Excerpt Tour – Nuclear Power Nuclear Game

I’m happy to welcome author Helen Huong. Today, Helen shares her debut novel, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game.

Blurb

The year is 1950. Zoe and John, two young nuclear scientists from Berkeley, seem to have the perfect life, with promising careers and marriage plans. But their innocence is soon shattered when the Chinese Communist Party seizes power. Choosing to postpone the wedding and return back to her home country, Zoe finds herself locked in a political cage and separated from John indefinitely.

Caught in a complex web of revolutionary propaganda and forced to participate in dangerous research, Zoe must confront the looming question of where her true loyalties lie: with her country or with John back in America?

Set during China’s march towards nuclear power amidst the political turmoil of the Cold War, Nuclear Power Nuclear Game spans multiple decades and countries across the globe to tell the story of two nuclear scientists’ fight for world peace and a love torn apart by conflicting ideologies.

Excerpt

The one-room apartment was simple, small for three people but comfortable enough to accommodate daily life. The communal kitchen, shared with five other neighbors, served as a community center where they could work together and socialize. Unlike Little Red, Lanying found the local dialect incomprehensible, but with some guessing, hand gestures, and lots of laughter, she was able to connect with their neighbors. At last Zoe felt she could fulfill her duty as both mother and daughter and pay back everything her parents had given her. She had her own home, a real home, a place where she could laugh and talk freely without fear or intimidation.

“Mama, you look beautiful,” Little Red said through a mouthful of porridge.

“Thank you.” Zoe smiled, smoothing the black-and-white checked skirt. One of the things she loved about her new life was that no one frowned over her choice of clothes. No longer constrained by Chairman Mao and his wife’s dress code, she felt free to indulge her feminine side.

“Can you get home a little early today? I have some questions I need to ask you for one of my assignments.”

“Can it wait until the weekend? Today I’m accompanying the Minister of Energy on an inspection tour, so I’m afraid I’ll be home quite late.” Zoe smiled, amazed at how quickly Little Red had adapted to their new life. At just ten years old, Little Red had become fluent in the local dialect in less than six months and made many friends at school. She was even elected vice-class president. Zoe had never imagined her daughter would be so confident and outgoing.

“OK.” Little Red smiled, proud of her mother’s scientific knowledge and important position at the Institute.

Zoe checked on Lanying, who was still dozing in bed, and then closed the door quietly as she left. After the dim room and crowded kitchen, the brilliant autumn sun in the front courtyard momentarily blinded her. She closed her eyes until her vision adjusted to the light, and then she found her bike propped against the concrete wall. Usually only one gate panel was open, but today both stood wide, creaking as they swung in the morning breeze. She bolted one side, admiring the Western-style façade of her building that reminded her of Berkeley. Lingering, her fingers curled around the bars of the gate as she lost herself in a moment of nostalgia: John’s apartment had the same look, the same filigrees and latticework. John. He would be fifty years old now, a professor if he’d stayed at Berkeley, or perhaps a prominent researcher for some prestigious organization. Maybe he had three or four grown-up children by now; he always said he wanted a big family. Does he still think of me? Or even remember me? she mused. With a short laugh, she dismissed the pointless fantasy. Why would a man like John—a man with a happy family, a beautiful wife, a successful career— think about a stubborn, selfish woman who jilted him almost twenty-five years ago? She had made her choice, and this was her life now. With a deep breath, she repeated the words she’d said so often before: That’s over, move on. Climbing on her bike, she pedaled toward Institute 1970.

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Kindle | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Smashwords | Apple

Author Bio and Links

Born and raised in Shanghai, Helen Huang now resides in Melbourne, Australia. Nuclear Power Nuclear Game is her first novel, inspired by her own experience living under the Communist regime and working at a nuclear institute in China.

To be a novelist was Helen’s childhood dream. She started writing Nuclear Power Nuclear Game when she was a housewife looking after her four daughters. It took her sixteen years to write, as she raised her children and grew her house design and construction business. Helen hopes to finish a sequel to Nuclear Power Nuclear Game next year.

Website | Goodreads

Giveaway

Helen Huang will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Book Blast: Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream

I’m happy to welcome author Elizabeth Roderick. Today, Elizabeth shares her new release, Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream.

Blurb

Grace Morgan has been on the music scene long enough to know the life of sex, drugs & rock & roll is just a dream. But after a messy divorce, Grace wants to give her dream of being a music journalist one last shot.

She moves to LA with her 21-year-old foster son, Zeus. They live in a motel on cup noodles and hope, until Grace finally gets a break: a story about Inez Carter, hot-mess frontwoman of the popular band Karma Korn.

The story delivers more sex, drugs and rock & roll than Grace bargained for. Karma Korn’s drummer, Nelson, has Grace rethinking her post-divorce vow of celibacy. And after they’re invited to an elite Hollywood rave, where they mistakenly drink the electric Kool-Aid, Zeus is scouted to be the lead guitarist for another star band.

However, the story soon goes sideways, and things aren’t adding up. Someone is spreading rumors about Grace, trying to sabotage her career and reputation. Then someone tries to kill her. Grace is left frantically trying to connect the dots in the dwindling hope she’ll be able to salvage the story, her relationship with Nelson, and her life.

Excerpt

A beefy guy in mirrored aviators stood sentry outside the door, three people lined up in front of him.

“I write for a very popular music blog, The Night of the Living Dude,” the one in front pleaded. “We get almost a thousand hits a day. It would be great publicity for the band.”

“That’s what Karma Korn needs, is more publicity,” the security guy drawled. He raised his chin slightly, and Grace could feel him watching her from behind his sunglasses. “And who are you?” he asked. “You write for Suzie’s Super Opinions on Music blog or something?”

The others turned to watch her suspiciously. Grace swallowed, giving the goon her best smile. “I’m Grace Morgan. Lawrence Shaupin from High Note sent me to do an article about Karma Korn’s new album.”

The goon’s eyebrows inched slightly higher as the three other hopefuls shuffled their feet. Flies buzzed around the sticky spot in Grace’s hair. “High Note,” the goon said. He gazed off toward the potted palms flanking the entry, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “There’s already a chick in there says she’s doing an article for High Note. Nice chick. Looks like that actress in all the action movies, except lankier, more freckles.”

Grace’s heart sank. Marla Pocchino. “I know her, she’s another freelancer.”

The security guy watched Grace with crossed arms. Sweat soaked into the cheap fabric of her pantsuit as she waved the flies from her hair. Finally, the guy nodded. “Go ahead.”

Author Bio and Links

Elizabeth Roderick is the author of Gracie & Zeus Live the Dream a romantic comedy meets cozy mystery released by Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC May 11, 2021 as well as many short stories in various anthologies.

She and her daughter help run a small, diversified farm in Eastern Washington. She is a musician and songwriter, and has played in many bands—mostly guitar, bass and keyboards.

Elizabeth’s stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness, with characters of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the neurodivergent. She is a neurodivergent person and a disability rights activist.

Elizabeth believes if people get to know those who live on the fringes of society, both in stories and in real life, they’ll find them more likeable than they originally thought.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

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

Elizabeth on the rest of her Goddess Fish Tour here.

Blurb Blitz: Lady Deception

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Bobbi Smith. Today, Bobbi shares her novel, Lady Deception.

Hi Everybody!

Lady Deception was the first book in my “Women Who Were Ahead of Their Times” series. All my books with Lady in the title are in this series. They feature strong heroines who are inspiring and great role models. I hope you enjoy Cody’s story. Best, Bobbi Smith

Blurb

The Lady

Cody Jameson—the name sent chills down the spines of every sidewinder west of the Pecos. A master of disguise, a genius of deceit, the infamous bounty hunter always had the advantage over any prey: No desperado knew Cody’s real identity—or even suspected that the tracker stalking him was a fiery beauty.

The Deception

The first time Cody caught sight of Luke Majors, she was dressed as a lady preacher. But nothing could conceal the way the gunman thrilled her. Still, it wasn’t Luke’s body or soul Cody was after—it was the price on his head. And she was sure to collect the reward, if only she could convince herself a fistful of dollars was worth more than a lifetime of passion.

Excerpt

Luke had time to think as he rode with Cody, and he wasn’t happy about it. Memories of the time he’d spent with her disguised as Sister Mary taunted him. He’d been protecting her, and all the while she’d been trying to take him in for the reward they were offering on him for the bank robbery! He silently laughed at how completely he’d been fooled by her act. Cody had gone to El Trajar to catch him, not to save any souls.

Luke recalled how he’d thought Sister Mary was everything a woman was supposed to be—honest and forthright, gentle and caring. He’d thought she was a complete innocent. He’d been wrong. Cody had used every trick in the book to bring him in. Disguised as Armita, she’d even used her body!

He immediately stopped at that thought. There had been no mistaking her untouched state. Memories of their lovemaking made him wonder anew just what kind of woman Cody Jameson really was. Was she a saint or sinner? A deceitful woman or a clever bounty hunter?

Luke tried to imagine that her response to his lovemaking had been an act, but he knew instinctively that wasn’t true. She’d wanted him as much as he’d wanted her.

But not anymore.

Cody Jameson had caught him. She was taking him in to collect her reward, and then she was going to go on to her next conquest. He’d been a job to her. Nothing more.

His mood was black. The only good thing he had to cling to was his knowledge that all the time he’d spent undercover with the outlaw gang hadn’t been for nothing. He had learned that El Diablo, the leader of the gang, was a woman. When they got back to town, he would contact Jack and let him know.

With Stalking Ghost taking the lead, Cody kept an eye on Luke. When they stopped for the night, she noticed how he seemed to be in pain from his shoulder wound as he dismounted.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“I’m worth the same to you, dead or alive. So it really doesn’t matter. You’ll get your money.” He turned his back to her.

Cody’s heart ached. She wished she could change the way things had turned out, but she’d given her word to Jack Logan that she would bring him in.

Author Bio and Links

After working as a department manager for Famous-Barr, and briefly as a clerk at a bookstore, Bobbi gave up on career security and began writing. She sold her first book to Zebra in 1982.

Since then, Bobbi has written over 40 books and 6 novellas. To date, there are more than five million copies of her novels in print. She has been awarded the prestigious Romantic Times Storyteller Award and two Career Achievement Awards. Her books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List, the USA Today Best Seller List and the Wal-Mart Best Seller List.

The rights to Ms. Smith’s books have been sold to China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Russia and Sweden. Bobbi has also written two faith-based contemporary novels – Haven and Miracles – using the pseudonym, Julie Marshall.

Website | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Bobbi Smith will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

Follow Bobbi on the rest of her Goddess Tour here.

Celebrating Book Birthdays

I’m happy to welcome Soul Mate author Carole Ann Moleti. Today, Carole shares the three novels in the Unfinished Business series.

Here’s Carole!

It’s hard to believe that the Unfinished Business series turns seven this year! My family has vacationed on Cape Cod for as long as I can remember. One year, as I was pulling dustcovers off furniture and vacuuming up dead flies while opening up a summer cottage, I had the sudden inspiration to write a story about a woman who finds an old trunk in the attic and is transfixed by the clothes she finds inside.

I spent much of that July 4 weekend writing 13,000 words of what would become The Widow’s Walk and thought the short story was done. But my critique partners wanted to know what came before that. After I wrote 23,000 more words (Breakwater Beach), they wanted to know what came after, which was Storm Watch.

Thankfully, Debbie Gilbert of Soulmate Publishing loved the concept and published The Widow’s Walk in 2014, Breakwater Beach in 2016, and finally Storm Watch in 2017. This paranormal, ghost story series follows the parallel lives of the characters.

In 2018, my family bought a cottage just steps from Paine’s Creek Beach in the historic sea captain’s town of Brewster, Massachusetts where much of the action in the novels takes place. I had been celebrating the series with an annual “beach reads” bookstore/library tour on Cape Cod until the pandemic hit, but Debbie has just renewed the contract for The Widow’s Walk so I’ve got a few more years left to continue the celebration.

The Widow’s Walk: Book Two

Was getting out, getting away, enough?

Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives?

An excerpt from The Widow’s Walk: Book Two in the Unfinished Business

Silk rustled as she ran her hands over the dress. The lavender scent deepened as Elisabeth swirled around inside, Her mind went numb as the ghost took control. She slipped out of her clothes and stood naked in front of the mirror. She put up her hair, preening for her husband, before she stepped into the middle of the deep green skirts and pulled them up over her waist, slipped her arms into the sleeves, and twisted them behind her back to fasten the buttons. She used the buttonhook to do up the shoes, then peered out into the hallway.

Liz bundled the sweat suit into her arms, along with the soap and paper goods, and hurried to the attic door. It wasn’t until she placed her hand on the banister and started up the steep staircase to the roof that Elisabeth’s needling eased. Like an addict in the throes of withdrawal, just the promise of being up there, her spirit communing with the long lost sea captain, offered relief.

Breakwater Beach: Book One

Would you take a second chance?

Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?

Storm Watch: Book Three

One last chance, their only choice.

Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them? Knowing it’s their last chance to end the hauntings, they face an impossible choice. Will they survive the storm?

Author Bio

Carole Ann Moleti lives and works as a nurse-midwife in New York City, thus explaining her fascination with all things paranormal, urban fantasy, and space opera. Her nonfiction focuses on health care, politics, and women’s issues. But her first love is writing science fiction and fantasy because walking through walls is less painful than running into them.

Carole’s Cape Cod paranormal Unfinished Business Series novels have been published by Soulmate. He short stories have been featured in several of the Ten Tales fantasy anthologies, and her darker fiction has appeared in the Hell’s Kitties, Hell’s Heart and Hell’s Mall anthologies.

She won the Oasis Journal 2009 Prize for best nonfiction, and two timely pieces of her memoir have been published in the acclaimed Shifts and Impact anthologies.

Where to Find Carole…

Newsletter | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Pinterest

Visiting Egypt and Sudan with Caroline Warfield

I’m happy to welcome back award-winning author Caroline Warfield. Today, shares interesting facts about the setting of her new release, The Price of Glory.

Here’s Caroline!

I am an avid traveler, and the places I visit often turn up as settings for my novels. The Price of Glory, my newest work which will launch on July 7, is set in Egypt and Nubia, what is now northern Sudan. I have, alas, visited neither one. This time I had to rely on my imagination. I’m left with a longing to go there. Here is my list of ten things I wish I could see or experience that appear in the novel:

1.The Karnak Temple complex near Luxor, particularly the Great Hypostyle Hall that awed my hero. I also want to see the obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut. My hero reads the inscription to the heroine. By moonlight. That would be perfect, but I’ll settle for daytime.

2. Dahabiyas, traditional Egyptian sailing boats, with their graceful triangular sails, on the Nile. They come in many sizes, and I fell in love with paintings and photos. I would love to travel from Cairo to Khartoum on one, but I think maybe that is no longer possible.

3. The ruined pyramids at Meroë at sunrise, possibly from a tourist camp.

4. The place where the Blue Nile meets the White.

5. The rock-cut temples of Abu Simbel, even though they have been relocated due to the building of the Aswan Dam. They are now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Nubian Monuments along with the Temple of Isis at Philae. My hero laments the damage being done by Western pillaging. It is good do know this treasure was saved.

6. Cairo’s souk, Khan el-Khalili. It is no doubt a tourist trap today, but then, it probably was bit of one in 1839 when my hero scoured the back lanes looking for genuine artifacts, particularly anything from Meroë.

7. The camel market at Khartoum. The book includes a flight across the desert with a camel caravan. I’m not so sure I want to try that.

8. A fishing village along the Red Sea.

9. The historic Islamic quarter of Cairo. It is always hard to picture how a place looked 180 years ago, but I would give it a try.

10. Shepheard’s Hotel des Anglais in Cairo. Alas it is gone. It burned down during anti-British riots in 1952 after 120 years of catering to Western adventurers.

I might find time for the great pyramids and the sphinx, but I suspect a view from a distance would suit me fine. I have a weakness for museums, however, so I am certain that, if I’m ever so fortunate as to make this trip, I would spend hours in the as yet unopened Grand Egyptian Museum (also called the Giza Museum). Delayed by Covid and other challenges it will be the largest archaeological museum in the world when open. I won’t miss the National Museum of Sudan either. It houses a comprehensive Nubian archaeological collection, including artifacts from Meroë.

About the Book

The Price of Glory tells the story of one man’s pursuit of knowledge that will bring him fame and respect, only to find it upended by a woman determined to serve the people of Egypt. Neither has any idea where this journey will take them when they embark down the Nile toward Nubia and its mysteries, ancient and modern.

Richard Mallet comes to Egypt with dreams of academic glory. He will be the one to unravel the secrets of the ancient Kushite language. Armed with license to dig, he sets out for Meroë, where the Blue Nile meets the White. He has no room in his life for dalliance or entanglements, and he certainly doesn’t expect to face insurrection and unrest.

Analiese Cloutier seeks no glory—only the eradication of disease among the Egyptian women and children of Khartoum. She has no interest whatsoever in romantic nonsense and will not allow notions about a lady’s proper role to interfere with her work. She doesn’t expect to have that work manipulated for political purposes.

Neither expects to be enchanted by the amorous power of moonlight in the ruins of Karnak, or to be forced to marry before they can escape revolution. Will their flight north take them safely to Cairo? If it does, can they build something real out of their shattered dreams?

***Available on Kindle Unlimited or for purchase here***

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nun. She reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Where to find Caroline…

Website | Facebook | Newsletter | Goodreads | BookBub

Buzzwords and Dating Trends of 2021

I was surprised and a bit disappointed to discover that I was unfamiliar with the latest dating lexicon.

In a recent interview on Cityline, celebrity matchmaker Carmelia Ray shared the following buzzwords and dating trends of 2021:

Sneating

Going on a dinner date with someone purely for the free food. (a.k.a. sneak eating)

Continue reading on the Soul Mate Authors blog

Excerpt Tour: She’s the One Who Gets in Fights

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author S. R. Cronin. Today, Sherrie shares her new release, She’s the One Who Gets in Fights.

Blurb

Do you know what your problem is?

Sulphur knows hers. This 13th-century woman has trained as a fighter all her life in hopes of joining the army. Then, within days, both of her older sisters announce plans and suddenly Sulphur is expected to find a man to marry instead.

Is it her good fortune her homeland is gripped by fear of a pending invasion and the army now goes door to door encouraging recruits? Sulphur thinks it is. But once she’s forced to kill in a small skirmish, she’s ready to rethink her career decision. Too bad it’s too late. The invasion is coming, and Ilari needs every good soldier it has.

Once Sulphur learns Ilari’s army has made the strategic decision to not defend certain parts of the realm, including the one where her family lives, she has to re-evaluate her loyalty. Is it with the military she’s always admired? Or is it with her sisters, who are hatching a plan to defend their homeland with magic?

The problem with being a woman who fights for what’s right is that now, she has to figure out what is.

(The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.)

Excerpt

I hoped Davor would return soon, but he didn’t. Weren’t there arrangements to be made for the wedding? For their life together afterward? Didn’t he want to spend time with his betrothed?

When I asked Coral about his absence, she turned serious and changed the subject.

“You must know about this military threat that looms over Ilari.”

I did. For nearly a year now, rumors had circulated about a horde of invaders coming from the mountains to the east. Word was they fought from horseback, swarming into places and taking over before the surprised victims could gather their weapons.

Some said they only wanted tribute, taking a small amount of farmed goods to supplement the bleak diet provided by their own cold mountains. Others said they demanded a near slavery that no realm should tolerate. Some reported these invaders burned everything to the ground, indiscriminately killing the helpless and harmless along with the soldiers.

The lack of consistent information had turned them into a frightening monster of mythical proportions. Yet, the reports all agreed on one point. They moved further westward every winter and soon we’d be in their path.

“Yes. I know of the Mongol threat. Ilari could face a tough challenge this coming winter or next.”

“The Svadlu especially,” she said. “They already take this quite seriously.”

“As well they should.”

I considered this threat to be an added incentive for joining soon. If I got trained and put into a fighting unit, I’d have a chance to help Ilari.

“Davor is a key part of this effort.”

“Really?”

“Yes. He’s been tasked with training the soldiers to meet this challenge. It’s why he can’t leave Pilk now, with so much happening.”

Well, this did make sense. I had no idea my hopeful sponsor bore such a responsibility.

“When will you see him again?”

I noticed the sadness on Coral’s face. Indeed, being the wife of a soldier was no easy thing.

“Probably not until the wedding.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that.” I meant it for her, of course. This should have been a happier time in her life but to be honest, I was sad for me as well, knowing I had nearly an eighth to wait before I could ask this stranger the question on which my entire life hinged.

Then, I saw the advantages of asking for an important favor around such an auspicious time. Doubtless Davor would be at his happiest and eager to please his new wife’s family. Maybe it was lucky I hadn’t had the opportunity to ask sooner. I couldn’t imagine a groom saying no to such a reasonable request from a new sister-in-law.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords

Author Bio and Links

Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and is now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.

She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now she answers a hot-line. Along the way, she’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how eccentric she is.

All her life she has wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She now lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | Author Blog | Book Series Blog

Giveaway

S. R. Cronin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Spotlight on Guns & Smoke

I’m happy to welcome authors Lauren Sevier and A. Smith. Today, they share interesting tidbits about The Fool’s Adventure World and their new release,
Guns & Smoke.

10 Interesting Things About The Fool’s Adventure World

1. The Fool’s Adventure series takes place in a dystopian America. The Culling, a nuclear holocaust, devastated every major country in the world. When the first bombs dropped on the United States Congress and the White House, a wave of nuclear bombs were dropped all over the world. While Guns & Smoke takes place in what remains of the American southwest, there are many, many places that we intend to explore in this world in this series and others.

2. After the Culling, social issues such as racial discrimination and sexual orientation were no longer as important. When the key focus of a population is surviving, everything else just sort of falls to the wayside. It was incredibly important to us to show the diversity of The Fool’s Adventure world from all sides. We live in a diverse world. It doesn’t make sense to not have characters who are people of color or characters that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s even more normal in this world than it is in modern America.

3. A lot of things we consider normal are hot commodities in The Fool’s Adventure world. Because of the changing climate as a result of the nuclear bombs, coffee beans only grow in the humid climates of the Borderlands. Chocolate is something only the very rich can afford. Forget about having new clothes or fresh, organic food. Typically, you take what you can get and you’re happy with it, because it means another day of surviving instead of starving in the street.

4. Gangs reign supreme. When the government was destroyed and no one else stepped up to seize power, small factions of men and women came together to take control. Some of the more popular gangs are The Hanged Men, The Crimson Fist, and The Black Judges. Others don’t have official names, but utilize symbols to strike fear in the hearts of men.

5. Across the country, in the places that the nuclear bombs dropped, people began seeing strange creatures appear from within the crater sites. Some claim to have seen giant gator-dogs, great, snapping-lion-turtles or panther-scorpions. Our main characters in Guns & Smoke may even have a run in with one of their own crater beasts.

6. Glowroot is a nasty, spiny little plant that grows inside the crater sites beyond the fences. When it’s distilled, it has a faint phosphorescent glow and stains your lips blue. It is highly addictive, and one can find glowroot dens in their favorite cities.

7. There are eight rules to being an Outlaw:

○ Don’t fall in love.
○ Never go anywhere without telling your crew.
○ Keep your word. Outlaws may steal, lie, and cheat. But if you make a promise, you keep it.
○ Where there’s danger, listen to your commanding officer.
○ Never overstay your welcome.
○ Pay your debts.
○ No one gets left behind.
○ Know your weapons. If it’s supposed to keep you alive, you should know it inside and out.

8. Due to radiation, people who survived the Culling or have been affected by the radiation have suffered from physical deformities. They’re considered undesirable by the general population. It is rumored that they spread disease or bring trouble wherever they go. This could be, in large part, because they struggle for basic resources to survive, that they have had to possibly still or kill for basic necessities.

9. The fringes are those places around the edges. Burned out towns, small cities that never recovered after the Culling, where no one except for the undesirables or fugitives would live. It’s a hard place where resources are scarce. It’s even more “kill or be killed” here than the rest of the world. Usually marked with a white ‘X’ so that travelers know that it’s unsafe and to stay away.

10. Paper money lost all its meaning after the Culling. After plundering cities, homes, and other places for precious metals, a new system took place. Those metals were melted down and shaped into bits. There are brass, copper, silver, and gold. Gold bits are incredibly rare and worth a lot of money. Along with bits, they also utilize the barter system, and negotiate for things that can be traded instead of paid for.

ADDITIONAL FUN FACT

Today is Lauren Sevier’s Birthday!!!!! She’s a brilliant co-author and friend and we want to wish her a great next year.

Blurb

In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.

Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.

Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.

Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.

Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.

Excerpt

“I didn’t mean what I said earlier, about turning you over to Sixgun. I was just…” He struggled for the words.

“Hurt?” I offered, and he nodded. “I know. I have a talent for pushing people away.”

“I still shouldn’t have said it,” he muttered near my ear, his arm tightening around my shoulders to hold me closer.

“Do you really think I’m stupid?” I asked.

“No, I think you’re the smartest person I’ve ever met,” he said, with all the conviction with which he said everything else. I smiled against his shirt. “Did you really climb into my bed because you thought I was upset about the train?”

“No,” I croaked, hiding my face as best I could. “I don’t have nightmares when you hold me.”

“I don’t have nightmares when I hold you either,” he admitted.

So I let him. I let him hold me all night. We didn’t speak, we just leaned against each other until the sky began to lighten and the shadows of our pasts seemed to fade into the distance.

Author Bios and Links

Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!

Lauren Sevier

Website | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

A. Smith

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

Giveaway

Lauren Sevier and A. Smith will be awarding a $20 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.
Find out more here.

Follow the authors on the rest of their Goddess Fish tour here.

Virtual Book Tour: On the Edge

I’m happy to welcome author and clothing designer Claire Gillies. Today, Claire shares ten of her favourite movies and her new release, On the Edge.

Joanne, I would like to thank you for hosting my latest novel On The Edge on your wonderful blog! I thought it might be fun to delve into my 10 favourite movies. These may give you an idea of my taste and what I like to write about…

Little Women – 1995 version

This is a film I will go back to every year for my Christmas feel good vibes. I adore the soundtrack (which I still listen to when working through my daily mundane tasks, and transports me to a different time). I just want to crawl into this movie. It makes me cry with happiness, and the ending! That ending is the best romantic scene ever.

Darjeeling Ltd

My favourite Wes Anderson! This truly is a beautiful story of three brothers who meet in India to renew their connection after their father dies, and set out on a train ride across the country. The family dynamics between the brothers is interesting to me as I can relate (being the youngest from a family of five) I love the quirkiness of Wes Anderson, and this one pulls my heart strings.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

I’m a fan of Kate Winslet, and I watch her acting in awe, particularly in this movie. I adored all the many different colours of her hair throughout, but her hair was used as an anchor to the story so we could understand the time frame, as it darts about. When this movie came out, coincidentally I also had bright red hair! I love their unique love story.

Howl’s Moving Castle

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation company and they make the most magical movies. It took me a bit of time to decide which is my favourite, as there are so many – “Kiki’s Delivery Service” and “Spirited Away” to name a couple. I love how the stories usually revolve around a young girl – I find them inspiring and encouraging role models for kids.

Highlander

This is a classic. A Scotsman cast as an Egyptian…a French man cast as a Scot! It’s fun, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but then you get hit in the heart when you least expect it. The Queen soundtrack weaving throughout this movie adds to the magic. I also get nostalgia as it was filmed where I’m from; when Connor Macleod declares he is from the past and where he was born…I’m like – me too!

Local Hero

Another Scottish one, this movie I can watch forever. Just one of those perfect, cute, cuddle up on the couch and escape into a simple world. This was also filmed in my local area in Scotland. I adore the soundtrack that echoes throughout. It captures a feeling I can’t put into words; the long summer nights, the solitude and being so close with nature. I found the ceilidh (dance) scene is very authentic as I’ve been to oh so many in my time.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Pure escape! Don’t we all wish we could just get up and go? If any film is about someone leaving their humdrum life to travel somewhere out of their comfort zone, then I’m there! I particularly love the Himalayas in Afghanistan scene, which makes me reminisce of the time I trekked in Nepal. Also, Iceland features in it…somewhere that has been on my bucket list for years! This captures the freedom of travelling for me.

Gone With the Wind

This appeals to my costume background. The costume is spectacular, I was lucky enough to see a few of Scarlet’s outfits in a museum…she was incredibly petite! The love story is so frustrating though, I could never under why Scarlet never opens her heart to Rhett until it’s too late. But what an event to watch, a feast for the eyes.

Lord of the Rings (trilogy!)

I’m being cheeky and placing all three adaptions into this one entry! I feel I grew up with hobbits and elves keeping me company during lonely teenage years. The first Fellowship Of The Ring came out when I was in high school, then the final movie released when I was in college. I have watched these so many times, I’m a huge fan of fantasy – Tolkien created such a rich world.

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

This was difficult to select only one Jane Austin. I adore her work and I LOVE costume dramas. This adaption I enjoyed, but I didn’t give it the credit it was due for many years as I was very much a fan of the BBC version. Having said that, I would watch any adaption of Pride and Prejudice, there will NEVER be too many. Jane Austin is in my heart and so is Elizabeth Bennet

Blurb

Catherine MacGregor spends life daydreaming her way out of the perils of a dead-end job, and a dwindling love-life. Rather than face imminent redundancy, Cat finds herself giving up her life in the city, and moving to a remote Scottish island for a fresh start.

Unlocking her passion for art, things have never looked better, until the handsome but elusive musician Patrick Flannagan takes to the stage, complicating her best-laid plans.

Cat’s past could be catching up with her at last. Can she unlock her own secrets, and learn to love again, in time to save her brave new beginnings?

Excerpt

“Hey, just because I don’t go around snogging boys! I’ve only recently split up with my long-term boyfriend!”

“That was two months ago!” Jess cried,

“I know – that’s recent!”

“No it’s not! It’s not like you’ve been left a widow and loved your husband ’til the end; you told me you’d fallen out of love with Dave a long time before you left. What are you waiting for?” Jess looked wide-eyed.

Cat chewed the inside of her mouth and looked down, unable to meet Jess’s gaze. “I don’t know”.

Just then the phone beeped, making the two girls jump.

“It’s fine, whatever the outcome” Cat assured herself loudly.

Jess pressed buttons on her phone, and silently read for what seemed to Cat an eternity.

“You are good to go my friend!” Jess wiggled on the bed and held her phone up to Jess to read “Single!”

The two girls whooped and bounced on the bed.

“You read that for a long time. Jeez, I can’t believe how much I wanted him to be single!” Cat screeched, then quickly covered her mouth in surprise and embarrassment.

“Well, the lovely Kate said he was with a girl for a few years. She was local, but she’s now living in Australia. They split up, not sure why.” Jess re-read the message aloud, and they both settled down on the bed.

“What now?” Cat grinned at her friend.

“Bacon and eggs?” Jess pleaded with big blue eyes.

“I’ll get my purse,” Cat smiled and for the first time in a long while, thought that life couldn’t get any better.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

***The book is on sale for only $0.99***

Author Bio and Links

Born and raised in the Highlands of Scotland, Claire’s homeland continues to be a stream of inspiration for her. A clothing designer too, Claire (Lorna) creates one-off bespoke garments using Scottish tweeds and tartans.

Claire currently splits her time between Scotland and Australia with her lovely Irish husband. She is a cat lover (without the cat) and can be found either drinking coffee, researching the best cake haunts, or watching yet another costume drama!

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Giveaway

Claire Gillies will be awarding a signed copy of the book. (International) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here

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

10 Myths & Superstitions About the Moon

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Judy Penz Sheluk. Today, Judy shares interesting myths and superstitions about the moon and her new anthology, Moonlight.

Here’s Judy!

Whoot! After culling down 93 submissions to 20 and months of hard work, today is release date for Moonlight & Misadventure. As with the previous Superior Shores Anthologies, authors were required to incorporate the underlying theme into their story. Misadventure, that was an easy one. After all, these are stories of mystery and suspense. But why moonlight? Simply put, as a Cancerian, I’ve always been fascinated by the moon. Here are 10 moon myths & superstitions:

1. A wish made on the full moon will only come true if you stare at the moon and tap your right index and middle fingers against your left wrist at the same time.

2. My mother, who was a superstitious sort, always believed that it was unlucky to see the full moon through glass, whether that was a windshield or a window. I’ll admit I still try to avoid doing that, even though I know it’s ridiculous.

3. In the Philippines, it is believed that no marriage should take place except during the period of the full moon, as good fortune comes only during that period.

4. The Irish believe it’s viewing the new moon through glass that should be avoided, and that even the position of the new moon is important; for luck the new moon should be seen over the right shoulder, never the left.

5. Many believe the new moon is also a time to set positive intentions for the month. I try to do that when I remember.

6. The Farmers’ Almanac suggests that crops that grow above the earth, such as corn and wheat, should be planted while the moon is waxing, so the moon can pull them out of the ground as it grows bigger.

7. Conversely, the Almanac tells us, root crops, such as turnips, carrots, and yams, should be planted while the moon is waning, allowing vegetables to grow deep into the ground.

8. Urban legend has it that chaos and crime increase with the full moon. In fact, the word “lunatic” is derived from “luna,” the Latin word for moon. In fact, in 18th-century England, people on trial for murder could campaign for a lighter sentence on grounds of lunacy if the crime occurred under a full moon.

9. It is lucky to expose your newborn to the waxing Moon. It will give the baby strength.

10. It is unlucky to see “the old moon in the arms of the new” or the faint image of the full disk while the new crescent moon is illuminated, especially if you’re a sailor. Storms are predicted.

Synopsis

Whether it’s vintage Hollywood, the Florida everglades, the Atlantic City boardwalk, or a farmhouse in Western Canada, the twenty authors represented in this collection of mystery and suspense interpret the overarching theme of “moonlight and misadventure” in their own inimitable style where only one thing is assured: Waxing, waning, gibbous, or full, the moon is always there, illuminating things better left in the dark.

Featuring stories by K.L. Abrahamson, Sharon Hart Addy, C.W. Blackwell, Clark Boyd, M.H. Callway, Michael A. Clark, Susan Daly, Buzz Dixon, Jeanne DuBois, Elizabeth Elwood, Tracy Falenwolfe, Kate Fellowes, John M. Floyd, Billy Houston, Bethany Maines, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Joseph S. Walker, Robert Weibezahl, and Susan Jane Wright.

Bio

A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy Penz Sheluk is the author of two mystery series: The Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans, Heartbreaks & Half-truths, and Moonlight & Misadventure, which she also edited.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime National, Toronto, and Guppy Chapters, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors.

Find the Book: https://books2read.com/u/47NPkj