tried to look intensely interested in reviewing it, staring through the page with unfocused eyes while zoning out to the satisfying snapping sound her carrot sticks made, the pitch falling rhythmically as her teeth chopped each one shorter and shorter.

The newly-hatched suspicions about her parents’ routines burrowed in with the rest of the doubts nesting in her brain. It wasn’t just the way they sidestepped any mention of their lives before they had children. It wasn’t just their odd taste in names. It was just—oh, everything.

Her last name should have been different, for one thing; Tuesday was sure of it. Her father wouldn’t say what it might have been, but anything else would have been fine with her, really. Anything that wouldn’t make her a walking punchline. If her parents hadn’t been so weird, her mother would have taken her father’s last name when they got married, like normal people. Then Tuesday could have inherited his name, instead of just his face.
C.W. Allen is a Nebraskan by birth, a Texan by experience, a Hoosier by marriage, and a Utahn by geography. She knew she wanted to be a writer the moment she read The Westing Game at age twelve, but took a few detours along the way as a veterinary nurse, an appliance repair secretary, and a homeschool parent.

She recently settled in the high desert of rural Utah with her husband, their three children, and a noisy flock of orphaned ideas. Someday she will create literary homes for all of them. (The ideas, not her family.)

Relatively Normal Secrets (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, Fall 2021) is her debut novel. She writes fantasy novels for tweens, picture books for children, and short stories and poems for former children. Her work will appear in numerous anthologies in 2021. She is also a frequent guest presenter at writing conferences and club meetings, which helps her procrastinate knuckling down to any actual writing.

C. W. Allen 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 assumes all responsibility for everything related to this giveaway.)

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Sunday, August 29, 2021

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway: Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for Trace of Doubt by DiAnn Mills. This blog tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I am spotlighting the book. I also have a sweet guest post from the author about family as well as 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: Trace of Doubt
Author: DiAnn Mills
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: September 7th 2021
Print Length: 432 pages
Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense
Fifteen years ago, Shelby Pearce confessed to murdering her brother-in-law and was sent to prison. Now she’s out on parole and looking for a fresh start in the small town of Valleysburg, Texas. But starting over won’t be easy for an ex-con.

FBI Special Agent Denton McClure was a rookie fresh out of Quantico when he was first assigned the Pearce case. He’s always believed Shelby embezzled five hundred thousand dollars from her brother-in-law’s account. So he’s going undercover to befriend Shelby, track down the missing money, and finally crack this case.

But as Denton gets closer to Shelby, he begins to have a trace of doubt about her guilt. Someone has Shelby in their crosshairs. It’s up to Denton to stop them before they silence Shelby—and the truth—forever.

Watch the book trailer by clicking here or by watching below.
"Filled with high stakes, high emotion, and high intrigue."LYNN H. BLACKBURN, award-winning author of UNKNOWN THREAT and ONE FINAL BREATH

Trace of Doubt is a suspense reader’s best friend. From page one until the end, the action is intense and the storyline keeps you guessing.” EVA MARIE EVERSON, bestselling author of FIVE BRIDES and DUST

“DiAnn Mills serves up a perfect blend of action, grit, and heart. . . Trace of Doubt takes romantic suspense to a whole new level.” JAMES R. HANNIBAL, award-winning author of THE PARIS BETRAYAL

“Well-researched . . . with some surprising twists along the way. In Trace of Doubt, Mills weaves together a tale of faith, intrigue, and suspense that her fans are sure to enjoy.” STEVEN JAMES, award-winning author of SYNAPSE and EVERY WICKED MAN
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She is a storyteller and creates action-packed, suspense-filled novels to thrill readers. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Retreats: Marketing, Speakers, Nonfiction and Novelist with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion for helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

What Does Family Mean to You?
by DiAnn Mills

The term family is an endearing quality we place on those we love. We do more than have affection for them but value, trust, and respect for who they are. The blood ties are often heart ties, and we don’t have to be related to call each other family. We long to be with these people and spend quality time with them. The sense of belonging fills us with peace, an often-rare experience in today’s busy world when others fail to support or encouragement us.

Most of us consider the definition of family as children and parents or adults related by blood or marriage. Ancestry is another important aspect of the meaning. Yet other definitions show us how the word expands to unite people, young and old, such as faith, beliefs, culture, and friendships. The idea of size, gender, race, and opinions has nothing to do with how we view family; those things don’t matter. We accept our likes and differences in a social atmosphere.

Our family isn’t necessarily limited to just the human species. Especially in the case of pets, animals and birds can fill the void of either a childless home or a home with lots of children. Single people and the elderly both cherish their pets. Distinct personalities bind the owner and the animal into a type of family.

We’ve heard the cliché: “If I could only pick my family like I pick my friends.” The statement bothers me because we’ve been given our family for a reason . . . to help each other through our strengths and show them the art of caring with no thought of reward.

The key to unlocking the door of one’s family is unconditional love. This means we can make mistakes, ask forgiveness, and the relationship continues to grow. Sometimes relationships grow stronger when we walk through a challenge together. The true family who experiences life together rejects the idea of conditional affection—I’ll love you if you do this for me.

Boundaries play an important part in keeping us mentally balanced. Relationships can be tricky, even complicated, and each member is blessed or not-so-blessed with traits that may need to be kept in check.

When we’re stressed or lonely, family memories soothe us, allowing special moments to surface like a treasure chest. Sometimes when we open the chest, a forgotten event brings back more reasons why we cherish this person or people. We long for the relationship to continue and never end.

What does family mean to you?
Win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card - four winners!
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(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Lone Star Book Blog Tours assumes all responsibility for everything related to this giveaway.)

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Saturday, August 28, 2021

Book Tour and Giveaway: The Librarian's Treasure by Katherine H. Brown

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for The Librarian's Treasure by Katherine H. Brown. This book tour was organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours. On my stop, I'm spotlighting the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card and other prized. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Librarian's Treasure
Author: Katherine H. Brown
Publication Date: August 19th 2021
Print Length: 222 pages
Genre: Low Fantasy, Mystery
Libraries, leprechauns, & evil landlords, oh my!

Join Raegan Sheridan as she sets out on a journey with a dashing stranger and an ornery kitten to the home of the mother she never knew, at the behest of her father's people whom she never met, to save a village she knows nothing about.

The Librarian's Treasure is a little fantasy, a little mystery, and a lot to love.

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Katherine Brown is a Texas girl with books in her blood. She has been reading as long as she can remember and has been “making books” from the time she was a child. Her first few were of a non-traditional binding – cardboard & wrapping paper stapled with handwritten pages in the middle & a ribbon closure! Her love of books runs deep and she hopes to encourage readers of all ages to explore and use their imagination by helping them fall in love with books just like she did. Katherine is married to a wonderful man, Patrick, and has a spunky, smart, amazing step-daughter Lexi. Lexi is the biggest fan of this author’s first published series, School is Scary, and is constantly asking when the next book will be finished so she can read it too.

When not writing or reading, you can often find Katherine eating chocolate or enjoying time with family. 

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First Winner: Book tote, bookmarks, a shamrock charm bracelet, and an eBook of The Lady and the Leprechaun (prequel to The Librarian's Treasure) by Katherine H. Brown

Second Winner: Bookmarks and an eBook of The Lady and the Leprechaun by Katherine H. Brown

Third Winner: $10 Amazon gift card
(Open worldwide.)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Silver Dagger Book Tours assumes all responsibility for this giveaway.)
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Friday, August 27, 2021

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Hotel Series by Michael James

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Hotel Series by Michael James. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the first book as well as a guest post about fear 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!
No one has ever escaped from the Hotel at the End of Time. Until now.

Vain only wants to be left alone, but the Hotel has other plans. Forces will align against her: a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes.

The only way forward is to go back. Back to the one place in the world she swore she'd never return.

Back to the Hotel.
Title: The Hotel at the End of Time
Series: The Hotel #1
Author: Michael James
Publication Date: February 4th 2021
Print Length: 236 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Vain is the only person to ever escape from the Hotel at the end of time. On her way out, she took their prized possession: A Padlock that grants immortality.

They will do anything to get it back.

The forces of the Hotel are aligned against her: mundane items turned into weapons; a group of multi-dimensional felons collectively named The Wyatts; and their leader, Trick, a mild-to-medium psychopath with a fondness for impractical jokes.

Everything changes when Vain meets Emma, a timid grad student with impossible and terrifying powers. Together, they are propelled into an adventure that will see them battle the Wyatts, blow up several objects of significant value, and quite by accident, discover a way to stop the Hotel.

Even with Emma, Vain has a lot of problems to deal with.

She’s exhausted from being hunted.

Stopping the Hotel might kill them.

She has a hangnail.

But Vain is resourceful. Vain is clever.

And she always has a plan.

“How is it for you?” Emma stood up and dusted herself off. “How do you do it?”

Vain tilted her head. “You know how when everyone tells you what to do, tries to get you to act in a certain way, but when their head is turned, you punch their d*ck into slush?”

“I do not. Not at all. I’m not even sure you’ve described a real thing.”

“Well, that’s what using the power is like to me. I channel that emotion.”

“If I ever encountered a culture where the emotion associated with genital-punching as a response to be being told what to do was so commonplace they needed a word for it, I would never, ever visit them.”

“Sweden must have a word for that. Aren’t they constantly incoherent with rage?”

Emma shook her head. “Without knowing one word of Swedish, I’m positive they do not have a specific word for that.”


“How is this helping me? You said you’d teach me how to use these powers.”

“I will,” said Vain. “Think of me as your own personal Yoda.”

“The tree frog from the Star Wars movies?
Title: The Well at the Bottom of Everything
Series: The Hotel #2
Publication Date: August 3rd 2021
Print Length: 252 pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Vain thought destroying the Portal to the Hotel at the End of Time would mean freedom for her and Roman, but her happy ever after is coming to an end.

A horrible mistake and a stray bullet force her to infiltrate the Hotel and contend with a new and terrible power: The Well at the Bottom of Everything.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken.

The Hotel will have its revenge.

Michael James spent his formative years writing, and when he wasn't writing, he was writing. A mistaken belief that a "real" job would be more satisfying led him down a dark path that did not involve writing but did involve meetings. Fortunately, he has since course-corrected and is back on the right (write? Ha!) path. The Hotel at the End of Time is not his first book, but it is the one with the most Hotels in it.

He lives in Canada with his family. When he's not writing, he does Canadian things - saying sorry a lot, being polite, talking about the weather, you know how it goes.

This isn't exactly the scariest thing that's ever happened to me, but let me share my five greatest fears.

1. Diving into a pool, only to emerge in the middle of an unfamiliar ocean.

I should probably take the word "unfamiliar" out of this one, because I'm not actually sure it would be that comforting even if you could identify which major body of water you had emerged in. "Oh thank god, the Pacific." What's the implication here? That you dove into a magic time portal? This is the single reason I don't use diving boards.

2. The pile of leaves in the corner of your backyard resolves into human form and points at you

We all have a giant leaf pile in our backyard, but normally it's harmless. But oh no, what if it's not? Why does the leaf pile take shape? What does it want? Why does it point? Logically, you'd think the leaf monster would be your friend. After all, if it wasn’t for you thoughtfully raking his disparate parts into one pile, he would have never been able to spring to life.

3. An infant that speaks perfect English, except with a deep, terrifying voice.

Every parent on the planet is in perpetual competition with every other parent on the planet, and speaking is one of the key milestones. Can your kid speak yet? Does he have words? Mine reads the thesaurus. Oh, yours only says "gaa"? Don't worry, I think Taco Bell still hires as long as they can learn where to point the meat tube. Imagine you are holding your precious bundle of baby joy, perhaps cooing some vapid kids song at it when it turns to you and with complete awareness in its little eyes says "I honestly despise mushed peas."

4. Turning on the TV and having a face just stare at you

This also leads into another lesser fear I have, namely that I won't be able to turn off appliances, even after I unplug them. There's nothing inherently menacing about that, except maybe that some entity is forcing me to consume electricity. I'm not clear how that would show up on my hydro bill. When the appliances are unplugged are they still using my electricity? They better not be, the bastards.

Anyway, the face doesn't really do anything, it just kind of stares at you. And you can't turn the channel either, which means you miss the last season of Game of Thrones.

5. Not being able to think of a fifth thing for this list

Apparently this is my biggest fear.
Michael James 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 prize. Goddess Fish Promotions assumes all responsibility.)
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