Author Interview and Blog Tour – V. J. Allison – Romance

Welcome to V J Allison

How did you come up with name of this book?

Stricken came from the song by Disturbed. Its second chorus was exactly what had happened to Ewan. He was being haunted by Marti’s face and what she did to him, even if it was unconsciously.

Away to Me was suggested by an old school chum. It’s a herding term, and it means to go around and come back. Kelsey went away and came back to Neil, so it fit perfectly.

 Under Your Scars was influenced by Godsmack’s song of the same name. Seth and Alexis had a lot of emotional scars from previous relationships and they fell in love despite everything.

 Sweet Child of Mine was influenced by a song I listened to growing up.

COVID’s Arrow is a play on Cupid’s arrow… Love happening when least expected. Since it was written during the pandemic, and features two essential workers during a pandemic, I thought it was fitting.

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I like to start with a general idea of where the story will go – the main characters, and how they get their happy ever after at the end of the story. After that, I tend to just let the characters run with it, and if something doesn’t work, it’s axed and something else put in. I find if I just write without planning too much, things fall in to place much easier.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

One of the biggest ones is thinking they have a “best-selling idea” or story, when in reality, it’s probably not even a blip on the radar.

 Another one is thinking that if they have their own distinct style that goes against the grain of grammar and writing period, they’ll get noticed by a big name publisher and again, have a best-selling book.

 Some think that once the writing is done, the work is too. It’s the exact opposite. Once that story is drafted, the work is only beginning. Whether you go the traditional route or the self-publishing one, you still have to edit the story several times to get it as perfect as possible, get it proofed, have a cover made, and after it’s out there, promote it to death.

 Some also think that others should do their work while they do nothing. Not true. If you want to be successful, you have to work your butt off to get anywhere in this business.

 What is your writing Kryptonite?

Noise. Distractions of any kind. They’ll throw me off so badly that I lose track of things, get frustrated and have to stop for the day. Ugh!

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell myself to ignore the naysayers, and keep writing… I’ll have a few problems and some road blocks at a few points, but I made it, despite everything. Keep going. Never give up… And check out an independent publisher out in British Columbia. *wink*

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It depends on many things – if I have a lot of alone time and my chronic pain issues are not acting up. If Hubby works day times while my son is in school, and I am deep into a story, I can sometimes clear 6K a week. I’ve written books in less than 3 months while writing only a day or two a week.

 On average, I’d say it is about six months to a year. If I can put out a full novel once a year, I’m happy.

 

EXCERPT from Stricken

Release Date: March 17, 2017

Series: Feathered Tartan 1

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Second Chance Romance

Pages: 206

Word Count: 58867

Flame Rating: 3 Flames

COVER ART: Syneca Featherstone

EXCERPT from Chapter Three:

The tan door was ajar, and he could see the blue and cream tile turned into a soft blue carpet at the threshold of the office. With a hope Kara was wrong, Ewan glanced around quickly, but a movement to his right drew his attention.

Marti’s back was to him as she rooted around in a file cabinet drawer and shook her head periodically. Her outfit was professional, from the roll of hair in a French twist at the back of her head, to the black skirt suit with brown pin-stripes, and the suede two-inch heeled shoes on her feet.

As he tapped his fingers on the doorjamb, a vision of her wearing nothing but one of his t-shirts and a solitaire engagement ring flashed through his mind.

“Yes?” Her voice was distant, cool and polite.

“Dr. Brown said you were in.”

Her back stiffened as he spoke to her without an audience for the first time in years. “I have no clue why you would want to see me,” she replied and dug a folder out of the drawer.

A soft sigh of exasperation came out of his throat as he entered the office and stopped halfway between the doorway and her desk. “I owe you an apology.”

“For what?”

“Saturday night. Shannon treated you like dirt, and—”

“I’ve dealt with people like her before and it hasn’t killed me yet.”

“That doesn’t excuse it—hell.” Ewan rubbed a hand down his face as he tried to find the right way to express himself.

“Maybe that will teach you not to take someone like her around your friends and coworkers.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s your life and your choice. If you want to go dumpster diving, that’s your business, but if I were you, I’d be careful on what I brought home.” She flipped a page in the file. “I have a meeting in less than an hour, and I’d like to be fully prepared for it, so if you don’t mind…”

“Look, I know this isn’t the ideal situation, but can’t we at least try to make an effort, for everyone’s best interest?”

So he wouldn’t look at her, he glanced around the room, and his gaze finally landed on a picture frame in her book-case. An unwelcome, searing bolt of jealousy zoomed up his spine when he saw it was a photo of her and a man with their arms around each other.

His eyes moved to the large windows facing Citadel Hill, and locked with hers via the reflection, a memory’s shadow of their first date at the Fisheries Museum in Lunenburg.

Like that day, almost nine years ago, Marti was the one to break eye contact.

“How are we going to do that?” she asked.

“I don’t know, but unless we try, Kara and Dennis are go-ing to chalk it up to something big, and from what I’ve heard, you’re not open about your past.”

“That’s my life and my choice, isn’t it?”

Ewan sighed and raked a hand through his hair as he took a step toward her. When she stiffened, he stopped and shoved his hands into his coat pockets.

“Dr. Lewis—Marti…” He let out a long breath. “I am sorry about invading your life. If I had known you were living here, I wouldn’t have taken the promotion, and told Miran-da I was moving on.”

“Some things are beyond our control or knowledge. Hali-fax is a big place. I’m sure you and I can avoid being in the same area at the same time as much as possible.” With a shrug, Marti turned to face him.

As her cool and detached gaze met his, Ewan nodded, and his stomach dropped as the full impact of her calm and professional air hit him.

What was I thinking when I thought that maybe…

Hell.

The girl he knew was gone, replaced by this cool, sophisticated, and distant woman.

“Okay,” he murmured, and wondered why he felt as if his heart had been ripped out again.

Marti’s expression softened as she held up the file. “I’m not chasing you out because—I really do have a meeting, and I’d better get moving if I want to be ready for it.”

Ewan nodded and moved his gaze to a spot on the carpet. “Yeah.” With a final nod, he turned and walked out of her office, not understanding the heavy feeling around him.

Stricken
Feathered Tartan Book 1
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A heartbeat later, he was alone—shattered, confused and suicidal. Why had Marti walked away from him?
Years later, in another place and a new chapter of Ewan’s life, fate brings them face to face again.
They start building a friendship, but Ewan wants more. He wants Marti as his wife, while she seems to prefer their current status as friends.
Can he convince her that taking another chance at their failed future will be the start of the best part of their lives?
Sweet Child of Mine
Feathered Tartan Book 2
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Holiday Romance
In the city on the harbour, miracles happen.
It’s Christmas Eve.
Ewan and Marti Campbell are hoping to have a quiet holiday season, their first as a married couple, and the last one before their new baby arrives.
A crisis at the real estate agency tosses a huge wrench into their plans, as does the sudden onset of Marti’s labour. As Ewan fights to get home before his child appears, more crises are flung at him. If he is to make it on time to help his wife bring their baby into the world, he’ll need a miracle…
A big one.
Away To Me
Tri-Town Book 1
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
What would you do if you found out your late spouse wasn’t the biological parent of your stepchild as they had led you to believe? Would you let it go, in hopes the child wouldn’t go looking for their birth family, or would you help them in their search?
This is the dilemma Neil Falcon faces when he first discovers his late wife, Rita, wasn’t the biological mother of his teenage stepdaughter, Rikki.
His decision to look for her roots puts them on a path that leads them to a part of Neil’s past, one he thought was locked away forever.
Kelsey Wagner is shocked to see the man she once adored appear on her doorstep with claims that Rikki may be her biological child. After finding out her daughter wants her to be a part of her life, she agrees.
Amidst the confusion of raising a teenage daughter, the old feelings resurface. They know their daughter wants them to become a family, but can they make it work?
Under Your Scars
Tri-Town Book 2
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Alexis has that special something about her that Seth can’t fathom. His friend Mirabelle’s new employee is even prettier than the merchandise she sells. Too bad she’s distantly polite when he tries talking to her.
Alexis is attracted to Seth, but she’s in hiding from her past and her mistakes. Getting involved with the one person she’s attracted to could blow her cover.
When they’re forced to work together, their libidos ignite. Alexis is terrified to open up and give in to her feelings for Seth. If he remembers that night five years ago, he’ll never speak to her again.
It becomes a question of whether Seth will expose her and force her to keep running, or if he’ll help her face her past.
COVID’s Arrow
by V.J. Allison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When two people are in love, social distancing cannot prevent them from being together.
Vicki has been half in love with her friend and co-worker, Mason, since she started working at a grocery store eight months ago. When a pandemic reaches the province, social distancing protocols are installed, and their friendship is put on hold. A break at work brings them back together, but will they have the time Vicki hopes to pursue her hidden desires?
**Only .99 cents!**
V.J. Allison was born and raised in southern Nova Scotia, Canada, and her work reflects her strong Maritime roots. She is a stay-at-home mother to a son on the autism spectrum, married to the love of her life, and “mama” to a rescued Maine Coon cat named Marnie. She has been writing various stories of novel length and short stories since her school days, and sees writing as a vital component to her life.
She is a small town erotic romance author published by eXtasy Books, and her novels have been received with great acclaim. Her second novel, Away to Me, is a recipient of the eXtasy Books and Devine Destinies’ Editor’s Choice Seal of Excellence and Enjoyable Reading.
On January 4, 2021, she released her first independently published story, COVID’s Arrow, which had been previously released in the Together We Stand charity collection of stories about essential workers.
When she isn’t writing, she loves to read romance and science fiction novels (notably Star Wars); listen to music (heavy metal, rock, alternative); and do graphics design. She runs her own graphics design company, Veridian Rose Designs, specializing in book promotional posters and Facebook cover photos. This self-proclaimed geeky rocker chick is a warrior and advocate for various chronic illnesses including Occipital Neuralgia, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Diabetes, Migraines, and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia. She is also an advocate for the prevention of animal cruelty and is a voice for Autism Awareness.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$15 USD eXtasy Books gift card

Legacy of the Mask – On Tour

Featured

Legacy of the Mask Schedule

Feb 11

kickoff at Silver Dagger Book Tours

A Pinch of Bookdust

Feb 12

Kayden McLeod, Author

All Things Dark & Dirty    

Feb 14

SE Lindberg  – GUEST POST

Feb 15

Bedazzled By Books

The Book Dragon

Feb 16

Insane Books

The Bookshelf Fairy

Feb 17

Musings From An Addicted Reader  

Twisted Book Ramblings

Feb 18

@theenchantedshelf

Westveil Publishing   

Feb 19

Scrupulous Dreams

Book Corner News and Reviews

Feb 20

R Tran Books – GUEST POST

A Wonderful World of Words – GUEST POST

Feb 21

Tina Donahue – Heat with Heart  

Feb 22

Sadie’s Spotlight

Literary Gold

Feb 23

Midnight Book Reader

Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

Feb 24

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Books, Authors, Blogs   

Feb 25

IndiePowerd by No Sweat Graphics

Books a Plenty Book Reviews

Feb 26

Lady Hawkeye   

Feb 27

Writing Dreams

Feb 28

Drako’s Den

Mar 1

Books all things paranormal and romance

Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read   

Mar 2

Craving Lovely Books   

Why I Can’t Stop Reading  

Mar 3

Girl with Pen

Inside the Insanity – GUEST POST

Mar 4

Stormy Nights Reviewing & Bloggin’   

The Faerie Review

Mar 5

Sylv.net   

Teatime and Books  

Mar 8

eBook Addicts

The Sexy Nerd ‘Revue’

Mar 9

4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – GUEST POST

Chapters through life

Mar 10

Books A-Brewin’ – GUEST POST

❧Defining Ways❧

Mar 11

Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author

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Dirty Dozen Author Interview – Anthony St Clair

Author name: Anthony St. Clair

 Links to book: https://rucksackuniverse.com/books/the-lotus-and-the-barley/

 Bio: Anthony St. Clair, a freelance writer and entrepreneur, is the author of over 500 fiction and non-fiction works, including novels, short stories, articles, and more. Library Journal calls Anthony’s storytelling “reminiscent of Terry Pratchett,” and his fiction has been celebrated for its “quirk, wit, travel, and magic.” In addition to his global travels, Anthony spent fifteen years in media and business before turning full time to writing in 2011. Together with his wife, son, and daughter, Anthony lives a life of everyday adventure at home in Oregon and on the road anywhere. For more information, see rucksackuniverse.com and anthonystclair.com.

 Tell us a silly fact about yourself: Much to my children’s ongoing amusement, I’m incapable of blowing up a balloon.

Please tell us about your publications/work. My Rucksack Universe series revolves around people who seek to know themselves so that they understand their place in the broader world, be that with a social group or a place they want to live in.

The core of everything I write is an exploration of how we make the decisions that shape our destinies. What are the rules we are told about life and living? How many of those rules help us do what we consider meaningful? What rules deserve to be followed—and which rules should we break or get rid of?

We go through this life trying to find our way, searching out how we fit in. Sometimes we have to push back against presumptions and notions from family or culture, so we can understand and live our own personal truths about the world. My Rucksack Universe series is all about people making those choices.

Do you think the written word (or art) bring power and freedom? Even when we don’t realize it, the written word is all around us. Books and articles are obvious manifestations, but even “visual” mediums such as video have an underlying script or teleplay written element that guides what happens and what’s said. The written word is similar to the atmosphere: All around us and essential, yet easy to forget it’s there.

How did you become involved with bundles? (For Bundle Authors) I got to meet Chuck Heintzelman at Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s and Dean Wesley Smith’s Business Master Class in 2017. I’d been aware of his BundleRabbit platform, but especially after meeting Chuck was so impressed with how BundleRabbit was helping authors develop and participate in ebook bundles. Bundles are such a great way to help readers dive in deep on different variations on a theme, topic, etc., and it’s so fun to work with other authors on new ways to put our work in the world.

 How much research do you do for your work? What’s the wildest subject you’ve looked at? Travel has always been a big part of my life, and my fiction centers around people who travel as a lifestyle. I include destination research and draw from on-the-ground experience as much as I can too, so I can really evoke that feeling of “being there.”

For my novel THE LOTUS AND THE BARLEY, I drew on my own travels to London, my background covering Oregon’s craft beer industry, and a “what if?” mindset that helped me imagine a London that had built itself up in a different way, but based on landmarks that could be familiar to us in our world.

The beery touches were especially fun. My work has brought me on many a tour of breweries, so I got to bring all that experience together not only into my pro brewer and homebrewer characters, but the beer itself is its own character.

What is your greatest success? Marrying well. I had the good fortune and the good sense to know when I had found my soulmate. Jodie and I met in 2005, got married in 2009. From business to parenting, we bring out the best in one another, and I’m grateful every day that I found her.

Which authors have influenced you the most? If there is one author I wish I could have met, it’s Terry Pratchett. Discworld titles such as Thud! and Witches Abroad are books I re-read and re-read. Pratchett’s characters have to channel other feelings into meaningful action, and his sense of humor and satire is a candy coating that helps us swallow some tricky truths.

What is your writing space like? My wife and I currently share a “corner office” in our house. I usually use the office in the morning for writing and client work, and she uses it in the afternoon for teaching violin lessons. At other times I’ll be set up at our front table, with a MacBook Pro, a mouse, and an external keyboard. It helps me be both focused and flexible—and reminds me that I can work anywhere.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? If you want others to value your work, time, and expertise, then make sure you show that you value them too.

It’s not uncommon for writers to undervalue their work and underestimate the time and energy it takes to do their work. When I went full-time as a  freelance writer in 2011, I made sure to track my time on projects, agree fair rates with clients and editors, and, above all, to make sure that I always got paid. Writers do work that other people wish they could do—the power and value in understanding that is without equal.

 Tell us about your latest piece? My 2020 novel, STRANGE RIDE, brought me an interesting challenge. The setting was in a walled city full of skyscrapers, and drew heavily on labyrinths, mythology, and the five stages of grief: depression, anger, bargaining, denial, acceptance, collectively referred to as “DABDA.” I had to extensively research labyrinths. Plus, the city where I live—Eugene, Oregon—is home to many indoor and outdoor labyrinths, so I also got to have some contemplative introverted fun going to different labyrinths around town and walking them.

STRANGE RIDE focuses on a 10-year-old girl named Soarsha. She lives in this giant walled city, in a high-rise apartment with her dad. They lost her mother years ago, in the wasteland beyond the city. We meet Soarsha on her tenth birthday, and see her get bullied by her classmates. She seeks refuge in her Wandering Heroes comic books, and in hanging out with her dad. It’s not necessarily a great life, but she has some good things going for her. Until, the next day, she comes home… but her father doesn’t. She sets out to find him, but winds up discovering truths she didn’t even know she was looking for.

What’s the worst piece best advice you’ve received about writing/publishing? There’s this ongoing discussion that it can be really difficult to publish ebooks to different retailers—you know, upload to Amazon, to Draft 2 Digital, to Apple Books, to Kobo, etc.—because you have to enter the same information over and over. The problem isn’t the process, it’s whether or not the writer is organized to handle the process in less time.

 I independently publish my work, and I distribute ebooks to all the channels: Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, Nook, you name it. I keep a spreadsheet with all the details about every release: publication date, Patreon release date, links to stores, prices for different markets, even the color codes for my cover’s primary color. Once that info is set up, it’s a simple copy and paste job. I can set up a title across multiple channels in less than an hour.

Writers get hung up on the number of stores. That’s not the problem. Most of your time and energy goes into getting the details ready. Actually setting them up is a much smaller fraction of the time it takes than we often think it is.

 What’s your greatest networking tip? There’s an easy way to be remembered by pretty much any presenter at any event. It’s based on a simple principle: Everyone likes knowing their work is appreciated, looked forward to, and will help someone.

Before going to any sort of writing conference, take a few minutes to research presenters whose talks or workshops you plan on attending. Then, contact them—through their website’s contact form, their email, or a social network—and leave a short and simple note, such as “Hi, I’m FIRSTNAME LASTNAME, and I’ll be attending your talk on SUBJECT at NAMEOFEVENT. Just wanted to let you know I’m really looking forward to it.”

Anytime I’ve done this, it’s led to useful connections and worthwhile conversations. Plus, the moment I introduce myself, they say something like, “Oh, I got a note from you, thank you so much!”

It’s a simple but powerful way to help yourself stand out.

Lágrimas e Veludo Vermelho

https://books2read.com/Lgrimas-e-Veludo-Vermelho-TCV-Port

Quando o assassinato e o mistério começam na Opera House uma mulher sabe quem está por trás disso, e o que realmente está sob a máscara. Segredos, mentiras e tragédias cantam uma canção poderosa neste conto “poderia ter sido”.

Madame Giry encontra-se envolvido na tragédia que se desenrola na Casa de Ópera; mistério e assassinato perseguem os corredores e, dizem, um fantasma assombra o lugar. Giry sabe a verdade, pois ela se lembra do homem enjaulado que conheceu há tantos anos. Esta é a história dela, a história deles.

Quando o assassinato e o mistério começam na Opera House uma mulher sabe quem está por trás disso, e o que realmente está sob a máscara. Segredos, mentiras e tragédias cantam uma canção poderosa neste conto “poderia ter sido”.

Uma curta e trágica história baseada em personagens de Fantasma da Ópera.

#Histórico, #Fantasia, #FICÇÃO

Intergalactic Enosis – Blog Tour #Sci-fi

Fallen Warriors
Intergalactic Enosis: The Pyxis System Book 1
by Aurora Welkin
Genre: SciFi RH Romance
We are warriors. We are shifters. We are Saberians.
We are the greatest…until we fall.
When the females of Saber mysteriously die, Prince Arana, the only remaining member of the Royal family, vows to govern the living and avenge the fallen.
As if being the new king was not enough, Arana faces a grave challenge. He and Beast, his sabertooth half, need to play nice long enough to accomplish the only thing that will save them—finding compatible females for his people.
He needs to lead his warriors by example, else his failure will cost him more than just his life. Will he locate a mate Beast will accept in time, or will he be leading to doom those he pledged to protect?
Fallen Warriors is a 39k words reverse harem romance that ends in a cliffhanger. Arana’s story climaxes in book 2 of the series, Saved Warriors. (No M/M). Happily ever after guaranteed!
** NOTE: This book contains violence, explicit sexual situations, bad-language, and content that some readers may find triggering. If this material offends you, please do not read. Visit aurorawelkin.com for further information.
If you love kicka** heroines, drool-worthy aliens who don’t mind sharing, dive in now! This series will appeal to fans of the Dragons in Exile series, the Ozar Triad series, and the Interstellar Brides series.
To find out what happens next and be notified of the upcoming releases, sign up for my newsletter!
Get Fallen Warriors FREE when you join Aurora’s newsletter!
**Get Fallen Warriors FREE when you use one of these codes Jan 6th- Feb 6th!
From B&N – use code BNPSDT100
From GooglePlay – use code HW98E6RN3FP6H
Saved Warriors
Intergalactic Enosis: The Pyxis System Book 2
Abducted by aliens? Check.
Caged with other female aliens, only wearing my birthday suit? Double-check.
Swoon-worthy male alien brooding my way? Triple-check.
Oh, God! I’m in trouble.
Saved Warriors, book 2 in the Intergalactic Enosis: The Pyxis System series, is a science fiction alien warrior MFMM reverse harem romance featuring a human female and three aliens that are determined to claim their fated mate. (No M/M). Happily ever after guaranteed!
Aurora Welkin is a Sci-Fi and Paranormal romance author. She lives in Sydney, but every chance she gets, she goes traveling all over Europe. She enjoys reading a little too much, and her loved ones usually find her with her nose in a book. In her free time, she loves strolling along the beach, drinking a cup of cocoa.
Aurora’s books can be read as sexy, “stand-alone” adventures, but when read in order, you get so much more from the overarching plot. Despite happenings inside her stories that might not be entirely sunshine and roses, her Happily Ever Afters are always free from cheating because even though her males are aliens, they are possessive alphas who know how to take care of their human women. Fair warning…her heroes are drool-worthy and her love scenes sizzling hot.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$10 Amazon

Review – The Retreat to Avalon – Historical Fiction/Arthurian Fiction

The Retreat to Avalon – The Arthurian Age – Book I 

Sean Poage

Review – Retreat to Avalon

Fifteen hundred years have turned history into legend…

After three generations of struggle against ruthless invaders, Britain has finally clawed its way back within reach of peace and prosperity. Across the sea, Rome is crumbling under an onslaught of barbarian attacks, internal corruption and civil war. Desperate for allies, Rome’s last great emperor looks to Britain and the rising fame of her High King, Arthur.

Arthur believes the coming war is inevitable, but many are opposed. Dissent, intrigue and betrayal threaten to tear the fragile British alliance apart from within, while the enemies of Britain wait for the first sign of weakness.

Gawain, a young warrior craving fame, is swept up in Arthur’s wake as the king raises an army. While his wife and kin face their own struggles at home, Gawain finds himself taking on more than he bargained for and heading into the greatest battle his people have faced in generations.

***

Gawain is a young warrior, newly married, restless for battle and excitement beyond his settlement but also dutiful to his family and his clan. The Romans have left Britain, but their influence remains. Other forces vie for control and intrigue and alliances are ephemeral.

This is Gawain’s coming of age, in many ways, fulfilling a duty for another man’s cause and finding battle and politics are bedfellows. He’s a complex character – tender to his wife, loyal to his friends and leaders but also headstrong, creative and brave. The author does not shy away from the grimness of battle, the emotions of the men, far away from home and in dangerous territory. There is humour, there is grief. There are conflicting thoughts and needs. There is a land left in limbo, with warlords grabbing what they can.

There is Arthur.

King Arthur is a warrior – charismatic to an almost supernatural degree, yet a man, with a man’s weaknesses – rage, impatience, even hubris. He is a legend but a fragile one. He is the ultimate warrior-king. There is no magic, at least no obvious magic. Merlin appears, he is a mysterious figure with many allies and legends of his own. This is a time when Christianity was new to Britain and many of the old ways and believes lingered. Merlin knows it. Is he a wizard? Yes. Does he cast any obvious magic? No, but that makes him more intriguing and I really hope he appears in later books.

The author weaves a building tale of loyalty and what price that demands. His worldbuilding is detailed and rich, with the complexities of a society finding a new identity in an uncertain world. It’s far more historically accurate than many of the Arthurian legends and tales.

The emotive characters capture the reader and bring to life the trials of living in such a world as this, and such a time as this.

Some of the scenes are long, perhaps a little too detailed – such as the training scenes and day to day camp business, but overall a really good read.

Guest Post – Blog Tour Harvey Havel – Short Fiction #Horror #Scifi #Surreal

Guest Post and Meet an Author 

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I went to a tiny college in Hartford, Connecticut.  In my sophomore year, I joined a fraternity.  In my senior year, there was a fraternity brother of mine named Jason Morfoot who told me this story about a group of guys who wrote poetry and literature all the time, smoked a lot of pot, dropped a lot of acid, and drove around in a psychedelic-painted bus with the Grateful Dead.

Once I heard this story, I asked Jason to tell it to me over and over again, probably to his chagrin.  I was so charmed by what the Beats did way back when that I said to myself, ‘Gee, maybe this writing thing is for me.’  Of course, it never turned out the way it turned out for them, but I never would have gone into writing had Jason not told me about the Beat Generation.  At the time, it sounded like they lived a fairy-tale life.  Perhaps they did.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I was born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1971.  I immigrated to the United States when I was just a newborn.  My family first moved to Buffalo, New York, and over the years, we found ourselves in New York City by the mid-1970s.  Back then, New York City was in dire straits – high crime, intense poverty, drugs, etc.  I still can’t believe how my mother got through it all, living in the toughest neighborhood in the city at the time, which was then known as Alphabet City, or what is currently known as the Lower East Side.  God must have been with her the entire time.  I am really amazed at how she persevered. She was incredible woman, even though our relationship was not.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I like listening to the radio a lot.  Usually, NPR, or Classic Rock and Roll.

What inspired you to write this book?

Interestingly enough, these stories were somehow stored on my computer for several years before I accidently found them in a hidden file on my hard drive.  I discovered nearly ninety short stories that I forgotten I had ever written.  It turns out that nearly seven or eight years ago, the poet, John Allen of Albany, New York, had asked me to submit stories for his website, The New Surrealist Institute, which is now defunct.  This site had really been thriving, and a core group of authors had submitted avidly to it.  It was also quite popular with many readers.  When the website went offline, I had simply forgotten about the stories.  When I found them, I just knew I had to compile them into a book.

I wouldn’t say that anything in particular inspired me to write these stories, though.  The ideas came to me out of nowhere, which is why it took a lot of effort to construct them.  Some of the political stories were inspired by the 2016 elections, for instance.  There’s a science fiction story that is more a personal response to my past relationships with friends who have now grown up to do amazing things with their lives.  A couple stories are tributes to old friends of mine who had passed on: a painter friend of mine who had committed suicide in the 1990s and also a Black-American bluegrass musician who had recently passed away a couple of years ago.  But I can’t say exactly how I got the ideas for them, which is strange.  They are very diverse and, I hope, fun to read.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I am working on a book about September 11, 2001, when the Word Trade Center in New York was hit by a terrorist attack.  I haven’t been working on the project consistently as of late, though, but I hope to have it done in a couple of years.  Sometimes, life gets in the way of writing every day, which is something I made sure to do.  But I really do want the September 11th book to be my finest publication, so it is always on my mind, and when I am working on it, I am working really hard.

Who designed your book covers?

I have to do everything on the cheap, as I have self-published for a long time.  I usually find ready-made covers on the web, purchase them, and use them for my book covers.  I use a site called www.selfpubbookcovers.com.  There’s a guy named Rob there who runs the show, and he has always been very responsive and helpful.  He has hundreds of covers to choose from.  Hiring designers for the job is just way too expensive for me.  Ready-made covers from great designers are a great way to package my books.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Never give up!  Never give up!  Never give up!

How long have you been writing?

I have been a professional writer for nearly 30 years without much success.  While I have published 18 books, it seems that it is hard to attract the public to read them.  I am definitely not able to make a living off of any of these books.  Instead, I have a fixed income every month from a variety of sources, including Social Security Disability, that has sustained me for all of these years.  While I am very happy to see all of my peers succeed and do very well in life, it has been equally as difficult to remain within the same income bracket for so long.  But then again, if you are concerned about the money, writing is definitely not the right career path to choose, or so is my experience.

Lately, I have been taking it easier.  I hope to continue writing for the rest of my years, but I do admit that I am a bit tired of always being broke and pinching pennies all the time.  That is the hard part.  But somehow, I have made it through, and my books are all out there, should anyone find them.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I invest a lot in the research process.  After a general story idea comes to mind, I refine that idea into a plot outline.  Once that is done, I target those parts of the plot that I know nothing of. 

For instance, I wrote a book about football.  While I had known about football from playing it in my youth, I needed to investigate how professional players practice, not generally, but specifically.  So, with that example in mind, I had to go to the library, or surf the internet, to find books that detailed the drills that professional coaches used in their practices.  I took this information and then put them on notecards.  Then, I added this information to the plot outline and created a chapter-by-chapter outline with the research included in every respective chapter.  That’s how it has worked for me thus far.

Also, I find it extremely important to include a bibliography at the back of the book, should I use research.  That way, the writing is based not only on my imagination, but also cold, hard facts.  One should always cite one’s sources anyway.  Plus, I have found it really fun doing the research.  It’s incredible how much I have learned about a variety of subjects over the years.  When writing historical fiction especially, research is always key.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

Not much.  But then again, I haven’t read much of what is out there.

Pen or type writer or computer?

I usually hand-write a manuscript, revise it on paper, and then I type it into the computer, constantly revising it. I then print out the manuscript and revise it again.  But I usually do this chapter-by-chapter, not the entire manuscript at once.  I find it easier to break it down into manageable parts.

I used to hand-write it and then use a typewriter, but luckily for everyone, the personal computer came along.

Advice they would give new authors?

Definitely do not put all of your eggs in the one basket of writing.  If you are going to write or edit for a job, or work as a journalist for a decent salary, that’s fine.  But please do not make the same mistake I had made by banking it all on writing fiction novels at an early age.  Even though I have developed as a writer through hardship, I don’t think it was really all that worth it. 

If I had to do it all over again, I would have chosen a career with a good salary, so that I could have afforded a good car, attracted a nice girlfriend, afforded a simple house, and did what most of my peers have done, or at least developed how most people are portrayed in the media of today.  I wouldn’t have had such a cavalier ‘all or none’ attitude about a becoming a writer. 

Betting it all on the one hand and winning at it is the stuff of dreams and fantasy and not reality.  I am definitely not saying that it won’t happen, though, because a new author definitely could hit the big time with a book or a number of books.  But if you find yourself broke and on the street in the freezing cold, as I have witnessed in every city I have lived in, you should really stop and reassess where you are heading.  In my opinion, it is not possible to write under conditions of abject poverty for too long.  Better to get a roof over your head before writing that next line.

The Odd and the Strange:
A Collection of Very Short Fiction
by Harvey Havel
Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi, Surrealist, Fabulist
A Collection of Very Short Fiction from a variety of genres, including but not limited to horror, science fiction, politics, and the surreal. These celebrated very short stories have been collected over a number of years and have been published in a variety of online e-zines and posted on various websites.
THE ODD AND THE STRANGE by Harvey Havel is a collection of urban tales that toe the line of reality.
The subtitle of Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is A Collection of Very Short Fiction. A better one would be A Very Long Book of Normal-Sized Short Fiction. There are 89 stories in all, most 5-10 pages long (though a few stretch to nearly twenty), with unassuming titles like “Visitation,” “Girlfriend,” and “Daughter.” Though set in the real world, the stories tease reality with nameless characters–the candidate, the doctor, the Big Man–and fantastical occurrences, similar to the parables of Jorge Luis Borges (Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish language literature).
Being a librarian, I was eager to read the story “The Librarian.” A young male librarian–unnamed, naturally–looks into a mirror in his office and sees not his reflection but a woman with “walnut hair luxuriously long and her skin as supple as a young girl’s.” He has seen her many times, and though the two cannot touch, they can talk. What do they talk about? The books he steals from the library and passes into the mirror for her to read. Eventually, his boss confronts the librarian over the missing books only to be told that the latter he gave them to his mirror-world girlfriend. To prove this claim, the librarian tries to summon the woman, and when she doesn’t appear, the librarian smashes the mirror. You can imagine the rest.
Some stories are less Borges and more Stephen Crane (author of The Red Badge of Courage): bleak, violent. Like “Lightning Love,” narrated by a wife whose husband changes into . . . something (the twist at the end is brilliant). Others are political fables, like “Santa Claus and Madam Secretary,” which makes Havel’s proclivities as clear as the image on a 98-inch TV. His style can be clunky–one woman’s breasts are described as “shaped like a queen’s”–and some endings are telegraphed. A few stories, like “Sex Toy,” are more like story fragments. Yet THE ODD AND THE STRANGE is quite an accomplishment: unusual, provocative, and honest.
Mixing the fabulism of Jorge Luis Borges with the bleakness of Stephen Crane, the tales contained in Harvey Havel’s THE ODD AND THE STRANGE draw the reader into a world they won’t soon forget.
~Anthony Aycock for IndieReader
**Get this book at 50% off at Smashwords and check out Harvey’s other books
– a lot of them are FREE or on sale at Smashwords too!**
Harvey Havel is a short-story writer and novelist.
His first novel, Noble McCloud, A Novel, was published in November of 1999. His second novel, The Imam, A Novel, was published in 2000.
Over the years of being a professional writer, Havel published his third novel, Freedom of Association. He worked on several other books and published his eighth novel, Charlie Zero’s Last-Ditch Attempt, and his ninth, The Orphan of Mecca, Book One, which was released several years ago. A full trilogy of this work had been completed a few years after Mr. Big is about a Black-American football player who deals with injury and institutionalized racism. This book was published in 2017. It’s his fifteenth book.
The Wild Gypsy of Arbor Hill is his sixteenth book, and his seventeenth is a non-fiction political essay about America’s current political crisis, written in 2019. He has just now published his eighteenth book, The Odd and The Strange: A Collection of Very Short Fiction.
Havel is formerly a writing instructor at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey. He also taught writing and literature at the College of St. Rose in Albany as well as SUNY Albany.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$15 Amazon giftcard,
ebook of choice from author
– 1 winner each!

Once a Lady Blog Tour – Historical Romance – J R Salisbury

Once a Lady
Mayfair Series Book 5
by J R Salisbury
Genre: Historical Romance
CONCLUSION to book 4, Wicked Is The Duke!
Lady Caroline has made a mess of her life. She flees not knowing whether her husband, the earl of Carlisle still lives. Luckily, fate has another twist for her.
Enter Ewan Drummond, duke of Kirkcaldy. The handsome duke offers her a place to go while she determines what the earl is up to, if he even lives. His mother is in need of a companion. Lady Caroline’s brother, Lord Montgomery accepts on her behalf and they leave for the duke’s home in Scotland.
She finds Drummond easy to talk to, but is well aware the man has secrets of his own. Why does he leave the house in the middle of the night, and where does he go?
Can he be of assistance or will involving himself sully his reputation?
**Only .99 cents!! **
I’ve always been a creative individual. Writing is just a facet of that creativity…
My careers in public relations in and around the entertainment industry, photography, editing, artist management, modeling and special event planning all elevated my passion for writing, not to mention gave me a treasure trove for story lines.
I write women’s fiction; contemporary romance (as Jamie Salisbury) and historical romance (as JR Salisbury) which is ever evolving. I am fortunate enough that writing (and marketing of said product(s)) is my full-time job, although I always have one or two other projects going at the same time.
I now live in a suburb of Atlanta. Some of my other interests include photography, equestrianism, reading, and of course, travel.
I sincerely hope my writing will entertain, enlighten, and inspire others to pick up the pen and pursue their own dreams. I love to be contacted by readers, writers, and history buffs.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
$25 Amazon

Love and Magic – A Fantasy Romance Bundle

Love across time and space, in lands of magic and mayhem, sizzling sorcery, fairy-tale retellings and classic twists, lonely fae, passionate Vikings and demigods searching for their magic in a land of mortals. Love, passion, and magic in a fantasy/sci romance/paranormal romance bundle from:

Robert Jeschonek

Kathryn Kayleigh

Charlotte E English

A J Tipton

Kristine Grayson

A L Butcher

Barbara G Tarn

Meyari McFarland

Alexa Lynsey & Belle De Ver

Links

https://books2read.com/LoveMagicBundle

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/love-and-magic-5

Amazon https://amzn.to/3s8Ycaa

Apple Books https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1548175688

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-and-magic-kristine-grayson/1138594941

https://bundlerabbit.com/b/love-magic-fantasy-romance

Chasing Xander – Blog Tour – Contemporary #Romance

Chasing Xander
The Collins Brothers Book 2
by Lexi Lawton
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Kylie Quinn is positive nothing could be more embarrassing on her first day of college than having her unmentionables go sprawling across campus. She was wrong. Very wrong. Having a super-sexy co-ed twirl them around his finger like he’s privy to all of Victoria’s Secrets is so much worse.
Xander Collins has met his match with Kylie—she’s gorgeous, smart, sarcastic as hell, and doesn’t give a damn that he’s loaded. She’s also a virgin. And he doesn’t do virgins. Been there, done that, and he’s still paying for it. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends, despite the fact her flirty moves leave him with balls a shade of blue he never knew existed.
Kylie is special, and she deserves more than his typical “one and done” routine. But as his life implodes and his not-so-brilliant plan to take things slow blows up in his face, he’s at risk of losing everything—including Kylie. Now he must decide if everything he’s been fighting so hard for is worth it without her by his side.
**Only .99cents!!**
Born and raised in Central New York, Lexi Lawton is an only child who found companionship in books. When she was old enough to put pen to paper, she began writing her own stories of love, suspense, and heartbreak. The Collins Brothers Series is her first publication—but it won’t be her last! She also writes young adult novels under the pen name Kara Leigh Miller.
Today, Lexi lives in Michigan with her husband, a herd of kids, and what could probably be considered a zoo of dogs, cats, and fish.

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$15 Amazon giftcard,
Signed Copy of Trusting Tanner
– 1 winner each!