Saturday, December 31, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: One Hundred Dreams (An Aspen Cove Romance #22) by Kelly Collins

Title: One Hundred Dreams
Series: An Aspen Cove Romance #22
Author: Kelly Collins
Publisher: Book Nook Press
Publication Date: December 29th 2022
Print Length: 232 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance

He’s a man trying to keep things under control.

She’s a woman yearning to break free.

Is this a disaster waiting to happen or a love story in the making?

Actress Cameron Madden is sick and tired of being tired. With her last movie failing at the box office and her career in question, she heads to Aspen Cove to lick her wounds. The small mountain town is the perfect place to escape the prying eyes of a critical public, the demands of her career, and the rules set by her team. Expecting a female bodyguard named Valery, she’s shocked to find the script has been flipped and Valery is a tall, dark, and annoying man who goes by Val. The first thing he does is hand her a set of rules—his rules. And she plans to break every one of them.

The last thing bodyguard Valery Armstrong wants to do is babysit an actress, but when the job comes in, he is the only one available. Saving the day and picking up the pieces is what he’s been doing since his father passed away. That single event ten years ago taught him one thing—prepare for every possibility. Before agreeing to take on Cameron, he asks himself how difficult could one woman be? When he arrives, he hands her the list, then watches as she gifts him with a heart-stopping smile—right before tearing the page to pieces. How difficult could one woman be? Cameron Madden is about to show him.

Aspen Cove, where rules are made to be broken…

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She squeezed his fingers until they lost all feeling. “Are we crashing?”

He glanced out the window, and while they were tottering from side to side, they were still in the air, and not plunging nose-first to the ground below them.

“No, it’s a mechanical malfunction of some kind.” He looked at the flight attendant, who was the color of a passing cloud, closed his eyes, and made a promise to himself. If they got out of this mess alive, he’d never fly again. “They’re trained for this. We’ll be fine.” It was false confidence because he felt like they’d be anything but fine. What would happen if this was his last moment? Would his family be able to run the business without him? The weight of their lives had sat on his shoulders for over a decade.

Cameron started to whimper. “I’m too young to die. There are so many things I haven’t done that I want to do.”

She was working herself up to a full-blown cry, and Val knew if he didn’t get her to focus on something other than the likelihood of a crash, she’d fall apart before the plane did.

He turned and stared into her eyes. “Tell me something you want to do.”

“I want to learn how to drive.”

His head snapped back. “You don’t know how to drive?”

She shook her head. “It’s not easy being famous.” She laughed, but it was more like a nervous cackle. “I know that sounds so lame, but I never got to do stuff that others did, like go to prom, and drive a car. I’ve never been to an amusement park or gone camping.”

“I love camping. I always wanted to run an outdoor recreation company.” If he hadn’t taken over Vortex when his father passed, he would have run a company that specialized in outdoor adventures.

She twisted in her seat to look at him. “Why don’t you do that now?”

He pointed to her with his free hand—the hand she wasn’t squeezing every drop of blood from with her death grip.

“This is what I do. It’s what’s expected.” The last words his father said to him were, “Keep it together.”

“I understand.”

He imagined she did. She was brought up in show business and was expected to follow in her mom’s footsteps. He got that because his life was the same. Only in his case people counted on him. With her, she was free to do what she wanted as an adult.

“Do you like acting?”

She stared at him like it was the craziest question in the world. “It’s what I do.”

He nodded. “I get it, but do you love it?”

“Sure,” she said without conviction.

The plane rocked to one side, and the attendant yelped.

“Look at me.” He leaned down so Cameron had to look him in the eyes. “If you could do anything else in the world, what would it be?”

She looked around her as if to make sure no one was listening or recording. “I’d open a coffee shop with a lending library, and everyone could come and sit there and read all day. At night, I’d do an open mic where fledgling artists could treat us to their craft, whether it was poetry or guitar or comedy.”

“That sounds wonderful. You should do that. Can you make coffee?”

“I make a mean latte.” They banked to the left and she held his hand harder. Her knuckles were as sharp as blades, and he was certain he’d be maimed for life from her grip. “You should open an outdoor adventure company. Life is too short not to do what you love.”

She was right. “Okay, if we make it out of this, we’ll follow our dreams, right?”

She took his other hand and pinned him with her stare. As he looked into her amethyst eyes, he saw that while they were purple, the inner and outer rims of her iris had silver specks that made them all the more beautiful. They were like rare gemstones, and he could spend an hour looking into her eyes and never tire of it.
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International bestselling author of more than thirty novels, Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping love alive. Always a romantic, she blends real-life events with her vivid imagination to create characters and stories that lovers of contemporary romance, new adult, and romantic suspense will return to again and again.

Kelly has sold more than a quarter of a million books worldwide, and in 2021 she was awarded a Readers' Favorite Award Gold Medal in the Contemporary Romance category for A Tablespoon of Temptation.

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Friday, December 30, 2022

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: Beyond the Father (gods on Trial: The Series™ #1) by Opëshum Patroz

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for Beyond the Father by Opeshum Patroz. This blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book and the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card or an autographed paperback of the book. Be sure to visit the rest of the stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Beyond the Father
Series: gods on Trial: The Series™ #1
Author: Opëshum Patroz
Publisher: 1ir3 Publishers
Publication Date: October 31st 2022
Print Length: 269 pages
Genre: Epic Science Fiction
Beyond the Father” sets the scene for the 8-book Sci-Fi Epic “gods on Trial: The Series,” delving into life’s determination to transcend all limitation. Set on the planet Xżyber, citizens of the Sub-Median Region, imperfectly reborn into metal, oppress those who are organic.

Elsewhere, in the Central Kingdom, religion supports royalty’s brutal domination of the lowest class. War over scarce resources is coming, revolution within each region is brewing, and none know of the eccentric god who created them. This being watches, has fascinating conversations with his often-wiser companion, occasionally learns, and rarely intervenes. The many levels and threads of struggle distract nearly all from a far greater threat.

Meanwhile, the young Prince Anglid’s vision quest into the unexplored Area X may ultimately change everything. However, just when you think you know the direction of the story, the author has yet another surprise.

**The eBook is on sale for only $1.00.**

Purvi’s face turned red as her anger mounted inside of her. The unfriendly exchange reminded her of the last time she spoke with Timmons, her grandfather. It was the day he had declined his chance to be uploaded to the Vangora Rima and achieve eternal presence.

It was a sullen afternoon, with the family and Timmons’ doctor. As they huddled around the bed where Timmons lay weak, his doctor implored him to reconsider his decision, given he was in the last few days of his life. However, Timmons refused to agree to the upload.

This was an opportunity his family could not fathom he would turn down, and an option only typically available to those who were at least 80% Mollard, or to those who had the means to invest in the technology.

However, Timmons, a brilliant Xżyberian—whose only misfortune was the constraints of poverty—had managed to write numerous social advisories intended to promote harmony between Mollards and Non-Mollards. He’d had hopes that his musings would provide him a source of regular income, but his published works were only well received by some. Highly criticized by most, he quickly won the label of an iconoclast and found himself forced into obscurity.

Yet still, his message captivated the Luminaries—the presiders over news and commentary—who deemed that Timmons’ writings could be useful in the management and wellbeing of the Non-Mollard community, and should be archived as a collection of noble artifacts.

With this came the rarest honor—the right to upload his consciousness to the Vangora Rima until a fully prosthetic body was constructed for him.

Purvi’s mother, who was the only surviving daughter of Timmons, sat by his bedside pleading with him to accept the offer. And Purvi, almost nineteen-years-old at the time, sat on the floor weeping.

“Dearest father, the Vangora Rima has never been within our family’s grasp before,” cried Purvi’s mother, Ariel. “We may never get there—any of us. So, why would you walk away from this now?”

Timmons struggled to speak. “Take my hand, Ariel,” he said through strained breathing. “Please remember what I taught you . . . what I taught all of you about desperation.” Timmons opened his eyes slightly. “It can and will cloud your view and disrupt your clearest thoughts.”

“But, Grandfather!” interjected Purvi. “We love you, and we want you to live forever!” Purvi placed her head down onto the bed, wiping her tears against Timmons’ frail arm.

“Ah, Purvi. My little Purvi,” he said, stroking her hair. “The Vangora Rima would not give you back the grandfather you know. The system would scrub me clean of what it deemed were my imperfections: my concern, and my empathy…my ability to love you.”

“I don’t care about how much it would change you, Grandfather,” Purvi cried. “I have enough love for the both of us.” Purvi looked up, her eyes filled with so much water she could barely see. “I am stronger than you think I am! I will love you even if you can’t love me back!”

“Shh . . . my darling, Purvi.” Timmons whispered. “Please gather yourself and listen to what I have to say.” Timmons removed a ring from his smallest finger and placed it in the palm of one of her hands. “One day, Purvi . . .” he whispered. “One day, when you are fully grown, you will look into the face of pure evil, and I am eternally grateful that that face will not be mine.”

That was the last time Purvi heard her grandfather speak.
Opëshum has been writing since she was a child, and believes that authors are selected by their characters to bring their stories to the world. Incredibly shy and introverted, Opëshum does not make public appearances. She prefers to remain behind the scenes as the characters in her books take center stage. Her current work, the 8-Book SciFi Epic gods on Trial: The Series™ kicks off with Book 1, BEYOND THE FATHER.

Opëshum calls Sheridan, Wyoming her home, where she is currently writing Book 2 of this series. She lives in a modest Cape Cod dwelling on 3 acres of land where she lets a robust variety of sunflowers grow wild and untamed, while Aloe Vera and other succulents decorate almost every ledge within her house. An avid writer in the early morning and late at night, Opëshum often works on her manuscripts in rooms lit only by homemade candles.

She enjoys nature walks, full moons, and open spaces where she can stare up at the stars.

"I live my life in the shadows, and I am shy. For I know that my appearance is not pleasing to the eye." - Opëshum Patroz

Opëshum Patroz will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card or an autographed paperback of Beyond the Father to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Cut From Stone (Crafting Humanity #1) by Brendan O'Meara

Title: Cut From Stone
Series: Crafting Humanity #1
Author: Brendan O’Meara
Publication Date: September 29th 2022
Print Length: 345 pages
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

The world is fresh from humanity splitting in half – the BlankZone in the East and the Federation in the West. As an inevitable attack from the BlankZone looms, the Federation makes swift, mysterious, and unexpected moves to prepare.

James, a 17-year-old living in the Federation, is drafted by the military. He learns he has been selected to join a group of skilled teens who will be transformed into elite human weapons. Follow James and his friends as they mature from teenagers to lethal warriors. Together, they will face life altering events as they navigate a new existence dedicated to protecting their friends, families, and humanity at all costs.

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One of the motherships from the BlankZone sat offshore. Its size alone was enough to cause concern from any angle, but it surprised him how calm he was looking at one of the largest warships ever created moored miles away from his current location.

“Jesus, man, how the hell did you survive?” James heard Clint say before he was embraced in his vicelike grip, the shorter mechanic’s biceps constricting James’s body until he thought he heard a crunch.

“Let him go. You’re gonna strangle him,” Stacie said, tapping Clint’s arm.

“I shouldn’t have let you go home,” Clint said, letting him go and standing back, shaking his head. “You didn’t know what was gonna happen. Relax man. We’ve got a battle to plan.” James said, putting a reassuring hand on Clint’s shoulder.

“Jon, Stacie, I need updates. What’s happening out there?” James asked, turning to face the floating screens forming one of the Nest’s walls.

“Looks like they’re taking a break. Haven’t seen any other missiles coming into the city for a few minutes,” Jon said from behind him while the images changed to various scenes of damage spread all over the city.

There must be thousands dead, James thought.

“Do we know what they were using to bomb us?” James asked, zooming in on one of the blast sites and focusing on the melted metal pooling in superheated ponds.

“Nothing we’ve seen before, but none of this is. They’ve managed to decimate the city in an hour,” Stacie said, her voice crisp, clear, and analytical. “In our best estimate this was, frankly, the worst-case scenario.” James heard the break in her demeanor at the end of the sentence before he flipped his view to the ship off the coast.

Ten miles offshore, according to the HOLO’s distance finder, a ship the size of a skyscraper hung in the air elevated just slightly off the water. He couldn’t tell what part of the ship he was looking at, but his mind was stuck trying to piece together the mini nuclear station they would need to move the behemoth to the shore let alone across the ocean.

He took a breath, realizing they were up against an enemy no one understood before turning around to address the team when he heard a rumble from the HOLO emitters’ speakers. The ship opened, its armor plate covering the top pulled back, revealing a row of cannons stretching the length of the ship.

The front armor retracted until it disappeared under the ship’s bow. Meanwhile, the cannons lowered themselves, revealing another row of cannons behind them lining the length of the ship. The two rows of weaponry lowered themselves until they were parallel to the water.

What the hell is happening? James thought, hoping he was wrong about what was coming next.
Raised in White Plains, New York, Brendan O’Meara formed a love of stories and books from a young age. He has spent his free time over the last decade crafting his debut novel, Cut From Stone, book one in the Crafting Humanity series.

It began in Philadelphia where he attended college daydreaming about a dystopian reality. With a vivid imagination (as described by his middle school teachers) and a passion for adventure, Brendan’s novels will transport you to a different life and capture you from cover to cover.

Brendan lives in Washington, DC with his daughter, wife, and two dogs. You will find him on the weekends drinking a beer watching the Packers and Notre Dame football games. He is an avid reader with a specific interest in sci-fi, anything dystopian, fantasy, history, and all levels of fiction.

Brendan would love to hear from you, feel free to contact him any time at

Finally, visit Brendan's website and sign up for his email lists for news, updates, and information on the rest of the Crafting Humanity series. He will not spam you!

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Win a $25 Amazon gift card and a print copy of Cut From Stone by Brendan O'Meara - open worldwide!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Xpresso Book Tours and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

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Thursday, December 29, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Chronicles of Deneb Series by Zanne Raby

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for The Chronicles of Deneb series by Zanne Raby. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the series and the author also answers which character was the most interesting to write in a fantastic guest post. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Series: The Chronicles of Deneb
Author: Zanne Raby
Publisher: Ridgecrest Books
Genre: Science Fiction Space Opera
The Chronicles of Deneb is a science-fiction/space opera series set in the near future. The year is 2080 CE. The world is dying. Get ready to travel into the future to a time when nothing is certain. Where the science behind climate change was ignored, leading to drought and famine plaguing an already overpopulated globe. Massive waves of refugees stream across the planet, seeking sanctuary. Where terrorist groups have joined forces with biohackers to develop a deadly bio-engineered disease that marches across the continents like a conquering army, leaving millions dead in its murderous swathe.

Meanwhile, some of the best and brightest minds on the planet are feverishly at work - constructing gigantic Space Arks to shuttle hundreds of thousands of people to a colony on Mars. And it seems like there’s more good news: world leaders announce that a vaccine is ready. It’s all good; it’s all returning to normal.

But the truth is very different. In THE FLIGHT OF THE MAYFLOWER, the first novel in The Chronicles of Deneb, Dr. Daniel Radu – project manager for NASA’s Space Ark Mayflower – uncovers a global conspiracy of immense proportions. But Daniel cooks up a scheme of his own. Joined by a team of global experts, he and his colleagues brace themselves for a journey of a lifetime as they trek across the galaxy in a quest for survival.
Mayhem follows the Mayflower in the second book of The Chronicles of Deneb series, DESCENT INTO DARKNESS. Journey along with the crew of the Space Ark Mayflower as they adapt to their new home on the planet Deneb. But along with their struggle to integrate into an alien culture, a new battle sweeps across the planet with the arrival of the human-transmitted Chimera bactovirus, bringing war and fanning the flames of racial intolerance. With a bloody conflict now raging across the planet, the crew of the Mayflower is split between the two factions and embroiled in the chaos and destruction.

FIRES OF FURY is the third installment in The Chronicles of Deneb. Will the survivors of the Space Ark Mayflower find their way when cultures clash and the fires of fury threaten to consume their lives? Now masquerading as citizens of the Collective, the Mayflower crew has a new reason to fear. With the end of the Second Denebian War, Wesselan’s General Pallav Kóbor and his astrophysicist wife, Dr. Tara Kóbor, have high hopes that life will return to normal on Deneb7. Yet nothing can be further from the truth.In a diabolical plot to erase the scars left by the Second Denebian War, warlord turned Wessel Head of State Gomalan unleashes a fiendish scheme to heal his nation’s wounds, while his top soldier, General Ravenna, falls under the spell of a seductive Fyjer agent intent on crushing their ambitions. Dragged into a brutal reality of terror and intrigue, can the Kóbors and warbird ace Fynn Vogel remain unscathed, or will the flames consume them and all that is evil on Deneb-7?

A willowy brunette with shining brown eyes burst from the shadows, almost scaring Daniel out of his skin. “Tara,” he gasped, trying to quiet his heart. “What the hell? The president’s due here any second.” Dr. Tara Kóbor, the Nobel-prize winning astrophysicist who had discovered the find of the century – an Earth-like planet cuddled up in the Goldilocks zone of its star – was wearing a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon. “You heard the news, right? I mean, the broadcasts are on fire. They’ve developed a vaccine! And whoever’s on the first shuttle flight is top priority. That means…”

He could hear heavy footsteps pounding on the hangar floor: time to play show and tell. Taking her by the shoulder, Daniel shepherded his friend to the bulkhead door. “It means you gotta get outta here. We’ll celebrate later,” he promised.

Just then, a bevy of bodyguards swooped in, all earpieces and dark glasses, and Daniel stood back as they robotically carried out their duties. No need really, NASA’s Chief of Security had seen to that. Out of the corner of his eye, Daniel spotted Tara’s husband, Lt-Col Pallav Kóbor, dwarfing the president’s team as he walked them through the hangar. He could hear the click click click of the cameras as the president approached with his staff trailing behind like good little shadows.

Show time, he mumbled to himself, wiping the sweat from his palms on his cobalt-blue NASA tunic.
Since the days of the Napoleonic War, there has always been a member of Zanne Raby's family in uniform. Choosing to follow in the footsteps of her ancestors, Zanne joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1980, and was selected to attend the Royal Military College of Canada – the first year that women were accepted into that prestigious academy of learning. After graduation, she studied to become a Transportation and Movements Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

During a career spanning 38 years, some of the most memorable experiences involved command of 8 Mission Support Squadron as part of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, leading a study on support to the Canadian Arctic involving several trips to Northern Canada, including Canadian Forces Station Alert (the most northern settlement in the world), a three–year tour with NATO at Joint Force Command Brunssum, a deployment as the NATO Liaison Officer to United States Central Command, and finally a nomination as the Deputy Commander for the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group.

After hanging up the uniform and putting away the combat boots, Zanne bought a small acreage in Central Ontario and designed her own house. With an office overlooking the picturesque shores of Georgian Bay, surrounded by maps and images of alien worlds, she is pursuing her life-long ambition to become an author. Enough of the reports and returns that littered her desk over her career, now she could turn her attention to unleashing the creativity that had taken a back seat to the analytical world of logistics. The time had come to shake the dust off and begin a new career. The winds of change had called.

Zanne is currently crafting The Chronicles of Deneb, a sci-fi series that will take the reader from a dystopian earth on a voyage across the galaxy in search of a safe haven. But the planets the team discover provide anything but the sanctuary they sought.

When not behind the keyboard, Zanne enjoys travel, photography, hiking, and gardening. And always, a good story to pass the time.

- Which of your characters was the most interesting to write about and why?

Now I have to start out by saying that there are (so far) three novels that make up the sci-fi space opera series “The Chronicles of Deneb”, and I would say that the most interesting character varies between the novels.

In The Flight of the Mayflower, the first novel in the series, I’d say that would be Dr. Daniel Radu. Daniel’s the project manager for NASA’s Space Ark Mayflower and in 2080 CE, he’s the one who discovers the conspiracy that propels him and his crew on a three year journey across our galaxy. Although Daniel’s a genius – he did design a starship for deep space travel after all – at home he’s just an ordinary guy who likes barbecues and beaches and his family. And when things go wrong, he lets his emotions get the better of him. Now some will say that an engineer working on one of the most important projects in human history probably would be more rational, and to be truthful, if I were marooned on a desert island, I’d want Daniel with me – the guy can build pretty much anything – but he can let his ego get in the way as well. It was interesting to write Daniel because of his very layered character.

Now skipping forward and talking about Descent into Darkness, I would have to go with my fighter pilot turned warbird ace, Fynn Vogel. Fynn’s a lot of fun, young, energetic, and a daredevil in the air. He sharpened his combat skills during the earlier Refugee Wars and was chosen, along with his wife Erica Rosendahl, to pilot the Space Ark on its journey. Fynn’s a warrior but when it comes to who wears the pants, it’s Erica all the way. He might be able to blast an enemy warbird out of the ionosphere with one eye closed, but there’s no way he can stand up to the force of nature that Erica is. You could say she’s got him wrapped around her apron strings, except that Erica’s not the kind of woman who’s at home in the kitchen since she’s every bit as good a pilot as her husband. Fynn’s happy to play second fiddle on firm ground, but the split second he hops into his warbird, he’s got only one thing on his brain – he’s out for blood and total annihilation of the enemy. Describing his airborne exploits was a true joy for me, since I’m an Air Force veteran. I believe the dichotomy of Fynn the sweet husband to Vogel the ruthless warbird ace made his character one of the most interesting to write about.

In the third novel, Fires of Fury, it all shifts. Both Daniel and Fynn are human but General Ravenna, the leader of the Wessel Army, is an alien. She’s a woman at the top, one who had to be better at her craft than the guys, while keeping her emotions in check. A bit of a wild child as a young woman, all that changed when she suffered a combat injury as a junior officer. While that caused her to leave her uninhibited side behind, this metamorphosis into a no-nonsense, serious woman garnered her respect and earned her promotion after promotion. What makes Ravenna interesting is how tough she appears to anyone on the outside, when she actually does have a heart under that hard exterior. She’s brilliant, funny, strong and at the same time has an innocent side that she herself doesn’t recognize. She comes up against some pretty difficult odds in Fires of Fury, and like the true warrior she is, Ravenna triumphs. What made Ravenna the most interesting character for me in this novel was her ability to stand up to challenges, to out think her adversaries and to come out on top without making any sacrifices. She’s one smart alien woman!
Zanne Raby will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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

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Excerpt Tour and Giveaway - Last Chance Town: Further Adventures Along the Road Without End (Road Without End Trilogy #3) by Ron Kearse

Welcome to my stop on the excerpt tour for Last Chance Town: Further Adventures Along the Road Without End by Ron Kearse. 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: Last Chance Town: Further Adventures Along the Road Without End
Series: Road Without End Trilogy #3
Author: Ron Kearse
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Publication Date: August 25th 2022
Print Length: 211 pages
Genre: LGBTQ+ Contemporary Fiction
In this, the Further Adventures Along the Road Without End, we fast forward from where the story left off in 1983, to Vancouver, BC, in 1988. Warren Givens has completed his second jail sentence four years previous, after which he's vowed to lay low and stay clean so there's no return to "Clown-College," as he calls it.

A chance meeting at a pub one night introduces us to Daryl Kellerman, at first as Givens' one night stand, which quickly develops into a love and live-in relationship between them.

Warren's distant past comes front-and-centre in the form of his birth mother, who lost him to Social Services before he was ten years old, and has been looking for him ever since.

We get to know Warren's past and what's made him the way he is.

This, along with some other drastic life changing occurrences, propel Warren into a life he never thought he would live.

Later, we get to know what life was like living with Givens through Daryl's eyes as he reminisces over the years since their initial meeting.

Last Chance Town is the third book in the Road Without End Trilogy.

Bill, the MC for the night, steps up to the mic. “Thanks Sylvia, and that was terrific. And now, reading from Last Chance Town, a memoir by Warren Givens, is the man who helped produce the book. Please welcome Daryl Kellerman.”

In my nervousness, I can barely hear the audience clap as I get up to adjust the mic a bit higher… and drop the book from my hand.

“SH*T!” I accidently say into the mic. Several in the audience members laugh. I smile and wave knocking the mic stand over. More people laugh.

Bill comes over and helps me get myself straightened up. I make a last-minute adjustment, find the bookmarked page, and address the audience.

“As Bill told you, I’m not Warren Givens, he passed away this very day back in 1991. People have been asking me about this jacket I’m wearing tonight, it belonged to Warren, his grandmother originally made it for his grandfather.

“It was especially important to Warren that this book be published. He wanted people to know about him—his life and his dreams—because he felt he never had a chance to live the life he really wanted. He wanted his book to be a testament to others to pursue their dreams and have the courage to live the life of their dreams.

“Before he died, he passed this project on to me to finish, and I am really pleased and honoured to be reading a portion of it to you this evening.”

The audience applauds.
Ron Kearse had a nomadic upbringing and finds inspiration in traveling, art, friends, reading, and photography. He's written reviews and features for local periodicals, co-hosted radio programs, conducted interviews on-air and in print, and has a colourful and varied resumé. He's hosted art exhibitions of his works and has had his photographs displayed in public showings. He presently lives in Victoria, BC, with his partner, James.

Ron Kearse 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 over this giveaway.)

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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

NBTM Virtual Book Tour - All We Leave Behind: Transits of Three (Transit #3) by Benjamin X. Wretlind

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for All We Leave Behind: Transits of Three by Benjamin X. Wretlind. This tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as an interesting guest post about where the ideas came from for the book. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: All We Leave Behind: Transits of Three
Series: Transit #3
Author: Benjamin X. Wretlind
Publication Date: December 20th 2022
Print Length: 520 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Their new paradise doesn't want them, but to what lengths will these tired colonists go to survive in spite of the odds and a world that rebels?

Following the exodus from rising floodwaters, the surviving descendants of those who came to create a society on a planet far from Earth have struggled to rebuild within the remains of an ancient temple. Now, as disease and an unfamiliar environment threaten to destroy them yet again, everyone seems to have an opinion about what to do next.

Miriam and Tobias Page, newly married, believe there may be a possible home beyond a distant canyon. Their journey with a quarter of the population doesn’t start well and soon nature and their own humanity will conspire to end it all. Meanwhile, Miriam’s two cousins, Joel and Micah, have different ideas. Joel is convinced the best course of action is to return to the mountains they left to mine for the ore that would make a great return to Earth possible. Micah hopes to stay, learn all he can about the temple’s previous occupants, and prove both of them wrong. But soon, he and his new partner Patience realize that no option is truly safe.

As the transits of three different groups get underway, new dangers and surprises emerge from within the rainforests, mountains, and deserts of the planet…and one of those may have followed them from Earth. While a final home is a dream away, present nightmares must be dealt with first if any of them are going to survive.

“How many?” Moran asked.

“Four. Just up ahead.” Tobias tightened his grip on his weapon. “Bethany is waiting for us.”

Moran stopped and watched as the caravan slowly edged toward the right, away from immediate danger. “Wish we had more to spare.”

“So do I.” Tobias took in a calming breath and let it out slowly. The nervousness in his stomach eased up. Miriam had taught him several techniques for dealing with fear, for calming his anxiety and sharpening his mind. He would forever be grateful to be married to a counselor, a therapist, a wise wizard of the brain’s complications.

“Ready?” Moran asked.

They both walked slowly toward Bethany’s position, their eyes locked on the trees where Tobias saw the four animals.

“Eight,” Bethany whispered as they approached. “Four more in a cluster of trees to the right of the others.”

“Typical pack. Haven’t heard the growl, yet,” Moran said. “Maybe they didn’t see us.”

“Oh, they did.” Tobias pointed to the tree with the first rychat he spotted. “I swear I saw that one lick its lips.”

“Well, we’ll have to take care of that.”

Moran raised his crossbow and took aim at the one Tobias pointed out. In tandem, both Tobias and Bethany raised their own weapons.

“One on the trunk,” Tobias whispered.

Bethany responded. “The big one to the right.”

The three were silent as they steadied themselves.
Benjamin X. Wretlind ran with scissors when he was five. He now writes, paints, uses sharp woodworking tools and plays with glue. Sometimes he does these things at the same time. 

Benjamin lives with his wife Jesse in Colorado.

- Where did the ideas for your characters come from?

There is an adage writers have heard in one form or another: write what you know. While I believe that can only be applied loosely to science fiction and fantasy (who knows what an elf on a faraway planet really looks like?), the characters are what connects the writer to the reader. As humans, we all share common emotions, so my goal is to get a character to resonate with a reader emotionally.

The characters in the Transit series are mostly based on real people I've known over the years, although most of them are mashups. Their appearance and voice are often created from television shows so I have an idea of what they look like, but their personalities are from my own experience. Miriam, for example, looks like Bobbie from The Expanse (Roberta Draper), but her role as a counselor to the colonists is a mirror of my wife's role as a therapist. Her husband Tobias is a buff version of Hawk from Cobra Kai (Eli Moskowitz minus the mohawk), but his character is based on a friend I had twenty or so years ago. Micah is a little like how I was when I was younger--always looking at the negative and love struck by those older than him--but we don't look anything alike. Aaron's attitude is a combination of people I've worked with who were always blaming someone else, and Joel's engineering background is a nod to two particular engineers I went to high school with.

I once told people I hear voices in my head, but I may not have been clear enough when they looked at me like I needed to see a psychiatrist. The voices I hear are those of the characters as they act a part. I start with a need (i.e., I need someone to do something in this scene) and then let the voices tell me who they are as the action progresses. As the story progresses, I get a better sense and might even be able to discover some physical trait that I didn’t realize at first. For example, Tobias has a cleft lip, Micah has a limp, Patience is missing an eye, and a character named Nemeth is on the autistic spectrum. Since those are subconsciously driven, I'm pretty sure that's why I have such a diverse cast of characters--I have been around and worked with a lot of people.
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(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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