#GuestDayTuesday – Ghostly Interference by Jan Sikes

 

Hi, Everybody! Today, I’d like you to help me welcome our special guest, Jan Sikes. Jan is sharing her latest release, Ghostly Interference, and I know this one is going to appeal to a lot of folks, myself included! (Just look at this great cover!)

So, without further ado, let’s get to it! Take it away, Jan!

~~~

Hi, Marcia! Thank you SO much for allowing me to borrow your blog platform to talk about my new book!

It is not unusual for authors to use some form of Astrology in their stories. In Ghostly Interference, Jag Peters had been raised by a mother who incorporated all sorts of metaphysical knowledge into his upbringing, Astrology being one of those things.

Jag is a Libra. That sun sign fit his character perfectly. Rena Jett is a Taurus.

At one point, Jag is compelled to try to track down any living relatives that Rena might have. She craves family and it has always just been her and her brother, Sam. Now that he is gone, she is completely alone.

But how can Jag get the information he needs from her? At the suggestion of his mother, he decides to use astrology as an ice-breaker and to learn more about Rena.

EXCERPT:

“Let’s play a game. When were you born?”

She shot him a look of panic. “Why do you want to know?”

“It’s how we play the game. I want to know you better.”

“I was born May 1, 1979.”

“I knew it! You’re a Taurus. I woulda’ bet money on it.”

“Is that bad?” Rena sucked on her bottom lip

“Oh goodness no. Taurus people are born under the sign of the bull. Most often they are stubborn, determined, practical and down to earth, but have an eye for beauty. And they are brave.” He kneaded the arch of her foot. “And you are the bravest warrior woman I’ve ever met.”

“Hmmm, I like that phrase. And I love what you are doing to my feet.”

He continued. “I was born right here in Cedar Springs. Where were you born?”

“My birth certificate says I was born in Austin. I don’t remember anything except being in foster homes.”

“What was your mother’s name?”

She narrowed her eyes. “I don’t see as that has anything to do with us getting to know each other.”

“Call it curiosity. My mother’s name is Charlotte Grace Peters.”

“Marjorie Irene Jett is the name on my birth certificate.” She spat out the words like a bitter pill.

Jag rubbed her ankle and moved up her leg. “It’s okay, Rena. I was just curious, that’s all. Any other siblings besides Sam?”

“Not that I know of. It’s always been just me and Sam. I don’t think I like this game. Your turn.”

“Okay. One more question and then I’ll take a turn. What do you want to do with your life? I know your ambition isn’t to work at Meg’s diner forever. What does Rena Jett want?”

She paused a long minute. “I used to talk with Sam about what we’d be when we grew up. He said when he finished his tour in the military, he wanted to go to school and be a child psychologist. I think about it a lot. I never had his ambition, but I would like to do something to help kids stuck in situations like we were.”

“There are all sorts of things you could do. You could be a caseworker, but I can’t see you having the patience to put up with the bureaucracy.”

“That’s for damned sure. I’ve seen too much of the bullshit that goes on to ever play that game. I think I’d like to be a police woman.”

Jag let out a whistle. “That’s perfect for you, Rena. You’d make a great police woman and you could ride one of their Harleys.”

She grinned. “It’s just a thought. Your turn to play this game.” 

He grinned. “Okay. I was born October 8, 1975, and that makes me a Libra.”

“And what are Libras like?” She took a sip of her wine.

“Libras are usually kind.”

Rena nodded. “What else?”

“We like peace and harmony and will walk a mile around a fight. We love all things of beauty and have a hard time saying no sometimes.”

“Those all fit you.”

“I’ve lived in Cedar Springs all my life, except when I went away to college. My father’s name was Arthur.” He reached for his wine and took a sip.

***

Using tools like astrology is also a great way for the author to reveal more character depth to the reader without telling or doing a big info dump that the reader finds boring.

I’m a Leo. I was born on August 21st, the cusp of Leo/Virgo, and have some qualities from both signs. How about you? What is your sun sign? Have you ever used astrology in character development or in your storyline?

BOOK BLURB:

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?


BOOK TRAILER LINK:
https://youtu.be/NHaLVSe_flI


Buy Ghostly Interference  Here:

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Ghostly-Interference-White-Rune-Sikes-ebook/dp/B08KW1KFMW/

BARNES & NOBLE: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ghostly-interference-jan-sikes/1137871003?

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. She is a member of The Author’s Marketing Guild, Writer’s League of Texas, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC), RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHOR (RWISA), and sits on the RWISA Executive Council.

JAN SIKES
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

http://www.jansikes.com
https://jansikesblog.com/
https://www.twitter.com/jansikes3
http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks
http://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8D (Author Page)
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sik

 

#GuestDayTuesday – The Case of the Babbling Sphinx by Bob Nailor

Hi, Everybody! Please help me welcome Bob Nailor to The Write Stuff today. Bob is here to share his newest book, The Case of the Babbling Sphinx, and I think you’ll agree it sounds like a winner! 

BLURB:

Gregory Eggers, a multi-billionaire, is missing; then he is found dead. Not only dead, but mummified. His third wife claims she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra and he is Marc Antony. Detective Barry Hargrove is called to figure it all out with the assistance of his old police partner, Williamson. What he uncovers is an ancient Chinese sword, a vendetta, and an Egyptian curse with a Chinese secret—a mystery so strange that even Hargrove can’t believe it. What is the secret of the curse on the obelisk? Hargrove searches the mansion and life-sized replica sphinx to learn the answers. But is the sphinx willing to babble its secrets?

BUY The Case of the Babbling Sphinx HERE


Author Bob Nailor

My name is Robert S. Nailor, but many people know me as Bob Nailor Author. I live on a quaint wooded acre in the NW corner of Ohio. I’ve retired and now spend most of my time puttering around the house, working in the yard, spoiling the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and writing – not always in that order. Seems I have less time for writing than when I worked full time, but, still, I shove my butt into the chair and force myself to put words to the screen. I write fantasy, Amish Christian, adventure, mystery, and what I call “light” horror. I have written several books and have been included in multiple anthologies. I also do speaking engagements and editing for other writers. There’s several corners to me and many of them can be found at my webpage: www.bobnailor.com

Social Media Links:
Webpage
Facebook
Email: bob@bobnailor.com

 

 

Special Guest Lynda McKinney Lambert – Visual Artist – InSights 20

 

It is my great pleasure to introduce a very Special Guest today. Please help me welcome visual artist Lynda McKinney Lambert back to The Write Stuff. Lynda is going to tell us in her own words (and poetry) about her amazing and beautiful work as a visual artist, and how she accomplishes this with seriously compromised vision. I think you’ll be inspired by what determination and a positive attitude can accomplish, so without further ado, please tell us your latest news, Lynda!

UPDATE: Lynda’s beautiful beadwork tied for first place in the Crafts Division of the Insights 20 international art website found HERE. Please check out her finished work after you read her post. It’s absolutely marvelous! Congratulations, Lynda!! 

~~~

Hi, Marcia! Thanks for having me here today. The InSights 20 is an international art exhibition held each year in Louisville, KY, by the American Printing House for the Blind. The show opens on October 7 – online this year due to restrictions caused by the pandemic.

The artwork will be on the separate InSights Art website,  located HERE.  This website will be open at 8:00am, October 7, which is the first day of APH’s Annual Meeting, of which the InSights Art exhibit and Awards are part.

All artists in this annual exhibition have sight loss. I have “profound sight loss,” but I can do my intricate work by using technologies for the blind. In my case, I use an Acrobat Closed Circuit TV.  I will attach a photo of how this looks as I am working. 

Using this CC T V, I am able to see colors and objects, which I cannot see without such magnification.  My husband, Bob, helps me initially by pulling the colors of beads I want to use for the project.  This is my palette that I work from.

I can only work with one tiny bead at a time and use only one colour at a time on my desk.  This keeps me organized so that I don’t get the beads confused since I cannot see them without the equipment.

Marcia, I wrote a poem that describes how I create a talisman and the thought process that takes place as I work.

“A Talisman”
by Lynda McKinney Lambert

Visualize a talisman-
precious stones and crystals
woven in bold patterns
plenty of Japanese glass seed beads
tiny drops of perfect symmetry.

I select flawless beads
stab them onto steel needles
hundreds of stitches
thrust them one at a time
upwards into the heavens
endlessly.

I plunge my thin needle
deep through layers of stiff cloth
make my stitches sure
hold tight.

I’m a warrior woman
thumping my spirit-drum
made of dappled starlight.

I measure timeless days
counting beads in
a mystical circle
held together
with a bronze toggle clasp.

A Talisman brings
protection from evil
healing for weary spirits
nourishment for aching bodies
courage for new directions
on a pilgrimage
over treacherous pathways
guides my dimmed eyes
and nervous steps.

Black onyx ovals
are like a vintage fan
unfurled with a flourish
or a sacred victory flag
prepared to cast an invocation.

my fingers stroke cold stones
glossy-smooth, polished, faceted.
gifts for a King.

______

A Talisman – August 2, 2020
Written by Lynda McKinney Lambert
Copyright August 2, 2020. All rights reserved.

~~~


Visual Artist and  Author Lynda McKinney Lambert

I am a visual artist and hold the BFA and MFA degrees in painting. I also write and have 4 books on Amazon at this time – I have the MA degree in English. I’m a retired university professor of fine arts and humanities (Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA)  and I retired in 2008 after sudden and permanent sight loss.

My MISSION STATEMENT

  • I am the keeper of memories. I distill and share them  through  art and writing.
  • I reveal what is forgotten, lost, or unseen.
  • I write  spare poems and thoughtful personal essays.
  • I create art with  brilliant colors &  precious materials, one stitch at a time.

~~~

“I can see why this (talisman)  captured first place. It captures the exact discipline of  the oriental master. Every stitch exact. Every stitch with a meaning. Every stitch with history behind it.  Bravo.”  ~  Leonard Tuchyner,  A Journey to Elsewhere: Poetry Through the Seasons of Life. 

“Throughout this book (Star Signs: New and Selected Poems, DLD Books, 2019) of poems , these gems of poetic creation shimmer like beads on her fabric art, like bold brush strokes on her prize-winning piece of mixed-media  fiber artwork,  It seems this entire collection is like a multifaceted  mural.”   ~  Wesley D. Sims, Taste of Change

“Lambert notices the colors and sounds that surround us., those odes that barely register through our buds and pads, and windshields , and she names them for us and she remembers them for us.” ~  Russell Streur, Editor, Plum Tree Tavern Literary Magazine

~~~

My thanks to you, Lynda, for sharing your story and your art with us today. I know others have found this as interesting and inspiring as I have. Folks, I encourage you to click on the link to InSights Art and check out Lynda’s work and that of other visually compromised artists. And if you’ve enjoyed learning about Lynda and her process for creating her beautiful beadwork, please let her know at one of the links below. Also be sure to check out her books of poetry, as well. You’ll be glad you did! 🙂


You can reach Lynda online here:
E-mail: riverwoman@zoominternet.net 
My website: http://www.lyndalambert.com
My Authors Page at DLD Books:  http://www.dldbooks.com/lyndalambert/

Lynda’s  Books Are Also Available on Amazon.com

Star Signs: New and Selected Poems by [Lynda Lambert]

Star Signs Available on Amazon HERE

Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems by [Lynda McKinney Lambert]

Walking By Inner Vision Available on Amazon HERE

 

 

#NewRelease – #Eventide by Mae Clair

So happy to welcome Mae Clair to The Write Stuff today with news of the release of her latest novel, Eventide. I’ve already got this one on my Kindle and after enjoying Books 1 and 2 so much, I can’t wait to read it. And just look at this fabulous cover! 

So without further ado, let’s get right to it. Take it away, Mae! 

~~~~~~

Hi, Marcia. Many thanks for having me as a guest today! I’m delighted to be here today promoting my upcoming release, Eventide, the final book in my Hode’s Hill series of novels. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Eventide is an archaic way of saying “evening” or “twilight.” All three books in the series play off this theme:
Cusp of Night
End of Day
Eventide

Each refers to that moment when daylight fades and twilight encroaches. I’ve always considered these “betwixt times,” never fully anchored in one period, but gradually transitioning into the next. From the time I was a child, I was fascinated by the idea. I’ve also always loved the word eventide, but when it came to choosing titles for my Hode’s Hill series, I initially headed down a different path.

The original title for Cusp of Night was The Blue Lady of Hode’s Hill after one of the characters in the book. I had planned to use color in all three titles, but my publisher wanted something short and mysterious. I must have gone through three dozen suggestions before I came up with Cusp of Night. It was the last on a long list I sent to my publisher—tossed on as an afterthought—but the one they ended up choosing. After that, the two successive titles were easy, and the theme was born.

I think it works well for books that are part mystery and part supernatural suspense. There’s even a little bit of cozy in each given the sleuthing my female characters undertake.

In this short excerpt Madison Hewitt is digging for information about an old home she purchased. She talking to a co-worker, Karen, who seems to know something about the home’s previous owner.

~~~~~

Madison sighed. “The house is really old, and I’m trying to find out whatever I can about the place. If you know something—”

 “Like what?”

 “I don’t know.” After several unusual experiences, she needed Karen to be forthcoming. “It’s just…an odd place. You mentioned rumors. Said there were things that happened there.”

 “Yeah.” Karen’s hands stilled. She stared at the letters in front of her as if debating something. After a moment, she closed her eyes, drew a breath, then shifted her attention to Madison.“You remember I told you I had a cleaning business? Vera Halsey was one of my clients.”

 “The woman who owned the house?” Madison had never made direct contact with her during the sale. “I understand she passed away in a nursing home.”

 “That’s what I heard, too. But she stopped my services months before she got sick. She was only in her early sixties, but something happened, and she started wasting away.”

 Madison had always assumed she was up in years, eighty or more. “That’s horrible.”

 “Strange is how I see it.” Karen smoothed an envelope between her fingers. “Everything about her was odd. The house, too.”

 “What do you mean?”

 “I wish I could explain it better. I had two people working for me. Both said they’d quit before going back again. I was the one who ended up cleaning for Vera. After a while, I got used to”—she looked away—“things.”

 Madison’s pulse ticked higher. “What do you mean?”

 “I don’t want to scare you.”

 Madison held her gaze.

 “Okay.” Karen leaned forward and lowered her voice as if sharing a secret. “It was just a sense of something always there…like being watched. The girls I had working for me said they heard people arguing when no one was around.”

 Madison’s fingers tightened on her coffee cup. “Did you?”

 “Once. Maybe twice. There were other things, too. Doors that shut on their own, cold spots, rancid odors. Sometimes I’d see someone from the corner of my eye and turn, but no one was there. Occasionally, some of my supplies would go missing only to show up in another room. The last week I was there, I swear someone tried to shove me down the steps.”

~~~~~

Sound a little creepy? There’s much more to the history of this house. You can discover the complete story by reading Eventide and discovering the secrets that lie within. Thank you in advance for your consideration! 🙂

Universal Purchase Link

BLURB:

The darkness is coming . . .  

The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property, or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
 
Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…

Order Eventide HERE

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

AmazonBookBubNewsletter Sign-Up
Website | BlogTwitterGoodreadsAll Social Media

 

 

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger, Hugh W. Roberts: Are You Sure Everything You See Exists?

How certain are you that everything you see or hear exists?

When Marcia kindly offered me a guest writer spot on The Write Stuff, it could not have come at a better time. Not only had I just published a second collection of my short stories and flash fiction, More Glimpses, but one of the characters from the book was questioning me as to its existence.

It sounds a rather strange question, doesn’t it? Someone or something from a book or story asking if it exists. Not to be outdone or disloyal to my character, I told it to write a blog post. What you are about to read is the result.

***

I don’t have a name. Well, I did, but I’ve forgotten what it was. In fact, thinking about it, I could have had hundreds of titles.

Even though I don’t have a name, I appear as a character in the story ‘The Man In The Television’ in the new short story collection, More Glimpses’ by Hugh W. Roberts. Hugh gave me a satisfying role; one that definitely portrays who I am and what I can do.

But back to my question – Are you sure everything you see exists? How would you answer that question? Look around you and ask yourself if everything you do see is really there. Our brains and eyes play so many tricks on us, what’s the guarantee that everything you see or hear is actually there?

And about the things, you think, do not exist? They’re not real, are they?

Take Hugh, for example. Are you sure he exists? Have you ever met him? If you’ve never met him, how do you know he’s real? And if you have met him in real life, how do you know it was him you actually met?

Hugh’s had a few incidents in his life that he doesn’t fully understand. Was the ghostly figure he saw sat at the end of his bed really there? Where did the scratches he discovered under his bed come from? I’ve heard him ask himself many times if what he saw or heard were real, or if they were all figures of his imagination? He’s only told a few people about those incidents. Most of them waved them off as not being real. How wrong they are.

Have you ever witnessed something you can’t explain? A locked door that opens by itself, or the sound of footsteps coming from upstairs when you’re the only one in the house? How about that feeling that somebody has just walked over your grave?  They may go unchallenged or not seem to matter after a few minutes, but something caused them, didn’t it?   

The stories, characters and twists in Hugh’s book never existed until they were bought to life from an area of the brain not even you humans fully understand. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, does it? 

Should you be wary of me? That depends on whether you think I’m real or not. Now you’ve read this post I’ve written, I exist, don’t I?

I look forward to meeting you.

***

Story #19: The Man In The Television

Genre: Horror

Unaware of what is in the room with them, a family watching a popular Saturday evening television show have no idea what is really happening in front of them. Have you seen the man in the television?

Photo by Tertia van Rensburg on Unsplash

***

Whatever it was that wrote the above post can be found in the story ‘The Man In The Television’ from my latest short story collection, More Glimpses.

If you’d like to meet another character from More Glimpses, Jane Collins from the story The Jump, click here to read her blog post.

Click here to buy your copy of More Glimpses.

Also available – Glimpses, the first collection of short stories and flash fiction from Hugh W. Roberts.

Click here to buy your copy of Glimpses.

Thank you so much for allowing me to use your blog, today, to promote my new book, Marcia.

Now, back to the question I asked you all. Are you sure everything you see exists? Let me know by leaving me a comment.

***

About Hugh W. Roberts

Hugh W. Roberts lives in Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Hugh gets his inspiration for writing from various avenues including writing prompts, photos, eavesdropping and while out walking his dogs, Toby and Austin. Although he was born in Wales, he has lived around various parts of the United Kingdom, including London where he lived and worked for 27 years.

Hugh suffers from a mild form of dyslexia but, after discovering blogging, decided not to allow the condition to stop his passion for writing. Since creating his blog ‘Hugh’s Views & News’ in February 2014, he has built up a strong following and now writes every day. Always keen to promote other bloggers, authors and writers, Hugh enjoys the interaction blogging brings and has built up a group of online friends he considers as an ‘everyday essential’.

His short stories have become well known for the unexpected twists they contain in taking the reader up a completely different path to one they think they are on. One of the best compliments a reader can give Hugh is “I never saw that ending coming.”

Having published his first book of short stories, Glimpses, in December 2016, his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses, was released in March 2019. Hugh is already working on the next volume.

A keen photographer, he also enjoys cycling, walking, reading, watching television, and enjoys relaxing most evenings with a glass of red wine. Hugh shares his life with John, his civil-partner, and Toby and Austin, their Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

Connect with Hugh

Blog: Hugh’s Views and News

Twitter: @HughRoberts05

Flipboard

Mix.com

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-hughsviewsandnews.com.

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger, Deborah Jay: how do you write ‘what you know’, when you write fantasy?

Thanks, Marcia, for the opportunity to be featured guest blogger here on The Write Stuff this week. I’m so thrilled this wonderful blog is up and running again after all your trials and tribulations. We missed you!

‘Write what you know’ is one of those rules all authors come across. But when you’re writing a fantasy novel, how can you do that?

With book #3 in my Five Kingdoms fantasy series releasing next week, I thought I’d share a peek into how I chose to incorporate a little of what I know into my imaginary world. You might notice a bit of a theme across my covers…

mock3[23043]

One of the draws of writing fantasy is the ability (necessity) to create your own world from scratch, but it’s nevertheless important to have enough similarities with the real world for readers to have an easy frame of reference. If everything is unfamiliar, they have to work too hard at understanding what’s going on to enjoy following the plot, or find empathy with the protagonist and supporting characters.

If I’d wanted, I could have given my characters 6-legged, horned critters to ride, but as a professional horse rider (my day job, lucky me), I decided to give them regular horses. Well, slightly enhanced, almost regular horses!

This enabled me to inject some realism into the world of the Five Kingdoms, with small details of horsemanship and horse behaviour that bring the horses to life as characters in their own right. Here’s a snippet featuring one of my favourites:

* * * * * * *

At this time of day, only one horse stood inside. Fleetfoot, Rustam’s bright bay Shivan stallion, dozed on his feet in the middle of the walkway, disdaining an actual stable. None of the stable lads would dream of trying to coax him into a loose box—he’d shown them how such an attempt would end within half a day of his arrival in the barn. Fortunately, as the season was so warm, the lad in question had dried out quickly after his dunking in the water trough.

Fleetfoot acknowledged Rustam’s arrival with a shake of his neck, his long black mane swishing from side to side. Rustam patted his shoulder. “It’s good to see you resting, my friend. We’ve an important task ahead.”

He ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest beneath the heavy fall of mane, marvelling as always at the softness of the horse’s hair. Fleetfoot bent his neck around and blinked at Rustam, who sighed. “I’m guessing the hardest part will be persuading Risada to stay behind. Ouch!”

He leaned against the stallion’s shoulder, pushing hard until the horse lifted the hoof he’d planted on Rustam’s foot. “What was that for?”

Rustam hopped a few steps, before rubbing the top of his abused foot against the back of his other calf. He’d never held any illusions about the weight of the substantial animal even before being trodden on. “That’s going to be one almighty bruise, thank you very much. What did I say to offend you?”

Fleetfoot arched his neck, lowering his head until he matched eyelines with Rustam. His expression revealed both dismay and disapproval. Rustam shook his head. “For someone who can’t utter words, you have an amazing ability to express your opinions. You think Risada should come with us, don’t you?” Fleetfoot bobbed his head down, once, twice.

* * * * * * *

Each of my books features several named horses who have their parts to play in developing the characters of their riders, instead of being just a means of conveyance. I find human/horse (or indeed, any animal) relationships bring out greater personality depths, and in the case of horses are often a means of strengthening and deepening certain traits, such as patience, empathy and humility. Exactly what they do for those of us fortunate enough to work with them in real life.

DO you follow the ‘write what you know’ rule? Please tell me in the comments: it’s always fascinating to hear other writers’ thoughts on the ‘rules’.

If you haven’t read any of my Five Kingdoms novels yet, #1, THE PRINCE’S MAN goes on sale next Friday at $0.99 in all stores, the same day as #3, THE PRINCE’S PROTEGE releases with an introductory price of $2.99

Mar 19 sale

Each book has a stand alone story arc, but they have ongoing threads leading towards a final showdown in book #4.

If you HAVE read books 1 & 2, this is what #3 looks like, and is available now on Amazon pre-order,

launch promo

thumb nailDeborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she has time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook.
She has a dream day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush.

Connect with Deborah elsewhere across the web

BLOG        FACEBOOK         TWITTER           PINTEREST        GOODREADS

AMAZON

If you fancy trying out a FREE Five Kingdoms story, sign up to my mailing list HERE – you can always unsubscribe if it’s not to your taste.

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Other books by Deborah Jay

other books

 

 

#FabulousFridayGuestBlogger: End of Day by Mae Clair

Hello, fabulous followers of Marcia’s blog! I’m delighted to be here today as the featured guest blogger. Many thanks to Marcia for generously offering up space for me chat about my latest book—and folklore.

I’ve long held a passion for archaic legends, so it’s only natural those threads creep into most novels I write. In my latest, End of Day, I touch on myths revolving around church grims and burial. If you’re unfamiliar, a church grim is a spirit that stands guard over a chapel graveyard. The grim usually takes the form of a large black dog and is tasked with protecting those buried in the cemetery. It repels predators from the Netherworld including night demons, wights, and phantoms.

an old cemetery with weathered gravestones and a gnarled twisted tree in the background

In days rife with superstition, the custom was to bury a dog alive under the cornerstone of a church. People believed the first soul in a graveyard was responsible for protecting the rest. Since they couldn’t sacrifice a human for the purpose, a dog was substituted—a horrid and barbaric practice.

In End of Day, I altered that belief, adjusting it so that the first person interred in the cemetery became the protector of all the souls that followed—as well as the descendants of those buried in the graveyard. But what happens when the burial plot of that protector is violated and his remains are stolen?

End of Day is a book that features two mysteries—one set in 1799 when the small village of Hode’s Hill comes under attack from a strange creature, and one set in the present day. Both mysteries twine together, merging at the conclusion. As one reviewer said:

“This is a paranormal suspense novel with a dual timeline alternating between the year 1799 and now. A centuries-old curse grips a small town. There are thugs, a sweet dog, monsters, a supernatural talisman, a no-nonsense policewoman, likable characters, despicable characters . . . this book has it all.”

I hope I’ve intrigued you enough to read the blurb and to consider adding End of Day to your TBR list. Although this is the second book in my Hode’s Hill series, it also can be read as a standalone. In closing, many thanks again to Marcia, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my post!

book cover for End of Day by Mae Clair shows an old abandoned church with a graveyard in the backgroundBlurb
The past is never truly buried…

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined in a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. In order to set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

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bio box for author Mae Clair

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“Tortured Soul” – Newest Release by Staci Troilo

Hi, Marcia. Thank you for opening your blog to me today.

I know you have an interest in the paranormal, in romance, and in thrillers. Today, I’m going to share an excerpt from my newest release, Tortured Soul, the fourth and final installment of the Medici Protectorate series. This book has all those elements (and then some). I hope you and your readers enjoy it.

(Note: These guys are battle-hardened and make free use of swear words, particularly when in the heat of action. To keep this post reader-friendly for all audiences, all instances of such words have been tamed or deleted.)


Tortured Soul Teaser

“Mike? Where are you?”

“I do not know that ‘where’ is the correct term for what you are asking.”

Coz glanced around. No one reacted like they could hear him.

“They cannot hear me.”

Where the heck was he talking from? “Mike?”

“You do not have to speak aloud, Roberto. I am communicating with you, mind-to-mind.” Continue reading

How Do You Feel About Controversy? (and my new release)

by Kassandra Lamb

Marcia’s busy today, so she gave me permission to play in her sandbox while she’s gone… 😀

I’ve taken some risks with my latest Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mystery, and I’d love to hear your take on it. Here’s the gist of it from a post I did earlier in the week.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CONTROVERSY?

Some people don’t mind controversy; a few even thrive on it. And with social media, these two groups seem to have found their voices more and more lately.

But I’m in the group that pretty much hates controversy. I sit on my hands at least once a day, resisting the temptation to get into it with someone on Facebook or Twitter. It just isn’t worth the stress.

ZeroHeroFinalSm

In my Kate Huntington mysteries, I have often touched on somewhat controversial social issues. I’ve been fortunate that they have been well received. I really enjoyed writing those books, but more recently I’ve been having fun with a lighter cozy mystery series about a service dog trainer.

I thought I had left the somewhat darker topics behind. My muse, however, had a different idea. She spun out a story in my head that involves two less-than-likeable characters who are members of groups that normally inspire high levels of sympathy in people.

In my new release, I have a crabby paraplegic veteran, who has an unhealthy obsession with his sister’s love life, and a brash, hard-to-like sexual assault survivor.

My main character, Marcia Banks, doesn’t particularly care for either of these people when she first meets them. And she feels guilty about that. How can you dislike a veteran in a wheelchair? she asks herself.

But the reality is that people in most groups come in all sizes, shapes, and personality types. And some of them aren’t going to be likeable. (READ MORE of original post)

Nonetheless, I’m feeling a bit of trepidation as this book releases. I know I will get blow-back from some folks. I hope it doesn’t get too nasty.

What do you think? Am I worrying for nothing?

Here’s the scoop on the new release:

Patches in the Rye cover

Patches in the Rye, A Marcia Banks and Buddy Mystery, Book 5

Nothing about her new client is what service dog trainer Marcia Banks expected—from the posh house that says family money to his paranoid preoccupation with his sister’s love life—but when he dangles a thousand-dollar retainer under her nose, she can’t resist playing private detective.

In between training sessions, Marcia digs into the sister’s boyfriend’s sketchy past. But the deeper she digs, the more questions arise. How is a disastrous fraternity party five years ago linked to blackmail, prostitutes, and murder today? And who’s driving the black SUV that keeps trying to turn Marcia and her dog Buddy into roadkill?

She can’t let it go, not when there are innocents at risk who are depending on her to find the truth. But the deepest, darkest truth is the one she wishes she never uncovered.

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Time Travel – A Frequently Used Literary Device

Guest Post by Don Massenzio

As a reader, my fascination with time travel began as a child. When I first read The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, I was enthralled by the idea of travelling either backward or forward in time.

Traveling backward could allow one to catch glimpses of historical events or important figures. You could go back and wander among dinosaurs. Similarly, traveling forward gives a view of the development of man, technology and the future of our planet.

As I sat down to write my book, Extra Innings, I was fascinated by the different views of time travel that have been used in fiction. This post will discuss those various theories and I’ll give you a view of my thought process in landing on one.

Here are some of the theories that have been presented in fiction:

Watercolor dreamcatcher with beads and feathers. Illustration fo

  1. Precognition – This is the idea of seeing the future during dreams or through the feeling of déjà vu. Abstract black and white design
  2. Time Loops – If you’ve watched the movie, Ground Hog Day, you’ve seen this time travel plot device in action. Usually the events time loop repeat until the character or characters perform a certain action to end the loop and move forward.De Lorean
  3. Time Paradox – If you watched Back to the Future, when Marty McFly went back in time and nearly prevented his parents from getting together for the high school dance, you’ve experienced this time travel device.Time Tourism
  4. Time Tourism – Just like it sounds, when time travelers travel through time to witness historical events as a spectator, this is time tourism.terminator
  5. Time War – This is the use of time travel to conduct war over time using time travel. It could involve going back in time to change events leading up to a pivotal battle or trying to bring about a reset of events that didn’t play out as planned.Erasing The Past
  6. Changing the pastThis is the notion of time travel that I used in my book, Extra Innings. The idea of changing the past is logically contradictory. Even though the consensus today is that the past cannot be changed, science fiction writers have used the idea of changing the past for good story effect. Stephen King used this method of time travel effectively in his book, 11/22/63, by having his main character, Jake Epping, attempt to go back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Though ultimately successful, when Epping returns to the present, he discovers that his actions have had unintended consequences.


If you enjoy time travel and the possibility of going back in time to right wrongs and do things differently if given a chance, follow the adventures of Joe McLean in my latest novel, Extra Innings.

SAMPLE

Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team.

Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past.

That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life?

Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.