Monday, January 31, 2022

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: Magical Mountain (Kingdom of Treasures #1) by Asmaa Jamil

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for Magical Mountain by Asmaa Jamil. This blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book 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 rest of the stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Magical Mountain
Series: Kingdom of Treasures #1
Author: Asmaa Jamil
Publisher: iUniverse
Publication Date: January 10th 2021
Print Length: 196 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Magical Mountain is the first book in a four-part fantasy series, Kingdom of Treasures. The book retells the story of Cinderella from the fairy’s perspective, giving readers insight into a classic fairytale from a fresh viewpoint. Keeping things interesting, Magical Mountain also borrows plot and character elements from 1001 Arabian Nights (Two Sisters Who Were Jealous of Their Younger Sister). However, the story fosters its own exciting adventure as it focuses on the fairies and the story following the marriage.

In this tale of love, family, and betrayal, readers get a glimpse into what it means to be a true female hero from the fairy and human perspectives. In doing so, Magical Mountain veers from traditional fairytale conventions, in which men typically fulfill the hero role. The women in the story demonstrate what real courage and strength look like. In the end, the female characters prove to the reader that fighting with heart pays off.

For the next few months, the sisters acted the part of loving supporters to Queen Rella. As women of her court and her sisters, they met with Queen Rella regularly, watching and conniving at every moment. Unsuspecting, Queen Rella treated them with kindness, respect, and with the most excellent hospitality.

Avina and Bren tried several schemes to impose pain and sorrow on the Queen.

Firstly, the two sisters gave Rella a gift of a black cat and encouraged her to give it to a visiting Roman. With Fairy Lexi whispering in her ear, Queen Rella showed the cat to Geberic, who discreetly put the cat out of the palace.

Secondly, Avina and Bren coaxed a handsome royal soldier with a magnificent sword and strong arms to visit Rella in her quarters alone after dinner, without the King around. They aimed to make the court gossip about a forbidden romance between the Queen and the soldier. Fairy Lexi overheard Avina flatter the soldier. “Her Majesty wishes to hear about all your noble deeds in the battle against the kingdom of Frankish Neustria,” Avina told the handsome soldier. This plan failed when the soldier arrived at the Queen's quarters and saw the King entering.

Thirdly, Avina and Bren tried to trip the Queen while walking in the court, but the Queen whirled at the last second and rushed down a different way to hug the ailing wife of the handsome royal soldier.

Finally, they put pins into a new pale violet tunic, but the Queen could not wear it due to her growing bump.

The old man opened a bag that lay behind him. One that Tius did not notice before. The old man took out a red ball: an enchanted Seelie ball.

“Take this ball, and after you mount your horse, throw it in front of you. It will roll on till it reaches the foot of a big mountain. When it stops, you should stop as well. Then, you must do exactly as I say...”

Tius shared some of his food with the old man while the old man continued to give instructions.

“…and finally, and most important of all, do not look behind you for any reason. Do you understand?”

Tius nodded his head and replied, “Thank you for your help.” He then mounted his horse. He drew back his arm and hurled the red ball in front of him so that it rolled down the path.
Originally from Northern Iraq, Asmaa Jamil was born into the Chaldean Christian ethnic group before moving to the United States, where she grew up. Leaving the corporate world not long ago to focus on her writing full time, Asmaa draws on her experiences living and working in several different countries to influence her creative process. While abroad, Asmaa learned about other cultures and their unique traditions, a key role in her development as a writer.

Asmaa Jamil holds an MBA in International Business, a PGCert in Management Information Systems, and an MLA in Near Eastern Languages. Her two decades of professional experience in retail, wholesale and entrepreneurship brought her extensive cultural insights, working with diverse international teams in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North and South America.

Raised in a family of storytellers, Asmaa always felt inspired by the power of a narrative. Specifically, she found that family stories were the most captivating, as they speak to audiences of all ages with ease. Not to mention, Asmaa likes that family stories foster opportunities for household gatherings and traditions.

Her first book, titled Magical Mountain from the Kingdom of Treasures series, explores influential female character roles. Outside of writing, Asmaa Jamil enjoys reading history and visiting historical sites around the world. She also has a fascination for connecting the old with the new, demonstrated through her storytelling. When it comes down to it, Asmaa is happy with a cup of coffee, great conversations with loved ones, and of course, good food.

Asmaa Jamil 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 with this giveaway.)

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Undoing Time (The Timegathering Series) by Rachel Dacus

Welcome to my stop on the book blast for Undoing Time by Rachel Dacus. This book blast was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the blast wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops participating in the book blast for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Undoing Time
Series: The Timegathering Series
Author: Rachel Dacus
Publisher: Time Fold Books
Publication Date: January 27th 2022
Print Length: 325 pages
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Liv Pomeroy’s high hopes and lavish lifestyle come horribly undone when her fiancé runs off with her maid of honor. Swearing off love forever, she goes on a summer escape to Florence, Italy. 

Agreeing to help her cousin May raise funds for an art restoration project, Liv is astonished to find they share a genetic gift for undoing time. Soon she’s joining a team of time travelers who rescue history from those who would change it. And fighting her attraction to a sexy time traveling colleague, who just might turn out to be working for the wrong side in the American Revolution. 

A thrilling tale of time travel, romance, and espionage.


He turned to look at her, his brown eyes wide, but his brows pulled together in concern. “Are you going to be okay?”

The smoke from the 1906 earthquake was thick in the air. She repressed a choke. “I’ll be fine.”

“Are you cold? You look like you’re shivering.”

That wasn’t why she was shivering Liv looked down at her clothes and was startled to find herself swathed in a long skirt of heavy silk brocade. Her petticoat rustled its many folds. She was encased in so many layers, she might have been wearing an overcoat to shield her from the wind.

“I’m not cold.”

She turned again and looked down the hill, seeing the ferry building and docks, a familiar landmark. Her emotions calmed.

A man in a bowler hat passed them.

“What’s happening?” Tom asked.

“You’re aware, surely,” the man said. “You see the smoke, the rubble. Pardon me, I must find my family.”

He scooted down the hill.

“In a matter of days, people begin to thirst and even starve,” Tom said. “Half the city is homeless. I just wanted to know if that fellow was a helper.”

“A helper?”

“San Franciscans who had something left began to help the others. The city grew together under the devastation. I wasn’t kidding when I said half of everyone here is homeless, or nearly so.”

Liv couldn’t reply. The enormity of what she was seeing choked her. Tears rolled down her face, and when she wiped them away, soot came off her hand. Her face must have already grown gray with the ash from fires. Tom’s had too.
RACHEL DACUS writes about history, love, romance, and art – usually with a touch of the supernatural. If time travel were possible, she’d hop over to Renaissance Rome, and then check out how the American Revolutionary War is going, and maybe visit an 18th century London artist’s studio. 

A poet and novelist, Dacus has published four novels and four poetry collections. When not writing, she listens to music, new and old, from indie and progressive rock to classical and jazz. Once a dancer, she’s now an avid walker, often twice a day -- once for the Muse and once for the world’s liveliest Silky Terrier. She blogs about the writing life and has collected a wealth of writing and publishing resources.

Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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

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Sunday, January 30, 2022

Book Blitz and Giveaway: The Liars Beneath by Heather Van Fleet

Title: The Liars Beneath
Author: Heather Van Fleet
Publisher: Wise Wolf Books
Publication Date: January 27th 2022
Print Length: 322 pages
Genre: Young Adult Romantic Thriller

A romantically dark YA thriller set in the backdrop of Iowa’s suspenseful farmlands.

After a tragic accident ends her best friend’s life, 17-year-old Becca Thompson succumbs to grief the only way she knows how: by wallowing in it. She’s a fragment of the person she once was—far too broken to enjoy the summer before her senior year. But when Ben McCain, her best friend’s older brother, returns home, Becca must face her new reality head on.

She isn’t interested in Ben’s games, especially since he abandoned his sister during the months leading up to her death. But when he begs for her help in uncovering the truth about what really happened the night of his sister’s death, Becca finds herself agreeing, hoping to clear up rumors swirling in the wake of her best friend’s accident.

An unhinged ex-boyfriend, secret bucket lists, and garage parties in the place Becca calls home soon lead her to the answers she’s so desperate to unveil. But nobody is being honest, not even Ben. And the closer Becca gets to the truth—and to Ben—the more danger seems to surround her.

Clearing her best friend’s name was all she wanted to do, but Becca is quickly realizing that the truth she craves might be uglier than the lies her best friend kept.

Goodreads * Amazon

It was almost midnight when I heard the knock against my window. Three soft and consecutive thuds, all of which match the beat of my heart. Why he chose that way to get my attention instead of texting, is a mystery. The kind of mystery I was way too amped up to question.

I wasn’t excited in the sense that I like him and want to spend time with him or anything. At least that’s what I told my racing heart when I first saw his smile from the other side of the glass. He’d been crouched on his belly on the roof of our porch like a stealthy spy, and the sight was something I’d never forget.

I’d thrown a hoodie on over the Tee I’m dressed in, pairing it with some denim cutoffs. Then I tossed my hair up into a messy bun and slid on some cherry Chapstick—but only because my lips were chapped. That’s it. No other reason whatsoever.

Once my Docs were on, I slid out my window and met him head on, the two of us jumping the five feet off the low hanging roof. I’d giggled uncontrollably when he landed on his butt instead of his feet, and he’d nearly pulled me down with him when he tried grabbing my laces. That would be the last time I’d ever not tie my boots.

“Guess what?” he whispered when we started to walk away from the house. “I researched your family tree today and found out that you, Becca, are the biggest sap.” He ended that statement with a tap to my nose. My freaking nose, for God’s sake.

He’d booped me.

My response—one which had been paired with a hard thump to his equally as hard abdomen: “You’re so dumb, you planted a dogwood tree and expected a litter of puppies.”

We both laughed at how stupid we sounded, yet at the same time it felt good to just be goofy. Or dare I say, normal. Though that word—normal—was a bit of a stretch when it came to the two of us anymore.

After that, Ben took my hand like it was the most natural thing in the world and proceeded to lead me to where we are now: the middle of the cornfield.

I trail my fingers over the silky corn stalks, marveling at their height and the way the midnight moon reflects off the green color. Nothing about this spot eases my frazzled nerves, of course. It doesn’t give me peace of mind like it once had when I’d come out here with Rose either. It’s kind of like the alcove in that sense—a spot tainted by a bad memory, despite the many good memories trying to override it.

Ben moves closer, our shoulders brushing.

“What are you thinking about?” he asks.

“Stuff.” That no longer matters. A time and a place and a memory that’s long past.

“Rose said you guys used to hang out here a lot.”

I shrugged one shoulder, unwilling to indulge in what happened the last time she and I had been out here. It’s not a huge thing, smoking weed and all, but for some reason, I don’t want Ben to know that it’d been my bucket list item, not Rose’s. It shows my age—how I’d been so young and inexperienced. Not that I care what he thinks.

“It’s nice,” he continues. “Quiet too. I can see why you liked it.”

“We did some of our best thinking out here.” Thinking that was more along the lines of Rose smoking joints, while I stood by to keep watch.

“Hmm.” He nods, kicks the toe of his foot into the dirt. “I’m gonna go to that party on Saturday,” he tells me out of the blue.

I frown. “You think that’s smart after beating up Adam like you did?”



“Because Adam’s gonna be there.” He looks away, but I don’t miss the flex of his jaw—not even in the dark. “I don’t trust the guy.”

I turn him around by the shoulders, forcing him to stand in front of me. “What’s there not to trust, exactly?”

“Lots of things.”

“Like what?”

“I’ve got facts that need exploring.” His lips purse.

“Yeah.” I roll my eyes. “Because you’re suddenly a detective now. I forgot.”

Adam wouldn’t hurt a puppy, let alone be behind Rose’s death. He used to talk big, but his love for my best friend was endless. Without a doubt, I know that’s who her secret boyfriend was. I just don’t get why they never went public.

“I’m more of a private eye, actually.” He covers one eye and curls the corner of his upper lip, making an argh noise.

“That’s a pirate, not a private eye, dork.”

“Either way, they’re both sneaky, right?”

I sigh, wondering if he’s always been this weird. Cocky, a smartass, and a huge instigator—that’s Ben. Not funny.
Heather Van Fleet is a stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.

Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 and currently writes Adult contemporary romance. She is published through Sourcebooks Casablanca with her Reckless Hearts series and Bookouture with her Red Dragon series.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook *
Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest
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(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Xpresso Book Tours and the author assume all responsibility with this giveaway.)

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Book Blitz and Giveaway: Dior or Die (Davia Glenn Series #1) by Laura E. Akers

Title: Dior or Die
Series: Davia Glenn Series #1
Author: Laura E. Akers
Publisher: Light Force Literary
Publication Date: January 22nd 2022
Genre: Mystery Suspense

She’s survived dangerous missions for the government, but can she survive life among the rich?

Davia Glenn is the first woman on a covert paramilitary team until a mission goes deadly wrong. She inherits a fortune, moves to a wealthy community, and soon discovers the crazy under all that money. On a terrorist’s hit list, Davia must navigate her new life while dodging assassins.

Torn between two men and two worlds, Davia must decide her future— but this time, she wears haute couture instead of camouflage and combat boots.

If you love the grit of Jack Reacher and the fun of Stephanie Plum, one-click Dior or Die today for your next addicting, suspenseful mystery read.

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FIREARMS PRACTICE CONCLUDED, we entered the primary building of the complex. Our boss, Colonel Streeter, kept an office in a nearby wing.

“Why isn’t Savant coming with us?” I asked Ned.

“He operates on a different plane than us mere mortals.” Besides his unkempt beard, Ned wore his brown hair in a hipster bun. Grooming rules did not apply to this unit.

A female aide who worked with Colonel Streeter beckoned to another team member, K. He put up a hand in acknowledgment. K resembled Idris Elba, but younger and buffer. They moved away down a side hall.

The rest of us turned into a room with a mat-lined floor. On one wall, racks held fighting sticks, knives of various sizes, and boxing gloves.

“Ned, you and H pair up. I’ll take on Bombshell,” Warden drawled, emphasis on the B. Ned and Hodge pulled on boxing gloves.

Warden handed me two twenty-eight-inch sticks, took two himself, and we faced off. At six-three, he had me by six inches.

It was Davia versus Goliath.

“Ready?” Warden’s full lips curled into a sneer.

“Ready to lay you out.”

He came at me and didn’t hold back, hitting with the power of a rhinoceros in a charge. Stepping fast to keep him from knocking me over, I blocked blow after blow. I pictured Batman bubbles over our heads: Bam! Pow! Krunch!

Warden made the men on the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine look like featherweights. He was one hundred pounds heavier than me and sported gallon jug biceps. Our weapons were a mere blur until a searing thwack landed on my upper arm, and I cringed away.

“Give up?” Warden asked, driving me toward a corner.

“You. First.” I gasped, sucking wind.

Back up-Duck-Back up.

At the edge of the mat, our sticks clanged. Cornered, I did a quick roll and slammed one of my bars against the back of Warden’s knees.

He crashed to the floor.


A giant hand caught my right ankle and jerked.

I fell hard on my face.

Kicking free, I sprang up, but Warden did the same. Rivulets of sweat coursed from his close-cropped, dark hair and down his face. We circled each other, and I grinned as he also fought to catch his breath.

“Let’s go weaponless,” he grunted. “Fine.” We tossed our sticks aside.

We went at each other in an all-out grappling fight, working through an entire catalog of wrestling, martial arts, and street fighting tactics. Kyle Kavanagh, my South Dakota neighbor, and his myriad of deadly friends, had drilled me relentlessly through the years. I remembered their admonition: The bigger they are, the harder they— Warden latched onto my shoulder and tossed me to the ground.

His reinforced steel body landed on top of me, and the air blasted from my lungs.

Before he could trap my arms against the mats, I thrust a hand past his groin and wrapped my arm around his upper thigh. He went still for a split-second, hyper-aware I was a woman near his most prized and vulnerable possessions.

To make up for his momentary pause, he grabbed for my hair, but it was too short. He rolled over in an instant, clamped an arm around my chest, and spoke close to my ear. “You don’t belong here.”

“Says you.” I walloped him in the midsection with an elbow, leaped sideways, and broke away.

We jumped to our feet, circling again, checking for weaknesses.

My stamina hit the edge of empty. If I didn’t do something soon, this fight would be over. Warden lunged for me, and I caught his forearm. Using the last of my strength, I flipped him to the ground and trapped one of his knees with my legs.

“Call it quits?” I drove his joint to an unnatural angle, grinding my hips against his bulk.

Warden growled with frustration but didn’t give up. He bucked against me like a fly trapped in a spider’s web fighting for its life. After an age, he tapped out. I released him, falling back on the mat, drained. He untangled himself and got to his feet.

“Here.” He reached down to help me up. I took his hand, and he yanked me within inches of his face. Our eyes locked.

He held me much longer than necessary, then let go.

“Welcome to the team,” he said and walked away.
I grew up in a small town in Southern California. My early writing career began when I created a neighborhood newspaper, won an American Legion essay award in 8th grade, and became editor of my high school newspaper.

At age 24, I became a prosecutor for the San Diego County District Attorney's office. I handled high-profile murder, rape, domestic violence, and gang cases. When I person I convicted made death threats, I trained in self-defense and weapons with a former black-ops agent. This led to the creation of my protagonist, Davia Glenn.

I'm a Distinguished Toastmaster and like to advocate for suicide prevention, elder abuse prevention, and fighting sex crimes against children.

This all sounds serious and achievement driven, but I also enjoy traveling, taking photos, and Korean dramas. I have two cats and a great guy.

Website * Goodreads * Facebook *
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Win a signed copy of Dior or Die by Laura E. Akers!
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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Haunting of Black River Forest by Jaydeep Shah

The Haunting of Black River Forest tour banner
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Haunting of Black River Forest by Jaydeep Shah. This blog tour was organized by Lola's Blog Tours. On my stop, I have a spotlight of the book as well as a fantastic top ten list from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card or a digital copy of the book. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
The Haunting of Black River Forest book cover
Title: The Haunting of Black River Forest
Author: Jaydeep Shah
Publication Date: December 14th 2021
Print Length: 40 pages
Genre: Horror
A forest of blood and corpses. The land of a cold-blooded psychopath.

In Black River Forest, it’s best not to wander too far off the beaten track. There’s no telling what you might find.

Mia and Oliver have long wanted to explore the forest, and one cold, rainy October day, a week before their fifth anniversary of the day they met, they finally make the trip.

But they’ve heard the rumors as well. The haunting. A psychopath hidden somewhere amidst the towering trees. Too many missing. Too few answers.

It’s only rumors, though. Stories. And stories can’t hurt you. Yet as Mia and Oliver venture deeper into the Black River Forest, they’ll soon discover that there’s more haunting this quiet woodland than hikers and bears.

The psychopath is very real. And he’s excited to meet them.

From Jaydeep Shah, author of Tribulation, the first book of the Cops Planet series, “The Haunting of Black River Forest” is a bloody, spine-chilling story best read with the lights on.

The Haunting of Black River Forest graphic
Jaydeep Shah author picture
Jaydeep Shah is an avid traveler and the author of gripping horror, thriller, and romance stories. As a bachelor’s degree holder in Creative Writing, he aims to entertain as many as people he can with his stories. He is best known for Tribulation, the first book in the “Cops Planet” series.

In addition to those books, The Shape-Shifting Serpents’ Choice, Jaydeep’s first young adult flash fiction written under his pen name, JD Shah, is published online by Scarlet Leaf Review in their July 2019 issue. Currently, he’s endeavoring to write a debut young adult fantasy novel while working on a sequel to his first apocalyptic thriller, Havoc.

When Shah is not writing, he reads books, tries new restaurants, and goes on adventures.

Top Ten Things That Make for a Killer Horror Novel
by Jaydeep Shah

Before I started writing, I always wondered what elements make a killer horror novel. I read many articles. Some of them saying a few different things. I was confused which one to focus on. However, as I continued reading horror books and writing horror stories, I started understanding the concept of a killer horror novel.

Top ten things that help an author to write a killer horror novel are these:

1. Strong villain
When I say strong villain, I don’t mean make him strong physically. He can be weak physically. He can be mentally weak. He may have any type of disability. What I mean is that the villain should be smarter than the protagonist. Villain should be a few steps ahead of the protagonist’s thoughts. Because what drives a novel is the conflict and obstacles the protagonist must face. And only the villain creates those conflicts and obstacles for him.

When you create a strong, powerful villain, readers would love to read the story to find out how the protagonist will achieve his/her goals against a strong antagonist.

2. Conflict and obstacles
Conflict and obstacles also play a significant role to make a killer horror novel. The protagonist must face challenges he might find difficult to overcome at first. The conflict that could trigger the audience’s interest to continue reading the story to find out what’s about to happen next. Before adding conflicts to your story, you will need to decide if you want your protagonist to stay the same throughout the story or want to see him grow. Mostly, readers would love to see the characters growth as they move forward in the story. To do so, there must be enough conflict in the story for the characters to learn new things.

3. Frightening setting
Another most important thing to write a killer horror novel is setting. It really doesn’t matter how strong characters you have created, and powerful obstacles you have introduced in your novel; if your setting is not frightening enough, you cannot keep the readers attached to the story. To keep the readers on the toe to continue reading your novel, you must have a frightening setting that maybe enough to feed the readers’ horror appetite. To create a frightening world, you may take inspiration from other horror movies, TV shows, and books. You may also take inspiration from online images of real and unreal haunted places. This way, you will have more idea what type of world you want to create, and which horror elements you want to add to create a frightening setting.

4. Attention grabbing hook
As important as the conflict, setting, and the characters, the hook is also significant. For the novel, the hook can be from a line to a few paragraphs or maybe even few pages. The hook plays the major role to grab the audience’s attention. If your hook is not powerful enough, readers may stop reading the story only after reading the first sentence or a paragraph.

The hook must be an introduction to your world, and the characters and their goals. The more information your hook contains, the more chances you have to keep the readers continue reading your story.

5. Beginning, Middle, and End
To make your novel the best, your story must follow common rule of thumb of writing. Your story must be divided in three parts: Beginning, Middle, and End.

Beginning is where you introduce your world, a conflict, the characters, and the characters’ goals. This is the best chance for the authors to hook readers to the story.

Middle is where the main story takes place. All the conflicts between characters, and how they try to win the battle, how the characters change to achieve what they want. The tension increases. Series of events take place one after the other. Minor crises are resolved but not the major ones.

And finally, End is where you resolve the major crises. End is where the readers would have a clear knowledge if the protagonist won or failed. Here is a chance to create a happy ending!

6. Create real emotions
Another element to connect the readers to the story is the emotions. As an author, you must know how your characters will feel during all the ups and downs. Think about real-life people, how they react to any events in their lives. Readers must experience the same through characters’ acts. If you create strong real emotions, the readers will feel they are the living the life of the characters. This way, the readers will stay connected to your story. When I say real emotions, I mean the emotions real-life people may have when they fall in love, when their beloved ones die, when they win an event, when they lose something, and so on.

7. Introduce some common fears and anxieties
Some common fears and anxieties include the nightmares, imagination of one’s death, getting locked in a building, and so on. When you add these types of common fears and anxieties, readers tend to show more interest in your story to find out how the characters will find a solution to exit the situation. The reason is that we all fear something. We all have some type of anxieties: what will happen if xyz happens? What will happen if I couldn’t go to work for a week? Etc. That is why I think it is better to have some common fears and anxieties in a story to keep them attached to the characters to trigger their interest to continue reading the story.

8. Add as many as details
Novel is just not a long form of a fictional story. It is a fictional story that should feel like a real one. To connect the readers to your story, it is important to add as many as details in it. Take enough time to describe your world and characters. Add every detail about your characters. What do they want? What are the crises they are going from? What are their goals? If possible, describe their past. Add backstory of the character(s). The novel should describe every detail of the world, the setting, the plot, and the characters in depth.

9. The pace
I have been publishing short stories for five years. What I have learned is that if I had written those stories in form of a novel, I could have attracted more readers. The pace is critical in story writing. If you want to build tension and pull the readers out of their comfort zone, the characters must struggle, and you can do that by slowing down the pace to build tension to let the next fright chill the readers.

10. Add twists and cliffhangers
Twists and cliffhangers tend to trigger the readers’ interest to find out what happens next in the story. If you want to make your story a page-turner, cliffhangers are essential. Twists are also a good idea to create a thrilling atmosphere and keep the readers engaged to the story. Twists and cliffhangers are great way, I believe, to make the story more suspenseful and gripping.

Before I take a leave, thank you, All the Ups and Downs, for having me as your guest today. Also, thank you everyone who read this post for your precious time and staying with us.

Keep showering your love and support! Thank you! 😊
- Two Winners: $50 Amazon gift card and an eBook of The Haunting of Black River Forest by Jaydeep Shah through Bookfunnel (US Only)
- Eighteen Winners: ebook of The Haunting of Black River Forest by Jaydeep Shah through Bookfunnel (INT)

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prizes. Lola's Blog Tours and the author assume all responsibility for this giveaway.)

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Killer Runway (Bianca Wallace Mysteries #2) by Daria White

Title: Killer Runway
Series: Bianca Wallace Mysteries #2
Author: Daria White
Publisher: Crimson Fox Publishing
Publication Date: January 25th 2022
Print Length: 269 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Bianca’s determined to live a normal life in Edenville with her family, and she has no intention of getting involved in another case. While attending a fashion show, a model, also a childhood friend of her sister, collapses off the runway. Dead. Not the show Bianca planned on attending.

Detective Sims shows up to solve the case, but Bianca can’t keep silent. Too many clues are surfacing, and with a month-long fashion event in town, the suspects remain in Edenville. There’s no harm in Bianca investigating one more time, though Detective Sims wants her to stay away.

Can she discover the motive behind this unexpected death? Bianca’s life at risk with another killer isn’t wise. Not to mention the lives of her loved ones.

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“Excuse me, ladies.” A tenor voice interrupted their discussion, but Bianca’s arms broke out in goosebumps.

Detective Sims stood before her. No longer in his dress pants, but dark jeans, and a taupe-collared shirt. His gray eyes shined at Bianca. “Detective,” Melanie said, the octave changing in her voice. Her mood perked up quick from rubbing at her forehead. “We didn’t expect to see you here.”

“I thought I’d check out the famous Edenville Blues and BBQ festival event.” Then he faced Bianca just as Toni Braxton’s “I Love Me Some Him,” played through the speakers. “Want to dance?”

Was this a sign? Though there were times she could sense Detective Sims’—Lamar’s—attraction towards her, he never voiced it. Mild flirtations here and there, but never an obvious declaration. Then again, Bianca could say something if she wanted to.

She froze for a moment, but held back a yelp when she felt a kick underneath the table. Narrowing her eyes at her baby sister, Bianca stood to her feet. She’d get her for that later. “Sure.” She hoped Detective Sims didn’t hear the strain in her voice. Her breathing slowed when she took his hand. Heat traveled through every one of her fingers and her stomach flipped.

Joining the rest of the couples on the street, she placed her free hand on his firm shoulder. She held back a gasp when his large hand embraced her waist. Practically a breath away from his lips, Bianca faced upward, staring at the pink-and-purple hues as the sun set. Clouds covered most of the sky, making the evening overcast.

The cool breeze chilled her skin, but it did nothing to calm her body temperature.

“Are these festivals common too?” Detective Sims asked.

“Uh-huh.” Why was it so hard to breathe around him? Being this close was making her brain fuzzy like static on a radio.

“I think I could get used to it. Have you since you’ve lived here?”

Bianca swallowed, willing her brain to function. “I think so. Edenville’s been a huge part in my life. I… needed a fresh start after my divorce.” Staying in California wasn’t an option after her marriage was over. Moving back to Edenville was the best decision. Her mother had made it her new home after leaving Atlanta, Georgia, behind. It wasn’t the same with Bianca’s father gone since he died in prison. A case of mistaken identity changed the trajectory of her family life.

“What’s your favorite part?” he asked.

She could feel him staring at her, but she didn’t return the gesture. “Being with family again. My mom moved here first. Melanie and I followed. That was more important than I thought, so I’m glad we’re together.”

“The things we appreciate later in life,” Detective Sims commented.

“What about you?” she asked, hoping the conversation would distract her. Her senses were on overload as she felt the heat on her back from his hand. “I think my family too. I tried to find acceptance with my friends, but I didn’t choose well back then.” He chuckled. “My mom warned me, but I didn’t listen, thinking I was grown.”

Bianca laughed. “I had those moments, too, growing up.” She looked toward her daughter once more, who was walking with Kendrick down the sidewalk. What did teenagers talk about these days? “I think I’m getting a taste of that with my daughter. She’s so much like me and I….”

“You what?”

Bianca returned his gaze this time. Exhaling, she admitted the truth. “I just don’t want her to get hurt. I made some decisions that I thought were best, but I’m… paying for them now.”

“I don’t think you regret being a mother,” he said.

She shook her head. “Never. So I can’t say I regret everything.” She rolled her shoulders back. “Can’t dwell on the past. I’ve learned to put some things behind me.”

Detective Sims spun her and brought her back to his chest. “I’m glad.”

“Nice move.” Her smile grew wider. “Wasn’t expecting that from…”

“A detective?”

She pressed her lips together for a moment. “No, it’s just… well, I can understand your need to take your job seriously. It’s… nice to see this side of you, though.”

“We all have layers, don’t we?” He licked his lips. “We choose who we want to let in, right?”

Bianca tuned out the music and the surrounding people, focusing only on Lamar’s voice. “That takes… vulnerability.”

“It’s risky on both sides. Both people are taking a chance,” he added. Was this a general conversation, or was he talking about them?

Bianca’s hand trailed to his neck, brushing her fingers along the nape. “That can be easier said than done. What if one doesn’t… think they’re ready? Should the other person wait for them to be? Is that fair?”

He fixed his gaze on hers. “People wait for what they want.”

Bianca’s heart skipped. “Some things… are worth waiting for.”

Had he tilted his head towards hers? Bianca couldn’t tell. His words spell bounded her. His grip on her hand tightened, and while a part of her wanted to run for her car, she couldn’t move if she’d wanted to. Then her eyes drifted to his lips. Would he kiss her? Would she let him?
Daria White has lived in Texas for most of her life. She never liked reading as a kid. In fact, she almost hated it. However, as she grew up that all changed. Though she received her degree in healthcare management, Daria kept her writing as a hobby. She meant it to be private and her own way of expressing herself. It never crossed her mind to publish until she was in college. She took a chance and published. It worked!

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