Friday, August 3, 2018

Straight Browsing from the Library: Bluebonnet Ballerina by Carol Kilgore


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Carol Kilgore will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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Gracie Hofner returns, and chaos reigns—including a couple of ghosts trying to save their granddaughter. But as Gracie dances from problem to problem, she’s unaware the music has been orchestrated into a murderous symphony.

When a different melody reaches Gracie’s ears from a guitar played by the new tenant living in her garage apartment, her tension vanishes. She listens unseen, cocooned in the shadows on her patio, and wonders who he’s longing for—and how it would feel for someone to crave her that much.

She can’t dwell on those thoughts, however. Problems of murder and missing prisoners abound. To say nothing of the ghosts. No one ever said being a law enforcement consultant would be easy.

Bluebonnet Ballerina follows Jalapeno Cupcake Wench and is the second book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy.

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Twenty minutes later, Gracie parked at Papito’s. It was mid-afternoon and not many cars were in the lot. Two servers were working, neither of them Dee Shepherd. The bartender looked lonely, so Gracie went over and sat on a stool.

He smiled. One of his front teeth was chipped, and it gave him a watch-this-y’all look. “What can I get for you?”

“Guacamole and a club soda with lime.” She’d never noticed him before, but she and Nick, her former SAPD partner, never sat at the bar, either.

“Coming up.” He entered her order on the register and placed the ticket face down in front of her. A few seconds later, he returned with her club soda.

She raised the clear plastic bubble-filled glass. “Cheers.”

He grinned. “Wish all my customers were as easy as you.”

“I’m not always easy. You just caught me on a good day.”

“I’ll remember that.”

Someone from the kitchen wearing a paper hat and an apron brought her guacamole.

“Thanks.”

He nodded and beat a hasty retreat, but not before she saw the prison ink on his hand and arm. The barkeep sliced limes about a foot from her food. They smelled delicious.

Gracie stuck her fork into the guacamole, her mouth already watering. “You know this is some of the best guac around, right?”

“That’s what I hear. I don’t really like avocados, so I haven’t tried it.”

“You should. It’s good enough to change your mind.”

“I’ll remember that, too.”

MEET THE AUTHOR

Carol Kilgore is the award-winning author of The Amazing Gracie Trilogy. In addition, she is the author of In Name Only (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FC8OG2), Solomon’s Compass (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C0F8DZ2), and Secrets of Honor (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NH0QTO6), three standalone romantic suspense novels set along the Texas Gulf Coast.

She and her husband live in San Antonio, the setting for the Amazing Gracie books, with two quirky herding dogs who still require help opening the food bin and the door.

You can learn more about Carol and be the first to know when the third book in the Amazing Gracie Trilogy will be released by visiting her website and subscribing to her newsletter at http://www.carolkilgore.net or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolkilgore.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carol_kilgore

Carol is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Speaker by Andi O'Connor


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Andi will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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The Vaelinel Trilogy continues with this absorbing sequel to Silevethiel! Alone and hunted by the Drulaack, Irewen takes advantage of her only option for survival. Pushing her concerns aside, she lets the dead keep her.

But her refuge doesn't last long. Driven out of their hosts by Laegon, a handful Drulaack have returned to the Spirit World. No longer having the protection of the dead, Irewen is forced to return to Vaelinel.

Finally reunited with her companions, the burdens placed on them are taking their toll. Thoughts of suicide and mistrust plague the company. Slowly unravelling, they must conquer their personal battles before standing against the evil threatening the land.

For the Corrupter thirsts for revenge. And he'll stop at nothing to satisfy his hunger.

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Holding her head in her hands, Irewen screamed, trying to break free. But her mother wouldn’t let her. The images kept coming, driving away every last shred of doubt.

She knew what she had to do. She had no choice but to accept the protection of the dead.

Irewen clenched teeth, desperately wanting the horrid stream of visions to end. “I give in. You’ve made your point. I accept your aid.”

Letting her hands drop to her side, Irewen breathed a sigh of relief when the images vanished. Her parents didn’t waste any time. The violet mist surrounding both of them wafted forward.

Irewen gasped, unable to control her fear. The purple cloud enshrouded her, sending an icy chill over her body the moment it touched her skin. Finally, she understood its purpose. The mist served as a gateway for one to materialize outside of the many. Subsequently, it was what would assimilate her into the community of the dead.

She opened her mouth to cry out, but no sound came. Instead, the mist seeped into her lungs, driving the piercing iciness throughout her entire body. She couldn’t breathe. Panic took hold. She grabbed her throat as if such a simple act would bring air back into her lungs.

“Relax, Irewen. Don’t fight it.”

Her father’s advice somehow broke through her hysteria. Dropping her hands to her sides, she concentrated on letting her muscles relax. Immediately, the discomfort lessened. But she didn’t breathe. Not normally. The mist took the place of air. Yet, it somehow fulfilled her needs.

The spirits of the dead flowed into her body, intertwining their memories with her own until she could no longer distinguish one from the other. The flood of their emotions overwhelmed her. Their frustrations. Their sorrow. Their remorse. Their anger.

The intensity was far greater than anything she’d thought possible. Contrary to what she’d believed, the dead’s emotions didn’t dwindle over time. They festered. The ferocity was indescribable.

Her knees gave way, but she didn’t fall to the ground. The mist supported her, holding her aloft. Like a mother cradling an infant, it lifted her and pulled her closer. The world began to spin. She heard her father’s voice rise above the deafening whir of the dead, but she couldn’t make out the words.

The drawing sensation increased, tugging her closer to her parents. Suddenly, the iciness vanished from her body. She felt warm—cozy. Weightless, as if she was floating in her mother’s womb. The intensity of the dead’s emotions lessened, becoming part of her as she became part of them. She shared in their frustration. Their sorrow. Their anger. And they shared in hers. She was one. But many.

She belonged. She was home. And she never wanted to leave.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Andi O'Connor is the award-winning author of The Dragonath Chronicles, The Vaelinel Trilogy, and The Legacy of Ilvania. Her critically acclaimed novel, Silevethiel, is the 2015 Best Indie Book Award winner for Science Fiction/Fantasy and the 2015 New Apple Official Selection for Young Adult. Silevethiel was also named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2013. The Speaker is the 2018 Independent Press Award Winner for Fantasy and a Finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards. Andi’s novel, Awakening, is a 2018 Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite for Fantasy.

You can frequently find Andi as an exhibitor and guest panelist at Comic Cons throughout the country including the Rhode Island Comic Con, Awesome Con, Philcon, Conclave, WizardWorld, and Chessiecon. You can connect with Andi on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For more information, visit Andi’s website.

Social Media Links:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/oconnor.andi
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/OConnorAndi
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/andi_oconnor
Website: http://www.andioconnor.net

Purchase Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Speaker-Andi-OConnor-ebook/dp/B01N98W564/ref=sr_1_2
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-speaker-andi-oconnor/1125195821
Books-A-Million: http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Speaker/Andi-OConnor/9781940417196
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-speaker-19
Author Website: https://www.andioconnor.net/store/p28/The_Speaker_-_Signed_%28The_Vaelinel_Trilogy%2C_Book_2%29.html

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Straight Chatting from the Library: Shalini Dua


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Shalina will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

READ THE GUEST BLOG


It's tough for me to choose my favorite fairytale. Each one has an element that I love and, as I grow older and the conversation changes, each one has an element that I find a bit problematic. So, instead, I'm going to list my top 5 and why I love them.

Disclaimer: I read, and was read to, all of the classic fairytales. However, Disney is most prominent in my mind so I'm going based on the animated versions.

1) Cinderella: The dress. The coach. The magic. The idea that doing chores was not fun and, when you finally made it as a princess, you wouldn't have to do them anymore. All of these elements won me over.

2) Aladdin: I loved Aladdin because it was cool to see a princess that kind of looked like me. Though Jasmine is of a different and fictional ethnic background, and my parents would never have let me walk around in a crop top when I was a teenager, it was cool to see a brown girl in a Disney film. Also, Jasmine got to have a pet tiger.

3) Beauty and the Beast: Belle got to be smart! As an avid reader (and kind of a nerd) growing up, I was delighted to find a princess who read as much as I do. The fact that she sees beneath the Beast's rough exterior and down to the person he really is also resonated with me. All these pretty-boy princes were charming, sure, but the Beast was a good-hearted dude. I also love the gothic architecture of his castle. Basically, everything I geek out for was in this movie.

4) Sleeping Beauty: I find this one hugely problematic, however, I like napping and for someone who is quite lazy, it sounds like an easy way to spend 100 years. Plus, she grows no body hair during this sabbatical. How does she stay pretty? What is this long-lasting foundation? But besides that, lots and lots of issues with Sleeping Beauty!

5) Alice and Wonderland: This is my all time favorite! A girl gets to go on an adventure and encounters all kinds of crazy characters. She has a tea party and plays some lawn games. So fun! She's sassy and smart. It's a quirky, whimsical good time.

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Olivia can’t take it anymore. She’s had enough of the big city and it’s lack of fulfilling her dreams. Then, just when she’s about to give up and move home, out of the blue, she is offered her dream job. Olivia is suspicious but that could just be the New York in her. She decides not to pull at threads. Despite her best efforts to remain blissfully oblivious, the secret to her life upgrade is soon uncovered when she finds herself invited to be part of a secret society.

Olivia learns that there is a thin curtain separating our world from theirs. Just beneath the surface, an entirely different one exists. One that is controlled by those of Royal lineage. The chosen ones, the Royals, hold the fate of the world in their hands. Will Olivia be able to bear the weight of the crown?

Confessions of a Shopaholic meets The Adjustment Bureau, this contemporary fairytale is both relatable and aspirational. Taking a look at the current balance of media and power with a healthy dose of humor, fashion, food and wanderlust.

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I’m getting a very weird feeling. I consider turning around and leaving, but getting a cab on a cold rainy night before 2AM is going to be tough as they don’t begin frequenting the area until the bars start to close, and the nearest Uber appears to be 25 minutes away. Plus, I did go to all of this trouble to get my lazy self dressed and over here.

There is a crest engraved in brass metal on the front of the red door, an intricately designed crown and some lettering. I tilt my head to read it all the way around. ‘Alea iacta est memores acti prudentes uturi modus operandi’ I read aloud, and below, ‘Posteriori’. I recognize the language as Latin from the three weeks we spent on it during Intro to Languages, which was designed to help us choose one to focus on during our tenure at the university



Against my better judgment, I push on the heavy door, which creaks open. I enter into a cold stone-walled hall with a stone slab floor, lit by what appears to be a row of fire lanterns on each side. I guess this place is a bit behind the times in converting, or maybe they think it’s super ironic and hipster to not jump on the modernization bandwagon. Or maybe it’s me. I’m not exactly the authority on architectural trends. Maybe converted vintage is over and re-vintaged vintage is back in. Ugh, I can’t wait until I’m old and have an excuse not to be hip.

I walk down a windy stone hallway that seems straight out of a period film. Wow, they are really taking this theme seriously. How cool would it be if this stuff was authentic? I take a few pictures with my phone just in case. I mean as Cultures Editor, it’s always nice to be the one to discover the next big thing, like Connor said.

As I round the corner I hear, before I see, a British male mumbling to himself, apparently in debate.

“It’s so bizarre. But it couldn’t be. Could it? Stranger things have happened.”

I find myself face to face with a short-ish man, though taller than me, with glasses, wearing a sports coat with suede elbow patches. I scream in surprise and jump about five feet in the air. He seems slightly taken aback as well but less jumpy than me, or at least less vocal about it. He’s good looking in an intellectual sort of way and his dark floppy hair is conservatively combed back. I’m not sure if he’s startled by our unexpected encounter or my scream, but he does a bit of a double back.

“Sorry,” he recovers charmingly, “I didn’t see you there.”

“No, me either.” I try to breathe. I feel like I know him from somewhere.

“Stuart Stephens.” He proffers his hand in greeting.

“Olivia Grace Thorpland.” I shake his in return. “But you can call me Gigi.”

“Hello, Gigi. Nice to meet you.” He is impeccably mannered even after our near death collision. Must be the British thing.

“So are you here for the party too?” I inquire. “Do you know where it is?”

“Party?” he asks, confused. “No, I just had a meeting here.”

“Ah, I see,” I say, although I don’t, given the hour. I definitely know him from somewhere. Got it, he’s a comedian.

“Well, care to join me anyway?” I offer politely. After all, he’s British, I’m being a good ambassador. He appears a bit bewildered.

“No, thanks. I best be going.”

“Are you sure? My friends are in there.”

“Really? Your friends are in there?” He seems surprised to see where I’m gesturing.

“Yup,” I tell him confidently.

“Oh, well, thanks for the invite, but I’m completely sure. Thanks anyway,” comes his nervous reply. “But, can I ask you a question?” I nod. “Is this all, um, kosher?”

“I, I, don’t know.” I hesitate. Is he Jewish and British? Is that a thing?

“Well, I’ll let you get on “he says. “Have a good night.”

“You too. Bye,” I reply. And with that, we walk off in opposite directions.

Finally, I reach a semi-circled entryway that has the option of five doors, one straight ahead and two on either side. These are not your ordinary doors either. They are heavy, arched, rustic, dark brown, slated wooden doors. I’m not really in the mood to crash a wedding reception, murder, or worse, a live band performance; and, given that anything could be behind these doorways, I’m about to give up on this expedition completely, when one of the doors, the entryway smack dab in the center, starts to creak open, apparently of its own accord. A feeling of unexpected dread overtakes me. I brace myself, unsure of what to expect to find behind it.

MEET THE AUTHOR


An international upbringing and a love of stories laid the foundation for wanderlust. Shalini aspires to spend her time country-hopping and consuming pop-culture, comedy and good food but the reality is often frantically downing coffee, meeting deadlines at exactly the last second and working her unglamorous corporate job to fund all of the other pursuits.

The Secret Lives of Royals is Shalini’s debut novel. Her other work includes published poetry and scripts only she has read.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND WEBSITE LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShaliniDuaBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShaliniDua126
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ididntmeantofeelanything/
Website: http://www.shalinidua.com/books

BUY LINKS

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HxD1uZ
iBooks: https://apple.co/2w0APXd

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Straight Browsing from the Library: The Clock Flower


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Barbara Casey will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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Mackenzie Yarborough, one of the three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—finds herself facing a terrifying death of an ancient evil dragon while in China working on a secret research project and trying to discover the truth of her birth parents.

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Carolina Lovel tearfully watched the plane carrying her girls away as it nosed into take-off position. She slowly lowered the sign she had made for the occasion—SEE YOU IN 108 DAYS.

Her girls—

Dara Roux, abandoned when she was seven years old by her mother. Exceptionally gifted in foreign languages. Orphan.

Mackenzie Yarborough, no record of her parents or where she was born. Exceptionally gifted in math and problem-solving. Orphan.

Jennifer Torres, both parents killed in an automobile accident when she was sixteen. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.

The three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—as they were called at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women, probably couldn’t even see the sign, but holding it made Carolina feel slightly better about everything. It kept them connected just a little while longer.

As the plane began picking up speed down the runway, Larry squeezed her hand, sensing how she must be feeling. “They will be fine,” he reassured her for the umpteenth time since early that morning. Even though it meant getting one of his teacher’s aides to take over his morning classes at the university in Chapel Hill, he had volunteered to take Carolina and her three students to the Raleigh-Durham airport and be with Carolina to see them off. She had been completely stressed out for days thinking about the FIGs leaving Wood Rose and each going her separate way—to different universities, in different states, and beyond her protective eye. He knew the FIGs were just as stressed out for the same reason.

Carolina watched the plane lift off the ground and point toward the sky. On an impulse, she waved and once again held up her sign until the plane disappeared from view. Then she burst into sobs. Larry knew it was coming. He wrapped his strong arms around this woman he loved, his soul mate that destiny had brought into his life, and held her, realizing that was all he could do. As the son of a Gypsy King, he knew that words simply wouldn’t help.

The past year had been an unbelievably strange journey for them beginning when Carolina was hired to be totally responsible for three “incorrigible,” as the headmaster described them, teenage girls their final year at Wood Rose, all three orphans with intelligence quotients in the genius range. FIGs they called themselves, along with everyone else at Wood Rose—Females of Intellectual Genius. Being only a few years older, however, Carolina immediately filled the role that was more than a mentor and teacher; she became a big sister and friend to the incorrigibles, not finding them that way at all, even if they did occasionally need to express themselves creatively in the middle of the night.

As far as the FIGs were concerned, she was their Carolina; she was one of them—a kindred spirit. And with everything that they had experienced in that brief time they had been together, a permanent bond of love had been forged between them that would intertwine their lives forever.

It all started with Carolina learning that she had been adopted, and then later discovering her birth mother in Italy—a gypsy. Then there was the deadly curse that was placed on Carolina, which eventually led to the connection between a letter she had inherited from her biological father and the most mysterious document in the world—the Voynich Manuscript.

And then, only a few weeks later, they located Dara’s mother in New York City, hiding underground beneath Grand Central Terminal where she lived in some sort of secret subculture with three homeless men. It was remarkable, really, and something that only the FIGs, with their genius and special talents, and Carolina, with the blood of a choovihni—a wise woman who possessed the knowledge of all things through all times running through her veins, could have accomplished. Through it all, Larry had been there for them, offering his support and using his innate instincts as the Gypsy King’s son to gather information that would help them.

Larry held Carolina tighter as her sobs quieted. He would tell her later what Mackenzie had asked him to do just before boarding the plane. After he had a chance to see what he could find out. Meanwhile, Carolina pulled out her phone, thinking about the pact she and the FIGs had made the night before. If any one of them got into serious trouble, they would text the word “Thurgood”—the given name of Wood Rose’s headmaster—to all of the others. That meant no matter what, they would all return to Carolina at Wood Rose, because whatever was going on, Carolina and the FIGs would be able to straighten it out. Together.

Leaving the protective walls of Wood Rose and uncertain about how they could function in any other environment had created a tremendous amount of anxiety for Carolina and the FIGs. So much so that even their creative expressions in the middle of the night had brought little relief to the FIGs in spite of the fact they had caused serious havoc by completely upsetting the natural rhythm of the entire orphanage, not to mention the order of things.

The whole idea of having a pact before leaving Wood Rose and going their separate ways had started out as a silly game to help relieve some of that anxiety—at first. Deciding on the so-called secret code word they would use, however, became a challenge. Dara suggested using a word from Sanskrit, which Mackenzie simply could not pronounce. Mackenzie wanted to use a mathematical term, which Jennifer said she would never remember. And Jennifer wanted to use an obscure musical notation which Dara said sounded more than a little vulgar. It was Carolina who came up with the idea of using the headmaster’s given name “Thurgood.” After all, it was a name none of them could ever forget. With the secret word chosen, the seriousness of what the pact actually meant became more evident and more real; a desperate attempt to keep them connected even when they were apart. And when the three FIGs left Carolina’s bungalow and returned to their dormitory suite that night, knowing what was facing them the next day when they left Wood Rose and would no longer be considered student-residents there, they were glad Carolina had come up with the idea.

As the plane reached cruising altitude, shoulder bags placed under the seats in front of them within easy reach, Dara, seated between Mackenzie and Jennifer, as usual was the first to say out loud what each of them was thinking.

“OK, this is what I think we ought to do.” Arching her right eyebrow, she glanced at her two best friends to make sure she had their attention. “We will give this so-called pursuit of advanced studies a try, even though it means being separated. “But if things don’t work out by winter break—for any one of us—then I say we come up with another plan. A plan where we can be together. Deal?”

MEET THE AUTHOR


Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, author/agent/publisher Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, N.C. State University, and N.C. Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. In 1995 she established the Barbara Casey Agency and since that time has represented authors from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. In 2014, she became a partner with Strategic Media Books where she is involved in acquisitions and day-to-day operations and oversees book production.

Ms. Casey's two middle-grade/young adult novels, Leilani Zan and Grandma Jock and Christabelle (James C. Winston Publishing Co., Trade Division) were both nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award. Shyla's Initiative (Crossquarter Publishing Group), a contemporary adult novel (occult romance/mystery), received a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and also an award of special literary recognition by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. The Coach's Wife (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a novel for adults (contemporary/mystery), was semi-finalist for the 2005 Dana Award for Outstanding Novel and listed on the Publisher’s Best Seller List. The House of Kane (ArcheBooks Publishing), released in 2007, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination. Another contemporary novel for adults, Just Like Family, was released at Christmas 2009 when it received “Special Recognition from the 7-Eleven Corporation,” and The Gospel According to Prissy, also a contemporary novel written for adults, received a 2013 Independent Publishers Book Award for Best Book in Regional Fiction.

The Cadence of Gypsies, a novel written for young/new adults, was released in 2011 and was reviewed by the Smithsonian Institute for its List of Most Notable Books. In 2012, The Cadence of Gypsies was expanded into a four-book mystery series called THE FIG MYSTERIES: The Wish Rider (2016), The Clock Flower (2018), and The Nightjar’s Promise (to be released in 2019).

Ms. Casey also writes book-length nonfiction for adults. Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly was released in 2016 and has been optioned for a major movie. In 2018 her book Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave was released and it has been signed for a major movie.

Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in The Cosmic Unicorn and CrossTime science fiction anthologies. Ms. Casey's essays and other works appear in The Chrysalis Reader, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, 221 One-Minute Monologues from Literature (Smith and Kraus Publishers), and A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation). Other award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in both national and international publications including the North Carolina Christian Advocate Magazine, The New East Magazine, the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer, the Rocky Mount (N.C.) Sunday Telegram, Dog Fancy, ByLine, The Christian Record, Skirt! Magazine, and True Story. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.

Ms. Casey is a former director of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida, where she served as guest author and panelist. She has served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Palm Beach and Martin Counties, Florida, and was the Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 through 2003. She is a frequent guest lecturer at universities and writers’ conferences around the country including the SCBWI Regional Conference, the Harriett Austin Writers Conference in Athens, SIBA (Southeastern Independent Book Sellers Association), Florida Writers Association, and the University of Auburn, Montgomery.

In 2018, Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award for her extensive experience and notable accomplishments in the field of publishing and other areas. She makes her home on the top of a mountain in northwest Georgia with her husband and Benton, a hound mix who adopted her.

Website: http://www.barbaracaseyagency.com/
http://www.barbaracaseyagency.com
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/697572.Barbara_Casey
https://www.linkedin.com/in/barbara-casey-a9527667/

https://www.amazon.com/Clock-Flower-FIG-MYSTERIES-Book-ebook/dp/B078HSW97D/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532012448&sr=1-1&keywords=barbara+casey+the+clock+flower

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Straight Browsing from the Library: Aries Red Sky by James Young


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. James Young will be awarding a 5x7 print of concept artwork from the Vergassy Universe to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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The Confederation of Man believes all Humanity should be under Terra’s rule.

The Spartan Republic has spent seven centuries preparing to resist Earth’s tyranny.

The stars will burn as these two mindsets come into brutal conflict in Aries’ Red Sky, the newest novel by award-winning author James Young.

READ AN EXCERPT


The problem with making plans is sometimes the universe feels the need to remind you that it has a sense of humor, Nathan thought to himself. He glanced once again at his watch, then at the single wooden door at the end of the long, narrow room. It did not help his mood that the room was gloomy, the only light provided by the floating holograms of ancient documents. These lined the red, carpeted walkway that led through the surrounding blue carpet like a scarlet runway.

The Magna Carta. The American Declaration of Independence. The American Constitution. The Freebooter Articles. All forbidden by the Hassan Empire.

Nathan turned to look at the final hologram hovering above the legislative chamber’s entrance.

All also located here with The Acts of Inception to remind a waiting Executive that they are far from all powerful.

“Mr. President, that door’s not going to open until the Chief Parliamentarian is damn well ready to have it open,” Andrews stated dryly. Despite the security officer’s laconic comment, Nathan could tell the man was not impressed with being in the darkened room.

Three Presidents have died in this location and its predecessor, Nathan thought. Sure, one of them was a heart attack, but no one ever says to the head of security, ‘Oh you poor dear, how could you have known his heart was going to explode?’

“I still can’t believe Porter was the easier of the two of them to find,” Nathan said, giving Andrews a wry look.

“Porter has always been very good about his itinerary,” Andrews stated. “Nikephoros, not so much.”

The Chief Parliamentarian had finally been found with the help of a couple local kibbutzin. He and his two female companions had been far from the beaten path, having discovered a high mountain lake to avail themselves of.

Polyamory should be lethal at his age and that altitude, Nathan thought uncharitably. In either case, I’m sure that’s part of the reason we’re waiting—so he can remind me I’m not the boss of him.

The Spartan Republic’s Acts of Inception incurred a certain…tenseness between Executive and Legislative branches by design. First and foremost was the fact that the former served one six year term, period. Add to that no individual could serve in either branch for more than ten years combined, and it became readily apparent why the latter did not really give much of a shit what the former thought.

Walthers, Brown, and Menoit were no Washington, Marshall, and Madison, Nathan thought. But they got the job done. Longest any Republic has lasted in history.

MEET THEAUTHOR

James Young is a Missouri native who escaped small town life by attending the United States Military Academy. After being set free from the Hudson River Valley, Mr. Young spent the next six years of his life in the Army repaying his education the proverbial “nickel at a time.” Along the way he collected a loving, patient, beautiful spouse…and various animals that did not fit that description. Leaving the Republic’s employ, he returned to the Midwest to pursue his doctorate—a process which took twice the time planned but is finally concluded. Having now concluded two of the prerequisites to be a super villain, Dr. Young spends his time waiting for the inevitable origin story, winning writing awards (2016 United States Naval Institute Cyber Essay Contest Winner, among others), and writing an alternate history (Usurper’s War) and military space opera (Vergassy Chronicles) series. His latest book is Aries Red Sky, the first in a new Vergassy Universe trilogy.

James Young’s Blog: https://vergassy.com
James Young’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00AVKCQZQ

https://www.amazon.com/Aries-Red-Sky-Vergassy-Universe-ebook/dp/B07DTC94MX/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Straight Chatting from the Library: Michael Okon


This is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

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Do your characters love the direction you take for them or do they have other ideas?

My characters always tell me what to do while I beat out the storyline.

Any tips on writing that you’d like to share?

Always create an outline. You have to know all your character arcs before you write Chapter 1.

Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?

I choose Paranormal and Fantasy. Those genres have always fascinated me.

Did you enjoy language arts in school? Did you have a teacher that particularly encouraged you to write?

Yes, very much so. Yes, Dr. Simon, 10th grade and 12th grade Englsih. The best.

How do you feel about being interviewed?

Love it, especially when the questions are super insightful.

READ THE BLURB


After Monsterland has imploded, the entire world is thrown into chaos. World leadership is gone, economies have collapsed, and communications are non-existent. Wyatt must go beyond the boundaries of his small town to reestablish contact with the outside world, and alert the government about a traitor-in-chief.

During his journey he discovers a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park.

When an army of relentless mummies, a life-sucking ooze called The Glob, and a hybrid reanimated Behemoth rise from the depths of Monsterland, who will survive?

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A new, larger outline made his heart quiver with fear. It crouched in a corner, its snout covered with blood. This one was bigger, not a coyote, a wild wolf. Wait, he thought. Weren’t the gray wolves of California all but extinct?

Igor narrowed his eyes. The beast was a light reddish brown and not the silver gray of a wolf ’s pelt. A chain hung from its neck, the pendant of a werewolf ’s head dangling, emerald eyes flashing. What was it? Was it a mutant coyote? A wolf? Some weird hybrid, he wondered for a minute, his breath harsh in his ears. They watched each other soundlessly.

A hybrid then. He’d heard about them, a rare mixture of wolf and coyote. What did they call them? Coywolves …? or was it Woyotes? He shrugged indifferently. Perhaps someone’s pet, he decided. Igor’s mirthless laugh came out like a snort.

The coywolf stood still, its ears alert, its head cocked as if it was observing him.

Igor dropped the makeshift weapon, calling out, “Eat the rest of your meal, you dumb beast.”

The animal continued to watch him, its two front paws on the remains of a zombie’s chest.

Igor wiped his forehead, waiting, his eyes coming back to search the village, confirming it was empty, except for the carrion eaters like the coyotes and vultures. He looked up, noting the circling predators waiting for him to move on.

“Interrupted your meal,” he chuckled. Just the local scavengers looking for food. That was all; the shadows revealed nothing else. Satisfied he was alone, he moved on. He had work to do.

A paper flew past him, hitting a kiosk as the wind plastered it against its surface. It flapped like a dying bird. Igor reached over, taking the fluttering paper, peering at the map of the park, the one they gave people as they entered Monsterland. A bark of laughter escaped his mouth.

He looked up at the giant monolith that was once the Werewolf River Run, its hulking shape obscuring the horizon. “You are here,” he giggled, pointing a grimy finger on the paper’s surface. He dragged his deformed body further down the pavement. The storefronts that used to be Monsterland’s Main Street yawned vacantly, the wind whistling through the narrow alley- ways. “Now, you are here,” he laughed. Shouting, he listened to the sound of his voice bouncing off the blood-splattered walls.

MEET THE AUTHOR


Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

Website: http://www.michaelokon.com/
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Okon/e/B0752THRZV/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
iBooks Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/michael-okon/id1292020808?mt=11
Kobo Link: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?query=Michael Okon&fcsearchfield=Author
Barnes & Nobel Link: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/monsterland-michael-okon/1126998959?ean=9781614755944
SmashWords Link: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MichaelOkon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/IAmMichaelOkon
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iammichaelokon/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iammichaelokon
Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/iammichaelokon

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Straight Browsing from the Library: Natalie's Wedding by K.T. Castle


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.The book is on sale for only $0.99! Get it now- it's a limited time offer!

READ THE BLURB


Kassandra never thought she’d be in another committed relationship, but now she’s living with her boyfriend Josh. Things can’t get any better. But they can get worse.

Natalie has dropped a major bomb on her, confessing she believes her husband is having an affair. Kassandra is always ready to help a friend, but accepting that one of their marriages isn’t working goes against everything she believes about the people she loves. Wanting to help their friend overcome this difficult situation and provide Natalie the support she needs, Kassandra and the girls pull a lot of strings to help Natalie uncover the truth. In the process, Kassandra discovers remarkable similarities between Josh’s recent changes and those in Natalie’s allegedly cheating husband. She’s always been an independent woman who prides herself on her own success, and when she digs up one dirty secret after another, she can’t help but wonder if her man’s womanizing days are really behind him.

Sometimes, love makes us twist reality to avoid hurting those we hold closest to our hearts. Join Kassandra and Natalie as they struggle to reconcile their fears in love with the truth.

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Saturday morning, Josh headed out for a photo shoot he expected to last all day. He didn’t usually work on weekends, but it happened from time to time. It still bothered me a little that his job involved being surrounded by beautiful young women so he could capture that beauty, but whenever I dropped by for a visit, everyone knew who I was and what I meant to him. That made it easier for me, and I knew it made it easier for Josh. He loved working for himself and had grown JAG Modeling Agency from the ground up.

Since I’d be on my own for the day, I decided to take advantage of the situation and invite the girls over for a chat with Natalie. She had asked me not to intervene in her situation with Andrik, and while I respected her wish of me not talking to her husband, I knew she needed support from her friends.

I’d asked them to be at my place around nine and to leave the children at home with their fathers. We needed some girl time alone. Then I tried to cover all my bases with breakfast—fresh juice and fruit in case anyone was on a diet, spinach omelets without cheese for those who avoided dairy, and pancakes just in case someone needed something a little stronger. I also bought some high-quality steak cuts, potatoes, onions, and corn, thinking that if our meeting ran too long, my friends’ husbands would show up and turn our breakfast meeting into a barbecue. Even though all my friends had the space and furniture to throw these get-togethers in their own homes, Josh and I had taken on the role of hosting them every week since we’d moved in together a month ago. I wondered how much longer we’d be able to keep up that kind of consistency.

Marisol and Laura showed up early, and I gave them a small briefing on what the gathering was about. The news shocked them, too, and they wanted to try to convince Natalie that it had to be something else. While they helped me set up, I reminded them that we needed to be delicate and careful not to overwhelm her.

Natalie arrived not much later, looking far less than her normal, glamorous self. Her bleach-blonde hair was now long enough to pull back into a messy ponytail, and I wasn’t sure the look suited her; we were used to seeing her with a little more care given to her appearance. She wore beige capris with a floral, short-sleeve shirt—something much more suited to Marisol in her mommy role. The little changes Natalie made now leaned more toward comfortable and away from posh, and I knew it was because she was unhappy. She’d never let being a wife and a mother distract her from presenting herself as if she were about to make her way down a catwalk. She still looked good, but it wasn’t her.

We sat on my terrace around the glass table Josh and I had added to the patio furniture. I was happy to see that everyone seemed to enjoy the food, and the conversation was amicable. But it didn’t flow or feel comfortable. I guess we were all waiting to see who would bring up the elephant in the room first.

“I still can’t believe you let Josh adopt a dog,” Marisol said as she crossed her legs in her chair, doing her best to avoid the beautiful American Pitbull licking her toes.

“Let?” I asked. “This is his house. How could I say no? Besides, have you looked at this guy? He’s gorgeous!” I called the goofy mutt by offering him a piece of bread. Josh was adamant about only feeding him the holistic dog food and healthy treats, but I couldn’t resist. “Come here, Jagger.”



MEET THE AUTHOR


K.T. Castle loves reading, writing, and painting. She's on a quest to find the words, forms, and colors to materialize the worlds and people of her imagination. She loves reading Romance, especially Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary, and Paranormal. She never saw herself as an incurable romantic, but lately, that's what she finds herself musing about. Love is found everywhere, regardless of whether it comes from a nice person or an ass—mundane or even vampire.

When she's not busy with work, in front of a computer placing many thoughts in order, she does her best to be creative or relax with a good TV series and snacks. Some of her favorite characters are Lucifer, Jace, Clary, Affton, Cable, Poppy, Zack, Maleficent, and Ariel.

Social media links:

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ktcastle
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Website: http://ktcastle.com/index.html
Blog: https://ktcastle.wordpress.com
Mailing list: http://eepurl.com/b8WO99

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