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Three Unfiltered Thoughts for a Tough Day

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

A long-time fan of bestselling authors and coaches Marc and Angel Chernoff, I look forward to reading their emails and blog posts. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Sometimes I catch myself staring at people – studying their mannerisms and expressions. I wonder what their story is. What are they searching for? What makes their heart beat with happiness, with sorrow, with fear, with longing?

And then I ask myself, “What words might I write to inspire them, and to remind them that, even on the toughest of days, our hearts all beat for the same things?”

So today I figured I’d share a few of these unfiltered words with you…

1. Too often we work hard to disown the parts of our lives that were painful, difficult, or sad. But just as we can’t rip chapters out of a book and expect the story to still make sense, we can’t rip past chapters out of our lives and expect our lives to still make sense. Keep every chapter of your life intact, and keep on turning the pages. Sooner or later, you’ll get to a page that brings it all together and you’ll suddenly understand why every page and chapter before it was needed.

2. In those frustrating moments when you find yourself standing face to face with an issue you battled before – one bearing a lesson you were sure you had already learned – remember, repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves, ask the wind. Repetition is sometimes required to evolve and grow.

3. As you live and experience things, you must recognize what works and what doesn’t, what belongs and what doesn’t, and then let things go when you know you should. Not out of pride, inability, or arrogance, but simply because not everything is supposed to fit into your life. Close the door, change the record, clean the house, get rid of the dust. Stop being who you were so you can become who you are…

Allow yourself to see something new, and discover something new.

Allow yourself to take up a lot of positive space in your own life.

Allow yourself to think better today…

Note: I highly recommend subscribing to Marc & Angel’s website.

Blurb Blitz: The Seafarer’s Bride

I’m happy to welcome award-winning Wild Rose Press author Laura Strickland. Today, Laura shares her new release, The Seafarer’s Bride.

Blurb

A year ago, Magnus Tolljursson helped repel a treacherous attack from his father’s enemies, and discovered he carries the berserker’s seed of madness. Now he must sail to the settlement from whence those attackers came, and fulfill a promise to a friend. He doesn’t know what he’ll find in Husavik and never suspects he may lose his heart.

In her father’s absence, Embra Fritisson has been engaged in a desperate battle to keep leadership of the settlement. When Magnus arrives saying her father is dead, she fears her unstable family will splinter into factions and destroy one another. She must retain control, but how can she hope to keep her head while falling in love with the enemy?

Excerpt

The walk to the great hall displayed Husavik’s splendor in full. The rain had cleared and new light slid in from the east—the direction of home—lighting the fine buildings. Such wealth displayed here! They knew nothing like it in Sorvagur.

As he went, he tried to calculate the number of raids it might have taken to amass such a fortune. The voyages launched. The lives spent.

Fadir traded. Their settlement had to, if they wanted to survive. Magnus had accompanied him on voyages and, ja, loved it. And things had become sticky a few times when deals had gone bad. But Fadir was an honest man.

Magnus feared he would have to employ a measure of deception here, if he wished to accomplish his aim.

He paused before the great hall. Last night, Mistress Embra had sent a messenger—an older servant—bidding him to meet her here early.

Well, early it was and—

The door swung open before him. “Come in.”

Not the servant but the lady herself.

Tall she was, this daughter of Friti Gunnarsson, though she might only reach Magnus’s ear. He outstripped his own father in height. This morning she wore her dull-gold hair only half braided with the rest of it spilling all the way down to her—well. As Magnus saw when she turned to lead him inside, she had a very nice bottom indeed.

Suddenly a vision flashed upon him—that of her standing naked before him, wrapped in naught but that curtain of hair.

By Odin’s eye, he dared not entertain such thoughts. Not now.

“I thought it best we meet early, Master Magnus, before any others of my siblings are astir. None of them tends to leave his or her bed early.”

“Ah.”

“And I wished the two of us to speak together as plainly as possible.”

She turned to face him. She wore a simple woolen dress like Modir usually wore, pale green with a white overdress. The fabric clung to her long limbs and emphasized her narrow waist. And a pair of breasts that—nei, they were not lush and heavy, like her sister Vanja’s. but ja, they would make two generous hands full.

He had to make sure this woman did not prove a distraction.

And yet—as she stood there facing him, did she not eye him with similar interest? With speculation? Ja, sure her gaze lingered on his shoulders and at other, more intimate places.

Author Bio and Links

Multi award-winning author Laura Strickland delights in time traveling to the past and searching out settings for her books, be they Historical Romance, Steampunk or something in between. Her first Scottish Historical hero, Devil Black, battled his way onto the publishing scene in 2013, and the author never looked back. Nor has she tapped the limits of her imagination. Venturing beyond Historical and Contemporary Romance, she created a new world with her ground-breaking Buffalo Steampunk Adventure series set in her native city, in Western New York. Married and the parent of one grown daughter, Laura has also been privileged to mother a number of very special rescue dogs, the latest being a little boy called Tinker, and is intensely interested in animal welfare. Her love of dogs, and her lifelong interest in Celtic history, magic and music, are all reflected in her writing. Laura’s mantra is Lore, Legend, Love, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Website | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Book Bub

Giveaway

Laura Strickland will be awarding an ebook of the first book in the Viking Brides Series, The Berserker’s Bride, to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Laura on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Interview with Natalie Cross

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Natalie Cross. Today, Natalie shares interesting details about her creative journey and her new release,
Ballroom Blitz.

Interview

If You Had a Superpower, What Would It Be?

This is always so tricky to answer. I vacillate between invisibility (but not the creepy kind of invisibility, the cool kind where I could bust some sort of spy ring) and flying. Obviously, invisibility would have its drawbacks. I hope it wouldn’t become permanent, like in a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode. But it would be interesting to hear what other people are thinking and saying. Clearly, I am an eavesdropper at restaurants.

Flight would simply be fun. Except for avoiding the flight paths of other birds and insects aiming for your mouth. I imagine that would take some getting used to.

Describe your writing space.

In my house, where I live in serfdom under four and eight-year-old tyrants, I do not have a defined writing area. Typically I write at our kitchen island in the wee hours before the empresses wake and demand sliced bananas and/or bowls of sprinkles. I have the microwave to my left, the sink before me, and a pile of craft scraps or dried-out spikes of play dough on my right-hand side. The main benefit of writing in the kitchen is that I can drink as much tea as I want.

What was your inspiration for this book?

During year approximately 222,000 of the pandemic, I really needed an outlet. On a normal day, I balance a full-time demanding day job, helping my parents, and being a mom to my two young kids. When lockdown happened, I still had to go out to my day job as a first responder.

I needed a break. At night, after everyone had fallen asleep (finally, after much coaxing), I spent hours watching ballroom dance videos on YouTube. Before the pandemic, I had taken ballroom dance lessons on and off for almost twenty years. Now, without even the potential for lessons, at least I had YouTube.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, Anita Goodman, the main character in Ballroom Blitz, started talking to me. Not literally, though in quarantimes, things like that were entirely possible. But Anita kept appearing during quiet moments in my day. I dreamed about her and Patrick dancing, and choreographed parts of their story before I ever wrote a word.

Around this time, too, I was having a difficult time finishing projects. Evidence of my failures surrounded me at home: a half-knitted scarf in a bag, a folded pile of sheets that had been sitting out for three months, cleaning the house.

So I decided I needed to finish something, and since Anita wouldn’t stop talking to me about how much she liked Patrick, but wasn’t sure he felt the same way, I figured she deserved a chance to find out.

Since then, I’ve finished eight other drafts, two of which are also published (a Ballroom Blitz prequel entitled Ballroom Prom, and a standalone novella, Ballroom Blind Date). More will be published next year once they’re edited to my satisfaction. That half-knitted scarf still mocks me, but hey, cable patterns are tricky.

What Is Your Favorite Quote?

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” It’s from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and though it is not an accurate Latin translation, I’ve always appreciated the sentiment.

Margaret Atwood herself has said that it was a joke in her Latin class. I took Latin in high school, but we were never quite so witty.

What are you working on next?

Thank you for asking! I am currently in the editing stages for Ballroom Fever, the sequel to Ballroom Blitz, which hopefully will be out in 2023. I am also editing a standalone novella for a clean sports romance anthology that will be released November 2023, as well as two other standalone romances that might come out next year if I get them in shape in time.

The best way to keep track of what’s coming up is to join my mailing list. It’s a fun place. I share pictures of my dog, great books, freebies, and other fun things.

Blurb

In the glamorous world of ballroom, love and dancing do not always mix.

Professional dancer Anita Goodman has learned that lesson the hard way. With her studio and her reputation on the line, she has to take a chance on the last person she ever wanted to partner with: her best friend.

Patrick O’Leary has loved Anita since high school, but he has languished in the Friend Zone for long enough. He will take this last chance to prove to her that love is greater than winning.

Neither of them realizes that conquering their rising attraction won’t be their biggest obstacle. Someone does not want them to be together, and will stop at nothing to get their way.

Love, dance, and danger. It’s a Ballroom Blitz.

Excerpt

The ballroom still thrummed with the clack of heels and the slide of suede, though its last inhabitants had vanished over an hour before. Applause and cheering from the final night party echoed across the hallway. The tables were strewn with hair pins, empty water bottles, and sweaty towels tossed with exhilaration before another heat. The perfume of sunless tanner and hairspray drifted toward the apex of the ballroom’s ceiling, and it almost seemed that a few notes of a Viennese waltz still clung to the utilitarian white hotel tablecloths.

Rapid footsteps broke the waiting silence. Stilettos from the click click click, glimmering with crystals, a few of which scattered from the shoes with a brackish clatter as the heels struck the parquet of the ballroom floor. Heavy breathing, panting. “No!” A stumble as one heel of the red satin crystal-encrusted stilettos snapped. Sobbing.

Then another pair of footsteps, flats, fashionable. Something hard, with an edge that might draw blood. These footsteps were measured. No panic. No anxiety. Calculating.

The sobs intensified. “Please, please, please, no, I didn’t do anythi—”

A gurgle, a grimace, a thud. The wash of silk from a bone-white evening gown susurrated along the cold parquet floor. The scent of copper flooded the air.

A grunt, a vicious exhale, an audible sneer.

Then the ballroom closed upon itself again. The tables, the cloths, the chandeliers, the lights. All waiting for its new secret to be discovered.

Author Bio and Links

Love is an adventure.

Natalie writes romances and cozy mysteries featuring women who want to be seen and the men and women who cannot look away from them.

Natalie lives in Los Angeles, where writing is an acceptable way to avoid sunburn. She is mom to two lovely young munchkins who despise brushing their hair and eat way too much cake. She is unapologetically terrible at taking selfies.

Ballroom Blitz playlist available at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7LHlIjrZEKsD1aDyJAxLAU

Instagram | Facebook | Newsletter Sign-Up | Universal Buy Link

Giveaway

Natalie Cross will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Natalie on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Fear of the Number 13

For centuries, the number 13 has been associated with bad luck, especially if it falls on a Friday. Here are ten interesting facts about the origins and events related to this sinister prime:

1. Fear of the number 13 even has a name. It’s called triskaidekaphobia. Specific fear of Friday the 13th is referred to as friggatriskaidekaphobia. People suffering from these irrational fears can get treatment at the Friggatriskaidekaphobia Treatment Center in Pocopson, Pennsylvania. Treatment includes clever games, costumed hosts, anti-superstition music, and free educational literature.

2. Our fear of the number can be traced back to a biblical claim that if thirteen people share a meal at the same table, one of the diners will die within the year. Famous example: Jesus shared a meal with twelve of his disciples at the Last Supper.

3. Many people have an aversion to the number 13, including famous horror writer Stephen King. In 1984, King admitted to stepping over the 13th stair, feeling uncomfortable watching channel 13, and refusing to pause on page 13 while reading books. He included pages with digits that added up to 13, like page 85. He admitted, “It’s neurotic, sure. But it’s also safer.”

4. Several serial killers have 13-letter names, including Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy, Jack the Ripper, and Albert DeSalvo. So does Adolfus Hitler, which was Adolf Hitler’s baptismal name.

5. In some Spanish-speaking countries, Tuesday the 13th is considered bad luck. Tuesday is feared because it is the day of the week associated with Mars, the Roman god of war. The movie Friday the 13th was translated into Martes Tres (Tuesday the 13th) for its global release.

6. Taylor Swift considers 13 to be her lucky number. She was born on the 13th and turned 13 on Friday the 13th. Her first album went gold in 13 weeks, and her first #1 song had a 13-second introduction. Each time Taylor has won an award, she has sat in either the 13th row, 13th seat, 13th section, or row M, which is the thirteenth letter.

7. The following celebrities were born on Friday the 13th: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Christopher Plummer, Kate Walsh, Frances Conroy, Steve Buscemi, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Born on an unlucky day hasn’t hampered their careers.

8. In 1882, Captain William Fowler founded the 13 Club of New York, a secret supper club that continued its meetings throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Its first meeting included 13 courses, was lit by 13 candles, and was attended by 13 people. Members performed unlucky feats such as passing under a ladder and tipping over salt containers on the table. Honorary members included Presidents Chester A Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, and Theodore Roosevelt.

9. An alleged occurrence…Mark Twain was once invited as the 13th guest at a dinner party. He went, despite a friend’s warning. Later, Twain reported, “It was bad luck. They only had food for 12.”

10. Motorcyclists gather each Friday the 13th in Port Dover, Ontario (Canada) for rallies that draw thousands of participants. Described as “the biggest single-day motorcycle event in the world,” its summer attendance exceeds 100,000 bikers. This tradition dates back to 1981.

Good Things Happen on Purpose

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

Here’s a thought-provoking reflection from international speaker and bestselling author Joyce Meyer:

Tragedy that has caused pain and suffering is often attributed to an accident, such as an automobile accident, a fall, a broken limb, or some other random situation. But I have never heard anyone say of a good dead, “It was an accident.” Good things happen on purpose. Someone decides to be good to someone else, and then they take corresponding action.

Most people in the world are starved for love. They need affirmation, kindness, compliments—anything that helps them feel valued. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we have the ability to do that for other people, and I think it should be one of our great purposes in life. It should be something we live to do, rather than something we do on rare occasions.

We can live on purpose. Loving God and loving people is our highest purpose in life. When you spend time with people, ask yourself how you could compliment them and then do it. When you are shopping or eating out, tell the people serving you that they did a good job. And always remember that you can never say thank you too often.

Source: Strength for Each Day by Joyce Meyer

Interview with Linnea Tanner

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Linnea Tanner. Today, Linnea shares her creative journey and new release, Skull’s Vengenance.

Interview

What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?

I went on a riverboard cruise on the Mississippi River with my elderly mother and sister. My mother tired easily so we arranged a wheelchair for her to get around. She knew I had my eye on a white casual jacket as we browsed the gift shop on board. After lunch, she would rest in her room while my sister and I did other activities. One afternoon, I was alarmed not to find my mother in the cabin when I returned. After searching about thirty minutes, I finally found her with a big smile as she shuffled down the corridor, carrying the white jacket in her arms.

Two months later, she had a stroke and could not travel afterward. I’ll always remember my last venture with my mother and the big smile on her face when she surprised me with her gift.

How would you spend ten thousand bucks?

I would like to travel overseas to do more research, which I’ve not done since the pandemic.

Where do you get your best ideas?

Sometimes, when I’m driving by myself, ideas come into my head about how to resolve an issue in a plot or to devise a twist. In addition, I write my first draft by hand because creative ideas flow more easily and I don’t have the temptation to edit.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

Main characters in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series have lived in my head since childhood and evolved during my adulthood as I faced challenges in my life. A warrior queen, Catrin was inspired by the Amazons in Greek mythology and actual Celtic warrior queens. Her love interest, Marcellus, is inspired by the legacy of Mark Antony and Cleopatra but with a Celtic twist.

However, most of my secondary characters come to life as I incorporate them in the plot. They insist that I tell their stories as I develop the plot. For example, I introduced Marrock’s deadliest assassin, Gawain, in Skull’s Vengeance as one of the formidable enemies whom Catrin has to overcome. As I wrote scenes with Gawain, he kept insisting that he had scruples and questioned orders to kill defenseless victims. I began to embrace this smart-mouthed, defiant character and thus developed a bigger role for him in the series. He will continue into the next book, Dragon’s Anvil, and will have a major role in a turning point for Catrin. I’ve considered doing a separate series that provides Gawain’s back story and the various missions he has undertaken as an assassin.

Ultimately, readers must first engage with the characters before they are willing to invest the time to read their stories.

What does your main character do that makes him/her special.

At the beginning of the Curse of Clansmen and King series, Catrin is the youngest teen daughter of King Amren of the Cantiaci tribal kingdom in Britannia. Her father has arranged for her to be trained as a warrior. Her greatest strength is that she is loyal to those she loves. However, she is torn between her duty to her people and her growing love for a Roman hostage, Marcellus, under her charge. Though Catrin appears vulnerable and blinded by love for Marcellus, she is nonetheless resilient and will fight with bravery without hesitation to protect her kingdom.

Catrin has learned a dark secret about herself that could lead to her people’s success or their downfall. The former queen cast a curse on King Amren at the time of her execution for treason. She foretold King Amren’s future queen would beget a daughter who would rise as a raven and join her son, Marrock, to overthrow him. To her dismay, Catrin learns she is the raven foretold in the curse. She has an unnatural connection to a raven spirit that has shown her how to change the future by reweaving life threads on the Wall of Lives. But she can’t predict how changing the future will impact other events. The raven guide has also shown Catrin how to shapeshift and summon dark forces of nature, but she can’t always control her magical abilities.

At the beginning of Skull’s Vengeance, Catrin has survived slavery in the Roman legion and in the gladiatorial games in Gaul (modern-day France). Freed by Marcellus, Catrin is determined to return home in Britannia and strike vengeance again her evil half-brother, Marrock, who mercilessly beheaded her parents and eldest sister.

Blurb

A Celtic warrior queen must do the impossible—defeat her sorcerer half-brother and claim the throne. But to do so, she must learn how to strike vengeance from her father’s skull.

AS FORETOLD BY HER FATHER in a vision, Catrin has become a battle-hardened warrior after her trials in the Roman legion and gladiatorial games. She must return to Britannia and pull the cursed dagger out of the serpent’s stone to fulfill her destiny. Only then can she unleash the vengeance from the ancient druids to destroy her evil half-brother, the powerful sorcerer, King Marrock. Always two steps ahead and seemingly unstoppable, Marrock can summon destructive natural forces to crush any rival trying to stop him and has charged his deadliest assassin to bring back Catrin’s head.

To have the slightest chance of beating Marrock, Catrin must forge alliances with former enemies, but she needs someone she can trust. Her only option is to seek military aid from Marcellus—her secret Roman husband. They rekindle their burning passion, but he is playing a deadly game in the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty to support Catrin’s cause.

Ultimately, in order to defeat Marrock, Catrin must align herself with a dark druidess and learn how to summon forces from skulls to exact vengeance. But can she and Marcellus outmaneuver political enemies from Rome and Britannia in their quest to vanquish Marrock?

Excerpt

Chapter 1 Portals to the Otherworld

Antonii Villa in Gaul, Eve of Samhain, 31 October, 27 AD

Exasperated, Catrin drew in a sharp breath. Then, she considered Trystan’s impassioned plea to meet with two of her most hated enemies. Recalling how her father had respected his second-in-command’s advice, she reluctantly conceded and squeezed her legs against her horse’s flanks to move toward the campfire’s glow.

The night’s chill mysteriously transformed into an embracing warmth as they neared a roaring fire with a black cauldron hanging over it. Sitting behind the crimson flames were two obscured figures.

“Welcome, Apollo’s Raven,” a woman’s deep voice intoned. “Come to our fire. Join us in the dance of souls.”

Though Catrin hesitated to join them, the fire’s radiance mesmerized her, luring her closer to the orange flames. She dismounted and handed the reins to Trystan, who quietly remained with the horses as she sat down on a fallen log near the roaring campfire.

“Drink the magic from the cauldron,” the woman offered. “It empowers all who partake with the knowledge of mystical mysteries from the ancient druids.”

“I already have that power,” Catrin proclaimed, trepidatious that perhaps Rhan had dropped hallucinogenic ingredients into the bubbling mixture. Thick steam flowed over the cauldron’s edge and down its metal surface in a thick, greenish fog.

“We know, my love, but you have only had a taste,” Rhan replied in a hypnotic voice. “You do not know how to control this dark magic. But we do.”

Suddenly light-headed from the smoky fumes emanating from the cauldron, Catrin struggled to maintain her wits. “Once before you said this, when you tried to trick me into revealing how I can travel to the Otherworld.”

“Believe me, this is no trick,” Rhan said soothingly. “I’ve seen your father’s spirit wander the top of cliffs, near a dagger embedded in a serpent stone. It is the blade on which my curse was etched.”

“I sense the curse has altered again, but I can’t see how the etched wording has changed on the blade,” Myrddin interjected. “You must help us solve the riddle of how the dagger got there.”

Catrin inhaled sharply, realizing Myrddin and Rhan had discovered the location of the dagger she had thrust into the stone. The image of her running away from the Romans played in her mind, and her thoughts transformed into words.

“After the final battle, I tried to escape the Romans, but…but there was nowhere to go, except jump off the white cliffs. At that moment, I chose to die rather than be captured.”

Rhan rose to her feet, walked around the fire, and sat next to Catrin. “But you didn’t die, did you?” she said, touching Catrin’s arm.

“No. A riderless horse galloped to me, stopping in front of me. My father suddenly appeared and told me not to jump,” Catrin disclosed, reliving the supernatural moment in her mind. “I couldn’t believe my eyes that Father was there. I knew Marrock had beheaded him. Yet, I felt his essence and his love radiate into me.”

Tears swelled in Catrin’s eyes as remorse that she had been unable to save her family from Marrock’s brutality overwhelmed her. She swallowed down a sob before continuing her story.

“Father told me to lift the cursed dagger toward the sky. To my amazement, sunlight flashed through the dark clouds, almost blinding me. He then ordered, ‘Thrust the dagger into the serpent stone that I create.’ What I saw next was not a vision. It was real.”

Catrin grimaced as she recalled the burning pain she’d felt as she’d held the hilt of the dagger.

“The blade turned orange, as if it had been taken out of a furnace. Father’s spirit burst apart into gold dust and melted into the blade’s etching. Serpents massed together on the ground. The venom dripping from their fangs hardened into stone. Somehow, I was able to push the dagger into the hard rock, like it was butter. And, and…”

“And what, my dear?” Rhan pressed.

Catrin’s voice cracked. “I was collared by the Romans and put on a warship.”

Author Bio and Links

Award-winning author, Linnea Tanner, weaves Celtic tales of love, magical adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts, who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids.

Linnea has extensively researched ancient and medieval history, mythology, and archaeology and has traveled to sites described within each of her books in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Books released in her series include “Apollo’s Raven” (Book 1), “Dagger’s Destiny” (Book 2), “Amulet’s Rapture” (Book 3), and “Skull’s Vengeance” (Book 4). She has also released the historical fiction short story, “Two Faces of Janus.”

A Colorado native, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Fort Collins with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren.

Website | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Linnea Tanner is offering a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a lucky winner in a Rafflecopter giveaway. Find out more here.

Follow Linnea on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Spotlight on Guinevere: Bright Shadow

I’m happy to welcome poet, screenwriter, playwright, and novelist Sarah Provost. Today, Sarah shares her new release, Guinevere: Bright Shadow.

Blurb

“You may think you know my story. My name has been bandied in ballads and jests, for good and (mostly) for ill. High Queen, priestess, adulterer… but first and always a woman. Courage and honor shaped me; ecstasy transported me; grief, betrayal and terror tempered me.

“My loyalty to the Goddess was supreme. But as the new religion took hold, the pagan way was threatened with extinction. There were those on both sides who would use me as a pawn in that battle, even if it meant taking my life.

“Yes, I bear my portion of blame. I loved Arthur, and I loved Lancelot, will I or no. But that was only one element in the impending chaos. Britain was divided, my love was divided, and such divisions cannot endure. I did everything in my power – and learned new powers – to prevent an all-out war. But would it be enough?”

Excerpt

I was torn from my peaceful sleep by a sense of foreboding so dire, so overwhelming, that I could not stop screaming, even when Catlin and Wynyth and others burst in. “What, lamb, what is it?” Catlin folded an arm around me and smoothed back my tangled hair. “Shh, shh. What, my dove?”

“I don’t know I don’t know!” I babbled. “A snake. A sword. We are lost!”

She pressed my head to her shoulder and rocked me like a babe. “Only a dream it was. That’s all, only a dream…”

At last I calmed. The sky was greying quickly, so I was about to start the day, but Catlin insisted I take a while to gather myself. She went off to bring me a cup of wine. I was lying on my pallet, drained, when I heard her returning. Her footsteps stopped. She gasped. And the cup hit the stone floor.

She stood like a statue in the passageway, staring out the casement. Far to the east, we could see a great cloud forming, but from the ground, not the sky. Faintly, a whisper, a murmur, a rumbling was carried to us on the morning breeze. It was the sound of men and horses screaming, of clash of arms, of pain and fury and destruction, all gentled by distance. Then the sun sent a finger of light over the horizon, and the great cloud turned red.

Author Bio and Links

Sarah Provost is a poet, playwright, screenwriter and novelist, currently living and working in upstate New York. A collection of poems, Inland, Thinking of Waves, was published by the Cleveland State University Press. Her stage plays have been produced off-Broadway, in London, Los Angeles, and states beginning with K. No screenplays have been produced, but she made a decent living writing for Paramount, Disney, HBO and others until Hollywood broke her heart. After a period of recuperation and relocation to a place with much worse weather, she began writing Guinevere: Bright Shadow, her first novel. A second novel, The Real Girl, is in progress.

Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Between the Lines | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Sarah Provost on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Commit to Growth

On Wednesdays, I share posts, fables, songs, poems, quotations, TEDx Talks, cartoons, and books that have inspired and motivated me on my writing journey. I hope these posts will give writers, artists, and other creatives a mid-week boost.

I highly recommend reading When You’re Ready, This is How You Feel by Brianna Wiest. Here’s an inspiring and thought-provoking excerpt:

The truth about forward movement is that it’s more about present stillness tan anything else.

Can you sit with yourself?

Can you be present?

Can you allow yourself to metabolize the feelings that keep coming up?

Are you willing to change your mind?

Are you willing to change your life?

While there are many parts of life that are out of your control, the parts that are within it are often a reflection of you.

When you commit to working on yourself, that effort radiates out and touches everything and everyone around you. So, commit to growth. Commit to becoming better. Decide that you’re ready to expand your heart past its current perimeters.

There is so much more waiting for you, but you have to be open to it first.

Source: When You’re Ready, This is How You Feel, pp.113-114