#MiniBlogBlitz #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #Excerpt : Tempted by Her Outcast Viking – Lucy Morris @LMorris_Author @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks

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

Tempted By Her Outcast

Today I’m on the ‘Tempted by Her Outcast Viking’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Tempted Headshot_GoodReadsLucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama and vibrant characters.
Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.

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Synopsis :

Tempted Headshot_GoodReadsTempted by the Warrior
But she’ll never wed
Brynhild had once been close to Erik – until he’d betrayed her, and she’d hoped never to see him again. Now the fiercely independent shieldmaiden needs Erik’s skills to rescue her sister. Striking a truce with the tough, isolated loner they reach a mutually beneficial deal: in return, she’ll help him in his quest to find a wife – by teaching him how to please a woman in bed…!

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Excerpt :

They were once enemies, but now they have to work together to save her sister… Can they truly forget the past and the feelings they once had for one another?

‘What I said…back then, I never meant it.’
She stared at him and then just as quickly shrugged off his touch with a jerk of her arm. Rather than walking away, she stepped closer, until her breath tickled his cheek and her breasts pressed against his chest. She’d meant it to intimidate him, he was sure of it, but all it did was fire his lust—which was definitely not the reaction she’d intended.
‘And, what I felt back then?’ Her eyes raked over him with cool disregard. ‘I no longer feel. In fact, I care nothing for your opinion of me, past or present.’
‘I’m glad,’ he said gently and she blinked. ‘It would be right for you to hate me—if you did… I was a coward.’
The ice in her gaze cracked. It was the strangest thing he’d ever seen. The mask of bluster and outrage suddenly fell away to shock.
To confess to cowardice was the worst thing a Norse man or woman could ever admit to. But he’d never felt Norse, not completely. It was as if he were straddling two worlds without secure footing in either.
Her gaze softened and she stepped back one pace. The cold fury in her eyes had gone, replaced by sympathy and begrudging acceptance. Then, as if unable to quite let go of her mistrust, she folded her arms across her chest and said, ‘Fine. I forgive you, Erik. In truth…I also behaved badly. You are not solely to blame for how things ended between us. I was…’ Her eyes drifted to his nose and then she laughed.

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : Quest for Atlantis #QuestForAtlantis – Marisa Noelle @MarisaNoelle77

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

Quest For Atlantis Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Quest for Atlantis’ 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 :

Marisa Noelle Author Photo(2)Marisa Noelle is the writer of middle grade & young adult novels in the genres of science-fiction, fantasy & mental health including The Shadow Keepers, The Unadjusteds Trilogy (The Unadjusteds, The Rise of the Altereds, & The Reckoning), and The Mermaid Chronicles – Secrets of the Deep.
She is a mentor for the Write Mentor program that helps aspiring MG & YA authors. With dual citizenship, Marisa has lived on both sides of the Atlantic and uses settings in both the USA and UK as inspiration for her novels.
When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words.
Despite being an avid bookworm from the time she could hold a book, being an author came as a bit of a surprise to her as she was a bit of a science geek at school. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children.

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Synopsis :

Marisa Noelle Author Photo(2)MERMAIDS ARE BEING HUNTED…
They are no longer safe in the human world…
When one of her closest mermaid friends is imprisoned in a science lab for investigation, Cordelia insists on taking up the quest to find the lost island of Atlantis, a sanctuary for all the water species. But the island is guarded by the dragon kings, an ancient and formidable race who are determined to keep it for themselves.
Together with her best friends and her boyfriend, Wade, they must travel to distant pockets of the earth to collect the three magical jewels that open the portal to Atlantis.
But no one remembers how the jewels work, instructions are non-existent, and tensions are rife as Wade’s ex-girlfriend, Stephanie, appears on the scene. Plus, Cordelia must learn to harness her own emerging powers and discover if she really is the fire mermaid.
With the support of Wade’s parents, Stephanie is determined to win him back and Cordelia’s heart breaks as she watches the love of her life waver. They must be united in their quest, or the jewels will refuse to reveal themselves.
If they can’t repair their broken relationship and defeat the dragon kings, the mermaids will be captured by the humans and face the threat of extinction.

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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 been a book worm, but it didn’t occur to me to write until much later. When I struggled with an anxiety disorder during univeristy, I turned to poetry to help me express my feelings and found that when I was writing, I was finally not worrying! After trying my hand at a novel, I realzed I needed tuition and went away and learned how to write. Got bitten by the bug, and have never looked back!

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
My love for books started with Dr Seuss and Richard Scary books my parents read to me as a child. I think Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm was my first independent read. I moved very quickly onto Nancy Drew and devoured all things Victoria Holt. I fell in love with horror when I was around 11 and started reading Dean Koontz and Stephen King. I love anything dark!

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Dean koontz. He’s my favourite author and I find the way he builds tension phenomenal. He writes very short chapters and often has many character POVS, and yet I get invested and care for each character very quickly. I want to know how he does that!!!!

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I’d love to have Silver from my trilogy The Unadjusteds and Katniss from The Hunger Games at the same time. I think they’d get on and I’d love to hear them talk about their experienes together. They’ve both been through hell, so a group therapy session might be called for!

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Nothing particulary different. I need silence – can’t write with music. I like to plot on a a spreadsheet before I start writing. I drink a lot of tea. I like to ensure I have a few blank weeks ahead of me to get down an entire first draft as I hate the flow to be interupted by a holiday or something.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Ha! My ideas come from a combination of places. Often I’ll dream about something I think can work. But as I’m drawn to the darker side of things there is plenty of inspiration out there in terms of books, TV, and personal experiences. My inspiration for Quest for Atlantis comes from my love of the ocean. It’s my happy place. And I love mermaids, any paranormal/supernatural creature. The myth of the lost island of Atlantis has always fascinated me and I wanted to explore where it might be!

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Very much a plotter. I like to mull an idea over for a few months and make notes on a spreadsheet. Then I get to organizing my spreadsheet, making sure I have my character motivations and a scene break down. This can often change as I start writing and the characters take over, but I like to have an idea of where I’m going and what their arcs are. Although my current book, a YA Dracula retelling, is a little looser than usual! I think becuase I’ve been plotting it in my head for most of this year!

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Don’t DM agents on social media and do make sure you follow their submission rules carefully. You dont want to waste your opportunity. Perseverance is key. If writing is what you want, youc an’t give up, but there are different roads to getting here, so be open to different opportunities. Find your tribe. It’s lonely out there. Rejections sting. If you can band together with a group at a similar step in the journey, it’s so much easier.

What are your futureplans as an author?
World Domination. Ha! I am a bit of a hybrind author. So so far most of my books are self-published or through small indie presses. I do have an agent too. I’m currently on sub with my YA cli-fi novel Plastic, that I like to think of as Jaws meets the environment. I have a ton more books planned and written so will continue to go the hybrid way until something gives in the traditional path (fingers crossed). I’m also learnign to screen write and have written the first episode in The Unadjusteds trilogy, which has interest from a producer.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Absolutely. Quest for Atlantis has a Romeo and Juliety story with complicated love triangles and love squares…this is one of my favourite scenes…

“Who can that be?” Dad said, going for the door.
Wade set his jaw into a tight line. He knew exactly who it was.
“I’m sorry it’s early, but I figured they’d be back by now, and I couldn’t wait to see what was happening. My son’s cell phone seems to be switched off.” Christina Waters, Wade’s mother, barged into the house, shooting her son a reproving look. She removed her dark sunglasses and fussed with a silk scarf coiled at her neck. The pattern was of different types of sharks. “Please forgive me.”
Two other people entered behind her. Wade’s sister Marina, who I’d taken an immediate liking to when I met her last Christmas, and a much taller girl I’d never seen before. Woman, not girl. She was simply beautiful, and I hated her instantly. With flowing blonde hair, stylish bangs, legs that seemed to reach all the way to China, and a smile so wide that dimples caused her cheeks to crinkle adoringly, Stephanie Bowers entered my life. Her tan was deep and golden, something I could never hope to achieve with my red hair and translucent skin. She smiled at Wade and held her arms open.
“Wade-y,” she cried.
Wade-y? I narrowed my eyes at this blonde bombshell of charm exploding in my front room.
Wade reluctantly removed himself from my side and went to meet her.
“Stephanie,” he said.
“It’s so good to see you, and my haven’t you grown.” She fingered one of his biceps and then threw her arms around his neck.
Maya’s jaw dropped open and then closed again when I frowned at her. Wade tried to disentangle himself from Stephanie, but she kept her arms firmly wrapped around his neck and let a kiss linger on his cheek. The gall of her.
“Stephanie,” Wade said curtly, a reprimand in his voice, and removed himself from her grasp.
“Sorry, old habits…” she smiled that irritating smile again.
Her eyes came to rest on me, and she offered a hand. I took a few seconds to mark my territory with the wariest look I was capable of, then shook her hand, noting smugly that the smile had slipped from her lips.

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

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 #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : Martha’s Cottage #MarthasCottage – Fiona Cooke @cookehogan @SpellBoundBks

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

Martha's Cottage Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Martha’s Cottage’ 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 :

Fiona Hogan Author PhotoFiona Cooke is a writer, blogger and poet living in the midlands of Ireland. She masquerades as a sensible adult and mother to five children and cat but lives and breathes purely for horror.
Fiona writes in a mix of genres and you can also find her collection of humorous and supernatural tales – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories on Amazon under the name Fiona Cooke. Her novella, a romantic comedy set in Kerry, Ireland – What Happened in Dingle, is also available to download on Amazon.
She scribbles random thoughts about nature, her work and anything that amuses her at her blog.

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Synopsis :

Martha's Cottage Tour PosterBe careful what you wish for.
Sarah and Ben Stephens had it all. Attractive thirty-somethings, upwardly mobile; good careers in the city, a sizeable house in the suburbs.
To all concerned it was the perfect picture of marital bliss.
Or was it?
Years of infertility treatment have taken its toll on their marriage. Barely speaking, they’re strangers who share the same bed.
Then the fallout from a surprise birthday party and a lifechanging discovery send Sarah fleeing to the West of Ireland. And there, at Martha’s Cottage, a tiny stone house by the wild Atlantic Ocean, she licks her wounds and must decide on the course of her future.

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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’m a writer and blogger, living in the midlands of Ireland, in Laois; a tiny county hidden between mountains and forests, filled with hazel, willow and blackthorn, a little bit of faerie.
I write in a mix of genres ranging from gothic horror, contemporary women’t fiction and supernatural tales, to dark faerie and humorous fiction. I’m a little greedy like that. I have two collections of short and longer fiction on Amazon – The Lights Went Out and Other Stories and The Nightmare (gothic horror under my horror pen name F.B. Hogan. My first novel Martha’s Cottage is published by Spellbound Books in Autumn 2022. I am currently writing a screenplay, working on the second novel in the Martha’s Cottage series and attempting to tame a psychological horror that is putting up a bit of a fight.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I grew up on the classics, my summer reading list always including the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and George Elliot. I’m also a massive fan of gothic and contemporary horror and devoured anything by Lovecraft, Jackson, Bradbury, King, Campbell and Koontz. It’s kind of hard to keep this answer short because I am a product of so many books, especially Tolkien who was most instrumental in fostering in me a love of writing, of nature, of magic and sharp wordplay.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
As mentioned above, I am a bit of Tolkien nut. I’ve even had tea with the Professor in a dream (we were sitting in a Romany Gypsy caravan). There are so many things I would love to ask him about world building, the places that inspired Middle Earth, how to make up an entire mythical language.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
There is a character in The Lights Went Out and Other Stories who who I’d love to invite round, although he might be a tad hard to accomodate. Marcus Black, appears in The Welcoming Committee; an ancient vampire hiding in suburbia. I wrote him very grand guignol, he was fun and of course, vanity itself.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I like to listen to Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac whilst editing, I know the two albums so well they are nearly interchangeable, it adds focus. I write everything long hand and then type it, it’s laborious and I can rarely read my own handwriting but it’s my process and means I am constantly jotting down everything in various notebooks, scraps of paper or my phone. There is method in my madness. I am addicted to stationery and like to use a papermate flexi grip (I buy packets of them). It helps if I have a notebook that feels right, usually A4 sized and hardbound. Lots of coffee and chocolate also help.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Quite a few of my short pieces of fiction are semi-autobiographical, I like to take emotions, feelings and situations I have been in and embellish, manipulate. Inspiration can come from anything, I write a lot of poetry and prose (blog content) that is pulled from nature, especially the forests and the sea. But an overheard conversation, old building, and myth or legend can spark creativity. I once bingewatched a series of horror short films and wrote eight tales of gothic terror in a week.
People shouldn’t be worried although I have killed off a supervisor from my old work place (on paper) and my search history might incriminate me but I’m mostly quite harmless.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m mostly a plotter, I get the idea, plan out the chapters and write, but I can also write short stories with very little planning. Some stories write themselves and then there are the novels that resist all attempts at planning, adding their own character arcs and drama.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
If you want to be a good writer you have to read a lot. Especially in the genre within which you wish to write.
You need to set time to write, it’s a discipline and the more you write, the more you hone your craft.
Do not even attempt to edit your work until the first draft is completed. Then leave the manuscript aside for a while, to perculate. A bit of distance means you return to the edit with a fresh eye. Reading out dialogue is very effective for discovering errors. Always get your work professionally edited, your own work is too familiar, a good editor will spot everything from issues with syntax, development and general grammar.
And don’t be discouraged, coming out of the ‘writer’s closet’ was probably one of the hardest things I ever did. Writing comes from your soul, it’s hard to share it with the world but the positive reviews and comments make it all worth while and spur you on. Just go for it.

What are your futureplans as an author?
At the moment I’m writing a screenplay based on a novella I wrote called ‘What Happened in Dingle’. I’m also editing the sequel to Martha’s Cottage and attempting to tame a psychological horror that’s putting up a bit of a fight.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?

The sun hung high and hot, shining across the Liffey. Through the open office window the sounds of traffic competed with the seagulls soaring above the quays, and on the pavement below pedestrians passed in an everchanging pattern, merging and separating.
Ben finished his sandwich and threw the crumpled wrapper into the wastepaper basket. He yawned and stretched out his legs beneath the desk. He ran a finger around his collar, trickles of sweat had already began to form despite the open windows in the office. Just a few more hours, he told himself and he’d be slipping into the driver seat and cranking up the air conditioning.
The lunchtime sounds of the city had almost lulled him to slumber when the phone in his pocket began to vibrate.
When her picture flashed up on the screen Ben grinned and warmth flooded through him. In his mind’s eye he saw her curled up on the couch in the living room, a book lying beside her. Had she woken from a noonday nap and just wanted a chat? Or did she need him to bring her something back from town? He was already mentally juggling meetings so he could nip out for a bit when he pressed answer. His “Well… what is it now?” was full of laughter. He waited for her answering laugh, eager for the sound of her voice.
But that was all gone now.
Afterwards everything happened with a swiftness that made the following moments seem almost dreamlike.
He managed to hail a taxi and as it pulled away he pulled out his phone and dialled. His call went straight to voicemail. He flung the phone onto the seat where it silently mocked him. Another glance at his watch told him that it was now ten minutes since he had heard anything and the taxi had travelled barely a half mile of the journey. His head was a torment of ever-changing scenarios. What was happening? Was he too late? Please God, don’t let him be too late.
“Can’t you speed up? Please?” He called through the partition.
The taxi driver helpfully pointed out they were in lunch time traffic.
Ben wiped his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt and looked out the window, the lanes were bumper to bumper, he watched a motorcycle courier weaving between cars and wished he was on the back. Even the pedestrians seemed to be making more headway. They were crossing O’Connell Bridge, crawling and stopping. The journey was taking too long. He should be there, he needed to be there by now. But the taxi was crawling, the meter the only thing moving. Crawl, stop, crawl, another red light.
Ben yanked open the door.
“Hey, man, what you doing? You can’t get out in the middle of the road,” the driver yelled.
Ben pulled twenty euros out of his pocket and thrust it at him. He leapt out, already running down Westmoreland Street as the cab drove past. The street was thronged, he pushed his way through the crowds, shirt tails streaming, arms and legs pumping. He urged his legs to work more efficiently as he navigated hordes of tourists and workers heading out for lunch on Dawson Street, just people going about their everyday activities whilst he raced past trying to stop time. He paused for a moment, bent over, lungs burning.
Then he was off again racing past Merrion Square until, at last, looming large and grey in front he saw the corner of Holles Street. He reached the edge of the pavement and with a cursory glance either way launched himself across the road, willing himself up the steps to the hospital and to her side.
He failed to see the van turning in from Mount Street or hear the sharp blast of the horn before he was flipped across the bonnet and came to rest on the pavement beside the steps to the hospital.

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

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 #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : Death at the Lychgate #DeathAtTheLychgate – T.A. Belshaw @tabelshaw @SpellBoundBks

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

Death At The Lychgate Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Death at the Lychgate’ 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 :

TA Belshaw Author PhotoT. A. Belshaw is from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom where he shares a house with his chatty rescue cat, Mia. He writes for both children and adults. A former miner and computer technician, Trevor studied Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out of Control. Following the sudden death of his wife in 2015 Trevor took a five-year break from writing, returning during lockdown in 2020, when an injury forced him to take time off work. The result of this new creative burst was the Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Unspoken and the Historical Cosy Crime Whodunnit, Murder at the Mill.
Trevor signed his first contract with Spellbound Books Ltd in April 2021. He signed a further mullti-book contract with them in the spring of 2022.
His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck the Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014
Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s adventure books written under the name of Trevor Forest.
His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.
Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition.

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Synopsis :

TA Belshaw Author Photo

AMY ROWLINGS RETURNS!
Sunday morning, and the body of Reverend Villiers has been found propped up on the vigil seat in the church’s lychgate. It appears that he has been poisoned.
When amateur sleuth and regular churchgoer, Amy Rowlings arrives she finds DI Bodkin already at the scene. Bodkin tells her about a cryptic scripture reference that has been scrawled in chalk on the stone slabs beneath the body. What the citation hints at, shocks everyone.
Amy, a huge Agatha Christie fan is determined to get involved in the investigation and despite a stern warning from the detective’s boss, Amy and Bodkin team up again to try to solve the most complex murder case he has ever been involved in. When the toxicology report comes back from the lab, the results only add to the mystery.
Meanwhile, Amy looks to her favourite Agatha Christie character, Hercule Poirot for help, and using his techniques, she narrows down the list of possible murderers to just nine suspects.
Can Amy fit together the jigsaw of clues to solve this, the most complex of cases?

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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! 🙂
You’re very welcome. Thank you for the interest in my book.

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m a rapidly aging writer, still struggling to understand where the last twenty years have gone. I’m an ex miner and ex computer repair technician who has had an ambition to be an author since I began to write silly stories as a child. As with most people, work and family got in the way of ambition, but when the financial crash hit in 2009, I found I had a few spare hours to fill every day so I joined an online author review group called Writelink where I found a very friendly bunch of writers of various abilities, some of which are still friends to this day. My first adult novel, Tracy’s Hot Mail was written when I was a member of that group. I used to post it up in installments every week and wait with bated breath for the feedback, most of which was encouraging and supportive. At the same time as posting up the Tracy episodes I was also writing a children’s book that was to become the first in an eight book series. The series was called, Magic Molly and it told the story of a trainee witch who struggled to control the ancient bent and twisted wand she had been given. It was the first of fifteen kid’s books that were published between 2009 and 2015.
Following the unexpected and sudden death of my wife in 2015 and the loss of my muse and number one supporter I felt that I had come to the end of my writing journey and was adament that my noir suspense novella, Out of Control, (which had been published the day before I lost Doreen,) would be my last publication. Fast forward five years and after an injury at work which left me hospitalised for a week and walking like a ninety year old with rickets, I was desperately in need of something to fill the long lonely hours, so, after a heart to heart with my long time editor, Maureen Vincent-Northam who I met on that Writelink site all those years ago, I decided to try to ressurect my writing career by taking it in a completly different direction. The result was the dual timeline, family saga, Unspoken which I wrote during the first period of Lockdown in the spring of 2020. I followed that up with The Legacy and The Reckoning, two books that would form an Unspoken trilogy, then I used Amy Rowlings, one of the minor charactors from that series as the lead in a cosy crime mystery novel set in 1939, Murder at the Mill. My latest book, Death at the Lychgate is the sequel.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I used to love Richmal Crompton’s Just William series and I devoured anything I could get hold of by Arthur Ransome, (Swallows and Amazons,) and Enid Blyton, especially the Famous Five and the Faraway Tree series. As an adult I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of genres from crime to epic fantasy. My favourite book of all time is The Book Thief by Markus Suzak followed by The Lord of the Rings trilogy and frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Agatha Christie. She was the master of the cosy crime genre and an expert in the effects that different poisons have on the body. One of the research books in my collection is A is for Arsenic. The Poisons of Agatha Christie and it was ever present on the edge of my desk when I was writing Death at the Lychgate.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I fell in love with my lead character Alice Mollison when I was writing Unspoken. She is such a strong person, especially for the era. Alice was a teenager at the start of the novel and due to the circumstances she found herself in, had to grow up very quickly. Alice posesses strength and fortitude combined with a feisty no nonsense attitude, especially when men, who saw women as subservient creatures, were trying to tell her what she could or could not do.
Sherlock Holmes or Hecule Poirot. I’d certainly pick their little grey cells. I think tea might last for a couple of days.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I have a daylight lamp on my desk at all times when I’m writing. My desk is in a cubby hole under the stairs so I don’t get a lot of natural light. I also have classical or opera music on the hi-fi. Not Classic FM though, the ads are too distracting. A Google search tab is always open along with an online thesaurus tab. Some days I’m in the chair for up to ten hours so I always have coffee on the go. It is needed.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The vast majority of my ideas come to me when I’m in that strange dimension between sleep and wakefulness. When I’m writing I almost always wake up with a new, fully formed character, a whole chapter or even the entire synopsis of a novel in my head. Strangely, when I’m having a break between books, this doesn’t happen. When I’m writing, I don’t read or listen to audiobooks as I don’t need other authors to provide a creative fix.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser. I like to let the characters go where they want to go. I’d feel too restricted if I had laid out a plan to follow. So many of the best scenes in my books have come out of a character taking control of my fingers as I’m typing. There are limits of course. At times I do have to reign them in or I’d never finish a book.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Join a writer’s group if there’s one near you. You will get the chance to read your work in front of other writers and will hopefully get constructive feedback. Always bask in the warmth of the positive comments of your friends and family but try to remember, they’re always going to like what you write whether it’s ready for publication or not.
A well edited, mostly error free MS will give you a far bigger chance of having your book accepted by a publisher. Don’t even think about sending it off as soon as you type, The End, in your novel. Put it aside for a week or two, then go back to read it with fresh eyes.
Don’t over edit. In my opinion you can lose a lot of the freshness and spontinaity if you continually pick at your prose.
Get the first draft written. Then worry about how well it reads.

What are your future plans as an author?
I am in the process of writing the third Amy Rowlings mystery. It’s about a murder at a civic awards ceremony at the town hall. The book is once again set in 1939 before war is declared. It will be called, either The Murder Awards or Murder Bestowed. I haven’t made my mind up about that yet.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Preamble
The parish church of Saint John the Evangelist sits proudly at the centre of the Kentish town of Spinton. Constructed in the twelfth century, the blue-grey church, built from local ragstone, boasts a Norman tower that stood unaltered for centuries, surviving minor earthquakes, violent storms, civil war and mining. Then, in the eighteen-fifties, a Victorian Alderman, aptly named, Mason Meddle, raised the funds to add a clock, a spire and a low, red brick extension (thankfully hidden from view behind the main structure) that was used for Sunday School, Temperance Society gatherings, and until the Town Hall was built some seventy years later, Parish Council meetings.
The surrounding graveyard is split by two paths. The first, the main walkway to the church, is a ragstone-paved avenue that leads from the church’s main gates directly to the vestibule. The second, a winding path made mostly from broken slate and gravel, is accessed from the lychgate, a timber built, gabled structure that has been the dead parishioners’ gateway to the afterlife for centuries.
The lychgate, or corpse gate, was used to shelter the body of the deceased until the funeral service could take place. In years gone by the corpse could rest there for up to two days, accompanied by friends or relatives who would sit on the hard plank seats built into the structure, sometimes as an act of vigil, but often as a presence to ward off the body snatchers that preyed on the poor of the district.

Chapter One

The early morning mist that crawled across the land from the Kent coast, covered the tombstones like a thin grey cloak as a pale, almost water-colour March sun began to rise from behind the church tower.
In the town, men slept off the excesses of their Saturday night drinking while their wives bathed a new black eye or cut lip before starting to prepare breakfast for the family. Children would be scrubbed and dressed in their Sunday best clothes before being packed off to be lectured about their heathen ways at Sunday School. Although most of the working-class adults shunned the church, having far more important things to do on a Sunday morning, it was thought that the weekly disciplined routine was good for the children, though there was the added benefit of getting them out of their hair for an hour.
At nine o’clock precisely, Mrs Rosegarden climbed off her bicycle and wheeled it across the pavement to the church gates. Finding them still locked, she frowned, looked at her wristwatch, then checked the time again by the church clock.
‘Villiers,’ she snorted into the misty air. The aging, but surprisingly sprightly woman turned her bike around and rode across the pavement to the west side of the church where the lychgate entrance was situated.
The brittle haired, bespectacled Sunday School teacher was a woman to be feared, even by the toughest of the ragamuffins that attended her scripture lessons. Quick to anger and swift to punish she patrolled the room like a prison guard. Armed with a bible in one hand and a leather strap in the other, she stalked the three, wooden benches quoting from both testaments, threatening dire consequences, both in the present and in the afterlife for anyone who closed their ears to the word of God.
‘Drunk again, Villiers,’ she hissed as she dismounted by the lychgate. She leaned her bike against the high, stone wall and lifted the catch that secured the rough, wooden pole gates. Pulling them open, she looked through the gabled, porch-like structure to the mist covered tombstones beyond.
Sighing, she retrieved her bicycle and wheeled it over the grey-slab paving towards the gravel path that led to the church.
As she strode under the roof of the lychgate she glanced to her right-hand side where the figure of a grey haired, bespectacled man was slumped on the vigil seat. On the floor beneath the seat, a bible reference had been written in yellow chalk. Romans 13.13-14.
The man’s eyes were open, staring at nothing, his shoulders were hunched and his neck was twisted at what must have been a very uncomfortable angle. His lips were parted and his teeth were bared in a skeleton-like grin.
‘Reverend Villiers!’ Mrs Rosegarden exclaimed. Leaning her bike against the vigil seat on the opposite side of the lychgate, she reached out and grabbed the vicar by the shoulder. When he didn’t respond she shook him. When that failed to rouse him, she squatted down, grabbed the lapels of his grey jacket and shook him again.
As the vicar’s head slumped forward, the Sunday School teacher stood and turned in one movement. Forgetting her bicycle, she hurtled into the main road shouting at the top of her voice. ‘Help… someone help…. It’s the Reverend Villiers. He’s dead.’

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

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!

#BookBlast #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @cathiedunn / #PromoPost : Tempted by Her Outcast Viking – Lucy Morris @LMorris_Author @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #HistoricalRomance

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

Tempted by Her Outcast Viking Tour Banner

Today I’m on the ‘Tempted by Her Outcast Viking’ blog tour organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Lucy MorrisLucy Morris has always been obsessed with myths and legends. Her books blend sweeping romance with vivid worldbuilding to whisk you away to another time and place filled with adventure. Expect passion, drama and vibrant characters.
Lucy lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two children, and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Irn-Bru. In her spare time she likes to explore castles with her family, or drink bubbly with her friends.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Tempted by Her Outcast Viking
Series: Shieldmaiden Sisters Trilogy (book 2 of 3, all standalone romances)
Author: Lucy Morris
Publication Date: 29th September 2022
Publisher: Mills & Boon / Harlequin Historical
Page Length: 281
Genre: Historical Romance, Viking Romance

Lucy MorrisTempted by the Warrior
But she’ll never wed
Brynhild had once been close to Erik – until he’d betrayed her, and she’d hoped never to see him again. Now the fiercely independent shieldmaiden needs Erik’s skills to rescue her sister. Striking a truce with the tough, isolated loner they reach a mutually beneficial deal: in return, she’ll help him in his quest to find a wife – by teaching him how to please a woman in bed…!

WHSmiths
Harpercollins

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #Excerpt : Exiles #Exiles – Daniel Blythe @danblythewriter @SpellBoundBks

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

Exiles Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Exiles’ 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 :

Daniel Blythe Author PhotoDaniel Blythe was born in Maidstone and attended Maidstone Grammar School and St John’s College, Oxford, then Christ Church University, Canterbury. As well as being a writer he has worked as a tour guide, a languages tutor, a translator, a Lifelong Learning development worker and a tutor of Creative Writing.
He is the author of several novels for children and adults, as well as a writer of non-fiction on subjects as diverse as popular music, politics, collecting gadgets and games, parenting and the history of robotics. He has written several of the official Doctor Who books licensed by the BBC, including Autonomy. Daniel’s first book with a teenage narrator was The Cut, which was followed by further novels Losing Faith and This is the Day. In 2012 his first supernatural fantasy novel for young readers, Shadow Runners, was published. Emerald Greene and the Witch Stones (for age 9-12) was published in 2015 and a sequel Emerald Greene: Instruments of Darkness in 2017. He has written shorter ‘reluctant reader’ books called New Dawn, I Spy (nominated for the Leicester Reading Rampage Award 2018), Fascination, Kill Order, Hope and Truth and Kiss the Sky.
Daniel has worked as a visiting author in over 400 schools, and has taught on the MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. He now mentors, advises and edits writers of all ages through Cornerstones UK and the Faber Academy and is a regular judge on the Novel Slam for the ‘Off The Shelf’ festival. Daniel lives in the Peak District, with his wife and their two student children.

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Synopsis :

Daniel Blythe Author PhotoIn a distant galaxy, Bethany Kane has cheated death.
Now, she has to fight for life.
In an escape pod launched from a great starship, 15-year-old ChapterSister Bethany Aurelia Kane, believer in the Great Power, makes landfall on a windswept world known as The Edge – a planet light years from civilisation.
Battered and shaken, Beth soon finds she is not alone. The Edge is a penal colony where, under the leadership of Zachary Tal, fifty juvenile criminals and reprobates have pulled together a kind of society. They are living and working together in Town, a converted scientific base in the shadow of their crashed spaceship. They have crops, fresh water and electrical power – and are assisted by a contingent of mechanised Drones.
Storms, power failure, illness and death are just a few of the challenges the teenage exiles battle. As Beth accustoms herself to her new life on The Edge, she has to overcome her fears, learn new skills and earn the respect of leader Zach, the arrogant Colm, the resentful Mia and the others. But when a terrible, violent event shatters the colony’s existence, it seems nothing will ever be the same. Who among them is a killer? And just how isolated are they really?…
As the clock ticks towards a final revelation, Beth needs all her new skills and resourcefulness to stop The Edge from plunging into anarchy. And she has her own secret too – one which will prove decisive in the battle for survival…

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Excerpt :

Engines screamed as the ship died.
The echo of clattering feet, of alarms, shouts and yells. The din rattled the capsule, shook her body, even though she was firmly strapped in. Beth could smell hot metal. Pungent, angry.
Someone had dragged her, pushed her into this capsule. She could not remember who. The inside of the capsule was drenched in red light and the klaxon sounded to warn her that she was about to be ejected.
A force like a punch from a giant fist slammed her back into her seat, sending pain through her already-broken body.
She could smell burning flesh. She didn’t know if it was her own.
She was screaming inside. Beth knew the scene from a thousand safety visuals. In her mind she saw the ship, a vast slab covered in twinkling lights, a flying mega-city, now in flames.
Burning itself to death.
Slowly breaking up, chunks spiralling off into the blackness on plumes of smoke and tails of flame. The round hatchway opening in the belly of the giant, her round life-capsule popping out like a cork from a bottle, spinning away from the destruction, into … into what?
The Universe.
The unknown, endless Universe, screaming past her.
She gasped out loud. Hot blood was pouring down her face but she could do nothing about it, both her arms pinned to the chair as the capsule hurtled through space. The instrument panels were meaningless to her.
Dimly, she wondered who else had managed to get to the bays. Who had dragged her from the wreckage of Circle Twelve and got her inside a capsule? She wanted to throw up, but somehow swallowed the bitter, acid taste back down.
Something was flashing on the panel. Desperately, she tried to ignore the pain in her body and attempted to focus her mind on what was in front of her.
Information was pouring on to the circular panel, showing the alignment of the nearest star system.
>>> REGION: Galactic Edge
>>> HABITABLE LOCATION DETECTED.
>>> Planet 4: atmosphere Earth-similar: 78% nitrogen 20% oxygen.
Habitable location. That was her last and best hope. Beth remembered the expression the Teachers had used on board Arcadia – ‘Goldilocks zone’. You had to search, hope for it.
>>> Some lightly acidic precipitation.
>>> Limited but adequate UV light cover.
>>> Gravity 98% Earth normal. Land masses: 17. Oceanic composition: largely saline water, other non-harmful matter.
>>> Polar ice caps: permafrost. -40 degrees Celsius. Equatorial zone: dense jungle and swampland. 80+ degrees Celsius. Large desert/plain regions. 2 small satellites.
>>> Equatorial radius 4412 Km.
>>> FLORA AND FAUNA: largely non-hostile.
She didn’t like that word largely. But she could not see what other choice was available to her.
>>> STATUS: Explored/abandoned
>>> REASON FOR STATUS: Unknown
>>> NOTIFICATION: Electrical activity detected. Residual tachyon energy detected.
>>> NOTIFICATION: Some low-level seismic activity.
>>> NOTIFICATION: One small low-level technological settlement Level 3, located on 6th largest island land mass.
>>> ATTEMPTING TO LOCK ON.
>>> PROCEED?

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub @cathiedunn / #GuestPost : Brushstrokes from the Past (Soli Hansen Mysteries Book 4) #SoliHansenMysteries – Heidi Eljarbo @HeidiEljarbo

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

Brushstrokes from the Past tour banner

Today I’m on the ‘Brushstrokes from the Past’ blogtour, organized by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
To promote this book I have a guest post, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Heidi Eljarbo portraitHeidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

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Synopsis :

Book Title: Brushstrokes from the Past
Series: Soli Hansen Mysteries
Author: Heidi Eljarbo
Publication Date: 20 September 2022
Publisher: self-published
Page Length: 260 pages
Genre: Historical fiction – dual timeline, a bit of mystery and sweet romance

Heidi Eljarbo portraitWWII and the mid-seventeenth century are entwined in this fourth dual timeline novel about Nazi art theft, bravery, friendship, and romance.
April 1945. Art historian Soli Hansen and her friend Heddy arrive at an excavation site only to find Soli’s old archeology professor deeply engrossed in an extraordinary find in a marsh. The remains of a man have lain undisturbed for three centuries, but there’s more to this discovery…
As Soli tries to understand who the baroque man was and discovers what he carried in a sealed wooden tube, problems arise. A leak reveals the finds to the notorious Lieutenant Colonel Heinz Walter, and soon, both Nazi elite and the Gestapo are after the treasure.
When Heddy and the professor disappear along with the artwork, Soli and her resistance group must find them before it’s too late.
1641. In Amsterdam, French musketeer Claude Beaulieu has had his portrait done by his close friend and artist Rembrandt van Rijn. When a band of thieves steal the precious painting, Claude and his wife Annarosa Ruber pick up their swords and a few belongings and go after the culprits.
Set in Norway during the tumultuous last days of the second world war, as well as the peak of the glorious baroque art period, these two stories are a must for readers who love historical fiction with adventure, suspense, and true love that conquers all.
Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Kathleen McGurl, Rhys Bowen, and Katherine Neville.

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Available on #KindleUnlimited

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Guest Post :

Rembrandt van Rijn

In the dual timeline novel, Brushstrokes from the Past, we meet Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, a successful, young painter. The year is 1641. The place: Amsterdam.
Even though he never traveled abroad, Rembrandt was greatly influenced by Italian masters like Caravaggio, but also Rubens, Lastman, and Caravaggists from the town of Utrecht. All these artists had something in common; they had all studied in Italy and preferred powerful and realistic compositions with chiaroscuro effect.
Rembrandt lived and worked in Amsterdam. Here he met Saskia van Uylenburgh—the love of his life—and they were married in 1634. Saskia came from a wealthy family. She was fearless and even educated. In a letter dated 12 January 1639, Rembrandt writes to Constantijn Huygens, the Lord of Zuilichem to discuss a couple of paintings the lord had commissioned. He signs the letter devoted servant Rembrandt and adds that he lives in a house named The Sugar Bakery (De Suijckerbackerij). He and Saskia lived in this confectionary for two years. But only days after the letter was written, they purchased a home on Sint Antoniesbreestraat (St. Anthony Broad Street).
During these years, Rembrandt worked on a gigantic oil painting, commissioned by the captain of the civic militia guard with seventeen of his men. These musketeers were all in the painting, and when finished it adorned their distinguished guild hall and probably covered the whole wall.
This enormous artwork is the one we call The Night Watch. But the scene in the painting takes place during the day just as the captain is giving his men orders to march out. These civilian soldiers defended the city from attack. The famous title came later, at the end of the eighteenth century. The rendition has a dramatic use of light and shadow and had darkened over the years. It appears to be a night scene, therefore the name The Night Watch.
Painting so many men in action had not been done before. There’s also a young girl with a chicken in the painting. She’s not a real person but a symbol of the company.
After three years of painting and refinishing, Rembrandt finished this work in 1642. And the size of this amazing painting? The composition measures almost 12ft x 14ft (3.65m x 4.26m) and is safely guarded in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
What a talented and extraordinary artist Rembrandt was. But even though he basked in popularity and great success as an artist, his life was not an easy one. He adored his wife Saskia, and the many drawings and paintings of her verify that. They met the way Saskia explains to Annarosa in Brushstrokes from the Past, and I’ve described their home as accurately as possible.
Their children were christened in Dutch Reformed churches in Amsterdam. The first son was named Rumbertus after Saskia’s father. The infant died soon after birth. Then followed two daughters, both christened Cornelia after Rembrandt’s mother. Each of them also died after a few days. They called their fourth child Titus van Rijn. He was born in 1641 and survived his father. Unfortunately, the boy saw little of his mother. Saskia died from either tuberculosis or consumption when Titus was only nine months old. In Brushstrokes from the Past, she is pregnant with Titus but far from healthy. Rembrandt confides his worries to Annarosa and is genuinely afraid of losing Saskia.
After Saskia’s death, Rembrandt was heartbroken and remained in their lovely house by the canal for fourteen more years. He had a few legal problems with the woman who nursed his son, Titus, and later formed a common law marriage with his young housekeeper, Hendrickje Stoffels. To protect Titus’s inheritance, the couple never had their marriage solemnized.
Then an economic depression hit Amsterdam in the late 1650s. The great master painter, who already had considerable debt, applied for bankruptcy to avoid imprisonment. Everything he owned was sold for a pittance. Rembrandt lost his wealth and extensive art collection and even had to sell his beloved Saskia’s tomb. He moved with Hendrickje and Titus to a much humbler district on the other side of town where he continued painting.
Many will say that Rembrandt’s painting techniques changed after Saskia’s death. The brushstrokes became bolder, and the renditions seemed to have a deeper, more mysterious quality. Even though he was still highly esteemed, Rembrandt was a poor and almost forgotten man when he died at age sixty-three.
Because of the many Jewish emigrants who settled around Sint Antoniesbreestraat at Rembrandt’s time, the name of the street was later changed to Jodenbreestraat (Jewish Broad Street). Today, his beautiful canal home is a popular museum, and the interior has been reconstructed to resemble what it looked like when he lived there.
The art world has not forgotten him. He was praised by his contemporaries, and he’s recognized today as the number one Flemish and Netherlandish artist. In Western art, Rembrandt is considered one of the greatest.
In the dual timeline novels of the Soli Hansen Mysteries, an art historian joins the resistance to preserve precious artworks from Nazi looting. Chiaroscuro, the technique of using light and dark in a painting, is a common thread. In book three, Hidden Masterpiece, and book four, Brushstrokes from the Past, we become acquainted with the great Rembrandt van Rijn.
Enjoy!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

Talia: Heir to the Fairy Realm (Servants of the Moon and Sun Book 1) #Talia #HeirToTheFairyRealm #ServantsOfTheMoonAndSun – Joel C. Flanagan-Grannemann @ServantsAnd , an #Interview #QandA

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

blog-q&a

Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing an interview with Joel C. Flanagan-Grannemann, author of ‘Talia: Heir to the Fairy Realm (Servants of the Moon and Sun Book 1)’, to promote this book.

About the Author :

Joel's Author PictureJoel C. Flanagan-Grannemann grew up in rural western Pennsylvania. From a young age, the worlds inside his favorite fantasy books made the lonely times at school more bearable. He wrote all through high school and college, but stopped writing after graduation when work and other responsibilities got in the way. He didn’t understand what was missing in his life till the right set of circumstances allowed an idea to blossom. Now he has published two books, with more on the way.
Together with his wife and editor, Jay-Jay, he runs ServantsoftheMoonandSun.com, where information on all his books and stories can be found. Joel is also active on Twitter as @ServantsAnd.
The Flanagan-Grannemanns currently reside in South Carolina with a coterie of cats.

Synopsis :

Joel's Author PictureTalia — the young, Iridescent-winged Heir to the Fairy Realm — and the Heir to the Human Realm — Prince Bastile — embark on a secret love affair that has wide-ranging consequences for both their worlds. Certain elements within each society hate the other side, and the Realms have a long history of warring with one another. Talia, her maid, her 8 Ladies, and her Heir’s Guard (9 female Fairy soldiers) soon find themselves alone on an adventure through the lands of the Fairy Realm in search of information on a reviled ancestor, the Exile Queen. While Talia has always aspired to bring peace to the two Realms, her evil Aunts (known as the Three Sisters) and others within both the Fairy and Human courts conspire to thwart her ambitions, not understanding the ancient prophecy they are about to set Talia on the path to fulfill.

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?
I’m Joel C. Flanagan-Grannemann. I wrote all through high school and college: mostly fantasy, but a lot of poetry in college as well. I stopped writing after graduation because life got in the way. It was always a source of depression for me. I felt like I had wasted all that time in school, wasted any talent I had. Then, in September 2019, I was hit by an idea, and it was the right set of circumstances, as I was in a better place in my life, so I was able to follow through. Now I have two books on Amazon, a story coming out in an anthology in November, and more books on the way.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
It may be cliché to say Tolkien, but it’s the truth. My mom read the classics to me, and then I read them myself, and listened to the BBC audio drama of Lord of the Rings over and over again. Other authors that kept me sane as a lonely, weird kid were Janny Wurst, Tad Williams, and Katherine Kurtz. I also devoured all the Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms books (especially R.A. Salvatore’s Dark Elf series).

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Janny Wurst. Her “Wars of Light and Shadow” series redefined epic fantasy in scope and ambition. Plus, she’s a wonderfully supportive person, as evidenced by her Twitter posts.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I find it hard to separate characters from their books, so this kind of question always gives me pause. How about Faramir, son of Denethor from Lord of the Rings? I always found his journey, living in the shadow of his brother and father, to be very interesting.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
Lately I need a quiet space and my phone on silent. I keep getting distracted.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Sort of. I work retail as my full-time job, so I come into contact with a lot of different people. Keeping my eyes and ears open has helped me find little character moments and sparked various ideas. Sometimes it’s just a little thing. My wife (who is also my editor, audiobook narrator, and overall mistress of all things), bought a ring that expands out into a little silver globe. It’s a bit wide and uncomfortable to wear, but I held it in my hand, and that sparked an idea. I wrote three hundred words about how it was a magical item used to open a portal.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
Definitely a pantser. I usually have a beginning and a sort-of end I am working toward. It’s the middle that I discover as I go along. It’s a very character-led experience. I let my intuition make leaps and connections between sometimes very different characters and situations. Sometimes I feel like I am just the conduit through which these stories are told. My characters take charge sometimes, and once, I tried to make a plot change, and my main character pushed back. I know it’s just a part of my brain, but she would not let it go. So, I figured a way around.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
Like I said above, pay attention to everything around you. That casual conversation in line, how the light hits the road, a foggy morning walking to your car. *Anything* can spark a story, a character, or just a cool moment.
If you don’t have someone in your life who can give you honest feedback, find someone. Hire an editor, join a writing group. Writers can become very close to what they write, and we all need a dispassionate reader to point out plot holes and problems.
Also, find a professional cover artist who knows how to properly lay out and format a book cover for kindle, paperback, and hardback.

What are your futureplans as an author?
Apart from growing as a writer and finding more readers, I am working on the next few books in the “Servants of the Moon and Sun” series. I also have a few short stories, both in my Fairy series and outside, that I would *love* to find homes for.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Here’s a snippet of Talia and Bastile’s moment of no return:

It was dark.
Bastile opened his eyes, and wondered for a moment if he had gone blind. His hands tightened on Talia’s.
Talia spoke a word in Fairy, and a soft, silver Light bloomed above them. They were in a small round room. There was a window, but no door: only a small table, two chairs, and a bed. The smell of age was in the air. Talia gestured, and the window opened. A fair breeze flowed in. On the wall hung a picture in a broken frame. The features of a Fairy Queen could be seen through the dust.
“Where are we?” Bastile asked, looking around with wonder.
“We’re in the Secret Tower,” Talia told him quietly.
Bastile did not let go of her hands. “Are we still in the castle?”
“At the very end, where the walls meet the mountain. This place is forgotten. I only found it via an old scroll I discovered in Miranda’s library. This was where a deposed Queen was kept before she was sent out of the Realm. That’s her picture.” Talia let go of Bastile, and crossed to the picture. She wiped away the dust. A Fairy Queen sat upon the Winged Moon and Sun Throne, with her wings extended. She held a sword in her left hand, and a shield — bearing three waves over a set of wings — rested on her right. Her eyes were stern, and her black hair floated around her, curling over her wings and arms.
“She looks like you,” Bastile commented, coming up behind her.
“I thought so, too. She was Queen until my great-grandmother deposed her. My father is of her line.”
“So, she lived here?”
“Yes. The only way in is that Fairy Ring. I found its description, and the Ring’s Frequency. I, reckless young fool that I was, just jumped in, completely blind. I could have been killed, if anything were wrong here, or if anything in this room had moved.” Talia smiled at the memory of her audacity.
“But you didn’t die.”
“No. Instead, I found a place I could have all to myself. No one knows of this place.” She gestured to encompass the entirety of the room. “You can’t even see the Tower from the ground. It’s covered in a Shadow Spell as old as the castle, and a ‘Look Somewhere Else’ Ward from my great-grandmother.” She moved back to the center of the room. “There’s something we must do first.” She reached out her hands. “Will you Join with me again, and make some more Magic?” There was a wink in her voice.
Bastile heard it, and swiftly took her hands. “Of course.”
“Good. Concentrate, as you did at the Pyre, but this time, picture your light coming down your arms, and joining with the light coming down mine,” she instructed. “Then, expand it out to make a circle, taking in all of the room.”
Bastile nodded, and closed his eyes. Talia closed her eyes, too, and a light bloomed in her chest, visible to her Sight. The silver light grew, and flowed up her shoulders, and down over her arms. It joined the gold light coming down Bastile’s arms, and became a halo that stretched out and touched the walls. Talia moved their still-clasped hands in a circular motion, down, then back up, to end above their heads. The room was now encompassed in a glowing dome.
Talia let go of his hands. “We’re now Warded,” she told him. It had been strange: there had been no hesitation from Bastile, as there had been before. He called a light, and it came. Such wonders with this Human. “Now, no one can hear us — or find us — unless we let them. This is a place outside the Realm. Just for us.”

Isn’t that a great reason to pick up these books and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Joel C. Flanagan-Grannemann.

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 #RachelsRandomResources @rararesources / #PromoPost : The Silent Oath – Michael L. Lewis @BookGuild

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

The Silent Oath

Today I’m on the ‘The Silent Oath’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a some ‘basic’ information for you.

About the Author :

51861119_2276958802625711_2368189991433011200_oMichael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. This is the fourth novel in the Oath series, taking readers on a journey through the lives of three dynamic schoolboys between the ages of 13 and 15. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.

Social Media Links:
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Synopsis :

51861119_2276958802625711_2368189991433011200_oThe Silent Oath is the fourth in The Oath series that depicts life at Blackleigh Public School, and also serves as a stand-alone novel.
1958. Jonathan Simon, 17, is in his fourth year at Blackleigh. Self-conscious about his appointment as one of five Prefects in Trafalgar House, he’s apprehensive as to whether he has what it takes to carry out his responsibilities.
Jonathan knows: 1) The school code of conduct mandates no snitching on anyone. 2) The student Prefects have absolute power to discipline. 3) Mr. Phillip Temple the new Headmaster is determined to revise the school admission policy to achieve a more even playing field in education.
The pressure mounts in an unforgettable school trip to Paris, prejudice spreading through the school and to the school’s Board of Governors as they ruthlessly oppose the new Head. They will stop at nothing to get their way. In his effort to strive to support the Headmaster’s goals, Jonathan will have to overcome far more than an oath of silence executed by his enemies to prevail…

Purchase Links:
BookGuild 
Bookshop.Org
Amazon
Waterstones 
Foyles
WHSmith

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BlogTour #ZooloosBookTours @ZooloosBT / #QandAs : Demon Dagger #DemonDagger – Russell James @RRJames14 @flametreepress

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

Demon Dagger Tour Poster

Today I’m on the ‘Demon Dagger’ 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 :

Russell James Author PhotoRussell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror.
After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army and a career as a technical writer, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight, including horror thrillers Dark Inspiration, Q Island, and The Playing Card Killer.
He authored the Grant Coleman Adventures series starting with Cavern of the Damned and the Ranger Kathy West series starting with Claws.
He resides in sunny Florida. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”

Website
Twitter

Synopsis :

Russell James Author PhotoA Demon Hunter with a gift that becomes a curse. A Demon that hunts the hunter. A thrilling tale of darkness and vengeance for fans of the TV series ‘Supernatural’.
“James (Lambs Among Wolves) makes a familiar trope fresh in this gripping horror novel … a thrilling game of supernatural cat and mouse.” – Publishers Weekly
Drew Price has a gift, or perhaps a curse.
When a demon possesses a person, Drew can see the horrific-looking demon that dwells within. This ability has made him a demon hunter, armed with the one weapon that can send these fiends back to Hell; the demon dagger.
A demon named Nicobar sets its sights on punishing this hunter. It starts by taking the soul of Drew’s son, condemning the boy to life as a psychopath.
This fast-paced, chilling novel follows Drew’s attempt to save his son’s soul and then use the blade to end Nicobar’s time on Earth.

Buy Link

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?
While I was working as a technical writer, every time I went on a long car trip with my wife, I would start to relate a story idea that I thought would be interesting or a different plot inspired by a movie we’d seen. Eventually she got tired of listening to that and said “Why don’t you write these stories?”
I replied “Because no one would ever pay money to read something I’d written.”
I’ve had that thrown back in my face multiple times since then.
My wife got me into an online writing course for Christmas that year, which led to getting a personal coach, and then another online writing class. While in that last class, I’d had a few short stories accepted for publication. The teacher mentioned that a new horror imprint was open to submissions and the editor was the famous Don D’Auria. I sent in my just-polished manuscript, and to my shock, it was accepted. In 2011, Dark Inspiration became my first published novel.

Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
At my request, my parents taught me to read around age three, so I got a big jump on it. In first grade, the class read See Spot Run from the old Dick and Jane series. At the end, we started reading it again, which I thought was dumb because I already knew the ending.
I remember loving the Hardy Boys books and being especially proud of them because they were hardcover and didn’t have pictures, which I knew meant they were very adult. I still have those books on my shelves.
Now, I tend to read the other authors who are published by the presses that publish me. They are all quite good and they always reset the bar in my own personal expectations about how good my writing needs to be. I can read anything from Catherine Cavendish, JG Faherty, or Hunter Shea and lose all track of time.

Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Any advice I’d ask for from an author would probably center more on the business side of writing. I’ve found that the creative part of the process is exceptionally individualistic. Everyone has their own quirks about what makes them more productive. Everyone has a different style that works for them. Advice from any bestselling author on reaching the maximum number of readers would be something I’d love to hear.

If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
I would want to sit down with Marvin Vernon from the new book Demon Dagger. I won’t spoil the surprises with a lot of revelations about his character here. I originally wrote him as a one-scene character to deliver some crucial information to advance the plot. But the more I thought about him, and the more of his backstory developed in my head and on paper, the more interesting he became. He ends up being an integral part of the book from the time he arrives midway through. I really like his outlook on life and how he overcame all the disadvantages he was born into. Everyone will have to read the book to see what I mean.

Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
I write in total silence. This seems odd to the many, many people who want a certain kind of background music, or keep a TV on at a low level for background noise. I find that distracting and can focus better in stillness. My wife is great at understanding this and in helping keep the house quiet on the rare occasions when we are both home and I have a deadline to hit.

Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
Most of the seeds that my stories sprout from come from something I’ve read or something I’ve seen that strikes me as different and worth looking at more. This idea usually gets the story started. The idea for Demon Dagger is the only one that ended up starting a story in the middle.
I live in Central Florida and visit all our great theme parks often. The local myth is that the person in the Mickey Mouse costume is usually female since the character is rather short. That got me thinking that not only do we not know the gender of the person under the costume, we don’t know anything at all. We assume it is a nice, benign person. Being a horror writer, that sent me down the path of wondering “What if they weren’t?” What if this was a malicious person, trying to exploit this moment where everyone has their guard down in what they assume to be a safe place?
Without giving too much away, this became a scene in the center of the novel, where the demon Nicobar uses a costumed character to get close to demon hunter Drew’s son. Having planted this stake in the ground, I then had to work backward to figure out how everyone got there, and then forward to see what unfolded afterward. It was an odd process for me, but I am very happy with the results.

Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a total pantser, As a warning to any aspiring writers, it is the least efficient and most frustrating method of writing a novel. I will just start writing and see what happens. As ideas come to me about future events, I will add a future chapter headline that is something like CHAPTER XX- CLARA FINDS THE SPELL BOOK. That way I don’t lose track of little brainstorms. But a lot of times those headlines get erased for new and better plot twists.

Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
First off, if the desire to write keeps percolating inside you, just give in to it. The drive isn’t going to go away. And then you need to do it. A lot. Every day. Few, if any, can be successful on innate talent alone. It also requires practice and training.
Finally, be prepared for a rejection or two, or maybe a hunderd and two. Many are called but few are chosen. Sadly, lucky timing plays as big a role in success as hard work. Success generally requires both. A lot of authors readily admit that a stroke of luck helped get them to where they are today. The more you submit, the more you write, the better your odds become for being where you need to be when that lucky break happens.

What are your futureplans as an author?
I have two series with Severed Press that have new releases coming. The first one, Atoll X, is a Grant Coleman Adventure. He is a paleontologist who keeps getting roped into expeditions that find giant monsters. In the new novel, he is asked to catalog fossils found on a billionaire’s new South Pacific island resort. But when he and some others are shipwrecked on an uncharted atoll, instead they find deadly creatures that should have been extinct long ago. This book should be out in 2022.
The other series with Severed Press is the Rick and Rose Sinclair Adventures. It’s 1938 and this antique dealer couple turns treasure hunters when the opportunities arise. In their first adventure Quest for the Queen’s Temple, they went in search of the lost treasury of the legendary Queen of Sheba. In the second story, likely out in early 2023, Voyage to Blackbeard’s Island, they’ll be searching for that pirate’s hidden treasure. In all instances you can expect creatures to be defending these prizes and supernatural forces hard at work to do the same.

Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Here’s the first chapter of the book for you:

Chapter 1

A warm Pacific breeze blew in the scent of eucalyptus and blooming oleander. Sage lent its sweet fragrance to the mix. Greg Wolter inhaled the intoxicating floral bouquet that whispered promises his concrete city could never keep.
Somehow during the early mornings in March, Los Angeles could still smell wonderful, despite hazy air and homeless encampments along the dirty streets. As the day progressed, the belch of diesel engines and the stink of broiling dumpsters would soon foul the air, but for this brief moment, Greg closed his eyes and imagined the paradise this place could have been.
He opened them to the city’s reality. He sat in his wheelchair on one of the sidewalks that snaked through poorly-maintained MacArthur Park. The park was a square island of green surrounded by the city’s tight-packed grid of buildings and streets. A large lake took up one corner of the park, and a few forlorn trees dotted the area. The builders’ early 1900s vision of an urban oasis had not been fulfilled. Handsome beaus did not escort their well-dressed betrothed along manicured paths. Instead, the impoverished from the local area lounged on patchy grass. The tents of the homeless hogged the shade under the trees. Young men in leather and tattoos did a furtive business exchanging small plastic bags for wads of cash.
But Greg wheeled himself here in the mornings because he could catch that glorious L.A. scent and bask in the SoCal sun better than through the window of his tiny apartment. And despite the park’s high crime statistics, no one had ever messed with the old man in the wheelchair. He figured that even the most callous thugs thought it beneath them to rough up a geezer who appeared to have nothing worth stealing.
He spent the time watching people pass by. He looked at them from the waist up, never from the waist down, never at their shadows. The decades had taught him it was less stressful to keep secret the status of strangers’ souls.
The sidewalk in front of him curved downhill to where Wilshire Boulevard cut through the center of the park. The road had been built in the 1930s, proving that city government had been committed to cars over people since the earliest days. Vehicles did a slow roll in the morning traffic and bicycles whizzed by the cars.
Then Greg saw, walking in the crowd, what he feared the most. His mouth went dry.
It walked along the sidewalk on Wilshire. Its human-like head appeared charred, like meat left on a grill for far too long. A blackened, pointed nose stuck out over a wide mouth and elongated ears swept to points top and bottom. Dots glowed red within deep, black eye sockets. Atop its head, twin horns swept out to the sides and then curled inward. A demon.
Its grotesque body proportions made the demon even more repellent. A wide torso tapered to a narrow waist. The skin on the torso was opaque, and beneath it writhed indistinct shapes. But Greg knew just what they were.
Its blackened arms and legs seemed impossibly thin, yet somehow its legs supported its body. The creature’s hands only had three bony fingers and a thumb, with sharp black claws at each tip.
The people around the demon didn’t run, didn’t scream in terror as they should. Because the gift/curse that the old man had was that only he could see the demons as they truly were. The rest of the population just saw the human being the demon had possessed after its escape from Hell. So it walked through the pedestrian crowd unnoticed, just another person on the way to work.
Greg’s bladder seemed to swell to twice its normal size and he fought the urge to pee himself. His age-weakened heart slammed in his chest at a rate it hadn’t reached in decades. Because this wasn’t just any demon walking through MacArthur Park. He recognized the demon as Nicobar.
He dug his nails into the wheelchair’s armrests. Almost thirty years ago, he’d helped end this abomination’s hunt for human souls and sent it back to Hell. Memories he’d long repressed came flooding back. Paralyzing terror, sickening bloodshed, soul-crushing loss. If that creature had returned, it would bring chaos and death to the City of Angels again.
Suddenly, Greg’s wheelchair spun to the right. A Golden Retriever barreled past, dragging a small boy behind him at the other end of its leash. Greg fought to balance his chair as it leaned downhill.
Then a woman grabbed the armrest on his left and steadied the chair. It went still and the humiliated face of a young Hispanic woman looked down at him.
“The dog,” she said. “It is too much for my boy. I am so sorry!”
She released the chair, and for a second kept her hands inches from it, as if it might jump out of control again on its own. When it didn’t, she ran downhill after her son without waiting for Greg’s absolution.
Greg looked back to where the demon had been. It was gone. Lost in the crowd, a crowd that had no idea the evil that walked among them.
He and his demon-hunting partner had beaten Nicobar before. The fight had left his partner dead. Greg had survived, but his injuries had sapped the strength from his legs. That experience had boiled away the courage to hunt down a demon again. He’d wondered afterwards, if they had known Nicobar’s true strength, would they have even considered taking it on?
A much wiser, and much, much older Greg knew facing down a demon now would be suicide. What was a disabled old man going to do all alone against evil so monstrous that it was supposed to be banished from ever walking the Earth? He felt utterly helpless.
He prayed that somewhere out there, a new generation had stepped up to do what he’d once done, that right now they were executing a plan to get that abomination off the streets of Los Angeles.
He had no faith that prayer would be answered.
His lap felt wet. He looked down and saw that he’d peed himself after all.

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

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!