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THE FINAL CROSSING

Tour Banner_The Final Crossing

The Final Crossing: A Tale of Self-Discovery and Adventure
by Vince Santoro

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GENRE: Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

In this tale of self-discovery and adventure, we are connected with a history we’ve come to know as the cradle of civilization.

Nenshi, an Egyptian house servant, raised in nobility, is well-schooled, a master huntsman and hungers to be free. His master agrees to grant his freedom but while the petition is set to be heard, Nenshi’s indiscretion gets in the way. He is caught in a secret love affair with a woman above his social status.

As punishment, he is exiled to labour in the Nubian gold mines. His life turns upside down as he is thrust into a world for which he had been ill prepared. He escapes from the mines and vows to return to Thebes, but his attempts push him farther and farther away on a journey that redefines him – a journey mired with cruelty, bloodshed, and the discovery of a new deity.

In the end Nenshi learns his freedom has been granted and must decide whether to return to his homeland or start a new life.

“I greatly enjoyed this well written story by Vince Santoro. He takes us across the Ancient World
through the protagonist, Nenshi, an exiled Egyptian servant who struggles with class structure, both around and within himself. Santoro weaves a story of ideas – a sense of belonging, monotheism, and the human soul – told through Nenshi’s rite of passage through to his final crossing. The setting is visually evocative of “spirit of place” as the novelist and travel writer Lawrence Durrell called it. It’s a story worth reading.” – Terry Stanfill
Award winning historical fiction author of The Gift from Fortuny, Realms of Gold, The Blood Remembers and other works.

“Vince Santoro is a gifted storyteller. I found The Final Crossing difficult to put down because it is
well written. As an historian and author of non-fiction books, I am impressed with the amount of research that Santoro has done to prepare this story of adventure and romance set in the ancient Middle East. The customs, the beliefs and even the character names are all authentic to that region and era. With so many plot twists and turns, Santoro will keep you guessing about what might happen next to the protagonist until the very end!” – John Charles Corrigan
Author of The Red Night and “Love Always”

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EXCERPT

The sound of dragging footsteps along the pebbled path grew louder. The morning heat would soon turn into an inferno and drain any enthusiasm from the simplest of pleasures. But it was not enough to hamper a hunting expedition.

“Finally,” Nenshi said as he bent down to grab his bow and arrows nestled between his feet. “Must you always be late?” He looked up to the sky and squinted to get a reading of the sun’s position. “I don’t have all day. Unlike you.”

“Don’t scold me like a child. I keep forgetting,” Hordekef replied and wiped his clammy hands on his shirt.

Nenshi shook his head. “You keep forgetting you’re a free man and I am not?”

Hordekef shrugged his shoulders and turned to look down at his hunting dog. “Precisely,” he replied as he tugged at the leash to nudge the dog to come closer. It refused. “I have known you as a nobleman’s son, not a servant.”

Nenshi frowned, hated to be reminded of his status. Unlike most servants, even raised in nobility had its burdens. Hordekef gave the leash another tug. The dog still refused to budge. “Perhaps one day you will call me to celebrate your freedom rather than go hunting.”

There was silence, save for the sound of the dog’s pant.

The yearning for freedom had grown over time but the longing was not enough to set Nenshi free. Even though it was uncommon for servants to ask for their freedom, if warranted, in time, it would be granted. But Nenshi could not wait to be accorded such benevolence.

“Well … when will you ask your master to grant you your independence?” Hordekef asked. “You have told me, repeatedly, you would.”

Nenshi was reluctant to answer but felt the obligation to provide his friend with an explanation. “I have tried, several times. Something always gets in the way, his work, visits from old friends. I don’t know what else to do. He has been good to me. You know that. I don’t want to disrespect him.”

“Tehuti is aging. After he enters the underworld, you will still respect him. Unfortunately, your status will not have changed.”

Nenshi remained silent. The dead air surrounding him fell on his shoulders and caused him to be still, immobile. The heaviness could only be shaken with distraction. “Let’s go, we’re wasting time,” he said, tipping his head sideways in the direction of the wasteland.

BookCover_TheFinalCrossing

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Vince is an Italian-born Canadian who grew up in Toronto, Canada, and now lives in Pickering, a suburb of Toronto.

In his youth, education and sports became a priority. A private boys’ school, St. Michael’s College in Toronto, provided the opportunity for both. He graduated from York University, Toronto, with a degree in history and a minor in behavioural science.

Vince was always up for new challenges. After completing his studies, he set his eyes on Europe and played professional basketball in Italy. When he returned home, he shifted gears and worked in the aerospace industry in several capacities. The most rewarding was managing internal communications for a large aircraft manufacturer. It was during this time he decided to hone his writing skills by studying journalism at Ryerson University, Toronto, and he had several articles published.

His career in communications along with studies in history and journalism prepared him to take on his next challenge: to write a book. His debut novel, The Final Crossing, has been a labour of love, one he worked on for many years. It reflects life experiences, woven into a story that inspires and entertains, and perhaps even show the world in a different way.

CONNECT WITH VINCE SANTORO

WEBSITE – Vince Santoro l Novel Writer (vsantoro.ca)

FACEBOOK – Vince Santoro | Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/VSantoro14

INSTAGRAM – Vince Santoro (@vsantoro14) • Instagram photos and videos
http://www.instagram.com/vsantoro14

TWITTER – Vince Santoro (@vsantoro14) / Twitter
http://www.twitter.com/vsantoro14

GOODREADS – Vince Santoro (Author of The Final Crossing) | Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22350667.Vince_Santoro

PURCHASE LINKS – The Final Crossing

AMAZON.COM – https://amazon.com/dp/0228871840

AMAZON.CA – https://amazon.ca/dp/0228871840

AMAZON KINDLE – https://amazon.com/dp/B09WJKB96S

INDIGO CHAPTERS – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/final-crossing-a-tale-of/9780228871842-item.html

BARNES & NOBLE – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-final-crossing-vince-santoro/1141328310

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Vince Santoro will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Questions

Tell us about you as a person.

I would describe myself as competitive, humble, and with a dislike for deception. Competitiveness comes from playing sports at the highest possible level that I could achieve which was professional basketball in Italy. Being competitive also taught me never to give up on my goals. Humility comes from being raised in a traditional Italian home with values such as honesty, respect, and kindness. As for deception, I don’t like it when people give false impressions or lead you to believe something that is not true. I understand that in some cases, accidental deception, someone may deceive to avoid hurting another person, but intentional deception is a different matter. In fact, my next novel (in work) deals with lying and deception.

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

Lady Gaga. To hang out with for a day would be awesome. She’s immensely talented. The songs, the voice, the lyrics – so profound. She’s intelligent and sets goals. Hanging out with her for a day might reveal things about her that people might not know. I can keep secrets. Besides, we both come from an Italian background, so that’s a good start. Have a Campari or Prosecco and who knows, we might even collaborate on a song. I can’t sing but I can write.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

The Final Crossing tells the story of an Egyptian servant, Nenshi, who struggles with class structure, both around and within himself, often pondering what it means to be a free man. It’s a story of self-discovery and adventure, with spiritual overtones.
Nenshi builds up the courage to ask his master to free him. But as fate has it, before the petition is granted, he is caught in a secret love affair with Sia, a beautiful Egyptian freewoman. During one of their trysts, Nenshi commits a crime against Sia’s father and is consequently punished and sent to the Nubian mines to serve his sentence. He escapes and vows to return home, but events take him farther and farther away on a journey in pursuit of freedom and love. A journey that redefines him, a journey mired with cruelty, bloodshed, and the discovery of a new deity.
The story asks some philosophical questions such as what it means to be truly free, what is the human spirit, and what it means to believe in a god? It explores cities and civilizations in the ancient world. It’s a story filled with compelling moments, some clever, some with musical wordplay all told through interesting characters and twists and turns until the very end. It’s a story that entertains and perhaps make the reader see life in a different way.

What is your writing process?

It took a while to develop a writing process that worked for me. I tried a very structured approach with little flexibility. It didn’t work. I tried a “free for all” approach. That didn’t work either, too many distractions. I knew structure and discipline were important, so I sought a happy medium.

Now my writing process goes something like this.

I start the morning (after breakfast) by dealing with the business aspects of writing: check and respond to emails and social media; follow-up on marketing initiatives; work on a draft for an upcoming blog, etc. After lunch I work on my story whether it’s planning scenes, researching or actual writing.

But my routine is not set in stone. Of course, there are days that I prefer to golf instead or go out for lunch or visit friends and family. And I don’t beat myself up if a day goes by and I haven’t written a thing. I know at some point I’ll make up for it and write for hours on end. Balance is the key.

There’s no specific time of day that works best for me to write. Once I get going, I don’t stop until it’s lunch time or supper or time to go to bed. Frequent breaks are important too. Sitting in front of a computer for hours can drain you. So, going for a short walk, having a drink on the deck or a brief conversation with my wife can recharge my batteries.

The bottom line is that I set a goal to write a book and I never give up on it!

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

The perfect actor to play Nenshi, the protagonist, is Mena Massoud. Mena was born in Egypt but grew up in Markham, Ontario, part of the Greater Toronto Area. You might remember Mena from starring in Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin.

Mena is a seasoned actor. His knowledge of Egyptian history, culture, and the land, contribute well to the lead role in The Final Crossing, the movie, not to mention his Egyptian looks and physical presence.

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

Plan, plan, plan. Budget, budget, budget.

There are so many things that an author needs to consider once his book has been published. Perhaps the biggest is marketing since traditional publishers have off-loaded much of this activity to the author. Indie authors and self-published authors face the same burden. Learning as much as possible about how to market a book goes a long way. To get through the myriad of activities requires good planning. From creating an author platform to arranging a blog tour, every step must be planned in detail.

Related to this is budget. Some of the planned activities cost money. Working with an editor or hiring a web designer to create a website can be expensive. Some contests and awards have a cost for submission. Even buying books to sell at a book launch costs money. Oh yes, the launch has a cost too.

So, my advice is to budget for these well in advance of the book’s release and subsequent marketing. Plan your marketing activities so you don’t lose sight of what needs to be done. The plan and budget may not be perfect, but it will be better than flying from the seat of your pants.

List 5 things on your bucket list.

Five things? Just 5? OK.

  1. Visit Egypt. Almost made it until Covid hit. Now it’s back on the list.
  2. Go to Liverpool, England. Yes, I’m a Beatles fan.
  3. Learn to play the piano. I have one, just needs to be tuned.
  4. Re-read Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Yikes, lots of pages.
  5. Take my wife to Hawaii. I think this should be number 1.

In what way do you think that this current pandemic has changed the book & publishing industry?

Covid-19 has been devasting for everyone including businesses. The book and publishing industry was not impervious from the impact. Even with an increase of Internet sales of print books and e-books, the industry saw changes similar to what other businesses experienced. From limited in-store sales to virtual conferences to working from home, the industry was indirectly affected and even some brick-and-mortar bookstores closed their doors forever.

But I want to look at it in a positive way. The industry may come to realize that bookstores play an important role in a reader’s experience. Supporting local brick-and-mortar bookstores can help increase sales. Relying heavily on Internet sales is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Reading has become increasingly popular due to restrictions placed on recreational and entertainment activities. This bodes well for both publishers and authors. I see the book and publishing industry bounce back as it gives more attention and support to the much-needed brick-and-mortar bookstores.

THE UNVEILING OF POLLY FORREST

TourBanner_The Unveiling of Polly Forrest

The Unveiling of Polly Forrest
by Charlotte Whitney

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GENRE: Historical Mystery

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BLURB:

Rural Michigan, 1934.

During the throes of the Great Depression Polly marries for money. After her husband Sam dies in a bizarre farm accident, new bride Polly assumes she is set to pursue her dream of opening a hat-making business. Instead, she becomes the prime suspect in Sam’s murder. Secrets abound and even Polly’s family can’t figure out the truth.

3books copy

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EXCERPT

Sunday, August 19, 1934

Having no choice, I began climbing the exterior ladder that ran up the height of the silo. I got up five or six rungs before my fear of heights kicked in. My body started shaking and I willed myself not to look down. I kept putting one foot above the other. The towel around my wounded right arm had loosened and I let it fall to the ground, not wanting to remove my other hand from the rung.

Every step required my mind telling my arms and legs to move. My hands were jittering and I could hardly grip the ladder. You can do this, I told myself. You can. You can.

“Keep going.” His voice was piercing.

I willed my feet to move up the ladder. My body convulsed. I was about five rungs from the top when I stopped. Reason told me I needed to quit shaking and get my body under control or I would fall. Then it occurred to me. He’s not going to push me into the soft silage. He’s going to knock me off the top of the ladder down to the hard earth.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Charlotte Whitney is the author of historical fiction set during the Great Depression in the rural Midwest. Her most recent work, The Unveiling of Polly Forrest, a stand-alone historical mystery follows her groundbreaking novel, Threads A Depression-Era Tale, which was met with both critical acclaim and commercial success. She received a master’s degree in English at the University of Michigan, and after a short stint of teaching at two community colleges, worked at the University of Michigan where she was an associate director of the Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts. Currently living in Arizona with her husband and two dogs she enjoys hiking, bicycling, swimming, and yoga.

Author’s website: https://www.charlottewhitney.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Charlotte-Whitney/e/B001KCTFWQ

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/CWhitneyAuthor

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-whitney-8235463a/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CWhitneyAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlottewhitney65/

BUY LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Unveiling-Polly-Forrest-Mystery/dp/B09SNSGWJ3/

Dried flower on concrete stone surface background. Flat lay, top

Dried flower on concrete stone surface background. Flat lay, top view, minimal style concept. Greeting card or web banner mockup for wedding anniversary, birthday, womens day.

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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 …

Q: Tell us about your latest work.
A: Recently released, The Unveiling of Polly Forrest is a historical mystery set in rural Michigan. During the throes of the Great Depression Polly marries for money. After her husband Sam dies in a bizarre farm accident, new bride Polly assumes she is set to pursue her dream of opening a hat-making business. Instead, she becomes the prime suspect in Sam’s murder. Secrets abound and even Polly’s family can’t figure out the truth. As the story unravels, exposing sibling rivalry, neighborhood busybodies, and a sinister crime ring, the reader also sees the real Polly Forrest being unveiled.

Q: If you could be any character, from any literary work, who would you choose to be?
A: Oh, there are quite a few. I’d love to be the second Mrs. DeWinter, the narrator in Rebecca because she would get to start out anew with a handsome husband who loves her, in a setting far away from Mandalay and far-removed from the memory of her husband’s first wife, the conniving Rebecca. It would be an idyllic and charmed life, and I would be more assertive and a bit more circumspect after having dealt with the ugly, vile Mrs. Danvers. I’d also like to be Jo from Little Women, Hermione from Harry Potter, Katniss from the Hunger Games, and Claire Fraser from the Outlander series.

Q: What are four things you can’t live without.
A: Home-brewed ice tea; my electronic devices including my iPad and iPhone, and Apple watch; yoga classes; and indoor plumbing.

Q: What is your favorite television show?
A: Downtown Abby and Bridgerton for sure. But I watch lots of Netflix series and enjoy dramas such as Ozark, Call the Midwife, and every new season of Grey’s Anatomy.

BLOOD OF AZURE SERIES

TourBanner-Blood-of-Azure-Book-animated

Blood of Azure Series
by Jonathan J. Michael

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GENRE: Epic Fantasy

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BLURBS:

BLURB: BLOOD OF AZURE SERIES

Four races with powers dictated by the seasons seek balance and prosperity. However, life instinctively primes itself for survival, and when one race commands the touch of death, all others fall in line. Tyranny plagues Azure as an immortal ruler governs the knowledge of the seasons and those wielding its power.

Four young protagonists, Stone, Jaymes, Goose, and Astor, each navigate their way to escape his shadow and reclaim their freedom. Simple ambitions for young souls. But little did they know, they would uncover the secrets the realm is built upon, and the unique talents they each carry. Their ignorance allows the knowledge of the seasons to escape into the world around them little by little, and with it, a power loosing anarchy upon the realm. A power most aren’t worthy of wielding. It is up to Stone and his companions to tame that power and reclaim the balance.

Four seasons to balance the land. Four sages to balance the life.

Cover_Book One Season of Sacrifice

BLURB: SEASON OF SACRIFICE, BOOK 1

Courage is for the bold. It is not for Stone McLarin. He’s been in hiding for four seasons after being orphaned by the Taoiseach. He doesn’t care for the heroic antics of avenging his parent’s death or securing his freedom. He only desires one thing—to protect his sister’s life.

This proves challenging when his sister, Jaymes, possesses a rivaling power of decay to that of the tyrant ruler’s. She’s a threat to his dominance, and there will be no escaping his shadow.

When the Taoiseach manipulates his way into Jaymes’s life and steals her away, Stone has no choice but to follow. He must venture into the heart of the tyrant’s domain and figure out how to penetrate the impenetrable. And if he succeeds there, he will have to slay the most powerful man in Azure.

In a world ruled by decay, what chance does life stand?

Season of Sacrifice is part one of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy full of grim encounters, heroic adventures, unique magic, and a captivating world to explore.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.

Book Two Season of Suffering

BLURB: SEASON OF SUFFERING, BOOK 2

A villain in his own mind, Stone McLarin is labeled the hero for murdering a man.

Not only is Stone weighted down as a hero, but he’s idolized by the dominant religion, and he’s the sole protector of the knowledge of the ages. The pressure of the entire realm is on his shoulders.

Carib Reign, a shapeshifter building an army of immortals, plans to purge the Crimson Capital to find this hidden knowledge. His motive, to give the people of Azure the freedom they deserve.

With many adventures along the way, Stone will lead the charge to defend the Crimson Capital against the Immortal Army. Should he fail, anarchy is inevitable. Death for all Azure, a possibility.

Where there is life, death anticipates. But what if death is abandoned? Life will rebel.

Season of Suffering is part two of the Blood of Azure series—an epic fantasy with both light and dark hearts. You’ll experience many fantasy tropes, clashing swords, unique magic, fantastical beasts, and a wide range of Azure’s scenic terrain.

Author’s Note: Contains explicit language and some graphic descriptions.

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EXCERPT

EXCERPT I: SEASON OF SACRIFICE – GOOSE

My heart beats heavier. I inhale and, with the back of my hand, brush a drop of sweat that has found its way down my forehead. I know what these tracks be-long to. But why now? Am I projecting my ambitions—to slay a Creature of the Night? I grab a handful of Everweed from the ground and reluctantly head in the direction of the trampled vegetation.

My experience with these beasts is nonexistent, but then again, there isn’t another who can claim otherwise. They’re the type of animal man stays far away from, which was the primary reason for choosing this location as a refuge. We chose to risk being mauled by the Creatures of the Night over the public execution we would have inevitably encountered by hiding in a small village. Some would consider us the biggest halfwits in all of Vedora, all of Azure even, for making the decision we made, but I know Harris Martelli personally, and the fact he is capable of persuading a strong-willed and morally sound man like my father to do what he did is far more threatening than any beast living in the wood.

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Author Pic

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jonathan J Michael was born and raised in the greater Seattle area in the scenic state of Washington. Jonathan is an advocate of science, nature, and exploration, which has a heavy influence in his debut series, Blood of Azure.

When I drive down the freeway, I often want to veer onto the backroads and head for the mountains. When I’m at an evening gathering, I’m eager to step outside and gaze at the stars. When I’m on a ferry, I’m at the guardrail staring into the depths wondering what kind of leviathans lurk below. I’m an explorer, and since I’m not on the next Crew Dragon headed for the ISS, fantasy novels let me have what I seek. I write to explore a world of wonder.
~ Jonathan

SOCIAL LINKS
Website: https://jonathanjmichael.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.j.michael.author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jonathan_j_michael/

BUY LINKS
Season of Sacrifice – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08T1XV54W
Season of Suffering – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09NSM62N8

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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 …

Any weird things you do when you’re alone?

I do weird things whether I’m alone or not. Weird is the new black. You ain’t cool unless you’re weird. Honestly, talking to myself is probably the weirdest thing. I’ll whine to myself. I’ll praise myself. I’ll talk in weird voices and start making up little jingles. But I only do this when I’m alone. Maybe when my kids are around too. But my intention is to rub off on them, so they have awesome weirdness, too.

What is your favorite quote and why?

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” ~Plato

I’m the silent type (except when I’m alone and talking to myself). I think this resonates with me because, when I was younger, I always wondered why some people were so talkative and had so much to say. Those who were louder seemed to be more important, and it made me feel insecure and inferior. And not that I believe every talkative person is a fool, but it gave me clarity that I don’t have to be talkative to be useful. Then, I learned what an introvert is, and that there are so many others like me. This quote has stuck with me as a reminder that I don’t have to be vocal to be useful.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Brent Weeks. Brandon Sanderson a close second.

Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy is what got me started in writing. As I was reading about Durzo Blint, a callous assassin, and his apprentice, Kylar Stern, I thought, I can do this. I want to do this. And my world building began. I was also reading Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy at the time. Another great series that inspired me because of the magic system involved. The concept of metallurgy and how different types of minerals interact with the body differently blew my mind. Both are incredible series and worthy of picking up if you haven’t already.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?

My answer might change depending on the year you ask me, but as of right now, I’m focused on the character arcs. The world building is exciting, and it’s why I started this journey, but the world is just a backdrop to what really matters—the characters. Figuring out what their fears are, their flaws, their passions, is all so important. It must be relatable and delivered in a fashion that allows a reader to connect and wonder what will happen next. I’m far from excelling at this, but I do treat it as a top priority and know I will create a self-proclaimed masterpiece someday.

Where did you get the idea for this book?

I knew it needed to be based in a fictional world with a magic system. That’s what I enjoyed reading, and what I wanted to write. From there, I allowed nature and science to inspire me. I took to the seasons. I live in the Pacific Northwest (the Inland Northwest to be specific) where we get to experience four identifiable seasons, and this is what inspired the magic system. The changing seasons can be beautiful and harsh. And they bring a balance to our world. Life doesn’t exist without them. We are interconnected. And my magic system was born.

Anything quantum physics related is also a huge inspiration. I don’t write sci-fi because my brain doesn’t quite wrap around the ideas, but it fills me with wonder. And I try to incorporate that wonder into the worlds I create. For example, gravity can differ from world to world. Time can differ depending on the pull of gravity. Subatomic particles can be entangled with one another. And all of this, in some fashion, can help set the physics and rules of a new world. This aspect is primarily behind the scenes and unwritten.

After the physical world was created (and constantly evolving as I came up with new ideas) I had to create the history and the culture. Being that I wanted to stick to a more balanced theme, I wanted to incorporate a collage of cultures. Admittedly, I’m not worldly, so I did my best by using hierarchal terms from several cultures, the Taoiseach being at the top (pronounced tay-shuh).

Regarding the plot and characters, I also wanted to maintain balance. Because what is light without dark? What is good without evil? So, I knew I must have heroes and anti-heroes. I knew I must have science and faith. I knew I must have extremes in all directions to express the diversity of the world.

Aside from that, the rest evolved as I began writing.

ANDY GETS ANGRY

TourBanner_Andy Gets Angry NBTM

Andy Gets Angry
Book One in the ‘Emotions and Me’ series
by Mike J. Masse
Illustrated by Emily Corbett

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GENRE: Children’s, (picture book) Contemporary

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BLURB:

Children can develop the ability to respond to their emotions in a healthy way through the practice of mindfulness. Andy Gets Angry is a great introduction for children to learn a fun and simple breath technique to respond to their emotions. The beautifully hand-painted illustrations provide the perfect landscape to tell the story of Andy and his journey in learning the wonderful skill of mindfulness. Share the book with your loved ones, and help us all plant the seed to be present!

BookCover_AndyGetsAngry

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EXCERPT

Andy has a brother, Bobby. Bobby can be pretty silly.

Andy also has a sister, Sierra, who sings all the time.

Andy loves watching funny videos, he enjoys playing some sports and he loves video games.

But sometimes, Andy gets angry!

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Author Mike J Masse

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mike Masse is a mindfulness consultant and public speaker who specializes in mindfulness-based stress reduction. For over a decade, he has been teaching adults, youth, and children mindfulness skills to help reduce their levels of stress and anxiety. A highly sought-after trainer, Mike facilitates workshops with educators, first responders, health care providers, and others who work in high-stress environments. Mike lives in Stratford, Ontario with his two sons and his wife.

CONNECT WITH AUTHOR MIKE J MASSE

WEBSITE: https://mindfulmike.ca/

FACEBOOK: mindfulmike.ca

INSTAGRAM: @mindfulmasse

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON.COM
https://amazon.com/dp/0228859115

KINDLE
https://amazon.com/dp/B09FW5P83Y

BOOKSHOP
https://bookshop.org/books/andy-gets-angry/9780228859116

BARNES & NOBLE
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/andy-gets-angry-mike-masse/1140165071

BOOK DEPOSITORY
https://www.bookdepository.com/Andy-Gets-Angry-Mike-Masse/9780228859116

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Mike J Masse will be awarding $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Interview

Tell us about you as a person.
I am a father of 2 boys (Dexter and Beau) I have been with my wife ( Jenn) since we were 17, and I love Brazilian jiu jitsu. 

If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?  
Theo Von, he’s a comedian. I could  listen  to him all day, he would be the best at a dinner party. I just love to laugh, so I think that would be time well spent  

What’s the story behind your latest book?
I run my own business training all types of humans how to use mindfulness to work with their thoughts and emotions in a healthier way. I often work with students and I had the idea to write the book and show children how they can use mindfulness as a tool of response. 

What is your writing process?
I take a couple of hours a week  off from my business and I create ideas. My artist and illustrator (Emily) usually comes over for FMF (Fun Making Fridays). We explore options and ideas for the stories and how it can translate with her art.  We always have some good true crime or paranormal show playing in the back ground , I think we have watched 11 seasons of unsolved mysteries so far  lol 

If your book was to be turned into a movie, who would play the lead role(s) and why.
I’d love for my Son Beau to play Andy. Beau is the model for the paintings of Andy, and a lot of the story is based on my life experiences working with children and youth 

What advice do you have for other writers who want to get the word out about their latest book?
Connect with a community and share your ideas and concepts and connect with like minded humans 

List 5 things on your bucket list.

  1. Go to Japan
  2. Travel to Italy with my family
  3. Get my black belt in BJJ
  4. Go to New Zealand
  5. Be able to see my boys happy in their adult life

In what way do you think that this current pandemic has changed the book & publishing industry?
I think more people like myself had time to actually write books. I went from travelling daily to different cities to being at home 24/7 with my kids. I thought about doing my masters or starting these books I’ve had in my mind for a while. I decided to start the books and I know a TON of people that did the same. I’ve had a bunch DMs from people asking me about the book process, and asking for any tips. I think because of COVID we will see a ton of indie books popping up. 

Any final thoughts?
Be kind to yourself, fill your cup up, so you can help others xox 

SECRETS OF A RIVER SWIMMER – Book Tour

TourBanner_Secrets of a River Swimmer

Secrets of a River Swimmer
by S.S. Turner

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GENRE: Literary Fiction

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BLURB:

As Freddy gazes at the majestic river gushing past him in the depths of a Scottish winter, he’s ready to jump in and end his life. But what happens next is not what Freddy expects. From the moment he enters the river, Freddy starts a journey which is more beautiful, funny, and mysterious than he could have imagined. And through this journey Freddy’s story becomes interweaved with a cast of unforgettable characters who are equally lost and in search of answers. Eventually they all unite in their quest for an answer to the biggest question of them all: will the river take them where they want to go?

In the tradition of inspirational works of fiction like The Alchemist and Life of Pi, Secrets of a River Swimmer is at once a profound exploration into living with meaning and an affecting story of people on the cusp of change.

River Swimmer front cover

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EXCERPT

From Page 7

I dip my toe in.

It’s fucking freezing.

I sit and watch the majestically sinister Scottish river hurtle along below me. I’m not sure whether to be in awe or terrified, but that was always going to be the case today, my last day. The idea of jumping into the river reminds me of the feeling you experience when you arrive at the beach, and you’re thinking about jumping into the sea, but you know it’s going to cause you grievous bodily harm from your nether regions up. For some reason, your legs are the one part of your body which can handle intense cold without too much stress. But all body parts above your legs are a whole different story. My voice just rose an octave, and I’m not even talking.

So you sit and watch the sea while contemplating your next move, as if this thinking time will give you the required mental strength to leap into the cold blue water. However, this thinking time just gives the water an opportunity to look you in the eye with laughing menace, because the water knows the questions you are grappling with deep in your soul. The water understands it is strong and you are weak—the eternal power imbalance at play.

The waiting period only makes it worse, of course. All it does is allow you to hand more mental power over to the cold water than a short and simple jumping-in maneuver would have done. Why do we employ such counter-productive strategies in our lives?

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Author Image

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

S.S. Turner has been an avid reader, writer, and explorer of the natural world throughout his life which has been spent in England, Scotland and Australia. Just like Freddy in his first novel, Secrets of a River Swimmer, he worked in the global fund management sector for many years but realized it didn’t align with his values. In recent years, he’s been focused on inspiring positive change through his writing as well as trying not to laugh in unfortunate situations. He now lives in Australia with his wife, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and ten chickens.

https://www.thestoryplant.com/secrets-of-a-river-swimmer

Buy Links:
Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09JWTK3WN/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

B&N- https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-of-a-river-swimmer-s-s-turner/1139673873

AppleBooks- https://books.apple.com/us/book/secrets-of-a-river-swimmer/id1591209788

Indigo- https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/secrets-of-a-river-swimmer/9781611883213-item.html

Kobo- https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/secrets-of-a-river-swimmer

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

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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Author Interview

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

I’d apologize to the people in the front row at a school performance of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs when I was around eight years old. I was playing Speedy the Dwarf and my only job was to cycle across the stage when someone called out “Where’s Speedy going?” However, in a fatal misjudgment I cycled towards the front of the stage rather than across it. I launched off the front of the stage and landed on those poor front rowers in the audience. There was screams and confusion all around as they tried to figure out what on earth had happened. I was carted off along with a few of them for medical attention. Sorry guys, if you’re reading this. You can rest assured that was my last acting performance.

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

I’d keep a unicorn as a pet as my daughter is obsessed by them.

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

The beauty of literary fiction is we are all writing such vastly different stories. It’s not like the murder mystery genre which is far more standardized. Now I think about it, I can’t think of anyone who’s written a book remotely like Secrets of a River Swimmer. Looking forward, I imagine the key to writing unique stories is to make sure they’re coming from deep inside rather than from external influences.

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

The best piece of advice I’ve received is to start writing a novel with a question rather than an answer in mind.

The worst piece of advice I’ve received is that there’s a set formula you can follow to write a great novel.

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

The main character Freddy is largely based upon me and events in my own life.

VBT – THE ABDICATION

TourBanner_The Abdication

The Abdication
by Justin Newland

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GENRE: Supernatural Thriller

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BLURB:

The town of Unity sits perched on the edge of a yawning ravine where, long ago, a charisma of angels provided spiritual succour to a fledgeling human race. Then mankind was granted the gift of free will and had to find its own way, albeit with the guidance of the angels. The people’s first conscious act was to make an exodus from Unity – they built a rope bridge across the ravine and founded the town of Topeth. For a time, the union between the people of Topeth and the angels of Unity was one of mutual benefit. After that early spring advance, there had been a torrid decline in which mankind’s development resembled a crumpled, fading autumnal leaf.

Following the promptings of an inner voice, Tula, a young woman from the city, trudges into Topeth. Her quest is to abide with the angels and thereby discover the right and proper exercise of free will. To do that, she has to cross the bridge – and overcome her vertigo.
Topeth is in upheaval; the townsfolk blame the death of a child on dust from the nearby copper mines. The priests have convinced them that a horde of devils have thrown the angels out of Unity and now occupy the bridge, possessing anyone who trespasses on it. Then there’s the heinous Temple of Moloch!

The Abdication is the story of Tula’s endeavour to step upon the path of a destiny far greater than she could ever have imagined.

The Abdication

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EXCERPT

The Devils’ Bridge

A narrow path snaking down the steep slope linked the town to the bridge. Fearing the guards’ return, she hurried along the winding, uneven path. It was fine for mountain goats, but with her bad ankle and her walking stick, she was nowhere near as fleet of foot as they.

The bridge had a quietening effect, like a warm homecoming after a long absence. Ever since she had heard about the abandoned town of Unity, she had wanted to visit the place for herself. Within touching distance, she felt a keen sense of belonging, even though she had never been near it – until now.

A solitary wicker lantern sat in a cradle, shedding a pale light over a crescent-shaped area covered in flagstones that had been carved out of the side of the mountain. In the middle of it were the bridge pillars and a small wooden shack.

The bridge itself was a slender rope structure slung across the open chasm. Narrow matting formed the bridge deck wide enough for one person to cross. At least there were hand ropes. At the Topeth end, it was attached to two thick, green-coloured pillars. Fingers of mist rose out of the ravine, obscuring the Unity end of the bridge. The structure reminded her of a long, thin hammock tied between two pairs of massive tree trunks.

By the bridge entrance was a large sign:
‘THE DEVILS’ BRIDGE.
DO NOT CROSS.
IGNORE THIS WARNING AT YOUR PERIL.’

It was true. She had heard rumours about the bridge, about how predatory devils prowled the dip in the centre of the rope bridge. It was forbidden to cross it.

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Author Image (1)

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Justin Newland is an author of historical fantasy and secret history thrillers – that’s history with a supernatural twist. His stories feature known events and real people from history which are re-told and examined through the lens of the supernatural. He gives author talks and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio Bristol’s Thought for the Day. He lives with his partner in plain sight of the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England.

His Books

The Genes of Isis is a tale of love, destruction and ephemeral power set under the skies of Ancient Egypt. A re-telling of the Biblical story of the flood, it reveals the mystery of the genes of Isis – or genesis – of mankind. ISBN 9781789014860.

The novel is creative, sophisticated, and downright brilliant! I couldn’t ask more of an Egyptian-esque book!” – Lauren, Books Beyond the Story.

The Old Dragon’s Head is a historical fantasy and supernatural thriller set during the Ming Dynasty and played out in the shadows the Great Wall of China. It explores the secret history of the influences that shaped the beginnings of modern times. ISBN 9781789015829.

“The author is an excellent storyteller.” – British Fantasy Society.

Set during the Great Enlightenment, The Coronation reveals the secret history of the Industrial Revolution. ISBN 9781838591885.

“The novel explores the themes of belonging, outsiders… religion and war… filtered through the lens of the other-worldly.”A. Deane, Page Farer Book Blog.

His latest, The Abdication (July, 2021), is a suspense thriller, a journey of destiny, wisdom and self-discovery. ISBN 9781800463950.

“In Topeth, Tula confronts the truth, her faith in herself, faith in a higher purpose, and ultimately, what it means to abdicate that faith.” – V. Triola, Coast to Coast.

http://www.justinnewland.com/

https://www.facebook.com/justin.newland.author/

https://www.instagram.com/drjustinnewland/

Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Abdication-Justin-Newland/dp/1800463952

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RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

Justin Newland will be awarding a Paperback copy of the book (International giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a copy of the book – a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Q & A With ….

Tell us about you as a person.

I was born three days before the end of the year. That makes me a Capricorn. We’re a strange hybrid of half-fish, half-goat. I mean, who would want to be one of those? Capricorns don’t tend to get invited to parties because a. The hosts don’t know whether to feed us plankton or tufts of grass and b. We’re boring, practical people, plodders who just work, work, work. You could either end up with a nasty kettle of fish like Al Capone or Howard Shipman or, better still, a person with deep religious and spiritual views such as Martin Luther King or Jesus Christ. You’ll be relieved to hear I’m more inclined towards the religious/spiritual Capricorn spectrum.

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

He may not be alive today, but I’d like to go back in time, and into the mists of history to hang out with my famous person. I’d return to the First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the setting for my debut novel, The Genes of Isis.
I’d hang out with King Zoser. I’d ask him how was life in those long distant days, when there were Kings of Egypt, and not Pharaohs. I’d ask him about all the things that were formed in those days, that now govern our lives today.

What’s the story behind your latest book?

The Abdication is a departure from my normal genre. The previous three novels were all based in historical or semi-historical settings, but this wasn’t the case with The Abdication.
The premise of the novel is set out in the preface, which is as follows:
“When a man loses his way, he feels desperate.
When a nation abandons its purpose, it slides into anarchy.
When Homo sapiens shuns its nature as the wise, the kind and the humane, it can only be called… The Abdication.”
This tells the reader that the story is about free will, and about how Homo Sapiens Sapiens – that’s man the twice-wise – has employed that gift. Before free will, we were like animals, in that we had no voluntary choice. We could only do what we were pre-coded to do. With free will, we could and do code or program ourselves.
The novel tells the story of a young woman’s journey to explore whether or not we have abdicated from the right and proper use of free will.

What is your writing process?

When I am not writing, I contemplate a lot, to try to imagine the next scene, what the characters are saying, and where they are going with their lives. I keep a notebook with me. I’ve learnt my muse speaks clearest when I’m in the middle of something completely unrelated to writing.

The writing process seems to vary from book to book. My first novel took 6 years. As I learnt the art of writing and the craft of editing, and how to manage my work, the second, third and fourth novels took 1-2 years each. Yet my fifth novel, my Work In Progress, is taking longer than I expected, and I’m having to learn different ways to adapt to its demands.

It’s almost as if the muse, the inspiration, for each novel is different, and you have to entice, or persuade the muse to give of her secrets so that you can write the next chapter, the next scene, the next sentence, of the drama.

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

Tula – Zendaya.
Damien – Tom Hardy.
Sarah – Helena Bonham Carter.
Geb – Ralph Fiennes.
Enoch – Anthony Hopkins.

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

There are three ways to approach marketing your book.
One is to engage in in-person meetings. These include author talks (say at local libraries or associations), panels (at writers’ conferences), and book signings (in local bookshops).
The second is online marketing. This includes having an online presence such as a website, a twitter account, a Facebook author page, a LinkedIn site etc. It also includes promoting your books and writing through blog tours.
The third is an engagement with the media, such as local radio stations, internet radio stations, TV, as well as local newspapers, magazines, periodicals. Make contacts, meet people, engage with them. They are looking for stories to tell. You have a story to tell.

List 5 things on your bucket list.

I’m not a bucket list kind of person, so this one is difficult to answer. Having said that, I’ve plenty of things I want to do, but that doesn’t mean they are on a bucket list. I’ll do them anyway, come what may, so long as I can. One of them is to be the best writer I can be.

In what way do you think that this current pandemic has changed the book & publishing industry?

I think it’s a short-term blip. Sooner or later, the pandemic will be history, and the book industry will still be there, because people love stories, they always have and always will. If you’re a good story-teller, and can tell a story that catches the zeitgeist, the spirit of our times – then the readers will read it, and the book industry will be happy.

Any final thoughts?

Hang in there, because tomorrow’s another day. It might just hold the key to your future.

VBT – THE ORDER OF TIME SERIES

TourBnner_TheOrderOfTime-animated

The Order of Time Series
by Scott P. Southall

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GENRE: Middle Grade Fantasy (Mythology/Ancient History)

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BLURB:

About the Series

Picture two twelve-year-old fraternal twins who are like night and day. She is a smart and highly organised MMA fighter. He’s not a fighter, he’s a lover of history, art and Star Wars. Despite their differences they are one formidable team. Together Anastasia and Edward Upston travel through time and navigate ancient civilisations, angry gods and mythical monsters in their quest to protect the integrity of human history.

About The Order of Time

Anastasia and Edward Upston are eleven year old twins who are different in almost every way. Despite this they are inseparable and he best of friends. They tackle the highs and lows of sixth grade together whether they are fending off bullies at the elite Blake Academy or examining rare antiquities at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Then: life gets complicated.

They discover that their friend and mentor, Dr. Gregorian, is part of a secret society called the Order of Time. It turns out that time is not fixed, it’s a fluid continuum where changes to the past can create ripples all the way through to the present. It unwittingly falls to the twins to travel back through time to ancient Egypt where they must overcome deadly assassins, evil high priests and vengeful gods in order to prevent disaster. Together Anastasia and Edward must navigate all obstacles to preserve the past and find their way back home.

About The Order of Time and Odin’s Door The orange light bathed the snow-covered fields as the fiery globe began to dip below the horizon. It was strange that something so beautiful could signal the arrival of something so evil. One thing twelve-year-old twins Anastasia and Edward Upston knew for sure was that when mortals were caught between two bickering gods nothing good would come of it. Surviving the Viking Age may be the hardest thing they ever do, if they can…

BookCover_Order of Time_ book 1

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EXCERPT

Excerpt From The Order of Time

They started to leave when the room suddenly lit up with a strange purple light coming from under a closet door.

“Why is the closet glowing?” asked Edward, his voice trailing up an octave. “Maybe we should get out of here.”

“What if Dr. G’s in there? You know he always locks his door, but it was open tonight. Maybe he’s still here. He might need our help,” Anastasia said emphatically.

The light was getting brighter by the second. Now Edward could also hear a low humming noise.

“Stop being crazy, Anastasia! This is the part in the movies where you yell at the screen for the characters not to open the door. We are not going to open that door.”

“I’m not being crazy. If Dr. G is in there and needs help, we’ll never forgive ourselves.”

Edward looked at her pleadingly, but she wasn’t giving in. His shoulders slumped in defeat. Oh god, please don’t let there be a monster or anything really scary in there. Anastasia dragged him over to the closet door. The light pouring out around the cracks was incredibly bright and the humming was getting louder. She gripped the large, brass doorknob, took a breath, and opened the door.

BookCover_Order of Time and Odins Door _book 2

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Scott is an American author and banking executive who lives in Sydney, Australia. He grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and attended Georgetown University. While he loves his job as a global banker, his true passion is making up stories with his children. His debut novel, The Order of Time, reached #1 in its category on Amazon and was the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Gold Medal Winner in the Children’s – Mythology/Fairy Tale genre.

author image

https://www.scottpsouthall.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/scott-southall-6bab5a4/
https://www.instagram.com/scottsouthallauthor/
https://www.facebook.com/scott.southallauthor
https://twitter.com/SSouthallAuthor

The book is on sale for $0.99 during the tour.

https://www.amazon.com/Order-Time-Scott-P-Southall-ebook/dp/B07Z3XWJQ9
https://bookawards.com/book-award/the-order-of-time
https://readersfavorite.com/2021-award-contest-winners.htm#the-order-of-time

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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

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

Author Interview …

Q: What is something you’ve lied about?
A: When I was five I lied about my age so that I could play on my local neighborhood soccer team. I had been watching my older brother play for a few years and I was desperate to play. The rules were that you had to be six to be eligible to play and I missed the cutoff by a month or two. In my mind the age restriction was the height of injustice and oppression. So, I told a big fat lie on the registration form. I was definitely six! Luckily registrations for the Thunder Hill soccer team weren’tchecked by FIFA and I wasn’t barred from the game for life.

Q: Who is the last person you hugged?
A: I hugged my six year-old daughter when she woke up this morning. She is a big-time cuddler which I love. It could have been because she loves me. It also could have been because it was cold outside this morning and I am always warm. Either way I will take it while it lasts. I’m not that picky.

Q: What are you reading now?
A: I’m reading Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi and the Golden Son by Pierce Brown. Aru Shah has been a lot of fun. It’s taking me way past my paltry knowledge of Hindu Myths that I learned in my college Hinduism class. Roshani Chokshi is also very funny. I really enjoyed the first book in the Red Rising Saga so Golden Son is one that I am looking forward to getting into.

Q: How do you come up with the titles to your books?
A: It’s not scientific for me. Naming a book is all about feel. I knew that The Order of Time was the title for my fist book as soon as I named Dr. G’s secret society. I loved how it was both a cool name for a mysterious order and how it reflected the concept of the integrity of human history. I was slightly stressed when I discovered that Physicist Carlo Rovelli had published his book of the same title about ten months before mine. Did I need to change titles? In the end, I decided that we had drastically different target audiences so it was going to be okay.

As for the second book, I had to search a little more. The working title started as The Test of Time. About half way through writing I decided that it just didn’t work me. I had half a dozen different titles that I kept trying out as I saved my working drafts. I eventually settled on The Order of Time and Odin’s Door. It establishes the book’s connection to the series and will hopefully be intriguing enough to draw new readers in.

Q: Share your dream cast for your book.
A: I’m going to skip the twins and the other kids as I imagine them as undiscovered actors. However, I will give the rest of the characters a go as they say in Australia.
Dr. Alfred Gregorian – Robert Redford
Soren Magnusson — Alexander Ludwig
Erik the Red – Kit Harrington
Sir Archibald Davenport – Michael Caine
Raphael Augustino – Al Pacino
Florance – Meryl Streep
Lucia – Courtney Eaton

VBT – THE SHOE DIARIES

TourBanner_The Shoe Diaries

The Shoe Diaries
by Darby Baham

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GENRE: Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

It’s never too late to put your best foot forward

From the outside, Reagan “Rae” Doucet has it all: a coveted career in Washington, DC, a tight circle of friends and a shoe closet to die for. When one of her crew falls ill, however, Rae is done playing it safe. The talented but unfulfilled writer makes a “risk list” to revamp her life. But forgiving her ex, Jake Saunders, might be one risk too many…

From Harlequin Special Edition: Believe in love. Overcome obstacles. Find happiness.

The Friendship Chronicles/Book 1: The Shoe Diaries

“Reminiscent of Sex and the City and the Shopaholic series in the best possible way. Her stories are a lot of fun and yet she still tugs at your heartstrings.”–Gail Chasan, Special Edition Editor

BookCover_The Shoe Diaries

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EXCERPT

Romance

February 13, 2016

“With this ring, I thee wed, and with it, I bestow upon thee the treasures of my mind, heart and hands…”

Staring at my friends from my seat, I noticed more than just their words as they recited their vows. I saw their hands clasped together throughout the ceremony, and the smiles they wore even through their tears; the way they focused on each other like no one else was present even while a hundred and fifty of us stared at them with glee. But most important, I saw the love that was undeniable between the two of them. Strange, but I was all at once happy and sad, amazed and hurt. In them I saw hope for a future. Here were two people who’d found love and decided that nothing else was more important than their union. Yet, standing less than two feet away from them, I also saw the man I’d hoped would be my future—and it hurt me to my core to know that we would never have this same moment.

Every few minutes I caught myself peeking over at him during the ceremony, hoping he would turn to me, and we would have some kind of knowing thought between us. That we would have a brief second where no words were necessary, and through our eyes, we’d say, “I know it didn’t work for us, but I still love you.” I craved that moment more than anything I’d ever wanted before, wishing with all my might he would just look over. Just glance at me…and smile.

That look never happened.

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Author Pic

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Darby Baham (she/her) is a debut author with Harlequin Special Edition and a New Yorker of five years who sometimes desperately misses the sprawling shoe closet she had while living in Maryland. She’s had personal blog posts appear in The Washington Post’s relationship vertical and has worked in the communications industry for more than two decades. The New Orleans, LA native is also a lover of big laughs and books that swallow you into their world. Her first book, The Shoe Diaries, debuts in 2022.

Author Website www.DarbyBaham.com

Linktree https://linktr.ee/darbybaham

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/darby.baham/
Twitter https://twitter.com/darbybaham
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/darbybaham/

Darby Baham’s Washington Post bylines

I had the perfect date dress. Why did it hang in my closet unworn for more than a year? — March 2016

When it comes to relationship advice, sometimes it’s best to ignore your friends — February 2016

I’m the oldest sister in my family and I’m single. And that’s okay. — March 2016

I was afraid to say ‘I love you.’ Here’s how I found the courage. –

NOTE: Here is the link to subscribe to receive books specifically from Harlequin Special Editionhttps://www.readerservice.com/content/series/harlequin-special-edition/

Darby’s book will be included in the January edition.

The Shoe Diaries Sales Links

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-shoe-diaries-darby-baham/1139911402

https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Shoe-Diaries/Darby-Baham/9781335408365?id=8355481149755

https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335408365_the-shoe-diaries.html

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781335408365

https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Shoe_Diaries.html?id=bU06EAAAQBAJ

https://www.target.com/p/the-shoe-diaries-friendship-chronicles-by-darby-baham-paperback/-/A-84253284

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

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

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

Q&A

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

I used to have at least 200 pairs of shoes. When I moved to NYC a little over 5 years ago, I had to downsize, so I’m probably down to about 75, give or take a few.

Did you ever have to part with a pair of shoes you loved? And if so why? (this question is not so about you throwing away shoes but also about you having to leave a place bc you loved a pair of shoes but you couldn’t get them for some reason etc.)

I can’t think of a time as an adult when I saw a pair of shoes I really loved and I didn’t ultimately get them. Maybe that’s a problem! I will say that the incident that Reagan’s friend remind her about, when she lost a shoe after making out with a guy who performed oral sex with her for hours, that was absolutely inspired by a similar incident that happened to me. So that was certainly a time when I had to part with a pair of shoes I loved.

Favorite pair of shoes?

Today, it’s my maroon SJP heels that I bought for myself when I signed my deal with Harlequin. Tomorrow, it may be the next pair I obsess over before purchasing.

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