Excerpt Tour: God of Summer

I’m happy to welcome award-winning Wild Rose Press author Kat Chant. Today, Kat shares her new release, God of Summer.

Blurb

Back in the Bronze Age, Angus McCraggan sacrificed his life to break the Celtic curse laid on his kind. He failed. Millennia later, he returns to modern Ireland to find his people have become feral, vengeful shadows. With his hollow hill now packed with tourists, he uses his power to keep his past hidden.

Until an American call him out.

Since a banshee attacked her as a teen, Erin De Santos has been tormented by dreams of a boy she’s never met. Armed with a new identity, she returns to the Emerald Isle determined to face her nightmare. But her discovery turns fatal.

When the banshee strikes again, Angus surrenders his heart—and his hope of freeing his people—to save her. With his life now hers and his curse descending, Erin must make a terrible choice: kill her savior or share his doom.

Excerpt

“Air in,” Angus said.

It was excellent advice so Erin took it, inhaling not any old air, but the smoke’n’sunlight scent she couldn’t get enough of. Her eyelids snapped open to find Angus’ firm, generous lips parted an inch from her own, close enough to kiss. His eyes were closed, the dark points of his lashes distinct against the white of his skin. Heat shifted from her arms to settle in the center of her chest and his expression turned pained.

“Ah, how you care, mo chroí, most especially when you pretend you don’t.”

She looked down. His hand pressed against her sternum while her heart bashed against her ribs as if seeking to return to its rightful owner and lodge in the palm of his hand. His fingers twitched and she looked up. A storm raging across his face, a tempest of desire, fear, and frustration.

“No! Don’t take it!” Extracting her hands from her thighs, she shoved against his shoulders. She might as well have tried to shift Newgrange. “I need it.”

Thundercloud brows twitched into a frown. “It’s yours to keep, Erin.”

Air in.

Not an instruction, but her name as she’d never heard it before, like she was something he needed to live. Had she known it was a loose thread that could unravel her, she’d never have shared it.

“What are you doing, McCraggan?”

“Feeling what you’re feeling.”

For a second, her shock wrote itself across his face.

Then his mouth pinched and his brow puckered. Her panic transmuted into a feverish heat. The heart he’d given her must be to blame, because her own had never felt like it was a furnace. The mix of the emotions churning inside her smelted into a single core of something new and precious and unfamiliar.

Author Bio and Links

Kat Chant is an award-winning writer. A bookworm who grew into a history buff, she swapped beaches for castles and moved from Australia to the UK. When studying medieval history, she fell in love with a lad from Ireland…and fell in love with his country, too.

She and her family live in the heart of Ireland, surrounded by fields in forty shades of green.

Kat is a keen cook and often experiments with traditional farmhouse foods such as making bread, cheese, jam and liqueurs. She also decorates the occasional cake.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | TikTok | BookBub | Amazon | Buy Link | Booksirens | Booksprout

Giveaway

Kat Chant 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 Kat on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Interview with L.T. Getty

I’m happy to welcome paramedic and author L. T. Getty. Today, she shares her creative journey and recent release, The Mermaid and the Unicorns.

Interview

What was your inspiration for this book?

I wanted to write a book for my niece, who was just starting into chapter books. I aimed it for a little older than she was, now she’s in High School but that’s kind of how it goes in the publishing world. I basically wrote a book that I would have liked to read at the age of 8, but catered it towards things she enjoyed.

What’s the best part of being an author? The worst?

I love being creative. To me, writing is about making sense of the ideas in your head, and giving them form and structure, and making a product that can be enjoyed by others. In particular for this project, I made something for someone else, even if she technically outgrew it before I decided to go ahead and publish it. You have no idea how happy she and my other nieces were when they saw their names in the dedication.

The worst for me is the elitism and the sense that some stuff is worthy, other stuff is rubbish and some people are real authors and writers, and then there’s us plebs. Don’t get me wrong: There’s plenty of product that doesn’t appeal to me and I’m very likely to talk about the quality of the writing of something I’ve read, but I’m not someone who is going to pretend that anyone’s intrinsic value is more than anyone else’s. My work can speak for itself and it’s also not for everyone. I’d rather ask you what you like to read, and steer you to another table then sell you a book I suspect you won’t enjoy.

Describe your writing space.

I have my own office, but 90% of my writing takes place at my kitchen table on my main floor when the sun’s out. At night, I’m likely to go upstairs and write. I love the natural light in my house, plus I’m in close proximity to the tea pot so I don’t have to run down the stairs for a top up.

What is your favorite quote?

I’ll give you my favourite from a book, then a favourite just in general.

From “Till We Have Faces” by CS Lewis

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I’d like to be able to fly.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Usually when you’re starting out you have really good taste but you don’t have the skill level to pull off what you want to do. There are exceptions, but even if you are very gifted in writing I’m sure by the time you’re on your third or fourth title, you’re looking back at your first one going, “I really should have…” that’s normal.

My general rule is write the best you can, and get feedback from people who know what they’re talking about. When you’re starting out, generally speaking you’ll get feedback from whoever, and sometimes that’s great, but I find that different people want to focus on different things in a book. Usually great advice may be out of place for certain types of genres; for instance the general rule is “Show, don’t tell” the audience. If you’re writing a very technical science fiction novel and you have an audience who actually would like to know, it’s a rule you can break but I think it also needs to be broke with caution.

I’m not saying you can’t take advice from someone who writes very different than you, but I think if you and I are both writing an intermediate middle grade book, we should find someone who’s more familiar with the market and audience expectations then someone who has been writing for a very intellectual adult audience. I think lots of people can offer different insight and can help you grow the book, but what might be a deal breaker for say, someone who likes contemporary fiction might be a great plot twist for someone who reads science fiction.

If you want to write a certain genre or length, read that genre or length. One of my problems was acknowledging that most publishers were scared of books much longer than 100k, and I was regularly reading books in the 150k+ range and meanwhile I was trying to write a short story without really reading them. I’m not saying know market trends, I’m saying learn how they pace their books and hey, if you’re hung up on an issue – let’s say, you’re not certain how to communicate how mermaids speak under water – see what other people have done and how they’ve dealt with the same issue. Most people are okay wih Aquaman talking below the sea without any explanation, but a certain audience may want specifics.

What are you working on next?

I signed the second book of the Rogue Healer series with Champagne, and they have the third book under consideration but I have work to with the editor on book 2. I’ve technically started work on book 4, but really the plan is to really go at it for NaNoWriMo. I am finishing up a YA novel that’s about the Puppeteers from The Mermaid and the Unicorns, but it needs to percolate and I’ll send it to my niece/creative consultant and get her to tell me what she likes, what she doesn’t. I also have to pick a project that’s written to edit for self-publishing for next year; there’s no rush and I’ve narrowed it down but I lack commitment at this time.

Blurb

Daphne’s a typical mermaid, and at least according to her, that’s a problem. She’s courageous and has a beautiful singing voice, but lacks the power of an elemental, the ability to command water with the sound of her voice. Jealous of her best friend, she makes a deal with a sea-witch, only to be betrayed, in place of her beautiful tail and flukes Daphne’s left beached with a pair of human legs. The spell keeping Daphne looking human will become permanent, unless Daphne can hunt down and bring the scheming Lorelei a unicorn horn before the next full moon.

Unable to reach her friends and family for help, Daphne doesn’t know how to walk, much less where to find a unicorn or how to catch one. Even if she’s successful, Daphne’s still not sure if she can trust Lorelei and her pint-sized kraken to keep their end of the bargain and let her return to the sea.

Excerpt

“What’s wrong?”Esperanza asked as Daphne went to retrieve the arrow.

“Nothing,” Daphne said, unstringing the bow. “Not like I’m ever going need to use this skill. Let’s just pack up and go.”

“What are you talking about?” Esperanza asked. “You’re already better than I am. Here, let me have a try and I’ll show you.”

“I’ve already unstrung it,” Daphne snapped.

“Fine,” Esperanza said, matching Daphne’s tone. Esperanza went to go get more water from the river with the large buckets to boil so that they could wash their dishes.

“I’ll do that. Water’s heavy,” Sean said, ignoring Daphne as she struggled to take their tent down.

“Here, let me help you,” Esperanza said to Daphne once Sean started towards the river.

“Sure—let’s send the person with the tallest reach to the river, great plan,” Daphne muttered, climbing onto the wagon to reach the tip of the tent as Sean descended towards the river.

“What’s your problem?” Esperanza demanded as soon as Sean was out of earshot. “We’re helping you get to Taralee. Sean didn’t have to come all this way, you know.”

“He didn’t come for me, Espy. If it was just me who wanted to go, he wouldn’t care that I had to walk the whole way. What do you want, me to kiss your feet and sing your praises? Wait, I forgot—you’re the better singer, you should sing your own praises. I might not do it good enough without a four-stringed harp and a cat to squeeze for background noise.”

“Our voices are different. Neither one is really better than the other.”

“It’s just… do you know what it’s like to be overlooked?”

“All the time,” Esperanza said. She looked away, towards the river. “Hey, wait… be quiet for a minute.”

“Don’t you tell me what to do—” Daphne became mildly insulted when Esperanza put a hand over her mouth.

“Listen.”

They heard singing. A beautiful, high pitched and soft melody, barely audible above the breeze. The sound had a haunting quality. “Doesn’t sound like it’s Sean’s range,” Daphne muttered, but then really heard it. She ran, and got the arrow and the quiver as well as Sean’s knife and axe. She quickly strung the bow before heading towards the river bank.

“What are you doing?” Esperanza asked, following after Daphne.

“Stay with the wagon!” Daphne ordered.

***********NOTE: The e-book is only $0.99***********

Author Bio and Links

L.T. Getty is a rural paramedic from Manitoba. She enjoys writing science fiction and fantasy and generally being creative.

Blog | Goodreads | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Kobo | Barnes & Noble

Giveaway

L.T. Getty 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 author on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Blurb Blitz: The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven

I’m happy to welcome author Jennifer Ivy Walker. Today, Jennifer shares her debut novel, The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven.

Blurb

In this dark fairy tale adaptation of a medieval French legend, Issylte must flee the wicked queen, finding shelter with a fairy witch who teaches her the verdant magic of the forest. Fate leads her to the otherworldly realm of the Lady of the Lake and the Elves of Avalon, where she must choose between her life as a healer or fight to save her ravaged kingdom. Tristan of Lyonesse is a Knight of the Round Table who must overcome the horrors of his past and defend his king or lose everything. When he becomes a warrior of the Tribe of Dana, a gift of Druidic magic might hold the key he seeks. Haunted and hunted. Entwined by fate. Can their passion and power prevail?

Excerpt

He opened the brilliant blue eyes that she’d seen in the vision.

As she gazed into them, the earth tilted. Her heart raced; her bearings were lost. In the depths of his eyes, she glimpsed a fountain in a forest. The turquoise waters of the ocean. An underground well encased by sacred stones. She, the forest fairy, was immersed in the blue waters of the warrior’s eyes, the waves emanating from him flowing through her, cleansing her. Beckoning her.

In Tristan’s eyes, Issylte glimpsed a black bird—a sea raven—soaring over an open sea, hovering now before her. A small dove fluttered in her breast, called forth from her soul. White wings unfurled as she took flight, rising into the azure sky alongside the black seabird—-floating together through the diaphanous clouds scattered across the vast ocean.

In the breadth of an instant, Issylte was bound to this warrior, the Blue Knight of Cornwall, as if fate had indeed entwined them. Through the windows of his eyes, she peered into his soul, her own blending with his, as if they were the forest and the ocean, encircled now within the three layers of protective stones, the holy trinity of sacred elements of the Goddess.

Author Bio and Links

Enthralled with legends of medieval knights and ladies, dark fairy tales and fantasies about Druids, wizards and magic, Jennifer Ivy Walker always dreamed of becoming a writer. She fell in love with French in junior high school, continuing her study of the language throughout college, eventually becoming a high school teacher and college professor of French.

As a high school teacher, she took her students every year to the annual French competition, where they performed a play she had written, “Yseult la Belle et Tristan la Bête”–an imaginative blend of the medieval French legend of “Tristan et Yseult” and the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast”, enhanced with fantasy elements of a Celtic fairy and a wicked witch.

Her debut novel, “The Wild Rose and the Sea Raven”–the first of a trilogy– is a blend of her love for medieval legends, the romantic French language, and paranormal fantasy. It is a retelling of the medieval French romance of “Tristan et Yseult”, interwoven with Arthurian myth, dark fairy tales from the enchanted Forest of Brocéliande, and otherworldy elements such as Avalonian Elves, Druids, forest fairies and magic.

Explore her realm of Medieval French Fantasy. She hopes her novels will enchant you.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon Link | Barnes & Noble Link

Giveaway

Jennifer Ivy Walker 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 Jennifer on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.

Interview with Corinne LaBalme

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Corinne LaBalme. Today, Corinne shares her creative journey and new release, Summer People.

Interview

What was your inspiration for this book?

The beach… and specifically the beaches of Cape Cod. I believe that our first contact with the ocean becomes “The Beach to which all others are forever compared. My UR beach is on the Nantucket Sound, in Harwich Port, at the end of the road where my maternal grandmother lived.

However, my French father always thought that the Riviera hotel beaches – with three-course restaurants and deck chairs arranged in mathematical precision – were the rule. I’ve been to some beautiful beaches – from the Gulf of Mexico and Greece – but IMO, Rick and Jessica hit the sandy jackpot when they chose to meet on Cape Cod.

Which authors have inspired you?

Every book I read has an influence but writers I wish to emulate are not always in my genre. I’m mad about the gotcha moments that make me catch my breath. John Le Carré, in the first pages of THE RUSSIA HOUSE, has someone telling a long story to a guy named Harry… and suddenly we get: “Though Harry is not my real name.” It’s a throw-away line that totally establishes the fact that we are deep in the world of espionage.

Wow…

What is your favorite quote?

I am not a sports buff but I’ll go with the hockey super star Wayne Gretzky:

“YOU MISS 100% OF THE SHOTS YOU DON’T TAKE”.

In SUMMER PEOPLE, Nancy has the quote engraved on her ID bracelet.

If you had a super-power, what would it be?

I do have a super-power. I just don’t know how to harness it. I can speak directly to Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. When I was being courted by a bunch of guys in their eighties, I asked for a younger man. How did I know she was listening? On my way into the metro,, I was propositioned by a 14-year-old with a skateboard. When I turned him down politely, a grade-school kid in the subway car started stroking my hair. You see, I have the super-power… I just don’t formulate my questions correctly. I just said ‘younger’ but didn’t specify ‘past puberty’ or only ‘high school graduates need apply.”

Ah well…

What are you working on next?

Last January, I published a rom-com cozy mystery about a ghost-writer who gets stranded in Paris when the evil French movie star who hired her to write his sleazy memoirs dies under suspicious circumstances. That was FRENCH GHOST. Now I’m fine-tuning the sequel, FRENCH TOAST, in which our amateur detective gets involved with the high stakes (steaks?) of fancy French cuisine when she signs up to write a cookbook for a famous TV chef.

Blurb

Jessica Stratton’s long-cherished dream of opening her own Folk Art gallery in an idyllic Cape Cod setting finally comes true. However, her start-up is anything but smooth sailing. Her ten-year marriage hits the rocks and, when the hunk next door to her shop – a brooding ecologist on a mission to save the planet – proves too irresistible to ignore, she’s got to relearn the rules of the dating game while working overtime to lure clients to her boutique. Unfortunately, someone’s already far too interested in a 19th century example of advertising art in her collection and will go to any means – legal or illegal – to acquire it. Maybe the planet isn’t all that needs to be saved…

Excerpt

“To you…” he began.

Jenna leaned forward, both hands cupping her wineglass.

“To you and…” Wait a second! Where was that humongous gem she had on her left hand ring finger this morning? What kind of crazy game was this woman playing with him?

“Yes…?” prompted Jenna.

“To you… and to the unexpected,” said Rick slowly.

“To unexpected pleasures, at any rate,” said Jenna brightly after the pause threatened to become uncomfortable. “Like this marvelous homemade chili. I think the toast should be to the chef.” She raised her glass and took a sip.

Plan B. What the hell is Plan B? wondered Rick as he watched her intently. He didn’t detect any come-hither in her straightforward gaze. In fact, her smile conveyed nothing except neighborly concern that he might have been struck deaf and dumb all of a sudden. He raised his glass again, took a long swallow, and turned to his plate. Plan B is all hers, he decided.

Author Bio and Links

Corinne LaBalme lives in France and loves everything about it… except eating snails. Her articles about European fashion, food and fun destinations have appeared in The New York Times Travel section, Diversion, La Belle France and France Revisited. Her favorite place to write? Any Parisian café with a good croissant connection…

The setting for SUMMER PEOPLE is founded on childhood memories of vacations on Cape Cod and based on my mother’s (very real) house in Brewster.

The romantic hero of SUMMER PEOPLE — Rick Martell — is the kind of guy who exists only in our sweetest & beachiest dreams…. sigh!

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

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

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

Blurb Blitz: Diamonds N’ Roses

I’m happy to welcome multi-published author Vogue to my blog. Today, she shares her novel, Diamonds N’ Roses.

Blurb

After battling through the highs and lows of an intense and often dramatic relationship, fashion designer, Carmen Davenport, and business mogul, Jay Santiago, are finally ready to plan their most anticipated event to date – their wedding. However, before they can get down the aisle, they must endure a few unexpected surprises, twists, and turns.

Excerpt

Finally hearing her voice, Jay set the pencil on the desk. “I’m serious about this wedding. Lately, I haven’t been showing that side of me, but I promise, all that is going to change. I’m going to be more involved like I should’ve been in the beginning.”

“You better,” Carmen replied, rising from her chair. “I don’t know what’s going to happen if we have this conversation again.” She picked up the rest of the papers, organizing the documents into a stack, which she set on top of her laptop. “Everything will be right here if you want to look at it. I’m gonna head upstairs. I’m done for the day.”

Jay didn’t pressure her into staying, but he did make sure to get a kiss before she left. To him, the kiss served as confirmation he was officially in her good graces. He still had a lot to prove, but at least he was off to a start. The only thing he had to do now was play catch up.

Once she left, he reached for the stack of papers. He reviewed each one until he was up to date. For Carmen to be the only person majorly contributing aside from the planners, she had put a major dent in the planning stage. There were still things which needed to be decided upon, which led Jay to grab a sheet of paper from the printer. He started jotting down ideas and by the time he was there was hardly any white space on either side of the page.

Author Bio and Links

Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Vogue’s journey through the world of creative writing first began in middle school with poetry and songwriting. However, it was her discovery of prose that opened the door to a world of endless possibilities.

A graduate of Winthrop University (Rock Hill, S.C.), possessing a bachelor’s degree in social work, Vogue, first birthed the idea of The Diamond Collection in the halls of her alma mater. In 2003, she put pen to paper and thus was created, Diamonds in The Rough, part one of The Diamond Collection series.

By 2010, Vogue had written drafts of the entire ten book series and in June of 2010, Diamonds in The Rough, was published. Soon followed by Diamonds Are Forever in October of 2010, The Ace of Diamonds in February of 2013, and Black Diamonds on July 4, 2015, Vogue joined a league of other writers, determined to make her mark in the literary world.

Vogue released the fifth book in the series, Diamonds N’ Roses, on December 25, 2016. She took a hiatus to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from Queens University in Charlotte, NC, but released parts six and seven of the Diamond Collection series, The Diamond Tiara and Dirty Red Diamonds, on June 7, 2022.

When she isn’t writing, Vogue enjoys cooking, blogging about food (Instagram: Miss Black Foodie), attending concerts, festivals, and traveling.

Website | Instagram | Amazon Purchase Link | Barnes & Noble Purchase Link | Books-A-Million Purchase Link

Giveaway

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

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

Interview with Mariëlle S. Smith

I’m happy to welcome writer and writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith. Today, Mariëlle shares her creative journey and new release, 365 Days of Gratitude Journal.

1. What was your inspiration for this book?

The true inspiration behind the 365 Days of Gratitude Journal series was having found a practice that really worked for me and wanting to share it with others so they could reap its benefits too. The inspiration behind this specific volume was wanting to create a more ‘feminine’ version, one that had a different kind of beauty than the more stylish and ‘clean’ first volume.

Basically, I wanted to create something that would make everyone, especially my mother, go ‘Ooooh, pretty!’

2. Describe your writing space.

I just moved six weeks ago and now I finally have a separate office again instead of having a giant desk taking up a too tiny corner of the bedroom!

Aside that desk, which is one of those desks that can adjust in height, I have a Deskbike to make sure I keep moving during the many hours I spend looking at my laptop screen. It’s like a stationary bike without a steering wheel, so that it fits under your desk and you can type as you cycle.

The room includes a built-in wardrobe, on which I’ve created a personalised Kanban board with rainbow-coloured washi tape, and I use the long wall as a place to stick my ideas when I’m plotting/figuring out my next book. Right now, it’s covered with index cards for my upcoming book, 99 Writing Prompts and Journal Exercises to Cultivate Courage and Kick Imposter Syndrome to the Curb. Since that takes up quite a bit of space, all my novel ideas have been relocated to the back of the door for now.

3. What is your favorite quote?

That’s a tough one, since collecting really good quotes is part of my job…

I’ll have to go with this one by Brené Brown, which is one of the first things I put up in my new office:

‘No matter what gets done and how much is done and how it’s done, I’m enough.’

The full quote is ‘No matter what gets done and how much is done and how it’s done, I’m enough and I’m worthy of belonging and love and joy’, but that’s the part that’s often quoted and the part I put up where I can see it when sitting at my desk.

4. Any advice for aspiring writers?

Write the story that’s in your heart.

It never hurts to understand the genre you’re writing in because it’ll help you tweak your story to fit the market and reader expectations better. However, I’ve coached too many writers who got so caught up in what others told them to write, they lost touch with why they started writing that story to begin with.

I’m all for learning from others because it’ll help you grow as a storyteller, but, in the end, once you’ve absorbed all that knowledge, you have to make it your own and trust your own vision.

It’s really about learning how to differentiate between the right and wrong kind of advice for you and your specific situation. And that can take a while. I still find myself leaning towards the wrong advice, but I’ve become much faster at recognising that something isn’t for me.

5. What are you working on next?

I’m in the middle of preparing a Kickstarter campaign for my new book, 99 Writing Prompts and Journal Exercises to Cultivate Courage and Kick Imposter Syndrome to the Curb, and its companion card deck, Cards for Creative Courage.

The book will include the 99 prompts and exercises from my 52 Weeks of Writing series that speak to dealing with our fears and our feelings of not-good-enoughness and that will help you develop a stronger author mindset.

Card for Creative Courage includes 52 inspiring messages that will help any creative person, whether they write, paint, quilt, bake, sing, to listen to their heart, not their fears, and choose courage every time.

This is the first card deck I’ve ever created and it’s going to be exclusive to Kickstarter, so I’m really curious to see how the campaign will go once it launches, which will be… somewhere in October if all goes according to plan.

Blurb

‘The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.’ Mary Davis

*** Now available in black-and-white AND full colour! ***

Gratitude is not just about ATTITUDE.

Gratitude is about PRACTICE.

But how do you create a gratitude practice that sticks?

After the success of her first 365 Days of Gratitude Journal, writing coach Mariëlle S. Smith brings you Volume 2. Same journal but with an entirely different look!

After years of barely surviving her own emotional minefield, Mariëlle discovered the transformative power of practising gratitude. But, like no one else, she knows that cultivating an attitude of gratitude is easier said than done.

365 Days of Gratitude, Vol. 2 is an undated, guided journal. Complete with inspiring quotes, daily prompts, and recurring check-ins, it was designed to help you create a sustainable gratitude practice too.

Commit to the life-changing power of gratitude today and order your copy now!

Excerpt

Gratitude journaling brings me so much. It slows me down. It reminds me to take deep breaths in and out. It stops me from pushing myself too hard, too often. It brings me joy. Happiness. Appreciation. It reminds me of all I have going for me, no matter the kind of day it’s been.

It really has been the key I was looking and ready for when it showed up in my life.

But, even now, after years of practice, I have to consciously decide to do the work. That it came at the right time and with the structure I needed doesn’t mean I don’t get off track, especially when the going gets tough.

I used to become angry and utterly frustrated with myself when this happened, but now I simply sit myself down (read: force myself to take a break) and return to my practice. And because it’s such a simple, structured practice, it’s easier to pick up again than I often think.

Of course, some days or even weeks will be easier than others, but that’s another thing gratitude journaling has brought me. No matter how far I stray, I am grateful for having something to return to. For all the days I ignore my practice, I’m grateful for all the days I do pick up my journal and let the miracle that is life unfold in front of me.

Purchase Links

All purchase links can be found here.

Amazon | Deluxe Edition Amazon | Barnes & Noble Black-and-White Edition | Barnes & Noble Full Colour Edition

Author Bio and Links

Mariëlle S. Smith is a writer, writing coach, and editor. She lives in Cyprus, where she organises private writer’s retreats, is inspired 24/7, and feeds more stray cats than she can count.

Website | Facebook | Blog | Goodreads | Instagram | YouTube

Giveaway

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

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

Blurb Blitz: Home to Clare Harbor Box Set

I’m happy to welcome author Jacie Middlemann. Today, Jacie shares her box set, Home to Clare Harbor.

Blurb

They started out as strangers…but didn’t stay that way for long…

A devoted granddaughter willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe. Strangers who meet during the worst of conditions and become friends in the midst of chaos. Unexpected romance under the most unlikely circumstances. A puzzling mystery with its roots in historical events that took place centuries ago. And a storm that hides an ominous purpose that could change all their lives forever.

Sara knows before she walks into her grandparent’s home that her grandmother’s greatest fear will never be the storm or the threat it poses but instead the unknown that lays just beyond her front door. She knows too its cause and grieves that there is nothing she can do to change it.

Throughout the years of his career John has covered numerous battlefields including those that are a result of nature’s unyielding tempest. He fears this might be the worst one yet.

Mel didn’t expect to spend more than a few days in the large house where they’d taken refuge. She figured the storm would pass by and then they’d be off to their next assignment. The last thing she expected was David Payne.

Despite the fact that Lance was the bane of her teenage years, Tish knows that without the help of her father’s assistant, that the trip to North Carolina likely would have been a lot more challenging than it was. She’d been unequivocally terrified but his presence gave her strength she didn’t realize she had. She wasn’t certain how she felt about that…or him…or that he no longer irritated her the way he used to.

When Gary arrived at his family’s home in the mountains of North Carolina, he’s relieved that Sara and her grandparents along with their elderly friends are already there. But he is unable to take an easy breath until Tish finally arrives with Lance…and is not at all surprised at what he hears from Lance about their trip and the potential dangers they’d just barely been able to avoid.

He’s determined to do everything he can to keep their location safe…and unknown. Their knowledge, skills, and ingenuity are their greatest defense. For a time they would have to depend on themselves…it hadn’t take long to discover that the storm was never their greatest threat…but what is could change all their lives for the immediate future…or longer.

If you enjoy uplifting and heartfelt women’s fiction, young and older heroes and heroines filled with courage and compassion as they share joys and triumphs, and united they face and overcome tremendous challenges and tragedy, this book is for you.

Excerpt

“I’m so sorry, dear. I know I’m being foolish,” Maisie said quietly.

“No one could ever accuse you of being foolish, Grandma,” Sara said meaning every word. “We’re in a scary situation that none of us have ever been in before. You’d be far more foolish if you claimed it didn’t bother you.”

“It’s not just the storm,” Maisie admitted slowly but she kept her eyes steady on those of the young woman sitting next to her.

“Tell me, Grandma,” Sara asked softly. She knew sometimes if her grandmother was able to give voice to her fears it helped to diminish them.

Lord only knew that she’d talked with enough professionals to learn ways that could successfully help her grandmother to cope with the many fears that too often held her in their grip. She knew at the moment the primary one came from not being in familiar surroundings…not being in her own her home. Everything else was peripheral to that.

But at the moment there was little she could do to remedy the greatest of her fears.

“I won’t be able to go home, will I?”

The trembling voice that was filled with so much more than just fear broke Sara’s heart. She knew it was the exact same fear of so many others who were her grandmother’s age.

“Oh, Grandma.” She wrapped her arms around the frail shoulders that had once been so strong and sturdy. They had been her buffer against the world for so many years during her childhood and all the years after. She could do no less for her now.

********The box set is on sale for $0.99********

Author Bio and Links

Jacie Middlemann lives in Texas with her husband and a couple of cats who believe they rule…and sometimes they do.

When she’s not watching classic sitcoms or working on a needlework project for one of her kids, she loves to read women’s fiction and sometimes a good mystery suspense.

Amazon | Goodreads | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Jacie Middlemann will be awarding a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Interview with Janie Emaus

I’m happy to welcome Wild Rose Press author Janie Emaus. Today, Janie shares her creative journey and new release, The Time Traveling Matchmaker.

What was your inspiration for this book?

I’m a sucker for a happy ending. After hearing several news stories about missing people, I thought what if they weren’t being held against their will or in danger. What if they had been picked up by the Time Traveling Matchmakers and were living with their soul mate in a different time? And thus, The Time Traveling Matchmakers organization was founded.

What’s the best part of being an author? The worst

I love it when readers enjoy my books, blogs and essays. I don’t like the marketing and promotion part that is necessary so those readers know about my books.

Describe your writing space.

My office is “organized chaos! I write on a laptop which sits on an old desk. I’m surrounded by books and lots of photos. There is also a guest bed and a piano in the room, leaving a small path that leads to my desk. And when my characters join me, it gets very crowded. But it’s my favorite room in our house.

Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?

I love walking and swimming. Not only do they release the endorphins, but stories come to me while I’m doing laps or throwing a ball to my crazy lab.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Perseverance. I sold my first book, Latkes for Santa Claus, after twenty years of trying. I gathered hundreds of rejections, but never lost faith in my story or myself. Shortly after that sale, I sold The Time Traveling Matchmaker. Also, join a critique group, read, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t feel like writing every day.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a women’s fiction book. Here is a short blurb. An aging rock star searching for an heir. Three women hiding from the past. A young girl searching for her identity. And the biographer with the power to write their futures. Will his quest be destructive or lead them back to The Notes Between Them?

As I said above, I’m going to persevere until I get this book into the world. My first husband was a drummer and I’ve always wanted to delve into that world.

Blurb

In The Time Traveling Matchmaker, love takes on a new meaning when soul mates are brought together through time and space.

Like every goal-oriented twenty-something, Jessica Singleton, an aspiring filmmaker, is obsessed with finding her future as quickly as possible. What she doesn’t know is that the future is obsessed with finding her, too. Renn Porter, an agent with Time Traveling Matchmaker’s Inc, blasts back in time – and into her life- in order to transport Jessica to the soul mate who has paid for this service…in the future. But things turn dangerous when it’s revealed that Renn has been sent after his own soul mate.

Caught between two times, Jessica and Renn must struggle to stay alive. Falling in love is the biggest risk either of them has ever taken – because, as they are destined to learn, the very existence of Time Traveling Matchmakers, Inc. rests in Jessica’s hands.

Excerpt

Ever was a word that didn’t do well alone. It goes much better with happily and after. The way my life used to be. The way I thought it never would be again after David, and then along came Renn. And the world opened up, even better than before.

His lips. His touch. His eyes. His voice. There wasn’t room in my mind for thoughts of anything else.

It didn’t matter that he claimed he came from the future. Maybe he did. So many things in this world defy logic. Especially love.

Please, God, bring him back to me.

My stomach growled. I opened the fridge again and picked up the healthiest looking apple, one without any bruises.

The apple tasted sour. I spit the skin into my hand and tossed the whole thing in the trash. The fabric in my pocket grew warm.

“Jessica.”

I spun around. Renn leaned against the wall, his trench coat open to expose a silky blue shirt. His lemony scent drifted into the room.

“It’s you,” I said, stating the obvious and feeling foolish for doing so.

His smile filled me with lightness.

“It’s me,” he said, as if he’d just returned from the store. In fact, he held a bag of donuts.

Donuts! He vanishes out of the bathroom and materializes out of thin air the next day with donuts?

A second later, the bag fell to the ground, and I was in his arms, kissing him. Putting the ever back into my life.

Buy Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop

Author Bio and Links

Janie Emaus believes when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. The Time Traveling Matchmaker is her debut adult novel. She is also the author of the blended holiday picture books, Latkes for Santa Claus, and the forthcoming Matzo Balls & Easter Eggs. Her essays, stories and articles have been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and websites. In 2016 she won an honorary mention in the Erma Bombeck Writing competition.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Instagram | Blog

Giveaway

Janie Emaus will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Blurb Blitz: To Kingdom Come

I’m happy to welcome award-winning author Claudia Riess. Today, Claudia shares her recent release, To Kingdom Come.

Blurb

Amateur sleuths, Erika Shawn-Wheatley, art magazine editor, and Harrison Wheatley, art history professor, attend a Zoom meeting of individuals from around the globe whose common goal is to expedite the return of African art looted during the colonial era. Olivia Chatham, a math instructor at London University, has just begun speaking about her recent find, a journal penned by her great-granduncle, Andrew Barrett, active member of the Royal Army Medical Service during England’s 1897 “punitive expedition” launched against the Kingdom of Benin.

Olivia is about to disclose what she hopes the sleuthing duo will bring to light, when the proceedings are disrupted by an unusual movement in one of the squares on the grid. Frozen disbelief erupts into a frenzy of calls for help as the group, including the victim, watch in horror the enactment of a murder videotaped in real time.

It will not be the only murder or act of brutality Erika and Harrison encounter in their two-pronged effort to hunt down the source of violence and unearth a cache of African treasures alluded to in Barrett’s journal.

Much of the action takes place in London, scene of the crimes and quest for redemption.

Excerpt

He wondered now why had it taken such an effort to decide which of his plans to set in motion. Walking off with an artifact or two from Franks House, the British Museum’s storage facility in East London, may have given him his political statement, but at what cost? The place was crawling with workers in lab coats and masks—conservators, project managers, photographers, interns, auditors, volunteers—the lot of them engaged in the end goal of moving 200,000 objects from the museum’s collection of Africa, Oceania, and the Americans to its nearly spanking new World Conservation and Exhibition Centre. True, it would not have been an insurmountable task, entering the quiet road where the quaint redbrick warehouse lay and unobtrusively blending into the workforce, but then what? Would he have been forced to shoot his way out of the place at the risk of being gunned down himself? How sordid and at the same time mundane to mow down an uncalculated number of individuals, only to find himself a mere casualty sprawled among them. Hell no, he was neither a loony terrorist nor a crack- head martyr. The plan in place was the more sensible course, no question about it.

It was restful, hearing below his thoughts the rhythmic phrase of train wheels clacking against the tracks in lulling repetition. His calmness surprised him a little, given what lay ahead. His scenario had been well choreographed, but only on an imagined stage with players moving about under his ironclad direction. In real life, even the most meticulous plan is apt to be disrupted by unforeseen circumstances. He knew that it was exactly 1.6 miles from Effingham Junction Station to the mansion on Ockham Lane in Cobham, Surrey, but was he certain that he would not be accosted by a madman or struck by lightning on his walk to the place?

If he allowed his thoughts to ramble on in this manner, his nerves would start acting up. He must lean into the physical moment and move with it into his destiny. He looked out the window past his reflection and focused on the indifferent stars.

Author Bio and Links

An award-winning author of seven novels, Claudia Riess graduated from Vassar and resides in Manhattan and Westhampton Beach. Her most recent novel is the fourth book in her art history mystery series. “To Kingdom Come” will be released in Spring 2022 by Level Best Books.

Last year, Riess signed a second three-book contract with Level Best Books to continue the series that began with “Stolen Light.” The plot involved murder, the Italian Renaissance, and the Cuban Revolution—as well as a love story. The book was chosen by the Vassar travel program coordinator and the Vassar Latin American professor for distribution to the participants in their 2017 “people-to-people” trips to Cuba.

The latest suspense novel set in the art world, sleuths Erika Shawn, art magazine editor, and Harrison Wheatley, art history professor. Now married, the couple is caught up in a multiple-murder case involving the repatriation of African art and artifacts seized by the British in the late nineteenth century during the colonial era. Much of the action takes place in London, scene of the crimes and quest for redemption.

“Riess uses words as an artist uses a paint brush; the pages come to life.”
~Joseph Epstein, Ph.D

“Mystery. Passion. Crime. What more could a book-lover want!”
~Elizabeth Cooke, author of the Hotel Marcel Series

An engaging speaker, Riess has recently given several author talks via Zoom for libraries* and is scheduled for future Zoom and podcast events at more venues. Subjects include “Anatomy of a Murder Mystery,” “Dangerous Liaison: Fiction and History,” and “The Joys and Perils of Creating a Mystery Series.” Her talks are of interest to both authors and readers.

*“Thank you for a fun evening. It was very interesting to hear about the process of writing.”
~Jocelyn Ozolins, Head of Reference, Shelter Island Library

Claudia Riess has worked in the editorial departments of The New Yorker magazine and Holt Rinehart and Winston. She has also edited several art history monographs. For more about Riess and her work, visit http://www.claudiariessbooks.com.

All four books in the art history mystery series are available through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, IndieBound.org and at independent book stores. For bulk discount purchases, contact https://levelbestbooks.wordpress.com.

Website | Amazon Author Page | Amazon Buy Link

Giveaway

Claudia Riess will be awarding a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.

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

Virtual Book Tour: Irresistible

I’m happy to welcome USA Today Bestselling author Darcy Burke. Today, Darcy shares an entertaining post about a writer’s life and her new release, Irresistible.

A Day in the Life

You probably know that writers’ lives are not that glamorous. For the most part, I get up, I feed the cats, I eat breakfast, I wake my son, give him breakfast, then I drive him to school. Or, maybe it’s a morning when I drive him to get allergy shots first. His school day is either three and half hours or just over five hours. On the shorter days, I often don’t drive home (school is 20-30 minutes away, depending on traffic and construction). Instead, I run errands, work at Starbucks, and usually grab lunch.

I like working at Starbucks or a lunch place because I am not distracted by cats! Or laundry (I am weird – I actually like doing laundry!). When I am in public, I tend to focus better for some stupid reason. So if I’m on deadline, I like to take advantage of that time to force myself to work. It feels even more productive now after so long at home due to the pandemic, but I don’t know how accurate that is.

I try not to run too many errands as it can be incredibly distracting. Running into Target for two things becomes an hour-long trek purchasing things I vaguely need, but probably not right now when I, um, should be writing. My favorite boutique is next door to one of the Starbucks where I write. That can be a total time suck! I am super proud of myself for avoiding it since new year’s! And I had a gift certificate!!

After I pick up my son, I typically go home and work some more or I’ll run on the treadmill. I bait myself with television to get myself to run—that’s where I do my best binge watching. I’m currently enjoying the show Barry starring Bill Hader and Henry Winkler. I laugh out loud several times every episode. I am lucky to have a husband who does most of the cooking. I just got really tired of it about five years ago, and he enjoys it, so it works out. I do still cook (I’m the taco, chili, and stew queen!), mostly when I’m not on deadline.

Evenings are spent either writing, ironing (I iron sheets because I hate when the top edges are all wrinkled), reading, or watching TV with the family. Or playing games! Oh, and always, always petting cats.

Blurb

Jessamine Goodfellow has spent six Seasons avoiding the parson’s trap, and spinsterhood is finally within her grasp. A brilliant scholar, she longs for adventure and new experiences, things her family frowns upon. Presented with the opportunity to use her puzzle-solving talent on a secret mission for the Foreign Office, Jess eagerly accepts. Even when it means posing as the wife of a scorchingly attractive Scotsman who she must also covertly investigate as a possible double agent.

Lord Dougal MacNair, the new Viscount Fallin, has always completed his assignments for the Foreign Office alone. Now he’s saddled with an overly enthusiastic amateur partner. She possesses a remarkable intellect, but something about her isn’t quite right, and after two failed missions, Dougal is certain someone is working against him. Battling their secret suspicions, Dougal and Jess dive deep into their cover as a married couple, which arouses temptations they find irresistible. Danger is all around them, but it’s their hearts that may be the most imperiled.

Excerpt

“Tell me why I’ve hurried back.”

“A mission to the Dorset coast. You leave in a week.”

Dougal frowned. “If I don’t leave for a week, why am I here now?”

Lucien hesitated the barest moment. “Because you need time to prepare with your partner.”

“My what?”

Voices in the hall interrupted further conversation because a moment later, Lucien’s butler announced the arrival of Lady Pickering and Miss Jessamine Goodfellow. Dougal was very familiar with Lady Pickering, but the other white woman was unknown to him. Taller than most ladies, Miss Goodfellow possessed vivid cobalt eyes that assessed him with a keen curiosity. Indeed, her unabashed attention could only mean one thing—that she was to be his partner.

Lady Pickering moved her vigilant gaze toward him. “I’m pleased you could arrive so quickly, Lord Fallin. I do apologize that you were called away at this time.”

Dougal inclined his head. “I am always eager to serve.”

“One of your best qualities.” Lady Pickering turned slightly toward the young lady. “Jessamine, this is Lord Fallin.” Lady Pickering then looked to Dougal. “Allow me to present Miss Jessamine Goodfellow. She will be your wife on this endeavor.”

“My what?” First, he had a partner, and now he had a wife?

Author Bio and Links

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sexy, emotional historical and contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. Click here to Join her Reader Club.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, artist daughter, and imaginative son who will almost certainly out-write her one day (that may be tomorrow).

They’re a crazy cat family with two Bengal cats, a small, fame-seeking cat named after a fruit, an older rescue Maine Coon with attitude to spare, and a collection of neighbor cats who hang out on the deck and occasionally venture inside. You can find Darcy at a winery, in her comfy writing chair, or binge-watching TV with the family.

Her happy places are Disneyland, Labor Day weekend at the Gorge, Denmark, and anywhere in the UK—so long as her family is there too.

Website | Reader Group Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter | BookBub | Goodreads | Facebook | Darcy’s Duchesses Facebook Group

Impossible Buy Links

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo

Giveaway

One randomly chosen winner via Rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/Barnes & Noble gift card. Find out more here.

Follow Darcy Burke on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.