#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #QandAs : The Heretic’s Daughter #TheHereticsDaughter #IsaacAlverez – M Lynes @MLynesAuthor

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

The Heretic's Daughter BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘The Heretic’s Daughter’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tour.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Photo on 13-10-2016 at 12.31Michael writes historical fiction and won a prize for his debut novel, Blood Libel, at the 2020 Emirates Literature Festival. Sophie Hannah called it, ‘immensely gripping,’ and the Historical Novel Society said, ‘Lynes knows his history and tells the story with verve.’ He is an alumnus of the Faber Academy’s Writing a Novel course.
The Isaac Alvarez Mysteries are set in turn of the 16th century Andalusia. A febrile time: the Catholic monarchs, Isabella and Ferdinand, had just ended the Moors’ 700-year domination of the region. Religious tensions between Catholics, Jews and Muslims are running high and the Inquisition is determined to drive out heresy. Isaac struggles with his religious identity whilst trying to protect his family and keep King Ferdinand happy.
Isaac’s first investigation was published in January 2021 . The second, The Heretic’s Daughter, was published in May 2022. He is hard at work on the third book in the series and planning the fourth. Michael is originally from London but currently lives in Dubai with his family.

Website

Synopsis :

HD_FINAL Draft copy 2Seville, 1498. As the Inquisition’s grip on Andalucia tightens, Isaac and Isabel are forced to choose between family and faith. Can their family survive the consequences?
Isaac seeks revenge on Torquemada for the murder of his wife and best friend. But he’s not the only one who wants The Grand Inquisitor dead. The King commands Isaac to investigate. If Isaac stops the assassination, he saves the man he hates. Fail and he loses the King’s protection: the only thing keeping a heretic like Isaac alive. After a perilous journey to Granada, he confronts both Torquemada and the truth about himself.
Conflicted by her father’s heresy and distressed by his quest for vengeance, Isabel sets out to discover the truth. Feeling abandoned by her father, the trail takes her to the darkest places in Seville. She is unnerved by a shocking revelation and a surprising discovery about her real feelings. Can Isabel use what she has unearthed to save her father and their family?
The first book in the Isaac Alvarez Mysteries, Blood Libel, won a prize at the 2020 Emirates Literature Festival.

Amazon

Q&A :

Michael Lynes writes The Isaac Alvarez Mysteries under the pen name M Lynes. The first
book in the series, Blood Libel, won a prize at the 2020 Emirates Literature Festival and
was published in 2021. The second book, The Heretic’s Daughter, has just been published. He’s working on the third instalment which will be available in 2023.

Why did you decide to write about late-medieval Andalusia?
I’ve always been fascinated by periods of immense social and political change. And turn of the 16th century was an extremely turbulent time in Spain. I thought it was a very rich period to set a series of historical mysteries in. I was really drawn to the period after learning some of the human stories after a visit to Andalusia in 2013. I wanted to explore what that meant for a specific family, so I created the Alvarez family. Isaac, the father, is a lawyer working for King Ferdinand. He is a converso – a Jew forced to convert to Catholicism – the so called ‘True Faith’ of the time. But in his heart he remains a Jew. He is forced to become an investigator to protect both his faith and his family. His daughter, Isabel, is conflicted by her father’s heresy. The first book, Blood Libel, tells the story of the Alvarez family’s fight for survival focusing very much on Isaac’s point of view. The second book, The Heretic’s Daughter, which was recently published, continues the story in Granada and focuses more on Isabel’s view of events. There’s even a romantic sub-plot. I’ve been really pleased by the reviews for this so far.

Wasn’t this a very violent time? How do you capture the reader’s interest?
Some of the characters are blood-thirsty and cruel but there are also acts of great kindness and sacrifice. The reader spends time with each member of the Alvarez family getting to know them as individuals and, I hope, empathising with their situation. Their moral dilemmas are set in far more dangerous times than our own, but I think their concerns are universal and have contemporary resonance.
I tried hard not to make the two central antagonists in Blood Libel – Alonso and Torquemada – pantomime villains. I spent a lot of time in their heads looking at it from their point of view, which wasn’t always a comfortable place to be. They believed that the Inquisition’s mission was to save souls. They saw themselves as shepherds protecting their flock and ensuring that as many of them as possible would get to heaven. Were they misguided and did they do great damage to many families? Absolutely. By putting the Inquisition’s side of the story, I hope the reader will get a more nuanced, three-dimensional view. But I certainly don’t downplay how unjust and repugnant the Inquisition was.

What’s the biggest challenge in writing historical fiction, and what’s the best part?
If you write historical fiction then you do a lot of research. I’m still trying to persuade my wife that I desperately need to return to Andalusia to do some more ‘research’ into the wine and food of the region. But once you start writing you need to let a lot of the detail go. I found that very difficult in my early drafts where I was guilty of trying to show off how much I knew. Hopefully, I’m better at that now as otherwise it can become very boring for the reader. Now that I’ve got an established world and set of characters it is fun thinking about what they might do next. And I’m at the point where they surprise me, which makes writing really enjoyable. I think of the characters as just people who loved, laughed and worried in much the same way as we do. They just did it in a very different context, particularly religiously.

What are you working on now?
I’ve just completed The Heretic’s Daughter which I’m really excited about. I think the cover design by Jennie Rawlings, (http://www.serifim.com) is stunning. I’ll be particularly interested to hear from readers about how they feel about the ending of the book. There are a lot of changes in store for the Alvarez family. This book naturally leads on to the third instalment which I’m hoping to get started on very soon and publish in early 2023.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandRBookTours @RRBookTours1 / #QandAs : Descent of a Broken Man #DescentofaBrokenMan – Ashon Ruffons @lifethrufiction @TimesDreadful

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Tour Banner(1)

Today I’m on the ‘Descent of a Broken Man’ blogtour, organized by R&R Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

AuthorAshon Ruffins is a native New Orleanian and a military Veteran. He earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, while also holding certifications for several other professions. He loves the art of storytelling in all genres and believes the best lessons in life can be told through fiction. In his spare time, he likes to read, enjoy movies and develop recipes. Descent of a Broken Man is his debut novel.

Dreadful Times Press | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Synopsis :

Title: Descent of a Broken Man
Publication Date: February 11th, 2022
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Dreadful Times Press

CoverJames Corbin is an ambitious high school history teacher who resides in the lively, yet dangerous city of New Orleans. He suffers from severe depression and anxiety and is on a downward spiral, unwilling to seek the help he desperately needs. His troubles are compounded by a lack of progress in his professional career, his disintegrating marriage, and lack of respect from his peers. While his struggles threaten to cripple him, the city is marred by a series of brutal religious murders.
However, it’s soon clear that there is not only one, but two murderers wreaking havoc on the city. While police chase the murderers, James focuses on his quest for professional success and self-worth from his research. Unfortunately for him, the research leads to the discovery of a nefarious essence, which unlocks a darkness and brings James face to face with a monster of his own. Within some people, there is something… off. Something dormant. A terror that, if found, will leave a path of pain in its wake.
TW: Depression/ Mental Health

GoodReads

Amazon

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
Sure, I’m from New Orleans, La and i’m a husband and a father. I’ve always been a fan of art and it many different forms. Music, paintings, books and my favorite, the culinary arts. I’m also a huge mental health advocate. I’ve seen some horrific things in life up close and personal. I used writing to work through some of that trauma and give me an outlet. Later, stories begin to develop in my mind and I realized that telling stories about the trauma of the human expirience from the perspective of an African-American put me on my path of becoming an author.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
Even as a kid I enjoyed horror. Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark was my favorite. Any book I could get my hands on about werewolves was a must read and of course, Curious George. Who doesn’t love Curious George. Now, as a grown-up, I enjoy the King of horror, Steven King. I love Dan Brown and his way of blending fact with fiction and the way he structures his stories. It pushes you to keep reading to see what happens next. Other than that, I enjoy indulging in the work of indie authors and non-fiction history books.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
That is a great question. It’s also a very hard one to answer. If I have to pick only one, I would have to go with Dan Brown. I would ask him how does he know when his factual research is interesting enough to blend with the story he wants to tell? The reason for that is because I write and warn about the true truama of the human expereince and I believe the best book I can write would have that perfect blend that would speak to readers on a deeply personal level.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Definitely Priestess Nadia from my novel Descent of A Broken Man. She is strong, smart, wise, and tells you exactly what’s on her mind. Nadia has a wealth of knowledge. I’d love to pick her brain. It would be interesting topics of conversation.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
In a perfect world, I would be able to carve out two hours at my desk with just my laptop, my two monitors and a glass of Scotch. However, I have a full time job, a wife, and two little ones who depend on me a lot. I’m also the cook in my home. So, they come first. I write when I can fit it in. Sometimes on my cellphone and very late night weekends. They are well worth it.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
This is a great question. So, we all have different experiences in life. A woman’s daily experience is different from mine as a man. Same applies to me as an African-American, compared to others. So what trauma can I warn against using the most compatible horror plot I can come up with. The human experience gives me my ideas and yes, the people in my life should be worried. LoL.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a hybrid. I plot out my main characters, their background, the story I want to tell and then my antagonist. From that point I just go with the flow and do my reasearch as I go.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Sure. Write. Write every chance you get. Write about what intriuges you. What facinates you. Write about what you are curious about. That will lead to you reading more on those topics and that will provide all the motivation you need to create the stories you want to tell. Don’t quit!

What are your futureplans as an author?
Descent of a Broken man is book one in a three book series of Uncovered Darkness. I’m currently working on book 2 and eventually book 3.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
What will it take? What will it take for you to become desperate? To become hopeless, after things fall apart? All while dealing with something you don’t fully understand, determined to show those around you that you are capable. Can you stay in the light or will you step into darkness?

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Ashon Ruffons.

Giveaway :

Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card! (International)

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!

#BlogTour #HarlequinTradePublishingBlogTour @htp_books / #Excerpt : Never Coming Home #NeverComingHome – Hannah Mary McKinnon @HannahMMcKinnon @MIRAEditors @HarperCollins @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

638-HTP-Banner---MYSTERY-THRILLER-for-Google-Form

Today I’m on the ‘Never Coming Home’ blogtour, organized by Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Hannah Mary McKinnon author photoHannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing, and is now the author of The Neighbors, Her Secret Son, Sister Dear and You Will Remember Me. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.

Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook
GoodReads

Synopsis :

Title: Never Coming Home
Author: Hannah Mary McKinnon
ISBN: 9780778386100
Publication Date: May 24, 2022
Publisher: MIRA Books

2021-11-17 NCH coverFirst comes love. Then comes murder.
Lucas Forester didn’t hate his wife. Michelle was brilliant, sophisticated and beautiful. Sure, she had extravagant spending habits, that petty attitude, a total disregard for anyone below her status. But she also had a lot to offer. Most notably: wealth that only the one percent could comprehend.
For years, Lucas has been honing a flawless plan to inherit Michelle’s fortune. Unfortunately, it involves taking a hit out on her.
Every track is covered, no trace left behind, and now Lucas plays the grieving husband so well he deserves an award. But when a shocking photo and cryptic note show up on his doorstep, Lucas goes from hunter to prey.
Someone is on to him. And they’re closing in.
Told with dark wit and a sharply feminist sensibility, Never Coming Home is a terrifying tale of duplicity that will have you side-eyeing your spouse as you dash to the breathtaking end.

BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Excerpt :

1
SUNDAY

The steady noise from the antique French carriage clock on the mantelpiece had somehow amplified itself, a rhythmic tick-tick, tick-tick, which usually went unnoticed. After I’d been sitting in the same position and holding my ailing mother-in-law’s hand for almost an hour, the incessant clicking had long wormed its way deep into my brain where it grated on my nerves, stirring up fantasies of hammers, bent copper coils, and shattered glass.
Nora looked considerably worse than when I’d visited her earlier this week. She was propped up in bed, surrounded by a multitude of pillows. She’d lost more weight, something her pre-illness slender physique couldn’t afford. Her bones jutted out like rocks on a cliff, turning a kiss on the cheek into an extreme sport in which you might lose an eye. The ghostly hue on her face resembled the kids who’d come dressed up as ghouls for Halloween a few days ago, emphasizing the dark circles that had transformed her eyes into mini sinkholes. It wasn’t clear how much time she had left. I was no medical professional, but we could all tell it wouldn’t be long. When she’d shared her doctor’s diagnosis with me barely three weeks ago, they’d estimated around two months, but at the rate of Nora’s decline, it wouldn’t have come as a surprise if it turned out to be a matter of days.
Ovarian cancer. As a thirty-two-year-old Englishman who wasn’t yet half Nora’s age I’d had no idea it was dubbed the silent killer but now understood why. Despite the considerable wealth and social notoriety Nora enjoyed in the upscale and picturesque town of Chelmswood on the outskirts of Boston, by the time she’d seen someone because of a bad back and they’d worked out what was going on, her vital organs were under siege. The disease was a formidable opponent, the stealthiest of snipers, destroying her from the inside out before she had any indication something was wrong.
A shame, truly, because Nora was the only one in the Ward family I actually liked. I wouldn’t have sat here this long with my arse going numb for my father-in-law’s benefit, that’s for sure. Given half the chance I’d have smothered him with a pillow while the nurse wasn’t looking. But not Nora. She was kindhearted, gentle. The type of person who quietly gave time and money to multiple causes and charities without expecting a single accolade in return. Sometimes I imagined my mother would’ve been like Nora, had she survived, and fleetingly wondered what might have become of me if she hadn’t died so young, if I’d have grown up to be a good person.
I gradually pulled my hand away from Nora’s and reached for my phone, decided on playing a game or two of backgammon until she woke up. The app had thrashed me the last three rounds and I was due, but Nora’s fingers twitched before I made my first move. I studied her brow, which seemed furrowed in pain even as she slept. Not for the first time I hoped the Grim Reaper would stake his or her claim sooner rather than later. If I were death, I’d be swift, efficient, and merciful, not prescribe a drawn-out, painful process during which body, mind, or both, wasted away. People shouldn’t be made to suffer as they died. Not all of them, anyway.
“Lucas?”
I jumped as Diane, Nora’s nurse and my neighbor, put a hand on my shoulder. She’d only left the room for a couple of minutes but always wore those soft-soled shoes when she worked, which meant I never heard her coming until she was next to me. Kind of sneaky, when I thought about it, and I decided I wouldn’t sit with my back to the door again.
As she walked past, the air filled with the distinctive medicinal scent of hand sanitizer and antiseptic. I hated that smell. Too many bad memories I couldn’t shake. Diane set a glass of water on the bedside table, checked Nora’s vitals, and turned around. Hands on hips, she peered down at me from her six-foot frame, her tight dark curls bouncing alongside her jawbone like a set of tiny corkscrews.
“You can go home now. I’ll take the evening from here.” Regardless of her amicable delivery, there was no mistaking the instruction, but she still added, “Get some rest. God knows you look like you need it.”
“Thanks a lot,” I replied with mock indignation. “You sure know how to flatter a guy.”
Diane cocked her head to one side, folded her arms, and gave me another long stare, which to anyone else would’ve been intimidating. “How long since you slept? I mean properly.”
I waved a hand. “It’s only seven o’clock.”
“Yeah, I guess given the circumstances I wouldn’t want to be home alone, either.”
I looked away. “That’s not what this is about. I’ll wait until Nora wakes up again. I want to say goodbye. You know, in case she…” My voice cracked a little on the last word and I feigned a cough as I pressed the heels of my palms over my eyes.
“She won’t,” Diane whispered. “Not tonight. Trust me. She’s not ready to go.”
I knew Diane had worked in hospice for two decades and had seen more than her fair share of people taking their last breaths. If she said Nora wouldn’t die tonight, then Nora would still be here in the morning.
“I’ll leave in a bit. After she wakes up.”
Diane let out a resigned sigh and sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the bed. A comfortable silence settled between us despite the fact we didn’t know each other very well. I’d first met Diane and her wife Karina, who were both in their forties, when they’d struck up a conversation with me and my wife Michelle as we’d moved into our house on the other side of Chelmswood almost three years prior. Something about garbage days and recycling rules, I think. The mundane discussion could’ve led to a multitude of drinks, shared meals, and the swapping of embarrassing childhood stories, except we were all what Michelle had called busy professionals with (quote) hectic work schedules that make forging new friendships difficult. My Captain Subtext translated her comment as can’t be bothered and, consequently, the four of us had never made the transition from neighbors to close friends.
Aside from the occasional holiday party invitation or looking after each other’s places whenever we were away—picking up the mail, watering the plants, that kind of thing—we only saw each other in passing. Nevertheless, Karina regularly left a Welcome Back note on our kitchen counter along with flowers from their garden and a bottle of wine. Not one to be outdone on anything, Michelle reciprocated, except she’d always chosen more elaborate bouquets and fancier booze. My wife’s silent little pissing contests, which I’d pretended to be too dense to notice, had irked me to hell and back, but when Nora fell ill and Diane had been assigned as one of her nurses, I’d been relieved it was someone I knew and trusted.
“I’m sorry this is happening to you,” Diane said, rescuing me from the spousal memories. “It’s not fair. I mean, it’s never fair, obviously, but on top of what you’re going through with Michelle. I can’t imagine. It’s so awful…”
I acknowledged the rest of the words she left hanging in the air with a nod. There was nothing left to say about my wife’s situation we hadn’t already discussed, rediscussed, dissected, reconstructed, and pulled apart all over again. We’d not solved the mystery of her whereabouts or found more clues. Nothing new, helpful or hopeful, anyway. We never would.
Silence descended upon us again, the gaudy carriage clock ticking away, reviving the images of me with hammer in hand until the doorbell masked the sound.
“I’ll go,” Diane muttered, and before I had the chance to stand, she left the room and pulled the door shut. I couldn’t help wondering if her swift departure was because she needed to escape from me, the man who’d used her supportive shoulder almost daily for the past month. I decided to tone it down a little. Nobody wanted to be around an overdramatic, constant crybaby regardless of their circumstances.
I listened for voices but couldn’t hear any despite my leaning toward the door and craning my neck. I couldn’t risk moving in case Nora woke up. Her body was failing, but her mind remained sharp as a box of tacks. She’d wonder what I was up to if she saw my ear pressed against the mahogany panel. Solid mahogany. The best money could buy thanks to the Ward family’s three-generations-old construction empire. No cheap building materials in this house, as my father-in-law had pointed out when he’d first given me the tour of the six bedrooms, four reception rooms, indoor and outdoor kitchens (never mind the abhorrent freezing Boston winters), and what could only be described as grounds because yard implied it was manageable with a push-along mower.
“Only the best for my family,” Gideon had said in his characteristic rumbly, pompous way as he’d knocked back another glass of Laphroaig, the broad East Coast accent he worked hard to hide making more of a reappearance with each gluttonous glug. “No MDF, vinyl or laminate garbage, thank you. That’s not what I’m about. Not at all.”
It’s in the houses you build for others, I’d thought as I’d grunted an inaudible reply he no doubt mistook for agreement because people rarely contradicted him. As I raised my glass of scotch, I didn’t mention the council flats I grew up in on what Gideon dismissed as the lesser side of the pond, or the multiple times Dad and I had been kicked out of our dingy digs because he couldn’t pay the rent, and we’d ended up on the streets. My childhood had been vastly different to my wife’s, and I imagined the pleasure I’d find in watching Gideon’s eyes bulge as I described the squalor I’d lived in, and he realized my background was worlds away from the shiny and elitist version I’d led everyone to believe was the truth. I pictured myself laughing as he understood his perfect daughter had married so far beneath her, she may as well have pulled me up from the dirt like a carrot, and not the expensive organic kind.
Of course, I hadn’t told him anything. I’d taken another swig of the scotch I loathed, but otherwise kept my mouth shut. As satisfying as it would’ve been, my father-in-law knowing the truth about my background had never been part of my long-term agenda. In any case, and despite Gideon’s efforts, things were working to plan. Better than. The smug bastard was dead.
And he wasn’t the only one.

Excerpted from Never Coming Home by Hannah Mary McKinnon. Copyright © 2022 by Hannah Mary McKinnon. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @maryanneyarde / #Excerpt : Before Beltane (Celtic Fervour Series Book 0) #BeforeBeltane – Nancy Jardine @nansjar @OcelotPress #HistoricalFiction #RomanEmpire #AncientWorld

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Before Beltane Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Before Beltane’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Nancy JardineNancy Jardine lives in the spectacular ‘Castle Country’ of Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Her main writing focus has, to date, been historical and time travel fiction set in Roman Britain, though she’s also published contemporary mystery novels with genealogy plots. If not writing, researching (an unending obsession), reading or gardening, her young grandchildren will probably be entertaining her, or she’ll be binge-watching historical films and series made for TV.
She loves signing/selling her novels at local events and gives author presentations locally across Aberdeenshire. These are generally about her novels or with a focus on Ancient Roman Scotland, presented to groups large and small. Zoom sessions have been an entertaining alternative to presenting face-to-face events during, and since, the Covid 19 pandemic restrictions.
Current memberships are with the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland, Romantic Novelists Association and the Alliance of Independent Authors. She’s self-published with the author co-operative Ocelot Press.

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Pinterest
BookBub
Amazon Author Page
GoodReads

Synopsis :

Book Title: Before Beltane
Series: Celtic Fervour Series
Author: Nancy Jardine
Publication Date: 29th April 2022
Publisher: Nancy Jardine with Ocelot Press
Page Length: 268 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Nancy JardineTwo lives. Two stories. One future.
AD 71 Northern Britannia
At the Islet of the Priestesses, acolyte Nara greets each new day eager to heal the people at Tarras Hillfort. Weapon training is a guilty pleasure, but she is devastated when she is unexpectedly denied the final rites of an initiated priestess. A shocking new future beckons for Princess Nara of the Selgovae…
In the aftermath of civil war across Brigantia, Lorcan of Garrigill’s promotion of King Venutius is fraught with danger. Potential invasion by Roman legions from the south makes an unstable situation even worse. When Lorcan meets the Druid Maran, the future foretold for him is as enthralling as it is horrifying…
Meet Nara and Lorcan before their tumultuous meeting of each other in The Beltane Choice, Book 1 of the acclaimed Celtic Fervour Series.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon CA
Amazon AU
Available on #KindleUnlimited

Universal Amazon Link

Excerpt :

Lorcan – The Newest Roman Commanders

Later that day, King Venutius stopped abruptly and turned around to face Lorcan. “Did you witness this building of the fort near the western shores?”
“Nay, but I had the news on good authority, during my visit to Cynwrig of the Carvetii,” Lorcan answered.
He had been invited to accompany the king on what Lorcan knew to be a daily inspection of the outer defences of the settlement, but which was probably also an excuse for Venutius to be out of the confines of the King’s Roundhouse for a little while.
He added, “The information came from the Druid Eurwyn who covers the western coastline.”
Venutius harrumphed, his hand gesturing back and forth imperiously to waft away the senior chief who had been plodding alongside him. “Make space for Lorcan of Garrigill to walk next to me.”
The man nearest the king moved away allowing Lorcan to slip forward.
“When did you get this news?” Venutius barked out.
“Close to a half-moon ago.” Lorcan had already learned that the king required answers without delay. He was well-used to cranky old men, since his own father was just as irascible, even before Tully’s decline had set in. “My journey to Stanwick was hampered by snowfall on the western moors.”
He declined to mention the days spent resting and recuperating at Cynwrig’s dwelling.
“Ha!” Venutius’ countenance brightened. “We have had no snow at Stanwick. The weather god favours us more than your Carvetii…friends.”
Lorcan knew what caused the king’s hesitation. The Carvetii tribe were reliable enough associates, though they preferred not to join the main Brigante alliances. He watched the king’s expression drift back to an appraising one.
“Nevertheless, Tully of Garrigill never sends me false information. On the strength of that, I will listen to what else you – Tully’s negotiating son – have to tell me.” King Venutius rattled on, briefly acknowledging the sentries who guarded the outermost gate as they moved through it and veered around the perimeter of the high turf embankment.
In between the many questions King Venutius fired his way as they strode along, Lorcan shared his information.
“Agricola?” Venutius stroked the grizzled grey hair that sloped from upper lip to beneath his wrinkled chin a few times with a thumb and a forefinger before the king came to an unexpected halt.
Lorcan felt the king’s full gaze turn towards him before the king spoke again. “I do not recall that name, yet you say he was a tribune of a Britannic legion some time ago?”
Before Lorcan could reply, he watched Venutius’ upper body swivel. The king stared behind at the elders who walked in his wake, his expression inquiring. When no response came from any of his advisers, Venutius carried on walking.
“I had thought that we may only need to pay great heed to this newest Governor of Britannia, a soldier they name Cerialis, but perhaps there are many more senior Romans we must also monitor,” Venutius said.
Lorcan dared to ask, “Cerialis? That name is new to me.”
The king snorted. “Emperor Vespasian’s doing. He has recently installed a new governor for Britannia, one who will do his bidding without question.”
One of the king’s retinue, clearly a battle-survivor from the scars that adorned him, grunted behind Lorcan. “My hillfort lies on our Brigante border with the Cornovii tribe. I have infiltrators rooting out orders that come from Emperor Vespasian. Though, finding out commands in the names of Cerialis – and this Agricola – will need to have equal importance, now.”
Lorcan walked alongside the king, engrossed in the conversation that rumbled around him. He learned more about the brand-new Governor Cerialis, King Venutius’ aides being well-informed. He wondered how they could come by such information, and be so sure of it being genuine. Mostly, he was highly impressed by their ability to gather the information.
Venutius hawked up thick phlegm and spat it out, his aim well-rehearsed as it landed perfectly onto the grassy bank of the rampart they encircled, the resultant slide of the slippy mess down the turf-blades as sneering as the king’s expression. “Like all the Roman scum I have had dealings with, this man Cerialis has many more names, but two will suffice to mark him.”
Lorcan had only heard of the man referred to as Governor Cerialis and reasoned it had to be the two the king meant, but curiosity made him wonder if he had missed something more interesting.
He was surprised when Venutius asked him why Agricola had become the new Legion Commander of the Legio XX.
“My Carvetii informer mentioned that rumours still circulate about members of the legion continuing to be rebellious,” he explained. “The Legio XX may still have problems with giving allegiance to Emperor Vespasian.”
Venutius’ lips pursed, his head making a series of small abrupt nods. “I would promote someone I trust to rally up the men. That must be the reasoning behind Vespasian giving the command to this Agricola.”
After a few more questions, Lorcan had no further information to give his king. But before his formal dismissal, Venutius’ grey-eyed stare was piercing. “Emperor Vespasian is not like the last three weaklings. Many seasons ago, I recall that Vespasian was in command of a Britannic legion, just like this soldier Agricola. And I also remember that Vespasian was a thoroughly ruthless commander.”
Lorcan did not doubt the king’s judgement. Venutius continued on with further updates on what Vespasian had been doing.
“Vespasian has begun something new in Roman leadership.” A contemptuous heckle spat forth before the king continued. “Lorcan of Garrigill, did you know that Vespasian is not properly high-born?”
Lorcan had not heard this information and was unable to prevent an automatic lift of his eyebrows.
The king rattled on. “This man Vespasian comes from dubious second-class status. And, not being of their Roman Senatorial class, he will have his work cut out to continue to mould and keep the empire under his control.”
Lorcan felt Venutius’ gaze land directly on him.
“If I were Vespasian,” King Venutius suggested, “I would post men in positions of power all over the empire who would give allegiance only to me.”
Venutius suddenly stopped his determined strides. Lorcan felt the king’s concentration on him become even more intense, a glint within it of challenge, yet also of a warped amusement.
“Lorcan of Garrigill, you will find out if this man Agricola’s background is similar to that of Vespasian! You can expect brutality born of ambition, if you discover that he does come from less-elevated stock, since proving loyalty and demonstrating his ability to his emperor will be paramount.”
Lorcan held his breath when Venutius’ attention swivelled around to encompass all of the men who were gathered around the king.
“Whatever Lorcan discovers, we can all be sure that Brigantia is now threatened like never before.”
Much later that night, Lorcan wended his way back to Thoft’s roundhouse, many things rumbling through his head. Venutius was definitely preparing the Brigantes for renewed pitched-battle conflict – but now it was against the forces of the Roman Empire.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Framed #Framed – Gail Meath @GailMeathAuthor

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Framed Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Framed’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Award-winning author Gail Meath writes historical romance novels that will whisk you away to another time and place in history where you will meet fascinating characters, both fictional and real, who will capture your heart and soul. Meath loves writing about little or unknown people, places and events in history, rather than relying on the typical stories and settings.

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Synopsis :

Framed Book CoverIt’s a deadly game of who’s who, and who isn’t.
Things get pretty sticky for PI Jax Diamond and his courageous canine partner, Ace, when their best friend, a cop, is framed for murder. And not just anyone’s murder. The victim is the fiancée of the most notorious gangster in the city, Orin Marino, Jax’s worst enemy.
Laura Graystone, the budding Broadway Star and Jax’s new squeeze, proves to be an ingenious partner as they sift through clues trying to find the real murderer. But when Jax is pinched for another crime, Laura and Ace are forced to go undercover.
Hang on to your seat as Jax, Laura and Ace take you on another crazy, whodunit ride during the Roaring Twenties. Where no one is who they seem, and those who do, aren’t. Anything goes during an era of fun and frolic, song and dance, speakeasies, gangsters, bootlegging, and bribes.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

Tim counted the money as they drove away from the Thirteenth Precinct. “There’s two grand in here, Jax. I don’t get it. What did you mean by a payoff? A payoff for what?”
Jax groaned. “Take a few deep breaths, Murph, and think about it. I know it’ll come to you.”
Tim’s dark eyes suddenly grew wide and aghast. “For murdering that woman? Aw, Jesus. First, they try to kill me. Now, they’re trying to pin the murder on me?” He threw the envelope on the floor, leaned forward, and held his head in his hands. “This just keeps getting worse. All I wanted was to get some dirt on Marino. I can’t believe it all exploded like this. Why is Marino coming down on me so hard, Jax? He stopped Evie before she had a chance to tell me anything.”
“Maybe he thinks she gave you some information over the phone. Outside of that, he knows you’re not just going to let last night go without digging deeper into it. But look at the bright side. If he’s trying to frame you for Evie Becker’s murder, he’s not out to kill you anymore.”
“Right now, I’m not sure which is worse.” Tim sat upright. “Where are we going?”
“It’s after eleven o’clock, and Rizzo’s is open now. You said there were other customers there last night. I’m hoping we can find someone who knows what really went on in that alley and is willing to back up your story. Give me some of that dough.”
“What? No. I’m giving it all to Captain Ryan when I talk to him.”
“Well, he’s not available right now. Look, Murph, Marino sent that money to you at the police station for the sole purpose of making you look guilty in front of your fellow officers. But that, alone, isn’t enough proof. You can be sure he’s got a few more clever ideas. If we can find a couple of solid witnesses to back up your story, you’ll be in the clear when you talk to Captain Ryan.”
Tim folded his arms in front of him. “I’m not giving you any of the money, Jax. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Ace, get the envelope,” Jax told him.
Ace wiggled his way up front, snatched it off the floor, and dropped it in Jax’s lap.
Tim looked shocked. “How the heck did you train him to do that?”
“I didn’t teach him anything. He’s just smart.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @RandomTTours / #Excerpt : Codename Edelweiss #CodenameEdelweiss – Justin Kerr-Smiley @justinksmiley @UnicornPubGroup

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Codename Edelweiss BT Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Codename Edelweiss’ blogtour, organized by Random Things Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Justin Kerr Smiley Author PicJustin Kerr-Smiley was born in 1965 and educated at Newcastle University. As a journalist he has reported from the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the West Bank and South America. He has also written for the Guardian, The Times and The Spectator. He is the author of two previous novels, including Under The Sun. He lives in London.

Synopsis :

Justin Kerr Smiley Author PicAdolf Hitler has a son…
the hunt is on!

In 1976, Argentina is governed by a military junta bankrolled by former Nazis. It is the anniversary of a mysterious village fire in the jungle. The lone survivor, a Guaraní boy, is now a Jesuit priest. A Jewish journalist, Ariel Guzman, interviews him at his mission. The man claims Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin with Eva Braun and made a secret camp near the Iguaçu Falls. The Führer ordered the village’s destruction, but the priest refuses to say why. He mentions the codename Edelweiss and will only reveal the person’s identity if he dies.
Argentina’s most powerful man is billionaire and Waffen-SS veteran Tiago Hecht. He is searching for Edelweiss so that he can establish a Fourth Reich. Hecht now has confirmation Hitler’s son is alive. But so does the Mossad and they have sent an agent to eliminate him. The only sanctuary for ‘Edelweiss’ is at the Vatican, but time is running out.
The hunt is on…

Amazon

Excerpt :

BUENOS AIRES–POSADAS
Thursday 12–Saturday 14 August 1976

Ariel Guzman makes sure he is alone. In these uncertain times it pays to be vigilant. It might be paranoia but recently he has had the feeling that he is being watched. It is strange and unnerving, like someone pointing a gun at you. As far as he can tell nothing appears to be out of place. There are no unusual vehicles parked nearby and nobody is lurking in the shadows. The journalist waits for a car to pass before he crosses the street and enters his apartment building. It is a solid block of brick and stone, functional and unassuming like many in the capital. He gets into the lift and when it arrives at his floor he opens the gate, walks down the passage and unlocks his door.
Ariel places his keys on the hall table and hangs up his jacket. He takes a bottle of beer from the fridge, flips the top and has a drink. He returns to the living-room with a packet of pistachios and switches on the television to watch the evening news. Ariel reclines on a sofa and eats the nuts, tossing the shells into a waste-paper basket as he sips his beer. The military junta has issued a decree banning any gathering of the political opposition. He has already covered the story for his newspaper La Nación and so he rises and opens a window and listens to the traffic going by. It is spring and the air is humid and filled with pollen.
Ariel lives in San Telmo near the church of the Inmaculada Concepción, although he never attends Mass. It is not because he is agnostic, which is true, it is because he is not Catholic. He is Jewish. His surname had been changed from Gottlieb to the Hispanic Guzman by his father Otto, an immigrant from Hamburg who arrived in Argentina on a packet steamer in the last days of 1938 with nothing but the clothes on his back and a suitcase filled with books. It was after Kristallnacht. The writing on the wall, if anyone needed it, that Jews were no longer safe in Hitler’s Germany. Otto escaped in time but many of the Gottlieb family did not and perished in the camps of Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau. If Ariel had any faith at all he would have gone to the synagogue. In fact, he has not been inside a temple since his bar mitzvah despite Argentina being the largest and oldest concentration of South America’s Jewish diaspora.
‘To be a Jew is to walk the earth forever,’ his old father used to say. He never explained why but Ariel knows what he meant.
He turns his attention back to the television and sees a priest being interviewed. The man is young and unmistakably Indian. From his accent Ariel supposes he is a Guaraní from the remote north, probably Misiones. The screen shows the city of Posadas which melds into jungle and the ruins of the abandoned mission at San Ignacio Miní, before returning to the priest. The camera cuts to his hands. He holds a rosary and massages the beads as he speaks.
‘I pray for my family and my people every day. I hope there will be an answer. It has been a long time.’
‘Thirty years.’
‘Yes, but I shall never give up. One day the world will know the truth, I am certain of it …’ The priest falters as his voice begins to crack. ‘I’m sorry,’ he says. ‘It’s hard for me. I’m sure you understand.’
‘Of course. Father Javier Ibarra, thank you for coming here and sharing your thoughts with us about this terrible event.’
‘Thank you.’
The programme resumes with the presenters in the studio. Ariel picks up a pencil and writes the priest’s name on a pad. He is sure it is the same man who was the sole survivor of the Misiones tragedy, when a village church in the jungle caught fire killing everyone inside. It was thought to have been the result of a catastrophic lightning strike. Some even suspected arson but most people dismissed the theory. Who would have done such a thing and what possible motive could there have been?

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Santa Fe Psychosis #SantaFePsychosis – Max Talley #MaxTalley @darkedgepress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Santa Fe Psychosis Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Santa Fe Psychosis’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Max Talley Author PhotoMax DeVoe Talley is a writer and artist from New York City who lives in Southern California. He began writing in 1997 and contributed entertainment, food, and humor columns to two California weekly newspapers.
His near future thriller, Yesterday We Forget Tomorrow, was published by Damnation Books in 2014. Since then, his crime fiction has appeared in two Hardboiled anthologies from Dead Guns Press and in Dames & Doppelgangers from Borda Books, while his short stories have appeared in fifty journals, including Vol.1 Brooklyn, Atticus Review, Entropy, Bridge Eight, Santa Fe Literary Review, and Litro.
Talley’s curated surreal anthology, Delirium Corridor, debuted in December 2020.

Website
Facebook

Synopsis :

Max Talley Author PhotoJackson Bardo, an out-of-work Private Investigator, is summoned to New Mexico by his ex-girlfriend. Her life is being threatened and she needs money. But he doesn’t have enough when he arrives. And days later, she disappears.
Joining forces with his friend, Police Detective Diego Juarez, the pair set out to find her.
During their search, Juarez is given the job of locating a missing teenager. But the discovery of another girl – dead – leads them to uncover a child trafficking operation.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

Detective Juarez found the outbuilding’s door unlocked, but its warped bottom edge stuck to the ground so he shouldered it open. Nets and more fishing gear within, along with two shotguns. Neither loaded. He sniffed them but neither had been shot recently, and an angry spider crawled out of one barrel. His flashlight started to dim and the darkness inside became overwhelming. A clicking noise came from the second room ahead and Juarez lunged into a windowless, airless gloom. His foot went forward but didn’t connect with floor. Off balance, he plunged into an open trapdoor leading downward. “Ravello!” he shouted to his partner, then tumbled down steps. Juarez landed in a moist, muddy basement and startled to his feet. It smelled dank and like death. His own.
Above, heavy scraping sounds: the trapdoor being closed. Juarez rushed up the rickety set of stairs and fought the human weight trying to seal him below. He climbed back out. Disoriented, with the flashlight lost below, he peered in every direction.
A fishing rod cracked him over the head. Fighting to keep his balance, Juarez pulled his pistol and shot the burly figure in a cloth mask. The man groaned but kept moving and toppled a barrel to slow pursuit. “Hands up, freeze,” Juarez shouted. “Estas bajo arresto.” The assailant scuttled out the door. Juarez staggered after in pursuit, feeling a wet thin line of blood seeping at the back of his head.
For an instant he got blinded by the sunlight, before a fat hand swung a 2 x 4 at his forehead. Juarez went down. He heard Detective Ravello yell, “Stop or I’ll shoot,” followed by gunshots, and then an unmuffled engine ratcheted to life, but its loud, churning hum soon faded. After that, nothing.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : How To Spot A Psychopath #HowToSpotAPsychopath – MQ Webb @marswebb1 #TBRPress

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

How to Spot A Psychopath Week 1How to Spot A Psychopath Week 2

Today I’m on the ‘How To Spot A Psychopath’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

MQ Webb Author PhotoMQ Webb has always believed in the transformational nature of words, and a medium to utilize them. How to Spot a Psychopath is the first book in the Oscar de la Nuit Psychological Thriller series.
Born without a Middle name, Q is such an undervalued letter of the alphabet, only appearing with u, so thought they would give it some respect by acknowledging it in their name.
A fascination with human behavior and motivation led them to study psychology. They once worked in a building that was converted from a gaol and is a marketing consultant for NFP’s, universities, and the public sector.

Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Synopsis :

MQ Webb Author PhotoCould you tell… Would you?
When four-year-old Mia Edwards goes missing on a play date, everyone suspects Jessica Green knows what happened, especially Mia’s mother, Holly…
But Jess won’t tell anyone.
Psychiatrist, Dr. Oscar de la Nuit, is perceptive and determined to save Jess from the same regret and secrets he lives with.
Oscar thinks he has Jess figured out, but will she lead to Oscar’s redemption, or will she be his downfall?

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Q&A :

Hi

First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’ve always written. When I was about eight years old, I handed in a 28 page story to my teacher at the end of the year, much to her amusement… thinking back she was probably wondering if I really expected her to read the whole thing hehe. I got serious about writing when I went on maternity leave. I was planning on going back to work but my daughter was born with a condition called craniosynostosis, which meant that her skull had prematurely fused together and she required a complete skull reconstruction, so I wanted to be there with her due to risks of the condition, (she’s now four and a half and is doing well) so I kept writing and stayed with her.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
As a child I read everything I could get my hands on, but my absolute favorites were spooky stories like RL Stine. Now, I love psychological thrillers, and my long-running inspiration probably comes from Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice—what a concept!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Great question! So many brains I’d like to pick. Anne Rice, for the complexity and humanity she brought to the horror genre. Chuck Palahniuk and Stephen King, for craft, because I’ve read fantastic, actionable writing advice from both. And Liane Moriarty because she is the balance queen of the plot/character scales!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
Will Graham from Thomas Harris’s ‘Red Dragon’ because he seems like he’d have some interesting schemas about the world.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I don’t really have rituals or habits while writing (at least that I’m aware of) except maybe sipping coffee as I write. I always have a stack of notes beside me or on my screen as I’m writing.
Never mind… I’ve just been informed that my HUGE notes board counts as part of a ritual.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)?
A lot of my ideas develop by finding a character with a strong voice or motivation and exploring how they might react in a given situation. Some believe ‘The Silent Patient’ inspired some of the ideas behind ‘How to Spot a Psychopath’ but funnily enough I hadn’t read until after the 3rd or 4th draft, (I’ve since discovered it’s a great book).
It was actually inspired by a Ted Talk I’d heard from Susan Cain, the author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’ which got me thinking about the power of choosing not to say anything in a situation where you’d expect someone to be screaming from the rooftops, proclaiming their innocence.

Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Maybe! Though I did give them some tips on the kinds of things to look out for… so maybe not 😉

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m definitely a plotter, but in an agile process kind of way. My characters surprise me and force me to shift things around all the time!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’t)?
Write. Get comfortable with uncomfortable feedback, it will make you a stronger writer.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Believe in your work and don’t be embarrassed to get others involved (beta readers, editors, the cat if it likes listening to tricky paragraphs)!
There will be drafts—get the story out and refine it later.

What are your future plans as an author?
Developing more of the Oscar de la Nuit series. I’m also have some stand-alone psychological thriller / suspense novels in the works.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on
my blog, please?
She’d caught Oscar’s attention as soon as he saw her. Jessica Green, fingers laced together under her chin like a locked puzzle. She didn’t fit the typical killer profile. Suburban journalist with a four-year-old and a husband.

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, MQ Webb.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Murder In Keswick #MurderInKeswick #SherlockHolmes – William Todd #WilliamTodd @SpellBoundBks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

Murder In Keswick Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Murder In Keswick’ blogtour, organized by Zooloo’s Book Tours.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

William Todd Author PhotoWilliam Todd has been writing for over 20 years, primarily gothic horror stories in the style of Lovecraft, Poe, and Shelley. Loving all things Victorian, he was inspired to read (and later to write) by Arthur Conan Doyle.
The first book he ever read cover to cover was Hound of the Baskervilles, which also fed his appetite for horror. William Todd has written two short story compilations of gothic horror, Dead of Night and Beyond the Gossamer Veil and one sci-fi/horror hybrid genre Something Wicked This Way Comes.
He has also written multiple Sherlock Holmes pastiches, Murder in Keswick, A Reflection of Evil, Mystery of the Broken Window, and Elementary—a short story compilation. Two of his short stories were part of MX Publishing’s New Sherlock Holmes Stories with proceeds going to a charity for special needs children housed in Undershaw, the very home Conan Doyle penned Hound of the Baskervilles.
Writing for the books was a special privilege because his daughter, Alina, has Down Syndrome. In 2022, he just finished his first YA/historical novel The Fall of the Hermit King, which is under review for publication, and in the meantime has started yet another Sherlock Holmes compilation.

Facebook
Instagram

Synopsis :

William Todd Author PhotoWhile on a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District to get away from the toils and troubles of London, Holmes and Watson find no respite.
As soon as they exit the train, they hear news of a grisly murder making its way around the murmuring commuters. A local aristocrat, Mr. Darcy, has been found missing his head!
And that very night, the wealthy widow finds a stranger in her home who, upon seeing her, abandons his plans and quickly leaves. She believes the intruder to be the murderer of her husband who is now after a large sum of cash she keeps in the house safe.
Unsure if the would-be thief is the murderer or an opportunistic burglar, Holmes devises a plan to catch the burglar, all the while investigating the murder of Mr. Darcy.
Follow Holmes, Watson, and the local constable Mr. Wickham as they untangle the mystery surrounding a Murder in Keswick.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

Excerpt :

Sherlock Holmes was never fond of what he called my ‘over-dramatization’ of his methods, or my ‘sensationalising’ of the facts surrounding a particular case when I put it to paper. As best I could, I would relay to the reader only what was relevant to both story and method, to display Holmes’ unique abilities in deduction and logic. If adjectives were ever needed or more descriptive language employed, it was usually done only sparingly, and to make the story more palatable. There are certain cases, however, that manifest from time to time, so wholly unique, that it is a near-impossible feat not to over-dramatize or sensationalise the facts because they are just that—dramatic and sensational. Customarily, it is these cases that are left out of my accounts of the great detective. There are a few, however, that I feel display the quintessential Holmes ability despite their—in his eyes—garish underpinnings. The following account is just such a case, which, after much debate, my friend has acquiesced to it being put before the public.
It was Wednesday, July 20th, 1898. The train clapped along rhythmically, and the sun shone in fits and starts into our compartment as we rushed along the wooded countryside. We were making good time to Cumbria for a well-deserved holiday in the Lake District after a particularly gruelling stretch for Holmes in London. For six weeks he managed a mere three hours of sleep a night and, on a few nights, none whatsoever, which would be the utter undoing of most. He unravelled four separate cases for Scotland Yard and one for the Crown—a particularly nasty affair, having national implications, that I may never get to set before my readers. At first, he resisted the suggestion of rest in the country, not sharing the bucolic allure, but I, at last, broke through my friend’s defences and convinced him that some time away would rejuvenate him for whatever London’s seedy underground had in store for him upon our return.
Agreeing to the rest did not mean, however, that Holmes looked forward to it. He stared morosely out the window at the passing landscape, having previously kept himself busy with a copy of the Times; however, it had run its course an hour into the journey.
He had been quiet for some time, so I tried to break him from his melancholic reverie. ‘You know, Holmes, this will do you good,’ said I. ‘The fresh country air, the bright sunshine…It will be cathartic to both your mind and body to relax for a few days.’
My friend glanced at me from the corner of his eye but kept his sullen vigil of the countryside. ‘Watson, you know as well as I do that my mind never relaxes, and my body does remarkably well at keeping up. Those slaves are surely used to their master by now.’ He turned and looked upon me directly. ‘Sloth is the murderer of many a good intellect, Watson, and I can ill-afford the demise of mine.’

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #HarlequinTradePublishingBlogTour @htp_books / #Excerpt : On A Quiet Street #OnAQuietStreet – Seraphina Nova Glass @SeraphinaNova @HarperCollins @HarlequinBooks

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –

638-HTP-Banner---MYSTERY-THRILLER-for-Google-Form

Today I’m on the ‘On A Quiet Street’ blogtour, organized by Harlequin Trade Publishing Blog Tour.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Seraphina Nova Headshots Jan 2019Seraphina Nova Glass is a professor and playwright-in-residence at the University of Texas, Arlington, where she teaches film studies and playwriting. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Smith College, and she’s also a screenwriter and award-winning playwright. Seraphina has traveled the world using theatre and film as a teaching tool, living in South Africa, Guam and Kenya as a volunteer teacher, AIDS relief worker, and documentary filmmaker.

Website
Twitter
Facebook
GoodReads

Synopsis :

Title: On A Quiet Street
Author: Seraphina Nova Glass
ISBN: 9781525899751
Publication Date: May 17, 2022
Publisher: Graydon House Books

Seraphina Nova Glass author photo - verticalA simple arrangement. A web of deceit with shocking consequences.
Welcome to Brighton Hills: an exclusive, gated community set against the stunning backdrop of the Oregon coast. Home to doctors, lawyers, judges–all the most upstanding members of society. Nothing ever goes wrong here. Right?
Cora’s husband, Finn, is a cheater. She knows it; she just needs to prove it. She’s tired of being the nagging, suspicious wife who analyzes her husband’s every move. She needs to catch him in the act. And what better way to do that than to set him up for a fall?
Paige has nothing to lose. After she lost her only child in a hit-and-run last year, her life fell apart: her marriage has imploded, she finds herself screaming at baristas and mail carriers, and she’s so convinced Caleb’s death wasn’t an accident that she’s secretly spying on all everyone in Brighton Hills so she can find the murderer. So it’s easy for her to entrap Finn and prove what kind of man he really is.
But Paige and Cora are about to discover far more than a cheating husband. What starts as a little agreement between friends sets into motion a series of events neither of them could have ever predicted, and that exposes the deep fault lines in Brighton Hills. Especially concerning their mysterious new neighbor, Georgia, a beautiful recluse who has deep, dark secrets of her own…

BookShop.org
Harlequin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Excerpt :

ONE
Paige

Paige stands, watering her marigolds in the front yard and marvels at how ugly they are. The sweet-potato-orange flowers remind her of a couch from the 1970s, and she suddenly hates them. She crouches down, ready to rip them from their roots, wondering why she ever planted such an ugly thing next to her pristine Russian sage, and then the memory steals her breath. The church Mother’s Day picnic when Caleb was in the sixth grade. Some moron had let the potato salad sit too long in the sun, and Caleb got food poisoning. All the kids got to pick a flower plant to give to their moms, and even though Caleb was puking mayonnaise, he insisted on going over to pick his flower to give her. He was so proud to hand it to her in its little plastic pot, and she said they’d plant it in the yard and they’d always have his special marigolds to look at. How could she have forgotten?
She feels tears rise in her throat but swallows them down. Her dachshund, Christopher, waddles over and noses her arm: he always senses when she’s going to cry, which is almost all the time since Caleb died. She kisses his head and looks at her now-beautiful marigolds. She’s interrupted by the kid who de-livers the newspaper as he rides his bike into the cul-de-sac and tosses a rolled-up paper, hitting little Christopher on his back.
“Are you a fucking psychopath?” Paige screams, jumping to her feet and hurling the paper back at the kid, which hits him in the head and knocks him off his bike.
“What the hell is wrong with you, lady?” he yells back, scrambling to gather himself and pick up his bike.
“What’s wrong with me? You tried to kill my dog. Why don’t you watch what the fuck you’re doing?”
His face contorts, and he tries to pedal away, but Paige grabs the garden hose and sprays him down until he’s out of reach. “Little monster!” she yells after him.
Thirty minutes later, the police ring her doorbell, but Paige doesn’t answer. She sits in the back garden, drinking coffee out of a lopsided clay mug with the word Mom carved into it by little fingers. She strokes Christopher’s head and examines the ivy climbing up the brick of the garage and wonders if it’s bad for the foundation. When she hears the ring again, she hollers at them.
“I’m not getting up for you people. If you need to talk to me, I’m back here.” She enjoys making them squeeze around the side of the house and hopes they rub up against the poi-son oak on their way.
“Morning, Mrs. Moretti,” one of the officers says. It’s the girl cop, Hernandez. Then the white guy chimes in. She hates him. Miller. Of course they sent Miller with his creepy mustache. He looks more like a child molester than a cop, she thinks. How does anyone take him seriously?
“We received a complaint,” he says.
“Oh, ya did, did ya? You guys actually looking into cases these days? Actually following up on shit?” Paige says, still petting the dog and not looking at them.
“You assaulted a fifteen-year-old? Come on.”
“Oh, I did no such thing,” she snaps.
Hernandez sits across from Paige. “You wanna tell us what d id happen, then?”
“Are you planning on arresting me if I don’t?” she asks, and the two officers give each other a silent look she can’t read.
“His parents don’t want to press charges so…”
Paige doesn’t say anything. They don’t have to tell her it’s because they pity her.
“But, Paige,” Miller says, “we can’t keep coming out here for this sort of thing.”
“Good,” Paige says firmly. “Maybe it will free you up to do your real job and find out who killed my son.” Hernandez stands.
“Again, you know we aren’t the detectives on the—” But before Hernandez can finish, Paige interrupts, not wanting to hear the excuses.
“And maybe go charge the idiot kid for trying to kill my dog. How about that?”
Paige stands and goes inside, not waiting for a response. She hears them mumble something to one another and make their way out. She can’t restrain herself or force herself to be kind. She used to be kind, but now, it’s as though her brain has been rewired. Defensiveness inhabits the place where empathy used to live. The uniforms of the cops trigger her, too; it reminds her of that night, the red, flashing lights a nightmarish strobe from a movie scene. A horror movie, not real life. It can’t be her real life. She still can’t accept that.
The uniforms spoke, saying condescending things, pulling her away, calling her ma’am, and asking stupid questions. Now, when she sees them, it brings up regrets. She doesn’t know why this happens, but the uniforms bring her back to that night, and it makes her long for the chance to do all the things she never did with Caleb and mourn over the times they did have. It forces fragments of memories to materialize, like when he was six, he wanted a My Little Pony named Star Prancer. It was pink with purple flowers in its mane, and she didn’t let him have it because she thought she was protecting him from being made fun of at school. Now, the memory fills her with self-reproach.
She tries not to think about the time she fell asleep on the couch watching Rugrats with him when he was just a toddler and woke up to his screaming because he’d fallen off the couch and hit his head on the coffee table. He was okay, but it could have been worse. He could have put his finger in an outlet, pushed on the window screen and fallen to his death from the second floor, drunk the bleach under the sink! When this memory comes, she has to quickly stand up and busy herself, push out a heavy breath, and shake off the shame it brings. He could have died from her negligence that afternoon. She never told Grant. She told Cora once, who said every parent has a moment like that, it’s life. People fall asleep. But Paige has never forgiven herself. She loved Caleb more than life, and now the doubt and little moments of regret push into her thoughts and render her miserable and anxious all the time.
She didn’t stay home like Cora, she practically lived at the restaurant. She ran it for years. Caleb grew up doing his homework in the kitchen break room and helping wipe down tables and hand out menus. He seemed to love it. He didn’t watch TV all afternoon after school, he talked to new people, learned skills. But did she only tell herself that to alleviate the guilt? Would he have thrived more if he had had a more nor mal day-to-day? When he clung to her leg that first day of preschool, should she have forced him to go? Should he have let him change his college major so many times? Had he been happy? Had she done right by him?
And why was there a gun at the scene? Was he in trouble, and she didn’t know? Did he have friends she didn’t know about? He’d told her everything, she thought. They were close. Weren’t they?
As she approaches the kitchen window to put her mug down, she sees Grant pulling up outside. She can see him shaking his head at the sight of the cops before he even gets out of the car.
He doesn’t mention the police when he comes in. He silently pours himself a cup of coffee and finds Paige back out in the garden, where she has scurried to upon seeing him. He hands her a copy of the Times after removing the crossword puzzle for himself and then peers at it over his glasses.
He doesn’t speak until Christopher comes to greet him, and then he says, “Who wants a pocket cookie?” and takes a small dog biscuit from his shirt pocket and smiles down at little Christopher, who devours it.
This is how it’s been for the many months since Grant and Paige suffered insurmountable loss. It might be possible to get through it to the other side, but maybe not together, Paige said to Grant one night after one of many arguments about how they should cope. Grant wanted to sit in his old, leather recliner in the downstairs family room and stare into the wood-burning fireplace, Christopher at his feet, drinking a scotch and absorbing the quiet and stillness.
Paige, on the other hand, wanted to scream at everyone she met. She wanted to abuse the police for not finding who was responsible for the hit-and-run. She wanted to spend her days posting flyers offering a reward to anyone with information, even though she knew only eight percent of hit-and-runs are ever solved. When the world didn’t respond the way she needed, she stopped helping run the small restaurant they owned so she could just hole up at home and shout at Jeopardy! and paper boys. She needed to take up space and be loud. They each couldn’t stand how the other was mourning, so finally, Grant moved into the small apartment above their little Italian place, Moretti’s, and gave Paige the space she needed to take up.
Now—almost a year since the tragic day—Grant still comes over every Sunday to make sure the take-out boxes are picked up and the trash is taken out, that she’s taking care of herself and the house isn’t falling apart. And to kiss her on the cheek before he leaves and tell her he loves her. He doesn’t make observations or suggestions, just benign comments about the recent news headlines or the new baked mostaccioli special at the restaurant.
She sees him spot the pair of binoculars on the small table next to her Adirondack chair. She doesn’t need to lie and say she’s bird-watching or some nonsense. He knows she thinks one of the neighbors killed her son. She’s sure of it. It’s a gated community, and very few people come in and out who don’t live here. Especially that late at night. The entrance camera was conveniently disabled that night, so that makes her think it wasn’t an accident but planned. There was a gun next to Caleb’s body, but it wasn’t fired, and there was no gunshot wound. Something was very wrong with this scenario, and if the po-lice won’t prove homicide, she’s going to uncover which of her bastard neighbors had a motive.
She has repeated all of this to Grant a thousand times, and he used to implore her to try to focus on work or take a vacation—anything but obsess—and to warn her that she was destroying her health and their relationship, but he stopped responding to this sort of conspiracy-theory talk months ago.
“What’s the latest?” is all he asks, looking away from the binoculars and back to his crossword. She gives a dismissive wave of her hand, a sort of I know you don’t really want to hear about it gesture. Then, after a few moments, she says, “Danny Howell at 6758. He hasn’t driven his Mercedes in months.” She gives Grant a triumphant look, but he doesn’t appear to be following.
“Okay,” he says, filling in the word ostrich.
“So I broke into his garage to see what the deal was, and there’s a dent in his bumper.”
“You broke in?” he asks, concerned. She knows the How-ells have five vehicles, and the dent could be from a myriad of causes over the last year, but she won’t let it go.
“Yes, and it’s a good thing I did. I’m gonna go back and take photos. See if the police can tell if it looks like he might have hit a person.” She knows there is a sad desperation in her voice as she works herself up. “You think they can tell that? Like if the dent were a pole from a drive-through, they could see paint or the scratches or something, right? I bet they can tell.”
“It’s worth a shot,” he says, and she knows what he wants to say, also knows he won’t waste words telling her not to break into the garage a second time for photos. He changes the subject.
“I’m looking for someone to help out at the restaurant a few days a week—mostly just a piano player for the dinner crowd—but I could use a little bookkeeping and scheduling, too,” he says, and Paige knows it’s a soft attempt to distract her, but she doesn’t bite.
“Oh, well, good luck. I hope you find someone,” she says, and they stare off into the backyard trees.
“The ivy is looking robust,” he comments after a few minutes of silence.
“You think it’s hurting the foundation?” she asks.
“Nah,” he says, and he reaches over and places his hand over hers on the arm of her chair for a few moments before getting up to go. On his way out, he kisses her on the cheek, tells her he loves her. Then he loads the dishwasher and takes out the trash before heading to his car. She watches him reluctantly leaving, knowing that he wishes he could stay, that things were different.
When Paige hears the sound of Grant’s motor fade as he turns out of the front gate, she imagines herself calling him on his cell and telling him to come back and pick her up, that she’ll come to Moretti’s with him and do all the scheduling and books, that she’ll learn to play the piano just so she can make him happy. And, after all the patrons leave for the night, they’ll share bottles of Chianti on checkered tablecloths in a dimly lit back booth. They’ll eat linguini and clams and have a Lady and the Tramp moment, and they will be happy again.
Paige does not do this. She goes into the living room and closes the drapes Grant opened, blocking out the sunlight, then she crawls under a bunched-up duvet on the couch that smells like sour milk, and she begs for sleep.

Excerpted from On A Quiet Street by Seraphina Nova Glass, Copyright © 2022 by Seraphina Nova Glass. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds