#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : CORINTH 2642 AD #CORINTH2642AD – Bindiya Schaefer @bindiyaschaefer #BindiyaSchaefer #SciFi

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

Today I’m on the ‘CORINTH 2642 AD’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Bindiya is a former defense and aerospace journalist. Before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, she lived in Dubai, UAE and Bangalore, India.
When she’s not writing, she’s camping in the California wilderness (where she also writes) with her husband and baby-dog.

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Synopsis :

A lot has changed in 2642 AD. Chocolate has become extinct, Hyperloops have replaced cars and wearable technology is the norm. But nothing has changed more than humans themselves. People no longer identify themselves as White, Asian, Brown or Black. Because of globalization and war, no one person is ethnically like the other because they are a beautiful mix of every race that existed before them.
This is the world that Cara yearns to escape to. She can no longer be a part of the pureblood, white supremacist cult (led by her imperial grandfather Julius Bull) where she was raised, so she and other young people make a run for it.
Desperate to keep Cara’s dissidence quiet for fear of losing face and potentially inciting a power struggle against his own police force, Bull calls in some favors and requests Jimmy Matoo, a Special Investigator from San Francisco, to help him.
For Matoo, the visit to Corinth, Oregon, is eye-opening. He has never seen a white person before, at least not in real life. He quickly discovers that to keep their bloodline pure and grow the populace, the surviving colonies have been intermarrying to keep producing the next generation of survivors. And, that’s not all. His investigation reveals dozens of young colony members have gone missing over the years, and some have been found dead on the outskirts of Corinth.
With the clock ticking, Matoo’s missing persons investigation soon becomes a fight for survival—turns out the residents don’t like a brown fellow in their midst. Can he find Cara, figure out what happened to his brother, and save the leader’s family from the cabal terrorizing Corinth before it’s too late? Maybe. But first, he must find out who in the colony has the means and connections to smuggle the dissidents out without being detected because it could be the difference between life and death.

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#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Cold Quarry #ColdQuarry – Brent Ladd @BrentLoefke #BrentLadd @BookBuzznet #BookBuzz #Thriller

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Cold Quarry’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

6f2aa398b3284648ae6e96ffdbfcc359Brent Ladd is a successful television commercial director, writer, with hundreds of TV commercials to his name. He is an avid outdoorsman and a Beach Volleyball addict. His work has allowed him to visit some remarkable people and locals around the globe and he loves to include them in his writing. Codi Sanders is built from the many amazing women I have had the pleasure of working with. She defines determination and independence, while still trying to find a place for her heart.

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Synopsis :

a18c801c6f2849c393a6e8bc7b06e123A cold case from the 60’s comes back to life when a body is discovered in the jail of a small town long buried under a manmade lake.
In Cold Quarry, Codi and her team at the FBI Special Projects division must peel back the evidence and follow a twisting path to uncover a clever terror plot that is nearly complete. With a ticking clock and most of the odds against them, they must fight for every inch to stop those responsible and save thousands of innocent lives.

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Other Books in the Codi Sanders Thriller Series
Terminal Pulse
Blind Target

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Primeval Origins: Paths of Anguish #PrimevalOrigins #PathsofAnguish – B. A. Vonsik #BAVonsik @BookBuzznet #BookBuzz #Scifi

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

Today I’m on the ‘Primeval Origins: Paths of Anguish’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Multiple-Award Winning Science Fantasy Author and Creator of the Primeval Origins® Epic Saga
– Primeval Origins: Paths of Anguish (7 Awards and Honors)
– Primeval Origins: Light of Honor (11 Awards and Honors)
– Primeval Origins: Rise of Serpents (17 Awards and Honors)
B.A. Vonsik is a 1985 graduated of the United States Air Force Academy and flew as an USAF Special Operations aviator before joining the training and simulation industry. While working in his adventurous careers, B.A. Vonsik spent much of his remaining time creating and detailing the world of Primeval Origins®. Curious about why many of our mythological pantheons seemed so similar despite the cultures creating them having never interacted with each other, B.A. created the Primeval Origins® science fantasy saga based on more than 30 years of his research into our mythologies, ancient alien theory, accepted human history and our undiscovered history, the sciences, modern and future technologies, metaphysical studies, the Bible, Quran, Hindu, and other religions. What B.A. discovered was mind bending and written into the pages of his multiple award-winning science fantasy epic.

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A Science Fantasy Epic Saga like no other!
Winning 35 literary Awards and Honors!
She scoffs at the legends of long-ago civilizations. He grew up battling deadly dinosaurs. When their lifelines intersect, can Nikki and Rogaan survive humanity’s genesis and the nemesis of our apocalyptic end times…the Four Horsemen?
Bolivia, 2080s. Nikki Ricks dedicates her life to scientific truth. So when the book-smart graduate student discovers a perfectly preserved blue-steel sword among the fossilized bones of a Cretaceous-era dinosaur, she struggles to accept what should be an anachronism. And when the ground gives way, she finds herself plunged into the memories of a prehistoric young man.
65 million years BC. Rogaan yearns to claim a place among his tribe’s heroes. Already a skilled archer and metalsmith, he chafes at his father forbidding him from his planned foray into adulthood by joining the town hunt. Defying his family’s command and going anyway, the brash would-be warrior reveals a forbidden weapon… and draws the attention of an assassin.
With Nikki torn between her physical body and her mental journey, she grapples to hold on to the logic of reality… despite a fierce conviction that a mystical doomsday is looming. And as Rogaan fights to dodge death from a powerful sect, he realizes the world is more complex and dangerous than his wildest imaginings.
Are the tangled senses of this strange pair fated to bring about the end of mankind?
In this meticulously researched tapestry of legends, B.A. Vonsik entwines humanity’s mythologies, scientific discoveries, and religious wisdoms into a seamless whole. Cleverly contrasting modern research with ancient knowledge, this multiple-award-winning novel will leave you breathless and questioning as you delve into its intricacies.
Primeval Origins: Paths of Anguish is the visionary first book in the Primeval Origins Epic Saga of science fantasy adventures. If you like prehistoric heroes, fast-paced thrills, and hidden truths, then you’ll love B.A. Vonsik’s apocalyptic legend.
Buy Primeval Origins: Paths of Anguish to wield the secrets of the ages today!

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Multiple Award-Winning Science Fantasy Saga like no other! She scoffs at the legends of long-ago civilizations. He grew up battling deadly dinosaurs. When their lifelines intersect, can Nikki and Rogaan survive humanity’s genesis and the nemesis of our apocalyptic end times…the Four Horsemen?

Primeval Origins: Paths of Anguish
Primeval Origins: Light of Honor
Primeval Origins: Rise of Serpents

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#BookBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Emergence #Emergence – Ellie Beals @BealsEllie #EllieBeals @BookBuzznet #BookBuzz

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Emergence’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

8d0810462b374e4e9578282e0eddee01

Ellie Beals grew up Baltimore, Maryland and moved to Canada when she was 20. She spent the majority of her professional career as a management consultant in Ottawa, Ontario. Plain language writing was one of her specialties.
Dogs have been a constant in Ellie’s life from the time she was a child. In the mid-1990s, she started to train and compete in Obedience with Golden Retrievers, with considerable success. In 2014, she had the highest-rated Canadian obedience dog (Fracas – upon whom Chuff is modeled), and her husband David Skinner had the second-rated dog. During a ten-year period, both Ellie and David were regularly ranked among Canada’s Top Ten Obedience competitors. They have an active obedience coaching practice in Ottawa, having retired from their previous professional careers in order to spend more time playing with their dogs and their students.
Like Cass and Noah Harwood, Ellie and David have a log cabin in the wilds of West Quebec, where Ellie is an avid wilderness recreationist, constantly accompanied by her dogs. As Covid19 spread in March of 2020, she and David temporarily shut down their coaching practice and retreated to their cabin, where Emergence was written. Lac Rouge is not the real name of the lake on which they live. Everything else about the locale for Emergence is faithful to the character of the gentle Laurentian mountains of West Quebec.

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Synopsis :

EmergenceIt starts with Just Watching. But danger emerges when Just Watching ends.
When the “wild child” Xavier first encounters Cass Harwood and her dogs in the woods of West Quebec, he is enthralled. Unknown to them, he Just Watches them in a lengthy ongoing surveillance, before finally staging a meeting. His motives are uncertain – even to him.
The intersection of the lives of Cass, a competitive dog-handler, her dogs, her cousin Lori and the complex and enigmatic Xavier, leads them all into a spiral of danger. It starts when Just Watching ends – when Cass and her crew encounter tragedy in the bush. Xavier’s involvement in the tragedy, unknown to Cass, sets off a chain of potentially lethal events, that begin in the dark woods of Lac Rouge, when hiking, skiing, hunting, trapping, marijuana grow-ops, and pedophilia, collide. It matures in the suburbs of both Ottawa and Baltimore, and culminates back in Lac Rouge, when danger arrives uninvited at Cass’ isolated cabin in the woods. In the night. In the cold. In the heavily-falling snow. Xavier observes it all. His motives are again uncertain, but his propensity for action is not.
Join Xavier, Lori, Cass and the realistic and compelling dogs that are essential players in this dark drama, as their fates converge in a deadly loop of revenge, fear, guilt, and hope.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#ReleaseBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : A Dare Too Far #ADareTooFar – Charlie Lane @BookBuzznet

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

Today I’m on the ‘A Dare Too Far’ release blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Charlie Lane traded in academic databases and scholarly journals for writing steamy Regency romcoms like the ones she’s always loved to read. Her favorite authors are Jane Austen (who else?), Toni Morrison, William Blake, Julia Quinn, and Maya Rodale.
Charlie writes unique stories with unconventional characters who push against the rigid restrictions of their society. Officially, Charlie has a Ph.D. in literature with a focus on the nineteenth-century novel and children’s literature and answers to Professor. Unofficially, she’s a high-flying circus-obsessed acrobat, with an emphasis on two-tail silks and answers to Muscles Magee. She lives with her own Colonel Brandon, two little dudes, and a furry fella in East Tennessee.

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Synopsis :

In this friends-to-lovers Regency romance by Charlie Lane, an independent lady and a cautious earl must do the most daring thing of all—fall in love.
A daring lady.
A caring earl.
And a Christmas house party that turns love into a dangerous game.
The Earl of Abbington is not a daring man.
Responsible for the care of an opium-addicted uncle, George’s life poses dangers to a bride that he’ll never risk. It’s why he avoided the independent and kind Lady Jane last year, despite her brother’s request he protect her during her season. His neglect no doubt led to Jane’s tattered reputation. In reparation, he’s sent pre-approved suitors to the house party to ensure she marries well, not to a man whose life is a nightmare.
Lady Jane is done being daring.
Her daring spirit ruined her reputation, her family’s social standing, and her brother’s marital prospects. But a Christmas house party attended by a coterie of willing suitors can put everything right. Plain of face and ordinary of intellect, Jane knows she’ll never find love. And she doesn’t want it anyway. Love is the most daring thing a woman can do, after all. Instead, she’ll develop a system to test her suitors and discover the best husband for a practical sort of marriage.
Jane needs George’s help choosing a husband, but George soon realizes he can’t give it without betraying his own heart. Together, they must find the courage to face the dangers of love or lose the love of a lifetime.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#WeekBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Hælend’s Ballad #HælendsBallad – Ian Conrey @IanConrey #IanVConrey #DarkFantasy

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Hælend’s Ballad’ week blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Profile CroppedIan Conrey is both a teacher and student of history and theology, who actively fights against human trafficking and is working toward an M.A. in Religion. In his free time, he enjoys reading biographies and ancient mythology, discovering early American folk songs, and exploring the Cohutta Wilderness. He lives with his wife and three children in the North Georgia mountains.

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Synopsis :

HÆLEND'S_BALLAD_clean2021 my name“Some call me Murderer, others call me Lord. I’ve been called Savior and Enslaver. But no one has ever called me Child.”
A young man signs his own death warrant when he joins an already failing militia. A teenage girl is haunted by her childhood abuse and begins to crave the very things she hates. A childless mother finds herself on the run as a convicted murderer. Yet they are all unaware that their own fates are tied to a young orphan who has drowned and come back to life in a foreign land where he will be the death of everyone he meets.
Hælend’s Ballad is a tale about what happens when men and women from two colliding cultures realize they may not be on the right side. Heroes are villains. The persecuted are oppressors. And when rumors begin to spread that the world is dying, the darkness of their own hearts betrays them.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#ReleaseBlitz #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Sealed with a Yuletide Kiss #SealedWithAYuletideKiss – Sophie Barnes @BarnesSophie #SophieBarnes @BookBuzznet #HistoricalRomance

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

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Today I’m on the ‘Sealed with a Yuletide Kiss’ release blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Sealed with a Yuletide Kiss Author Sophie BarnesUSA Today Bestselling Author, Sophie Barnes, has spent her youth traveling with her parents to wonderful places all around the world. She’s lived in five different countries, on three different continents, and speaks Danish, English, French, Spanish and Romanian with varying degrees of fluency.
She has studied design in Paris and New York and has a bachelor’s degree from Parson’s School of design, but most impressive of all – she’s been married to the same man three times, in three different countries and in three different dresses.
While living in Africa, Sophie turned to her lifelong passion – writing.
When she’s not busy, dreaming up her next romance novel, Sophie enjoys spending time with her family. She currently lives on the East Coast.

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Synopsis :

Sealed with a Yuletide KissAllow yourself to be swept away as you count down to Christmas with this collection of twenty-four romantic short stories. From friends to lovers and instant romance to secret identities and so much more, these treats are sure to fill you with warmth this holiday season. So grab a hot drink, settle into your favorite spot, and indulge in the magic of happily ever afters.

Story titles:
December 1: A Drunken Christmas Escapade
December 2: A Royal Affair on Christmas Eve
December 3: A Duke Surrenders His Heart on Christmas Eve
December 4: A Highwayman Proposes on Christmas Eve
December 5: Caught in a Snow Storm on Christmas Eve
December 6: Rescued by a Duke before Christmas
December 7: A Kiss for Christmas
December 8: A Christmas House Party
December 9: Underneath the Mistletoe
December 10: Snowed In on Christmas Eve
December 11: An Unexpected Guest Arrives for Christmas
December 12: At the Christmas Ball
December 13: Trapped in a Carriage on Christmas Eve
December 14: By the Stroke of Midnight
December 15: The Duke Proposes on Christmas
December 16: A Scandalous Dare on Christmas Eve
December 17: A Secret Christmas Rendezvous
December 18: Stealing a Yuletide Kiss
December 19: A Shocking Revelation for Christmas
December 20: Stranded at an Inn during Christmas
December 21: An Unexpected Encounter with a Highlander
December 22: Reunited on Christmas Eve
December 23: Only a Duke Will Do for Christmas
December 24: A Christmas Wedding Gone Awry

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#VirtualBookTour #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #Excerpt : The Eagle’s Lady #TheEaglesLady – Miriam Newman @miriamnewman #MiriamNewman #HistoricalRomance

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

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

About the Author :

Author PhotoHailing from Pennsylvania, Miriam Newman has developed a prolific writing career that began in her twenties, although she published her very first novel some time later in 2009. She was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been her passion for as long as she can remember and she brings that background to her writing, along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services, and many trips to Ireland, where she nurtures her muse. Her published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. It was in Ireland that she wrote The King’s Daughter. Ireland is her favorite place in this world. “I connect there with something I can’t even explain,” she says fondly.
Miriam spent many years working in Social Services, and after retirement, she found herself working part-time in local government. Currently, she lives in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. Her passion for animal rescue and fostering has included a number of fur babies, from horses to dogs to a pig that appeared on her porch one morning. Also a lover of great books, the one that she finds most responsible for her venture into fantasy and recommends is ‘The Once and Future King’ by T.H. White.

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Son of an impoverished, dying chieftain, Ari raided for booty and slaves so he could feed his people. He was a heathen, probably a murderer, and it was a sin to lie with him.

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Excerpt :

I

Ari closed and bolted the door behind them as he usually did when they slept, but Maeve knew they would not be sleeping in the broad light of day, such as it ever was in the longhouse. By the light of the lamp, she watched him draw a square white cloth and a rare, expensive silk pouch from the cubbyhole where he kept clothes. It reminded her of the sunstone he had used on the ship, but she knew this was something entirely different.
Ari looked distant, hardly aware of her. Unfolding the cloth before the hearth, he laid it in a square, then shook the contents of the pouch gingerly onto it. A handful of fired clay tablets tumbled out with a tiny clinking noise. They bore markings that reminded her of chicken legs—scratchy, scrawling marks nothing like the figures Brother Ambrose had shown her on a manuscript.
The tablets that fell face down he ignored. From the others, he selected three, leaving others scattered randomly below them.
“This I cannot well explain to you,” he said, finally acknowledging her silent presence. “My father was many years teaching me to read the runes.” He frowned at the tablets. “These three show the past, the present and the future, but incompletely. The others help to show the wyrd—the path.”
“Path?”
He smiled, a little grimly. “My fate, perhaps. Only the Norns can say.”

II

Not one person attended their departure the next morning. It was as if the life of the keep would go on uninterrupted, in no way altered by their absence when Ari had given so many years of his life to it. Once more aboard Stormwind, wondering if sailing would be just the fact of her life with Vikings, Maeve watched the coast of heathen Norway retreating in the distance, shrouded in semi-darkness and mist.
“Come,” Ari said, gently, with an arm around her waist. To her other side, Birgitta stood, watching silently as Maeve had done. Maeve could not imagine what she must be feeling, watching the place that had been her home for so many years disappear forever.
“We have prepared a small place on the deck for you and Mother and the other women and children,” he explained. “You can take shelter there when you are too cold.”
Maeve suspected she would not be much warmer anywhere and she feared for Orm, cradled in her arms beneath her cloak. Fortunately, he was sleepy and did not appear much interested in the momentous events taking place around him.
Sealskin-clad men rowed from two sets of benches before setting sail, with heavily-swathed women and a few children huddled between them. Elsewhere, aside from crude privies that were essentially buckets, every space was crammed with sea trunks and goods lashed to the deck. Maeve knew from experience that those would break free nonetheless on heavy seas, some of them lost and others crushing the unwary or unfortunate. She realized Ari had given them shelter from those more than from the weather. From that, brooding and blowing, there was no escape. But she turned without a word, accompanying Birgitta and Orm into a wooden lair below the sail that she greatly feared would be her watery grave.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#AudiobookTour #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #PromoPost : Taking Time #TakingTime – Mike Murphey @BooksMurphey

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

Today I’m on the ‘Taking Time’ book blitz, organized by RABT Book Tours.
To promote this book I have some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Mike Murphey is a native of New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement, he enjoyed a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star Major League outfielder. Their company produced the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. He is author of the award-winning novels Section Roads and The Conman… a Baseball Odyssey along with his Physics, Lust and Greed time travel series. We Never Knew Just What it Was is his first effort at non-fiction. Mike loves books, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.

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Synopsis :

The year is 2044. Housed in a secret complex beneath the eastern Arizona desert, a consortium of governments and corporations have undertaken a program on the scale of the Manhattan Project to bludgeon the laws of physics into submission and make time travel a reality.
Fraught with insecurities, Marshall Grissom has spent his whole life trying not to call attention to himself, so he can’t imagine he would be remotely suited for the role of time travel pioneer. He’s even less enthusiastic about this corporate time-travel adventure when he learns that nudity is a job requirement. The task would better match the talents of candidates like the smart and beautiful Sheila Schuler, or the bristle-tough and rattlesnake-mean Marta Hamilton.
As the project evolves into a clash between science and corporate greed, conflicts escalate. Those contributing the funding are mostly interested in manipulating time travel for profit, and will stop at nothing, including murder, to achieve their goals.

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The Magic of Wor(l)ds

#VirtualBookTour #RABTBookTours @RABTBookTours / #Excerpt : Ceremony (Murders of Substance Book 1) #Ceremony – Paul Austin Ardoin @paulardoin #PaulAustinArdoin #Mystery

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

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

About the Author :

Paul Austin Ardoin is the Amazon bestselling author of The Fenway Stevenson Mysteries. Book 1, THE RELUCTANT CORONER, is his debut novel. He has published short fiction and humorous essays in the anthologies Bottomfish and Sweet Fancy Moses, and non-fiction works about computer security in California Computer News and European Communications.
Paul is a California native who put his creative writing degree to use by authoring marketing materials for computer security companies for the better part of two decades. When he’s not writing novels or trying to save the world through better computer security, Paul plays keyboards in a dance rock band. He lives in the Sacramento area with his wife, two teenagers, and a menagerie of animals.
Join Paul’s mailing list for news about new books.

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Synopsis :

Dr. Kep Woodhead is a brilliant, irascible forensic toxicologist with a dark past.
Bernadette Becker is a disgraced federal investigator with one last chance.
They’re both assigned to a strange poisoning case: a graduate student has been found dead in a 15th-century chapel, overdosed on a controversial hallucinogen.
The list of suspects is long: the priest, the professor, the piscary president, the protestor, the protégé, and at least one wants to silence Becker.
Do Becker and Woodhead have a prayer of discovering the truth before the killer strikes again?

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Excerpt :

He ducked through the doorway, pushed his glasses up, then raised his nose and sniffed.
“Dr. Woodhead, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” Bernadette stuck out her hand in greeting.
He closed his eyes and held up an index finger. Bernadette lowered her hand. Detective Dunn looked over her shoulder at Bernadette, who gave a slight shrug.
Bernadette could almost hear the seconds tick by in her head.
Finally, Dr. Woodhead opened his eyes and pointed to the table on the altar holding a brass censer, a sphere resting on a stand with notches in the top half and an ornate cross on the lid. “Did the CSI team say how long ago that incense was burned?”
The detective followed his gaze. “No. Not since the body was found, anyway. I don’t think.” She hesitated, then spoke quickly. “And I’m Detective Kerrigan Dunn, Milwaukee Police.” She didn’t offer her hand.
“Most of the incense had already been burned, judging from the smell. Benzoin was used.” Woodhead sniffed again, ignoring Dunn. “I’m getting other styrax scents as well; perhaps a touch of frankincense. Is incense used in the services? Are there even services held here?”
Kerrigan Dunn nodded. “The Anglicans have their service Sunday morning, of course.” Detective Dunn took out her notebook and consulted it. “We’ve got a group of Seventh-Day Adventists Saturday, a small Presbyterian group Sunday evening. Tuesday, of course, it’s the Agios Delphi people.”
“I didn’t have time to research them much,” Bernadette said. “It’s an odd name for a church. Delphi was the name of the oracle from Oedipus Rex. Is it Greek Orthodox?”
The detective scoffed. “It’s no kind of orthodox. More like a pyramid scheme dressed in religious clothing.”
“It’s not a mainstream denomination,” Bernadette said.
“If I recall correctly, our victim was a member.” Dr. Woodhead opened his folder. “Yes, here it is: ‘Mr. Thompson was a member of a local church called Agios Delphi.’” He turned a page. “Agios Delphi of Greater Milwaukee. Kymer Thompson was an elder.” Woodhead glanced up at the detective. “Twenty-five and an elder. That’s humorous.” He did not smile.
Bernadette chewed her bottom lip. Woodhead had a point: he was young to have such an elevated position in the church. “Detective, the Agios Delphi group meets here on Tuesday, correct? But last night was Monday.”
“Right,” Dunn affirmed.
“So why was Mr. Thompson inside the chapel yesterday?”
“Perhaps he was trying to, I don’t know, cleanse the bad juju from the chapel for tonight’s service. Maybe that’s one of the things the elders have to do for the, uh, church.” Dunn landed on the last word harder than necessary.
“Detective Dunn,” Dr. Woodhead said absently, reading the report from the folder, “are you able to maintain impartiality, or will your opinion of the victim’s religion color your investigation?”
Dunn formed her hands into a steeple. “I haven’t said anything that isn’t relevant to the investigation, Dr. Woodhead. This organization is known to use methods to separate their congregation from their money. I have a thick folder back at the District 5 station full of fraud allegations. Widens the net we need to cast for suspects.”
Woodhead raised his head, a smile touching the corners of his mouth—the smile looked friendly, but his eyes flashed behind his glasses. “You haven’t answered my question. Will your dislike of Agios Delphi affect your ability to investigate this crime?”
“I believe I’m more familiar with Agios Delphi than you are.” Dunn crossed her arms. “And like I said, I haven’t said anything irrelevant.”
“CSAB was called,” Bernadette broke in, “because your M.E. strongly suspects that ibogaine caused Mr. Thompson’s death. That requires investigation—ibogaine is a class 1 controlled substance. We need to work together.” But she couldn’t catch Woodhead’s eye when she said it.
Dunn pressed her lips together and was silent.
Woodhead looked up at the vaulted ceiling. “So Agios Delphi uses this space for their services on Tuesday nights?”
“Yes.”
“How did Mr. Thompson get in here?”
“According to the docent, he was one of the two people from the Delphi group who had a key. He was an elder in the organization, and he lived in university-owned housing, so he was close.”
“Who’s the other member with a key?” Woodhead asked.
“Vivian Roundhouse.”
Bernadette remembered the name from her file. “Ms. Roundhouse is the Agios Delphi priest.”
Woodhead flipped back a page. “Ah. Yes.” He turned to face the back wall, stepping closer until his nose was only an inch or two from the stones. Pushing his glasses up again, he took a long whiff and kept sniffing.
After the third sniff, the muscles around Woodhead’s eyes tightened.
Uh oh. That wasn’t a good sign.
He opened his eyes and looked at Detective Dunn.
“Is something wrong?” the detective said.
And then Bernadette caught the faintest whiff of it—perfume. And not the same scent the docent wore.
“You—” Woodhead began.
Then Bernadette caught his eye. She set her mouth in a line. He had already upset Detective Dunn by questioning her ability to stay neutral. They needed Dunn on their side—and if he insulted her again, she might not be cooperative. “I tried to reach you several times, Dr. Woodhead.”
“Yes, I know.”
That wasn’t a response she’d expected. “I’d hoped you would give me some direction on clearing the crime scene for you so this kind of thing wouldn’t happen.”
Woodhead looked at Bernadette impassively. “It wouldn’t have helped. You wouldn’t have been able to prepare it to my satisfaction.”
Oof. Martin’s letter was prescient.
“Does someone want to tell me what’s going on?” Dunn asked.
Woodhead turned to face her. “You’re contaminating the crime scene.”
Dunn narrowed her eyes. “Excuse me? I haven’t touched anything.”
“It’s not—”
Bernadette steeled herself and interrupted. “Dr. Woodhead, as I’m sure you saw on TV, has a gift for identifying subtle scents. It’s what makes his expertise in poisoning cases such as this so invaluable. But”—she gave Woodhead a questioning look, then spoke haltingly—“perfumes, strong deodorant soaps—those can mask the scents he’s trying to find at the crime scenes.”
“Oh,” Detective Dunn said.
“Theme Music.” Woodhead muttered. “Obviously.”
“What?” Bernadette said. “Did you say Theme Music?”
Dunn glanced at Bernadette. “He’s right. The name of my perfume—Theme Music.”
“That’s correct,” Woodhead said tersely. “Would you step outside?”
“Outside the crime scene?”
“Yes.” Woodhead lifted a hand, palm in, fingers down, and made a shooing motion.
Bernadette winced.
Dunn scoffed. “Sure. Wouldn’t want to disturb the famous TV star with my overpowering stench.” She walked out, not quite stomping, into the snowy day, but left the front door open.
“We haven’t been properly introduced, Dr. Woodhead,” Bernadette said, keeping her hands down. “I’m your new case analyst. Bernadette Becker.”
“Salmon will mask scents too,” Woodhead said.
Bernadette cocked her head.
“What?”
“Salmon. You must have had some earlier.”
“Not since last night, and I showered and brushed my teeth twice since then. Surely I don’t—”
“You smell like urine.”
Bernadette took a step back.
“The trimethylamine oxide in the salmon breaks down into ammonia. Very similar scent profile to urea. It’s extremely distracting.”
Bernadette shook her head and followed the detective out the front door.
“He’s a real charmer,” Dunn said under her breath.
Bernadette grunted. “Yeah. We’re getting along like a house on fire.”

The Magic of Wor(l)ds