Feeds:
Posts
Comments

From the pen of talented historical novelist Joan Schweighardt comes another well-crafted, meticulously researched story about family, community, immigration, oppression, the environment, and having to face the consequences of one’s actions.

It’s 1928 and the Great Depression is looming around the corner when two impoverish but talented mixed-raced—Amerindian and European—Brazilian immigrant cousins travel to NYC to find a better life and fulfill their dreams. Estela, a singer of arias and a product of the Teatro Amazonas during the time of the rubber boom, has a beautiful voice and dreams of becoming a famous opera singer; Jojo is a fisherman and a gifted artist. As a start, Estela is offered a seamstress position at the Metropolitan Opera House while Jojo is offered a scholarship at an art school. Will they achieve their dreams against all obstacles? If yes, at what price?

River Aria is the third installment in this author’s series and is focused on the next generation of the family featured in the first book. There is so much I enjoyed about this novel! The worlds of art and music in 1920s NYC come together engrossingly. The multifaceted, original characters—you don’t often read stories about indigenous people from Brazil—and their struggles to find purpose and meaning in a complex, ruthless city that is a character all on its own, kept me riveted. Parentage and identity are big themes with both Estela and Jojo as they struggle with their origins and how it affects their lives. Having read other books by Schweighardt, I’ve become familiar with her literary prose. She always strives for depth, and she pays great attention to detail.

The author visited the rainforest, as well as Manaus, the Amazon, and Rio Negro as part of her research, and considering the authentic feel of the plot and characters, I’m not surprised. In spite of this, however, the writing doesn’t get too heavy-handed, which is sometimes a problem in this type of book. I particularly recommend River Aria to historical fiction fans who have a special interest in the rubber boom that took place in Brazil in the early 1900s and how it affected the fishing villages and the indigenous people living there.

Find out more at www.joanschweighardt.com

The Inspiration Behind The Shade Under the Mango Tree

By Evy Journey

 Do you have trouble throwing stuff? I do—those no longer of current importance but that meant something to me in the past. These are what I found in a couple of garaged boxes I

opened one weekend.

Mostly, they were loose sheets of paper, a few of them wide, printed, holey-edged computer paper used on mainframe computers. On them were hurried scribblings of certain things that happened, and how I reacted to them. Things that made me angry, sad  or unusually happy. There was also a tiny notebook half-filled with my musings about life, lyrics of a couple of songs, and a few passages from poetry—all written or collected when I was a teen-ager.

A few weeks later, seeking inspiration for a new novel, I thought: Why not an epistolary novel?

What is an epistolary novel? If you’re a Jane Austen fan and have read Lady Susan, you’d be familiar with it. It’s a narrative device seldom used nowadays. In the past, it consisted of letters, as in Lady Susan, written in Ms. Austen’s juvenile years. Now it can use journals or—in our tech-driven society—emails or text messages.

A more recent epistolary novel is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, published in 2008. I read it as part of my research into this literary form while writing The Shade Under the Mango Tree. I also watched the 2018 film (on Netflix) that was based, not too faithfully, on the book.

Some snippets from the nearly-forgotten writings in my garage found their way into my novel. For instance, the heroine’s Grandma didn’t wear perfume but tucked fragrant flowers into her bun. My grandmother did that. The heroine, in her teenage years, wondered why she was here on earth. I obsessed about existential questions when I was seventeen. The poetry quoted in the book were directly lifted from the collection in the little notebook.

Those scribbles from my past were often cathartic. I didn’t realize this benefit until a few years ago when I wrote a blog post about how writing can heal you. I used to evaluate mental health programs and was aware of writing therapy. But until I did that blog post, I didn’t realize how cathartic those scribbles had been for me, as well.

The healing potential of writing is a theme woven into  my novel. From the heroine’s journal started when she was fifteen to the memoir she intends to work on to help make sense of what she went through.

About the Author

Evy Journey, SPR (Self Publishing Review) Independent Woman Author awardee, is a writer, a wannabe artist, and a flâneuse who, wishes she lives in Paris where people have perfected the art of aimless roaming. Armed with a Ph.D., she used to research and help develop mental health programs.

She’s a writer because beautiful prose seduces her and existential angst continues to plague her despite such preoccupations having gone out of fashion. She takes occasional refuge by invoking the spirit of Jane Austen to spin tales of love, loss, and finding one’s way—stories into which she weaves mystery or intrigue.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book

After two heartbreaking losses, Luna wants adventure. Something and somewhere very different from the affluent, sheltered home in California and Hawaii where she grew up. An adventure in which she can also make some difference. She ends up in place where she gets more than she bargained for.

Lucien, a worldly, well-traveled young architect, finds a stranger’s journal at a café. He has qualms and pangs of guilt about reading it. But they don’t stop him. His decision to go on reading changes his life.

Months later, they meet at a bookstore where Luna works and which Lucien frequents. Fascinated by his stories and his adventurous spirit, Luna volunteers for the Peace Corps. Assigned to Cambodia, she lives with a family whose parents are survivors of the Khmer Rouge genocide forty years earlier. What she goes through in a rural rice-growing village defies anything she could have imagined. Will she leave this world unscathed?

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KFMR9SG

HELLALYLE AND HILDEBRAND
Tagai Tarutin
Silverwood Books
Medieval Romance

Hellalyle and Hildebrand, were drawn into a relationship engineered by those same unseen forces who had selected her bodyguard; their purpose, to thwart the devil, incarnate in Prinz Paulus, in its attempts to kill the princess.

A downs-syndrome girl of mysterious origins, named Ethla, emerges out of the wildwood. She is taken care of by Princess Hellalyle. and plays a crucial part in the narrative.

The king, while away, learns of the developing relationship between his daughter and the leader of her bodyguard, and feels betrayed by the English knight, and so dispatches his champions – his seven sons, and Paulus – to arrest, and execute Hildebrand, and confine Hellalyle until the king`s return.

The eleven, remaining protectors of the princess, leave the kingdom, believing their contract has been nullified by Thorstiens edict, leaving Hildebrand alone to face Hellalyle`s brothers and step-brother. The Englishman takes the fight to his adversaries, and slaughters all the unfortunate siblings of the princess, except Paulus, who after surrendering to Hildebrand, turns about and treacherously kills him, and then brutally, incarcerates his step-sister.

As these occurrences were unfolding, in another part of the continent, one of her bodyguards, the Teutonic knight, Karl von Altenburg, now living in a monastic order, experiences a vision, informing him of Hellalyle`s plight, and sets out to for Castle Preben.

Meanwhile, in her prison, Hellalyle gives birth to Hildebrand`s son, now sole heir, whom she names Hagen. On a fateful day, Ethla, at the princess’s urging, flees into the wilderness, taking to safety, the infant crown prince, to save him from Prinz Paulus, who, feeling outwitted mortally wounds the princess in revenge.

“A beautiful love story of a medieval knight and a noble princess written by Tagai Tarutin. The book allows us to go back in history and hear more about the exploits of the legendary Hildebrand and his beloved Hellalyle. The book is full of picturesque scenes of the events in Medieval Europe and it gives us the opportunity to immerse in the spirit of those times. It will be a good read for those interested in history, literature and romance…” – Alexandra Suyazova, Teaching Fellow of English, Saint Petersburg, Russia

“A fabulous story that could be easily transformed into a screen version, about a truly romantic relationship beyond any prejudice, driven by pure intentions at the times when the chivalry and nobleness made the difference in survival of a human life.” – Anatoly Leonidovich Rasputin, graduate in English from the University of Linguistics, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3mcbyi3

B&N → https://bit.ly/2TgAJnj

CHAPTER 26

In the great hall, Hellalyle, on hearing the news that her brothers were coming to arrest Hildebrand, pleaded with him to leave. “Hildebrand, you must leave – my father has dispatched my brothers to seize you. Our relationship has set in motion a fait accompli, and now your life is in great danger.”

However, Hildebrand, staring into the fire, was in no mood to listen to her pleading, saying, “Whatever the other knights decide to do, I cannot in all consciousness allow myself to abandon you to an uncertain fate, as I feel responsible for this dire situation.”

Hellalyle, in desperation, pleaded, “Will you, please, be sensible! You cannot defeat eight armed men! Remember, these are my brothers, and at the end of the fight you will lie dead, and so will most of my brethren, and for what end? My family destroyed, and

Prince Hildebrand ignominiously buried in a foreign field, which will be a tragedy for the English nation, and it will not end there, as I feel further calamity awaits those remaining at this fortress.”

“Fate must run its course!” exclaimed the defiant knight, raising his voice. “If you think I will deliver you into the hands of Paulus, you gravely underestimate me. No greater evil walks the land, and he will surely die on the blade of my sword! As for my remains lying beneath the woodland floor, that holds no fear for me, as you have introduced this knight to the beauty of nature, and honour awaits if wild creatures should walk across my grave!”

The soldier’s expose of his inner self prompted Hellalyle to gently grasp his forearm, in a gesture of empathy to his plight, with a pained expression etched on her face. The other bodyguards met to decide on what action to take considering the king’s command, knowing that they must not obstruct. All – save one – agreed that they should depart, convinced their contract with the monarch was severed by these unfortunate events. Von Altenburg, at first, declined to abandon his friend. He was fearful for the safety of the princess, but he eventually conceded, opting to join his comrades in arms.

News of their impending departure reached Hellalyle, who decided to visit them. In a fractured voice, she addressed the company.

“Honoured knights, whom I might almost regard as my brothers and such gallant men, warriors of the Christian church…my heart is about to break. I stand here now imploring you to persuade Hildebrand to leave at once with his fraternal fighters, for if he were to stay, I fear that some tragedy may befall him and my family.”

Her impassioned speech prompted the knight von Streitz to say, “He appears to be deaf to our pleading, Your Highness! What more can we do to sway him?”

Hellalyle, almost in despair, raised her hands to her face and burst into tears. All eleven knights, embarrassed, kept their eyes fixed on the ground before stealing past her prostrate figure, anxious to avoid an uncomfortable situation.

As they rode from the castle, von Altenburg lingered to pay one last visit to Hellalyle and Hildebrand. Entering a chamber, he observed them by the window, Hildebrand pacing up and down, stabbing the floor with his sword, in apparent frustration, the princess standing in sombre contemplation of the densely wooded prospect below. They were all alone as she had sent her staff to the safety of the kitchens. As they turned to face him, von Altenburg became struck by their dramatically altered demeanour. The once-resolute Prince of England now despondent and downcast; and Hellalyle, her face once so radiant now shut down, her eyes that brightly sparkled now eclipsed. She appeared almost lifeless.



‘Hellalyle and Hildebrand’ is Tagai Tarutin’s first completed novel.There are two others of a completely different genre, that lie unfinished, awaiting inspiration.He has worked most of his life in sales but has always had an interest in Arts and Humanities. Things that are beautiful and appealing play an essential part in his imagination.Besides travelling in West Europe, he has journeyed to the far South Atlantic, and European Russia, anxious to see parts of the world that are for many mystical destinations on a historical map.You can visit his website at www.hellalyleandhildebrand.com.

Inside the Book

Becoming Alfie

Title: BECOMING ALFIE
Author: Neil Patterson
Publisher: Greenhill
Pages: 279
Genre: Historical Fiction

BOOK BLURB:

Alfie Norrington was born into poverty in London’s East End in the first minute of the twentieth century. His life was a battle. From the Brick Lane markets where young Alfie pilfered and pickpocketed, to the trenches of Flanders, Alfie fought every step of the way.

Almost killed by a trench bomb he battled to recover and while in a military hospital Alfie made a promise that dramatically change’s his life. A true East End hero, Alfie begins his journey away from poverty armed with a robust moral compass and an open heart.

Becoming Alfie is the first in the Alfie Norrington series. It follows the life of a man who positively influenced thousands of people. The world needs more individuals like Alfie Norrington, that give much more than they take.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/31smrod

About The Author

Neil Patterson

Neil Patterson was born 15 miles East of London near the River Thames. As a child he played on the tidal mudflats which, since Roman Times, had been a depository for man’s detritus . Neil was fascinated by the many items that he found whilst mudlarking, old coins, bottles and buttons. He found pieces of clay pipes that Londoners used to smoke Tobacco, which was introduced to Britain in the 16 century. The fragments of clay pipes fired Neil’s enthusiasm for History.

Late into his teens Neil began to keep a diary and has carried this practice throughout his adult life. He has also written many short stories and poetry but not until he stopped working, in his late fifties, has Neil found time to dedicate to his writing.

Neil ‘s Uncle lived in Australia and from early childhood he dreamt of living down under, he says he was born in England with an Australian heart. He followed his heart migrating to Australia 40 years ago. Neil now works full time as a writer and lives in Murrays Beach with his wife Jann and their border Collie, Harry the dog.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: http://www.alfienorrington.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/search/top?q=author%20neil%20patterson

Why does your tummy ache? Why does it make noises? What happens in your stomach after you eat? Why should you eat slowly?

In this educational picture book, the author answers these questions and more, describing the “five tummy men” that inhabit our stomachs and their specific jobs:

Mr. Boss, the one in charge

Mr. Swallow, catcher of food

Mr. Grinder, most happy when you chew well

Mr. Piler, sorter of nutrients into piles for different parts of your body

Mr. Deliveryman, carrier of piles to your body

FIVE FUNNY TUMMY MEN encourages dialogue between children and adults, making it a good resource for class or homeschooling discussions. Children are told to eat healthy and chew well and not snack a lot between meals, and in a simple, clear and friendly manner this cute little book explains exactly why. Recommend for readers 4-8. A multicultural edition of the book is also available.

Available at Amazon and B&N

Multicultural edition on B&N

Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria , which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy, as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter. She’s here today to talk about the craft of writing historical fiction.

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, River Aria. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it? 

A: River Aria is narrated by Estela Hopper, who, as a ten-year-old girl living in the impoverished fishing village of Manaus, Brazil in the early 20th century, is offered a twist-of-fate opportunity to study opera with an esteemed voice instructor. During her years of instruction, Estela, who is talented, passionate and dramatic by nature, dreams of leaving Brazil to perform in New York. But as her beloved instructor is not able to convince the managers of the great Metropolitan Opera that they should bring on a mixed-race immigrant who grew up on the banks of the Amazon River to become an elite performer, Estela accepts what they do offer, a position in the sewing room, and leaves Brazil on a ship with her cousin JoJo in the year 1928.

The challenges that befall Estela and JoJo in New York are plentiful. Estela’s father, an Irish American who came to her village nearly twenty years earlier (at which time she was conceived), has a plan for what her life should look like once she is settled. Her relationship with JoJo changes drastically when he learns he was lied to about his own parentage, and again when he takes a dangerous job working for the owner of a speakeasy. And of course her personal challenges of finding some modicum of success in a place like New York are not only enormous but crushing to her once robust sense of self.

River Aria is a standalone novel, but it is also the last book in a trilogy that begins in 1908, in Manaus. Basically what happened, historically speaking, is that after the invention of the automobile, rubber, which had been used previously for things like shoe soles and manufacturing parts, was suddenly in extremely high demand. The Amazon rainforest is full of rubber trees, so entrepreneurs from all over Europe rushed to Manaus, which is centrally located on the Amazon river, and made it their headquarters for the rubber industry. There was nothing there, so they had to build their own mansions, hotels, restaurants, schools, and they built them all with the best materials, imported from Europe. But in 1912, rubber trees that had been planted on British territories in Southeast Asia began to produce, and the industry in South America came to a standstill. All the wealthy Europeans fled, and the amazing structures they had built to accommodate them were left to decay—which happens quickly in a region on the equator surrounded by rainforests. The centerpiece of their architectural achievement was the Teatro Amazonas, a magnificent opera house the rubber barons hoped would entice the world’s most elite performers to come to Manaus. The rubber boom was my inspiration for the entire series, but the Teatro Amazonas inspired River Aria.

Q: What do you think makes a good historical novel? What would you say are the three most important elements?

A: I can narrow it down to two: research and the ability to weave the garnered information into the plot without getting heavy-handed.

There are basically two categories of historical fiction. One is when you are writing about a historical person or group of people, and the other is when you are using a historical event or time period as a backdrop for your story. River Aria is a based on a time period (1928-29) unfolding in two particular settings, Manaus, Brazil and New York City (and a nearby section of New Jersey). It was fairly easy to research New York/New Jersey because there is a wealth of information about that area during the Prohibition years…and also because I grew up there, and while I wasn’t alive at that time, I know people who knew people who knew people, and I can imagine what it was like. Studying that same time period in Manaus, Brazil was much tougher. I’ve read lots of books about the South American rubber boom, which took place from about 1879 to 1912, but my main characters were born at the end of the rubber boom, and Manaus changed drastically after the boom ended and all the rubber barons fled. I wound up reading white papers, lots of them. Also, Estela and JoJo are are mixed race on both their mothers’ sides, Amerindian and European. The Indian people from whom they are descended were taken captive by missionaries 300 years before the start of my story. But while they were separated from their sacred lands, their myths and legends would have survived at least to some extent. All that had to be taken into account and woven into an ever unfolding plot.

Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I knew that I was going to write about a young woman coming from Brazil to New York to try to succeed in the world of opera, and that one of her many obstacles would be the expectations of her American father, whom she has only met, briefly, once before. But just as I was about to begin writing, serendipity struck. A friend sent me a book by a Robert Henri, who was a prominent artist living in New York at the time Estela would be traveling there. My initial outline had already provided Estela with an artistic cousin her age, JoJo, and after reading the Henri book, I got the idea to further complicate the plot by having JoJo accompany Estela to New York. The book wouldn’t be the same without him.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A: Even though Estela grows up in poverty, in a location that is in many ways closed off from the rest of the world, she herself has this incredible opportunity to study with an accomplished voice instructor who comes to Manaus from Portugal to try to make a difference in the lives of a few young people. In once sense, this renders Estela worldly. But at her core she is still a “river brat” who who loves loud Brazilian music, indigenous folk lure, and her freedom. Her unusual background provided several guidelines for building out her character, and I added to them over the course of several drafts.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A: River Aria doesn’t really have a villain. What it has is people with good intentions who make mistakes with devastating consequences. One of those people is Estela’s father. He is overbearing with his daughter. He is possessive and he doesn’t trust her to make wise decisions on her own. But he is tolerable…right up until he loses his job and external factors begin to plague him. Other characters in the book make mistakes with serious consequences as well.

I’ve always enjoyed books like The House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Debus lll. In that story, everyone is well intentioned (at least in the beginning) but flawed. They make assumptions and then act on them, and their actions result in great misfortune. To me, that kind of story is more intriguing than a story with an obvious villain, though I like those too. Before We Died, the first book in the rivers trilogy, has a more obvious villain. He is more or less a composite of the rubber barons I read about in my research.

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical tips?

A: This is one of the good things about writing historical fiction. The time period I am writing in comes with its own suggestions. Prohibition, speakeasies and rumrunners were making lots of news in New York in 1928/1929. The jazz scene was in full swing (pardon the pun). The Metropolitan Opera House itself was making news. The Great Depression was looming. So yes, I tapped into all of that in the process of moving the plot forward. But again, I think in this book a lot of the tension comes from knowing that the characters are are making mistakes and not knowing what the ramifications will be.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A: I traveled to South America twice, once to spend time in the deep jungle and once to visit Manaus and travel on the Amazon and Rio Negro with a guide. Even though I was reading books constantly on all subjects related to my story, I wouldn’t have had such a feel for the rainforest if I hadn’t been there myself. My river guide, for instance, grew up on the Amazon

and was able to give me all kinds of great information I wouldn’t have found in books. And of course while in Manaus I visited the Teatro Amazonas, the opera house that is the main inspiration for Estela’s story.

This is not to suggest that a writer must visit every location she wants to write about. For years I never traveled anywhere, because my kids were too young or I didn’t have the money. The Internet provides alternative ways to get a feel for a place. A friend of mine who was writing a YA novel spent a lot of time on Pinterest putting together her own scrapbook of photos that she thought would enhance her setting descriptions. Unfortunately, she died recently and will never get to complete her novel, but when I visit her Pinterest page, I can imagine what she was going for.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A: All three books in the series of which River Aria is a part share themes concerning immigration, oppression, community, and family. In addition, River Aria focuses on music, art, folklore, etc. I started off thinking in terms of staying in line with the history of the times, and the themes snuck in as the plot developed.

As far as recurrent themes, I write a lot about families, especially sibling relationships.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A: When Estela and a few of her fellow “river brats” first start studying with their instructor, Carlito Camilo, he tells them that what he will teach them is magic, meaning the magic of opera and all that it entails. But then he backs up and corrects himself, saying, “No one can actually teach magic, and no one can actually learn it. What I will teach you is to be slaves to the consideration of magic, to pay homage to it physically and spiritually and visually and technically. I will teach you to invite magic into your lives, knowing full well it will likely elude you. But we can invite it just the same; we can prepare the way for it; we can behave as if we expect it—because sometimes it simply appears in those places where it knows it is wanted.”  

I think it is the same with craft and art. As writers all we can do is get the craft down as best we can and then hope we have achieved some level of artfulness as well. As far as editing, I don’t see how anyone can not edit. But maybe that’s just me.

Q: What makes a successful novelist?

A: The answer depends on how you define success. There are so many great writers out there who don’t get picked up by big publishing houses and who wind up with small publishers and never sell a lot of books. Or they wind up self publishing but don’t have the marketing skills to drive traffic to their work. But if their writing experience is intense, if they have perfected their craft and provided a great story, who’s to say that’s not success?

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A: That doesn’t feel right for me. I can tell you that proofreading is like doing homework. I always work with a proofreader, but then I always have to proofread again anyway, because very few proofreaders, no matter how good they are, catch every single thing. I myself am a terrible proofreader, at least with my own work.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A: I’ve enjoyed being in writing groups over the years. There were only three of us in the last one I was in. That was the best, because we were all good writers and we were all seasoned and able to both give and take criticism.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: In the course of my freelance writing career I came to ghostwrite several books for clients. It’s a remarkable experience to write someone else’s story, to try to present it the way you think they would if they were writing it themselves, in their voice. Because you’ve got to stick to their story, the most important thing you can bring to the project is craft. I don’t think writing someone else’s story is something many emerging writers would want to do, but I would suggest to those who are between books and waiting for new ideas to give it a try, even if it’s only something short for a friend. If I were teaching craft, I would ask all my students to do this. It’s a great way to develop skills.

Judith Campbell is dying, and she cannot take the painful truth about where her son came from to the grave with her. While on her deathbed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994, Judith tells him the tragic story of his conception, and which of two men his birth father could be: the young man who professed his love to her, or the pastor who assaulted her.

Set in the Deep South in 1947, The Waltz of Devil’s Creek digs into the dark crevices of racism and women’s rights during a heated political climate in an era of segregation. Combined with Judith’s lack of social stature, and at a time when reporting sexual assault was unheard of, every injustice is stacked against her from the very beginning.

But there is a light in Judith’s young life: her best friend, Joseph Bird, who has loved her since childhood. Joseph stands up for Judith when no one else will and proves that even in the darkest of times, a light is always burning.

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon:

https://amzn.to/3d1J3Ax

Link to book on B&N:

https://bit.ly/2I5rVhX

Link to book on Kobo:

https://bit.ly/3lhAIvb

Book Excerpt:

“But Mrs. Bird,” I said, looking over at her, “God don’t want people like Pastor Allman.”

She just looked at me for a moment, and then a smile slowly lit up her eyes again.

“YOU COME ON OUT HERE BIRD!”

The voice snapped Mrs. Bird and me from our moment, our heads simultaneously jerking toward the living room.

When we heard Joseph’s feet stomping against the floor as he ran down the hallway, Mrs. Bird and I dropped the dishtowel and the plate and hurried out of the kitchen.

“YOU GET YER DUMB ASS OUT HERE!” a second voice shouted, “OR WE’RE COMIN’ IN TO GET YOU!”

“That’s the Woodson brothers,” I told Joseph’s momma.

“Don’t you go out there,” she warned him as he thrust his big feet into his shoes. “I mean it, Joseph, don’t you go out that door!”

He flung the front door open anyway, and before he could step outside, the Woodson brothers jumped on him in the doorway.

“Joseph!” I screamed.

“Get out of my house!” his momma shrieked.

The whole house shook as the three fought; a small table underneath the window beside the door fell over, shattering the flower vase atop it; fists swung and legs kicked, and cuss words flew.

“You little piece of shit, you burned up my truck!” said the blonde-haired brother.

“I’m gonna kick your nuts right up yer throat!” said the brown-haired one. “What tha hell were you thinkin’ boy?!” Thwap! When his fist pulled back, his knuckles glistened with Joseph’s blood.

“Let go of him! Let go! Let gooo!” I dug all ten of my fingernails into the blonde’s arm, trying to stop him from pulling Joseph out of the house.

His momma was on the other side, screaming as she worked, unsuccessfully, to beat them off with a broom. The blonde shoved me away, and I fell onto my butt on the porch as they dragged Joseph down the steps and into the front yard.

“Don’t you touch my son!” Mrs. Bird roared, and the broom came down hard on the brown-haired one’s back.

He whirled around, seemingly unfazed by the blow, and yanked the broom from her hands and tossed it.

They nearly beat Joseph unconscious.

Mrs. Bird ran next door and called Sheriff Woodson, but he never showed; he’d stayed out of all the incidents between Joseph and his sons. But Joseph wouldn’t have had it any other way.

About the Author

Justine Carver was born and raised in the Southern United States on a heavy dose of creek-wading, lightning-bug-catching, and Saturday morning cartoons. She is a full-time writer, all-the-time reader, and every now and then, she pulls her head out of the clouds long enough to remember how much better it is up there.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

Website: https://justinecarver.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_justine_carver/

THE WICKED CRIES WOLF
McKenna Grey
Romantic Suspense / Thriller

In the shadow of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains, a darkness lurks and threatens a quiet coastal village in The Wicked Cries Wolf, the third book in the Kyndall Family Thriller series.

A woman desperate for solitude. A man with an enemy he can’t see. A dangerous game neither wants to play.

International bestselling author Meaghan Ryers has gained wealth, success, and fame . . . and all she wants is to be left alone. When her sister suggests she escape to someplace quiet where no one will find her, Meaghan picks a spot on the map and heads for Alaska.

Sheriff Donovan Kyndall of Stewart’s Crossing, Alaska, arrives at the scene of a car fire after receiving a mysterious call. He doesn’t expect a woman from out of town to be at the scene, begging him to believe someone was killed. As clues into the fire emerge, Donovan has to ask himself how she’s connected and how a caller knows details from his own tragic past.

As the truth is revealed, Donovan and Meaghan are entangled in a puzzle of lies, treachery, and clues they must decode if they are to survive.

The Dragon’s Staircase is a mind boggling adventure that will keep you guessing until the last page.” Night Owl Reviews, Top Pick

“Holy smokes! This is one suspenseful, anxiety-ridden, skin-crawling tale of murder, mystery, and psychological creepiness. Looking for a hard-to-figure-out mystery with a side order of nail biting? Then look no further!”  InD’tale Magazine on The Dragon’s Staircase

“McKenna Grey & Everly Archard, I loved this book! I was captured, terrorized, thrilled, and couldn’t put it down. I loved the first book in the Kyndall Family Thrillers, “The Dragon’s Staircase”, and this one … well I read it in one day! I love all the Kyndall family characters and their love and protectiveness towards each other. Your mix of romance and thriller really is astounding! I cannot wait for book number three about Donovan Kyndall to come out.” —Kindle Reviewer on Shadow of the Forgotten

“I was literally at the edge of my seat. The suspense level is amazing.”

—Donna McBroom-Theriot, My Life, One Story at a Time

“I’m amazed at how smooth these two authors have combined their talents into one fabulous story.” –Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com

“THE DRAGON’S STAIRCASE by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard is romantic suspense full of thrills and spine-tingling moments. The twist at the end is as unexpected as it is disconcerting . . . the story keeps you guessing at every turn. This is a great start to a series that promises to be full of wonderful surprises.”

Readers’ Favorite

LOVED! LOVED! LOVED Shadow of the Forgotten, written by McKenna Grey and Everly Archard. A suspenseful story that makes you feel excited or anxious about what is going to happen next. It starts with fast action and it keeps going on until the very end. You won’t be disappointed! These authors have nicely woven endearing characters into a wilderness background that adds a touch of mystery. It’s gripping from the start to finish.” —Nicole Laverdure on Shadow of the Forgotten

“Beware, this new series is highly addictive! It’s suspenseful, mysterious, and riveting! You won’t want to miss it!” —Nicole Laverdure on “Blade of Death”

“A well written story and well developed characters . . . give the reader an exciting ride of investigation and the gentleness of a protective loving relationship.”

—Lyn Ehley, Book Reviewer

Amazonhttps://amzn.to/3a99S4d

B&N: https://bit.ly/2Dz3wzi

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-wicked-cries-wolf-mckenna-grey/1137085944?ean=2940164339043

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-wicked-cries-wolf

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1515852075

All titles in this series can be read as stand-alone books.

“Blade of Death” – Short Story Prequel

The Dragon’s Staircase – Book One

Shadow of the Forgotten – Book Two

The Wicked Cries Wolf – Book Three

Prologue

Fire snaked into his lungs. Suffocating. Debilitating. He couldn’t breathe, his body immobile. He clawed at the air, at the coarse rope binding his feet, at everything his hands managed to reach. Why were his hands free?

Is this how someone feels when they burn?

Helios promised him there would be consequences. It had only been one more fire, one more kill. He had craved it more than he feared Helios’s warning.

One more mistake.

Smoke curled upward from the flames, dancing up the walls in a seductive swirl of lights and sound. The crackling of gunshots echoed somewhere beyond the steel door.

No chance of escape.

He didn’t deserve to die this way. His scream lodged deep in his lungs, so deep it burned his insides. A round of hacking coughs escaped his scorched lips. He desperately wanted water or a beer. Yes, when he got out of this—if he made it—he’d down a whole six-pack of Bud Light and thank whatever powers that be for his salvation.

I’ll be good. If you let me live, God, I’ll be good forever.

Did he hear his name coming back to him from the darkness beyond the flames? Yes, but from where, exactly?

Damian.

It’s only in my head. No. No, no, no!

He heard shouts, or was fear mocking him? He yanked at the ropes around his ankles and brought away flesh covered in his own blood. Why couldn’t he move?

The door pounded. No, someone pounded on the door. The blaze caressed the floor around him, moving closer with a lover’s passion, inch by inch. He heard the loud crash this time and was certain someone stood on the other side of the door. A gust of air whooshed into the room and the fire found new life. It tormented him, licked his skin. A scream escaped, louder now because of the burn. Two strong bodies in masks lifted him away from the center of the inferno. His eyes remained opened, even as the sensation of floating carried him away from the chamber. He’d promised to be good and he would be. No man or woman or creature walking the earth could claim to be so good as he from this moment on and into forever.

Darkness consumed his whispered thanks while a cacophony of sirens trumpeted his fall into oblivion.

McKenna Grey is the contemporary alter-ego of an award-winning, historical romance author. She writes romantic suspense, including the Kyndall Family series, and heartwarming, small-town romance to break up the murder and mayhem. She enjoys a quiet life in the northern Rocky Mountains.

Website: https://www.mckennagrey.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormckennagrey

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com

A PERFECT STORM

BOOK BLURB:

Sgt. Windflower is back, untangling another swirling mystery, this one bringing the meth crisis and biker gangs to the quiet Newfoundland town of Grand Bank, feeling the sting of their deadly tentacles reaching all the way from Las Vegas.  He’s working with his familiar crew of RCMP characters – but wait, are some of the faces changing? New challenges for Jones, an unknown side of Smithson reveals itself, and what ever happened to Tizzard?  In the midst of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, Windflower and his beloved Sheila also find themselves navigating sorrows and surprises on the family front.

Come back to Grand Bank for more fun, food and cool, clean, Canadian crime fiction with Sgt. Windflower Mysteries…

ORDER YOUR COPY

Amazon → https://amzn.to/36sHEBz

Book Excerpt:

Chapter One

Eddie Tizzard passed his card over the sensor and pushed the door open. He flicked on the light. “Holy jumpins,” he said when he saw what was on the bed in his hotel room— thousands of dollars strewn around like confetti. When he looked closer, he saw something else. There, right in the middle of the bed, was a very red, very large bloodstain.

His first instinct was to run. But his years as an RCMP officer got the best of him, and he had another look around. Soon the source of the blood became obvious. It was a man in a suit lying face down in the bathroom with a visible hole in the back of his head. Tizzard should have trusted his first instinct because when he did decide to leave the room, he walked directly into the path of who he would later find out was the head of hotel security.

He was remembering all of this as he sat in a holding cell with a dozen other men in the Las Vegas jail. Tizzard had gone to Vegas for private detective training, having decided on a new career path after leaving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, or the Mounties. Technically, he was on leave for the rest of the year, but he doubted he’d ever return to his old job. He’d applied for and received his firearms license, but he wanted a certificate to put on the walls of his new office, that is when he got an office. That seemed very far away right now, about as far as he could get from his home in Newfoundland on the eastern tip of Canada.

He’d watched enough police shows on TV to know that he could make one phone call. But nobody had said when he could do that. The duty officer kind of smirked when he pushed him into the lock-up with his dozen new friends and told him, “Yeah, yeah, coming right up.”

Tizzard was confused but tried to look like he fit in with his fellow cell mates. They, in turn, looked like they were measuring his clothes to see if they might be a fit. As long as they don’t find out that I used to be a cop, I’ll be OK, thought Tizzard as he backed up as far as he could into a corner.

It seemed like he had waited forever, but as several of his new friends came in for a closer look, he heard his name called, “Tizzard, Tizzard.”

“That’s me,” he said and pushed by the two large men who had got the closest.

The duty cop opened the door, and Tizzard walked along the hallway to an interview room. He was pushed inside, and the door clicked shut behind him. It was a small, windowless room with a camera in the ceiling, a mirror on the wall, a single chair on one side of a table, and two on the other. Tizzard knew the drill and took a seat on the one-chair side. Then he waited, again. Feels like home, he thought. Just not my home.

On the other side of the continent Mayor Sheila Hillier was wrapping up her town council meeting and was on her way to meet Moira Stoodley who was babysitting her daughter, Amelia Louise. The meeting had been made unpleasant by a couple of contentious issues, including whether the older buildings in the downtown core of Grand Bank should be modernized or restored to maintain their historic character. But Sheila also realized that most of the tension was really about who would replace her as mayor in the election only a couple of weeks away.

Jacqueline Wilson was Sheila’s preference, but there was another candidate, Phil Bennett, who was leading the anti-tax faction of council. Every meeting, Bennett would try to disrupt things to show how influential he thought he could be, but Sheila would have none of it and would put him back in line. Bennett’s behaviour in itself was more than enough reason for her to want to leave, she thought.

Sheila had decided to go back to school part-time, eventually do an MBA once she had cleared up her scholastic records and completed the course load for an old degree program she had started several years earlier. Politics had never really been her thing, even though she was very good at it. She had only taken the mayor’s job to try to improve the town’s economy. And she had succeeded, mostly. The Town of Grand Bank’s fish plant was now operating on a regular basis with a quota for crab and the sea urchins considered a delicacy in Japan and China. The town also had a recycling factory and a solar panel fabrication plant.

Half of the town’s people wanted to not just preserve the past but to live in it. The other half wanted to blow it all up and start over. They had no use for the old and wanted everything to be modern, like the way it was in St. John’s or even nearby Marystown. It seemed there was no middle ground for the residents of Grand Bank, yet Sheila was sure you could have the best of both worlds. Getting others to agree with her, though, seemed impossible.

Sheila gathered up her things and drove to the Mug-Up, which was known through much of the province to be the best little café there was in Grand Bank. That it was the only café in Grand Bank was usually not mentioned. Sheila had owned the place years ago but gave it up after a horrific car accident left her with a slight limp and no desire to stand all day. Moira and her husband, Herb, had taken it over, and it was there that she found Amelia Louise sitting at a table with her Poppy Herb.

“Mama, mama,” she shrieked as Sheila’s heart melted. “Ook, ook.”

“I think she’s got talent,” said Herb Stoodley.

Sheila examined the crayon scrawls on the paper and murmured her approval. “It’s so nice,” she said. “Is it Lady, your doggie?” she asked, making a leap of faith based on the fact that there was one small circle on top of a large mass of scratches.

Amelia Louise smiled and nodded her head up and down emphatically. She had always been able to somehow say no, but now the 20-month-old toddler was happy to signify yes with a grand gesture.

“Well, thank you,” said Sheila. “And thank you, Herb. And here’s Moira, too. Thank you, Moira, for looking after her.”

“It’s our pleasure,” said Moira, wiping her hands on her apron. “I was just finishing off some baking.”

“Em,” said Amelia Louise. “Ook, ook,”

“I can see,” said Moira. “Has Poppy Herb been nice to you?”

“She’s like our baby, too,” said Herb. “It’s easy to be nice to her. ‘Those that do teach young babes, do it with gentle means and easy tasks.’”

“Okay, my soon-to-be-famous artist, let’s go,” said Sheila as she put on Amelia Louise’s jacket. Once outside again, Sheila noticed the November air had lost any tinge of summer warmth, and the wind was picking up, making it a bit of an adventure to walk the short distance to their house. Sheila tried to carry her daughter, but Amelia Louise was determined to walk on her own, while examining every leaf that blew their way.

When they got home, Molly the cat watched them carefully as they came up the walkway. The dog, Lady, was more directly affectionate and showed how much she had missed them both by almost knocking them over in the hall. The only one missing from the happy family was Sheila’s husband and the father of Amelia Louise, Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP Grand Bank Detachment. He was at work, but Sheila expected to hear from him soon because his stomach would be rumbling any minute now, and he’d want to know what was on for dinner.

About the Author

Mike Martin

Mike Martin was born in St. John’s, NL on the east coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a long-time freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have been published in various publications across North America. 

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. Other books in the series include The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, A Twist of Fortune, and A Long Ways from Home, followed by A Tangled Web, which was shortlisted for the 2017 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year, and Darkest Before the Dawn, which won the 2018 Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award. Fire, Fog and Water was the eighth in the series. He has also published Christmas in Newfoundland: Memories and Mysteries, a Sgt. Windflower Book of Christmas past and present.

He is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.

A Perfect Storm is the latest book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mike54martin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore

The Story Behind the Book

You know the hand of serendipity when you see it.

During a period of time when I had finished one novel but not yet come up with an idea for the next, I found myself in that boring no woman’s land where the creative spirit begins to shrink because it doesn’t have an outlet. I was four years living in New Mexico by then, and since my freelance load—most of which had come from sources in New York—had dried up a bit as well, I decided to reach out to local publishers to let them know I was available for any writing/editing/book-related work they might have. One of them called to say they needed someone to read their backlist books and write up short descriptions for their website. This was right up my alley. And I loved the publisher (Synergetic Press) because all of their books were concerned…

View original post 483 more words

%d bloggers like this: