Thursday, March 31, 2022

Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: America's Hero by Regan Taylor

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for America's Hero by Regan Taylor. This blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book. There's also the blitz wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card or the eBook. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: America's Hero
Author: Regan Taylor
Publisher: DCL Publications
Publication Date: February 11th 2022
Print Length: 349 pages
Genre: Paranormal Time Travel Romance
After her F/A-18 crashes Marine Corps Major Cassie Winter embarks on a daring rescue saving both her life and that of her RIO. In the aftermath she returns to her ship and hottie actor, Austin Quinn learns of her story. Quinn is determined to tell Cassie's story with a slight twist -- he will be the hero instead of Cassie. When he arrives on her ship she wants nothing to do with him, but once she is ordered to take him on a flight something strange happens and they find themselves back in time. As they move forward to their own time and beyond the couple finds more than just adventure. He plays America's Hero, but she IS America's Hero.

Over the whop-whop of the rotors, the CH-46 rescue helicopter reported in to the aircraft carrier George Washington’s air controller. “Calvary 1 approaching LZ.”

“Copy your traffic, Calvary 1,” the controller responded, calm and in control. The voice of assurance coming over the air was heard clearly as the CH-46 approached what was designated as the landing zone, a place that was as safe as could be—given the circumstances.

Pilot Dawg Jameson scanned the area where the F/A-18 Hornet they were searching for had been downed two days earlier. If its pilot and weapons systems officer were alive, at a minimum, they’d be badly injured. He spotted a moving cloud of dust and identified three battered trucks, loaded with men who appeared to be carrying guns. The cloud moved toward the barely visible, scattered debris. No doubt they were also headed for the crash site. Most definitely not to effect a rescue but to take prisoners—if the crew were still alive.

“Calvary 1, Base, looks like company en route, counting three trucks filled with tangos. Request fast mover cover ASAP,” Dawg radioed in.

“Base copies, fast movers en route.”

“You see anything?” Dawg asked his co-pilot and crew.

“Nothing yet, Captain,” the co-pilot’s voice crackled over the headset.

Hovering over the crash site of the downed F/A-18 the crew of the CH-46 scanned the area. Major Cass Winter, aka, Snow White, had been shot down with Weapons System Officer Keith McDonald two days before and all the wingman could provide was a general location with two chutes deployed.

One of the embedded reporters on a passing helicopter sent out to check for survivors reported seeing what appeared to be one of the jet’s external tanks. Now, with tangos approaching from the east, the 46 either had to find the crewmen in the next few minutes or get out of Dodge fast. The thwuck of two COBRA attack helicopters initially sent as cover could be heard approaching, buying the rescue crew a few more precious minutes.

“Where the hell are those fast movers?” Jameson yelled as he set down the 46.

“There! I see something in that clump of whatever the heck that stuff is over there!” Lance Corporal Adamson called out.
Regan Taylor is originally from Seaford, New York and now bucolic Marin County California. Published in both fiction and non-fiction she enjoys quiet days writing, reading with one of her cats on her lap and crocheting. She volunteers with Friends of Ferals in Marin County and considers the feral she cares for, OC, as one of her own. Her past careers include legal secretary, therapist and police dispatcher.

Regan Taylor will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card or an eBook of America's Hero 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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Blurb Blitz and Giveaway: One Helluva Gig by Kevin R. Doyle

Welcome to my stop on the blurb blitz for One Helluva Gig by Kevin R. Doyle. This blurb blitz was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an except from the book as well as the blitz wide giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: One Helluva Gig
Author: Kevin R. Doyle
Publication Date: March 23rd 2022
Print Length: 65 pages
Genre: General Fiction
Rob Jeffers has it all: fame, money, and the life of a rock and roll star. Frank Peters is a regular guy, a newspaper reporter who just happens to have a passing acquaintance with the Great Jeffers. As Jeffers's career shoots up, Peters's fortunes follows in his wake.

And when Jeffers passes away at the height of his fame, Peters’s life begins a steady unravelling. Until a chance encounter on a minor story gives him a new outlook on the celebrity lifestyle, and new hope for his own future.

After graduating, I decided to make a stake for my future in California. Naturally, imbued with youthful naïveté (a nice euphemism for stupidity), I submitted my portfolio at the L.A. Times and The San Francisco Examiner. I naturally figured that it would require only a cursory examination for them to see my undeniable genius and hire me on to work on their front pages.

Didn’t work out that way, not at all, and by the time I’d worked my way through the second tier, and then the third tier papers, I finally managed to snag my first professional newspaper job.

In Lodi.

Lodi, for Chrissakes. I mean, that Fogerty guy even wrote a song once about the dumpiness of Lodi. However, by the time they floated the offer, I was so hungry, cold, and desperate that I would have taken anything. Then, once I’d moved my few knapsacks of belongings down there and found a room I could rent by the month, came what seemed like the final indignity.

They put me to work writing obituaries.

Understand, in the early eighties, practically everyone in newspaper work got started in the obits. Even so, it seemed like the drudgiest of drudge work. Six days a week, I sat at my desk, scanning the death notices, calling hospitals and checking with the cops to fulfill my daily quota of morbidity.
A high-school teacher, former college instructor and fiction writer, Kevin R. Doyle is the author of numerous short horror stories. He’s also written three crime thrillers, The Group, When You Have to Go There, and And the Devil Walks Away and one horror novel, The Litter. Recently, he’s begun working on the Sam Quinton private eye series. The first Quinton book, Squatter’s Rights, was nominated for the 2021 Shamus award as Best First PI Novel. The second book, Heel Turn, was released in March of 2021, while the third in the series, Double Frame, is due out March of 2022.

Kevin R. Doyle will be awarding a $10 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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Virtual Book Tour: Sparks and Shadow (Rising Elements #1) by Ceara Nobles

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Sparks and Shadow by Ceara Nobles. This book tour was organized by Pump Up Your Book. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post about being an author mom from the author. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Sparks and Shadow
Series: Rising Elements #1
Author: Ceara Nobles
Publisher: Riverside Press
Publication Date: March 4th 2022
Print Length: 255 pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Seattle is full of monsters, and I’m the only one who can see them.

I’ve spent the last 17 years (AKA my whole life) pretending I can’t see the monsters who disguise themselves as humans. I may not have a place to live and my best friend may be moments away from getting in too deep with the city’s most dangerous drug lord, but I’m rolling with the status quo.

That is, until I save my arch enemy’s stupid life and find myself in a warehouse full of monsters.

Next thing I know, I’m in Monster Land (AKA not Seattle) and up to my ears in monsters, magic, and inevitable mayhem. If I want to get home, I have to join a band of revolutionaries and stay alive long enough to get back through the portal before war breaks out.

This’ll be a cinch.

Sparks and Shadow is a modern, action-packed YA portal fantasy featuring Fae mythology, magic, and slow-burn romance. This is the first book in the Rising Elements series.

First rule of surviving Monstrous Seattle—don’t let them know you can see them.

As far as I knew, I was the only one who could. Sure, some of the monsters interacted with humans, but they wore some sort of illusion. Sometimes, if I squinted and tilted my head to the side, I could almost see the disguise too. It flickered, shimmering in front of their true form like a mirage, and gave me a splitting migraine if I focused on it for too long.

I reached the door of the warehouse as Peter whipped around the corner. He swerved, narrowly avoiding my abandoned bike, and swore viciously when he saw me. Normally I would’ve given him the middle-finger salute with a cheeky grin, but my stomach was too busy trying to claw its way out of my throat.

Leave, I urged him silently. Get out of here before it’s too late.

The warehouse door swung open. The hinges screeched like they hadn’t been used in at least a hundred years. I turned away from Peter to face the monster standing in the doorway. It was at least eight feet tall, probably male, with blue skin and jagged tusks that extended from his canines and down past his chin. My eyes automatically rose to his face, well above mine.

I realized too late that his illusory face was much lower. The face of a handsome red-haired man shimmered in the middle of the monster’s massive chest.

I’d just broken rule number one.
Ceara Nobles is a Utah-based author of romantic suspense and fantasy novels. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with a B.A. in Computer Animation, then realized she hated it. Now she spends her days juggling her side hustle as a line editor and her true love of authorship. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her chasing her toddler, road tripping with her hubby, or hiding in bed with a chai and a good book.

Author Mom - A Day in the Life
By Ceara Nobles

Have kids, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

... Okay, having kids is actually pretty fun. But nobody warned me how HARD it is to get things done with little kidlets running around! And I only have one; I see you author mamas out there with multiple kids! You are warriors!

In the two and a half years since I gave birth to Annabelle, I've struggled with my identity as a mom and author. It felt like two full-time jobs were trying to pull me in separate directions, and I lived on the precipice of being torn apart. (Dramatic? Probably, but the feeling was real!)

I wanted to work on my art, but this little human required so much of my attention. By the time I gave her what she needed, I had zero mental energy or willpower to work on my author career. I coasted through the first year postpartum, struggling to keep all the balls in the air at once.

Then I learned to delegate. To take the time I needed to work on my passion.

And THEN? Annabelle started preschool.

Okay, she's only going 2 days per week, but WOW. 12 hours per week of uninterrupted work time. What is life??

I thought it would be fun to break down what a day looks like for me as a full-time mom, part-time author, and part-time freelance editor! Here we go!

Morning: Mom Time & Mom Duty

I've made a resolution to wake up earlier than Annabelle. Some days I succeed, some days I don't, but when I do, my day always starts on a positive note. I've read countless blog posts about productivity as a mom, and the number one advice is always to get up early. I didn't think it was true until I tried it!

On preschool mornings, I get Annabelle up, fed, and ready for the day so we can get out the door by 8 am. On non-school mornings, I let her sleep until she wakes up, which is usually around 8. We spend the morning playing and getting some chores done. Sometimes we take the dog for a walk or go to the park to kill some time before lunch.

Nap Time: The Ultimate Work Sprint

Annabelle takes one nap every day from 1 pm to 3 pm, which gives me two hours to get ALL the work done. As soon as she's down, I shut myself in my office and tackle my task of the day. Since I'm working 6 hours a day on Annabelle's preschool days, that's where I do my long writing sprints and editing sprints. I reserve naptime on other days for random tasks that need to be done, like business courses, marketing, social media, and blog posts. Those are usually pretty easy to complete in a two-hour block.

If it's a preschool day, I'm working from the time I drop Annabelle at school to the time I have to pick her up. It's a huge chunk of time that I’ve organized into blocks with certain tasks. It's been so helpful to have long blocks to get stuff done and be productive!

Evenings: Shift Work

On weeknights, my husband and I take shifts on Annabelle duty. Two nights per week, I have the night "off" to work on whatever I need to, and my husband gets the other two days. Often, we end up hanging out as a family, but it's nice to have the responsibilities delegated! If I have the night off, I'll sometimes work on editing projects if I'm on a deadline, but I'm trying to shift away from working during the evenings when I can avoid it. I'm trying to spend more time intentionally focused on my family!

Final Thoughts

In the past two and a half years, my daily schedule has shifted more times than I can count. This is a snapshot of what my schedule looks like today, but tomorrow it may be different. As a mom, I have to be flexible and adjust my schedule to what's needed on any given day. That being said, I'm really working on dedicating time to my author career and finding a work/life balance that works for me.

Any other writer moms out there? What does your daily schedule look like? Let me know in the comments!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

NBTM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: Descent into Darkness (The Chronicles of Deneb #2) by Zanne Raby

Welcome to my stop on the NBTM virtual book tour for Descent into Darkness by Zanne Raby. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a great guest post about The Time Machine by HG Wells. 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 content. Enjoy!
Title: Descent into Darkness
Series: The Chronicles of Deneb #2
Author: Zanne Raby
Publication Date: November 1st 2021
Print Length: 388 pages
Genre: Space Opera Science Fiction
Descent into Darkness: Mayhem follows the Mayflower in the second book of The Chronicles of Deneb series. 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 raging across the planet, the crew of the Mayflower is split between the two factions and embroiled in the chaos and destruction. Descend with the crew into darkness, where the only survivors of a global war will be on the right side of the border.

“But sabotage? Pallav, we’ve only arrived on Deneb, and there’s a wealth of knowledge that you and I are missing. Sometimes I wonder if Gomalan gave you this assignment because we’re both dispensable – humans, undesirables.” Pulling away from her husband, Tara glanced out the crystallite windows to stare vacantly at the alien landscape. The morning rays of the star Deneb dazzled and danced in bursts of brilliance on the glass-walled buildings while off in the distance, the sluggish waters of the River Panni snaked slowly through the capital city. And far below their aerie perch, she could see Wessels zip along the perfectly straight autowalks on their way to work. It seemed like any other morning, but today a new danger had wormed its way into the lives of the Kóbor family.

“Now why would you think that?” Pallav’s brows furrowed in confusion. “This is a golden opportunity. Gomalan trusts me, and I get results. It’s as simple as that. And Tara? It’s like I told you - the only people who despise us humans are the Geiten. Just think of that bastard Redlan and how he treated the others.” Tara lowered her head in shame, remembering how her crew mates were eking out an existence in Geitenia while she and her family were housed in luxury in Styria. How the Geiten of Aessen had abused her and Fynn’s wife Erica, and how the young pilot had been brutally attacked – it filled her with revulsion. “The whole thing’s still so raw,” she started. “My time in Urkyn…you know, it was horrific.” Tara shivered as she thought of Daniel and the love she had left behind before looking once more at the bustling capital city that sprawled as far as the eye could see. “Thank God Wesselan’s a world apart.”

Pallav shook his head. “But it’s not. The Geiten have been living here for centuries - intermarrying, working, studying. But always maintaining their distinct identity and trying to impose their ways here. If my hunch is right, then the attacks on Wesselan are being coordinated by an underground Geiten faction that somehow managed to infiltrate our military installations. Maybe even the government. I don’t know how deep this goes. We all need to be cautious Tara.”

Glancing at the archaic wrist watch that Pallav still insisted on wearing, he clasped a hand on Tara’s shoulder. “I’ve got to get going. But everything you need to know’s on the list inside the medicine cabinet.” On tiptoes, Tara stretched up to throw her arms around Pallav’s neck, and as their lips touched, worry thread its way into her thoughts, unable as she was to close her mind to the dangerous storm through which her husband must travel.
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. In her spare time, Zanne enjoys travel, photography, hiking, and gardening. And always, a good story to pass the time.

The Time Machine by HG Wells

So you like science fiction? Or maybe you know someone who’s a big sci-fi fan. Well, what’s one sci-fi novel that’s got to be on your list? Well, it seems to me that if you enjoy something, you should be curious and dig to uncover its origins. That holds true for almost everything, from the simple arithmetic Grace Hopper learned as a child before she earned a PhD in mathematics in 1934, to Agatha Christie learning her first A B C’s before she wrote some of the best loved detectives stories of all times.

You have got to start where it all began. For those who hold a deep appreciation of science fiction, acknowledging the roots of this genre allows writers to build upon the framework set down by the earliest authors. These pioneers dove into unknown waters, merging the science of the day within a fictional structure to craft believable and enjoyable literature.

Let’s travel back in time to the late nineteenth century where a young author was curious enough to embrace technology and science. May I introduce to you H.G. Wells, writer of The Time Machine. Now this novel has been adapted several times for the silver screen and most of us are familiar with it from watching it at the cinema, but it’s the slender novel that I recommend as essential reading for all sci-fi fans.

The Time Machine is a classic work of speculative science fiction and the grandfather of all time travel novels. Wells artfully blends science, philosophy, and sociology into a rip roaring adventure where the protagonist makes a dizzying journey through time in a home-made time machine and lands in the year 802,107 CE. There he enters into a world which he initially viewed as a utopia, peopled by the Eloi: frail, graceful humans with the mental acuity of pre-schoolers. Indolent and uninquisitive, they live communally and carefree. Here Wells’s time traveller applies the scientific method to hypothesize that these genderless creatures prove that humanity has triumphed over nature. He couldn’t have been more wrong, for another race of hominin also lurks in every dark corner: the Morlocks, subterranean dwellers who provide for the Eloi, just like farmers do to their cattle. And that’s about what the Eloi are to the Morlock. It is a dark tale, both imaginative and terrifying and one that casts a shroud over the future of humanity.

Written in the Victorian Era, The Time Machine dissects the social structures of the day. The child-like Eloi, representing the rich capitalists, live in comfort and beauty and the Morlocks, the working class, who abide and toil in the darkest, most foul subterranean caverns. Today we see a similar dichotomy between the prosperous nations and those states struggling with poverty. Never has this been more apparent than during the COVID pandemic where this inequality spelled death for many impoverished countries. Wells forces us to ask ourselves the question: do we who live in luxury and safety view the downtrodden as fellow humans or Morlocks?

One of the first dystopian novels, The Time Machine also deals with the impermanence of life itself. After escaping from the Morlocks, the time traveller continues to race through time until the dying sun flashes over a desolate, barren planet. He reflects that not only will humanity crumble into the dust of time, but Earth itself will cease to exist. Wells is reminding the reader of how fragile our existence is, something that humanity needs to be mindful of today, when climate emergencies are the result of global heating.

Wells’s novel also provides a timely commentary on the dual nature of technology. The traveller opens his audience’s eyes to science and technology as being a double edged sword that can be wielded for good or can cause great danger. Although the book uses fire and the time machine itself in this role, this is utterly relatable in modern times. We see the damage that has been caused to our planet by the burning of fossil fuels, by transportation, mass consumerism, and human arrogance. The Time Machine cautions us on an over-reliance on technology without respect and balance.

So much packed in such a slender novel! Not only is The Time Machine a thrilling science-fiction adventure, but it provides modern readers with many messages that resonate in contemporary times. It’s a must read for science-fiction fans, so pick up the book, suspend disbelief and enter into the realm of the distant future with H.G. Wells.
Zanne Raby will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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

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Book Blast and Giveaway - Find Your Way Back: How to Write Your Way Through Anything by Javacia Harris Bowser

Welcome to the book blast for Find Your Way Back: How to Write Your Way Through Anything by Javacia Harris Bowser. This book blast was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as the blitz wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 and $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the blitz for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Find Your Way Back: How to Write Your Way Through Anything
Author: Javacia Harris Bowser
Publisher: See Jane Write
Publication Date: March 15th 2022
Print Length: 164 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction Essays
Award-winning freelance journalist Javacia Harris Bowser is convinced that writing is a superpower. She sees her life as proof of it since writing has helped her navigate marriage, crisis of faith and body image issues. It also helped her to beat cancer.

As a Black woman from the South, Javacia has used the written word to explore issues of gender and race as well as religion. Find Your Way Back is a collection of essays that demonstrate how Javacia has used writing to achieve some of her wildest dreams such as being a public speaker, having her own column, and being her own boss. The book also explores how writing, self-love, and faith helped her overcome her worst nightmare: a cancer diagnosis in 2020. Javacia’s goal is to show readers how writing can transform their lives as well. The book includes prompts throughout to help readers start their own writing journey.

This book is for the woman who has wanted to write since she was a girl but struggles to find the time or the courage to put her words on paper. Find Your Way Back, shows that instead of putting writing on the back burner when life gets turned upside down, we should turn to it to help life make sense again.

- from I’m Feeling Lucky – and Enraged

When it comes to health care, I’ve always been lucky. My lupus diagnosis in 2008 didn’t come after spending years visiting doctor after doctor, searching for answers to questions of chronic pain. I mentioned my fatigue, achy joints, vitiligo spots, and bouts of Raynaud’s disease to my primary care physician at the time as casually as someone rattling off a grocery list. She looked at me and said, “We need to test you for lupus.”

Years later, in a new state with a new doctor, I once again had a proactive primary care doc who urged me to get a mammogram, even though I was in my thirties. Breast cancer is often diagnosed in its later stages for women under forty, which means the survival rate is lower and the recurrence rate is higher. And while Black women and white women get breast cancer at about the same rate, Black women are more likely to be diagnosed before age 45 and, regardless of age, Black women die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women.

Even when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age thirty-eight, I still felt lucky. I felt lucky that I had insurance that covered my treatment. I felt lucky that whenever I said I was in pain, my doctors and nurses believed me and scrambled to do something about it.

I felt lucky because in 2020, thirty million people were uninsured, and about half of those were people of color, according to The Brookings Institution, a research and public policy organization in Washington, DC. I felt lucky because both anecdotal evidence and published studies reveal that many medical professionals don’t take Black people’s pain seriously. According to a 2016 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, half the medical students surveyed had false beliefs such as “black people’s skin is thicker than white people’s.” And trainees who believed that Black people are not as sensitive to pain as white people were less likely to treat Black people’s pain appropriately.

The staggering Black maternal mortality rates show that this type of implicit bias can be deadly. According to the CDC, each year about seven hundred people in the United States die during pregnancy or the year after. Black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. I feel lucky, and I feel angry because I shouldn’t feel lucky! Affordable health care and being listened to and taken seriously by your doctors should be the norm for everyone.

I will use my privilege and my platform to try to do something about this. I’ve written stories about the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, which seeks to use legislation to address every aspect of the maternal health crisis in America. And I’ve written about the CDC’s Hear Her campaign, which seeks to improve communication between patients and their doctors and help to make healthcare providers, patients, and their families more aware of the warning signs of potentially life-threatening complications. I’ve had the chance to be a voice for other breast cancer patients of color in sessions with healthcare providers thanks to the work of organizations like the Tigerlily Foundation, which provides breast cancer education, awareness, advocacy and support for women ages 15 to 45, with a focus on women of color.

Even though I’m a writer, sometimes words aren’t enough. So, I will keep writing, but I also will keep fighting.
Javacia Harris Bowser is an award-winning essayist and journalist and the founder of See Jane Write. A proud graduate of the journalism programs at the University of Alabama and the University of California at Berkeley, Javacia has written for USA Today,, and Good Grit magazine. Named one of Birmingham’s Top 40 Under 40, she believes we can all write our way to the life of our dreams.

The Literary Lobbyist will be awarding one $25 and one $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to two randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

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

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Book Blog Tour: The Traceverse Saga by Eric R. Swanson

Welcome to my stop on the book blog tour for The Traceverse Saga by Eric R. Swanson. This book tour was organized by Lone Star Book Blog Tours. On my stop, I have info on the books as well as a bonus story by the author. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Shattered Gate
Series: Traceverse #1
Author: Eric R. Swanson
Publication Date: March 22nd 2020
Print Length: 394 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
They selfishly pillaged Earth and made him a hybrid. Will his split nature spell the end of intergalactic abduction?

Half-human, half-Ceran, Micah Trace yearns for something more. Though the repetition and isolation of living as a body double for the King of Ceres is crushing, he’s grateful to be treated better than the other genetically engineered humans. But when he discovers the ailing plight of his ancestors, he heeds the calling and cleverly insinuates himself into a dangerous mission across the galaxy.

Fearing their plan to repair a failing transportation gate might lead to disaster, Micah uses his experience mimicking the king to steal the forbidden authority he’s assumed for so long. But with ulterior motives darkening the depths of space, he may not survive to see the centuries-old connection between the planets repaired.

Can the royal mimic win control of the ship before they’re lost to the vacuum’s void?

The Shattered Gate is the thought-provoking first tale in the science fiction Traceverse Saga. If you like character-driven action, high-tech military defense systems, and intriguing political powerplays, then you’ll love Eric R. Swanson’s interstellar adventure.

Title: The Two Gates
Series: Traceverse #2
Author: Eric Swanson
Publication Date: May 1st 2021
Print Length: 402 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Born to serve. Trained to lead. Can a man of two species bridge the critical gap between his peoples?

2454. Micah Trace’s half-human heart races as his expedition approaches Earth. Taking leadership of a one-way-trip from Ceres, he fears the memory of a centuries-old mass abduction means they’ll face a hostile reception. And his desperate claim of a shared ancestry falls on deaf ears when the traumatized Earthers greet them with suspicion, capture, and interrogation.

With relations treading a knife’s edge, the offworld ambassador finally proves his genetic roots and convinces the nervous population to repair the stargate and reconnect their worlds. But some resent alien interference in the planet’s affairs, and Micah suspects that they may be willing to kill to ensure his mission’s doom.

Can the hybrid herald unite his two species before the past destroys their future?

The Two Gates is the thrilling second novel in the science fiction Traceverse saga. If you like complex interplanetary politics, stunning character revelations, and pulse-pounding action, then you’ll love Eric R. Swanson’s galactic tale.

For Captain Shawn Christensen and Major Cat Stanton, today began like any other. The pair would relieve their counterparts at 1015 hours and prepare for their 24-hour shift deep beneath the open prairie of South Dakota. The day was not to end conventionally, as their last day in the hardened, buried bunker was to be the final day that human hands and minds determined when to launch the bunker's nuclear ICBM payload. An AI program would do the job from now on... If the bunker still stands.

Read The Last Shift, a companion story from “The Episode” in The Shattered Gate, on Kindle Vella for FREE.

Eric Swanson was born in September of 1981 in Chicago, IL and his entire life has been spent engrossed in stories. Growing up in a Minneapolis, MN suburb, Eric developed a deep appreciation for stories with a wide scope. From being frightened by Stephen King’s IT to being enthralled by Orson Scott Card’s Ender Wiggin stories, the written word of others grabbed Eric and often refused to let go… Even after he finished the first reading of a book. Several of his personal copies of favorite novels have endured many many readings. From an early age, Eric was a fan of all things science fiction with a leaning toward the dystopian and post-apocalyptic. The future fascinates Eric to no end, be that a realistic or wild-eyed and farfetched future. While he annually binges Battlestar Galactica (04), he dreams of worlds, people and happenings yet to be written. Eric lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, two children and a pair of Goldendoodles. They sometimes Tweet for him...


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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

NBTM Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway - Marines Don't Cry: Delivering the Message at All Costs by Danny Garcia & Jackie C. Garcia

Welcome to my stop on the NBTM virtual book tour for Marines Don't Cry: Delivering the Message at All Costs by Danny Garcia & Jackie C. Garcia. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book, a lovely guest post about simplicity from one of the authors, and an author video interview. There's also the tour wide giveaway to win the eBook or a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: Marines Don't Cry: Delivering the Message at All Costs
Authors: Danny Garcia & Jackie C. Garcia
Publication Date: September 21st 2021
Print Length: 251 pages
Genre: Memoir
Have you ever been lost -- really lost?

Danny and Jackie answer this question in Marines Don’t Cry with stories of death to life, deep sorrow to joy, darkness to light, and freedom in Christ.

Danny recounts his early life in Spanish Harlem and describes conversion from a life of drugs and “the fast lane” to one consumed with knowing and serving God. This makes his journey of walking more than 52 million steps on six continents for children and world peace such an incredible story.

Marines Don’t Cry is about the transformational power of God’s love: how Danny found his calling and is delivering the message of Christ at all costs.

Taken Hostage in Gaza

The next morning, the Palestinian officials picked me up, gave me food to eat, and took me to a hospital. They showed me some of the kids wounded by guns. The media interviewed me.

I told them, “I walk for these children who are in the crosshairs of conflict.”

After the hospital visit, they took me to a building I think was the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Several people welcomed me, and I told them I was walking through Gaza for Palestinian children too. They thanked me, and some of them were weeping as they presented me with a medal on behalf of President Yassar Arafat and the Palestinian children.

I told the representatives where I was going, so the PLO assigned me a security detail of twenty men, ten on each side. The guards walked with me through the Gaza Strip, where I visited several refugee camps. The Palestinians were friendly and grateful that I was walking for their children. At the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, I reached the region of Rafah, which is mostly populated by refugees. Rafah’s border crossing, Egyptian-controlled, is the only means of crossing from the Gaza Strip into Egypt. Here, the Palestinian security detail left me. I was alone again.

That afternoon, I arrived in Rafah. As I walked through the streets of Rafah, I felt friction in the air. The tension was thick, hair-raising. I was alone with no escort or entourage. There was no American or UN presence.

The same day, Israeli forces had shot and killed a young Palestinian girl in Rafah. People were in the streets protesting at a heightened pitch. An angry mob of about 2,000 Palestinians saw me walking in the streets. Then three or four of them with rifles grabbed me by my arms. The men pulled me at gunpoint toward a one-story shell of a house.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” they demanded.

The people in the mob saw everything. They yelled and fired their weapons in the air as if they were cheering my capture. We continued to move toward the building and, once inside, the men shoved me and threw me into a room. I was taken off-guard, dazed.

Then I realized that I was a captive. I had been taken hostage.

Perhaps it was three or four hours? As a hostage, I lost track of time. I relied on my Marine Corps training to survey my surroundings. I was frightened but knew not to show fear or panic. I had to appear calm.

I prayed silently, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. You brought me here, you order my every step. I trust you. Keep me calm, give me favor. Save me.”

My captors took my backpack and searched through my possessions. They found the silver medal with Arabic writing. They pulled the medal out of my pack like a treasure and held up it.

“What is this?” the captors asked.

Calmly, I said, “I walk for children, and I walk for Palestinian children. That medal was given to me this morning on behalf of Yasser Arafat, expressing his thanks for the walk I am doing for your children.”

Yasser Arafat was the Leader of the PLO. Because Mr. Arafat knew of me, the abductors realized they had to protect me, not kill me.

The men quickly repacked and zipped my pack and gave it back to me. They shuffled me from the holding area, took me outside, and threw me into a waiting taxi with my belongings on top of the car.

When the mob saw me being put into a taxi, they turned their attention toward me and ran, charging the taxi. They wanted vengeance to quench their anger at the death of one of their young daughters. They wanted to kill me.

The situation grew more chaotic, and my captors lost control. The bloodthirsty mob swarmed the car, screaming and beating with their fists on all sides. They rocked the taxi side to side, trying to overturn the car to get to me. Would I escape? Would I survive?
Danny Garcia, The Walking Man, was born and raised in New York’s Spanish Harlem. He served as a United States Marine, law enforcement officer, and ordained minister. Since 1996, he has prayed and walked over 52,000, 000 steps on six continents for children and world peace. During his journeys, Garcia met with dignitaries all over the world, ministering to the famous and to the poorest of the poor. Danny made presentations to Kings/royals, Presidents, and other world leaders, to include four Presidents of the USA, several Prime Ministers of other countries, the Pope, Mother Teresa, Ambassadors and various eminent personalities and multilateral organizations. Garcia began his journey as a personal commitment to peace and children and continued walking and raising funds for multiple charitable organizations.

Danny is married to the former Jacqueline Charsagua of El Paso, TX, and they work side by side to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jackie Charsagua Garcia is married to Daniel Garcia. She graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, in 1985 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Jackie holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master of Science in Human Resources Management. While in the US Air Force, Jackie specialized in communications, acquisition, systems engineering, and information technology.

After a rewarding and fulfilling Air Force career, she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the summer of 2006, having spent more than 21 years on active duty. Since 2006, she has supported and advised on all aspects of her husband’s walks and charitable initiatives within the United States and abroad. She joined Danny during his Africa Walk in 2007 and ministered in South Africa, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Southern Sudan. During this time, her faith and reliance on God grew tremendously under the mentorship of Danny Garcia. The Global Walk experience gave Jackie an opportunity to serve God abroad, and her vision is to spread the hope, love, and the grace of Jesus Christ through her writing. She is a native of El Paso, TX, mother of one amazing daughter, and a breast cancer survivor.

Simplicity is Elegance
by Jackie C. Garcia

I tend to overcomplicate, well, just about all my projects. It has to be because I was taught attention to detail, necessary for those training to maybe one day be pilots. I am technical, and I chock that up to all the engineering classes I had to take at the Air Force Academy. That laser focus serves me well in most cases, but at other times I am paralyzed with overthinking. Details can overwhelm me, and I want to cross every “t” (double check it), dot every “I” (double check it), then do an end-to-review. “Have to catch any errors before it goes out,” I think to myself. Do you do that, too?

So, enter my designer, visionary, creative husband, Danny. He has such a grasp on flow, creativity, artsy facets. In our book, we talk about Shell Oil, and THE Art Director, Bud Roberts, who took him under his wing and taught Danny all aspects of the Art Department. Those included mock-ups, lay-outs, dye transfers, photography, etc. (Strange country for me, ha!) Danny was a member of the ten-person team that developed the Shell Oil logo that is recognized all over the world. No words, just a yellow shell with a red background.

Shell Logo = Shell Oil Company. What an example of “simplicity is elegance.”

The logo is enduring and memorable. Every time I see the Shell Oil logo, that message pops on my radar. Simplicity is elegance. I want to be elegant, and that transfers to my writing. Simply constructed sentences and phrases. Fewer words, but words with impact, depth, meaning. My creative side is blossoming, too, knowing I can have impact with simple and clean designs.

Whether it be artwork, marketing, emails, briefings, and our book writing style, we are trending towards simplicity for 2022. The simpler, the less opportunity for error, and the less self-inflicted pressure. Would you take a challenge to simplify?
Watch the video below or by clicking here.

One Winner: $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card
Ten Winners: eBook of Marines Don't Cry by Danny Garcia & Jackie C. Garcia

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

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