Category Archives: Interviews

SONG OF THE KING’S HEART TRILOGY

TourBanner_The-Song-of-the-King's-Heart-Trilogy-animated (1)

Blood and Chaos – Book 2
by Nicole Sallak Anderson

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GENRE: Historical Fantasy

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BLURB:

The second chapter of Lord Ankhwenefer’s story is one of love, betrayal, and death. The world needs to know this forgotten king’s tale so that the ghosts of the past may finally rest.

Prince Ankhmakis has left his beloved Natasa for war and treacherous obstacles block his path to becoming Egypt’s last native king. He is the warrior that the men revere, and his orders are followed without question. He is strong and powerful with Natasa on his side, and the fear that breeds in those around him is more dangerous to Ankhmakis than the swords of the Greeks.

Natasa has risen higher in the mystic arts than any priestess before her—and she is in more peril because of it. All she desires is to assist her lover, Ankhmakis, in his quest to take back Egypt from the Macedonians once and for all, but his jealous queen, his plotting brother, and the truest evil in the world want nothing more than to be rid of her.

Natasa and Ankhmakis fight not only against the Greeks but also those at court who will do anything to see them both dead. Together, Ankhmakis would become a great general and Natasa the mystic healer who saves him. Apart, they may not survive.

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EXCERPT

The prince of Behdet gazed across the Nile River at the city of Panopolis, its bonfires flickering like beacons in the dark night. A hot wind caressed his sunburnt face. He turned to see his enemy’s army spread out before him, torchlights zigzagging across an island downriver like ants on honey, protecting their city with their mighty arsenal of archers ships. He wanted control of the island, needed it, if he were ever to return home to his lover’s arms.

“This war is taking too long,” he hissed under his breath.

“My lord,” Min, his personal guard, answered. “It has been a year. It took our greatest ancestor, Pharaoh Amhose I, nineteen years to banish the Hyksos filth from our lands. Prior to his victory, his father and grandfather also battled for independence. Their line of kings fought for over thirty years to take Egypt unto back unto native hands. Our war is young. Be patient.”

Ankhmakis turned to his friend and captain, his lips curled. “I don’t want this to take three generations, Min. I will not leave this task to my heirs. I will march upon Alexandria and kill Ptolemy IV with my own hands. We should at least be to Memphis by now. Instead we’re in Panopolis, held back by their army. For the second time, the Inundation is at our backs. If we don’t hurry, we’ll be trapped here when the river floods. Such a failure can’t happen again.”

Cover_Blood and Chaos

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

AuthorImage_NicoleA

Nicole Sallak Anderson is Computer Science graduate from Purdue University, and former CTO for a small Silicon Valley startup, turned novelist, speaker, and blogger, focusing on the intersection of technology and consciousness. Her essays range from AI and Zen to direct democracy to the loneliness of modern parenting (https://medium.com/@NSallakAnderson/pretty-birds-in-pretty-cages-could-the-nuclear-family-be-the-reason-were-all-miserable-46126d573263) — featured as a top twenty story on Medium. In addition, her work on Universal Basic Income has been included on 2020 presidential candidate, Andrew Yang’s, website: https://www.yang2020.com/policies/the-freedom-dividend/.

Her latest project, The Song of the King’s Heart Trilogy, is a series about the last native Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and his quest to take back his ancestral kingdom from the Ptolemaic Empire. The first two installments, Origins and Blood and Chaos, are available on Amazon. The last novel in the series, Civilization’s End, will be released October 2021. You can keep up with all her latest writing on her website nicolesallakanderson.com or by following @NSallakAnderson on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NSallakAnderson/) , Twitter (https://twitter.com/NSallakAnderson), Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/nsallakanderson/) and Medium (https://nsallakanderson.medium.com/). Feel free to contact her, she almost always answers to any query or comment!

The books will be on sale for $0.99

Amazon Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Nicole+Sallak+Anderson&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

A randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour will receive a $50 Amazon/BN GC.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview

What would we find under your bed?
At the moment, nothing, because I don’t own very much since a wildfire burned my home and all the belongings I had. However, I used to store baskets full of shoes under my bed. I have a thing for shoes.

What was the scariest moment of your life?
When my husband was caught in traffic in a town one hundred miles away that was being consumed by wildfire while simultaneously receiving a notification that my neighborhood was on fire. The worst moment of my life as well as the scariest. My husband made it home safely, my neighborhood though, is gone.

Do you listen to music while writing?
Yes. If so what? I use music in two ways. I create a playlist in Spotify for every book I write and listen to that constantly while driving or cleaning the home. This gets me in the mood of the setting and my characters. But I can’t write while music with words is playing, so I have a few instrumental YouTube channels I follow, like Epic Music World, that I play in the background when I need to go deeper into a scene.

What is something you’d like to accomplish in your writing career next year?
I’d like to find an agent to represent my memoir about surviving wildfire.

How long did it take you to write this book?
I wrote the first draft of all three novels for the trilogy in nine months, literally downloading the whole story. Then I spent a year breaking it up into three books and polishing them to pitch to publishers.

VBT – Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

TourBanner_SherlockHolmes

Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable
by Susanne M. Dutton

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GENRE: Mystery

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BLURB:

The game is not afoot. The Better-Every-Day world of 1895 is gone, even hard to recall as WWI ends. From his rural cottage, Holmes no longer provokes Scotland Yard’s envy or his landlady’s impatience, but neither is he content with the study of bees. August 1920 finds him filling out entry papers at a nearly defunct psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. England’s new Dangerous Drugs Act declares his cocaine use illegal and he aims to quit entirely. Confronted by a question as to his “treatment goal,” Holmes hesitates, aware that his real goal far exceeds the capacity of any clinic. His scribbled response, “no more solutions, but one true resolution,” seems more a vow than a goal to his psychiatrist, Pierre Joubert. The doctor is right. Like a tiny explosion unaccountably shifting a far-reaching landscape, the simple words churn desperate action and interlocking mystery into the lives of Holmes’ friends and enemies both.

BookCover_ Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable

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EXCERPT

Watson writes:

Not for the first time, I felt a surge of gratitude for Holmes’ unspoken understanding that his digs at Bolt Cottage couldn’t suit me. No doubt his cottage fit his needs precisely, but it was no place for a visitor, perhaps purposely so. Some might say it was no place for any inhabitant at all, full as it was with apparatus meant for Holmes’ scientific inquiries, not to mention the maps and almanacs, the world’s newspapers, and of course, his library. Books lined shelves and the stairway to the sleeping loft. Books invaded the corner of the ground floor room usually devoted to meal preparation, too. They filled the unused icebox, the pots that never knew soup, and lined most of the cupboards. Books climbed the walls, stacked and somehow tracked in their positions with ribbons that hung from the center pages in a festive display—red, black, gold, green, purple, blue, white. Holmes claimed his color-coded system was modern and flawless. I never grasped it.

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Author Picture

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Susanne Dutton is the one who hid during high school gym, produced an alternative newspaper and exchanged notes in Tolkien’s Elfish language with her few friends. While earning her B.A. in English, she drove a shabby Ford Falcon with a changing array of homemade bumper strips: Art for Art’s Sake, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, Free Bosie from the Scorn of History. Later, her interests in myth and depth psychology led to graduate and postgraduate degrees in counseling.

Nowadays, having outlived her mortgage and her professional counseling life, she aims herself at her desk most days; where she tangles with whatever story she can’t get out of her head. Those stories tend to seat readers within pinching distance of her characters, who, like most of us, slide at times from real life to fantasy and back. A man with Alzheimer’s sets out alone for his childhood home. A girl realizes she’s happier throwing away her meals than eating them. A woman burgles her neighbors in order to stay in the neighborhood.

Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Susanne grew up in the SF Bay Area, has two grown children, and lives with her husband in an old Philadelphia house, built of the stones dug from the ground where it sits.

Blog https://www.inside221b.com

Facebook https://www.facebook/noguessing (Improbable Holmes)

Publisher bookstore link to book:

https://www.propertiuspress.com/our-bookstore/Sherlock-Holmes-and-the-Remaining-Improbable-by-Susanne-Dutton-p310417036

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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INTERVIEW WITH …

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

I would apologize to anyone to whom I never said a real good-bye. I hate good-byes and I try duck it, always as if there will be a next time. I should not have counted on that. When I think of those people now, and how grateful I am to have known them, I feel as if I let myself, and them, down. I have resolved to do better.

If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?

I’ve only recently learned about Hans the Hedgehog. He’s actually part boy and part hedgehog, rides a rooster and sits in a tree playing magical bagpipe music. I don’t know how he’d take to being a pet, but I have a few nice trees. He’d be welcome. His ability is to help you to find anything you need to find. That could be a place as it is now, in the past, or the future. He can also find people, lost treasures or simply wonderful ideas. Of course, he does ask for something in return. The story I read makes it clear that you must keep your side of the bargain—or else—but that when you do you won’t be sorry.

How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

Writers naturally develop their own voices, as unique as their spoken voices, though it takes years. I believe I do have a writing voice, but I have to take care. Sometimes after reading a lot of someone else’s work, I slip into a bad imitation of that voice, only because I enjoy the work so much. Reading Mark Twain is dangerous for me. Suddenly a Huck Finn type takes possession of one of my characters. As my genre in this case is mystery, but also Sherlock Holmes, it’s a difficult question to face. I want to be true to Holmes and yet address his “myth” in a unique way. I believe I’ve done that.

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?

Writers are individual. That’s why I enjoy being in their company. You can be headed for the same thing and be going about it very differently. Over three decades, I have had the benefit of extraordinary feedback at the Muse Writing Center in Norfolk, Virginia; Charlotte Writers in North Carolina and Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania. Michael Khandelwal in Norfolk says this about taking advice: “Take note of all the feedback you receive and be thankful for all of it. One third you may discard, one third you may keep or not, and one third is serious input. Pay close attention. You decide which is which.”

Are the experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I’m not a 19th Century consulting detective and I don’t know one, but certainly I owe a lot to Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes’ creator. Conan Doyle based his character on Joseph Bell, a professor at the Scottish medical school he attended. Holmes’ famous method, having to do with making decisions based on actual hard evidence and not assumptions, was Bell’s method of medical diagnosis. My writing does owe a lot to what I know about relationships, good and bad, as a professional counselor in several settings.

VBT – IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES

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If The Light Escapes
by Brenda Marie Smith

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GENRE: Sci-fi (post-apocalyptic)

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BLURB:

A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

BookCover_IfTheLightEscapes

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EXCERPT

OPENING LINES:

Bright green lights stream and pulse across the northern sky all night now, growing from thin and wispy to bold and fat, expanding, contracting, sending out bands of yellow streamers like they’re partying on ecstasy at some cosmic rave. The lights are pretty, and they’re hypnotic, and they creep me out to the core.

Northern lights every night for two solid weeks in Texas. Halfway to the equator from where they belong. They’re supposed to be a phenomenon tied to the magnetic poles—it’s a scientific fact.

Nothing is right about this. The only explanation I can think of is that the north and south poles are shifting. I don’t know what that means for the planet and the future of its creatures. We don’t have TVs or talking-head scientists to tell us…

The universe just won’t stop f**king with us.

Today, I’m hoeing corn in our front yard, sweat stinging my eyes. It’s blistering hot out here—early December in what used to be high-tech Austin, until the … sun zapped us with an electromagnetic pulse and took our power, our cars, the damned running water. It stopped pretty much everything—everything modern, that is.

It’s been fourteen months, and all the front yards in our subdivision are mini-cornfields now. We grow beans and veggies in the backyards. It’s a desperate attempt to keep us alive when our food stockpiles run out. Don’t know if it will work, but I’m doing my damnedest to make sure it does.

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2018-10-18_Brenda Marie Smith

2018-10-18_Brenda Marie Smith

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Social Media:
Website: https://brendamariesmith.com/
Twitter: @bsmithnovelist
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaMarieSmithAuthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brenda_marie_smith/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJlLSnORIyoaygvZ1j49ZKw
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52206957-if-darkness-takes-us

Buy links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Takes-Brenda-Marie-Smith-ebook/dp/B07WK9BQHN/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-darkness-takes-us-brenda-marie-smith/1133374442?ean=9781970137835
BookPeople Austin: https://www.bookpeople.com/book/9781970137835

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Q & A With …

Do you ever wish you were someone else? Who?
I’d like to be a better version of myself—someone who has aged better than I have, who is more present and more helpful to my loved ones. I’d like to have better health so I could go out and meet more of my readers, have book events, visit friends and family, cook healthy meals, play ball with my grandkids, travel, and host lots of parties, large and small.

What did you do on your last birthday?
I was in the middle of a stylistic edit for If the Light Escapes, and I was on a tight deadline. So, I kept right on editing on my birthday, and postponed the celebrations for two weeks—until the edit was out the door. Then my kiddos came to visit me on the back patio at a distance, and my son and his girlfriend made the family’s 5-generation strawberry cake. It was delicious, I got some lovely gifts, but mostly I enjoyed my kids. And I did get some sweet phone calls and messages on the actual day.

What part of the writing process do you dread?
Ha! All of it? I don’t know if “dread” is the best word, but I do have anxiety over every bit of it from the first word on the page, to the critiques and edits, to the publication and marketing. It’s really a mix of excitement and anxiety that gets me too riled-up for my own good. I’m anxious about my story choices, my word choices, the punctuation, but mostly about my ability to tell a clear and compelling story with the depth I want it to have. Probably the most dread-inducing part is waiting for and receiving the first developmental edit from the publisher and wondering if I will be up to the task. Also, not fond of multi-tasking.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I get stumped sometimes on where I should take the story next, or on what story I want to start writing, what to add, what to cut, how to fill a plot hole. I usually make some notes, and then I spend a lot of time thinking, staring out windows, noodling around on the computer, reading other books, watching TV. I find if I take my mind off the problem, the answers usually bubble up. More often than not, I just start writing anyway, realizing that I may have to throw away a lot of it, but it will get my juices flowing.

Tell us about your latest release.
If the Light Escapes is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction thriller and a standalone sequel to If Darkness Takes Us. An electromagnetic pulse from the sun has fried the entire U.S. grid, and these books focus on a family’s struggle to survive without power, cars, communications, or running water in an Austin, Texas subdivision.
While If Darkness was written from a grandmother’s point of view, If the Light is told in the voice of her grandson, 18-year-old Keno Simms. He’s grappling with grief and family turmoil, he has to farm the yards of the neighborhood to grow their food, and outsiders pose threat after threat. His one solace is his love for Alma, and when he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive if he has to die to do it. But nature and militant marauders put his resolve to the test.

VBT – The F.I.G. Mysteries

TourBanner_The FIG Mysteries

The F.I.G. Mysteries
by Barbara Casey

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GENRE: Mystery

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BLURB:

THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES

Dara Roux, abandoned when she was 7 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 16. Exceptionally gifted in music and art. Orphan.

THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES: Book 1

BookCover_THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES

Known as the F.I.G.s (Females of Intellectual Genius), three high-spirited 17 year olds with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina’s purpose in planning the trip is to remove her unusually gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can’t cause any more problems (“expressions of creativity”) for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and attempt to find out how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted.

THE WISH RIDER: Book 2

BookCover_THE WISH RIDER_

When Carolina and the F.I.G.s return to Wood Rose, Dara decides that she wants to try to locate her birth mother when she learns that she might be living in New York City. Carolina, Mackenzie, and Jennifer accompany her and their search leads them to a secret dangerous shadow world hidden deep beneath Grand Central, constructed in what Mackinzie identifies as chevroned magic squares—N X N matrixes in which every row, column, and diagonal add up to the same number—and cloaked in the discordant B flat minor key music that only Jennifer can hear.

THE CLOCK FLOWER: Book 3

BookCover_THE CLOCK FLOWER_

The three FIGs—Females of Intellectual Genius—graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women after returning from New York City where Dara learned why her mother abandoned her all those years ago, and they are now attending universities where they can further their special talents. This means they will be separated from each other and from Carolina, their much-loved mentor and teacher who is “one of them,” for the first time in their young lives. They vow to try living apart for one semester, in the so-called real world that doesn’t include the orphanage; but if things don’t work out, they will come up with another plan—a plan where they can be together once again. Dara is invited through Yale University to take part in an exciting archeological project in China. Jennifer, once again visualizing black and white images and the unusual sounds of another cadence that seem to be connected to Mackenzie, is engrossed in creating her next symphony at Juilliard. Mackenzie, because of her genius at problem-solving, is personally chosen by a US Senator to get involved in a mysterious, secret research project involving immortality that is being conducted in a small village in China—not too far from where Dara is involved with the archeological site. Once there, however, she finds herself facing a terrifying death from the blood-dripping teeth of an ancient evil dragon. Her best friends, the FIGs and Carolina, rely on their own unique genius and special talents to save her as she discovers the truth of her birth parents.

THE NIGHTJAR’S PROMISE: Book 4

BookCover_THE NIGHTJAR'S PROMISE

Jennifer Torres, one of the three FIGs (Females of Intellectual Genius) who is a genius in both music and art, is the last to leave the closed rehearsal for her upcoming performance over Thanksgiving break at Carnegie Hall when she hears something in the darkened Hall. Recognizing the tilt of the woman’s head and the slight limp of the man as they hurry out an exit door, she realizes it is her parents who were supposedly killed in a terrible car accident when she was 15 years old. Devastated and feeling betrayed, she sends a text to Carolina and the other two FIGs—THURGOOD. It is the code word they all agreed to use if ever one of them got into trouble or something happened that was too difficult to handle. They would all meet back at Carolina’s bungalow at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women to figure it out. As soon as they receive the text, because of their genius, Dara starts thinking of words in ancient Hebrew, German, and Yiddish, while Mackenzie’s visions of unique math formulae keep bringing up the date October 11, 1943. And as Carolina waits for the FIGs to return to Wood Rose, she hears warnings from Lyuba, her gypsy mother, to watch for the nightjar, the ancient name for the whip-poor-will.
In their search for “The Nightjar’s Promise” and the truth surrounding it, Carolina and the FIGs come face to face with evil that threatens to destroy not only their genius, but their very lives.

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EXCERPT

Excerpt from The Cadence of Gypsies

“Ouch! You’re standing on my fingers!” This from the petite girl with a long, blond ponytail, wearing a nightgown, most of which was pulled up between her legs and tied into a knot at her waist to keep it from getting tangled on the limb where she was perched. Somewhere above her the sound of a saw and splintering wood filled the darkness followed by a stream of profanity repeated in several foreign languages for emphasis.

“It doesn’t look right. It’s supposed to have a rim and a dent.” Clinging to a 12-foot ladder as she pointed the flashlight first this way and then that, the heavy-set girl wearing a nightshirt buttoned at the neck offered this with a slight lisp.

The girl with the blond ponytail giggled.

“What do you mean—dent?! Let me see that picture.” The tall black girl completely hidden aimed her flashlight toward the magazine that was being thrust upwards through the thick branches in her direction.

“And the top is supposed to be rounded—like a button mushroom,” the girl in the nightshirt added, the word “mushroom” sounding more like “muthroom.”

“That’s because it’s circumcised,” supplied the girl with the ponytail, from which she removed a small twig and a handful of leaves.

“Shekoo, baboo!” More profanity. “Okay. I know what to do.” The tall black girl disappeared back into the upper-most branches of the tall plant that was more tree than bush. After several additional minutes, the sawing, crunching, and clipping sounds finally gave way to the more gentle sounds of tiny snips. And then, silence.

“That’s it; everybody down.”

The petite girl, with the magazine that had been overlooked in the last confiscation and now wedged firmly under her armpit, started the perilous descent first since she was nearest to the ground, followed by the tall girl. The girl in the nightshirt eased her way down the ladder juggling pruning shears, a hand saw, and scissors. Once on the ground, the three girls stood back to admire their work.

“That is one honkin’ Peni erecti,” said the tall girl causing a fresh explosion of giggles. “Let’s get out of here.” After quickly rolling down the legs of her pajama bottoms, the tall girl grabbed one end of the ladder and, along with her two friends, lugged it and the other tools back to the shed that housed lawn maintenance equipment. Task accomplished, they returned to their rooms, and to their individual beds, careful not to disturb the other dorm residents, the floor monitors, their suitemates and, most importantly, their slumbering dorm mother, Ms. Larkins. Within minutes, they fell into a deep, peaceful sleep—the sleep of innocent angels.

It would soon be light; and Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women would start another day.

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Author Pic

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

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, an independent nonfiction publisher of true crime, where she oversees acquisitions, day-to-day operations, and book production.

Ms. Casey has written over a dozen award-winning books of fiction and nonfiction for both young adults and adults. The awards include the National Association of University Women Literary Award, the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award, the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel, the IP Best Book for Regional Fiction, among others. Two of her nonfiction books have been optioned for major films, one of which is under contract.

Her 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. Her 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).

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. In 2018 Ms. Casey received the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and Top Professional 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 three cats who adopted her, Homer, Reese and Earl Gray – Reese’s best friend.

www.barbaracaseyauthor.com
www.barbaracaseyagency.com

Amazon Author Page with Buy Links:

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THE F.I.G. MYSTERIES
By
Barbara Casey

Interview

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?

When I was in the seventh grade I decided I wanted to be a tennis star. So in the afternoons after school my best friend and I would go to the tennis court near where we lived to play tennis. This amounted to dribbling and chasing the ball all over the court and not accomplishing much since neither of us knew what we were doing. On one particular afternoon my friend got the silly giggles and I got upset because she wouldn’t take the game seriously. I wound up hitting her over the head with my tennis racket. It didn’t hurt her, and we laughed about it afterwards, but I really should not have done that.

If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?

It wouldn’t be anything scary, so probably a unicorn. I even have a barn where it could sleep at night.

How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

I never read other books in the genre I am writing once I start working on a manuscript. I have a definite way of writing and a style that is my own. I don’t want to be influenced by other writers.

What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?

I don’t remember any worst writing advice I ever received because I tend to ignore it. However, over the years I have received good writing advice, such as never give up, always make sure your manuscript has been edited thoroughly before submitting it to an agent or publisher, be open to constructive criticism from writers you admire, but believe in yourself and create what feels right to you.

Are the experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Only the setting of Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women where Dara, Mackenzie, and Jennifer live is based in reality. When I was attending N.C. State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, I lived off campus and would drive by an orphanage each morning on my way to classes. It was such an imposing place, surrounded by beautiful landscaping. The image has stayed with me for years, and The F.I.G. Mysteries is the result of that memory.

VBT – FINDING GEORGE WASHINGTON

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Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale
by Bill Zarchy

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GENRE: Sci-Fi / Alternate History / Baseball Saga / Action Thriller

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BLURB:

On a freezing night in 1778, General George Washington vanishes. Walking away from the Valley Forge encampment, he takes a fall and is knocked unconscious, only to reappear at a dog park on San Francisco Bay—in the summer of 2014.

Washington befriends two Berkeley twenty-somethings who help him cope with the astonishing—and often comical—surprises of the twenty-first century.

Washington’s absence from Valley Forge, however, is not without serious consequences. As the world rapidly devolves around them—and their beloved Giants fight to salvage a disappointing season—George, Tim, and Matt are catapulted on a race across America to find a way to get George back to 1778.

Equal parts time travel tale, thriller, and baseball saga, Finding George Washington is a gripping, humorous, and entertaining look at what happens when past and present collide in the 9th inning, with the bases loaded and no one warming up in the bullpen.

BookCover_FindingGeorgeWashington

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EXCERPT

Aurora

The General watched as the Northern Lights spread, shimmered, and swirled through the sky like the smoke from God’s own cigar, now rising, now dipping, now twirling and pulsing.

Though soldiers often considered the aurora a bad omen, at that moment it thrilled him. To the east, he could see the glow of sentry fires of some of the closer regiments, the troops hunkered down for the night. A short distance to the south, the men of his personal guard occupied their own group of makeshift huts within sight of the farmhouse.

It’s cold. I should get back before Patsy and the staff begin to miss me.

He paused and took a deep breath of the night air. He was a durable and determined man who had survived cold and wintry weather during his early life as a surveyor and, later, as a British officer. He would show his Continental Army troops that the cold didn’t bother him, that staying strong was a state of mind. Certainly they had it worse than he did, but they respected that he had refused to move out of his tent into the stone farmhouse until his men moved out of their tattered shelters into log huts.

The fluid, ethereal display of light in the skies danced and pulsated. Before he could climb down the hill and head back toward the farmhouse, the ground under his feet began to shake and rumble, providing a steady, geological drumbeat to accompany the green and red light in the sky. The terrain rolled. He lost his footing on the ice, just at a point where a crisp moonbeam seemed to hit the patch of turf he was crossing.

The earth came up to meet him, and he banged his head on the frozen ground. Woozy and lightheaded, teetering on the edge of consciousness, he felt a great sadness, felt the bones in his body melt in the shard of moonlight, even as, in his remaining awareness, he realized the moon was not out that evening. He felt his body scooped off the ground, as if by a vengeful wind, then tumbled in a heap onto something hard and unyielding that swept him along at a great rate of speed. All went dark.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Bill Zarchy filmed projects on six continents during his 40 years as a cinematographer, captured in his first book, Showdown at Shinagawa: Tales of Filming from Bombay to Brazil. Now he writes novels, takes photos, and talks of many things.

Bill’s career includes filming three former presidents for the Emmy-winning West Wing Documentary Special, the Grammy-winning Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em, feature films Conceiving Ada and Read You Like A Book, PBS science series Closer to Truth, musical performances as diverse as the Grateful Dead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and countless high-end projects for technology and medical companies.

His tales from the road, personal essays, and technical articles have appeared in Travelers’ Tales and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, the San Francisco Chronicle and other newspapers, and American Cinematographer, Emmy, and other trade magazines.

Bill has a BA in Government from Dartmouth and an MA in Film from Stanford. He taught Advanced Cinematography at San Francisco State for twelve years. He is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and a graduate of the EPIC Storytelling Program at Stagebridge in Oakland. This is his first novel.

findinggeorgewashington.com
findinggeorgewashington.com/blog
billzarchy.com

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0984919120/
Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08NXXNLBB/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Finding-George-Washington-A-Time-Travel-Tale-by-Bill-Zarchy-112403433952296

The book will be $0.99.
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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Bill Zarchy be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview With …..

Thanks for being here today. Tell us about you as a person.

I love sunset walks on the beach, dogs, and a warm fire. I’m allergic to cats, so what looks like a sweet, purring ball of cuddly fluff to you looks like a scratchy, itchy, sneezy hour to me. I have always been a writer. My dad gave me an old portable typewriter when I was a young lad, and I taught myself to type pretty quickly with two fingers. I convinced some relatives to pay me money for a “subscription” to a family newspaper that I published with carbon paper and light gossip for an issue or two. I wrote a column for my high school paper and was managing editor of the campus daily when I was an undergrad at Dartmouth. I was seduced by visual media after graduate film school at Stanford, and I ignored my writing for a long time, till about 20 years ago.

My wife and I have been together nearly 50 years, 43 of them married. We’ve lived in the same house for 35 years. We love family, baseball, music, movies, friends, theatre, and ballet. As a tall guy who’s never been good at basketball, I hated basketball for much of my life, a whiny response to folks saying, “Wow, you’re so tall! You must be SO good at hoops!” We have two wonderful sons. One is a speech-language pathologist, and one is a lawyer.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

I’ve been researching Franklin D. Roosevelt for another novel, and I would very much like to meet him, to see how it feels to be in his presence. I’m intrigued by the sparkling personality that emerged from the twists and turns of his remarkable life — raised in wealth and privilege, struck down by polio, a cruel twist of fate. Then coming back from that depressing low point to be elected president four times, always depicted smiling. Historians attribute the great empathy he exhibited toward others to his own life narrative of triumph over adversity. I’d love to spend time with him, perhaps as a fly in the wall, and try to see if his warmth and empathy is genuine, or something fabricated for the cameras, to enhance his public image. I don’t mean to sound cynical. I’d just love to meet him.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

The presidents have always fascinated me, especially Washington. He’s so far back in time that his accomplishments have always seemed larger than life, and perhaps they were. As a young boy, I often asked myself how I would explain technology — like trains, cars, planes, cameras, movies — to George Washington, if he suddenly left his horse-and-buggy age and appeared in mine. When I was looking for an idea for a novel a few years ago, that old notion popped up again, and I began to develop it as a comical, fish-out-of-water story. As I learned more about George, I began to see him as the pre-eminent figure of his age, which sparked a new theme. What if he never returned to Valley Forge? What cascading effect would that have on the history of the world? Then my beloved Giants had a magnificent season, and I began to fold a baseball metaphor and theme into the story mixture. It’s all a big stew, really.

What is your writing process?

When I was younger, I could write and think in the midst of chaos, surrounded by people and media. But lately, as my attention has become more fragmented, I need peace and quiet. I only write in my office, formerly my son’s room, which I took over some years ago. I have a comfy chair, good elbow support, a keyboard in a tray off a large wooden desk. I use a Mac laptop on a stand, which raises it up to match the height of an adjacent large monitor.

I marvel at folks like you who can write while listening to songs with lyrics. We must be a different species. I can’t have words floating around in the air around my head when I’m trying to compose words inside it, but more power to you if it works for you! I only listen to instrumental music. Lots of jazz, usually soft jazz. I have a Miles Davis / John Coltrane playlist that lasts 16 hours, though some of it’s too raucous for writing. I play classical sometimes, looking for pieces that have a steady dynamic range throughout, like chamber music, rather than those that get very loud and very soft, like concerti or symphonies.

I work best in two-to-four hour shifts, with breaks for pit stops and stretching as needed.

Tell us about your main character:

My main character is General George Washington of the Continental Army, who comes to the present. This is not the old, marble-faced, unhappy-looking guy on the dollar bill, but a tall, vigorous, powerful leader in his mid-40s, who’s perplexed by his sudden shifts in venues and centuries. He’s very intense, but exercises tight self-control, rarely shows anger. He’s a man’s man who nonetheless enjoys the company of women. An excellent rider and a graceful dancer. In his own era, he was the most famous man in the Colonies — and one of the richest — despite having little formal education.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.

It’s tough to imagine who could play Washington credibly, but I think William Hurt has a broad, strong face and the right kind of presence to pull it off. Unfortunately, he’s 71 now, more than a quarter century older than George in my story. I thought David Morse did a good job portraying Washington in the mini-series John Adams, but he’s in his late 60s. I also liked the accent he used for George. Hurt and Morse are both tall, like George.

What are you working on next?

Right now, I’m working with an actor on an audiobook version of Finding George Washington. We’ve done all the recording, but it needs to be edited, checked, corrected, and mixed. I hope to be able to release the audiobook in just a few weeks. David Boyll, the actor, is performing all the different roles with different voices, and he’s highly skilled at accents. For George, he’s been using a sort of an English West Counties accent, similar to David Morse in John Adams. It’s been fun hearing my words come to life!

I’m also planning a sequel to Finding George Washington. It’s about FDR, titled Saving Franklin. It centers on an incident from 1933, where Franklin D. Roosevelt, newly elected to his first term as president, is the object of an attack by a seemingly crazed gunman. FDR is unhurt, but half a dozen shots were fired, causing several injuries and two deaths. It’s a ‘what-if’ story. What if Roosevelt had been killed that night and never become president? What would happen to the U.S. and the rest of the world without FDR’s leadership through the Depression and World War II? I’ve made a couple of research trips and written a bit of this, involving some of the same characters in Finding George.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?

First and foremost, make it the best book you possibly can. Write, edit, rewrite. Get notes from other writers and learn how to get and give constructive, positive feedback. If you possibly can, have your book professionally edited. Get on social media and join online interest groups. Get a website. Blog and post about yourself and your book and other subjects. Plan online and in-person events with bookstores and libraries and other organizations. Ask readers who like your book to post online reviews for it. Purchase reviews from Clarion, Kirkus, and other review services. Do a book blog tour. Advertise if you can.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?

The book I’m most looking forward to reading is Spider Woman’s Daughter, by Anne Hillerman, her first novel about the Navajo Tribal Police. She took over the series from her father Tony Hillerman after he passed away a dozen years ago. I saw the author speak at an online book chat a few weeks ago, and I recalled how much I enjoyed the earlier books in the series. I ordered her book and wrote to her, and she graciously accepted a copy of my debut novel, Finding George Washington.

Anne’s book will have to wait a little while. I normally only read one book at a time, but right now, I’m in the middle of both A Promised Land, by Barack Obama, and Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor, and I can’t deal with the idea of being in the middle of three books at once.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I worked for many years as a cinematographer, shooting film and video projects on six continents, and I taught Advanced Cinematography at San Francisco State for twelve years. Since retiring from the film business six years ago, I’ve studied (oral) storytelling and, in 2018, produced and performed my first one-man storytelling show called “Billy Solo;” in 2019, curated and hung my first photo exhibition; and in 2020, published my first novel, Finding George Washington: A Time Travel Tale.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?

I want x-ray vision!

I want to be able to see into buildings and containers and vehicles. I want to know what’s inside nearly everything around me.

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • Feel safe enough to travel again.
  • Visit Antarctica. I’ve been to the other six continents and would love to collect the whole set.
  • Attend Game 7 of the World Series in San Francisco, in great seats on the field level, as my beloved Giants win it all!
  • Write several more books, mostly novels.
  • See Finding George Washington made into a movie.

Any final thoughts?

This has been fun. Great questions. Thanks so much for hosting me!

Book Tour – DRAGON(E) BABY GONE

TourBanner_Dragon(e) Baby Gone

Dragon(e) Baby Gone
(Reports from the Department of Intangible Assets Book 1)

by Robert Gainey

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GENRE: Mystery Fantasy

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BLURB:

Diane Morris is part of the thin line separating a happy, mundane world from all of the horrors of the anomalous. Her federal agency is underfunded, understaffed, and misunderstood, and she’d rather transfer to the boring safety of Logistics than remain a field agent. When a troupe of international thieves make off with a pair of dragon eggs, Diane has no choice but to ally with a demon against the forces looking to leave her city a smoldering crater. Facing down rogue wizards, fiery elementals, and crazed gunmen, it’s a race against time to get the precious cargo back before the dragon wakes up and unleashes hell.

BookCover_DragoneBabyGone

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EXCERPT

Modern times gave way to a general idea that reason and logic were enough to stop something from dragging you into the sewers and wearing your skin to protect itself from daylight. It’s easy to see why: it doesn’t happen to a lot of people, therefore it must not happen. I see it all the time, people who say things like “I’ve never seen a ghost, so they must not exist.”

Oh yeah? Because if spirits did exist, they’d all be tripping over their ghost dicks to haunt you? Do you understand the preternatural forces that conspire, the circumstances that line up, to create any kind of ghost? Let alone one that shows up in your room at night and moans about revenge or betrayal or rattles some chains and teaches you a valuable lesson about being selfish?

“Well, there’s no such thing as Bigfoot. All those pictures are super blurry and grainy,” they say, their voices nasally and snobby, like all the knowledge of the world is pumped directly into their tiny brains through their tiny phones. Go stand out in a remote Colorado forest one night. Turn off your phone, open your eyes and ears, and wait. When you feel those eyes watching, and when you know, deep in that primitive monkey brain, way, way down inside, that there’s more than just the animals you have names for sharing that clearing with you, then you can call me to tell me that there’s no such thing as Bigfoot.

That is, if you live to turn your phone back on again.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Robert Gainey is a born and raised Floridian, despite his best efforts. While enrolled at Florida State University and studying English (a language spoken on a small island near Europe), Robert began volunteering for the campus medical response team, opening up a great new passion in his life. Following graduation, he pursued further training through paramedic and firefighting programs, going on to become a full time professional firefighter in the State of Florida. He currently lives and works in Northeast Florida with his wife and dogs, who make sure he gets walked regularly. Robert writes near-fetched fantasy novels inspired by the madness and courage found in everyday events.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RNGainey
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robertngainey/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.gainey
Blog: https://robertgainey.blogspot.com/
Website: robertgainey.com

BUY LINKS:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dragon-robert-gainey/1139526445

https://books.google.com/books/about/Dragon_e_Baby_Gone.html?id=vY17zgEACAAJ

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.

Enter to win a $50 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview With …

What is something you’ve lied about?
I once told my wife I was going up into town to try and find a piece of specialty wood for a desk I was building. There are a couple sawmills who stock stuff like magnolia, white oak, cypress, that sort of thing, so it was a plausible lie, and I’d been talking about building this desk for a few months. This was during the pandemic lockdown, so my wife was working from home, so she’d have noticed me missing from the house for four or five hours, and I needed a good excuse. About two hours in, I had to call and make up some story about the first place not having anything I wanted, so I was going to have to drive further out to another and see what they had.

The truth was, I actually drove to an animal rescue in Jessup, Georgia to get a puppy for my wife. She’d never suspected for a second I’d been anything less than truthful, so when I walked in with Magnus it was worth every mile just to see the look on her beautiful face.

Who is the last person you hugged?
My wife, naturally. As long as I’ve got arms, that’ll always be the last person I’ve hugged at the end of every day.

What are you reading now?
I’m branching out into a genre I don’t normally get into, reading Helen C. Johannes’ Lord of Druemarwin. I’m also in the process of reading Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War by Judith Miller, but that’s at the fire station so I only read it every third day.

How do you come up with the titles to your books?
I’m a big fan of puns and wordplay. I find something memorable, something funny, something that I’d look at and say, “Huh, I’ll give that a try.”

Share your dream cast for your book.
It’s funny you should ask, since my wife and I just discussed this a few days ago. It may seem like a kind of vanity project, but we did slap together something resembling a casting call.
Diane – Aya Cash
Archades – Josh Brolin
LaFleur – Lance Reddick
Sadie – Gwendoline Christie
Jericho (voice only) – Chris O’Dowd

I’m happy to field phone calls from any of them. No need to be shy.

VBT – HUNGER WINTER

TourBanner_Hunger Winter

Hunger Winter

by Rob Currie

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GENRE: MG Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

It’s the Netherlands in late 1944. Thirteen-year-old Dirk’s Papa left to fight with the Resistance. Then Mama died. When the Gestapo snatched his older sister and he learned they were coming for him next, Dirk left home in the middle of the night. He had his pockets stuffed with food, his little sister asleep in his arms, and his heart heavy with a dark secret.

Cover_Hunger Winter

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EXCERPT

BAM! BAM! BAM!

Dirk Ingelse’s eyes flew open, and he raised his head off the pillow. Who could be knocking on the front door? Gestapo? His insides turned to ice.

The pounding resumed, the sound carrying easily up the stairs into Dirk’s bedroom. It didn’t sound like the rap of knuckles—it was more like the thumping of an angry fist. Or the butt of a rifle.

It had to be the Gestapo. They had been doing more raids lately, and they often came at night. Who else would pummel the front door of the Ingelse’s farmhouse in the middle of the night and risk getting arrested?

Dirk rolled out of bed and crept to his bedroom window. Easing the curtain open a bit, he kept his face away from the window, like Papa had taught him. He couldn’t see a vehicle. But what if they hid their car? Dirk’s right hand shook.

He couldn’t hide. They would tear the place apart to find him. And he couldn’t run—they would have the place surrounded. He’d heard stories. His right hand shook harder. It had been doing that a lot ever since—

The assault on the door resumed, even louder this time. “Open up!” growled a deep voice.

Dirk turned from the window and crept down the stairs.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Life conspired to get Rob Currie to write Hunger Winter: A World War II Novel. His father is a World War II veteran and his wife is Dutch. An award-winning author, it was only a matter of time before he would focus his writing on World War II. Research for Hunger Winter included numerous books, interviews with Dutch WWII survivors, and three weeks in the Netherlands. His investigation revealed astonishing details about the Dutch experience of the war, which begged to be turned into a book.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, he graduated from Cornerstone University and went on to earn a master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from St. Louis University. He has taught psychology at Judson University since 1987. His hobbies include playing basketball, cooking, and writing poetry.

Author Web Site: www.robcurrieauthor.com

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Winter-World-War-Novel/dp/1496440358/

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Rob Currie will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Interview

Tell us about you as a person. What makes you, you?

I enjoy being creative with words and one avenue of doing that is writing humorous poetry. I want to do with words what the Harlem Globetrotters do with a basketball. Here’s a sample.

There once was a hard-working poet

Who lacked talent but didn’t know it.

He worked to be witty. He tried to be terse.

But his poetry went from bad to verse.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

My person would be Corrie ten Boom. She survived a WWII concentration camp, yet her faith enabled her to forgive her captors.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

This book is like fusion cooking for me in that it combines multiple interests of mine. But instead of combining culinary styles, this book blends my love of World War II, books for kids, and action stories. It helps me be successful when I work at something I am passionate about. And for me, the key to being passionate is to pour my energy into a project that addresses more than one thing I love.

What is your writing process?

I get ideas for stories from just about anywhere. It’s like being in love and anything you see feeds into the way you relate to your sweetie. For example, I got a poignant plot idea for Hunger Winter from an article in the The Chicago Tribune about a young man who partially blamed himself for his mother’s death even though it wasn’t his fault. Most of my story is written by sitting and putting in the hard work and long hours. But some of the key elements come to me from things I experience or read when I’m not actively working on the book at that moment.

Tell us about your main character.

Thirteen-year-old Dirk has to hide from the Nazis, protect his sister, and find their father. His story is an action-adventure, a sort of junior James Bond or Indiana Jones. More than once he thinks he’s safe and the danger’s behind him, but he discovers the enemy has caught up with him again. He’s fiercely protective of his little sister and has a close relationship with his Papa.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why?

I’d pick Daniel Radcliffe, who portrayed Harry Potter. Daniel has the ability to summon and display courage in the face of difficult situations.

What are you working on next?

I’m doing research for a sequel to Hunger Winter. I’m also taking time to read a variety of books, with a range of topics and styles. I believe authors have to replenish their minds with fresh ideas before writing the next book. We’ve all read novels where the sequel sounds too much like the prior story. I don’t want to do that.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?

Network with other people with the same writing interests as you. Devote yourself to be helpful to them even if you get nothing in return. In the end, it will come back to you as people will go out of their way to promote your work. Someone said, “She is always on other people’s minds because she never thought about herself. She was always focused on helping other people.”

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

I enjoy opening the refrigerator, seeing what we have, and improvising a new recipe. It’s a little like creating a story. You have to think how the food ingredients interact and the planning process is similar to putting together the elements of a story.

You are given the choice of one superpower. What superpower would you have and why?

I would choose the ability to say things that always make people laugh. I have a lively sense of humor and I get laughs but not always. One of life’s greatest joys is to makes a friend or family member laugh.

List 5 things on your bucket list.

  1. .Learn to speak Dutch
  2. Have one of my songs performed at a concert
  3. Visit more Civil War War Battlefields
  4. Write a sequel to Hunger Winter
  5. Perform a successful standup comedy routine
  6. Build a simple cabin in the woods
  7. Learn to count to five 😊

Where can readers find you on the web?

www.robcurrieauthor.com

Any final thoughts?

Two endorsements for Hunger Winter:

The Corrie ten Boom House Foundation runs a WWII museum in the Netherlands, which is where Hunger Winter is set. They wrote:

I read this book with great interest. I would love to encourage everyone to read this book. Hunger Winter succeeds in describing a very realistic picture of the situation in the Netherlands when the country was in a very difficult time.”

This is a fine book! Bravo to author Rob Currie. I loved it all—every word and every layer.”

Louise Borden, Author of Ski Soldier: A World War II Biography

One more thing:

Half of the author’s royalties go to Compassion International, a charity which gives food to hungry children around the world. Due to the strong response to Hunger Winter, so far over $3,000 has been donated since the book’s release in early March.

Author website: www.robcurrieauthor.com

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/yaen3br8

Barnes and Noble: https://tinyurl.com/yc73xnjw

Books-A-Million https://tinyurl.com/y7ppskxn

VBT – Vengeance of Grimbald

TourBanner_Vengeance of Grimbald

Vengeance of Grimbald

by Richard Hacker

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GENRE: Fantasy Thriller

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BLURB:

Addison and Jules, members of the League, a secret alchemist society of Inkers who protect the time continuum, believe they defeated their enemy, Cuthbert Grimwald, known to them as Kairos. When he resurfaces filled with vengeance, intent on destroying the League, and acquiring the Alchimeia, a book of such power the League has hidden it for millennia, Grimwald leaves a path of destruction across centuries. As he quests for absolute control of reality, Addison and Jules pursue him through time and death in a desperate struggle to save the world from his vengeance.

Cover_Vengeance of Grimbald

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EXCERPT

You’ve done well my friends. A bit of a shaky start, but in the end, I am pleased with the result.”

Jules glanced to Addison, who was also pulling himself up to stand. “What are you talking about? You could have killed us.”

If I wanted you dead, we wouldn’t be talking.” Boggy raised his hands as if to parry their blows. “Today’s lesson is partnership. Do you see?”

Addison slowly rotated an arm with a grimace. “Keep talking.”

Inking is a dangerous enterprise. You find yourself in a foreign world in an earlier time, often fighting to survive long enough to complete your mission. But the physical dangers of inking do not hold a candle to the emotional and psychological dangers. Your consciousness, the essence of your being, occupies the mind of another. With each passing moment, a small part of who you are slips out of your grasp unless you master the relationship between Inker and host. You must die to live, right? But all living creatures naturally gravitate toward life and away from death. The world of an Inker is therefore a paradox of conflicting realities. Without a partner, you struggle alone against insurmountable odds. Partners have each other’s backs, keeping the hosts alive and the mission viable. And upon completion, partners ensure their hosts die. Because we never leave an Inker behind. Never.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links

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Richard Hacker, lives and writes in Seattle, Washington after living many years in Austin, Texas. In addition to the science fiction/fantasy novels of The Alchimeía Series, his crime novels ride the thin line between fact and fiction in Texas. Along the way, his writing has been recognized by the Writer’s League of Texas and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. As a judge in literary contests shuch as PNWA and ChicLit, and as a freelance development editor, he enjoys the opportunity to work with other writers. In addition, he is the Sci-Fi/Fantasy editor for the Del Sol Review. DIE BACK was his first novel in the Alchimeia series.

Del Sol Press books by Richard Hacker are available at Amazon

The Alchimeía Series

DIEBACK: Book One

VENGEANCE OF GRIMBALD: Book Two

Other books by Richard Hacker:

Nick Sibelius Crime Series

KILL’T DEAD OR WORSE

BUZZARD BAIT

ALL HAT AND NO CATTLE

Follow the author at www.richardhacker.com

Or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RWHacker

Amazon buy link:

https://www.amazon.com/Vengeance-Grimbald-Alchime%C3%ADa-Richard-Hacker/dp/0999842595/

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Richard Hacker will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Richard, thanks for being my guest. Tell us about you as a person.

I’d say people who know me well, know me as creative and willing to fall flat on my face. So I took up drawing last year after not drawing anything but stick figures since childhood. I kept a sketch journal on a recent trip to Europe. Urban sketching is the sort of thing where you’re putting yourself out in the world. You’re standing on a busy street drawing the scene. People come by to chat, to see what I’m up to. It’s still a bit scary, but I keep on doing it. And what a great way to see the world with new eyes! Another thing that takes me out of my comfort zone is singing in a vocal jazz ensemble. I’ve always enjoyed singing—choral music & singer-songwriter music with a guitar, but doing a scat solo in a performance is pretty challenging (to me, least). One other thing most people don’t know about me is that was an instrument rated private pilot. I’m not active anymore, but flying is a peak experience in my life.

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?

Barak Obama. Have a beer, shoot some hoops, talk about the world. What a day that would be.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

Six hundred years after a fifteenth century scryer gains the alchemical knowledge to create a dark future in his own image, Addison Shaw inherits a destiny: to fight this ancient war that threatens all he loves with extinction. Using an alchemical pen, he writes himself into past lives, leaving his body in the present. Upon completion of his mission, he must die in order to break the link and return home. Addison, and his inking partner, Jules, are members of the League, a secret alchemist society of Inkers who protect the time continuum. They believe they defeated their enemy, Cuthbert Grimwald, known to them as Kairos. When he resurfaces filled with vengeance, intent on destroying the League, and acquiring the Alchimeia, a book of such power the League has hidden it for millennia, Grimwald leaves a path of destruction across centuries. As he quests for absolute control of reality, Addison and Jules pursue him through time and death in a desperate struggle to save the world from his vengeance.

What is your writing process?

My writing process is intentionally unstructured. I’ve got lots of colleagues who like to have a certain environment, like yourself, certain music, a specific location. I know one writer who has to have a latte and chocolate or it’s just not going to happen. LOL. Each of us has to find our own path. Mine is to ready to write anywhere, anytime, under any circumstance. I’ve written on planes, trains, buses and cars; in coffee shops, studies, offices, park benches; morning, day, and night; in silence or with music. I will say, while I do try to be flexible, some situations provide more challenge than others. I was on a plane with a small extremely unhappy child (and a parent with weary survivor eyes) screaming. Yeah, it was a bit difficult to concentrate.

Tell us about your main character.

Addison Shaw is a twenty-something young man whose father was brutally murdered. He walks with a cane because of a leg injury he received in a car accident as a teenager. Addison is emotionally fragile, especially in light of the loss of his father, but he also has an deep inner strength that enables him to persist even when his world appears to be falling apart.

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role and why.

I think I’d go with either John Krasinkski (The Office, Jack Ryan) or Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Altered Carbon). Both of those actors do a great job of projecting their humanity and internal pain while having the ability to be pretty kick ass.

What are you working on next?

I’m currently working on the third book in the Alchimeia series—untitled at this point. And I’ve got another project I’ve worked on and off over several years, a humorous science fiction story along the lines of Tom Holt’s novels, called THE BIFURCATION OF DUNGSTEN CREASE. Hopefully, Book 3 of the Alchimeia will be out in 2021.

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their book?

I’ve done a lot of different things from book tours to release parties to email campaigns. I can’t say I’ve found any one thing that is the silver bullet. The book business is very crowded these days, so I think you just have to be persistent. Keep putting yourself out there.

What is your favorite book on your shelf right now?

If you by shelf you mean what I’m reading right now, well I got inspired by the HBO version of His Dark Materials to read Pullman’s trilogy again. I’m currently on the last book and it still reads well. If you mean my fav from anything on my bookshelf—way harder question! Books that come to mind: Ian Tregillis, The Mechanicals; Iain Pears, The Instance at the Fingerpost; William Gibson, Neuromancer; China Miéville, The City In The City. But I could go on and on.

Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?

Not sure how special they are. I draw, I write, I sing, and I cook. Occasionally I do one of those in an extraordinary way—I hope.

You are given the choice of one super power. What super power would you have and why?

Mind control. We’d always go to the restaurant of my choice and I’d guest post on your blog. (Dammit! Didn’t mean to say that. (I’m gazing at you with my super-power mind control eyes). You have just forgotten what I said about guest posting…

List 5 things on your bucket list:

  • Tour Japan
  • Tour Australia
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Speak a second language fluently –I’m going for Spanish
  • Stand on the site of first powered flight at Kitty Hawk.

Where can readers find you on the web?

Thanks for having me on the blog and thanks readers for dropping in today. Please check out DIE BACK and VENGEANCE OF GRIMBALD. Both are available on Amazon. And I’d love to hear from you. Visit my website, www.richardhacker.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RWHacker and drop me a line.

I don’t have a trailer for Vengeance of Grimbald, but I do for Die Back and it’s a good visual introduction to the series. You can find it here.

Any final thoughts?

Two things I’d like to add. First, the underlying message of the Alchimeia series is about courage and perseverance. When life looks hopeless, when everything seems to be turned upside-down, the people who make a difference are not superheroes, but people like you and me, who persevere in spite of the odds. And second, readers are the reason for the season. Without you, writers would be lonely people sitting in coffee shops pounding on laptops. With you, we become the tellers of fantastical stories, entertainers, philosophers, and poets. And together, a writer and a reader, we make magic. Thank you for sharing some of your life with me.

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